History of Language

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Reaktion Books, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 240 pages
2 Reviews
It is tempting to take the tremendous rate of contemporary linguistic change for granted. What is required, in fact, is a radical reinterpretation of what language is. Steven Roger Fischer begins his book with an examination of the modes of communication used by dolphins, birds and primates as the first contexts in which the concept of "language" might be applied. As he charts the history of language from the times of Homo erectus, Neanderthal humans and Homo sapiens through to the nineteenth century, when the science of linguistics was developed, Fischer analyses the emergence of language as a science and its development as a written form. He considers the rise of pidgin, creole, jargon and slang, as well as the effects radio and television, propaganda, advertising and the media are having on language today. Looking to the future, he shows how electronic media will continue to reshape and re-invent the ways in which we communicate.

"[a] delightful and unexpectedly accessible book ... a virtuoso tour of the linguistic world."—The Economist

"... few who read this remarkable study will regard language in quite the same way again."—The Good Book Guide

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Review: History of Language

User Review  - Edward Ferrari - Goodreads

Bit stiff, but an informative read. Read full review

Review: History of Language

User Review  - Silash Ruparell - Goodreads

This review also appears on my blog www.silashruparell.com My one liner: Linguistics for the layman. Families, lineages, and some syntax and grammar deconstruction to show us how the principal ... Read full review


Talking Apes 3 5
First Families
Written Language
Towards a Science of Language
Society and Language
Future Indicative

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About the author (1999)

Steven Roger Fischer is Director of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of Glyph-breaker (1997). A History of Language is part of Fischer’s trilogy for Reaktion, which also includes A History of Writing and A History of Reading.

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