A professor of linguistics at the University of Nevada writes a spirited and lengthy commentary on the English language to illustrate and clarify its many knotty problems for the more learned layman. Before branching off into the study of English (and American) proper, Mr. Laird delves into the development of language (the hypothetical troglodyte Og's first ""Bup"") and the roots- Indo-European, Proto-Germanic etc. from which our own tongue sprung. His style is often glib, but never without pith. While sprinkled with light hearted references and analogies with which he prefaces his topics, his material never fails to come down to the brass tack that awakens us to the miracle of speech itself, its mechanics, the growth of vocabulary, and the many, many reasons for it, cultural change, the new usage, the plea for a new grammar that describes language as it is used, and the aspects of English that recommend it as a world language. A broad based book, well referenced, cognizant of the philosophical implications of language, that should bring enjoyment as a supplement to the many others in the field.