The Search for the Perfect Language

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 0631205101
Release Date: 1997-04-08
Genre: History

The idea that there once existed a language which perfectly and unambiguously expressed the essence of all possible things and concepts has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for at least two millennia. This is an investigation into the history of that idea and of its profound influence on European thought, culture and history. From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was just such a language, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants from the catastrophe of the Fall and at Babel. The recovery of that language would, for theologians, express the nature of divinity, for cabbalists allow access to hidden knowledge and power, and for philosophers reveal the nature of truth. Versions of these ideas remained current in the Enlightenment, and have recently received fresh impetus in attempts to create a natural language for artificial intelligence. The story that Umberto Eco tells ranges widely from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the history of the study of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation between language and identity and describes, for example, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - one of whom presented God talking in Swedish to Adam, who replied in Danish, while the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the original. He also shows how the late eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples was perverted to support notions of racial superiority. To this subtle exposition of a history of extraordinary complexity, Umberto Eco links the associated history of the manner in which the sounds of language and concepts have been written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the book is, in sum, a tour de force of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, providing a series of original perspectives on two thousand years of European History. The paperback edition of this book is not available through Blackwell outside of North America.

The Search for the Perfect Language

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Harpercollins Pub Limited
ISBN: 0006863787
Release Date: 1997
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

The idea that there once existed a language which perfectly and unambiguously expressed the essence of all possible things and concepts has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for at least two millennia. This is an investigation into the history of that idea and of its profound influence on European thought, culture and history. From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was just such a language, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants from the catastrophe of the Fall and at Babel. The recovery of that language would, for theologians, express the nature of divinity, for cabbalists allow access to hidden knowledge and power, and for philosophers reveal the nature of truth. Versions of these ideas remained current in the Enlightenment, and have recently received fresh impetus in attempts to create a natural language for artificial intelligence. The story that Umberto Eco tells ranges widely from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the history of the study of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation between language and identity and describes, for example, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - one of whom presented God talking in Swedish to Adam, who replied in Danish, while the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the original. He also shows how the late eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples was perverted to support notions of racial superiority. To this subtle exposition of a history of extraordinary complexity, Umberto Eco links the associated history of the manner in which the sounds of language and concepts have been written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the book is, in sum, a" tour de force" of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, providing a series of original perspectives on two thousand years of European History. The paperback edition of this book is not available through Blackwell outside of North America.

The Search for the Perfect Language

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 0631174656
Release Date: 1995-10-30
Genre: History

The idea that there once existed a language which perfectly and unambiguously expressed the essence of all possible things and concepts has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for at least two millennia. This is an investigation into the history of that idea and of its profound influence on European thought, culture and history. From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was just such a language, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants from the catastrophe of the Fall and at Babel. The recovery of that language would, for theologians, express the nature of divinity, for cabbalists allow access to hidden knowledge and power, and for philosophers reveal the nature of truth. Versions of these ideas remained current in the Enlightenment, and have recently received fresh impetus in attempts to create a natural language for artificial intelligence. The story that Umberto Eco tells ranges widely from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the history of the study of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation between language and identity and describes, for example, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - one of whom presented God talking in Swedish to Adam, who replied in Danish, while the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the original. He also shows how the late eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples was perverted to support notions of racial superiority. To this subtle exposition of a history of extraordinary complexity, Umberto Eco links the associated history of the manner in which the sounds of language and concepts have been written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the book is, in sum, a tour de force of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, providing a series of original perspectives on two thousand years of European History. The paperback edition of this book is not available through Blackwell outside of North America.

Renaissance Truths

Author: Alan R. Perreiah
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317066361
Release Date: 2016-03-23
Genre: History

Though they have long been portrayed as arch rivals, Alan Perreiah here argues that humanists and scholastics were in fact working in complementary ways toward some of the same goals. After locating the two traditions within the early modern search for the perfect language, this study re-defines the lines of disagreement between them. For humanists the perfect language was a revived Classical Latin. For scholastics it was a practical logic adapted to the needs of education. Succeeding chapters examine the concepts of linguistic meaning and truth in Lorenzo Valla’s Dialectical Disputations and Juan Luis Vives’ De disciplinis. The third chapter offers a new interpretation of Vives’ Adversus pseudodialecticos as itself an exercise in scholastic sophistry. Against this humanistic background, the study takes up the concepts of meaning and truth in Paul of Venice’s Logica parva, a popular scholastic textbook in the Quattrocento. To advance recent research on language pedagogy in the Renaissance, it clarifies the connections between truth and translation and shows how scholastic logic performed an essential task in the early modern university: it was a translational language that enabled students who spoke mainly their regional vernaculars to learn the language of university discourse. A conclusion reviews some major themes of the study-e.g., linguistic determinism and relativity, vernacularity and translation, semantical vs. epistemic truth-and evaluates the achievements of humanism and scholasticism according to appropriate criteria for a perfect language.

Serendipities

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0156007517
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Literary Collections

From Leibniz's belief that the "I Ching" illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world.

Mezzofanti s Gift

Author: Michael Sears
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co
ISBN: 9780715647028
Release Date: 2013-07-18
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Multilingualism is on the rise - in the coming decades, as many as two billion people will learn English as a second language. The next stage up from multilingualism is the domain of the 'hyperpolyglot' or 'superlearner': someone who claims to know at least six languages. But what does it mean to 'know' a language? Can a person claim to speak a language fluently if it isn't their mother tongue? What role does culture play in learning languages? In this accessible and enthralling book, Michael Erard discusses the upper limits of the brain's capacity to learn languages and sheds light on the 'hyperpolyglot' phenomenon, from the Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, who was said to speak as many as seventy-two languages, to the 'superlearners' of the 21st century.

Divided by a Common Language

Author: Christopher Davies
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547350288
Release Date: 2007-09-26
Genre: Travel

Puzzled by signs warning you to “mind the gap” in the London Underground? Wondering what will be on your plate if you order “toad in the hole” in a London café? In Divided by a Common Language, Christopher Davies explains these expressions and discusses the many differences in pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary between British and American English. He compares the customs, manners, and practical details of daily life in the United Kingdom and the United States, and American readers will enjoy his account of American culture as seen through an Englishman’s eyes. Davies tops it off with an amusing list of expressions that sound innocent enough in one country but make quite the opposite impression in the other. Two large glossaries help travelers translate from one variety of English to the other, and additional lists explain the distinctive words of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Divided by a Common Language is the ideal travel companion for both British visitors to the U.S. and American visitors to the U.K.

The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel

Author: Charles J. Shields
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9781477317389
Release Date: 2018-10-15
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

When Stoner was published in 1965, the novel sold only a couple of thousand copies before disappearing with hardly a trace. Yet John Williams’s quietly powerful tale of a Midwestern college professor, William Stoner, whose life becomes a parable of solitude and anguish eventually found an admiring audience in America and especially in Europe. The New York Times called Stoner “a perfect novel,” and a host of writers and critics, including Colum McCann, Julian Barnes, Bret Easton Ellis, Ian McEwan, Emma Straub, Ruth Rendell, C. P. Snow, and Irving Howe, praised its artistry. The New Yorker deemed it “a masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man.” The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel traces the life of Stoner’s author, John Williams. Acclaimed biographer Charles J. Shields follows the whole arc of Williams’s life, which in many ways paralleled that of his titular character, from their shared working-class backgrounds to their undistinguished careers in the halls of academia. Shields masterfully recounts Williams’s development as an author, whose other works include the novels Butcher’s Crossing and Augustus (for the latter, Williams shared the 1972 National Book Award). Shields also reveals the astonishing afterlife of Stoner, which garnered new fans with each American reissue, and then became a bestseller all over Europe after Dutch publisher Lebowski brought out a translation in 2013. Since then, Stoner has been published in twenty-one countries and has sold over a million copies.

The Dictionary of Made Up Languages

Author: Stephen D Rogers
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781440530395
Release Date: 2011-10-15
Genre: Reference

Can you converse in Klingon? Ask an Elf the time of day? Greet a speaker of Esperanto? These are among the more than 100 constructed languages you'll find in this book. For each one, author Stephen D. Rogers provides vocabulary, grammatical features, background information on the language and its inventor, and fascinating facts. What's more, easy-to-follow guidelines show you how to construct your own made-up language--everything from building vocabulary to making up a grammar. So pick up this dictionary! In no time, you'll be telling your friends, "Tsun oe nga-hu ni-Na'vi pangkxo a fì-'u oe-ru prrte' lu." ("It's a pleasure to be able to chat with you in Navi.")

Now What

Author: Nicholas Lore
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781416565949
Release Date: 2008-05-06
Genre: Business & Economics

The impolite truth nobody mentions in college commencement speeches: "Many of you have just spent four years and a small fortune studying something you will never use, and, if you do, you won't like all that much. Have a nice life." Up until now, you've had to rely on hit-and-miss methods of picking your career that lead to only 30 percent of college graduates reporting satisfaction with their careers. That's because up until now there has never been a book that guides you through the difficult process of designing a career that gives you the best chance for both high-level success and satisfaction. But career guru Nicholas Lore has found a way to show you how to custom design a career where you will: Look forward to going to work Be extremely successful and productive Use your natural talents fully in work that fits your personality Be highly respected because you excel at your work In Now What?, he helps you put all the pieces together to make wise decisions about what you will do with your life and how you can best go about setting and accomplishing your life and work goals. You'll also learn the skills you need to live an extraordinary life. Filled with charts, worksheets, and quizzes, Now What? is the cutting-edge guide for choosing a career that fits you perfectly -- whether you're a college student, a twentysomething already out in the working world, or a high school student just getting started.

Baudolino

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547537212
Release Date: 2003-10-06
Genre: Fiction

It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story. Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts-a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. When still a boy he meets a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander-who proves to be Emperor Frederick Barbarossa-adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East-a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens. With dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, extraordinary feeling, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age, this is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best.

Impossible Languages

Author: Andrea Moro
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262034890
Release Date: 2016-09-02
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

An investigation into the possibility of impossible languages, searching for the indelible "fingerprint" of human language.

Marking Time

Author: Duncan Steel
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 9780471437178
Release Date: 2001-05-22
Genre: Science

"If you lie awake worrying about the overnight transition from December 31, 1 b.c., to January 1, a.d. 1 (there is no year zero), then you will enjoy Duncan Steel's Marking Time."--American Scientist "No book could serve as a better guide to the cumulative invention that defines the imaginary threshold to the new millennium."--Booklist A Fascinating March through History and the Evolution of the Modern-Day Calendar . . . In this vivid, fast-moving narrative, you'll discover the surprising story of how our modern calendar came about and how it has changed dramatically through the years. Acclaimed author Duncan Steel explores each major step in creating the current calendar along with the many different systems for defining the number of days in a week, the length of a month, and the number of days in a year. From the definition of the lunar month by Meton of Athens in 432 b.c. to the roles played by Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, and Isaac Newton to present-day proposals to reform our calendar, this entertaining read also presents "timely" tidbits that will take you across the full span of recorded history. Find out how and why comets have been used as clocks, why there is no year zero between 1 b.c. and a.d. 1, and why for centuries Britain and its colonies rang in the New Year on March 25th. Marking Time will leave you with a sense of awe at the haphazard nature of our calendar's development. Once you've read this eye-opening book, you'll never look at the calendar the same way again.

The Island of the Day Before

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547563893
Release Date: 2006-06-05
Genre: Fiction

After a violent storm in the South Pacific in the year 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked-on a ship. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the different cabinets in the hold, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the Thirty Years' War in which he lost his father and his illusions; and the lessons given him on Reasons of State, fencing, the writing of love letters, and blasphemy. In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitudes, the four moons of Jupiter, and the Flood.

A Perfect Pet for Peyton

Author: Gary D. Chapman
Publisher: Moody Publishers
ISBN: 9780802481443
Release Date: 2012-12-26
Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne help children learn about the importance of love in this wonderfully imaginative and classically illustrated children’s hardcover book featuring four-color illustrations (with hidden details!) by Wilson Williams, Jr., and based on Gary’s bestselling The 5 Love Languages. Each child in this entertaining and playful story learns that they have a primary love language that when "spoken" by others, makes them feel loved. As the five children in the story interact with Mr. Chapman and the unique animals at his special zoo/museum/theme park/birthday party palace, they come to understand their own love language! Readers, especially children ages 5–8, are sure to recognize their own love language as the story develops, and at the end of the book is a fun quiz that will help parents and children identify their own love language. The cast of child characters in this whimsical story include: Penny, Peyton's twin sister, who receives love best when others spend quality time with her. Mr. Chapman introduces Penny to Horace, a Ragdoll Cat who just wants to be with Penny. Jayla, one of Penny's close friends, is always saying nice things about people. Her love language is words of affirmation. Jayla's perfect pet pal is Pamela, an African Grey Parrot, who repeats the nice things Jayla says about others. Kevin, one of Peyton's close friends, enjoys giving things to people. So does his special pet Chipo, a Capuchin Monkey! Sofia loves to pet the animals, and to show her love for others with special hugs. Physical touch is Sofia's love language. Snuggles