A Little Book of Language

A Little Book of Language

by David Crystal
     
 

With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.

From the first words

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Overview

With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.

From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In animated fashion, Crystal sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, as well as successful cases of linguistic revitalization. Much more than a history, Crystal’s work looks forward to the future of language, exploring the effect of technology on our day-to-day reading, writing, and speech. Through enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, as well as Crystal’s avuncular and entertaining style, A Little Book of Language will reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300155334
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

1 Baby-Talk 1

2 From Cries to Words 6

3 Learning How to Understand 14

4 Making Vibrations 21

5 Pronouncing Sounds 28

6 Discovering Grammar 34

7 Having a Conversation 40

8 Learning to Read and Write 45

9 Getting to Grips with Spelling 52

10 Spelling Rules and Variations 58

11 Grammar Rules and Variations 65

12 Accents and Dialects 71

13 Being Bilingual 78

14 The Languages of the World 84

15 The Origins of Speech 92

16 The Origins of Writing 98

17 Modern Writing 104

18 Sign Language 112

19 Comparing Languages 118

20 Dying Languages 125

21 Language Change 131

22 Language Variation 138

23 Language at Work 145

24 Slang 151

25 Dictionaries 157

26 Etymology 163

27 Place Names 169

28 Personal Names 176

29 The Electronic Revolution 183

30 Texting 189

31 Language at Play 195

32 Why use Language? 201

33 Language for Feelings 209

34 Political Correctness 215

35 Language in Literature 221

36 Developing a Style 227

37 The Complexity of Language 233

38 Linguistics 239

39 Applied Linguistics 244

40 Your Language World 250

Index 255

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