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Dark Tongues
Author: Daniel Heller-Roazen

ISBN: 9781935408338
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 18 July 2013
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88 x 2.54
Description:


Dark Tongues constitutes a sustained exploration of a perplexing fact that has never received the attention it deserves. Wherever human beings share a language, they also strive to make from it something new: a cryptic idiom, built from the grammar that they know, which will allow them to communicate in secrecy. Such hidden languages come in many shapes. They may be playful or serious, children's games or adults' work. They may be as impenetrable as foreign tongues, or slightly different from the idioms from which they spring, or barely perceptible, their existence being the subject of uncertain, even unlikely, suppositions.

The first recorded jargons date to the time of the Renaissance, when writers across Europe noted that obscure languages had suddenly come into use. A varied cast of characters -- lawyers, grammarians, and theologians -- denounced these new forms of speech, arguing that they were tools of crime, plotted in tongues that honest people could not understand. Before the emergence of these modern jargons, however, the artificial twisting of languages served a different purpose. In epochs and regions as diverse a...

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