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"In this engaging book, Sampson, treating the all-too-long ostracized 'black sheep' of linguistics, offers a refreshing and rigorous contemporary scientific examination of writing cum system. . . . Linguists on all fronts should welcome this text whose contents have undergone the same rigorous examination and discussion as any work on the core problems of language. This work renews an old field of study—and not for trained scientists only, for several arguments here are instructive to the novice."
"This book is a readable, non-technical discussion of the nature of scripts as linguistically structured systems. It sensibly discusses the general issues concerning the relation of script to language, and concerning historical change in this relationship. . . . Sampson's research is unique among recent books in the extent to which it makes informed use of non-anecdotal psychological research on reading and spelling in addressing issues of script typology and history. . . . This is a book that can be recommended as the best linguistic introduction to the study of writing systems now available."