e99 Online Shopping Mall

Geometry.Net - the online learning center Help  
Home  - Science - Language And Linguistics (Books)

  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

1. Linguistic Perspectives on Language
2. Linguistics of American Sign Language:
3. Language and Linguistics: An Introduction
4. Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction
5. Magic, Power, Language, Symbol:
6. Australian Sign Language (Auslan):
7. Cognitive Exploration of Language
8. Language History, Language Change,
9. The Language Instinct: How the
10. Fossilization in Adult Second
11. Longman Dictionary of Language
12. Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics
13. Language Universals and Linguistic
14. In the Land of Invented Languages:
15. Understanding Language: Towards
16. American Indian Languages: The
17. The English Language: A Historical
18. English as a Global Language
19. Linguistics, Sixth Edition: An
20. Linguistic Perspectives on Second

1. Linguistic Perspectives on Language and Education
by Anita Barry
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-06-10)
list price: US$46.40 -- used & new: US$39.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131589288
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This book provides teachers with the background knowledge for understanding the role linguistics plays in literacy development.  It fits the linguistics for teachers course, a topic that is front and center of the field's need for pre-service and in-service teachers to understand language development and the role morphology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax plays in literacy development and language acquisition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars linguistic textbook
The text was required for my historical linguistics class. The book is actually smooth and not a burden to read. I think it is relevant for people thinking of teaching a second language to students.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bogus
This is irrational that the kindle version of this book is more expensive than the paper one.There is no printing or supplies involved.This item should be more affordable. ... Read more

2. Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction, 4th Ed.
by Clayton Valli, Ceil Lucas, Kristin J. Mulrooney
Hardcover: 560 Pages (2005-08-15)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$54.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563682834
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Featuring a completely revised section on morphology and syntax, 18 new and updated readings, and new homework assignments based on the accompanying DVD, the fourth edition of Linguistics of American Sign Language expands its purview as the standard introduction to ASL linguistics available today. The newly revised section offers new units on verbs in ASL, simple sentences in ASL, classifier predicates, syntax, and basic sentence types. The fourth edition also features groundbreaking research on iconic signs in ASL and the relationship between metaphor and iconicity in signed languages; variation in ASL; the different functions of space in ASL; and the artistic forms of ASL, including storytelling, percussion signing, drama, comedy, and poetry.

Updated references and expanded readings delineate all of the linguistic basics, including phonology, semantics, and language use. The fourth edition also provides new homework assignments that correspond to the ASL stories signed on the special DVD enclosed with this new volume.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Linguistics Book Review
This book was required for my ASL III class. It is not something I would normally read, but it does have interesting information. The book came cellophane wrapped and in perfect condition. Just as stated. Came very quickly too. :-)

3-0 out of 5 stars Depends on the audience
If you are going to take only one linguistics class, and it has to be on the linguistics of signed languages, then this is an adequate text on the subject. If, however, you are trying to be a little better-rounded, I'd recommend reading a non-sign-specific Intro to linguistics text -- one that covers the basics primarily with spoken languages in mind -- then read the fundamental papers covered in Valli et al.

My reasoning behind this is twofold. First, the general linguistics component of this book is pretty weak, and appears to owe a lot to Language Files. Second, this text was designed for use at Gallaudet University, which seems determined to repeat the sins of other, more traditional programs, only through their particular looking-glass. Most linguistics departments are guilty of working with only half the data, namely the spoken languages of the world, in spite of the fact that signed languages have been acknowledged as fully-fledged languages for decades. Gallaudet's remedy? Only cover the other half of the data. If the goal of a general linguistics course of study is to get a broad picture of Language in its diversity, neither approach is sufficient -- and I would extend that to ASL/English (or ASL/Spanish, etc.) interpreters, as they need to speak and think intelligently about *both* their working languages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good
It was shipped earlier than the date listed on the site. Product is in great condition. Completely no hassle!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the structure of ASL
This is an excellent book to understand the meaning of ASL and to analyze it.It is NOT a how to sign book, it is for those who know ASL at an intermediate level at least.It is a very interesting book and covers ALOT of information, but the homework activities included help absorb the information.It challenges your thinking.

I do suggest that you only read this book if you are really serious about ASL.It is a good book for those learning to be interpreters.

This book goes over the structure of ASL such as the phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and sociolinguistic structures.It teaches you how to think critically about ASL linguistics so you can have a better understanding of the structure as well as the history of the language, NOT a history of the people who use the language, but a history of the language itself and its changes from as early as the 1960's, by looking into the research linguists have done and are doing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Advanced ASL Syntax and Structure Book - Not For Beginners
The Linguistics of American Sign Language explains the morphology and syntax of ASL, not so much the 'how' as the 'why.'This book is useful for the advanced student of ASL, but not particularly helpful for a beginner.The authors, all current or former professors at Gallaudet University, explain in great detail the nuances of American Sign Language.
... Read more

3. Language and Linguistics: An Introduction
by John Lyons
Paperback: 366 Pages (1981-05-29)
list price: US$44.99 -- used & new: US$29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521297753
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A general introduction to linguistics and the study of language, intended particularly for beginning students and readers with no previous knowledge or training in the subject. There is first a general account of the nature of language and of the aims, methods and basic principles of linguistic theory. John Lyons then introduces in turn each of the main sub-fields of linguistics: the sounds of language, grammar, semantics, language change, psycholinguistics: the sounds of language, grammar, semantics, language change, psycholinguistics, language and culture. Throughout the book he emphasizes particularly those aspects of the discipline that seem fundamental and most likely to remain important. He stresses throughout the cultural at least as much as the biological context of human language, and shows how the linguist's concerns connect productively with those of the traditional humanities and the social sciences. The book is designed to be used as an elementary textbook, and is therefore written at a lower level and is more comprehensive in scope than the author's classic Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 1968). Each chapter has a wide-ranging set of discussion questions and revision exercises, and extensive suggestions for further reading. The exposition is marked throughout by the author's characteristic clarity, balance and authority. ... Read more

4. Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction
by Milton M. Azevedo
Paperback: 354 Pages (2005-03-14)
list price: US$48.99 -- used & new: US$24.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521805155
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This accessible introduction to the linguistic structure of Portuguese looks at its social and historical background. In addition to covering the central topics of syntax, phonology, morphology, semantics and pragmatics, it explores the development of the language, the spread of Portuguese in the world, and sociolinguistic issues such as dialect variation and language planning. Keeping linguistic theory to a minimum, the book focuses on presenting linguistic facts within a useful global survey of the language and its issues. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars This book is full of incorrect information
Somehow I have the feeling that author tries too hard to find ''average'' or ''transatlantic'' Portuguese usage in which differences between Continental and SouthernAmerican usage are minimized...But, by doing so, you get a distorted idea of both Continental and Brazilian Portuguese.
The only chapter worth reading is the one on Brazilian diglossia.

5-0 out of 5 stars An extremely accessible, readable, lucid introduction to both applied linguistics and the Portuguese language
I wish I had found this sooner. It would have been a useful resource for my graduate students in applied linguistics.The focus we chose in our seminar, of preparing ESL materials for Brasilian students and visitors to the U.S. is the "inverse" of the the author's attempt to provide a thorough linguistics-based orientation for English-speakers learning Portuguese. Nevertheless, valuable comparisons can be found throughout this very amenable introduction to linguistics for ESL or EFL teachers who are English-speakers with limited to no knowledge of Portuguese who are attempting to anticipate useful comparisons or as I have decided to call them to avoid the pejorative impression given by talking about "contrasts/conflicts"---"opportunities for clarification".

As possible areas of need for clarification are identified through error analysis of the learners' "interlanguage", this thorough contrastive study provides the vocabulary and information needed to be able to provide guidance to English speakers learning Portuguese, and with some further inference and experience to support reversing the direction of the analysis, to assist Portuguese speakers who are further refining their command of English as a Foreign or Second Language.

I do not dispute the previous reviewer's concerns about inaccuracies in a few details regarding differences in European and Brasilian Portuguese, as I certainly lack any credentials to judge that. I did notice a few minor typographical/copy-editing errors of the sort that seem to plague everything that has been published in the last twenty years, but that hardly inclines me to blame the author, who probably had little or no opportunity to review every page and line of the final copy.

Nevertheless, after spending "time and treasure" trudging through a number of other sources, none of which were accessible to novice students of applied linguistics, few of which were readable for those who like to read with their eyes open, and none of which could be described as "lucid", much less useful for practical purposes...I certainly cannot find justification for rating this as less than a 5-star career achievement for the author and a positive delight for me as a reader and as a lecturer seeking useful examples of applied linguistics which fulfill some of the promise of that approach, with few of the defects of other writers who lack the ability to select and relate the pertinent aspects of a field of study which has evolved in a series of wild gyrations between intriguing theories and practical misuses.

Thank you, Professor Azevedo, you "made my day"!

3-0 out of 5 stars It could be better
This book contains a good deal of relevant information, but its impressive linguistic jargon may distract from the book's defects.

A rather irritating feature is that a Latin language like Portuguese is analyzed from an Anglophone angle. Where it does not fit, it is 'wrong', as particularly evident in the distorted treatment given to the 'se indeterminado'.

Claimed contrasts between Brazilian and European Portuguese are erratic and full of incorrect statements. The expression 'a gente' appears in this book as a Brazilian Portuguese vulgar alternative to the 1st person plural, overlooking the fact that it is equally and widely used in Portugal. At the most elementary level, this book has yet to learn that the European Portuguese for bathroom is not 'casa de banhos' but 'casa de banho'.

I was also disappointed with the pages on forms of address. Inaccuracies are everywhere, e.g., using 'tu' for maids in Portugal would not be an expression of solidarity as the book tells you but a way of talking down to them.

This takes me to something else I find rather irritating. In the bibliography at the end of the book plenty of minor works are included but some key works are missing. Unfortunate lapse!

In the chapter on forms of address the book states that a study has not been carried out yet on this topic. What about the excellent analysis by Manuela Cook, Uma teoria das formas de tratatmento na lingua portuguesa, published by Georgetown University in Hispania in 1997. This book should know about it!

Summing up, there is some good information in this book, but it could be better. It could be much better. ... Read more

5. Magic, Power, Language, Symbol: A Magician's Exploration of Linguistics
by Patrick Dunn
Paperback: 288 Pages (2008-08-08)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$5.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738713600
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Postmodern Theory for a Pre-Modern Practice

From the sigils of chaos magic to the numerical code of Qabalah, all magical practices operate in a web of symbols and language. Yet academics seldom examine the role that semiotics and linguistics play in the unfolding of magical works.

In the follow-up to his debut Postmodern Magic, Patrick Dunn returns once again to the theoretical realm of the sign, the signified, and the changeable perceptions of a slippery reality. Intellectual and aggressively modern, his language-driven perspective on magic touches on all elements voiced and written, from speaking in tongues and creating mantras to composing Enochian spells and working with gematria. A hefty appendix includes exercises that put Dunn's theories to work, as well as the first published dictionary of English alphabet numerology.

Highly literate and highly readable, Magic, Power, Language, Symbol will tickle the minds of theory-thirsty academics and seasoned mages alike, as well as anyone else eager to examine the manufacture of meaning.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars The Professor returns
Professor Dunn returns with his second book, and it's well worth reading. This one delves into some places that hisPostmodern Magic touched upon. Prof. Dunn here gives technical pointers on the use of language to facilitate magical practice. People might look at this and think, "duhh...," however, most people actually have not given this subject the attention it really deserves. This book is full of "I never thought of that!" moments, and any practitioner is bound to come away from it with new practical ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
highly detailed, this book fulfills it's claims. a great breakdown of the esoteric uses of linguistics. goes great with Robert Anton Wilson and Umberto Eco!

5-0 out of 5 stars The power of words in magic - The magical power of words
A welcome addition to the growing body of metaphysical literature, "Magic Power Language Symbol" details a linguistic theory of magical and occult practice.Written by Patrick Dunn, a scholar of linguistics and known for his previous work "Postmodern Magic" (not a prerequisite for this book), it deals with aspects of magic that are mysteriously absent in virtually all other treatments.Being someone without any prior knowledge of linguistics, the book opened up a world of ideas that, had I not been interested in theories on magic, would have probably been ignored; and to great detriment, since I now see how pervasive language is in all aspects of life.

One must wonder after reading this book: why do most books on magic ignore the importance of words?True, there exists explanations on why specific words are present in rituals-- various God-names or angelic powers; even techniques like Hebrew gematria or notariqon (words made from acronyms) are dealt with extensively in other treatments.But all fail to explain the power of words on the subconscious mind.Patrick Dunn imparts clear explainations on why words and language are so powerful in magic, and you will also understand the magical power of words.

The mystery of words in magic should be obvious to anyone who takes but a moment to consider the magical jargon.After all, a ritual designed to cause some effect in the world is called a "spell".Spelling we know from, well, spelling words.Moreover, a book of magical rituals is called a "grimoire", which is a French term meaning "book of grammar".On top of that, the patron deity of magic is Thoth-Hermes, the God of writing and language.

"Magic Power Language Symbol" explains this mystery.It is highly recommended for all interested in the power of words, the use of words in ritual, as well as those interested in theories of how magic actually works.In addition, it is recommended for a general audience, for the very important reason that word-magic can be used against you without you knowing it.Just turn on the news-- you'll see what I mean!

After two introductory chapters dealing with theories of symbols and language (linguistics) as they relate to magic, the chapters move on to specific topics, and can be read independently.The middle chapters treat incantations, sigils, Enochian, speaking in tongues, Qabalah (that is, literal Qabalah-- gematria, notariqon, temurah, etc.), and mantras.The final two chapters are the best and are probably some of the author's finest ideas.Chapter nine deals with myth and metaphor, detailing how they inform the magical consciousness.Chapter ten explains the power, positive or negative, of self-talk-- that is, how the internal dialogue we use actually programs our subconscious mind, which can give us disturbed feelings if used negatively, or else empowered feelings if used positively.This final chapter would be very beneficial to anyone who may be going through therapy or taking medication and wants to find a more empowering way of coping.These techniques are non-ritualistic, so could be profited from by those who do not consider themselves magicians.

The only drawback is that the practical exercises are relegated to an appendix at the back of the book.I didn't really notice them until I finished the book, and was disappointed by this, since I would have liked to have seen them at the end of the chapters instead.However, there are discussions that hint at practical techniques spread throughout the text.It must be given praise, since it could have been written in a very abstruse style, coming from a linguist, but it is actually very readable.Overall, a fantastic book, recommended to all, and may even become a classic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Recommended with reservations.
The author covers the basics of linguistics, touches on chaos magic, and briefly explores some older magical alphabets, particularly Enochian. There is little here that any language major or well-read layman hasn't encountered on alphabet formation, language families and history, and linguistic theory. Dunn revisits the elements of Jewish magic, skims the surface of Greco-Egyptian necromantic sorcery, and briefly discusses sigilization and its discontents. Metaphor is addressed, but a better understanding of how metaphor lies its way to truth may be better appreciated by reading Lakoff and Johnson's original work.

I have never quite understood why matching the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with the major arcana of the tarot is thought to be meaningful. The Judeo-Christian tradition held that Hebrew was both a language of divine revelation and mankind's original form of speech, hence magical. Neither claim could be entertained by any informed person, least of all a pagan. If the author enjoys doodling in Hebrew, so be it. Whatever works. For those with little or no interest in Hebrew, however, some sections of the book can be skipped. It is my guess that orthodox Jews invested so much energy in playing speculative games with the Hebrew alphabet because Judaism frowned on representational art. Obviously modern magicians labor under no such restrictions. Give me art over alphabet any day.

For those beginning to feel their way through the magical maze, this book offers some useful information and tools. Certainly our (mis)use of language deserves careful reflection and Patrick Dunn has many relevant if not particularly original observations to make on this subject. Since magic in the Western tradition is tightly language-bound, attention must be paid to the pitfalls. The book is therefore recommended with the above reservations.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good explanation of the connection between linguistics and magic
Overall, I was fairly impressed by this book. I think Dunn does an excellent job of explaining a lot of the theories behind language and magic, as well as showing how theories can be made into practice. He explores concepts of gematria, glossalia, metaphor, semiotics and much more and in the process makes all the concepts approachable and easy to understand. In fact, I think that's the strength of this book. It's written so that anyone can pick up the book, read about the concepts, and put them into practice, though at least in the case of gematria, readers will probably need to have a decent familiarity with Quabala.

I also liked his explanation of the semiotic web and the Defixio. In both cases he not only explains the theory, but also provides personal anecdotes and suggestions for how the reader can incorporate those practices into his/her work. I think his latest book is a good introduction to linguistics and magic, and he provides the reader some other works to explore once they finish his work.

I did have two minor issues which made this book a four out of five for me. The fourth appendix of the book has a bunch of practical exercises for the book. It seems odd that the exercises are placed at the end of the book, instead of incorporated into the book. I'm not sure if that a decision of the publisher or the author. The other issue is that while he does cover a lot of the connection between linguistics and magic, he doesn't cover much of the contemporary work occurring with linguistics or magic. He dedicates only a small section to the contemporary work. That said, this a good primer for linguistics and magic and how the two disciplines can be brought together. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in branching outward from more conventional approaches to magic. ... Read more

6. Australian Sign Language (Auslan): An introduction to sign language linguistics
by Trevor Johnston, Adam Schembri
Paperback: 338 Pages (2007-02-19)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$29.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521540569
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This is first comprehensive introduction to the linguistics of Auslan, the sign language of Australia. Assuming no prior background in language study, it explores each key aspect of the structure of Auslan, providing an accessible overview of its grammar (how sentences are structured), phonology (the building blocks of signs), morphology (the structure of signs), lexicon (vocabulary), semantics (how meaning is created), and discourse (how Auslan is used in context). The authors also discuss a range of myths and misunderstandings about sign languages, provide an insight into the history and development of Auslan, and show how Auslan is related to other sign languages, such as those used in Britain, the USA and New Zealand. Complete with clear illustrations of the signs in use and useful further reading lists, this is an ideal resource for anyone interested in Auslan, as well as those seeking a clear, general introduction to sign language linguistics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful and Informative
There are not many books that touch on the linguistics of Australian Sign Language so this book is very helpful for anyone wishing to learn the structure of the language. ... Read more

7. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics (Cognitive Linguistics in Practice)
Hardcover: 274 Pages (2004-05)
list price: US$135.00 -- used & new: US$135.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1588114856
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Preface; XI; Chapter 1; The cognitive basis of language: Language and thought 1; 1.0 Overview 1; 1.1 Introduction: Sign systems 1; 1.2 Structuring principles in language 5; 1.3 Linguistic and conceptual categories 13; 1.4 Summary 20; 1.5 Further reading 21; Assignments 22; Chapter 2; What's in a word? Lexicology 25; 2.0 Overview 25; 2. ... Read more

8. Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship: An Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics (2nd Edition) (Mouton Textbook)
by Hans Henrich Hock, Brian D. Joseph
Paperback: 586 Pages (2009-08-15)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$37.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3110214296
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Why does language change? Why can we speak to and understand our parents but have trouble reading Shakespeare? Why is Chaucer's English of the fourteenth century so different from Modern English of the late twentieth century that the two are essentially different languages? Why are Americans and English 'one people divided by a common language'? And how can the language of Chaucer and Modern English - or Modern British and American English - still be called the same language? The present book provides answers to questions like these in a straightforward way, aimed at the non-specialist, with ample illustrations from both familiar and more exotic languages.Most chapters in this new edition have been reworked, with some difficult passages removed, other passages thoroughly rewritten, and several new sections added, e.g. on language and race and on Indian writing systems. Further, the chapter notes and bibliography have all been updated.Key features widely-used textbook in an updated and revised second edition hands-on approach to the study of historical linguisticshighly accessible through a strongly didactic, reader-friendly orientation ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars prior experience a must
1st of all, historical/comparative linguistics is not something for beginners. historical linguistics in itself doesn't start in college until the 300 level; that means you probablly should have 3 or 4 linguistics classes under your belt already.

2nd historical linguistics is a mountain to climb as it is. without a teacher i don't think anyone could obtain a thorough understanding.

3rd i personally met brian joseph and that guy knows his stuff.

I'm not getting down on the other comment but you gotta crawl before you walk and this is no beginner's book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts off at a simple level, but too abruptly increases in its demands
LANGUAGE HISTORY, LANGUAGE CHANGE, AND LANGUAGE RELATIONSHIP is an introductory textbook to historical/comparative linguistics by Hans Heinrich Hock and Brian D. Joseph. It began as a simplification of Hock's widely respected handbook Principles of Historical Linguistics (De Gruyter, 2nd ed. 1991). Around 85% percent of the content is Hock's distillation of previously written material, while the remaining 15% was contributed by Josephs to, in the publisher's words, "give a fully American perspective". Joseph's contributions are most readily visible in the treatment of the Balkan Sprachbund, one of his research interests.

For about the first 130 pages, this textbook is a fairly admirable introduction to historical linguistics for neophytes, containing remarks on the general phenomenon of language change (i.e. the difference between the Lord's Prayer in Old English and in Modern English), a basic introduction to phonetics and phonology, and an explanation of the divergence of the Indo-European languages. There's even a chapter on writing systems here, which the other introductory textbooks I'm familiar with tend to overlook. Hock's examples are generally drawn from the Indo-European languages, and he seems to assume that the reader will be focusing on this language family. The book may now seem a little dated in its treatment of the glottalic hypothesis as a raging controversy, as that seems to have died down, but the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European generally follows contemporary mainstream lines.

However, the textbook then makes a great jump in what it expects from the reader, going from an appropriately simple tone to one very little different from PRINCIPLES OF HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS. Mouton de Gruyter's typesetting doesn't help, as it follows a style appropriate for a handbook but rather intimidating for a textbook. For those looking to read up on basic historical linguistics, I'd much rather recommend Lyle Campbell's Historical Linguistics, 2nd Edition: An Introduction (MIT Press, 2nd ed. 2004), which is written at a very genial tone throughout. And after that, one should be well-equipped to go straight on to PRINCIPLES OF HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS, skipping this odd mishmash. ... Read more

9. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)
by Steven Pinker
Paperback: 576 Pages (2007-09-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$6.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061336467
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (112)

4-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable insights into how we acquire language

Most of us don't give much thought to the deep structures of the language we use every day, or how we develop such a marvellous tool.We just speak.We may marvel at the speed and ease with which babies acquire language.We may idly wonder about other languages when visiting some exotic country.

"The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker is a useful book for readers who are curious about language.Pinker explains recent discoveries in linguistic theory and discusses such things as language genes and signing chimps.

He also answers some common questions, such as why there are so many languages, why they are so hard for adults to learn and why no one seems to know the plural of "Walkman".

Pinker's central theme is that language is an instinct like many other instincts; it is not a purely cultural invention.Pinker is not the first to suggest this.Darwin also put forward a similar idea.However, the most famous proponent of a language instinct is Noam Chomsky, who is mostly responsible for the modern revolution in linguistic theory.

While the idea of an instinct for language might be jarring to many of us, it does not mean that we are all automatons.In fact some sort of instinct for language is obvious when we think about it.Language is highly logical, even the "ungrammatical" argot of street gangs, pidgins and creoles.

We don't learn to reason from a book, we just "do" it.Reasoning/logic is an intrinsic part of human thought, so obviously our brain has some sort of organisation that produces the ability to reason.Logic is not some innate property of the universe - it is a product of the mind that has evolved because it is incredibly useful to making sense of the world and for planning.Why not language as well?

Until recently, there was no sign language in Nicaragua.In 1979 the first schools for deaf children were set up.Children started to invent their own sign system in playgrounds and on the buses.Gradually, their original "pidgin" sign language developed its own grammar ad spread to other deaf children.Today it is recognised as a fully functional sign language.This is only one remarkable example of our innate capacity for language.

Creoles and pidgins that emerge when two language groups come into contact provide other evidence of the mutability of language.Even single languages are remarkably fluid.This is not apparent in the lifetime of a single individual, apart from the introduction of new words (eg "email") or new meanings for existing words (eg "gay"), but over decades or centuries remarkable changes can occur.The English of Shakespeare is comprehensible, although a little odd, to most people; but the English of Chaucer is virtually incomprehensible to all but scholars.

Pinker discusses many other remarkable cases of language acquisition, especially in children.Children go through very specific stages of language acquisition in their early years.These stages, and how they occur, teach us a great deal about language in general.

He also discusses recent insights into language derived from studies of people who develop highly idiosyncratic language defects following injury to specific parts of the brain.Such studies are especially useful because the brain is largely an invisible "blob."It is not like, say, a dog.We can see that dogs have tails, fur, teeth etc, but we can't see the subtle structures of the brain, so it is hard to intuitively figure out how language works in terms of the detailed structures of the brain and how it might have arisen.

Pinker inevitably has to grapple with the technical jargon of formal linguistics in presenting his arguments.There are many Chomskian linguistic diagrams in the book that can be a little daunting to non-linguists.While the more technical explanations require close attention from the non-specialist reader at times, the book is by no means difficult for general readers.

The Chapter on "The Language Mavens" is a self-indulgent parody of various "language police" and is unworthy of the book.Pinker takes gratuitous shots at people who may be pedants when it comes to preserving formal aspects of language and spelling, but who nevertheless perform a useful service in drawing attention to the "proper" use of their language.Why devote a whole chapter to poking fun at them?

But that is a minor quibble. Pinker's book gave me wonderful insights into the language I love, English.The other day while out walking, I heard a young boy of about 5 or 6 say to his Dad "I want to walk fastly."Pinker's book explains why he made that specific error, and what it says about how we acquire the logic of language and of its irregular constructions.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Language Instinct
The book is very interesting and well written.Steven Pinker is an excellent writer. I am enjoying the book very much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maximum Infotainment Per Kilogram
How many books have I read in six decades?Certainly more than a thousand. "The Language Instinct" is among my favorite half dozen.
I have taken my copy on many trips including fifty mile back-packing trips where it served as the only written entertainment.
My figure of merit for books is infotainment per kilogram (this is pre-Kindle).(My copy is the original 13 oz Harper Edition from 1995.)
Another figure of merit is number of re-reads.The book succeeds on both accounts.

Overwhelmed by the mastery and devotion to detail that Steve Pinker took in writing this, I then heard him speak a few times in California,
was motivated to hear him lecture in London, and finally heard him lecture and interviewed him on a week long trip last year to the Amazon
(detailed at my website (Google "Bob Blum" ). This was the book that rightly catapulted Pinker to fame as an a-list expositor of science along with Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and Daniel Dennett.

While the thesis of the book - language is elaborately built into the hardware - is undoubtedly controversial, the non-specialist
can comfortably ignore the minutia of the debate and instead bask in Pinker's erudition and exposition.While the experts are debating
the fine points of neurolinguistics, the rest of us get to enjoy a masterful and delightful presentation of how language works.I have read all of Pinker's works.This is still my favorite.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book:
I have to say, I really did like Pinker's book. This book the first of its kind that I have ever read so it may not be right for me to comment. However, I found the subject of language acquisition intriguing. Interesting case studies were revealed, however, I would say that maybe too many cases were offered. The writing style is extremely clear and it is a bit humorous. Toward 3/4 through the book, I began to get a little bored, but, again, I must admit that it is mostly because I did not understand the information that he was communicating. (Like I said, I have never read a book like this before.) Particularly interesting was the chapter on the Big Bang theory and how internal grammar structures within an individual can be harmonized with Darwinian evolution. This I found most interesting. However, in my opinion, Pinker did not answer this harmonization with a definite appeal to serious questions raised. It may be the case that I just did not understand what Pinker was implying, but as far as I'm concerned, only half of the questions raised in my head were answered. However, all in all, I found this book to be a helpful started in this area of study. Pinker uses an array of sources and draws from interesting material. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the complexity of language formulation and internal cognitive processes which affect language.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Thorough and Entertaining Introduction to Language
As someone who has had a fascination about languages, this book was the perfect choice for my undergraduate neuroscience class--it's objective is to elucidate how the mind creates language. The prose is extremely well-written and complex ideas clearly explained. Pinker takes the reader on a very fun and thought-provoking journey, providing fascinating insights for both the casually-interested reader and linguists alike. I will highlight on some key points presented throughout.

The first sections illustrate the key themes that Pinker will elaborate on throughout the rest of the book. He presents language as being an evolutionary adaptation that is unique to humans, just as much as a trunk is an adaptation for elephants or sonar for a bat. It is an instinct that we innately are born with. One of the myths about language is the notion that language is taught or transmitted, whether from mother to baby, or from one civilization to another. In actuality, children seem to be born with "Universal Grammar," a blueprint for all grammars on earth. "Virtually every sentence is a brand new combination of words. Therefore a language cannot be a repertoire of responses; the brain must contain a recipe or program that can build an unlimited set of sentences out of a finite list of words (9)." Likewise, there has yet to be a civilization found that is devoid of language. For example, a group of a million people had inhabited an area isolated from the rest of the world in New Guinea for forty thousand years, yet had independently developed their own language, as discovered when first contact was made in the 1920s.

Another important concept presented is "mentalese", a euphemism for a theory of thinking known as "computational/representational theory of mind." It essentially negates the common myth that thought is dependent on language and its corollary, that since people of different backgrounds than us have different languages, they must think differently. There is thought to be a universal "mentalese," and to "know a language" is simply being able to translate mentalese into strings of words in that language.

The second section of the book is a comprehensive summary of the basic parts of language, with plentiful information regarding syntax, phrase structure, morphemes, and more. A key point made is the recent discovery of a common anatomy in all the world's languages, called "X-bar theory." With the general set of rules, children do not have to "learn" lists and lists of rules for each language via rote memorization, but are born knowing the linguistic framework. They are then able to go from speaking a few isolated words to complex yet grammatically coherent sentences in a matter of months.

In the next section, Pinker introduces the concept of the "parser", which is the mental program that analyzes sentence structure during language comprehension. Grammar is simply a protocol, which does not necessitate understanding. In a nutshell, as the person reads a sentence, the parser will group phrases, building "phrase trees", consistent with linguistic rules (for example, a noun phrase is followed by a verb phrase). It is interesting that grammatically correct yet poorly constructed sentences can cause a person great difficulty in comprehension--the rationale is that the parser will not present the person with the correct phrase tree, among copious possible combinations.

Pinker goes on to describe the differences between languages. Despite grammatical difference between languages, such as subject(S)/verb(V)/object(O) order (SVO, SOV, etc), fixed-word-order/free-word-order (if phrase order can vary or not), there are striking similarities. The most prominent are implications--if a language has X, it will have Y. For example, if the basic order of a language is SOV, it will have question words at the beginning of the sentence (234).

Pinker cites three processes that act on languages that result in the differences that we see evident in languages today: innovation, learning, and migration. For example in the case of migration, though the roots of English are from Northern Germany, the existence of thousands of French words in English is the legacy of the invasion of Britain by the Normans in 1066. One of the most broad-reaching relationships between current modern languages can be traced back to the possible existence of a proto-Indo-European language, whose modern-day descendents span from Western Europe to the Indian subcontinent.

Over the final chapters, Pinker elaborates on the amazing explosion of language acquisition in children during their first three years. He explains the significance of Broca's and Wernicke's in language, by examining different cases of aphasia with patients having damage to those areas. Our current understanding of the brain does not allow us to be able to predict what the impact of damage to these areas are from patient to patient--it is frequently witnessed that patients with damage in identical places to these areas have different types of aphasia.

As a final note, Pinker makes a distinction between prescriptive rules, such as grammatical rules that we are taught in school, and descriptive rules, the way people actually talk. In response to the former, he makes a claim that using non-standard English such as "I can't get no satisfaction" versus the standard English "I can't get any satisfaction" is not wrong linguistically, as it is simply a different dialect with an internally consistent grammar. The evident double-negative (which is "wrong" in standard English) is simply a remnant of Middle English, where double-negatives were ubiquitous. As long as the grammatical rules of any language are consistent and systematic, as in the seemingly wrong non-standard English, they follow the descriptive rules and are linguistically correct.

Overall, The Language Instinct is a great read for anyone even remotely interested in the topic. The scope is immense, from basic linguistics, to language development, to language evolution, to genetics, to overall mind design. In addition to being introduced to very important linguistic concepts, you will have an amazing amount of entertaining examples to share in any setting.
... Read more

10. Fossilization in Adult Second Language Acquisition
by ZhaoHong Han
Paperback: 216 Pages (2004-03-29)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$25.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1853596868
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This book is a systematic attempt to address the issue of fossilization in relation to a fundamental question in second language acquisition research, which is: why are learners, adults in particular, unable to develop the level of competence they have aspired to in spite of continuous and sustained exposure to the target language, adequate motivation to learn, and sufficient opportunity to practice? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fossilization is a process, as is this book
1.The Critical Issue
Teachers and learners in language studies all become aware of the inevitable "plateaus" in learning, where development slows or even stops before the learning curve climbs once again. Fossilization in Adult Second Language Acquisition deals with the final plateau, that which all language teachers and learners fear most: the point where there is no further language growth. ZhaoHong Han has compiled a detailed survey of the 30+ year history of this topic and added findings of her own to present the most detailed and current discussion available.

2.95% Failure in Language Learning?
If only 5% of adult language learners attain native-like fluency in a second language, clearly teachers and researchers should be concerned. This figure is in sharp contrast to the "95% success" rate in first language acquisition! Originally coined by Selinker (1972), the term "fossilization" has seen many interpretations and re-definitions. Most English language teachers themselves have their own rough definition ­ Han spends a considerable amount of time reviewing the field and establishing exactly what it is we are talking about. Her definition is based on "cessation of learning in spite of continuous exposure to input, adequate motivation, and sufficient opportunity to practice" as "modulated" by individuals' internal and external factors. A taxonomy of "putative causal factors" outlines 50 problem areas. Additional issues include identifying when ultimate attainment (failure) occurs, and the perspective that this is a multivariate outcome: there can be varying levels of success in various aspects of language competence within any given language learner. Han observes that fossilization is a process, not a product: we are not talking about a fossilized learner, but fossilized learning.

3.A Systematic Framework
This book is not for the casual reader, but instead for those teachers (and scholars) interested in the underlying issues. The first three chapters are an enjoyable, yet intellectually stimulating, overview of the conceptual underpinnings for fossilization. Chapters four, five, and six are a challenging read, with detailed critique of microscopic and macroscopic studies of second language acquisition and fossilization. An important consideration for Han is the modular nature of second language acquisition, which appears not only as multiple critical periods (sensitive periods) for various language linguistic domains, but the differing influences of various L1s for L2 acquisition, so that success and failure co-exist in any given interlanguage. Particular linguistic features prone to fossilization are discussed in some detail. Much of this section reads like a thesis, so put your thinking caps on!

4.Issues for Second Language Instruction
Many teachers may skim through the middle chapters, or even duck them altogether, but chapter seven brings the issue to the classroom. Fossilization in Adult Second Language Acquisition challenges the common perception that classroom explicit language instruction, particularly grammar instruction, is the prescription. Michael Long's 'Focus on FormS' versus 'Focus on Form' is just one of the approaches that are questioned. Unfortunately, Han does not provide an answer, merely observes that such certainty is not supported by findings from the limited research conducted to date. Similarly, comprehensible input, such as advocated by Steven Krashen, and Swain's comprehensible output, are challenged. Looking at the order of acquisition of morphemes, for example, it is shown that explicit instruction may be most useful for the easier rules. Furthermore, if students do indeed process for meaning before processing for form, this calls into question the efficacy of content-based approaches for language learning. All in all, Han suggests that there are elements of explicit language instruction, including corrective feedback, that may actually promote fossilization!

When you are ready to put some time aside to seriously consider why your adult students seem to have stopped learning, this is a book you will want to visit. Diane Larsen-Freeman is quoted on the back cover noting that this book "will be widely cited for some time to come," and no doubt that's true. This book reads like graduate school supplemental materials... references are extensive, but the index is quite modest, and it sorely lacks a glossary - myelination? It's filled with challenging word choices as well - exogenous conditions, coinceptive, profundity. Overcoming the challenge is a great reward, however, and I can honestly say that the book is well worth the intellectual investment.

originally published at the "ELTNEWS" website. ... Read more

11. Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics
by Jack C. Richards, Richard W. Schmidt
Paperback: 656 Pages (2010-07-01)
-- used & new: US$34.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1408204606
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This best-selling dictionary is now in its 4rd edition.Specifically written for students of language teaching and applied linguistics, it has become an indispensible resource for those engaged in courses in TEFL, TESOL, applied linguistics and introductory courses in general linguistics. Fully revised, this new edition includes over 350 new entries.Previous definitions have been revised or replaced in order to make this the most up-to-date and comprehensive dictionary available. Providing straightforward and accessible explanations of difficult terms and ideas in applied linguistics, this dictionary offers:* Nearly 3000 detailed entries, from subject areas such as teaching methodology, curriculum development, sociolinguistics, syntax and phonetics.* Clear and accurate definitions which assume no prior knowledge of the subject matter * helpful diagrams and tables * cross references throughout, linking related subject areas for ease of reference, and helping to broaden students' knowledge The Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics is the definitive resource for students. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful Reference Work
For the teacher looking to get a bit more into the theoretical side of language teaching and linguistics, this is an indispensible book. It covers a lot the jargon and terminology that go with the territory and gives a good, pithy overview of most things from syllabus design to grammar.

I have found it useful primarily to get my terminology right for assignments, but it is also helps with dealing with other books that have unexplained, but really specialist terminology. For this reason alone, it is really worth the paltry sum needed to get it.

The book is into its third edition now, (to which this review refers), and should be an ongoing classic in the field. I truly recommend this book to you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Solid Specialist Dictionary
The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics provides a concise place where the language teacher or language researcher can find definitions of terms they don't remember in their field ofspecialization.It gives not only lengthy contextualized definitions butalso provides references for those who want to look deeper into a topic. The dictionary also provides cross references to other relevantdefinitions.

The only thing that might be considered in revision isputting the words into categories under specialization as a possibleappendix (i.e. sociolinguistics, language testing, psycholinguistics). This might help and entice the reader to look at the dictionary as alearning tool as well as a reference tool.This would provide anadditional way to use the dictionary in order to learn specific vocabularyfor a specialization under the umbrella of applied linguistics or languageteaching. ... Read more

12. Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
by Peter Robinson, Nick C. Ellis
Paperback: 576 Pages (2008-02-25)
list price: US$71.95 -- used & new: US$42.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805853529
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

This cutting-edge volume describes the implications of Cognitive Linguistics for the study of second language acquisition (SLA). The first two sections identify theoretical and empirical strands of Cognitive Linguistics, presenting them as a coherent whole. The third section discusses the relevance of Cognitive Linguistics to SLA and defines a research agenda linking these fields with implications for language instruction. Its comprehensive range and tutorial-style chapters make this handbook a valuable resource for students and researchers alike.

... Read more

13. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology: Syntax and Morphology
by Bernard Comrie
Paperback: 275 Pages (1989-07-15)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$17.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226114333
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Since its first publication, Language Universals and Linguistic Typology has become established as the leading introductory account of one of the most productive areas of linguistics—the analysis, comparison, and classification of the common features and forms of the organization of languages. Adopting an approach to the subject pioneered by Greenberg and others, Bernard Comrie is particularly concerned with syntactico-semantic universals, devoting chapters to word order, case making, relative clauses, and causative constructions. His book is informed throughout by the conviction that an exemplary account of universal properties of human language cannot restrict itself to purely formal aspects, nor focus on analysis of a single language. Rather, it must also consider language use, relate formal properties to testable claims about cognition and cognitive development, and treat data from a wide range of languages. This second edition has been revised and updated to take full account of new research in universals and typology in the past decade, and more generally to consider how the approach advocated here relates to recent advances in generative grammatical theory.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent introduction and reference.
Along with Paynes "Describing Morphosyntax" (ISBN: 0521588057), this book will help any student -- or entertain any enthusiast --of languages or linguistics.It treats various types of syntactic theory in a manner that (rarely among such useful works) is clear, engaging and (in places) enthralling.While drawing on the familiar "old standards" for grammatic comparison (Russian, Dyirbal, Yakut, Hikxaryana, Japanese, etc), the way comparisons are drawn between systems reveals isomorphisms and patterns that are certainly elegant and perhaps beautiful.Comrie has, as ever, produced a thing of wonder. ... Read more

14. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius
by Arika Okrent
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-05-11)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$10.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812980891
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Here is the captivating story of humankind’s enduring quest to build a better language—and overcome the curse of Babel. Just about everyone has heard of Esperanto, which was nothing less than one man’s attempt to bring about world peace by means of linguistic solidarity. And every Star Trek fan knows about Klingon. But few people have heard of Babm, Blissymbolics, Loglan (not to be confused with Lojban), and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages that represent the hard work, high hopes, and full-blown delusions of so many misguided souls over the centuries. With intelligence and humor, Arika Okrent has written a truly original and enlightening book for all word freaks, grammar geeks, and plain old language lovers.
  ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Of interest to conlangers and linguists
This is an entertaining book that covers the history of invented languages back to medieval times. Okrent covers the fads and fallacies that motivated hundreds of language inventors in the 18th and 19th centuries, the many attempts to create a "universal" language in the 19th and 20th centuries (including, of course, the most famous one, Esperanto), and naturally includes chapters on Elvish and Klingon as well.

This is a book about history and pop culture, not a serious linguistics text. It's pretty comprehensive and a fairly light read, though a bit dry at times. If you have an interest in linguistics, and especially if you've ever indulged in "conlanging" yourself, you will enjoy it. Some of Okrent's personal anecdotes felt like padding to fill out the book, and the appendices in the back were definitely padding.

5-0 out of 5 stars "A Nudist, a Gay Ornithologist, a Railroad Enthusiast, and a Punk Cannabis Smoker Walk into a Bar..."
John V. KaravitisI came across this gem of a book in a review that I read on the Internet.I couldn't get my hands on a copy fast enough, and my efforts were greatly rewarded.Arika Okrent, a double-PhD in Linguistics and Psychology, takes us on a historical tour of "invented languages", i.e., artificial languages.I had no idea that so many people over the centuries had gone to, and continue to go to, such extreme lengths to "take care of" natural languages' perceived faults.Starting with Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century nun, and continuing to the present day, Dr. Okrent shows that the fervor to perfect human language has never stopped.We see three main periods of artificial language contruction:(1)the 1600s, where John Wilkins' attempt may have led to Roget's Thesaurus 200 years later;(2) the 1800s, which saw the birth and rise not only of Esperanto, but also modern-day Hebrew (!) - and both from the same historical causes; and (3) the modern age, where the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis in the 1950s led to Lojban today, and where Blissymbolics stands out as a partial success.Dr. Okrent takes the reader on a tour of the centuries, ending with her successful attempt at learning basic Klingon.At the end is a list of 900 of these artificial languages, along with examples of the Lord's Prayer and a section of the Bible dealing with the Tower of Babel, both translated into some of these artificial languages.As Dr, Okrent herself states, even though language is seen as imperfect and messy, every natural language is part of some human society and some particular culture and time.Our languages are messy because they rely on the speakers negotiating terms and meanings, and they also rely on situational context.Perfect man-made languages have good intentions at heart, but ultimately fail as they try to anticipate and write down in stone every possible situation and idea (e.g. Lojban as the most extreme example of this).As those of us who live and breathe in the real world know, language will always be messy.But if you want to "explore the possibilities", it makes for good fun!I enjoyed this book, I rate it FIVE STARS!John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis, KC9ISD, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, BigSight.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, readable book
This is a great introduction to constructed languages written by a skeptical practitioner, who has actually made the effort to begin learning several of the most popular languages and thus brings a realistic perspective to the topic. Okrent is neither a propagandist nor a scoffer, and she presents each language with wit and accuracy. I especially appreciated her treatment of Esperanto, warts and all. Great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful tour of a bizarre world
I found this book delightful, a very enjoyable read. That's no doubt in part because I've played with conlangs myself, and have corresponded with, or in one case shaken the hand of, some people mentioned in the book.

This is a journalistic exercise in exploring the history and modern existence of a subculture, the subculture of language-makers. Any good journalist could write a sympathetic, entertaining book about modern-day Klingon- or Lojban-speakers, but only a journalist who is also a linguist could really dig in and understand what they and other language-makers are trying to do. Only a linguist can really appreciate and convey the near-obsessive level of effort required to make a new language, or the joy it can bring to its maker. And only a linguist who is a dedicated researcher could explain the history of language-making, and properly relate the efforts of, say, a Wilkins to a Zamenhof to a Brown.

Okrent has done the hard slog of journalism, going to the conventions, meeting and interviewing the survivors, digging up the original documents and the period press reports. She's also done the slog of academic research, finding the primary source materials in university libraries and the Library of Congress and immersing herself for days at a time in study of the early languages.

Finally she has put her materials together in a highly readable, amusing, intriguing account of the people, and the very human process, of creating language from whole cloth.

1-0 out of 5 stars Unfair, inaccurate, mean-spirited.
This book is terrible on many levels. First, it is more of a pop-science polemic than a fair treatment of the material discussed. Okrent panders to the demographic that will scoff at constructed languages, and tries to sell her book by laughing at others' expense.

She includes languages in her chapter "A History of Failure" that don't belong there; for example, Lingua Ignota was never intended to be used by anyone but its creator, so it cannot rightly be called a failure. In addition, Okrent makes Esperantists out to be crazy, and although she sympathizes with them to some extent, a large section of the book deals with the so-called "failure" of Esperanto. Esperanto is a living language spoken by a vibrant community of 2 million people across the entire world, and is anything but a failure.

Okrent also seriously neglects the vast majority of constructed languages: artistic languages, designed not for serious use or to facilitate international communication, but for the aesthetic pleasure of the creator. Tolkien and the hundreds of other "artlangers"--whether famous or unknown--are crammed into a few pages in the last chapter, despite the fact that artlangs account for some of the most interesting and important constructed languages.

Don't get this book. It's filled with misinformation, distortions, and gratuitous mocking. ... Read more

15. Understanding Language: Towards a Post-Chomskyan Linguistics
by Terence Moore, Christine Carling
 Paperback: 240 Pages (1982-10-28)
-- used & new: US$41.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0333331087
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

16. American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics)
by Lyle Campbell
Paperback: 528 Pages (2000-09-21)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$47.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195140508
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Native American languages are spoken from Siberia to Greenland, and from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego; they include the southernmost language of the world (Yaghan) and some of the northernmost (Eskimoan). Campbell's project is to take stock of what is currently known about the history of Native American languages and in the process examine the state of American Indian historical linguistics, and the success and failure of its various methodologies.

There is remarkably little consensus in the field, largely due to the 1987 publication of Language in the Americas by Joseph Greenberg. He claimed to trace a historical relation between all American Indian languages of North and South America, implying that most of the Western Hemisphere was settled by a single wave of immigration from Asia. This has caused intense controversy and Campbell, as a leading scholar in the field, intends this volume to be, in part, a response to Greenberg. Finally, Campbell demonstrates that the historical study of Native American languages has always relied on up-to-date methodology and theoretical assumptions and did not, as is often believed, lag behind the European historical linguistic tradition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly. Difficult. Conservative.
About every branch of science has two types of people: the "splitters" and the "lumpers."The splitters are those who separate everything (plants, animals, etc.) into many different groups and doubt they are connected or related. The lumpers find reasons to believe that everything is related.So it is with languages.A linguist named Greenberg grouped all American Indians languages on both continents into three groups: Amerind, Na-Dine (i.e. Apaches), and Eskimo-Aleut.That's a lumper at work.

By contrast, Campbell, the author of this book is a splitter, finding reasons why North American Indian languages are not related.He asserts there are dozens -- maybe over a hundred -- American Indian language families which are either unrelated or a relationship cannot be proven. Who's right?I don't know, but it makes for heated debate -- and the correct answer is important the who, where, when, and how of the first people to inhabit the Americas.

The virtue of Campbell's book is that he briefly discusses virtually every American Indian language and language family, including those that are proposed but unproven. This sounds pretty dull and technical and beyond the comprehension of the average reader.So it is -- if I qualify as an average reader --but through the fog of technical linguistic discussion comes some wonderfully interesting speculations.For example, how is that two small tribes in northern California speak languages that are related to the Algonquin spoken by dozens of tribes thousands of miles away in Canada, the Great Lakes, and the eastern United States. Did the Algonguins originate in California and migrate eastward?Or the reverse?And, how is that the Uto-Aztecan language family can encompass Indians from El Salvador to Nevada and include both the urbanized Aztecs and the simple hunting gathering groups of the desert?

Campbell imparts an enormous amount of information about American Indian languages and their relationships with each other.He discusses the history of American linguistics and the techniques linguists have used in attempting to establish relationships among languages, and he examines the many theories of linguistic relationships, refuting Greenberg and the other lumpers in detail.One of the better features of this 500 page book are maps of tribal locations and linguistic families.Want to know the name and something about the language of the tribe that inhabited the region of Brazilia?Look up the Xakriaba. "American Indian Languages" is not easy reading but as a thorough reference book I doubt that it is matched in its field.

Smallchief (Kansa tribe, Dheghia language group, Siouan language family)

5-0 out of 5 stars The authoritative reference book on this topic
This is now the standard reference on this topic, the best place to go for an understanding of what mainstream historical linguists know about the genetic relationships of the native languages of the Americas as well as for an evaluation of proposals of remoter relationships. It is a comprehensive survey by one of the very few scholars with such a breadth of knowledge. In addition to the main content, the survey of the languages and language families of the Americas, it contains discussions of the methodology of historical linguistics and a review of proposals ranging from the extreme fringe to proposals considered plausible but for one reason or another not clearly established. Campbell rates the subjective likelihood of the proposals discussed on a scale from -100 to 100, where 0 means that he is agnostic as to whether the proposal is valid, -100 means that he is certain that it is invalid, and 100 means that he is certain that it is valid. Contrary to another reviewer's comments, there is nothing idiosyncratic in his understanding of probabilities - he is simply presenting his evaluation in a clear and easily understood fashion that happens not to be the usual probability scale.

Any book such as this will seem dry to those looking for interesting facts about American Indian languages. It is a reference book, aimed primarily at scholars and at students and others who want to look up what is known about the genetic affiliation of particular languages. Contrary to another reviewer's comments, one should not expected it to be full of data. A review of the details of the evidence with the scope of this book would require thousands of pages. Those looking for a survey of the languages themselves are more likely to be satisfied with Marianne Mithun's Languages of Native North America, or, if they are more interested in social and cultural aspects of languages, with Shirley Silver and Wick Miller's book American Indian Languages: Cultural and Social Contexts.

The book devotes considerable attention to the work of Joseph Greenberg because Greenberg's book Language in the Americas has received a great deal of attention from non-linguists, many of whom do not understand that Greenberg's methodology is a throwback to pre-scientific historical linguistics. It happens that at present the popular, uninformed view is one that lumps together languages without justification, so any critique appears to be negative.

In sum, this book is not only the most authoritative reference on the classification of the languages of the Americas, but it contains useful discussions of how such classifications are created and evaluated and evaluations of proposed relationships that will be useful both to those who need to decide what to believe and to students and others choosing research projects.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, exactly because of that
The reasosn listed by the other post are exactly de reasons why you should buy this book.
It offers a different vision from that of Greenberg's (fortunately), refutes many things, give a different classification.
Actually, the work of greenberg is falling down, because of the lack of proves.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where's the Data?
This book never delivers on its title.Thoroughly miserable, its focus is purely negative: an ad hoc piecemeal attack on the author's apparent bugbear, Joseph Greenberg.Buy it only if you wish to be told what to believe, without being given any evidence upon which to judge yourself.

Rather than offering his own arguments in support of any genetic relationships, Campbell spends his time attacking portions of the evidence that other classifiers offer.He never addresses the overall context of any circumstance.He remains silent in the face of any evidence he can't refute.The supposed cognates he disputes are almost never given for the reader to judge.Native forms in general are quite rare, and those spread throughout the book might fill two pages of the total work, three at most.

Whether one proposes three, two-dozen, or the over 50 "un-relatable" North American stocks that Campbell clings to, any book that purports to study the "Historical Linguistics of Native America" should at least be chock-full of native words or texts, with grammatical sketches and detailed phonetic transcriptions, if not cladograms or posited family trees.Campbell gives us almost nothing.For the majority of "isolates" or families we get a mere list of phonemes without the context of even one single native word. (What would a mere list of the phonemes of English tell you about its history or relationships?Except for Hungarian rounded front vowels and English interdental fricatives, the palatal versus the velar nasal, and /w/, the phonemes of English and Hungarian overlap almost completely.German and Hungarian look like siblings, phonetically.Comparing phonemes alone, one might think Japanese and Spanish were close relatives, while French might appear to come from West Africa.) In a few families case endings or pronouns are given, but never once any full paradigms.

The maps given are available elsewhere.There is not one full sketch, brief text, or even partial lexicostatistical wordlist!

This book's fatal flaw is its exclusively negative focus.Pages upon pages list references in English to secondary and tertiary sources, but the subject languages themselves are studiously ignored.Never making any positive argument of his own, he never feels obliged to provide the one thing a thinking reader wants, the evidence.

Campbell further embarrasses himself with his uniquely idiosyncratic system of probability analysis.He cites various theories of distant relationships proposed by other scholars.He then (admittedly subjectively) grades the likeliness of these theories, not on a scale of 0% to 100% as is universally accepted, but rather on a scale of positive to negative (!) 100%, with a 0% probability on his scale indicating an actual probability of 50%.

For example, he finds the Tlingit-Eyak-Athabaskan hypothesis to have a +75% probability, by which he means that it is actually 87.5% likely.But to the Na Dene hypothesis (the above family linked to Haida) he gives a 0% probability, by which means an actual 50% likelihood.Any link between Zuni and Penutian (however constituted) he gives a -80% probability.Yes, that's a "negative eighty percent," by which he means an actual possibility of 10%.

Confused? Then don't buy this book.Marianne Mithun's "The Languages of North America" is an excellent general source for north of the Rio Grande, with a conservative classification, a well-specimened typological overview of the documented variation, and at least a phonology, sketch, and brief text of each language family.Maps of North America are as good as Campbell's.

Campbell may be the most "respected" authority in his field, as were Ptolemy, St. Augustine, and the Malleus Maleficarum in their days.But this evidence-free work certainly gives no evidence as to why.I would suggest that those students of Campbell's giving him such glowing reviews refute me by providing just one set of comparative texts or paradigms from this vacuous pseudo-academic pontification. ... Read more

17. The English Language: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)
by Charles Barber, Joan C. Beal, Philip A. Shaw
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-04-27)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$22.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521670012
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Where does today's English come from? This new edition of the bestseller by Charles Barber tells the story of the language from its remote ancestry to the present day. In response to demand from readers, a brand new chapter on late modern English has been added for this edition. Using dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Addison, the book tells you everything you need to know about the English language, where it came from and where it's going to. This edition adds new material on English as a global language and explains the differences between the main varieties of English around the world. Clear explanations of linguistic ideas and terms make it the ideal introduction for students on courses in English language and linguistics, and for all readers fascinated by language. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for education and referance
This book is excellent for reference when studying and for personal education if you're interested in learning about the history of the English Language.Sounds boring, but did you know that Farsi is considered a Germanic language like French and Norwegian??Also teaches the finer points of language, how words are pronounced and how different dialects develop.Broken down into easy-to-comprehend chapters, each deals with a certain part of the history of language and breaks it down into groups based on geography.From 1 being the easiest and 10 being the worst, reading level is about a 4 yet so much information compacted into a small book creates a dryness level of 8.

5-0 out of 5 stars une introduction excellente à l'histoire de la langue anglaise
Ce livre est le premier que j'ai lu lorsque j'ai commencé à m'intéresser à l'histoire de cette langue si répandue, protéiforme et souple, cet ancien dialecte teuton heureusement civilisé par les Normands français, et naturellement les apports latin et grec. Clair, d'une lecture facile, voilà un ouvrage excellent de vulgarisation dont la lecture est à recommander à tous !

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but tough sledding for a 'casual' reader
This book seems like an excellent introduction to the history of English-language development.I would caution anyone who is considering this book to evaluate how technical a work they wish to read.If the annswer is 'not very' or even 'moderately,' I'd advise them to keep clear of Barber's text.He has many lengthy analyses of morphology and phonology changes of Indo-European, Proto-Germanic and Old-English words, which can be confusing or exhausting if a reader doesn't have a serious interest.(I do, but still think it's a bit dull.)My knowledge of this subject prior to reading the book was very general (i.e.-- of the 'I think the Normans invaded in 1066' type...), but I feel pretty grounded in the topic, after reading Barber's text...I'm ready to tackle Old English!

Another caveat-- Barber is British, and bases all his pronunciations on British 'Received Pronunciation' rules, which may challenge American readers--like myself--trying to puzzle out his pronunctions...and a cursory knowledge of Latin and perhaps Greek or German can really help in understanding the 'pre-historical' aspects of his argument.

A last note: an earlier reviewer has claimed that this book 'makes clear the relationship between Dutch and English.'I think he's misunderstood Barber's analysis, as Barber clearly states that English is most closely related to Anglo-Frisian, which is a branch of the West-Germanic group, but distinct from the Dutch/Old Franconian branch.The languages are hereditary, but not linear (according to Barber).This could be a niggling point, but may prejudice potential reader's to Barber.

Overall, a great (but technical) read, and thrilling to a determined student of English-language development.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative good read
If someone is interested in learning the origins, history, and development of the English language, then he or she will gain a lot from this book.There are many technical aspects included.It's also enjoyable.Many applied linguistic terms and areas are covered.From English's relationship to Sanskrit and other languages, to the great vowel shift explaining why English often doesn't sound the way it's spelled--difficult and illogical for students learning the language.The author went into depth about such topics as the culture of the Germanic tribes and how demographics influenced the development of the English language the way it did.The Scandinavians, French, and many others have loaded the language with with many loans words.It's a good informative read.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent, if heavily technical, layman's guide
This book is an excellent introduction to the history of the English language.As the other reviewers have noted, it's a bit top-heavy on technical linguistics, and therefore may not be suitable to everyone.But if you don't mind reading a book which could also be used as a 400-level college textbook...I think this book would appeal to any who have an interest in linguistics in general and the history on English in particular - especially if you've read other, lighter books on the topic already and you're ready to get seriously into the topic.

I fit the above category, and I loved this book.Probably the best I've read on the subject so far. ... Read more

18. English as a Global Language
by David Crystal
Paperback: 228 Pages (2003-07-28)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$16.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521530326
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
David Crystal's informative account of the rise of English as a global language explores the history, current status and potential of English as the international language of communication. This new edition of his classic work includes additional sections on the future of English as a world language, English on the Internet, and the possibility of an English "family" of languages. Footnotes, new tables, and a comprehensive bibliography reflect the expanded scope of the revised edition.An internationally renowned scholar in the field of language and linguistics, David Crystal received an Order of the British Empire in 1995 for his services to the English language.He is the author of several books with Cambridge, including Language and the Internet (2001), Language Death (2000), English as a Global Language (1997), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (1997), and Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (1995) as well as Words on Words (University of Chicago, 2000).First edition Hb (1997): 0-521-59247-XFirst edition Pb (1998): 0-521-62994-2 ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Speakers of the World, Unite!
In Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, space travelers can communicate with beings from other planets by inserting a Babel fish in their ear. The Babel fish takes in what is spoken and modifies the brain activity of the user to effect a translation. Universal translators are standard equipment in science fiction involving space travel, since it is reasonable to assume that extraterrestrials will not speak English or any other earthly language. Indeed, given that there are over six thousand mutually unintelligible languages here on Earth, it seems that the technology is badly needed now. However, by the time the technology is available, there may no longer be any need for it. According to David Crystal in his book, English as a Global Language, everyone on Earth will soon speak English.

Currently English has the status of a lingua franca, a language that is used for international exchanges. Through history, different languages have served as linguae francae on a regional basis. In Europe, Latin served this role across the Roman Empire, and continued in this function for centuries after the fall of Rome because it was the language of the Catholic Church. In China, where dozens of mutually unintelligible dialects are spoken, Mandarin serves as the common language of government and intellectual exchange. And starting in the seventeenth century, French served as the international language of diplomacy until its fairly recent replacement by English.

The status of English as a lingua franca, however, is quickly transforming into that of a global language, one that nearly everyone in the world can speak. This is an unprecedented event, although there has been a trend over history toward linguistic consolidation as a result of political consolidation. The globalization of English was driven by a historical accident, namely that both world powers during the last two centuries spoke English. The language was first spread around the globe in the nineteenth century by the growing British Empire. As British political power waned at the turn of the last century, American influence and prestige was on the ascendancy, further spreading the use of English.

The globalization of English is further driven by the growing global economy. More and more people around the world are getting involved in the global marketplace of goods, jobs and ideas. But to participate in this marketplace, you need to speak English. And if it is not your native language, you need to learn it, or you will be left behind. Although there are more native speakers of Mandarin Chinese than there are of English, there are more people who speak English as a second language than any other language in the world. In fact, there are more people who speak English as a second language than as a first language. Combining first and second language users, we find that English is the world's most widely spoken language. Still, only one in four people know English, clearly indicating that English is not yet a true global language.

Crystal contemplates two possible futures for global English. In his utopia, he sees all people in the world speaking some sort of World Standard Spoken English when communicating internationally and their native language locally and at home. Crystal points out that even native English speakers would in a sense be bilingual because WSSE would be different from their native dialect. This view of universal bilingualism may seem odd to the monolingual Anglophone, but Crystal points out that the majority of the world's population is already at least bilingual. Thus, the multitude of languages in the world would remain vibrant while WSSE would serve as an auxiliary for international communication.

In Crystal's dystopia, on the other hand, he sees all people of the world as Anglophone monolinguals. In his companion book Language Death (2002, Cambridge University Press), he examines how and why languages die and deplores the increasing rate of language extinction. In the current book, he touches on this subject again. Crystal views the loss of linguistic diversity as analogous to the loss of biological diversity, with similar catastrophic consequences for the welfare of humanity. However, Crystal's reasoning is flawed and tainted with gushing romanticism for the polyglot throng.

Crystal's frustration with English's global linguistic dominance would be justified if the language were being pushed upon the world's population by some imperialistic force. But it is not. The globalization of English is a grass-roots movement. People want better lives for themselves and for their children, and they see the way to the good life is through participation in the global marketplace. Thus, they learn English and teach it to their children, often not caring whether the younger generation even learns the language of their ancestors. And they do this in spite of governmental attempts to preserve or resurrect heritage languages.

It is often suggested that a common world language would lead to world peace by reducing misunderstandings and miscommunications, but Crystal rightly points out the fallacy in that way of thinking. Throughout history, bloody wars have been fought by those who speak the same language, as for example the American Civil War, the breakup of Yugoslavia or the unrest in Northern Ireland today. However, there is a sense in which a common world language would increase the chances of world peace, and that is through the global marketplace. As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, warfare becomes a less profitable means of resolving political problems.

Crystal hopes for a future in which nation-states conduct their commerce in a common language while maintaining their national languages at home. But there is a bolder, brighter vision of the future--one in which the globe is unified economically, politically and linguistically. As members of a single community, there would be free movement of people, goods and ideas around the globe, facilitated by a single global language. That language would likely be a descendant of English, but with continued admixtures from many other languages.

There is no particular reason why English is better suited than others to serve as a global language, in spite of frequent claims of English linguistic superiority. The language mavens (to use Pinker's term) will often declare English syntax simpler or more logical and its vocabulary richer and more expressive than those of other languages, but neither is true. English is just an ordinary language with no advantage other than that it is the language of the current economic and political superpower in the world.

As the global economy develops, the number of English speakers will continue to increase. The development of some sort of World Standard Spoken English is virtually inevitable. It is also quite likely that the vast majority of the world's languages will die out because their speakers will no longer be interested in using them. Instead, they will be learning the global language so that they can claim their rightful place as citizens of the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars International English vs. English
While this should not be the place to make such arguments, I think that the Norris review below is interesting, but misses the point.Historically, before the advent of "serious" democracy, one's national language was "defined" by the ruling classes.It was the primitive "be like Mike" idea.One wished to emulate their superiors (don't children mimic their elder siblings?) so langauge changed.One must remember that after the French came to England the language of the courts and of government was French; hence, if one wished to do any kind of business with the government, one needed to know French.

We live in a time where English has become the new global royal language, for lack of a better way of stating that.It may shift--if America is no longer the dominant culture monetarily or militarily, perhaps this will occur.The point is that like it or not, English is a global language.

Another good point is this:if an American moved to France, become a French citizen, etc., would the locals consider them "French?"Of course not; they are transplanted Americans.But if a Frenchmen moved to America, and did all the requisite things, no one would ask otherwise.He'd/She'd be an American.End of story.As racist as many foreigner's claim we are, I think America is a very accepting country.Much more so than many of those who claim we are not.Try moving to Saudi Arabia, for example, and claiming you're a national.Our language is hence much like our culture--accepting of many.

3-0 out of 5 stars There are other sides to this issue
As I read this book, I had the impression that the author has never tried to use international versions of English for complex tasks like working with foreign business and technical partners. I work for a multinational corporation myself. We are discouraged from taking time to learn foreign languages because we are told that English is the official language of our company. Then we arrive at our overseas branches and discover that our counterparts can say hello, goodbye, and thank you to us, but little more. I think Crystal is overly optimistic about how much English people are really learning overseas.

He also dismisses the cultural chauvinism wrapped up in the belief that English is the perfect global language. Actually, Spanish grammar is much easier to learn, and is much easier for non-native speakers to pronounce.

English *is* an international language, but it is only an effective one in the most basic communication situations. A few years ago author Barbara Wallraff wrote an excellent article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "What Global Language?" (Nov, 2001) which made the point that while international English may be useful for very simple purposes, more complex communication tasks will require something other than English.

Author Edward Trimnell (Why You Need a Foreign Language and How to Learn One ISBN: 0974833010) rips the international English argument to shreds by pointing out that a.) cooperation between peoples who don't speak English as a native language is increasing; and in these situations, it makes sense to use a language other than English, and b.) the hubbub about international English has made native English-speakers very complacent in recent years---such that we are now entirely dependent on the language skills of others.

Crystal's book is not without its merits, but it comes across as a sales pitch for international English. There is another side to this argument, and I would recommend reading Wallraff and Trimnell before making up your mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crystal Does It Again
David Crystal's updated version of his 1997 book provides additional content and resources. I relied heavily upon his research and discourse to help me complete my master's thesis in international educational development.I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the phenomenon of English as a Global Language.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Spread of Global English
In this book, David Crystal presents the future of the English language.According to Crystal, non-native speakers of English outnumber native speakers of English, so it could be said that English has become global.Add to this the fact that English has become the de facto language of business, science, technology, and diplomacy, and it becomes apparent that English belongs to the world.Crystal argues that English will become more influenced by non-native speakers in the future, so we will have to rethink the idea of the "native speaker".As a world language, English doesn't belong to the native speakers in countries such as England and America, but to all who speak it.To speak a language gives you the right to use it as you will.

This is a very interesting book on the spread of world English.I really recommend it. ... Read more

19. Linguistics, Sixth Edition: An Introduction to Language and Communication
by Adrian Akmajian, Richard A. Demers, Ann K. Farmer, Robert M. Harnish
Paperback: 592 Pages (2010-04-30)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262513706
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This popular introductory linguistics text is unique for its integration of themes. Rather than treat morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics as completely separate fields, the book shows how they interact. It provides a sound introduction to linguistic methodology while encouraging students to consider why people are intrinsically interested in language—the ultimate puzzle of the human mind.

The text first treats such structural and interpretive parts of language as morphology, phonology, syntax, and semantics, then takes a cognitive perspective and covers such topics as pragmatics, psychology of language, language acquisition, and language and the brain. For this sixth edition, all chapters have been revised. New material includes updated examples, new special topics sections, and new discussions of the minimalist program, semantic minimalism, human genetic relationships and historical relationships among languages, Gricean theories, experimental pragmatics, and language acquisition.

The organization of the book gives instructors flexibility in designing their courses. Chapters have numerous subsections with core material presented first and additional material following as special topics. The accompanying workbook supplements the text with exercises drawn from a variety of languages. The goal is to teach basic conceptual foundations of linguistics and the methods of argumentation, justification, and hypothesis testing within the field. By presenting the most fundamental linguistics concepts in detail, the text allows students to get a feeling for how real work in different areas of linguistics is done. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars nice book
it's a good book but if you're an university student is just a source of information! no a complete book

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This is a great book... I had to read it in a period of 9 weeks; and that is a lot for me, I like taking my time, but with this book I only wanted to keep going. The definitions were simple and I did not have to go back and read again because I got lost somewhere in the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro text
This is the second edition and fourth printing of this popular text by Akmajian, Demers, and Harnish at the University of Arizona. Although this text is now over 15 years old, it's still a fine introduction to the subject. One nice thing about the book is that the prose is not too technical for the beginning reader while providing excellent coverage of the important concepts and technical points. This is often a problem with linguistics texts since, unlike other technical subjects, most people have little or no background in linguistics before taking their first real course in the subject, and having previously learned a foreign language isn't as helpful as many students might think since much of linguistics, especially in the transformational grammar and generative grammar and analytical syntax areas, is a highly technical, formal, and even mathematical discipline now.

As I am mainly a neuroscientist and secondarily a linguist, I was most interested in Part 3 of this book. The first two parts present the usual linguistics topics such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language variation, and evolution. Part 3 deals with the area of Psycholinguistics, and there are four chapters discussing language from the standpoint of Cognitive Psychology and Neuropsychology. The four chapters are: Pragmatics: The Study of Language Use and Communication; Speech Production and Comprehension; Language Acquisition in Chimp and Child;, and Language and the Brain. The chapter on the brain might be a little too basic for neuroscience students, but it's an excellent introduction for the linguistics students, and I noticed that a number of the classic experiments such as the famous "Wada test" and dichotic listening experiments were discussed, as well as topics like conduction aphasia, Broca's aphasia, Wernicke's aphasia, hemispheric localization and dominance, and so on.

Overall still a fine text and worth picking up used if you can find it, when it will be bargain for the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book for learning linguistics
As the titele shows, this book is an intro to English linguistics. It covers almost all the fields of linguistics---morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. In this book, there are many examples, tables, and exercises. You can learn synthetic concepts of linguistics by reading the book. English is rather easy so even the foreign people can make good use of the textbook. You can rethink about the language and communication and it will be very interesting. ... Read more

20. Linguistic Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge Applied Linguistics)
Paperback: 308 Pages (1989-09-29)
list price: US$36.00 -- used & new: US$22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521378117
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This collection of original essays approaches second language acquisition from a linguistic rather than a sociological, psychological, or purely pedagogical perspective. A wide range of viewpoints and approaches is represented; however, all authors agree on the fundamental importance of linguistic theory in the study of second language acquisition. Few works have explored in depth how a second language is acquired and what the second language learner must do mentally to achieve proficiency in another language. The essays in this book provide an incisive analysis of these questions. For greater accessibility, the chapters are arranged topically from those covering the broad area of theories of acquisition to those focusing specifically on syntax, semantics, pragmatics, lexicon, and phonology in another language. ... Read more

  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.

site stats