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How can people who are both blind and deaf communicate? What makes Woody Allen funny? Is it normal to hear colors and see sounds? If questions like these have puzzled you, this book of essays on the nature of language will quench your curiosity. Language pervades every aspect of life. It is essential to everyone everywhere - from politicians to poets, philosophers to pharmacists - yet linguistics is often forbidding. This collection of short, accessible essays changes that. Language, Bananas, and Bonobos presents a series of engaging reflections on concerns such as our knowledge and use of language, political correctness, and the linguistic abilities of chimpanzees. In doing so, the volume provides new insights into this subject of universal interest.
Neil Smith is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College London, and has been Head of the Linguistics Section of the Department since 1972. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Twitter Machine (Blackwell 1989) and The Mind of a Savant (with Ianthi Tsimpli, Blackwell, 1995). He is one of the editors of Lingua, and is on the board of the Cambridge Studies in Linguistics.