A concise, wide-ranging discussion of the physical, mental, and linguistic aspects of human speech. A sampling: about 75% of our communication time is spent in talking and listening; 85% of what we know was learned by listening. To mediate all this communication power, the brain has a remarkable network of symbol, sound, and meaning associations; even the mechanics of speech require split-second timing. The speech center of Europeans is in the left brain; of Japanese, the right brain. Machines and animals can speak, but without understanding; only dolphins and some lower primates have been taught to use symbols to communicate. Areas such as these and more--speech disorders, ways to improve spoken communication, linguistic quirks--are clearly and concisely discussed; there is a generous, broad-ranging bibliography for those who want more. Diagrams would aid understanding, however, and some topics are so terse as to be merely teasers; but, all in all, this is a marvelously intelligent and accessible book. Index.