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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the specialist
Trask's writing is brilliant. The author has an outstanding ability to explain his subject in an entertaining way. Trask is the unpretentious master of his subject and writes crystal clear English.

Although interested in the subject, I'm not a language student, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book (I've read it twice). The chapter on 'Attitudes to language'...
Published on 17 Feb. 2009 by Stephen Town

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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Language - The Basics" !!??
While it is easy to see why this book got the rave reviews from the other readers; the book's title is rather misleading. The phrase "The Basics" in the title refers to a range of publications produced by the publishers Routledge. These cover thirty one titles from Anthropology to World Music.

I was looking for a book covering the basics of language and in...
Published on 26 Dec. 2011 by J. D. Waters


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the specialist, 17 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
Trask's writing is brilliant. The author has an outstanding ability to explain his subject in an entertaining way. Trask is the unpretentious master of his subject and writes crystal clear English.

Although interested in the subject, I'm not a language student, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book (I've read it twice). The chapter on 'Attitudes to language' made me laugh and cheer, as Trask explodes a number of widely held myths. 'The uniqueness of human language' and 'Change in language' are other excellent chapters. It's a brilliant book and it's not just for specialists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Nov. 2010
By 
PC (Chichester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
The author reveals some fascinating facts about language, such as how and why the written and spoken versions diverge over time. I like his style of writing and the book provides a good introduction to linguistics for the general reader. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in linguistics, which should be everyone since we all use language.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good general introduction, 28 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
I am an Undergraduate Linguistics student at Durham and I found this book a very useful read over the summer before I started my course, I also wish I had read it during my A levels as it explores the fundimentals of analytical linguistics assisting the reader in particular with stylistic analysis and providing a through grounding in the basics of degree level work - read it, reduce it, learn it it is a massive help.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 April 2009
By 
Sally Douglas (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
This is a fascinating and engaging over-view of the study of language. While academically sound, with masses of suggestions for further reading, it is also a very accessible read - not at all intimidating for a complete beginner in language studies. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 2 April 2014
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Trask sets out the basic premises and concepts which underpin the subject of linguistics with rare lucidity. The book is engaging and accessible whilst avoiding simplistic platitudes.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff., 24 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
Really interesting book.
I've never studied language or linguistics and it was clear and easy to understand.
The book is also very engaging due to the way it's been written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely interesting book which arrived quickly and in excellent condition, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
This book is written in a very easy to read interesting way with plenty of relevant and useful information given.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and informative, 26 May 2008
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
As a A-level student, I found this book entertaining and informative. It condensed chuncks of my course into meaningful points. Unlike other text books, I intend to keep this book on the shelf after my studies are completed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
Really clear and easy to follow. A great introduction to the study of language.
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Language - The Basics" !!??, 26 Dec. 2011
By 
J. D. Waters (Cambridge. UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
While it is easy to see why this book got the rave reviews from the other readers; the book's title is rather misleading. The phrase "The Basics" in the title refers to a range of publications produced by the publishers Routledge. These cover thirty one titles from Anthropology to World Music.

I was looking for a book covering the basics of language and in particular its origins. Professor Trask has nothing to say on its origins. The best he can manage on its evolution concerns the timing where he says:"nobody knows". Ummm, very profound.

Other authors, namely: George Yule The Study of Language and Jean Aitchison The Seeds of Speech: Language Origin and Evolution (Canto)have mentioned various propositions concerned with the origins varying from the divine to the absurd, but nobody has acknowledged that the differences between Chimpanzee physiology and brain development and Human physiology and brain development - as related to the evolution of speech and language must have involved a considerable degree of biological evolution. This (in modern scientific terms) implies genetic variation and natural selection.

According to Professor Yule: "We simply don't know how language originated" Page 1. para.2.

Which raises the question of who is this "We" that these authors keep talking about.

And why do they keep on ignoring some of the fundamental differences between humans and their closest genetic relations, namely: the African Apes.

For example: nobody has mentioned the Long Birth Interval Multi-age Brood characteristic of the human specie. Palaeontologists have determined that this kind of Multi-age brood evolved about two million years B.P. It can be shown that this type of Multi-age brood could lead to the gradual acquisition of the ability to pronounce the full range of human consonants through the means of biological evolution.

In addition, nobody has mentioned the development of the Public Response Seeker characteristic - which is unique to the human specie. This has been shown to lead to another unique characteristic namely: 'unified teamwork'. This in turn can be shown to lead to the use of 'command words'. For example, in the context of a tug-of-war team the command word would be "heave".

While these fundamentals are ignored, we should beware of any books which claim to study "The Basics"
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Language: The Basics
Language: The Basics by R. L. Trask (Hardcover - 24 Aug. 1995)
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