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Language Arts & Disciplines Communication Studies


A Life of Language Love

by (author) Julie Sedivy

Farrar Straus & Giroux
Initial publish date
Oct 2024
Communication Studies
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2024
    List Price

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A celebration of the beauty and mystery of language and how it shapes our lives, our loves, and our world.
If there is one feature that defines the human condition, it is language: written, spoken, signed, understood, and misunderstood, in all its infinite glory. In this ingenious, lyrical exploration, Julie Sedivy draws on years of experience in the lab and a lifetime of linguistic love to bring the discoveries of linguistics home, to the place language itself lives: within the yearnings of the human heart and amid the complex social bonds that it makes possible.
Linguaphile: A Life of Language Love follows the path that language takes through a human life—from an infant’s first attempts at sense-making to the vulnerabilities and losses that accompany aging. As Sedivy shows, however, language and life are inextricable, and here she offers them together: a childish misunderstanding of her mother’s meaning reveals the difficulty of relating to other minds; frustration with “professional” communication styles exposes the labyrinth of standards that define success; the first signs of hearing loss lead to a meditation on society’s discomfort with physical and mental limitations.
Part memoir, part scientific exploration, and part cultural commentary, this book epitomizes the thrills of a life steeped in the aesthetic delights of language and the joys of its scientific scrutiny.

About the author

Aritha van Herk teaches Creative Writing, Canadian Literature and Contemporary Narrative at the University of Calgary. van Herk is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and is active in Canada’s literary and cultural life, writing articles and reviews as well as creative work. Her novel, No Fixed Address, was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Fiction. She is well known in the broader community of the city, the province, and the country as a writer and a public intellectual.

Julie Sedivy's profile page

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