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Keeping those Words in Mind: How Language Creates Meaning

In Keeping Those Words in Mind, Louwerse’s prose is simultaneously captivating, accessible, and even suspenseful. While getting just deep enough into the weeds to satisfy a scientist and still keep a non-scientist engaged, Louwerse has written a masterpiece that touches on all of the key debates in the sciences of language. His ability to bring the reader into a new perspective on how language works has the potential to change the way everybody thinks about how and why our words mean what we think they mean. Louwerse shows us that, while humanity is constantly redesigning language, language is in turn constantly redesigning humanity.

Michael J. Spivey, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive & Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced and the author of Who You Are and The Continuity of Mind

A delightful tour of our amazing collective ability to spin the web of language. Sparkles with insights, striking metaphors, and wonderful examples of how language is both utterly familiar and full of mysteries.

Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Warwick and the author of The Mind is Flat: The Remarkable Shallowness of the Improvising Brain

If you have ever marveled at the complexity of language, you might also have wondered how brains learn to use it. Many approaches to this question assume mechanisms that enable us to invent language for ourselves. In Keeping Those Words in Mind, Max Louwerse provides a fascinating and accessible alternative. Each of us grows up in an environment in which language is already present, and the social reality of language and its use greatly eases the problem of learning it. Not only will this book change the way you think about language, but it will bring you new insights into how you think in general.

Art Markman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas and author of Smart Thinking and Bring Your Brain to Work

How do people construct meaning from words and language? As expected, the theoretical models are complex, abstract, and difficult for a newcomer to understand and appreciate. I strongly recommend that the first book newcomers read is Max Louwerse’s Keeping Those Words In Mind. It communicates in plain language, with tantalizing concrete examples to provoke thought and debate. It also is a fascinating read for seasoned researchers who enjoy being updated on progress in multiple fields and some real-world applications.

– Art Graesser, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis and Honorary Research Fellow at University of Oxford, UK.

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