I Speak, Therefore I Am
Seventeen Thoughts About Language
Andrea Moro, Ian Roberts
There are no men so dull and stupid, not even idiots, as to be incapable of joining together different words, and thereby constructing a declaration by which to make their thoughts understood.... On the other hand, there is no other animal, however perfect or happily circumstanced which can do the like.—Descartes
Language is more like a snowflake than a giraffe's neck. Its specific properties are determined by laws of nature, they have not developed through the accumulation of historical accidents.—Noam Chomsky
In I Speak, Therefore I Am, the Italian linguist and neuroscientist Andrea Moro composes an album of his favorite quotations from the history of linguistics, beginning with the Book of Genesis and the power of naming and concluding with Noam Chomsky's metaphor that language is a snowflake. Moro's seventeen linguistic thoughts and his commentary on them display the humanness of language: our need to name and interpret this world and create imaginary ones, to express and understand ourselves. This book is sure to delight anyone who enjoys the ineffable paradox that is human language.