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Foundational issues

  • COLIN PHILLIPS (a1) and ELLEN LAU (a1)

Ray Jackendoff,Foundations of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. xix+477.

Ray Jackendoff is well qualified to talk about the trend towards increasing specialization and fragmentation of the science of language. For over 30 years he has been a prolific contributor to a number of different topics in syntax and semantics, and has also made notable contributions to other areas of cognitive science, including music, consciousness, spatial cognition, and psycholinguistics. It's hard to find many in the field who can match Jackendoff's breadth. Therefore, all linguists should be interested in Jackendoff's most recent book, Foundations of language, in which he lays out a series of objectives for the science of language, and describes some of the steps that he believes are needed in order to reintegrate theoretical linguistics with psycholinguistics and even computational neuroscience.

Corresponding author
Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20782, U.S.A. E-mail:,
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We would like to thank Norbert Hornstein, Martin Pickering and an anonymous JL referee for valuable comments on an earlier version of this article. Preparation of this article was supported in part by grants to C.P. from the National Science Foundation (#BCS-0196004), the Human Frontier Science Program (RGY-0134), and the University of Maryland General Research Board.
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Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0022-2267
  • EISSN: 1469-7742
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-linguistics
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