An excellent first text on the origins of speech and writing and the fascinating ways they have changed through the ages. In simplified from here is word history written with accuracy and a zest that should pull the shortest of the ""short hairs."" That ""hello"" was invented with the telephone sets up the principle that words follow on needs- and the stage for a look at early wordless man. From then on it's smooth sailing into many branches of philology- language development, divisions of the Indo-European trunk, how one language can influence many others (Latin, for example), linguistic similarities, word roots, the gap between spelling and pronunciation , grammar lags, changes in word meanings, how slang is made and so on. Very good going.