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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« The Human Larynx | Main | How Did You Find Me? »



A great piece, thank you. Language evolutionists tend to obsess about syntax, but the voicing that underlies it carries so much of the interpersonal meaning that enacts our social lives, and presumably did so long before words came along to complicate things.


The vowels carry the emotions, eh?




Oh, that was a good one.


Yes a wry point. It's the tone of hmmm that expresses the interpersonal meaning "I'm not sure I agree with your blog about vowels" :-)

More precisely, voicing carries the emotions, rather than just vowels. Or the fuller version...articulation (vowels and consonants forming syllables) carries rhythm (sequences of stressed and unstressed syllables) which carries intonation (including tone). Interpersonal meanings including emotions are expressed by variations in tone (rising and falling pitch movements).

From this angle speech is a carrier wave (articulation), modulated by amplitude (rhythm) and frequency (intonation). Hm?

kare anderson

I just finished reading Anne's book and had put post-its on the same favorites as you. In fact, as I am writing this I am listening to our Michale krasney (The Forum on KQED in San Francisco) is interviewing a somewhat flustered (she had trouble getting a phone line through from the UK). Michael commented on their voice tones th(his and hers) during the interview and she choose to ignore them and continued to discuss her book. Ah how our humanity leaks out. What a great blog you have!
I signed up to keep getting it.

coco wang

this was a great, imformational piece of knowlege, it is wonderful.


"From the moment they're born, babies exploit the full vocal range available to them, using their whole body to make a sound, the shoulders and neck are free, the mouth open, the breath travels freely from the lower abdomen..." of many stunning facts in the book by Anne.

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