xiii, 345 p. diagrs. 21 cm.
(From Dust Jacket)
How to tell the truth when you see it or hear it—and how to tell a lie when you read it or hear it—is of vital importance in this day of propaganda and censorship. If you want to speak accurately, read intelligently, and understand the world of words in which you live, you will find this an indispensable book.
When you read a book, listen to a political debate, discuss a business matter, or carry on a social conversation, are you sure that you are getting an accurate idea of what the other person means? You may think you are, or that it is simply a matter of knowing the dictionary "meaning" of a word, but, if you remember the last argument you listened to, you will know that words are as frequently a barrier to communication as they are an aid.
The twentieth century's newest science, semantics, is devoted to the explaining of words with more words, but to observing how human beings react, sometimes sanely, sometimes unsanely, both to the words they hear and to the words they use themselves.
Language in Action now brings this science to the ordinary reader—it is a layman's guidebook through the world of words. Simply and clearly written, it points out with apt and humorous illustration the tricks that we play on ourselves with words, and explains the discipline that can make language not a barrier to, but an instrument for, understanding and co-operation.