The Unfolding Of Language
by Guy Deutscher
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“Language is the greatest invention of mankind – except, of course, that it was never invented.This is how Guy Deutscher begins his fascinating investigation into the evolution of language.No one believes that the Roman Senate once sat at the conception of the complex system of Latin grammar, and few people believe, these days, in the literal truth of the history of the Tower of Babel.But then, how does he manage to be so many languages and of such a large scale?If we started with rudimentary statements about the level of “throwing man throws”, how did we come up with grammars, huge vocabularies, and finely nuanced nuances of meaningDrawing on recent, revolutionary discoveries in modern linguistics, the Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication.Along the way, we learn why German, young girls are, neutral, while German turnips are women, why we have feet not feet, and how great changes in pronunciation can result from simple laziness.
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