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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

What Is This Thing Called Language?

Edition 2nd Edition
ISBN 9780230291379
Publication Date December 2012
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Language is a complex and ever-evolving phenomenon, but it is one that deeply defines us all. So, What Is This Thing Called Language? Illustrating how it is used in different ways and in varied contexts, this book offers a thought-provoking and entertaining guide through the mysteries of language.

The new edition:
– Explores the basics of the language systems of sounds, vocabulary and grammar
– Explains a basic framework of linguistics and language analysis Examines the written and spoken word in a range of different languages
– Uses intriguing anecdotes and interesting examples to unpack complex ideas
– Offers study-friendly features, including reflective questions, further reading suggestions as well as glossaries of linguistic terminology and key linguists

With new and expanded material on a range of topics, from language variation and culture to second language acquisition and bilingualism, this is an 'un-put-down-able' introduction for all students of language and linguistics.

DAVID NUNAN is Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Anaheim University, USA, and Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong.

List of Tables and Figures
Introduction to the First Edition: The Stuff that Surrounds Us
Introduction to the Second Edition: A Personal Account
What is this Thing Called Language?
The Sound System
The Lexical System
The Grammatical System
Doing Things with Spoken Language
Doing Things with Written Language
First and Second Language Acquisition
Language at Play
Language, Culture and Identity
Language in a Global Context
Books to Read on a Long Plane Flight
Key Figures
Author Index
Subject Index.


Rich in insight, wonderful examples, very readable, brilliantly analytical, simultaneously amusing and highly serious, accessible, humane and aimed directly at anyone interested in knowing more about human language and its study; and, to borrow one of David Nunan's own phrases – one of the most un-put-down-able books I have read.' Professor Ronald Carter, School of English, University of Nottingham, UK.
'This highly readable book is an ideal gift to give anyone who doesn't know much about language but might want to learn. It could be an avenue into the study of linguistics for secondary school and university students, a great introduction to language issues for members of the press and the government, or even a way to explain to non-linguists (your parents, for instance) what it is that linguists do. It is packed with information but is still an enjoyable and entertaining read.' Professor Kathi Bailey, Monterey Institute of International Studies, US
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