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The Crucible of Language
How Language and Mind Create Meaning


  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107561038

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About the Authors
  • From the barbed, childish taunt on the school playground, to the eloquent sophistry of a lawyer prising open a legal loophole in a court of law, meaning arises each time we use language to communicate with one another. How we use language - to convey ideas, make requests, ask a favour, and express anger, love or dismay - is of the utmost importance; indeed, linguistic meaning can be a matter of life and death. In The Crucible of Language, Vyvyan Evans explains what we know, and what we do, when we communicate using language; he shows how linguistic meaning arises, where it comes from, and the way language enables us to convey the meanings that can move us to tears, bore us to death, or make us dizzy with delight. Meaning is, he argues, one of the final frontiers in the mapping of the human mind.

    • Written with a lively and accessible style, this book will appeal to a broad and general readership
    • Restores meaning to its rightful position at the centre of scientific study on language
    • Builds on cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Evans has reclaimed language from the dry dissection of grammatical structure and returned it to the public as a topic to think deeply about.' Alun Anderson, New Scientist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107561038
    • length: 375 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • contains: 51 b/w illus. 11 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Ineffability of Meaning:
    1. Introduction: unweaving a mystery
    2. The alchemist, the crucible, and the ineffability of meaning
    Part II. Meaning in Mind:
    3. Patterns in language, patterns in the mind
    4. Time is our fruit fly
    5. Concepts body forth
    6. The concept-making engine (or how to build a baby)
    7. The act of creation
    Part III. Meaning in Language:
    8. Webs of words
    9. Meaning in the mix
    10. The cooperative species
    11. The crucible of language
    Epilogue: the golden triangle.

  • Author

    Vyvyan Evans, Bangor University
    Vyvyan Evans is Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University, where he has served as Head of the School of Linguistics and English Language, and Deputy Head of the College of Arts and Humanities.

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