The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language #2020

The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language John McWhorter The Power of Babel A Natural History of Language There are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some years ago While laying out how languages mix and mutate over ti

  • Title: The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language
  • Author: John McWhorter
  • ISBN: 9780060520854
  • Page: 107
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language John McWhorter There are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today, each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, linguistics professor John McWhorter reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutThere are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today, each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, linguistics professor John McWhorter reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever changing human environment.Full of humor and imaginative insight, The Power of Babel draws its illustrative examples from languages around the world, including pidgins, Creoles, and nonstandard dialects.
    The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language John McWhorter

    • [EPUB] ↠ The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language | BY ↠ John McWhorter
      107 John McWhorter
    • thumbnail Title: [EPUB] ↠ The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language | BY ↠ John McWhorter
      Posted by:John McWhorter
      Published :2019-07-25T17:37:39+00:00

    One thought on “The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language”

    1. For some strange reason, I am fascinated by the study of linguistics I have read all the books by Stephen Pinker, as well as books by a few other authors on the subject This book, by linguist John McWhorter, is also fascinating, although his perspective is totally different from that of Pinker.The theme of this book is that languages seem to be analogous to animal and plant evolution While animals and plants are continuously evolving, there is no direction Living species are not becoming advanc [...]

    2. As a graduate student of historical linguistics, I often find myself asked to explain aspects of contemporary language change or the reconstruction of proto languages to interested friends or family Unfortunately, I don t have much of a gift of simplifying the field for average people, and I ve longed for a simple introduction that I could recommend I was very happy to discover John McWhorter s THE POWER OF BABEL A Natural History of Language, which introduces historical linguistics, squashes my [...]

    3. I have rarely been that delighted and flattered by a book McWorther points out that there is only a fluent and gradual distinction between different languages on the one hand and different dialects on the other hand For instance he proves that the differences between several German dialects are much substantial than those between Russian Ukrainian, Spanish Portuguese or Danish Swedish Norwegian Since I speak at least four German dialects K lsch, Hessian, Platt and Hamburgian in his view I can l [...]

    4. Fascinating I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in language and linguistics.Reading this book makes me very glad that I do not live in a world where I would be likely to emigrate from an English speaking country to one where I needed to learn Cree or Fula to get by In some of those languages, children don t achieve the basic level of oral linguistic competence we expect of 5 year olds until the age of around 10, simply because the language is so complicated and requires so many ind [...]

    5. Read this for class but I really enjoyed it If you re interested in how language developed throughout the world, I highly recommend this book

    6. I picked this book up with a very different impression of what it would contain I really was hoping for some sweeping historical tale of language spread and change I have discovered that it actually takes the reader through an exploration of why and how languages change This is helpful as well, and once I adjusted my expectations I found it interesting and informative A lot of this is stuff I heard in college linguistics classes, though a good review, and told in an engaging way It also has some [...]

    7. It s been a little too long since I read this to write a detailed review, but on the whole I found it readable and interesting At times it began to feel belaboured in terms of the examples given and the detail gone into, though of course, I ve also read various other books about linguistics and so I had some grounding in what I was reading already For the most part, McWhorter avoids being prescriptive about language and tracks change in language as how language works which you d expect, or hope [...]

    8. A good book is thought provoking in such a way that it promotes the reader to extend the author s argument outside the confines of the author s subject John McWhorter s The Power of Babel fits precisely into this definition of a good book McWhorter s main argument is that languages have been in a constant evolutionary flux since the first humans began speaking approximately 150,000 years ago Using the analogy of evolution, McWhorter demonstrates how the diversity of spoken languages have develop [...]

    9. This is a great book for non linguists interested in language and how tens of thousands of dialects have developed and transformed throughout human history McWhorter does a great job of making concepts about language palpable for everyday people and clearing up common misconceptions that drive us linguists c.r.a.z.y such as the myth of primitive languages and the related prescriptive nonsense people constantly try to graft onto language As a linguist, I found several of McWhorter s ideas thought [...]

    10. John McWhorter is a creologist creolologist , like Derek Bickerton he has written a book specifically on how language changes Words can drop unstressed syllables as Latin became French, femina became fam , spelled femme , a language can become tonal to distinguish between words that have become homonyms, words can be borrowed, meanings of words can drift When creoles appear, grammar is crushed and completely recreated or incompletely, which is what happened with Afrikaans Writing and universal l [...]

    11. The good part is that the book is pretty comprehensible, despite its scientific purpose the bad part not everything is interesting to me and there s no way I ll remember everything I want to.

    12. 4.5 stars An excellent read about the history and mechanisms through which language changes As a layman, this was an approachable and engaging book McWhorter writes in a clear, straightforward, and, at times, hilarious voice His many allusions and charming turns of phrase help us amateurs follow along joyfully In The Power of Babel, McWhorter compares language change to biological evolution He makes a thorough and intriguing argument for his case There were numerous moments throughout the book w [...]

    13. My new favorite author John McWhorter looks at language from a whole new angle Languages are never static by the time the rules are established by the authorities, the language has changed The Old English of Beowulf is pretty much incomprehensible to us now English speakers typically think it is like German Since those days English has interbred with Latin, Viking tongues, and French Normans which results in a colorful language with confounding rules and spellings pulled out of various hats mak [...]

    14. This is another fun language book by McWhorter This volume is organized around looking at all the ways that languages change and evolve over time McWhorter describes a rich variety of changes that languages and dialects can undergo We ve all heard and read about how languages can change in pronunciation over time, and how word meanings can evolve But that is only the start of McWhorter s entertaining and informative tour through the evolution of language.Complex language features such as inflect [...]

    15. A wonderful stroll through the menagerie of world languages, with especial emphasis upon how they evolve McWhorter s own language is a pleasure to read.The only fault I found with the book was McWhorter s insistence that all the world s languages evolved from a single language This implies that all the people on earth are descended from a tiny population something which we do not at all know to be true at this time.McWhorter covers several topics, but a topic that especially fascinated me was hi [...]

    16. This book was a fun, simple introduction to the myriad ways in which languages dialects have evolved and continue to evolve McWhorter explains this evolution with an obvious passion for his subject, an awareness that most of his readers are non linguists, and enough cornball humor to prevent any sensation that this could be dry material Most explanations come with not one concrete example, but two or three Nor does he pull only from the big languages of world commerce and imperialism, instead di [...]

    17. This is the second of McWhorter s books that I ve read, and although I liked the first one Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue better, this one was worth reading for someone like me, whose vocation and avocation depend on language McWhorter does what good popularizers do he makes complicated ideas accessible to lay readers without condescension But I do get the feeling sometimes that he s like that guy we all knew in college, the one who was totally into computers, say, and who, unlike most computer [...]

    18. I enjoyed reading this book I take away a couple of interesting insights 1 Languages are always in flux We barely understand English from the time of Shakespeare because the language has been evolving since then And, earlier varieties of English are essentially incomprehensible 2 Languages can spring up almost spontaneously Bring together a bunch of people who need to live together who speak different languages and they will develop their own primitive pidgin language And, if the pidgin grouping [...]

    19. As much as I like McWhorter s writing, there are a few things I would like his editors to correct before publication Convert some of the naked demonstrative pronouns this, that, these, those to adjectives These pronouns frequently make a reader backtrack to recall the referent Use advance organizers to give the reader a better overview of how a discussion is going to be structured I sometimes found myself wondering where a discussion was going A map of the forest presented before diving into the [...]

    20. So far this book has been alright it has a lot of details Some good information if you are looking to understand why language has changed and developed throughout history Reading this book has made me think that I really need to learn another language Not only to gain a new perspective and understand another culture deeply, but also to understand English As many of our words have been shared from other languages It also has made me think about my students perspective and I have gained insights [...]

    21. Good to read if you know than 2 languages It gives a nice view how did languages get some dammit difficulties after they evolved such as conjugation, tone, gender, etc Examples are well described.This book explains how do languages change, how do we count it, how do they emerge and extinct But it is not a history book explaining timeline of the language.I gave this book 5 stars as it is a very good reading both the information and the way he presented Although I still tend to think that some de [...]

    22. A fascinating survey of the myriad ways humans get to communicate with each other, not as a catalog of odd behaviors but as the evidence for a rather radical thesis there are no dialects, all are languages or the converse there are no languages, all are dialects, perhaps The historical comparative method allows Whorter to bring example after example of the richness, variability and robustness of language I don t know if professional linguists will accept the thesis or its argument, but to me was [...]

    23. This was one of the most fascinating books I have ever read Although a specialist in historical linguistics may find little that is novel, the work introduces a whole new field to the nonspecialist in an engaging and entertaining fashion To the credit of the author, he does point out that linguistics as a field to a large extent neglects historical linguistics However, the author has a command for anecdote and historical perspective that renders the work quite inspiring.

    24. Finally, after seven years, I can mark this as read My mouldy copy of The Power of Babel by John McWhorter has caused me to sneeze mid sentence and scratch at my palms every few pages Yep, gross but well worth the little inconveniences.I ve always loved learning new languages, but English as a first language was not a matter of choice, but one of circumstance and survival My parents moved to Hanoi from Manila when I was five and my sister and I attended an international school I had what you cal [...]

    25. A cornucopia of interesting linguistic facts you know every actually came from ever each That most grammatical features of any old languages are not strictly necessary for communication , this book is a fascinating and often humorous read on language change how the 6,000 living languages today have evolved from a single one that the biological Adam and Eve spoke It answers questions like What processes gave rise to the highly inflected languages typical of Europe and highly tonal languages typic [...]

    26. This book certainly has a lot going for it it is well researched, witty, and written in an accessible style Unfortunately, I found it a slog to get through and indeed, I didn t make it all that far before giving up McWhorter presents an argument and then pounds you over the head with examples, making for a very redundant read I guess I shouldn t be surprised this is his basic MO on his podcast, Lexicon Valley, too, but I guess it is tolerable in spoken than written form.

    27. In this wonderful book about how languages develop John McWhorter does a excellent job of showing the complexity and diversity of the forms of human verbal communication The book is subtitled A Natural History of Language and McWhorter uses the analogy with biological evolution and biodiversity throughout, describing how language has developed over the millennia since the first language arose probably in East Africa parallels the slower branching of lifeforms from the first single celled organis [...]

    28. Not a bad book but midway through I discovered that detailed linguistic analysis of word forms and grammar is not of interest to me The overall concepts of all languages being dialects or creoles or pidgins to some degree and that all languages are constantly changing were great But the detailed comparison of sentences in multiple languages was VERY tedious and made this a hard book to finish.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *