The Descent of Language Rod Mengham
In this book, poet and critic Rod Mengham takes a look at the origins, ends and development of languages in the histories of societies and the lives of individuals. In ranging from the details of brain functions to tracking the spread of Indo-European, the largest family of languages in the world, Mengham reveals how these processes have become complicated by successive waves of technological advance - by writing, by movable type and printing, by the telephone, by computer networks. This book argues that it is through language that human beings define themselves and their world. He analyses the way that cultures are organised around language, from literary classics to advertising slogans, and reflects on the rise of dictionaries, translations, and universal language schemes. Above all, it uncovers the fundamental role that language plays in the process of social change and demonstrates how it can be used equally as a force for conservatism or for radical innovation in the formation of nationality and family, gender and class. It also presents the fruits of the latest research in linguistics, history, psychology and neurology to a non-specialist audience.