By David Crystal

ISBN-10: 0300155336

ISBN-13: 9780300155334

With a language disappearing each weeks and neologisms arising virtually day-by-day, an realizing of the origins and forex of language hasn't ever appeared extra appropriate. during this captivating quantity, a story historical past written explicitly for a tender viewers, professional linguist David Crystal proves why the tale of language merits retelling.

From the 1st phrases of an toddler to the extraordinary glossy dialect of textual content messaging, a bit booklet of Language levels largely, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In lively type, Crystal sheds gentle at the improvement of exact linguistic types, the origins of vague accents, and the quest for the 1st written be aware. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, in addition to winning instances of linguistic revitalization. even more than a heritage, 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 interesting sort, A Little e-book of Language will show the tale of language to be an enthralling story for every age.

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Additional resources for A Little Book of Language (Little Histories)

Example text

French writers came to Britain, and they brought with them their own favourite ways of spelling words. One of these was the use of . And they began spelling the long vowel sound as . Hundreds of words were respelled in this way. That’s where the in the word ‘night’ comes from. And why do we spell ‘circle’ and ‘cell’ with a and not an ? The French started that too. And the in ‘ghost’? That was simply a in Anglo-Saxon times. The French aren’t to blame for that. This time the change came from a different part of the world: Belgium and Holland.

Conversations between parents and their two-year-old children are usually like that. The parents are continually presenting them with sentences that are a bit more complicated than the ones the children are saying by themselves. The parents are acting like teachers, really. Another year on, and the conversations go in a fresh direction. Here’s Sue talking to her father when she was three-and-a-half. ’ she asked. And her father then did something which seems strange at first. He got the biscuit and held it out to her, but didn’t give it to her.

Making a [r] sound after a [t] is really quite hard. Poor old Steven had already had a lesson in hard sounds. He had tried to say ‘all gone’ and out had come ‘aw-daw’. He couldn’t manage the [g]. To make a [g] sound, you have to press the back part of your tongue hard against the roof of the mouth: [ga-ga-gaga]. Most children at his age find this a lot harder to do than to make a [d] sound at the front of the mouth. He must have been able to hear that [g] was one of those sounds where there’s a buzzing and a mini-explosion at the same time, so he gave it his best shot.

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A Little Book of Language (Little Histories) by David Crystal


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