The Quark of Language: Papers on the Psychology of Human Communication (Print Version)

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Sidney J. Baker & John Diamond, M.D.

ISBN: 978-1-944133-07-8 (166 pp.)

The Quark of Language is a remarkable collection of papers on the psychology of language and more general human communication by two seminal figures in the field: the great philologist Sidney J. Baker, and John Diamond, M.D., one of the world’s foremost holistic healers.

Best known as the author of the classic The Australian Language, Baker also published many papers on language in leading international psychoanalytic and psychological journals between 1945 and 1955. Diamond contacted him in 1966 and with his encouragement Baker produced two more important papers, although battling severe illness. Appearing here in print for the first time, they include “The Quark of Language,” for which this collection is named, which traces the evolution of language back to a single primal sound. This paper is arguably one of the most important statements ever made about the origins of language.


Dr. Diamond offers a personal tribute to Sidney J. Baker and discusses his work, including “The Quark of Language.”

In addition this volume contains two of Baker’s most insightful papers from the 1950s, “The Theory of Silences” and “The Instinctual Origin of Language.” The collection is complemented with three of Diamond’s equally original essays, which were directly inspired by his friendship with Baker. Also included is a moving personal reminiscence of Baker by Dr. Diamond and a complete bibliography of all Baker’s published writings.

Produced at the behest of Dr. Diamond, The Quark of Language is a powerful, long-overdue tribute to Baker and his work, and will be a revelation to anyone interested in the psychology of language.

Sidney John Baker (1912-1976) was born and educated in New Zealand. A journalist, researcher and writer, he had a lifelong fascination with language, which manifested in a series of books on the Australian and New Zealand idiom beginning with New Zealand Slang (1941), many articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica, and numerous psychoanalytically informed research papers. “His interest was undying, his energy unflagging, his fascination with the vitality and life of Australian English endless.” (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

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