Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book: The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher

I'm someone who finds the study of linguistics fascinating, and I think the neglect of linguistics in both K-12 and higher ed  "General Education" is a real problem. Just speaking for myself, I'd far prefer to see students doing two or three semesters of linguistics rather than studying a foreign language, or at least be given the option to do that — and, I hasten to add, I love the study of foreign languages... but studying foreign languages doesn't work when done under duress. Meanwhile, there is so much to learn about language itself; we are all users of language, but often we have no formal knowledge of language at all! So, since I am someone who loves linguistics, I was really excited when I found this book over winter break:

The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention by Guy Deutscher

I would suggest that if you are going to read, and only one, book about linguistics, this would be the book to read! Don't let the evolution aspect put you off. Guy Deutscher's goal is to speculate about language change in the past based on the language changes we see happening around us today, every day. It's exciting stuff, and a very fun read, written with a general audience in mind.

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