Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speechby Edward Sapir
How do culture and language correspond? How does language work, and how do languages vary? An expert linguist and anthropologist addresses these and related issues in a highly readable examination of language within the contexts of thought, historical process, race, culture, and art. A leader in American structural linguistics, Edward Sapir (1884-1939) studied under the direction of Franz Boas, a pioneer in anthropology. With his student Benjamin Whorf, Sapir developed and championed the controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which states that certain thoughts expressed in one language cannot be understood by natives of another language, and that thinking is strongly affected by the nature of the native language. Sapir's gifts of lyric and persuasive writing make this introduction to the fundamentals of language accessible and interesting to readers with no background in the subject. Professional linguists will be similarly engaged by the breadth of the author's canvas, the penetrating quality of his vision, and his treatment of topics-including a discussion of "drift," or the processes of language change, now regarded a classic exposition of linguistic theory.
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