A Little Book of Language

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2011-04-26
  • Publisher: Yale University Press

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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 Languageranges 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 Languagewill reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.

Author Biography

David Crystal is one of the world's preeminent language specialists. Writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster, he is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written nearly 100 books, including The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language, By Hook or By Crook: A Journey in Search of English, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8, The Stories of English, and Rediscover Grammar, and has published widely on phonetics, Shakespeare's language, and child language. In 1995 he was awarded the OBE for services to the English language. He lives in Holyhead, UK.

Table of Contents

Baby-Talkp. 1
From Cries to Wordsp. 6
Learning How to Understandp. 14
Making Vibrationsp. 21
Pronouncing Soundsp. 28
Discovering Grammarp. 34
Having a Conversationp. 40
Learning to Read and Writep. 45
Getting to Grips with Spellingp. 52
Spelling Rules and Variationsp. 58
Grammar Rules and Variationsp. 65
Accents and Dialectsp. 71
Being Bilingualp. 78
The Languages of the Worldp. 84
The Origins of Speechp. 92
The Origins of Writingp. 98
Modern Writingp. 104
Sign Languagep. 112
Comparing Languagesp. 118
Dying Languagesp. 125
Language Changep. 131
Language Variationp. 138
Language at Workp. 145
Slangp. 151
Dictionariesp. 157
Etymologyp. 163
Place Namesp. 169
Personal Namesp. 176
The Electronic Revolutionp. 183
Textingp. 189
Language at Playp. 195
Why use Language?p. 201
Language for Feelingsp. 209
Political Correctnessp. 215
Language in Literaturep. 221
Developing a Stylep. 227
The Complexity of Languagep. 233
Linguisticsp. 239
Applied Linguisticsp. 244
Your Language Worldp. 250
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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