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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Linguistics » History of Language

History of Language


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.

Stephen Roger Fischer begins his books 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 first developed.

Fishcer analyses the emergence of language as a science and its development as a written form. He investigates society and language from the 19th to mid-20th centuries, charting the rise of pidgin, creole, jargon, slang, dialectology, as well as literature and literacy's relationship to language. From the mid-20th century to the present he demonstrates the effects on language of radio and television, of propaganda, advertising and the media generally.

Finally, Steven Roger Fischer addresses the question of technology and the future and how the electronic media is daily reshaping and re-inventing the world's languages. We are presently in an era of tremendous linguistic change which few notice and this rate of change demands a radical reinterpretation of what language is.

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Tags: language, first, times, history, erectus