The study of language has evolved dramatically over the last thirty years. We know more about language use and development than ever before. But many of these new ideas can challenge our notions of identity and our sense of uniqueness. Word of Mouth introduces these ideas and explores the power of words to shape and influence our lives. The book starts with a discussion of the evolution of language and then goes on to examine major areas in the field of language study: communication, media, social function, grammatical structure and psychology. Each chapter begins by considering our everyday encounter with language and then develops a view of the subject which fits with our experience as inhabitants of the 21st century. This fully revised and updated edition contains new material throughout, including more discussion of the possible origins of language, the impact of digital media and the study of politeness. With a fresh, engaging and jargon-free approach to the subject, the book is an enjoyable and intellectually exciting exploration of language. This new edition of Word of Mouth is the ideal introductory guide to language for both general readers and students.