ISBN : 9780198817833
This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Written in the author's usual accessible and engaging style, the book outlines the essential and optional features of language, before concluding that the ideal language does not and probably never will exist.
Preface; 1 Setting the scene; 2 How languages work; 3 What is necessary; 4 What is desirable; 5 What is not (really) needed; 6 How about complexity?; 7 How many words should there be?; 8 The limits of a language; 9 Better for what purpose?; 10 An ideal language; 11 Facing up to the question; Notes and sources; Abbreviations; Acknowledgements; References; Index