In this new edition the authors present new sets of language data both for individuals and for households in Wales and examine the impact of migration on the language, the relationship between social class and ability to speak Welsh, and the bases for the reproduction and maintenance of the language within the context of the family. The final chapter considers the prospects for the language in the light of new political and institutional developments (including the National Assembly for Wales), recent planning issues (most notably housing) and developments in the critically important field of education.
This book is an essential reference source for those concerned with the changing status and vitality of the Welsh language and of other minority languages in Europe. It provides a framework and a factual context in which to set such issues as language planning and policy formulation at local and national levels.
A bold and provocative study that presents language not as an innate component of the brain—as most linguists do—but as an essential tool unique to each culture worldwide.
For years, the prevailing opinion among academics has been that language is embedded in our genes, existing as an innate and instinctual part of us. But linguist Daniel Everett argues that, like other tools, language was invented by humans and can be reinvented or lost. He shows how the evolution of different language forms—that is, different grammar—reflects how language is influenced by human societies and experiences, and how it expresses their great variety.
For example, the Amazonian Pirahã put words together in ways that violate our long-held under-standing of how language works, and Pirahã grammar expresses complex ideas very differently than English grammar does. Drawing on the Wari’ language of Brazil, Everett explains that speakers of all languages, in constructing their stories, omit things that all members of the culture understand. In addition, Everett discusses how some cultures can get by without words for numbers or counting, without verbs for “to say” or “to give,” illustrating how the very nature of what’s important in a language is culturally determined.
Combining anthropology, primatology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, and his own pioneering—and adventurous—research with the Amazonian Pirahã, and using insights from many different languages and cultures, Everett gives us an unprecedented elucidation of this society-defined nature of language. In doing so, he also gives us a new understanding of how we think and who we are.
Posted in Books
Tagged culture, language