'Language is mankind's greatest invention - except of course, that it was never invented.' So begins Guy Deutscher's fascinating investigation into the evolution of language. No one believes that the Roman Senate sat down one day to design the complex system that is Latin grammar, and few believe, these days, in the literal truth of the story of the Tower of Babel. But then how did there come to be so many languages, and of such elaborate design? If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of 'man throw spear', how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced shades of meaning? Drawing on recent, groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication. Along the way, we learn why German maidens are neuter while German turnips are female, why we have feet not foots, and how great changes in pronunciation may result from simple laziness...
This book explores the variety of types of complementation found across the languages of the world and their grammatical properties and meanings. It shows how languages differ in the grammatical properties of complement clauses and in the types of verbs which take them, and explores the complement strategies deployed by languages which lack a complement clause construction. The book includes detailed studies of particular languages, including Akkadian, Israeli, Jarawara, and Pennsylvania German. These are framed by R. M. W. Dixon's introduction, which sets out the range of issues, and his conclusion, which draws together the evidence and the arguments.
Discourse, of Course comes after Jan Renkema’s Introduction to Discourse Studies (2004) for undergraduates. The new book is a collection of twenty short papers. It is a capita selecta course and meant for graduate programs. The aim of this book is threefold: • to present material for advanced courses in discourse studies; • to unfold a stimulating display of research projects to future PhD students; • to give an overview of new developments after the 2004 Introduction to Discourse Studies. This publication fulfills both the teacher's need for a state-of-the-art overview of the main topics in discourse, and the student's need to acquire standards for developing research plans in theses and dissertations. It gives a combination of approaches from very different schools in discourse studies, ranging from argumentation theory to genre theory, from the study of multimodal metaphors to cognitive approaches to coherence analysis. This book is not only meant to serve as a textbook, but also as a reference book for researchers who want an update for various main topics in the field.
This history of literary Arabic describes the evolution of Arabic poetry and prose in the context of music, ritual performance, the arts and architecture. The thousands-of-years-old language is perhaps more highly developed and refined than any other on earth. This book focuses on what is unique about Arabic compared to other major languages of the world (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English and Spanish) and how the distinct characteristics of Arabic took shape at various points in its history. The book provides a cultural background for understanding social and political institutions and religious beliefs—more influenced by the rhythms and depths of poetic language than other cultures—in the Middle East today.
We use politeness every day when interacting with other people. Yet politeness is an impressively complex linguistic process, and studying it can tell us a lot about the social and cultural values of social groups or even a whole society, helping us to understand how humans 'encode' states of mind in their words. The traditional, stereotypical view is that people in East Asian cultures are indirect, deferential and extremely polite - sometimes more polite than seems necessary. This revealing book takes a fresh look at the phenomenon, showing that the situation is far more complex than these stereotypes would suggest. Taking examples from Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Singaporean Chinese, it shows how politeness differs across countries, but also across social groups and subgroups. This book is essential reading for those interested in intercultural communication, linguistics and East Asian languages.
Language and Discourse in Post-new Order Indonesia
Author: Keith Foulcher
Publisher: Singapore University Press
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Political changes since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 have had a significant impact on linguistic and discursive practices in Indonesia. The language policy of the state has become less restrictive than in the past, when Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) was vigorously promoted as one of the symbols of the unity of the country's diverse ethnic groups. Monolingualism in public space has given way to more fluid and pluralistic language use, and regional autonomy legislation enacted in 1999 has encouraged expressions of regional identities and aspirations, opening up a space for the promotion and use of regional languages in the media, education and the bureaucracy. Concurrently, technological development, in particular widespread access to the internet, has exposed Indonesian society much more directly than before to global flows of information, giving rise to changes stemming in part from sources outside Indonesia, but interpreted and shaped according to local conditions and socio-cultural practices. The meeting of these two vectors, one generated internally and the other coming from exposure to global trends, is producing a situation of diversity, fluidity and change in language use and discursive practice in contemporary Indonesian society. While contributors to this volume discuss Indonesian-language expression at the national level, a particular focus of the collection is on regional, local and minority languages, where problems associated with decentralization find their counterpart in the role that language plays in the workings of regional and national identity politics.