What Happens When People Talk
by PETER FARB 350 pages. Knopf. $8.95.
By manipulating its throat while it growled, Alexander Graham Bell once tried to teach a dog to say "How are you, Grandma?" In the latter half of the 20th century, Homo loquens (man the talker) has been rediscovered to be a wonder beside which Bell's talking dog would rate only as a very minor marvel -even if Rover had recited the whole Gettysburg Address to Grandma. The infinitely subtle strategies of man speaking to man, the remarkable social utility of a...