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Language, an introduction to the study of speech Paperback – September 3, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1178268256 ISBN-10: 117826825X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Nabu Press (September 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 117826825X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1178268256
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward Sapir (IPA: /səˈpɪər/), (January 26, 1884 – February 4, 1939) was a Jewish-German-American anthropologist-linguist, a leader in American structural linguistics, and one of the creators of what is now called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. He is arguably the most influential figure in American linguistics, influencing several generations of linguists across several schools of linguistics.

 Books
  • Sapir, Edward (1907). Herder's "Ursprung der Sprache". Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ASIN: B0006CWB2W. 
  • Sapir, Edward (1908), "On the etymology of Sanskrit asru, Avestan asru, Greek dakru", in Modi, Jivanji Jamshedji, Spiegel memorial volume. Papers on Iranian subjects written by various scholars in honour of the late Dr. Frederic Spiegel, Bombay: British India Press, pp. 156–159 
  • Sapir, Edward; Curtin, Jeremiah (1909). Wishram texts, together with Wasco tales and myths. E.J. Brill. ASIN: B000855RIW. http://www.archive.org/details/wishramtexts00sapirich. 
  • Sapir, Edward (1910). Yana Texts. Berkeley University Press. http://www.archive.org/details/yanatexts00sapirich. 
  • Sapir, Edward (1915). A sketch of the social organization of the Nass River Indians. Ottawa: Government Printing Office. http://www.archive.org/details/sketchofsocialor00sapiiala.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is an incredible book, written by a scholar who only spoke various languages, but had profoundness in his analysis.
Geraldo Faria
The book reflects Sapir's interest in the comparative approach to language, and in how language influences culture and human psychology.
Magellan
In it he discusses phonetic theories, concepts of drift, syntax and word structure, how language and culture are related, and the like.
Christopher R. Travers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
Sapir's 1921 "Language" is one of the finest of many fine works by the distinguished linguist, anthropologist and humanist. With piercing yet accessible insight, he guides the reader through fundamental questions about language: How are culture and language related? How does language work? How do languages vary?
Although there are many general introductions to the subject (Bloomfield's and Jesperson's volume come to mind), Sapir's is unmatched for sheer readability in interest. Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Although written before the modern age of transformational grammar this is still a terrific book for the beginner in linguistics. Having been published in the 1920s the approach is of course more grounded in classical structural linguistics, but that's fine because the beginner needs to learn that first before getting into the technicalities of Chomsky's transformational theory or later developments such as cognitive linguistics, specialized offshoots such as head driven phrase structure grammars, harmonic phrase structure grammars, or modern re-inventions of structuralism such as biogenetic structuralism, etc. The book takes a grammar based approach to language typology and the classification of languages, with examples ranging from Chinese to Eskimo to Amerindian languages like Nootka.

Besides covering grammar there are excellent chapters or sections on phonetics, phonetic drift, and word morphology. Because Sapir started off his career in comparative Germanic languages and then subsequently expanded his language studies to many other non-Germanic languages, he developed a great sense of word phonetics and word morphology which he put to good use in this book and also was useful later in his career as more of a theoretician. As a result of this broad learning and especially his expertise in Amerindian languages, he came to realize that many of the traditional ideas he'd had about language which were mainly based on Indo-European language patterns were wrong. I also found the chapter on language families and classification particularly fascinating although be aware that as the book is now 90 years old some of the details about the taxonomy have changed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Travers on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I started reading this work I found that it was very difficult to get through much at once. The book is very dense and packed with insightful examples.

However, Sapir illustrates points quite well. In it he discusses phonetic theories, concepts of drift, syntax and word structure, how language and culture are related, and the like. There are few more comprehensive introductions to the field today, and fewer introductions still which go into the level of depth that he does. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Classic language/speech read. Informative, but slightly outdated. Great for the novice who wants to begin learning about speech and language.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found Edward Sapir's introduction to the study of speech fascinating. It discusses a variety of issues involved in the study of spoken language, including differences in grammatical structure, history, and phonetic drift (the way sounds change) as well as many other topics. It reads sort of like a collection of class lectures, but that is okay for those interested in the study of speech. The author understood the origin of language as an evolutionist and that colored his perspective on its nature and the nature of humankind. However he seemed to recognize that modern human sciences really do not understand how language could have actually developed from natural processes. The author shows an apt understanding of almost all the world's major language groups, especially native American languages, some of which he documented first-hand before the time of their extinction or near extinction.
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By Silvia Munteanu on November 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the most important introductions to the essence of language.
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