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How Language Works (2006)

av David Crystal

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7971220,816 (3.73)29
"This book is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex--or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as linguist Crystal makes clear, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species. Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite. Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, this is a layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.--From publisher description.… (mer)
  1. 84
    The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language av Steven Pinker (lorax)
    lorax: A much more interesting exploration of basic linguistics.
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» Se även 29 omnämnanden

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a book full of info for word nerds ( )
  RichardMansfield | Mar 15, 2020 |
How Language Works is a masterful book on everything related to language. Author David Crystal’s specialty is in the English language, but that doesn’t mean he can’t tell us about other aspects of language acquisition. Each chapter is a self-contained section with references to other sections. While you can read the book from cover-to-cover, it is also possible to explore the different sections and find information on a particular item you might be interested in. This particular feature gives the book a good steady clip that makes it go by quickly.

When I say the book is a masterful account, I mean it covers everything. It goes into sign language, the brain structures that formulate and understand language, how the positions of the mouth structures translate into different sounds, the basic idea of how to write down different sounds, and a lot more. I would consider the book to be exhaustive without being tiring.

The book has images and illustrations that clearly show the anatomical structures related to speech and hearing and so on. Charts and tables display the phonetic alphabet and other language-related things.

I really enjoyed the book. I didn’t find it to be lacking or missing any information at all. Then again, I am not a linguist and can’t really say that with any level of confidence. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Sep 19, 2019 |
At times interesting and educational other times snore worthy. Was expecting it to be a bit more like the last book of David Crystal's that I read (Spell it out) which was much more layperson friendly and ( to me at least) consistently interesting. Still worth reading but most people (myself included) will need to break it up a bit to get through. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
If you don't know much about linguistics, this is a good place to start. It could also be useful for learning about areas of linguistics you have never entered before. If you have already read a number of books about language/linguistics you will be bored. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Oct 25, 2012 |
Language has many roles. One of them can be to reveal the nature of language, to show “how language works” (the book’s title). This book explores this metalinguistic topic in 500 easy to read pages. As such, the book is remarkably informative with great breadth. No doubt, every reader is likely to be interested in something different.

Language is our birthright, an essential part of our humanity. Yet specific languages are potentially dangerous, more powerful than national cultures and identity. However, we cannot clearly define any one language. There are no standards to draw the line between languages or between dialects. Thus we guess there are perhaps 6000 human languages – some thriving, some endangered, all equally modern.

But what else should I pick upon? Ending sentences with prepositions? Starting sentences with a conjunctive? I should say the author is not another pop-linguist. He seeks to inform not to entertain or pontificate. For instance, he explains why a monograph ought not to be a monologue. He ably shows that an author can engage a reader in a feigned dialogue with appropriate cues to upcoming contents and required mode of thinking.

The explanations are beautiful spun, and easily accessed. Hence the book is well worth reading. ( )
1 rösta Jewsbury | Aug 29, 2010 |
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What Mr. Crystal, widely regarded as a leading authority on linguistics, has done is to assume the role of a master distiller of knowledge who takes the whole subject of language and pours it into 73 clearly labeled bottles all beginning with the word “How” — as in, “How we use tone of voice,” “How children learn to mean,” “How conversation works.”
tillagd av Ludi_Ling | ändraNew York Times, Paul Dickson (Dec 18, 2006)
 
The book is the perfect one-volume introduction to the study of language. In 73 chapters Crystal covers everything from "How we transmit sounds" to "How conversation works"; the book also includes excellent diagrams of the inner ear and the vocal organs.
tillagd av Ludi_Ling | ändraThe Guardian, Ian Sansom (Feb 11, 2006)
 
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(Preface)
I know an artist who has spent his whole life painting a still-life, in innumerable versions, in order to get it right.
‘Language’, the title of this book says.
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"This book is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex--or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as linguist Crystal makes clear, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species. Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite. Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, this is a layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.--From publisher description.

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Penguin Australia

2 utgåvor av den här boken publicerades av Penguin Australia.

Utgåvor: 0141015527, 0141037369

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