The Story of Language Author:Mario Pei From the dawn of time to the mid-twentieth Century, world-renowned linguist Mario Pei discusses the formation and development of language—the tool by which mankind has advanced from savagery to civilization. Although the details of language continually change, as new words are created or as fads or other events give new meanings to old ones, th... more »e basic structure of language remains the same, making this classic account as fascinating and authoritative an introduction to the subject as ever. Mario Pei's amazing breadth of knowledge, sparkling with wit and anecdotes, has been a continual delight to students, word buffs, and general readers alike. Now Stuart Berg Flexner's foreword for this new edition sets Professor Pei's acclaimed contributions into their proper context in twentieth-century language studies.
Some topics: The structure of language; how it is formed and changed; a review of the modern languages and the world's other tongues; language and its relation to religion, politics and economics, science and literature, superstition and intolerance; dialects, place names, family names; non-linguistic systems of communication: gestural and symbolic language, animal talk; problems of language learning and how they can be solved; slang, cant, jargon, gobbledygook; the language of euphemism, politeness, insult; evolution of writing; and the controversy about international language and much more in this brilliant, intensely human work of scholarship.« less