The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language

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There are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today, each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago. While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, linguistics professor John McWhorter reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever-changing human environment.

Full of humor and imaginative insight, The Power of Babel draws its illustrative examples from languages around the world, including pidgins, Creoles, and nonstandard dialects.

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for John McWhorter

McWhorter's arguments are sharply reasoned, refreshingly honest, and thoroughly original, and befitting a book on language, they are lucidly and elegantly expressed.
-- Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works

McWhorter has done an admirable job of bridging the gap between the linguists' view of language and the public's.
-- Philip Herbst, Booklist

Whatever one's opinion on particular cases, it is indisputable that Mr. McWhorter is a lively judge of the English language, and a sober judge of all disputes that swirl around it.
-- Sanford Pinsker, The Wall Street Journal (from reviews of Word on the Street)

About the Author:

John McWhorter, associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of The Word on the Street. He lives in Oakland, California.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780434007899: The Power Of Babel

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ISBN 10:  0434007897 ISBN 13:  9780434007899
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd, 2002
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9780716744733: The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language

W. H. ..., 2002
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9780099435242: The Power Of Babel

Arrow ..., 2003
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