By David Crystal
With a language disappearing each weeks and neologisms bobbing up nearly day-by-day, an figuring out of the origins and foreign money of language hasn't ever appeared extra correct. during this captivating quantity, a story background written explicitly for a tender viewers, professional linguist David Crystal proves why the tale of language merits retelling.
From the 1st phrases of an child to the ordinary sleek dialect of textual content messaging, a bit e-book of Language levels generally, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In lively style, Crystal sheds mild at the improvement of distinctive linguistic kinds, the origins of vague accents, and the hunt for the 1st written be aware. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, in addition to profitable instances of linguistic revitalization. even more than a historical past, Crystal’s paintings appears ahead to the way forward for language, exploring the impact of expertise on our day by day studying, writing, and speech. via enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, in addition to Crystal’s avuncular and interesting sort, A Little publication of Language will exhibit 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)
I wouldn’t be surprised to find a two-year-old texter out there somewhere! If children are exposed to books, they soon learn the basic facts of life about reading. They work it out that books have pages, and that pages have to be turned in a certain order. In some languages, such as English, people turn the pages from right to left. In others, such as Arabic, they turn them from left to right. They learn that books have to be held in a certain way – that pages (and especially pictures) look odd if they’re upside-down.
Awkward words like ‘the’ and ‘cough’ have to be learned in a different way, off by heart. But words like ‘cat’ and ‘top’ and ‘swim’ and ‘strong’ and ‘tomato’ can be sounded out letter by letter. And, after they’ve twigged that two letters sometimes stand for a single sound, they can sound out ‘tree’ and ‘look’ and thousands more words. Eventually, they won’t need to sound out words letter-by-letter any more. They become fluent readers. But ‘sounding out’ is a skill we never lose. It’s something we all do when we meet a new long word.
If we all spell in the same way, then we’ll understand each other’s writing. If we all use our own personal spelling system, we won’t. In the Middle Ages, there was no standard spelling. People spelled words more or less as they liked, making them reflect the way they sounded in their speech. Somebody from the north of England would spell words one way, reflecting their northern accent; somebody from the south would spell them a different way, reflecting their southern accent. People would also have their own favourite spellings.