Word Play: What Happens When People Talk

Word Play: What Happens When People Talk

by Peter Farb

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Why do certain words make us blush or wince? Why do men and women really speak different languages? Why do nursery rhymes in vastly different societies possess similar rhyme and rhythm patterns? What do slang, riddles and puns secretly have in common?

This erudite yet irresistibly readable book examines the game of language: its players, strategies, and hidden rules. Drawing on the most fascinating linguistic studies—and touching on everything from the Marx Brothers to linguistic sexism, from the phenomenon of glossolalia to Apache names for automobile parts—Word Play shows what really happens when people talk, no matter what language they happen to be using.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101971291
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/19/2015
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 31,469
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Peter Farb’s early work in the comparative study of Mediterranean languages, as well as his research collecting folk ballads and various styles of speech in isolated communities in the American South, led to a distinguished career in anthropological linguistics, where he specialized in remote, non-European languages. His extensive knowledge of a variety of American Indian languages—in North America as well as in Mexico, Central America, and Brazil—produced two best-selling books, Man’s Rise to Civilization as Shown by the Indians of North America and Face of North America. His various works have been translated into 14 languages.Mr. Farb served as a consultant at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and as curator of American Indian Cultures at the Riverside Museum in New York City.

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Word Play: What Happens when People Talk 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It is a real treat candy to the brain.
shamille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, it took me two years, but I finally finished this book. It's a wonderful book, really, which gives a survey of linguistics. There are sections on early childhood language development, attitude change with language, pidgin languages... I mean it's just amazing. I'm really interested in languages but you don't have to be to read this book. It's not too technical, and it's not boring at all. Farb really made a scholarly subject really interesting.Some very interesting parts:Glossolalia (speaking in tongues)Playing the dozensJapanese-American housewives giving different answers to the same questions asked in Japanese then in EnglishCommon sounds for mother and father among languages"'Twas Brillig" and how it was translated into different languagesThe etymology of "ketchup"The great thing about this book is that I could pick it up and put it down for quite a while but then just pick it back up again. I definitely recommend getting this book, even if it means keeping it in your bathroom collection. If you don't now, by the time you finish one section of Word Play, you will recognize language as the fascinating thing it is.