History of Language
It is tempting to take the tremendous rate of contemporary linguistic change for granted. What is required, in fact, is a radical reinterpretation of what language is. Steven Roger Fischer begins his book with an examination of the modes of communication used by dolphins, birds and primates as the first contexts in which the concept of "language" might be applied. As he charts the history of language from the times of Homo erectus, Neanderthal humans and Homo sapiens through to the nineteenth century, when the science of linguistics was developed, Fischer analyses the emergence of language as a science and its development as a written form. He considers the rise of pidgin, creole, jargon and slang, as well as the effects radio and television, propaganda, advertising and the media are having on language today. Looking to the future, he shows how electronic media will continue to reshape and re-invent the ways in which we communicate.
"[a] delightful and unexpectedly accessible book ... a virtuoso tour of the linguistic world."—The Economist
"... few who read this remarkable study will regard language in quite the same way again."—The Good Book Guide
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - name99 - LibraryThing
If the name Steven Roger Fischer sounds vaguely familiar, he's the guy who (claims to have) deciphered Rongo Rongo and the Phaistos Disk. Be that as it may, he's clearly a smart guy who knows ... Read full review
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Africa alphabet American ancient apes appear Bantu bonobos borrowed Celtic Celts century BC Chinese languages communication complex comprise daughter languages developed dialects early East Easter Island Egyptian elaborate emerged Europe European evolved example family of languages French genetic German glyphs grammar Greek guage guistic hominids Homo erectus Homo sapiens human language humankind humpback identified indigenous Indo-European infrasound International Standard English Internet Island Kanzi Koko language families language's Latin linguistic change linguistic science logograms logographic Mandarin Chinese Māori Middle Middle Chinese migrations millennium BC million years ago modern humans Neandertals Neogrammarian nineteenth century perhaps phonetic phonology Polynesian population programming language Proto proto-language recent replaced Sanskrit script semantic Semitic sign language social society sound Spanish speakers species subfamilies Sumerian survive syllabic syntactic syntax theory tion tongue twentieth century usage vocabulary vowels Vulgar Latin Welsh West Western whales word world's languages writing system
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