Bridges between Psychology and Linguistics: A Swarthmore Festschrift for Lila Gleitman

Bridges between Psychology and Linguistics: A Swarthmore Festschrift for Lila Gleitman

Bridges between Psychology and Linguistics: A Swarthmore Festschrift for Lila Gleitman

Bridges between Psychology and Linguistics: A Swarthmore Festschrift for Lila Gleitman

Synopsis

Written as a tribute to Lila Gleitman, an influential pioneer in first language acquisition and reading studies, this significant book clearly establishes the relationships between psychology and linguistics. It begins with a thorough examination of issues in developmental psychology, continues with questions on perception and cognition, studies the realm of psycholinguistics, and concludes with an exploration of theoretical linguistics.

Excerpt

Lila Gleitman taught linguistics and psycholinguistics at Swarthmore College from 1968 to 1972. In just those 4 years, Lila instilled a passion for linguistic inquiry in dozens of students. Furthermore, she founded linguistic studies at the college. Several of the articles in this volume are written by people who studied with her during those years.

Lila's influence on Swarthmore students and alumni extends well beyond those 4 years. As a psychologist of language, Lila has dedicated herself to the study of the language of one of our most unempowered groups--children, particularly blind and deaf children. She has been a pioneer in first-language acquisition and reading studies, and her work has helped to establish the legitimacy of these fields. Researchers in child language, in reading, and in the acquisition, processing, and production of language in alternate modalities are all, directly or indirectly, Lila's students. It is in this spirit that other Swarthmore alumni contributed to this volume.

Lila spans the gap from developmental psychology to theoretical linguistics in multiple ways. She has provided strong evidence that structure can influence the acquisition of language's syntactic and semantic rules. Her work serves as a model to any scholar brave enough to attempt such a bridge. Lila's work with Feldman and Goldin-Meadow in 1978 on children from whom linguistic communication was withheld offers persuasive evidence that the language mechanism is innate in the human brain. Precisely this kind of work forms the foundation upon which theories of universal grammar stand. Lila has made the balancing act of universal grammarians less precarious. And in the desire to laud Lila for this work, still other alumni contributed to this volume.

There are 14 articles here, ranging from those that fall squarely in the area . . .

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