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Strange Linguistics

Newbrook, Mark

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ISBN 10: 3862884198 / ISBN 13: 9783862884193
Published by LINCOM, 2013
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This book provides a critical and historiographical overview of non-mainstream (‘fringe’) claims and theories about language and languages presented by non-linguists, with an especial focus on work produced in the last fifty years. Topic areas include the origins and relationships of languages, historical and non-historical aspects of writing systems, linguistic material emanating from mysterious sources, supposed non-human languages, language and the mind, etc. The ideas discussed range from the truly bizarre to the merely dubious. The last chapter deals with some aspects of mainstream linguistics which appear to invite skeptical attention. Although there is a substantial critical literature on some specific topics of this kind, there has never before been a linguistically-informed general work on this entire topic area; this work remedies this situation. Newbrook outlines, explains and critiques a wide range of such ideas, in his capacity as a professional linguist associated with the world-wide skeptical movement. The intention is to be fair and free of dogmatism in making critiques, and not to ‘debunk’ without due consideration. Newbrook also addresses the question of how each set of non-mainstream ideas developed out of earlier (often largely non-linguistic) intellectual or quasi-intellectual background thinking. Unnecessary technicalities are avoided and key concepts are explained in a glossary or as they arise. Contents Preface Glossary Introduction Chapter 1: Language origins and language change Chapter 2: ‘Concocted’ languages and very short words Chapter 3: The origins of human language as a phenomenon Chapter 4: Mysterious writing systems, inscriptions and other texts Chapter 5: Language (itself sometimes mysterious) from mysterious sources Chapter 6: Reversals and other alleged mysterious features Chapter 7: Allegedly mysterious scripts, texts, etc. (non-historical issues) Chapter 8: Alleged animal ‘languages’ and language-learning abilities Chapter 9: Non-mainstream theories of language and the mind Chapter 10: Non-mainstream general theories of language Chapter 11: Language reform and language invention Chapter 12: Skepticism about mainstream linguistics Coda References. Bookseller Inventory # B-9783862884193

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Strange Linguistics

Publisher: LINCOM

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition: Neu

Dust Jacket Condition: Ohne Schutzumschlag

Edition: 1. Auflage

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This book provides a critical and historiographical overview of non-mainstream ('fringe') claims and theories about language and languages presented by non-linguists, with an especial focus on work produced in the last fifty years. Topic areas include the origins and relationships of languages, historical and non-historical aspects of writing systems, linguistic material emanating from mysterious sources, supposed non-human languages, language and the mind, etc. The ideas discussed range from the truly bizarre to the merely dubious. The last chapter deals with some aspects of mainstream linguistics which appear to invite skeptical attention. Although there is a substantial critical literature on some specific topics of this kind, there has never before been a linguistically-informed general work on this entire topic area; this work remedies this situation. Newbrook outlines, explains and critiques a wide range of such ideas, in his capacity as a professional linguist associated with the world-wide skeptical movement. The intention is to be fair and free of dogmatism in making critiques, and not to 'debunk' without due consideration. Newbrook also addresses the question of how each set of non-mainstream ideas developed out of earlier (often largely non-linguistic) intellectual or quasi-intellectual background thinking. Unnecessary technicalities are avoided and key concepts are explained in a glossary or as they arise. Mark Newbrook completed a BA in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and went on to take an MA and a PhD in linguistics at the University of Reading, specialising in variationist historical dialectology and associated attitudinal matters. He was linguistics consultant to Australian Skeptics and now occupies similar roles in the equivalent British organisations. He has authored several books and many articles and reviews on various aspects of linguistics, notably sociolinguistics, dialectology and skeptical linguistics.

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