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An Introduction to Language

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  741 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
An Introduction to Language is ideal for use at all levels and in many different areas of instruction including education, languages, psychology, anthropology, teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and linguistics. All chapters in this best-seller have been substantially revised to reflect recent discoveries and new understanding of linguistics and languages.
Paperback, 620 pages
Published August 2nd 2002 by Cengage Learning (first published 1974)
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Course in General Linguistics by Ferdinand de SaussureThe Language Instinct by Steven PinkerAn Introduction to Language by Victoria A. FromkinThe Stuff of Thought by Steven PinkerThe Study of Language by George Yule
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,385)
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Dec 25, 2007 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: language buffs
Shelves: non-fiction, langauge
Oh my holy interesting!!! Everything you ever wanted to know about language, and much, much more! Keep in mind that this is a text book, so it's going to be dry. But for a text book, it wasn't so bad. If this is an area of interest to you, why not try looking up Steven Pinker's book "The Language Instinct" which paralled "An Introduction to Language" almost perfectly, yet was much more enjoyable. Another book to check out is "The Unfolding of Language" by Guy Deutscher. By far the most interesti ...more
Jul 21, 2007 Amanda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Word freaks
Shelves: college, nonfiction
I read this book for the class The English Language, which was maybe the most generally interesting class I have ever taken. This book is absolutely fascinating and very easy to read, especially considering that at times it's dealing with complicated ideas. It covers everything from the basics of what makes up words and sounds to how children develop language to dialects and hispanic and black english. It really will change the way you think about words and speaking.
حياة الياقوت
One of my favourite college textbooks.
I lost my copy and had to buy another one, can't stand the fact that it does not exist in bookcase.
Ehsan Gazooki
Dec 20, 2007 Ehsan Gazooki added it
Recommends it for: English Teachers
Aug 15, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
I used this textbook in my intro to linguistics class as an undergrad and reread it in preparation for grad school. I remembered this text as being better than it really is. I certainly would not have developed a love for linguistics if I had not had a passionate teacher to supplement the text. It is a decent overview of the subject and I did appreciate the comic strips included throughout, but the text was often unnecessarily repetitive and dry.

For example, in the chapter on language acquisiti
As a student of Linguistics, I had to read this book for two courses. This is the best I could put my hands on. It covers almost everything about language.

Imagine that you are being taught a scientific subject by a professional stand-up comedian, what more could you ask for?
Autumn Meier
It's the English Major nerd it me, but linguistics is wonderfully fascinating!
Oct 17, 2007 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually find introductory texts to be either lacking in content or boring and this one was neither. This book was a pleasure to read.
A must-have linguistics manual for anyone working with teaching or research!
Aug 11, 2015 Joseph rated it liked it
Personally, I didn't really enjoy reading this. However, it's *very* well structured, intelligible, and a little quirky; making the learning experience all the less boring. Overall, if you're interested in studying the foundations of linguistics in an academic or recreational setting, I'd definitely recommend picking this book up.

This textbook was fascinating. The chapters about how our brains process language information and why we speak a certain way were completely intriguing. I didn't realize how in-depth language acquisition was. It was interesting to see the ways people's brains develop and how cultures might process grammar in a different way. I also loved seeing the differences in how people pronounce words and how grammar is varied based on where you life. I found most of the information in this textbook relevan ...more
Mei Hua
Jan 07, 2016 Mei Hua rated it it was amazing
Amazingly I did not feel tired reading this book. All chapters are interesting and it has been a great source for anyone learning to understand the history of Indo-European languages as well as English, German and Dutch learner like me!
Tricia M Foster
Feb 14, 2015 Tricia M Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Changed my perspective of language. After reading this book, I recognized language was a tool. There is no right or wrong. Language is a method of delivery a message whose only measure is whether it works or not.
Jan 15, 2011 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Serves its purpose as an introduction to linguistics by covering a vast amount of necessary subjects, such as morphology & syntaxis. Every new bit was accompanied by a relevant quote, which maybe wasn't necessary but made it fun, and the same goes for the comics which were added here and there. A book that's very up-to-date (includes references to Harry Potter & Twitter and names Obama as president, for example) and therefore still very relevant.

Something that I liked a bit less however
Mikael Lind
Mar 10, 2013 Mikael Lind rated it liked it
Shelves: linguistics
A pretty decent introduction to linguistics which deals with most general topics in the field. However, I don't like how they consider Chomsky's theories on language in an almost dogmatic way. It sounds as if they were simple truths, known to everybody, but they really are not. There's a widespread discussion on the topic, and opposing views (which this book doesn't cover at all) can be found within followers of Wittgenstein (on a philosophical level) and cultural linguists (like Daniel Everett ...more
Last year I had to get this book for my Phonetics class. Luckily I hold on to it, because this book is also the textbook for Introduction to Linguistics, which I'm taking this trimester.

First Round
Term: February-May 2012
Class: Phonetics
Professor: Millie Commander
Date: Feb 27, 2012 to May 10, 2012

Second Round
Term: February-May 2013
Class: Introduction to Linguistics
Professor: Millie Commander
Date: March 8, 2013 to Present
Dec 12, 2015 Maryam added it
Oct 06, 2013 Agnieszka rated it liked it
Definitely a good book for people who have no or little linguistic background and would like to know more about language (and for this group of readers four stars would be more appropriate). However, if you have some idea about linguistics and related topics most of the issues are too obvious and some subjects are treated too superficially (e.g. the notion of women's language). It is useful as reference book when you need to revise the basics quickly.
Antariksa Akhmadi
Feb 21, 2015 Antariksa Akhmadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise and accessible guide to understanding linguistics. While the book put an emphasis on English (such as in morpho-syntax and phonetics-phonology), it made examples of many languages. The presentation is sometimes inconsistent, though. I think it is mainly because the authors want to retain the clarity as the book progresses on each chapter. Also bonus for the occasionally funny comic strips and authorial jokes.
Daniel Wright
Aug 05, 2015 Daniel Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The study of language (but not the study of languages) is one of the most neglected disciplines in academia. Perhaps it's just lack of funding, but this neglect is utterly incomprehensible to me, on whom linguistics exerts an unaccountable fascination. This is an introductory-level textbook, lighthearted and entertaining while piling on the information by the shovel-load. I found it... unputdownable.
May 19, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class, did-not-finish
The "did not finish" is not a marker of how good or bad the book was; it's just that it's a textbook, and I don't feel like reading hundreds of extra pages about phonemes and whatnot.

Very interesting; I think this book is actually a pretty good one for linguistics. One note: Fromkin, don't call the Harry Potter movies old!! YEESH!
Heather Moore
Dec 07, 2007 Heather Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbook
This textbook was OK. I enjoyed the quotes that were put in throughout it, it helped to maintain curiosity and adds a new level of understanding. The actual text wasn't too bad, it was very basic, but this was an entry level course.
Oct 19, 2012 Bo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class-assigned
A good start for anyone who wants to explore the world of modern linguistics. Almost every fundamental thing you need to know is in here. You'll never get bored reading this.
Rujaaa Sukpat
Oct 28, 2009 Rujaaa Sukpat rated it really liked it
I read this book when I taught The Introduction to Linguistics course last year. It's easy reading and understanding for the one who interests in this field.
Laura Neu
Nov 20, 2014 Laura Neu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes this text isn't as clear or organized as it should be, but content-wise it's a solid introductory tool to linguistics.
Apr 30, 2012 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read during Introductory Linguistics course. Did not enjoy class, so I can't say I enjoyed the textbook. :)
Aug 05, 2012 Shaoola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although its a textbook, I loved the way it's been written

One of my favorite books on language
Dec 24, 2007 Elahe rated it really liked it
so helpful as i had to choose it my my idea its not so easy even needs to teach
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