- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 29 September 2011
- Language: History & General Works
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
What a perfect gem this book is. Written to accompany the BBC series of the same name, this is a delight for all lovers of the spoken and written word. and investigates pretty much everything any enthusiastic amateur could wish to know about the subject. Where and how did language begin? Why did oral communication develop into written language? Why is it that only humans have developed language while other animals have not? And how and why is our language now diversifying at such an astonishing rate with the introduction of business jargon, text-speak etc? Erudite yet accessible, informative yet rich in humour, this is a wonderful addition to any library. It is also clearly printed on quality paper, something that becomes more and more important to me the older I get.
As booksloth has said, a gem. A flawed gem, but a gem nevertheless, and eminently readble. Davidson, perhaps with a lot of Fry or perhaps not, has scampered through linguistic theory and history with sheer delight. At times the TV origins, even BBCTV origins, make the text a little choppy, but this was never meant to be a Linguistics 101 (much less 301) text, and readability never lapses. There are one or two strange moments, particularly the first mention of Jonathan Swift. It is utterly misleading to note Swift as having 'recommended the Irish sell their children for food' (twice, on 94-5) without emphasisng the acid irony of the Dean's intent. "A Modest Proosal" is bitter parody, not, thank God, serious suggestion; Davidson should have paid Swift the credit of honouring his authorial intention even if authorial intention is a sear word in a pomo world. Later an astute editorial eye might have notice that P.G. Wodehouse segues in consecutive lines of print into someone called Woodhouse, a nasty oversight. Perhaps the proof-reader at that point was tired - the next page sees a paragraph end with no full stop.These slight slopinesses mar an otherwise outstanding meander through the complex labrynths of language. Good fun.
Reviews provided by Librarything.
No reviews here.