The Five-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages

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9781908049940: The Five-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages

The Five-Minute Linguist has been a popular introduction to the subject of language because it is succinct, clear, accurate, -- and fun to read. Now in its second edition, updated and expanded, the book has been warmly received by readers across the globe because it offers quick and reliable answers to questions about language that most of us have, such as: How many languages are there? What was the first language? What causes foreign accents? Are dialects dying? The book is the work of experts, authoritative and full of facts, but not technical or aimed at an audience of scholars. It is used by beginning students of linguistics and anthropology, and has broad appeal for general readers, people who read for enjoyment as well as knowledge. It has a conversational style that feels more like a series of fireside chats than a college textbook, because it started life as a series of five-minute radio broadcasts. Its chapters are short, suitable for browsing or reading on the run. But although it is intentionally light in tone, the book is full of up-to-date information, written by a cross-section of leading linguists in the U.S. and abroad. The second edition of the book was produced under the sponsorship of the Linguistic Society of America and the (U.S.) National Museum of Language.

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About the Author:

E. M. Rickerson has a Ph.D from the University of California at Berkeley and is Director Emeritus of the award-winning language program at the College of Charleston (S.C.). Formerly a language program director in the U.S. government, he now consults on the development and improvement of language programs at the university level. In 2005 Dr. Rickerson created a radio series on languages ('Talkin About Talk'), which was broadcast on public and college radio stations -- and on which The 5 Minute Linguist was based.

Barry Hilton is a freelance writer/editor and independent scholar living in Maine. He was a member of the editorial board that reviewed the radio scripts on which The 5 Minute Linguist was based. He has travelled and lived in both Europe and Asia, making professional use of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, French, and German in a variety of jobs. He describes himself as an 'armchair philologist and recovering polyglot'.

Review:

'An excellent, very accessible, and extremely easy- and fun-to-read introduction to some of the basic questions (and misconceptions) regarding language, language learning, and linguistics. The book clearly meets the editors intended goals; with each essay, the reader is engaged in a five-minute, light and informal conversation about the passionate topic of language.' --Linguist List 23.4805, November 2012

'This book is for anyone who has a question about languages or the nature of language which means just about all of us. But it s not just a musty academic text for specialists. While written by leading experts on the subject of language, The Five-Minute Linguist is a user-friendly exploration of the basics, a linguistic start-up kit for general readers. It assumes nothing on your part except interest in the subject. Its bite-sized chapters (no more than 3-4 pages each) give authoritative answers to the most frequently asked questions people have about language, and tell the story in a lively and colloquial style. It is a delightful read.' --From the Foreword by Bret Lovejoy, Executive Director, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language

'This book is for anyone who has a question about languages or the nature of language—which means just about all of us. But it’s not just a musty academic text for specialists. While written by leading experts on the subject of language, The Five-Minute Linguist is a user-friendly exploration of the basics, a linguistic start-up kit for general readers. It assumes nothing on your part except interest in the subject. Its bite-sized chapters (no more than 3-4 pages each) give authoritative answers to the most frequently asked questions people have about language, and tell the story in a lively and colloquial style. It is a delightful read.' --From the Foreword by Bret Lovejoy, Executive Director, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language

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