I-Language introduces the uninitiated to linguistics as cognitive science. In an engaging, down-to-earth style Daniela Isac and Charles Reiss give a crystal-clear demonstration of the application of the scientific method in linguistic theory. Their presentation of the research programme inspired and led by Noam Chomsky shows how the focus of theory and research in linguistics shifted from treating language as a disembodied, human-external entity to cognitive biolinguistics - the study of language as a human cognitive system embedded within the mind/brain of each individual. The recurring theme of equivalence classes in linguistic computation ties together the presentation of material from phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The same theme is used to help students understand the place of linguistics in the broader context of the cognitive sciences, by drawing on examples from vision, audition, and even animal cognition.
This textbook is unique in its integration of empirical issues of linguistic analysis, engagement with philosophical questions that arise in the study of language, and treatment of the history of the field. Topics ranging from allophony to reduplication, ergativity, and negative polarity are invoked to show the implications of findings in cognitive biolinguistics for philosophical issues like reference, the mind-body problem, and nature-nurture debates.
This textbook contains numerous exercises and guides for further reading as well as ideas for student projects. A companion website with guidance for instructors and answers to the exercises features a series of pdf slide presentations to accompany the teaching of each topic.