Download A Little Book of Language (Little Histories) by David Crystal PDF

By David Crystal

With a language disappearing each weeks and neologisms bobbing up virtually day-by-day, an realizing of the origins and forex of language hasn't ever appeared extra proper. during this captivating quantity, a story heritage written explicitly for a tender viewers, specialist linguist David Crystal proves why the tale of language merits retelling.

From the 1st phrases of an youngster to the ordinary glossy dialect of textual content messaging, a bit ebook of Language levels broadly, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In lively type, Crystal sheds mild at the improvement of detailed linguistic kinds, the origins of vague accents, and the hunt for the 1st written notice. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, in addition to winning situations of linguistic revitalization. even more than a heritage, Crystal’s paintings appears to be like ahead to the way forward for language, exploring the impact of know-how on our day by day analyzing, writing, and speech. via enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, in addition to Crystal’s avuncular and exciting sort, A Little e-book of Language will display the tale of language to be a charming story for every age.

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Additional resources for A Little Book of Language (Little Histories)

Example text

Steven has started down the Englishspeaking road. Within a few months he had picked up several more sounds, and by the age of three he had got his tongue round almost all of them. Meanwhile, his cousin who lives in Paris was doing the same thing – but with French sounds. And his friend from next door was doing the same thing – but with Welsh and English sounds at the same time! He would be bilingual one day. But what is the point of learning sounds? Sounds by themselves have no meaning. ’ – [t] or [s] don’t have any meaning.

L’ means ‘Lucy’. ‘M’ means ‘Mateo’. And letters take on other meanings too. ‘X’ means ‘kiss’. ‘K’ means ‘cornflakes’. ‘P’ means ‘Parking’. ‘M’ means ‘McDonalds’. It’s a short step from here to reading sequences of letters, such as ‘Ben’ or ‘Dad’, and saying them at the same time. Children learn that ‘words’ are things that have spaces on either side. And they notice the shapes of some of these words standing out on the page. In reading about Winnie the Pooh, for example, many children can point to such names as ‘Pooh’, ‘Tigger’, and ‘Owl’, when asked to do so, even though they can’t read the other words on the page.

There are only three nasal sounds in English: [n], [m] as in ‘mum’, and [ng] as at the end of ‘sing’. In each case, to make the sound, the air doesn’t flow out of the mouth, but goes up into the nose and out that way. How do we do that? If we open our mouth wide and look in a mirror at the very back of our throat, we’ll see a downwardshanging rounded piece of flesh, attached to the back part of the roof of the mouth. It’s called the uvula – pronounced ‘you-viewla’. We can see it more clearly when we say ‘ah’, because doing that lowers our tongue a little.

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