Roger Kreuz and Richard RobertsJan 5, 2021
How Aging Affects Language and How Language Affects Aging
MIT Press 2019
Everyone ages, and just about everyone uses language, making Changing Minds: How Aging Affects Language and How Language Affects Aging (MIT Press, 2019) a book with practically universal relevance. The authors, Roger Kreuz and Richard Roberts, show readers what cognitive science can tell us—and what it can’t—about the relationship between aging and language. Through accounts of research written for a general audience, Kreuz and Roberts explain how underlying cognitive functions, such as memory and perception, are responsible for much of the changes that people associate with aging, and that linguistic capabilities are more resilient than many may think. They explore a range of changes that occur as people age, focusing on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. While they are clear that the jury may be out on some of the phenomena they explore—such as whether older people have greater difficulty interpreting figurative language—they note that other correlations are more robust, such as the relationship between reading fiction and living long lives.
Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff).