What Language Is: And What it Isn't and What it Could Be
New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin - What Language Is... show more
New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin - What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen's English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.
Publish date: August 4th 2011
Pages no: 240
Edition language: English
Veronica has been on a McWhorter binge lately, and I've been following along. He's entertaining and a strong populizer/educator on linguistics. It's not hard to imagine him giving the same material as lectures to his college classes. And I'm always fascinated when people clearly explain what a thing...
I just love that title. xD_____________________________If you're a linguist or studying that subject, the message of this book is nothing new: language is ingrown, dissheveled, intricate, oral and mixed (using the author's words here), who would have thought?The thing is, many people still believe t...
John McWhorter’s What Language Is is essentially an expansion of his efforts in Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English to explore the intricacies of language. As such, it is not as “serious” an effort as The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language or some other works but I...
I'm hardly a linguist by any stretch, but I'm chatty and I love trivia. As someone learning a second language as an adult, I'm interested in the ways languages have grown and changed.The title -- and subtitle -- pretty succinctly summarizes the point of this book: what language is, isn't, and could ...
This is how a book should be written. Fascinating, accessible, and with a merry sprinkling of humor thrown in. I suppose it makes a difference that I'm deeply interested in language, but I don't have a linguistics background. I'm very much looking forward to reading more of his books.