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Wade, Nicholas, ed. The New York Times book of language and linguistics.

Rev. ed. Lyons Press. 215p. c2003. 1-58574-793-9. $16.95. SA

This intriguing examination of recent findings on various aspects of language and linguistic issues comprises 40 articles drawn from the pages of the science section of The New York Times. The articles, written by 15 authors, are organized into six sections, each of which is preceded by a brief introduction by the editor. "The Tree of Language" explores the controversial notion that all languages may ultimately be traced back to one original human language. "Language in Other Species" examines the linguistic capabilities of such nonhuman creatures as apes, whales, and elephants. The articles in "The Acquisition of Language" address the manner in which infants acquire their language skills. This section is followed by "Language and the Brain," which discusses how the brain is organized to understand and generate language. The articles in "Language and Society" address such cultural issues as the deciphering of ancient writings and current efforts to preserve dying languages from extinction. Finally, "The Latest From the Field" explores such issues as the recent discovery of a gene involved specifically in language. Although these articles were originally intended for the adult general public and not for language specialists, some of the pieces may strike YAs as a bit dry and technical. For slightly more sophisticated readers with even a minimal background in--or at least, healthy curiosity about--fundamental linguistic, anthropological, and cultural issues, this fascinating anthology is sure to prove intellectually rewarding. Jeffrey Cooper, Writer/ Editor, Long Island, NY
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Cooper, Jeffrey
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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