The Five-minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages

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Caroline Myrick, Walt Wolfram
Equinox Publishing Limited, 2019
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"The book is intended for non-specialists, an upbeat introduction to language and linguistics for general readers. The chapters are short (three to five pages), suitable for browsing or reading on the move, and its style is intentionally light--more like what used to be called 'fireside chats'--or, somewhat more currently, 'speed-dating events.' In fact, it was born as a series of radio chats called Talkin' About Talk, which in 2005 was part of a celebration of the 'Year of Languages' in the United States. The essays have an informal tone because of the on-air persona of the narrator, a knowledgeable and amiable guide whose task it was to de-mystify the sometimes complex subject of language for a wide range of listeners. Each week the narrator talked about a language-related topic in a relaxed, conversational style for exactly five minutes--thus the title of the book. The third edition of this has been expanded by 14 new chapters covering contemporary topics of interest or subjects overlooked in the earlier editions (2006, 2011). Furthermore, chapters from previous editions were updated. We hope that this expansion has made the collection more comprehensive and current while remaining faithful to its guiding principles: What do people who are not in the language field want to know about language? What are some of their major misconceptions? What do our readers want to know about learning or using languages? The resulting essays, each with a question as its title, are what we like to think of as a savory platter of linguistic hors d'oeuvres, something to whet your appetite and invite you to proceed to a more substantial dish of linguistics"--

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