Language is the medium in which we humans compose our thoughts, explain our thinking, construct our arguments, and create works of literature. Without language, societies as complex as ours could not exist. Geoffrey Pullum offers a stimulating introduction to the many ways in which linguistics, as the scientific study of language, matters. With its close relationships to psychology, education, philosophy, and computer science, the subject has a compelling human story to tell about the ways in which different societies see and describe the world, and its far-reaching applications range from law to medicine and from developmental psychology to artificial intelligence. Introducing Polity’s Why It Matters series: In these short and lively books, world-leading thinkers make the case for the importance of their subjects and aim to inspire a new generation of students.
'[A] fascinating, beautifully written and highly accessible exposition of why the science of language matters. Strongly recommend it."Oliver Kamm, columnist for The Times of London'Geoff Pullum, tart and cosmopolitan as always, has at last given the world the handiest possible remedy for idea that what's interesting about language is snippy rules about where prepositions shouldn't be, that different languages make you think in different ways, or that Siri actually understands us. Linguistics is fascinating far beyond these myths and this book will show you why in a quick coffee-cup read.'John McWhorter, Columbia University'Geoff Pullum among our greatest living linguists, with a deep appreciation of the richness of language and the elegance of linguistic theory. He is also one of the finest stylists writing today, and presents ideas with dazzling clarity and wit. No one is better equipped to explain linguistics and why it matters.'Steve Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works.
Geoffrey K. Pullum is a world-famous linguist and Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is best-known for his seminal book The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, co-authored with Rodney Huddleston.