How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die  -     By: David Crystal, Jeff Galas
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How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die

Penguin Putnam Inc. / 2007 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 512
Vendor: Penguin Putnam Inc.
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 1.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0158333291X
ISBN-13: 9781583332917
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

Publisher's Description

Steven Pinker meets Bill Bryson in this landmark exploration of language.

In the author's own words, "How Language Works 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 David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, 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, How Language Works is the ultimate layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.

Author Bio

David Crystal is one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of language. He is the author of The Stories of English, Shakespeare’s Words, and dozens of other books. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to the English language. David Crystal is one of the world's foremost experts on the subject of language. He is the author of The Stories of English, Shakespeare's Words, and dozens of other books. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to the English language.

Editorial Reviews

  “[Crystal] succeeds again and again with clarity, wit, and enthusiasm. . . . Time and again a point is made and illustrated with a fact or anecdote that perfectly drives it home. . . . It is a marvelous ride.”
—The New York Times

  “An invigorating plunge . . . A crash course in linguistics, covering spoken, written, and sign language . . . The book will prove, to language geeks, invaluable.”
—The San Diego Union-Tribune

  “An impeccably organized guide to language . . . sure to become a standard reference.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


  “[Crystal] succeeds again and again with clarity, wit, and enthusiasm. . . . Time and again a point is made and illustrated with a fact or anecdote that perfectly drives it home. . . . It is a marvelous ride.”
—The New York Times

  “An invigorating plunge . . . A crash course in linguistics, covering spoken, written, and sign language . . . The book will prove, to language geeks, invaluable.”
—The San Diego Union-Tribune

  “An impeccably organized guide to language . . . sure to become a standard reference.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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