Download A Little Book of Language (Little Histories) by David Crystal PDF

By David Crystal

With a language disappearing each weeks and neologisms arising nearly day-by-day, an figuring out of the origins and foreign money of language hasn't ever appeared extra appropriate. during this fascinating quantity, a story historical past written explicitly for a tender viewers, specialist linguist David Crystal proves why the tale of language merits retelling.

From the 1st phrases of an little one to the strange glossy dialect of textual content messaging, a bit publication of Language levels broadly, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In lively model, Crystal sheds mild at the improvement of particular linguistic kinds, the origins of imprecise accents, and the quest for the 1st written note. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, in addition to winning circumstances of linguistic revitalization. even more than a background, Crystal’s paintings appears to be like ahead to the way forward for language, exploring the impression of expertise on our daily examining, writing, and speech. via enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, in addition to Crystal’s avuncular and wonderful sort, A Little ebook of Language will display the tale of language to be a charming story for every age.

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Additional info for A Little Book of Language (Little Histories)

Sample text

Indd 41 13/01/10 2:47 PM 42 a l i t t l e b o o k o f l a n g ua g e another, drawing Sue’s attention to some other things about the dog: he was big and brown. Again, he didn’t have to say such things. So why did he? The answer is clear from what Sue said next. This was the first time she’d tried to say the word ‘brown’. She wouldn’t have bothered if she hadn’t heard her father say it. He had taught her this word without either of them realizing it. Conversations between parents and their two-year-old children are usually like that.

The squiggles are organized in lines, and these have to be read (in English) from top to bottom, and from left to right. Children exposed to books written in Arabic or Chinese have to learn that reading goes in other directions. It doesn’t take them long, either, to realize that a book stays the same, each time it’s read. As a result, after repeated reading, they come to know a favourite story off by heart. Woe betide the parent who decides to leave out a page or two before bedtime! Once, after a tiring day, I was telling a bedtime story and tried to shorten the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ by going straight from the house of straw to the house of bricks.

Sue would start building sentences like that herself before too long. But her father didn’t stop with just one sentence. indd 41 13/01/10 2:47 PM 42 a l i t t l e b o o k o f l a n g ua g e another, drawing Sue’s attention to some other things about the dog: he was big and brown. Again, he didn’t have to say such things. So why did he? The answer is clear from what Sue said next. This was the first time she’d tried to say the word ‘brown’. She wouldn’t have bothered if she hadn’t heard her father say it.

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