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Languages A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Stephen R. Anderson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199590591
File Size: 15,62 MB
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How many languages are there? Are new languages still being discovered? Why are so many languages disappearing? In this Very Short Introduction, eminent linguist Stephen Anderson addresses such questions as he illuminates the science behind languages. Considering a wide range of different languages and linguistic examples, Anderson provides the basic facts about the world's major families of spoken languages and their distribution around the globe. He explores the basis for linguistic classification and raises questions about how we identify a language. Considering signed languages as well as spoken, Anderson also examines the wider social issues of losing languages, and their impact on vanishing cultures and peoples.

Linguistics A Very Short Introduction

Autor: P. H. Matthews
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577510
File Size: 14,16 MB
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Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects. A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics. Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The English Language

Autor: Simon Horobin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198709250
File Size: 26,61 MB
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The English language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today?In this Very Short Introduction Simon Horobin investigates how we have arrived at the English we know today, and celebrates the way new speakers and new uses mean that it continues to adapt. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, Horobin considers whether such changes areimprovements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or we are witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Sociolinguistics A Very Short Introduction

Autor: John Edwards
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199858616
File Size: 24,51 MB
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This Very Short Introduction deals with the social life of language, presenting a succinct account of the most important aspects - both "micro" and "macro" - of sociolinguistics, such as language variation, language attitudes, and the relationship between language and identity.

Writing And Script A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199567786
File Size: 25,80 MB
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Writing is a defining marker of civilisation; without it there could be no accumulation of knowledge. Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of the history of writing, considering its development, and examining the enormous variety of writing and scripts we use today.

Translation

Autor: Matthew Reynolds
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198712111
File Size: 28,99 MB
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Translation is everywhere, giving us dubbed films, and access to foreign news and the literature of other cultures. Considering subtitling, interpreting, and adaptations, Matthew Reynolds reveals how translation is changing radically in the new age of electronic media.

Classical Mythology A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Helen Morales
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191579335
File Size: 17,40 MB
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From Zeus and Europa, to Diana, Pan, and Prometheus, the myths of ancient Greece and Rome seem to exert a timeless power over us. But what do those myths represent, and why are they so enduringly fascinating? Why do they seem to be such a potent way of talking about our selves, our origins, and our desires? This imaginative and stimulating Very Short Introduction goes beyond a simple retelling of the stories to explore the rich history and diverse interpretations of classical myths. It is a wide-ranging account, examining how classical myths are used and understood in both high art and popular culture, taking the reader from the temples of Crete to skyscrapers in New York, and finding classical myths in a variety of unexpected places: from arabic poetry and Hollywood films, to psychoanalysis, the bible, and New Age spiritualism. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Multilingualism A Very Short Introduction

Autor: John C. Maher
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198724993
File Size: 9,11 MB
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The languages of the world can be seen and heard in cities and towns, forests and isolated settlements, as well as on the internet and in international organizations like the UN or the EU. How did the world acquire so many languages? Why can't we all speak one language, like English orEsperanto? And what makes a person bilingual? Multilingualism, language diversity in society, is a perfect expression of human plurality. About 6,500-7,000 languages are spoken, written and signed, throughout the linguistic landscape of the world, by people who communicate in more than one language(at work, or in the family or community). Many origin myths, like Babel, called it a "punishment" but multilingualism makes us who we are and plays a large part of our sense of belonging. Languages are instruments for interacting with the cultural environment and their ecology is complex. They candie (Tasmanian), or decline then revive (Manx and Hawaiian), reconstitute from older forms (modern Hebrew), gain new status (Catalan and Maori) or become autonomous national languages (Croatian). Languages can even play a supportive and symbolic role as some territories pursue autonomy ornationhood, such as in the cases of Catalonia and Scotland.In this Very Short Introduction John C. Maher shows how multilingualism offers cultural diversity, complex identities, and alternative ways of doing and knowing to hybrid identities. Increasing multilingualism is drastically changing our view of the value of language, and our notion of the partlanguage plays in national and cultural identities. At the same time multilingualism can lead to social and political conflict, unequal power relations, issues of multiculturalism, and discussions over "national" or "official" languages, with struggles over language rights of local and indigenouscommunities. Considering multilingualism in the context of globalization, Maher also looks at the fate of many endangered languages as they disappear from the world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

A Pattern Language

Autor: Christopher Alexander
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190050357
File Size: 8,78 MB
Format: PDF
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You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.

Languages Of The World

Autor: Asya Pereltsvaig
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107002788
File Size: 29,91 MB
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Introduces readers to the rich diversity of human languages, familiarizing them with the variety of languages around the world.

The Oxford Introduction To Proto Indo European And The Proto Indo European World

Autor: J. P. Mallory
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0199287910
File Size: 29,96 MB
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Our linguistic ancestors had used the wheel, were settled arable farmers, kept sheep and cattle, brewed beer, got married, made weapons, and had at least 27 verbs for the expression of strife. The subjects to which the authors devote chapters include fauna, flora, family and kinship, clothing and textiles, food and drink, space and time, emotions, mythology, religion, and the continuing quest to discover the Proto-Indo-European homeland."

Nietzsche A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Michael Tanner
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191540404
File Size: 20,98 MB
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The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was almost wholly neglected during his sane life, which came to an abrupt end in 1889. Since then he has been appropriated as an icon by an astonishingly diverse spectrum of people, whose interpretations of his thought range from the highly irrational to the firmly analytical. Thus Spoke Zarathustra introduced the 'superman' and The Twilight of the Idols developed the 'Will to Power' concept; these term, together with 'Sklavenmoral' and 'Herrenmoral', became confused with the rise of nationalism in Germany. Idiosyncratic and aphoristic, Nietzsche is always bracing and provocative, and temptingly easy to dip into. Michael Tanner's readable introduction to the philosopher's life and work examines the numerous ambiguities inherent in his writings. It also explodes the many misconceptions fostered in the hundred years since Nietzsche wrote, prophetically: 'Do not, above all, confound me with what I am not!' ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Statistics A Very Short Introduction

Autor: David J. Hand
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578924
File Size: 27,96 MB
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Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Are Some Languages Better Than Others

Autor: R. M. W. Dixon
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191079413
File Size: 11,81 MB
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This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Can we say, for instance, that because German has three genders and French only two, German is a better language in this respect? Jarawara, spoken in the Amazonian jungle, has two ways of showing possession: one for a part (e.g. 'Father's foot') and the other for something which is owned and can be given away or sold (e.g. 'Father's knife'); is it thus a better language than English, which marks all possession in the same way? R. M. W. Dixon begins by outlining what he feels are the essential components of any language, such as the ability to pose questions, command actions, and provide statements. He then discusses desirable features including gender agreement, tenses, and articles, before concluding with his view of what the ideal language would look like - and an explanation of why it does not and probably never will exist. Written in the author's usual accessible and engaging style, and full of personal anecdotes and unusual linguistic phenomena, the book will be of interest to all general language enthusiasts as well as to a linguistics student audience, and particularly to anyone with an interest in linguistic typology.

Mao A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Delia Davin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191654035
File Size: 4,12 MB
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As a giant of 20th century history, Mao Zedong played many roles: peasant revolutionary, patriotic leader against the Japanese occupation, Marxist theoretician, modernizer, and visionary despot. This Very Short Introduction chronicles Mao's journey from peasant child to ruler of the most populous nation on Earth. He was a founder of both the Chinese Communist Party and the Red Army, and for many years he fought on two fronts, for control of the Party and in an armed struggle for the Party's control of the country. His revolution unified China and began its rise to world power status. He was the architect of the Great Leap Forward that he hoped would make China both prosperous and egalitarian, but instead ended in economic disaster resulting in millions of deaths. It was Mao's growing suspicion of his fellow leaders that led him to launch the Cultural Revolution, and his last years were dogged by ill-health and his despairing attempts to find a successor whom he trusted. Delia Davin provides an invaluable introduction to Mao, showing him in all his complexity; ruthless, brutal, and ambitious, a man of enormous talent and perception, yet a leader who is still detested by some and venerated by others. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Identity A Very Short Introduction

Autor: Florian Coulmas
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192563610
File Size: 18,88 MB
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Identity has become one of the most widely used terms today, appearing in many different contexts. Anything and everything has an identity, and identity crises have become almost equally pervasive. Yet 'identity' is extremely versatile, meaning different things to different people and in different scientific disciplines. To many its meaning seems self-evident, since its various uses share common features, so often the term is used without a definition of what, exactly, is meant by it. This provokes the core question: What exactly is identity? In this Very Short Introduction Florian Coulmas provides a survey of the many faces of the concept of identity, and discusses its significance and varied meanings in the fields of philosophy, sociology, and psychology, as well as politics and law. Tracing our concern with identity to its deep roots in Europe's intellectual history, individualism, and the felt need to draw borderlines, Coulmas identifies the most important features used to mark off individual and collective identities, and demonstrates why they are deemed important. He concludes with a glimpse at the many ways in which literature has engaged with problems of identity throughout history. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

African Religions

Autor: Jacob K. Olupona
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199790582
File Size: 12,80 MB
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What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent. It focuses on the diversity of people, ethnic groups, languages, cultures, ethos, and worldviews, keeping in mind the continent's regional diversity. Using a multidisciplinary methodological approach, Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms as well as in their pluralistic social, cultural, and political contexts. Cultural and postcolonial interpretive frameworks benefit the discussion. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations. Sources for this book include archaeological and historical references. Additionally, Olupona uses ethnographic materials based on fieldwork collected through interviewsand participant observation, along with archival materials, including missionary records, which describe African religious practices. Though the emphasis is on native faith traditions, these are not static traditions. African religions have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects - from Islam to Sociology,Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative - yet always balanced and complete - discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

The Language Instinct

Autor: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062032522
File Size: 27,81 MB
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The classic book on the development of human language by the world’s leading expert on language and the mind. In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

An Introduction To Sociolinguistics

Autor: Janet Holmes
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1317542916
File Size: 11,84 MB
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In this best-selling introductory textbook, Janet Holmes and Nick Wilson examine the role of language in a variety of social contexts, considering both how language works and how it can be used to signal and interpret various aspects of social identity. Divided into three sections, this book explains basic sociolinguistic concepts in the light of classic approaches as well as introducing more recent research. This fifth edition has been revised and updated throughout using key concepts and examples to guide the reader through this fascinating area, including: a new chapter on identity that reflects the latest research; a brand new companion website which is fully cross-referenced within this book, and which includes and video and audio materials, interactive activities and links to useful websites; updated and revised examples and exercises which include new material from Tanzania, Wales, Paraguay and Timor-Leste; fully updated further reading and references sections. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics is the essential introductory text for all students of sociolinguistics and a splendid point of reference for students of English language studies, linguistics and applied linguistics.

Fluent Forever

Autor: Gabriel Wyner
Publisher: Harmony
ISBN: 038534810X
File Size: 6,42 MB
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The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently. He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered. The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up. Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign language. And with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books. This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.