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The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest… (2005)

door Guy Deutscher

Andere auteurs: Zie de sectie andere auteurs.

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1,0372715,207 (4.17)58
"Language is mankind's greatest invention--except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Deutscher's investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning? Drawing on recent discoveries in linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). He shows how the processes of destruction and creation are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings.--From publisher description.… (meer)
  1. 20
    The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language door John McWhorter (keristars)
    keristars: Great companion books - two perspectives of virtually the same thing. McWhorter's looks more at the sheer variety (or lack thereof) of languages, while Deutscher's looks at the complexity within a single language.
  2. 00
    De sprekende aap door Jean Aitchison (SomeGuyInVirginia)
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Engels (24)  Duits (2)  Italiaans (1)  Alle talen (27)
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Disclaimer: I only read 30% of this book, but found I was completely incapable of keeping going. It's a light and fluffy pop-sci approach to the history of language, which panders easy realizations (of *course* language is evolving -- it doesn't take three chapters to grab this concept) and straw-mans just-so theories in an attempt to sound more convincing (I really, really hope they are straw-men). In the third of the book I read, I did not find a single takeaway. If you're looking for an interesting book on language, look elsewhere. ( )
  isovector | Dec 13, 2020 |
Outstanding analysis of the destructive and creative forces changing language! Fascinating on how the need for emphasis and metaphor constantly lead to new expressions, while the trends towards abbreviation and loss of distinctiveness constantly erode them back down into common, unremarkable use, requiring newer expressions all over again. This will give you new eyes to see how everything we say about our changing language is part of the endless ebb and flow of linguistic evolution. ( )
  wa233 | Jul 11, 2017 |
Couldn't get into it. I'm still curious to read theories about how language first started, but this promised to be a treatise on linguistic analysis, with a chapter at the end that goes back in time only as far as the 'me Tarzan' stage.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Sehr informativ, empfehlenswert für alle, die sich für Sprache und ihre Ursprünge interessieren. ( )
  Tangotango | Sep 26, 2014 |
This is a good book and the German translation is very well done. But after a while the details end up being more than I really want to know. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Apr 5, 2014 |
1-5 van 27 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
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» Andere auteurs toevoegen (1 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Guy Deutscherprimaire auteuralle editiesberekend
Fyfe, LisaOmslagontwerperSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Pfeiffer, MartinVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Je moet ingelogd zijn om Algemene Kennis te mogen bewerken.
Voor meer hulp zie de helppagina Algemene Kennis .
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Informatie afkomstig uit de Engelse Algemene Kennis. Bewerk om naar jouw taal over te brengen.
For Janie

maṣṣar šulmim u balāṭim ina rēšiki ay ipparku
Eerste woorden
Informatie afkomstig uit de Engelse Algemene Kennis. Bewerk om naar jouw taal over te brengen.
Introduction
This Marvellous Invention'
Of all mankind's manifold creations, language must take pride of place. Other inventions – the wheel, agriculture, sliced bread – may have transformed our matreial existence, but the advent of language is what made us human. Compared to language, all other inventions pale in significance, since everything we have ever achieved depends on language and originates from it. Without language, we could never have embarked on our ascent to unparalleled power over all other animals, and even over nature itself.
I
A Castle in the AirC'est un langage estrange que le Basque
On dit qu'ils s'entendent, je n'en croy rien.

Basque is really a strange language . . .
It is said they understand one another,
but I don't believe any of it.

         Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609)

Everyone knows that the words of a language, from its aardvarks to its zucchini, lend meaning to our utterances, and allow us to understand one another. And it is because foreign languages use so many strange words that we cannot understand them without years of labour. Even Joseph Scaliger, the most erudite scholar of his day, a polyglot not only fluent in Latin, Greek and most of the modern languages of Europe, but also self-taught in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic and Persian, still had to give up on Basque, because it used completely different words for absolutely everything. The effort of memorizing many thousands of words so overwhelms our perception of what language learning is all about that it may easily lead to the impressions that knowing a language just comes down to knowing its words. Surely, if one could only recognize the meaning of each word, all one would need to do is add all these meanings up somehow, in order to grasp the sense of a whole sentence. But if this is so, and language ultimately amounts to just words, then isn't the quest for the origin of structure merely an intellectual wild goose chase?
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(Klik om weer te geven. Waarschuwing: kan de inhoud verklappen.)
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"Language is mankind's greatest invention--except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Deutscher's investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning? Drawing on recent discoveries in linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). He shows how the processes of destruction and creation are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings.--From publisher description.

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