Verbal Minds - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123852007, 9780123852014

Verbal Minds

1st Edition

Language and the Architecture of Cognition

Authors: Toni Gomila
eBook ISBN: 9780123852014
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123852007
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 5th December 2011
Page Count: 150
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Ten years ago, the hegemonic idea was that language was a kind of independent module within the mind, a sort of "print-out" of whatever cognitive activity was taking place, but without any influence whatsoever in that activity. While this view is still held, evidence amassed in the last 10 years suggests another view of their inter-relationships, even though exactly which one is not clear yet, in part because of the lack of a unified view, and in part because of the inertia of the previous position, in part because all this evidence must be considered together. An increasing number of researchers are paying attention to the issues involved as the human language specificity may provide a clue to understand what makes humans "smart," to account for the singularities of human cognition.

This book provides a comprehensive review of the multiple developments that have taken place in the last 10 years on the question of the relationships between language and thought and integrates them into a coherent framework. It will be relevant for anyone working in the sciences of languages.

Key Features

  • Synthesizes recent research
  • Provides an integrated view of cognitive architecture
  • Explains the relationships between language and thought


Psycholinguists, linguistic and cognitive anthropologists, developmental psychologists, philosophers of the mind, evolutionary psychologists and linguistic semanticists

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Clearing the Ground

2.1. Against Language as a Peripheral to the Mind

2.2. Resisting “in Principle” Arguments Against the Influence of Language on Thought

2.3. Against Massive Modularity

3. The Relevance of Language for Thought

3.1. Relativism

3.2. Language as Cognitive Restructuring

3.3. Thinking for Speaking

3.4. Language as Interface Between the Modules

3.5. Language as Social Scaffolding

4. Language as Lens

4.1. The Color Terms Saga

4.2. Spatial Terms

4.3. Numerals, Geometry, and Mathematical Cognition

5. Language as Lens

5.1. Subjunctive Conditionals and Counterfactual Understanding

5.2. Grammatical Number Marking and the Object/Substance Distinction

5.3. The Semantics of Movement and Action

5.4. Gender Marking

5.5. Time

6. Language as Tool Kit, 1

6.1. Deafness

6.2. Nonhuman Primates

6.3. From Nonverbal to Verbal Minds

7. Language as Tool Kit, 2

7.1. Inner and Private Speech

7.2. Relational Complexity

7.3. Bilingualism and Cognitive Control

7.4. Altered Language, Altered Thought?

8. Making Sense of the Evidence

8.1. A Robust Pattern in the Evidence

8.2. Looking for Mechanisms

8.3. Could There Be a Third Factor?

8.4. In Favor of a Dual Theory of Cognitive Architecture

8.5. Conclusion



No. of pages:
© Elsevier 2012
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Author

Toni Gomila

Affiliations and Expertise

Universitat Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain


"If you wrestle with localization, translation, or English for non-native speakers, Gomila’s Verbal Minds…may make you even more cautious about assuming that the whole world thinks the way that we do. He summarizes (and disputes) the results of hundreds of studies…, trying to tease out the ways in which our native language affects the way we understand and think about our experience."--Technical Communication, February 2014

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