As a defining characteristic of what it means to be human, the use of language plays a central role in almost all human activity. Language functions as a cornerstone in the construction of our identity and in the relationships we build. It takes a central role in facilitating every enterprise we undertake, creates the thread which forms our own biographies, and enables us to play a part in the transmission and maintenance of our culture.
This pervasive nature of language means that it may form the starting point for an investigation into virtually any aspect of social life. In recent years, this has led to a stretching of the boundaries of language studies, prompted by an intense cross-fertilisation of ideas with a wide range of disciplines. It is this cross-fertilisation which forms the focus of the present collection. Taken together, the thirteen papers it contains provide an absorbing, rich array of subjects touched by the centrality of language. Encompassing themes from social psychology, translation theory, computer science, forensics, educational policy, language change, archaeology, and literature, the collection demonstrates that the study of language offers limitless possibilities to aid an understanding of the world in which we live.
International in scope, the collection includes contributions from scholars well-established in their fields, at work in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Asia. As such, the collection offers a stimulating perspective for readers in a wide range of contexts, whether they themselves are principally concerned with language or are simply eager to see how the study of language may be relevant to their own discipline.