Allan Cameron

In Praise of the Garrulous

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“This is a book about language and above all about the value and essentiality of language in our lives. It might therefore be called a book on the “ecology” of language, because human language is in danger of being permanently damaged by the way modern technology has developed over the last century, and this will affect not only our competence in organising ourselves socially and politically, but also our inner selves. In other words, the process of homogenisation we call globalisation is not only damaging our external environment, but our internal one as well. At the same time, we are collectively accumulating an unprecedented mass of scientific and technological knowledge, which in a way we can be proud of, but only if individually and socially we retain our skills to deal with it. I believe the maintenance of our linguistic skills is essential to this task, and therefore the linguistic problem takes its place alongside all the other problems we face – problems with which any reasonably informed person is already fully acquainted.” — “Introduction” (ix)

“A deeply reflective, extraordinarily wide-ranging meditation on the nature of language, infused in its every phrase by a passionate humanism.” — Terry Eagleton
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222 printed pages
Original publication


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