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A History of Language [Format Kindle]

Steven Roger Fischer
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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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.

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lisez le! 23 mars 2002
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
A lire absolument, Mr Fisher aborde ici toute l'histoire du langage, des insectes aux mamifères, du langage chimique au langage des signes, il décrit son évolution par rapport à nos sociétés, captivant(slang, dialecte...).Read it!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Room for improvement, but still a good read 28 décembre 2007
Par Eamonn Gormley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The history of language is a fascinating thing. It's a tough thing to trace in some cultures where writing wasn't developed, and where writing was developed we can only guess what it sounded like before audio recording equipment was developed. This book give a good history of all we know about language starting from first principles of where language developed and how it works in lower animals.

The evolution of European languages is what I was most interested in, and I'm pleased with the depth that Fischer goes into. Prose is a difficult medium to use to get across the spread of languages though, and I think that better use of diagrams and maps would have been in order. (Ideally, an animation would be the only way to truly explain it.)

The only other problem I had with this book was the chapter about the history of the study of linguistics, which I didn't find terribly interesting, and I skipped to the end of that part.

Still a good read though.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly recommended for anyone studying to be bi-lingual or multi-lingual. 18 octobre 2011
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A fascinating and well-rounded book!

I aspire to be a multi-linguist, and reading this book has really improved my acquisition and ability to communicate in foreign languages.... even though it's a history book and has nothing to do with the actual learning of a foreign language. Dispelling myths about the origins of language, connecting the evolutionary dots and getting back to the fundamental reason why language exists (to communicate) has been inspirational as well as helpful.

My only wish is that the middle was as flowing and enjoyable to read as the beginning and end.... it would then be the perfect book.
16 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Bought it for my wife - ended up reading it myself! 9 juillet 2003
Par isala - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book gives a clear, concise, and riveting explanation of the development of language and evolution of languages. Fischer manages to write a treatise that is both scholarly and popular at the same time. The only thing I miss is a chapter on popoualtion movement and languages that exist on the fringes - like the Tierra del Fuego languages.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Does the author support the Plain English Campaign of 1979? 4 août 2015
Par Yüksel Domanýç - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Now having finished the book, as a non linguist average reader, of Dr. Fischer I strongly feel the heavy traces of struggle on me, if not fully exhausted. So I would like to confess that I congratulate myself for my perseverance in reading this book from cover to cover. I deliberated this opening statement of the review not to imitate the writing style of the author, but just to warn the lay reader: Those who are going to attempt it, like me, without a professional linguistic background!

The book is written in the manner of some serious chatting among peers and experts of the field. Especially in the first 2-3 chapter he almost never takes the pain of glossing the heavy jargon and technicalities, with which the book abounds. It is fortunate indeed that in the later chapters he starts to provide relatively generous explanations within parenthesis and at the spot.

He seems to be fond of a sententious and aphoristic writing, which from time to time, becomes abstruse, if not stilted and convoluted. This is obviously in stark contrast with the policy of the Plain English Campaign, which he informs to have been founded in 1979 and gives the faint feeling that he is at least sympathetic with it. (Chapter 6, page 193-194. Please see the example he cites there in this respect which creates a charming irony.) With all my respect for the author and the labor he put in the book, I am to express my judgment that this attitude does not make him a conveyor with some leniency and indulgence with his readers and audience.

Then why the 4 stars after such complaining? Because an immense volume of knowledge and information is packed in a limited number of pages. Perhaps it is because of this wide range covering in such a small volume, that he is so much concise and terse. Don't be misguided by the title of chapters, mis-anticapating that it is not within your range of interest. Each of them involves many information and insights which are very interesting and thought provoking.The last chapter where the future of language is dealt is, partly by necessity, too speculative, not to mention that it is outdated in those parts where contribution of computers, computer science, internet etc. are discussed.

True it may be that you (the lay reader!) you will not get and digest all that is intended to be conveyed in this book. Still at the end you will, surely, have a fairly satisfactory idea even if not strong grasp, of what language is and what a journey it has taken starting with relatively wise mammalians, primates, early hominids where the development of vocal apparatus was of decisive importance, and then to our age of modern & sophisticated societies and linguistic computation. I expect that you will enjoy most of the aphorisms and Wittgenstein-like (revelational) verdicts of author, whenever you are able to understand and penetrate them. Though enjoying, perhaps you will disagree with some of them. E.g. on page 50 (Chapter 2)he says: ’Neandertals seem always to have chosen brawn over brain’. My objection is to the appearing precision conveyed by the adverb ’always’, albeit qualified by the phrase ‘seem’. I strongly suspect about the validity of such kind of strong judgments about something belonging to a past of many tens of thousand years. You will encounter even stronger and clear-cut verdicts, although, and for the sake of fairness, he frequently warns about and accentuates the speculative nature of lineage results and reconstruction of proto-languages. And at the end, most probably, with some grumbling and complaining like me, you will concede that the reading was well worth your effort.

I have also the book titled ' A History of Writing' of the same author, a field which has been dealt relatively shortly also in this book (chapter 4). But having taken my lesson with this one, I know I have to take a breath and make some further preparatory reading before delving into it.
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