Language Through the Looking Glass: Exploring Language and Linguistics

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To play with language is to break its rules, disrupt its patterns, exploit its weak points. Thus, paradoxically, puns and spoonerisms, neologisms, and slogans reveal and highlight the patterns to which discourse conforms -- patterns which reflect the linguistic competence of language speakers.Only those who have linguistics competence can play with it: thus language games and the poetic use of language are underpinned by unconscious use of linguistic analysis.Using Lewis Carroll's Alice as a starting point, Marina Yaguello takes the reader on an unconventional voyage around language, charting the major themes of linguistics on the way. She shows that we can come to an understanding of language in general and of particular languages through exploring thedevices of humour, word-games, and poetry -- devices which reveal the unconscious linguist in all of us. The result is an entertaining but rigorous introduction to language and linguistics for non-specialists and students alike.

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Tower of Babel
22
The Canny Canner
28
Antidisestablishmentarianism
35
You Say Pig or Figº
44
Words as Signs
70
A Rose by Any Other Name
80
The Incredible Lightness of Meaning
87
IO The House that Jack Built
99
Green Ideas II 3
113
I2 Murdering Time
130
I3 The Miser and the Prodigal Son
137
I4 Tweedledum and Tweedledee
152
Conclusion
161
Index
168
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About the author (1998)

Marina Yaguello is Professor and Chair of Linguistics in the English Department of the University of Paris and-Denis Diderot. She has been Visiting Professor in London and in Dakar and has lectured all over North America, Europe, and in many African countries. She has written nine other booksabout language and linguistics, including Lunatic Lovers of Language: Imaginary languages and their inventors (Athlone Press). She specializes in sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and the syntax-semantics interface.

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