Jean Aitchison is a Reith lecturer and professor of Language at Oxford University. Unsurprisingly therefore this book is both readable and authoritative.
Where Steven Pinker's 'The Language Instinct' is described as 'dazzling' by a reviewer this book is 'engaging' and 'wonderfully informative'. I agree on both counts.
If you want well argued (though well informed) propaganda, read Pinker. If you want a balanced, academically sound (yet readable) account of how all of us come to command the most mind-bogglingly complex communication system ever devised, read this book.
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