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The Power of Babel|John McWhorter
The Power of Babel : A Natural History of Language
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Overview

"An essay in origins ... as theoretical as Hawking and Gorst in trying to see into the deep past. McWhorter is a clear and witty writer."-- Harper's

In the first book written for the layperson about the natural history of language, linguistic professor John McWhorter ranges across linguistic theory, geography, history, and pop culture to tell the fascinating story of how thousands of very different languages have evolved from a single, original source in a natural process similar to biological evolution.

There are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today, each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago. While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, linguistics professor John McWhorter reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever-changing human environment. Full of humor and imaginative insight, The Power of Babel draws its illustrative examples from languages around the world, including pidgins, Creoles, and nonstandard dialects.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060520854
  • ISBN-10: 006052085X
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • Publish Date: January 2003
  • Dimensions: 8.02 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.58 pounds
  • Page Count: 352

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