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The question was: does not having a word for blue or green mean that people don't see that colour? Tests showed quickly enough that colour-blindness is not common, and is evenly distributed everywhere.

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So could there be something about the language that dictated a particular group's perception of or attention to colour? Or something about the demands of the local environment that necessarily shaped the tribal language?

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The journey to a not-quite-cut-and-dried conclusion draws on history, ethnography and psychology as well as a little physiology, and delivers from the mix an exuberant book, rich in anecdote, instance and oddity. Great names flit across the pages; great stories, too, about the astonishing variety of human speech and the riches of even the most supposedly primitive, vanishing languages. The speakers of Guugu Yimithirr, for example, would never advise a motorist to take the second left: all their conversation is in exquisitely precise geographic coordinates.

They even, says Deutscher, dream in cardinal directions. This is a book written in blissful English, by someone whose mother tongue is Hebrew, who is an expert in near-Eastern languages and who can no doubt talk his way confidently around Europe and far beyond: a living rebuke to the obdurate Anglo-Saxon monoglot.

Topics Language Science Book Club. As entertaining as it is erudite, The Unfolding of Language moves nimbly from ancient Babylonian to American idiom, from the central role of metaphor to the staggering triumph of design that is the Semitic verb, to tell the dramatic story and explain the genius behind a uniquely human faculty.

Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals. A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how—and whether—culture shapes language and language, culture Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic even bigoted chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject.

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Deutscher, Guy, Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Differ – diversophy®

Flowing text, Original pages. Best For. Web, Tablet, Phone, eReader. Content Protection. Read Aloud. Learn More. Flag as inappropriate. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. More related to historical linguistics. See more. Book Why does language change?

Why can we speak to and understand our parents but have trouble reading Shakespeare? Why is Chaucer's English of the fourteenth century so different from Modern English of the late twentieth century that the two are essentially different languages?


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Why are Americans and English 'one people divided by a common language'? The present book provides answers to questions like these in a straightforward way, aimed at the non-specialist, with ample illustrations from both familiar and more exotic languages. The English Language: Edition 2.

Charles Barber. This bestselling text by Charles Barber, with updating contributions from Joan C. Beal and Philip A. Shaw, recounts the history of the English language from its remote ancestry to the present day. Using dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Shakespeare and Chaucer, the English language is explored in terms of where it came from, where it is going and the global impact it has had, taking into account the many varieties of English that now exist.

Stimulating and interesting, it is not only written for specialists on language and linguistics, but also for general readers who take an interest in the subject. Trask's Historical Linguistics: Edition 3. Robert McColl Millar. Deutscher brings together more than a century's worth of captivating characters, incidents, and experiments that illuminate the relationship between words and mind He makes a convincing case for the influence of language on thought, and in doing so he reveals as much about the way color words shape our perception as about the way that scientific dogma and fashion can blind us.

Guy Deutscher, who combines enthusiasm with scholarly pugnacity, is a vigorous and engaging guide to it… A remarkably rich, provocative, and intelligent work. Oh, absolutely.

Through the Language Glass

The ironic, playful tone at the beginning gradates into something serious that is never pompous, something intellectually and historically complex and yet always pellucidly laid out. It left me breathless and dizzy with delight. Here is an important and original new history of the struggle to understand how language, culture, and thought are connected.