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: This textbook provides a straightforward and comprehensive survey of the basic issues and topics involved in the study of language. Its twenty chapters range over speculation about the origin of language, the relationship between language and animal communication, the principal concepts involved in linguistic analysis, the new fields of discourse analysis and computer understander systems, sign language, current views on how children acquire language and how adults learn new languages, how languages change over time and how language is affected by various social, cultural and regional factors. Written in a clear and lively style, with frequent examples from English and other languages, this textbook is designed to introduce the non-specialist reader to issues that fascinate and sometimes frustrate professional linguists. Students taking an introductory course on the nature of human language will find the carefully selected study questions, discussion topics and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter particularly useful. Both as a coursebook and as a book for the general reader, The Study of Language as an exciting way to explore how language works and the role it plays in human life.