Language: The Basics

Language: The Basics

Language: The Basics

Language: The Basics

Synopsis

Language: The Basics provides a concise introduction to the study of language. Written in an engaging and entertaining style, it encourages the reader to think about the way language works. New features include:* a chapter on 'Language in Use' which introduces pragmatics, metaphor, speech and writing and discourse analysis* a section on sign language* a glossary of key terms* an expanded further reading section Language: the Basics provides an overview for students and anyone who's ever been accused of splitting an infinitive.

Excerpt

The book in your hand is not a textbook: it makes no attempt at comprehensive coverage, and it contains no exercises. Instead, it aims only to get you thinking about one of the most important and fascinating topics you could ever hope to encounter: human language. Nothing is more important to us than language, and I hope this little book will quickly persuade you that nothing is more interesting, more stimulating or more rewarding than the study of language.

I have chosen nine very different aspects of the study of language, and under each heading I present and discuss a representative sample of the work which has been done and which is being done now. You will discover that you know a great deal more about the grammar of English than you ever suspected, but you may also be surprised to find that you can’t explain the meaning of the word dog. You will learn about the astonishing way in which young children go about the business of learning their first language, about the startling effects on language of genetic defects and brain damage, and about people for whom words have colours. Perhaps you already know that the remote ancestor of English was spoken in Russia, but are you aware that English is changing fairly rapidly at this very moment, and that we can see it changing if we know how to watch?

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