How Language Made Us Human
by Simon Prentis
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Pub Date 28 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 05 Jun 2022
What makes us human? Why is the Homo Sapien the only animal who builds cities and destroys them again through war? It’s all because we’ve learnt how to talk: yet remarkably, we’ve never known how we did it. Until now.
"I couldn't stop reading until I finished it.” James Lovelock
"I'm glad I read it. A literate and stylish writer." Richard Dawkins
"I think you're right." Steven Pinker
“Crisp and clear – I agree with your hypothesis.” Desmond Morris
“Bravo! A compelling read.” Yoko Ono
“If you liked Sapiens, you’re going to love this.” Jee Mandayo
Speech! is about the simple yet radical shift that turned our analog grunts and shrieks into words. But its consequences are far from simple: being able to share ideas through language was an evolutionary tipping point – it allowed us to link up our minds. Speech! traces our roller-coaster ride with language from hunter-gatherer to urban hipster: the epic tale of the struggle for knowledge against the false gods of culture, religion and identity – as we teeter toward a destination we may still resist, but ultimately cannot escape.
About the Author
Simon Prentis has spent a lifetime working with other cultures and languages in over fifty countries. A veteran translator and interpreter of Japanese, his clients have ranged from academic and international institutions to cultural icons like Paul McCartney, Stanley Kubrick, Frank Zappa and Yoko Ono. A graduate of Oxford University, and a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting since 1990, he has worked extensively with the broadcast media both as a presenter and a producer, acted as an expert witness in high-profile intellectual property disputes, translated four books and reams of technical documents, and presented papers on translation and interpreting at international linguistics conferences. He lives in London.
“Vital reading, intelligent and entertaining. The author takes us on a tour of what it means to be human, and does it with wit and confidence. It intrigues and entertains by turns, a cross between Bill Bryson and Richard Dawkins.”
“Seldom if ever have I read a non-fiction book that has kept me so engaged and fascinated as this. This should be read in every school everywhere in the world!”
“An exhilarating read, from start to finish – I particularly like the astonishing variety of information the author has collected. For me, it’s an absolute page-turner . . . a thoroughly entertaining book.”
“It reads almost like a thriller – I have read many good books in the last couple of years and this one is definitely at the top of the heap.”
“A most enjoyable read which entertains on many levels – on every page I found something new and interesting. Prentis writes about serious questions with an engaging clarity, peppered throughout with wit and wry good humour.”
“An eye-opening book full of unique and witty insights, fortified with diverse knowledge and references. This is a book I would come back to whenever I have a moment of existential concern.”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 3 members
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Speech: How Language Made Us Human by Simon Prentis; about the simple yet radical shift that turned our analog grunts and shrieks into words.
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