Covers the major aspects of linguistics. This guide begins at the 'arts' end of the subject and finishes at the 'science' end, with the discoveries regarding language in the brain. It looks at the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space, grammar and dictionaries and phonetics.
Drawing on research on the history of Ireland since 1800, this book challenges some of the assumptions which underpin this research. It explores the 'Irish Question' and argues that there were in fact many Irish Questions articulated and assessed according to the particular social, political, and economic conditions in which they developed.
Examines Shakespeare's plays, showing how he dramatized moral and intellectual issues in such a way that his audience became dazzlingly aware of an imaginative dimension to daily life. This book argues that as long as Shakespeare's work remains central to English cultural life, it will retain the values, which make it unique in the world.
Is our sexuality a product of our genes, or of society, culture, and politics? How have views of sexual norms changed over time? And how have feminism, religion, and HIV/AIDS affected our attitudes to sex? This Very Short Introduction examines these questions and many more, exploring what shapes our sexuality, and how our sexuality shapes us.
An introduction to the fundamental constituents of the universe. Beginning with a guide to what matter is made of and how it evolved, the author goes on to describe the techniques used to study it. He discusses quarks, electrons, and the neutrino, exotic matter, and antimatter. He also investigates the forces of nature, accelerators, and more.
Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how it has gradually informed all aspects of 20th and 21st century life.
Around 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water. In this Very Short Introduction John Finney explores the science of water, its structure and remarkable properties, and its vital role for life on Earth.
This book introduces readers to the concepts of political philosophy - authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time.
This book provides an historical account of feminism, exploring its earliest roots and key issues such as voting rights and the liberation of the sixties. Margaret Walters brings the subject completely up to date by providing a global analysis of the situation of women, from Europe and the United States to Third World countries.
The Etruscans (c. 900 - 400 BC) were a highly sophisticated and wealthy elite. Christopher Smith explores their archaeological record and the myths that remain about their existence. Placing the Etruscans within the context of the historical period and geographical location, he looks at how they have been perceived and received throughout history.
Are we born with our fears or do we learn them? Why do our fears persist? What purpose does anxiety serve? In this Very Short Introduction we discover what anxiety is, what causes it, and how it can be treated. Looking at six major anxiety disorders, the authors introduce us to this most ubiquitous and essential of emotions.
The heritage of literature in the French language is rich, varied, and extensive in time and space. This Very Short Introduction presents this lively literary world by focusing on texts (epics, novels, plays, poems, screenplays) that concern protagonists whose adventures and conflicts reveal shifts in literary and social practices.
Plants are a fundamental part of the biosphere and their evolution has directly affected animal life, and the Earth's climate. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise account of the nature of plants, their variety, their evolution, and their importance and uses, stressing the importance of conservation for the future.
Rastafari has grown into an international socio-religious movement, with adherents of Rastafari found in most of the major population centres and outposts of the world. This Very Short Introduction provides a brief account of this widespread but often poorly understood movement, looking at its history, central principles, and practices.
Environmental economics can be controversial, but it is also central to some key policy issues facing governments and society today, including industrial pollution, global warming, and waste/recycling. Stephen Smith looks at how economic activity affects the environment in which we live, and how environmental policies can most effectively be used.
Blood is a vital component of the bodies of most multicellular animals. Chris Cooper discusses blood's critical role in both biology and in human society, ranging from its place in religious rituals to its uses in modern medicine.
In this Very Short Introduction, Sebastian Amyes explores the nature of bacteria. As a fundamental branch of life, they inhabit every part of the Earth's surface. Amyes examines their origin and evolution, bacteria in the environment, and bacteria and disease, to demonstrate the fundamental role they play in our existence.