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Distributed for Reaktion Books

History of Language

It is tempting to take the tremendous rate of contemporary linguistic change for granted. What is required, in fact, is a radical reinterpretation of what language is. Steven Roger Fischer begins his book with an examination of the modes of communication used by dolphins, birds and primates as the first contexts in which the concept of "language" might be applied. As he charts the history of language from the times of Homo erectus, Neanderthal humans and Homo sapiens through to the nineteenth century, when the science of linguistics was developed, Fischer analyses the emergence of language as a science and its development as a written form. He considers the rise of pidgin, creole, jargon and slang, as well as the effects radio and television, propaganda, advertising and the media are having on language today. Looking to the future, he shows how electronic media will continue to reshape and re-invent the ways in which we communicate.

"[a] delightful and unexpectedly accessible book ... a virtuoso tour of the linguistic world."—The Economist

"... few who read this remarkable study will regard language in quite the same way again."—The Good Book Guide

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.


240 pages | 5.25 x 9

Globalities

Language and Linguistics: Anthropological/Sociological Aspects of Language


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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Animal Communication and ’Language’
2. Talking Apes
3. First Families
4. Written Language
5. Lineages
6. Towards a Science of Language
7. Society and Language
8. Future Indicative
References
Select Bibliography
Index

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