By David Crystal
With a language disappearing each weeks and neologisms bobbing up virtually day-by-day, an figuring out of the origins and foreign money of language hasn't ever appeared extra appropriate. during this captivating quantity, a story heritage written explicitly for a tender viewers, professional linguist David Crystal proves why the tale of language merits retelling.
From the 1st phrases of an little one to the odd glossy dialect of textual content messaging, a bit publication of Language levels extensively, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In lively model, Crystal sheds mild at the improvement of specified linguistic types, the origins of vague accents, and the quest for the 1st written observe. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, in addition to winning instances of linguistic revitalization. even more than a background, Crystal’s paintings appears ahead to the way forward for language, exploring the influence 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 show the tale of language to be an enthralling story for every age.
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Extra resources for A Little Book of Language (Little Histories)
Or a piece of elastic used for holding things together. Or a flat strip of material forming part of a dress or a hat. If we look the word ‘band’ up in a dictionary, we’ll find it has about a dozen meanings. How do we know which is which? The answer is simple. We put the word into a sentence. And we use the grammar of the sentence to tell us what the word means. ’ That has to be the ‘group of outlaws’ meaning. It couldn’t possibly mean a pop group. ’ That has to be the pop group. The lady in the shop offers us a choice: ‘You can have the jacket with a red band on the sleeve or a green one’.
Dog,’ she replied. ‘Yes, that’s a dog,’ he said. ’ ‘Yes,’ said Sue. And then she added ‘brown dog’ – making a brave effort to pronounce the new word (which came out as ‘bown’). Let’s analyse this little exchange. It’s a mini-conversation, in five parts. First, dad asked a question, and Sue replied. Dad then agreed – but notice how he did it. He could just have said ‘Yes’, and stopped there. But he didn’t. He took Sue’s little one-word sentence and put it into a bigger sentence of his own: ‘that’s a dog’.
But when we have to spell a word, we can’t take any shortcuts. Spellers have to come up with all the letters, to get the word right. It’s quite tricky. If somebody asks us to spell a word out loud, just think what we have to do. Let’s say it’s ‘TOMATOES’. First we have to hold the spoken form of the word in our head. Then we have to recall the written form of the word – assuming we’ve seen it written down before. And then we have to think our way through the word, letter by letter, and say the names of the letters aloud, in the right order.
A Little Book of Language (Little Histories) by David Crystal