On Language Change: The Invisible Hand in Language
In the twentieth century, linguistics has been dominated by two paradigms - those of Saussure and Chomsky. In both these philosophies of linguistics, language change was left aside as an unsolvable mystery which challenged theoretical entirety. In On Language Change Rudi Keller reassesses language change and places it firmly back on the linguistics agenda. Based on the ideas of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thinkers such as Mandeville, Smith and Menger, he demonstrates that language change can indeed be explained through the workings of an 'invisible hand'. Refreshingly jargon-free, Keller's account of language change is comprehensive and clear. Not only does he provide a new epistemology for the science of language change, he also brings new insights to bear on the history of linguistics.
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ability addressee argument artefacts August Schleicher behaviour Carl Menger causal characterised Charlie Chomsky claim communication concept of language convention Coseriu cry of fear cultural Darwin dichotomy domain eat garlic emergence englisch epiphenomenon evolutionary example existence explanandum explanatory expression fact factors finalistic footpath function functionalist garlic gene German language goal grammar Hayek historical homonyms homophonie human actions hypostatised I-change I-grammar I-language Ibid individual competence innate intention invisible hand invisible-hand explanation invisible-hand process invisible-hand theory language change laws Lüdtke macro-level Mandeville's Max Müller means meme pool natural phenomena natural sciences necessarily normally origin of language phenomenon planned possible premisses principles problem question reason recognise result of human Roger Lass Saussure Schleicher sense social Darwinism social success speaker statement story structure Talk theory of language theory of naturalness thesis things third kind traffic jam understanding understood universal grammar Whitney Wurzel