The study of language has changed enormously over the past two decades. Many of the ideas which have become current in the twenty-first century challenge our notions about who we are and to what extent we are unique in nature. Word of Mouth introduces these ideas to the reader in a fresh, engaging and jargon-free way. It assumes no prior knowledge of language study, just an interest in the power of words and the way they shape and influence our lives. Geoffrey Finch begins with a discussion of the evolution of language, suggesting that the acquisition of language was a cognitive leap forward with significant repercussions for what we understand by the term 'human nature'. Subsequent chapters explore the social and communicative functions of language, its structure and psychology, as well as the impact of electronic media on contemporary usage. Ideal for the general reader and students of language and communication, Word of Mouth is a stimulating introductory guide to a fascinating subject.
Acknowledgements Preface The Talking Animal: The Origin of Language Getting the Better of Words: Language and Communication Virtual Words: Language and Media We Are What We Speak: Language and Society The Finite Instrument: The Design and Structure of Language The Parent of Language: Language and Mind The House of Being: Conclusion Bibliography Index