How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die

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9781583332917: How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die

Steven Pinker meets Bill Bryson in this landmark exploration of language.

In the author's own words, "How Language Works is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex-or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species.

Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite.

Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, How Language Works is the ultimate layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.

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From the Inside Flap:

A parrot uncomprehendingly rattles off a string of words learned by rote. And we marvel! Yet we seem to take our own astonishing linguistic powers for granted—the ability to speak, listen, and understand, to read and write. We all understand why language works—we have to communicate to survive—and now David Crystal, the world authority on language, shows us how.How are languages born? How does conversation work? How do we learn how to read? How do gestures and tone of voice impact communication? And what happens when a language goes wrong? How Language Works answers questions about the innumerable facets of language, from how we absorb all those grammatical rules to how we decide if a word is rude or polite. Whether looking at the whistle languages of the Canary Islands, or describing the layout of the human throat; whether assessing the importance of eyebrow flashes in conversation, or showing how the way we speak betrays who we want to be—How Language Works is a book that will enrich the lives of everyone who reads it. Illuminating and intriguing, this landmark book is the ultimate guide to the mysteries of the language we all use every day.

About the Author:

David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the editor of The Penguin Encyclopedia.

 

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Book Description Avery Publishing Group, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Longtime language writer and linguistics professor Crystal (The Stories of English, 2004) offers a well-organized, thoroughly comprehensive guide to language and communication in 73 short chapters. The passionate word enthusiast addresses every aspect of language, including how we learn to speak, read, and write; the physiology behind the formation of speech sounds; how we choose what to say; how gestures and tone of voice impact communication; how the brain handles language; and how language tells us where we are from. After beginning with spoken and written language, Crystal moves on to sign language, language structure, discourse, dialects, language families, and multilingualism. The book also includes diagrams of the human tongue, ear, and brain; a chart of Egyptian hieroglyphs over time; and illustrations of finger spelling. Although its size and subject matter may suggest otherwise, this volume is aimed at and written for general readers, and Crystal makes for an especially genial guide. Whether expressing his fair-minded assessment of the prescriptive-descriptive debate or knowledgeably discussing the connection between dialects and social status, he proves to be both accessible and informative. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781583332917

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Book Description Avery Publishing Group, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Longtime language writer and linguistics professor Crystal (The Stories of English, 2004) offers a well-organized, thoroughly comprehensive guide to language and communication in 73 short chapters. The passionate word enthusiast addresses every aspect of language, including how we learn to speak, read, and write; the physiology behind the formation of speech sounds; how we choose what to say; how gestures and tone of voice impact communication; how the brain handles language; and how language tells us where we are from. After beginning with spoken and written language, Crystal moves on to sign language, language structure, discourse, dialects, language families, and multilingualism. The book also includes diagrams of the human tongue, ear, and brain; a chart of Egyptian hieroglyphs over time; and illustrations of finger spelling. Although its size and subject matter may suggest otherwise, this volume is aimed at and written for general readers, and Crystal makes for an especially genial guide. Whether expressing his fair-minded assessment of the prescriptive-descriptive debate or knowledgeably discussing the connection between dialects and social status, he proves to be both accessible and informative. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781583332917

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Book Description Avery Publishing Group. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 512 pages. Dimensions: 8.7in. x 5.9in. x 1.5in.Steven Pinker meets Bill Bryson in this landmark exploration of language. In the authors own words, How Language Works is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex-or, indeed, anything at all. Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species. Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a persons social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite. Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, How Language Works is the ultimate laymans guide to how we communicate with one another. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781583332917

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Book Description Avery Publishing Group, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Longtime language writer and linguistics professor Crystal (The Stories of English, 2004) offers a well-organized, thoroughly comprehensive guide to language and communication in 73 short chapters. The passionate word enthusiast addresses every aspect of language, including how we learn to speak, read, and write; the physiology behind the formation of speech sounds; how we choose what to say; how gestures and tone of voice impact communication; how the brain handles language; and how language tells us where we are from. After beginning with spoken and written language, Crystal moves on to sign language, language structure, discourse, dialects, language families, and multilingualism. The book also includes diagrams of the human tongue, ear, and brain; a chart of Egyptian hieroglyphs over time; and illustrations of finger spelling. Although its size and subject matter may suggest otherwise, this volume is aimed at and written for general readers, and Crystal makes for an especially genial guide. Whether expressing his fair-minded assessment of the prescriptive-descriptive debate or knowledgeably discussing the connection between dialects and social status, he proves to be both accessible and informative. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781583332917

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