Unfolding of Language An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention

ISBN-10: 0805080120
ISBN-13: 9780805080124
Edition: N/A
Authors: Guy Deutscher
List price: $21.00 Buy it from $2.88
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Description: Blending the spirit of Bill Bryson with the science of Steven Pinker, an “engaging . . . very different, big-picture look at language history” (Chicago Tribune) Language is mankind’s greatest invention—except, of course, that it was never  More...

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Book details

List price: $21.00
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Publication date: 5/2/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Blending the spirit of Bill Bryson with the science of Steven Pinker, an “engaging . . . very different, big-picture look at language history” (Chicago Tribune) Language is mankind’s greatest invention—except, of course, that it was never invented.” So begins linguist Guy Deutscher’s enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances like “man throw spear,” how did we end up with sophisticated grammars and vocabularies, intricately nuanced degrees of meaning, and such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz (“you are one of those whom we couldn’t turn into a town dweller”)? Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the intimately entwined forces of creation and destruction at work in human communication, showing how these processes are continuously generating new words, new structures, and new meanings. As entertaining as it is erudite, The Unfolding of Language moves nimbly from ancient Babylonian to American idiom, from the central role of metaphor to the intricacy of the Semitic verb, to explain the genius behind a uniquely human faculty.

Guy Deutscher was born in Tel Aviv in 1969. He received an undergraduate degree in Math and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Cambridge. Afterward, he became a fellow in historical linguistics at St. John's College at Cambridge. He later became a honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester and was a professor in the department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages at the University of Leiden in Holland. He has written several books including Syntactic Change in Akkadian (2000), The Unfolding of Language (2005), and Through the Language Glass (2010).

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