5th Edition

The Articulate Mammal An Introduction to Psycholinguistics

By Jean Aitchison, Jean Aitchison Copyright 2008

    An established bestseller, The Articulate Mammal is a concise and highly readable introduction to the main topics in psycholinguistics. This fifth edition brings the book up-to-date with recent theories, including new material on:

    • the possibility of a ‘language gene’
    • post-Chomskyan ideas
    • language within an evolutionary framework
    • spatial cognition and how this affects language
    • how children become acclimatized to speech rhythms before birth
    • the acquisition of verbs
    • construction and cognitive grammar
    • aphasia and dementia.

    Requiring no prior knowledge of the subject, chapter by chapter, The Articulate Mammal tackles the basic questions central to the study of psycholinguistics. Jean Aitchison investigates these issues with regard to animal communication, child language and the language of adults, and includes in the text full references and helpful suggestions for further reading.

    Introduction  1. The Great Automatic Grammatizator: Need Anything be Innate?  2. Animals That Try to Talk: Is Language Restricted to Humans?  3. Grandma's Teeth: Is There Biological Evidence for Innate Language Capacity?  4. Predestinate Grooves: Is There a Pre-Ordained Language 'Programme'?  5. A Blueprint in the Brain?: Could Any Linguistic Information Conceivably be Innate?  6. Chattering Children: How do Children Get Started on Learning to Speak?  7. Puzzling it Out: Exactly How do Children Learn Language?  8. Celestial Unintelligibility: Why do Linguists Propose Such Bizarre Grammars?  9. The White Elephant Problem: Do we Need a Grammar in Order to Speak?  10. The Case of the Missing Fingerprint: How do we Understand Speech?  11. The Cheshire Cat's Grin: How do we Plan and Produce Speech?  12. Banker's Clerk or Hippopotamus?: The Future


    Jean Aitchison was Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford from 1993 to 2003, and is now an Emeritus Professorial Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. She is the author of numerous books on language and gave the 1996 BBC Reith lectures on the topic of ‘The Language Web’.

    Praise for the first edition:

    'An excellent and very welcome guide to psycholinguistics ... Highly recommended.' – The Washington Post