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The Unfolding Of Language
 
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The Unfolding Of Language [Format Kindle]

Guy Deutscher
3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"'Highly original... Brilliant... How did...regular and complex languages come to exist? Deutscher's chosen task is to unravel [a] paradox, and he does so brilliantly, witholding the secret with great skill. If I told you how it works, you wouldn't buy the book. Both clever and convincing... this book will stretch your mind' Independent on Sunday"

"'He really ought to be read...by anyone who persists in complaining that the English language is going to the dogs...Interesting and substantial' Sunday Telegraph"

"'Powerful and thrilling' Spectator"

"'I was enthralled by Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language, a history of how words came to take the forms they do, and therefore a history of the forms of the human mind.'" (A.S. Byatt in the Guardian 'Books of the Year)

"Fascinating... Any curious reader...will find something worth knowing in The Unfolding of Language'" (Boston Globe)

Présentation de l'éditeur

'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...


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2955 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 368 pages
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital (30 mars 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003D87PPY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°135.399 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1.0 étoiles sur 5 for curious 14 juin 2014
Par Jorge
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
well, I knew this was not an academic work: if you are a linguist, to avoid, if you are not a linguist, enjoy it.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 superbe 25 mars 2011
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
très informatif - une vraie exploration de découverte de comment les langues ont évoluées - lire ce livre, c'est un vrai régal!!!
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  63 commentaires
101 internautes sur 103 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very readable and interesting 6 juin 2005
Par Bruce R. Gilson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book is a very interesting attempt to present an explanation for the origin of some of the features of today's language structures. The author does not try to go back to the very beginning of language itself, but takes his story from the point where words already existed, but most grammatical structure had not yet evolved, still before any language of which a record survives.

The author uses examples in present-day languages to illustrate processes in linguistic evolution that are currently taking place or have taken place recently enough to be well documented. This lends a lot of credibility to his ideas.

Because the author was born in Israel (presumably having modern Israeli Hebrew as his first language) and has become a specialist in Semitic historical linguistics, he presents more examples from Semitic languages than one often sees in popular linguistics books intended for the English-language reader, but it is all written in a very easily understood way, and I find the book as readable as if it had been written by a native speaker of English, though with a few signs that the English which the author learned was more British than American.

There is only one negative comment I would make, and that does not sufficiently detract from the value of the book that I would deny it a 5-star rating: I wish that the author would more clearly separate his own personal speculations from the ideas which are believed by the majority of linguistics professionals. It is clear that a lot of the ideas presented in this book are the author's own, but it is not clear how many.
53 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best linguistics book I've ever read 20 octobre 2006
Par Gregory J. Casteel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I loved this book. I've read several books on linguistics; but this has to be the best of the lot. It's so fun to read that I didn't want to put it down. (I even found myself laughing out loud several times while reading it.) In addition to being fun to read, it's very informative. I took a couple of linguistics courses in college, have read a number of books on the subject, and have studied the rudiments of several languages; but I think I've learned more about language from this book than I learned in all of my previous studies. If you're a student of linguistics, foreign languages, or English grammar (or even if you have only a passing interest in these subjects), you've got to read this book.

The purpose of the book is to explain how and why language changes over time: How did we get from simple "me Tarzan" grunts to the complex linguistic structures of languages like Latin? Why is the English spoken today so different from the English spoken only a few centuries ago? How are the various languages of the world related to each other -- and how do we account for the similarities and differences between them? In order to answer these questions, the book takes us on a fascinating (and fun) tour of language; delving into the often mysterious world of grammar, usage, and phonetics; shedding some much-needed light on everything from the multiple declensions of Latin, to the 3-consonant root system of the Semitic languages, to the seemingly bizarre discrepancy between French spelling and pronunciation, to the importance of word order, to why a "father" is actually a "pater", and how a "pod" became a "foot". If you're into language, you won't be disappointed with this book. It's very insightful.
47 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fun Book On Language A Little Wordy 20 juin 2005
Par Bruce Crocker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Guy Deutscher makes learning about language fun in his book The Unfolding Of Language. Deutscher, a mathematician turned linguist, has a great sense of humor and a joy for his subject that comes through in his writing. The author takes what could be a really dry subject [think back to language classes [both English and foreign] in high school - bet you really liked conjugating all those verbs!] and most of the time makes it glide by as the reader gets a fairly deep education on the evolution of language. My biggest complaint about the book [and the reason for my agonized over 4 star rating] is that it starts to feel like overtime has been called towards the end of the book. I think Deutscher already had a sense of this since what could've ended up as 5 more chapters [or at least additions to 5 existing chapters] are attached at the back of the book as Appendices A through F. I have nothing against detail, but would've liked to have seen more of the material sent to the back of the book as extended notes or another appendix. Still, I feel that The Unfolding Of Language is a very worthwhile read, worth the effort, and I learned a lot and had a good time doing it!
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Captivating and accessible read 7 août 2005
Par Pieter Uys - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The author calls language an "uninvented invention". This very engaging book is an attempt to uncover at least some of the secrets of language and to dismantle the stated paradox. By drawing on recent discoveries in linguistics, Deutscher explores the elusive forces of creation, change and the innate structure of language. In addition, he investigates the way that the elaborate conventions of communication develop in human society. This cultural evolution means the emergence of behavioural codes that are passed on from generation to generation.

Chapter One: Castles In The Air, takes a close look at the structure of language, whilst the following chapter: Perpetual Motion, demonstrates linguistic development and change with particular reference to English, German, French and the Indo-European language family as a whole. Chapter Three: Forces Of Destruction, is a further investigation of how and why changes in sound and meaning take place, with many examples from Indo-European. Chapter Four examines interesting verbs like "To have/to hold" and the concepts of space and time in linguistic expression.

Chapter Five: Forces Of Creation, is a discussion of how new words and structures arise, how meanings change and how languages are enriched by these developments. Chapter Six looks at the need for order in languages and contains lots of interesting information on the Semitic family and its intricate verbal system. In essence, the effects of erosion interact with the mind's craving for order. There is thus a constant search for regular patterns and spontaneous analogical innovations arise. This is based on erosion + expressiveness and erosion + analogy.

The final chapter brings it all together and includes detailed discussions of possessives, quantifiers, plural markers, articles and the various interactions of verbs and nouns. This highly entertaining read is accessible to the non-linguist and explains many fascinating features of language and its structure. There are five appendices, copious notes, a bibliography and glossary of terms. The book concludes with an index.

I also recommend On The Origin Of Languages by Merritt Ruhlen, The Power of Babel by John McWhorter, How To Kill A Dragon by Calvert Watkins, and the work of that great pioneer of language classification, Professor Joseph Greenberg.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Analysing the uninvented invention 18 juillet 2005
Par Pieter Uys - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The author calls language an "uninvented invention". This very engaging book is an attempt to uncover at least some of the secrets of language and to dismantle the stated paradox. By drawing on recent discoveries in linguistics, Deutscher explores the elusive forces of creation, change and the innate structure of language. In addition, he investigates the way that the elaborate conventions of communication develop in human society. This cultural evolution means the emergence of behavioural codes that are passed on from generation to generation.

Chapter One: Castles In The Air, takes a close look at the structure of language, whilst the following chapter: Perpetual Motion, demonstrates linguistic development and change with particular reference to English, German, French and the Indo-European language family as a whole. Chapter Three: Forces Of Destruction, is a further investigation of how and why changes in sound and meaning take place, with many examples from Indo-European. Chapter Four examines interesting verbs like "To have/to hold" and the concepts of space and time in linguistic expression.

Chapter Five: Forces Of Creation, is a discussion of how new words and structures arise, how meanings change and how languages are enriched by these developments. Chapter Six looks at the need for order in languages and contains lots of interesting information on the Semitic family and its intricate verbal system. In essence, the effects of erosion interact with the mind's craving for order. There is thus a constant search for regular patterns and spontaneous analogical innovations arise. This is based on erosion + expressiveness and erosion + analogy.

The final chapter brings it all together and includes detailed discussions of possessives, quantifiers, plural markers, articles and the various interactions of verbs and nouns. This highly entertaining read is accessible to the non-linguist and explains many fascinating features of language and its structure. There are five appendices, copious notes, a bibliography and glossary of terms. The book concludes with an index.

I also recommend On The Origin Of Languages by Merritt Ruhlen, How To Kill A Dragon by Calvert Watkins, and the work of that great pioneer of language classification, Professor Joseph Greenberg.
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One factor which may contribute to more complex word-structures in smaller societies may be the lack of pressure for simplification that results from contact with strangers who speak different languages or dialects. &quote;
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Finally, some linguists turn the argument on its head, and claim that the reason why children manage to learn the rules of their language from what appears to be scanty evidence is that language has evolved only those types of rules that can be inferred correctly on the basis of limited data. &quote;
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Small tribes with stone-age technology speak languages with structures that sometimes make Latin and Greek seem like childs play. &quote;
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