The Atoms of Language

The Atoms of Language

eBook - 2001
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"The Navajo Code Talkers are one of the great stories of World War II. Because the Japanese forces were intercepting and deciphering American communications, they knew their enemy's battle plans and were able to slow the Allied advance across the Pacific. But the Code Talkers brought with them a cipher the Japanese couldn't crack. They simply translated orders and reports from English into Navajo for radio transmission, and back into English at the other end. This method did more than provide secure communication. In a situation where every second counted, the Code Talkers could translate much more quickly than any expert in standard codes." "With this episode, linguist Mark Baker sets off on a fascinating exploration of one of the great mysteries of language: are all languages fundamentally the same, or are they fundamentally different? If they're all the same, why was Navajo so baffling to the Japanese cryptographers? If they're all different, why were the Code Talkers able to translate back and forth so easily - and why are small children able to learn whatever language they grow up hearing? From Zapotec to Welsh, from French to the unique Carib tongue called Hixkaryana, Baker surveys the incredible diversity of the world's languages to show how linguists are closing in on a key question: what is the true nature of language differences?"--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, Ă2001
ISBN: 9780786724567
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xi, 276 pages) : illustrations, map


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