This is a fascinating look at what language DOES, what its parameters are in social terms. I thought this book was really interesting when I read it in the 1970s, and I have changed my opinion not one whit. Interesting. But not sparkling! Dry writing is, one supposes, inevitable in books on such po-faced topics as why language works the way it does. I don't really understand why the academic world has such animus towards wit in writing! It's possible to be informative and amusing, just look at Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe."Still and all, it's a recommended read for anyone who feels language is more than just sounds to fill up silence. You'll come away from reading the book with an entirely altered approach to each conversation you have.