Language in Thought & Action

by S. I. Hayakawa

Hardcover, 1972




HBJ (1972), Edition: 3rd, 289 pages


In an era when communication has become increasingly diverse and complex, this classic work on semantics--now fully revised and updated--distills the relationship between language and those who use it.   Renowned professor and former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa discusses the role of language in human life, the many functions of language, and how language--sometimes without our knowing--shapes our thinking in this engaging and highly respected book. Provocative and erudite, it examines the relationship between language and racial and religious prejudice; the nature and dangers of advertising from a linguistic point of view; and, in an additional chapter called "The Empty Eye," the content, form, and hidden message of television, from situation comedies to news coverage to political advertising.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member annbury
This book is a classic, which first appeared in 1939 and was most recently updated and revised in 1991. Clearly, we are not talking cutting edge here, but this book did introduce the concepts of semantics to many, many readers. I was one of them: this was the first serious book about language that I read, at the age of 10 in 1954, and it triggered an interest that has lasted through my life. First time readers will find ideas in Hayakawa's book -- that language affects what we think and what we do -- that are important and still fresh.… (more)
LibraryThing member hailelib
Not what I was expecting, but very interesting and enjoyable reading. How language shapes our thinking and, sometimes, derails our thinking. Something here for the philosopher, the historian, and the linguist.
LibraryThing member chriszodrow
A classic. I try to read this at least once a year since I first read it in 1998.
LibraryThing member echaika
This is actually a reprint of his famous 1939 book and a world of sociolinguistic research has accrued since then, but this was the pioneering text. It is still interesting and fun to read, but don't stop here. It's a very interesting field.



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