The Ascent of Babel: An Exploration of Language, Mind, and Understanding

Paperback | July 16, 2003

byAltmann, Gerry T. M.

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Language is one of the faculties that sets humans apart from animals, the crucial thing which makes our complex social interactions possible. The Ascent of Babel explores the ways in which the mind produces and understands language: the ways in which the sounds of language evoke meaning, andthe ways in which the desire to communicate causes us to produce those sounds to begin with. The `ascent' symbolises different things: the progression from sound to meaning, the ascent that we each undergo, from birth onwards, as we learn our mother tongue, and the quest to understand the mentalprocesses which underlie our use of language. Gerry Altmann leads the reader on this ascent - a fascinating tour which takes us from babies learning to say words to the production of spoken and written language, the effects of brain damage on language, and the ways in which computer simulations ofinterconnecting nerve cells can learn language. The Ascent of Babel is a journey of discovery, written in an engaging and witty style, at the end of which it becomes clear that Babel's summit - the secret of language - may actually lie at its foundations, where babies play and language is learned.

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Language is one of the faculties that sets humans apart from animals, the crucial thing which makes our complex social interactions possible. The Ascent of Babel explores the ways in which the mind produces and understands language: the ways in which the sounds of language evoke meaning, andthe ways in which the desire to communicate c...

Gerry Altmann works in the Department of Psychology at the University of York.

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Paperback|Feb 28 2017

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.63 inPublished:July 16, 2003Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198523777

ISBN - 13:9780198523772

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Table of Contents

In the beginning1. Looking towards Babel2. Babies, birth, and language3. Chinchillas do it too4. Words, and what we learn to do with them5. Organizing the dictionary6. Words, and how we (eventually) find them7. Time flies like an arrow8. Who did what, and to whom?9. On the meaning of meaning10. Exercising the vocal organs11. The written word12. When it all goes wrong13. Wiring-up a brain14. The descent from BabelBibliography

Editorial Reviews

`Though aimed at specialist in this field - psycholinguistics - it is written in a direct, non-academic style that makes some taxing ideas perfectly understandable.'Yorkshire Evening Press (York)