Language and Recursion

Editors: Lowenthal, Francis, Lefebvre, Laurent (Eds.)

  • Bridges the gap between theoretical cognitive sciences and applied neuro- and psycholinguistics
  • All chapters include a synthesis of discussions
  • Contains high-quality and contemporary, relevant scientific information provided by renowned experts
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About this book

As humans, our many levels of language use distinguish us from the rest of the animal world. For many scholars, it is the recursive aspect of human speech that makes it truly human. But linguists continue to argue about what recursion actually is, leading to the central dilemma: is full recursion, as defined by mathematicians, really necessary for human language? Language and Recursion defines the elusive construct with the goal of furthering research into language and cognition. An up-to-date literature review surveys extensive findings based on non-verbal communication devices and neuroimaging techniques. Comparing human and non-human primate communication, the book’s contributors examine meaning in chimpanzee calls, and consider the possibility of a specific brain structure for recursion. The implications are then extended to formal grammars associated with artificial intelligence, and to the question of whether recursion is a valid concept at all. Among the topics covered: • The pragmatic origins of recursion. • Recursive cognition as a prelude to language. • Computer simulations of recursive exercises for a non-verbal communication device. • Early rule learning ability and language acquisition. • Computational language related to recursion, incursion, and fractals • Why there may be no recursion in language. Regardless of where one stands in the debate, Language and Recursion has much to offer the science community, particularly cognitive psychologists and researchers in the science of language. By presenting these multiple viewpoints, the book makes a solid case for eventual reconciliation.

About the authors

Dr. Francis Lowenthal received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is the current head of the Cognitive Sciences Department at the University of Mons, Belgium. He is the director of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, and is the Chairman of the Council of the Institute of Language Sciences.

Dr. Lefebrve is an Assistant Professor in the Cognitive Sciences Department at the University of Mons, and Chair of the Graduate Studies in the School of Psychology and Education, University of Mons.

Table of contents (15 chapters)

  • Pragmatics as the Origin of Recursion

    Levinson, Stephen C.

    Pages 3-13

  • Investigating Recursion Within a Domain-Specific Framework

    Martins, Maurício Dias (et al.)

    Pages 15-26

  • Recursive Cognition as a Prelude to Language

    Corballis, Michael C.

    Pages 27-36

  • Nonverbal Communication Devices, Language, Cerebral Flexibility, and Recursive Exercises

    Lowenthal, Francis (et al.)

    Pages 39-55

  • Computer Simulations of Recursive Exercises for a Nonverbal Communication Device

    Fortemps, Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 57-66

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-9414-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-9413-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-3153-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Language and Recursion
Editors
  • Francis Lowenthal
  • Laurent Lefebvre
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-9414-0
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-9414-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4614-9413-3
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4939-3153-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 232
Number of Illustrations and Tables
36 b/w illustrations, 27 illustrations in colour
Topics