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on 28 September 2003
I cannot praise this book enough. It is remarkably readable, concise, accurate and informative. Laid out in a very accessible format, it charts the principal theories of the evolution of language in its spoken and written forms. Fischer's sections on the development of modern alphabets and the historical study of language in different cultures are particularly fascinating. This book will provide a wealth of invaluable information for student linguists, and a fascinating introduction to the discipline for any interested reader. The work counts no less than Chomsky among its many admirers.
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on 18 October 2011
A fascinating and well-rounded book!

I aspire to be a multi-linguist, and reading this book has really improved my acquisition and ability to communicate in foreign languages.... even though it's a history book and has nothing to do with the actual learning of a foreign language. Dispelling myths about the origins of language, connecting the evolutionary dots and getting back to the fundamental reason why language exists (to communicate) has been inspirational as well as helpful.

My only wish is that the middle was as flowing and enjoyable to read as the beginning and end.... it would then be the perfect book.
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on 11 February 2014
I really enjoyed this book, and I don't know of another one that covers the same ground.

It starts off with the origins of language in the animal world, and the various speculations as to its beginnings with humans. It goes on to relate how language families evolve, giving some fascinating insights into the relationships between them, and outlines the development of writing systems. The author has particularly interesting observations on how languages change over time. There are chapters on the discipline of linguistics and on social aspects of language, computer languages and language extinctions. All this in 220 pages is quite an achievement.

I admit I have a background in linguistics, and it might be a bit harder going for a reader who has none at all, but I would call it a comparatively easy read, in a very informal style and well worth the effort - if any is needed - to follow the arguments and digest the information it contains.
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on 15 June 2011
I struggled with the writing style in this book. The topic however is absolutely marvellous! I have yet to find another book which covers such a vast field, so I would have to recommend. Please suggest an alternative if you know one!
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on 11 April 2013
Delivered to my Kindle with no technical problems or need to do any more than order it on line form Amazon
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on 21 July 2014
Very interesting and well written
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