What Is This Thing Called Language?

ISBN-10: 0230291376

ISBN-13: 9780230291379

Edition: 2nd 2012 (Revised)

Authors: David Nunan

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Book details

Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Limited
Publication date: 11/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

List of Tables and Figures
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction to the first edition: the stuff that surrounds us
Introduction to the second edition: a personal account
What is this thing called language?
Introduction and overview
Language: a defining characteristic of humanity
Language as a tool for communication
Language systems
Human and animal communication systems
Design features of language
The origins of language
The structure of the rest of the book
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
The sound system
Introduction and overview
Sounds as a system
Articulatory phonetics
Segmental and suprasegmental phonology
Words and sounds
Stress timing
The communicative functions of intonation
Representing spoken language
Accents
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
The lexical system
Introduction and overview
What is a word?
Form and meaning
Creating words
Cataloguing words: dictionaries and corpora
Word classes
Closed and open class systems
The internal structure of words: morphology
Personal vocabularies
Lexical patterns in text
Collocations
Ellipsis and substitution
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
The grammatical system
Introduction and overview
Defining grammar
Mentalist versus functionalist approaches to grammar
Grammar in use
Prescriptivism versus descriptivism
The internal workings of the sentence
Grammar and context sensitivity
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Doing things with spoken language
Introduction and overview
Functions of spoken language
Key characteristics of conversation
Topics, turns and speakers in casual conversation
Negotiating and co-constructing meaning
Speech acts
Language and gender
Linguistic connectivity in spoken discourse
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Doing things with written language
Introduction and overview
From spoken to written language
Cohesion and coherence
Register
Genre
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
First-language and second-language acquisition
Introduction and overview
The behaviourist approach to language acquisition
A critique of the behaviourist approach
The mentalist approach
The functionalist approach to language acquisition
From discourse to grammar
Second-language acquisition
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Language at play
Introduction and overview
Playing with language
The lure of the limerick
Other forms of word play
Advertising revisited
Figurative language
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Language, culture and identity
Introduction and overview
Defining culture and identity
Does language determine the way we see the world?
Language choice and cultural context
Intercultural communication
Popular culture and a blurring of boundaries
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Language in a global context
Introduction and overview
Is English the 'world language'?
English as a global language: winners and losers
Language variation: pidgins and creoles
Variation and standardization
Language death
Summary and conclusion
Questions and tasks
Further reading
Postscript
Books to read on long plane flight
Key figures
Glossary
References
Index
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