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Language Science Press publishes high quality, peer-reviewed open-access books in the field of linguistics. All publications are free for both authors and readers. The books are published under a CC-BY license by default.

General Editors are Stefan Müller (FU Berlin) and Martin Haspelmath (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology).

Please find further information about background and motivation and ways how to support this enterprise at the project pages.

In the Spotlight

  • Natural causes of language

    Natural causes of language: Frames, biases, and cultural transmission
    Natural causes of language: Frames, biases, and cultural transmission
    N.J. Enfield (Author)
    What causes a language to be the way it is? Some features are universal, some are inherited, others are borrowed, and yet others are internally innovated. But no matter where a bit of language is from, it will only exist if it has been diffused and kept in circulation through social interaction in the history of a community. This book makes the case that a proper understanding of the ontology of language systems has to be grounded in the causal mechanisms by which linguistic items are socially transmitted, in communicative contexts. A biased transmission model provides a basis for understanding why certain things and not others are likely to develop, spread, and stick in languages. Because bits of language are always parts of systems, we also need to show how it is that items of knowledge and behavior become structured wholes. The book argues that to achieve this, we need to see how causal processes apply in multiple frames or 'time scales' simultaneously, and we need to understand and address each and all of these frames in our work on language. This forces us to confront implications that are not always comfortable: for example, that "a language" is not a real thing but a convenient fiction, that language-internal and language-external processes have a lot in common, and that tree diagrams are poor conceptual tools for understanding the history of languages. By exploring avenues for clear solutions to these problems, this book suggests a conceptual framework for ultimately explaining, in causal terms, what languages are like and why they are like that.
  • Contemporary African Linguistics

    Series: Contemporary African Linguistics
    We are happy to announce our 14th series, "Contemporary African Linguistics", which will provide a more general venue for African linguistics than the existing "African Language Grammars and Dictionaries" and "Monographs on Comparative Niger-Congo". CAL has strong support from the Association of Contemporary African Linguistics. Lee Bickmore and Akinbiyi Akinlabi are the series editors.
  • Prosodic detail in Neapolitan Italian

    Prosodic detail in Neapolitan Italian
    Prosodic detail in Neapolitan Italian
    Francesco Cangemi (Author)

    Recent findings on phonetic detail have been taken as supporting exemplar-based approaches to prosody. Trough four experiments on both production and perception of both melodic and temporal detail in Neapolitan Italian, we show that prosodic detail is not incompatible with abstractionist approaches either. Specifically, we suggest that the exploration of prosodic detail leads to a refined understanding of the relationships between the richly specified and continuous varying phonetic information on one side, and coarse phonologically structured contrasts on the other, thus offering insights on how pragmatic information is conveyed by prosody.

Open Monograph Press Public Knowledge Project