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An Introduction to Language
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An Introduction to Language

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Whether you are studying education, languages, psychology, anthropology, English, or teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), this title offers the information you need in a descriptive manner that assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics.
Paperback, 9th International Edition, 619 pages
Published April 2010 by Cengage Learning, Inc (first published 1974)
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This book might be the most used introductory linguistics book in the world. I am very glad to have read its seventh edition. The number of editions might be proof of the quality and popularity of this book. How many textbooks can be in print for such a long time?

The theme of this book is to make linguistics fun, and accessible. The use of cartoons, the quotes from famous authors, paragraphs discussing everyday use of language, and many more, all make the reader enjoy reading and studying lingu
Dec 25, 2007 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Hayat 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  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English Teachers
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Daniel Wright
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.
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
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.
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
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
Sometimes this text isn't as clear or organized as it should be, but content-wise it's a solid introductory tool to linguistics.
Read during Introductory Linguistics course. Did not enjoy class, so I can't say I enjoyed the textbook. :)
Although its a textbook, I loved the way it's been written

One of my favorite books on language
so helpful as i had to choose it my my idea its not so easy even needs to teach
Feb 09, 2009 C. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to C. by: Introduction to language 175-105
The gold standard for textbooks. I have never seen anything like it.
Thomas Henderson
Detailed and interesting...far from the typical stuffy text book.
The language and brain part of this book is awesome!
Nice introduction to linguistics. Easy to understand.
Linda Hayashi
Feb 04, 2014 Linda Hayashi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Professor Mardirussian
My beloved textbook, now beloved reference book.
Era Bawarti
supaya jadi mahasiswa yang tambah mengerti...:p
Good introduction to the field of linguistics
for learning what linguistic is
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