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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Language of the Game

Author: Laurent Dubois
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465094493
Release Date: 2018-03-27
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Just in time for the 2018 World Cup, a lively and lyrical guide to appreciating the drama of soccer Soccer is not only the world's most popular sport; it's also one of the most widely shared forms of global culture. The Language of the Game is a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer's history, tactics, and human drama. Profiling soccer's full cast of characters--goalies and position players, referees and managers, commentators and fans--historian and soccer scholar Laurent Dubois describes how the game's low scores, relentless motion, and spectacular individual performances combine to turn each match into a unique and unpredictable story. He also shows how soccer's global reach makes it an unparalleled theater for nationalism, international conflict, and human interconnectedness. Filled with perceptive insights and stories both legendary and little known, The Language of the Game is a rewarding read for anyone seeking to understand soccer better.

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.

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

The Perfect Horse

Author: Elizabeth Letts
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345544810
Release Date: 2016-08-23
Genre: Nature

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food. With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses. Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender. A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor. Praise for The Perfect Horse “Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”—Kirkus Reviews “The Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.”—Culturess “The Perfect Horse is an enthralling and moving story that I could not put down. This is a riveting and unique perspective on World War II.”—Molly Guptill Manning, author of When Books Went to War “Passionately told and dazzling in scope, The Perfect Horse charges headlong into an unforgettable tale of World War II, when good men were given a final mission—to save beloved horses—at an hour when no one wanted to die. In Elizabeth Letts, the saga of World War II’s white stallions has found its perfect guardian.”—Adam Makos, author of A Higher Call “Elizabeth Letts’s beautiful prose, woven together with meticulous research, takes you for a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.”—Robin Hutton, author of Sgt. Reckless

Bridge of Words

Author: Esther Schor
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780805090796
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Genre: History

"A history of Esperanto, the utopian "universal language" invented in 1887"--

The Perfect Mother

Author: Aimee Molloy
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062696816
Release Date: 2018-05-01
Genre: Fiction

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE SUMMER—SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING SCANDAL’S KERRY WASHINGTON An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing. A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be. They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time. When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar, they want a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed. Thirteen days. An unexpected twist. The Perfect Mother is a "true page turner." —B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

Author: Umberto Eco
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674503953
Release Date: 1998-07-21
Genre: Literary Criticism

In this exhilarating book, we accompany Umberto Eco as he explores the intricacies of fictional form and method. Using examples ranging from fairy tales and Flaubert, Poe and Mickey Spillane, Eco draws us in by means of a novelist's techniques, making us his collaborators in the creation of his text and in the investigation of some of fiction's most basic mechanisms.