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Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech (Bibliolife Reproduction)
by Edward Sapir
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 11th 2009 by BiblioLife
(first published 1921)
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I am watching John McWhorter’s Great Course on Linguistics, in which he recommends Sapir’s book as a general introduction to linguistics. After reading the book I thought that it was a good one to read before you start studying linguistics – it seems to cover a lot of the field, giving the reader a feel for the subject. But the books neglects to define some of the basic technical terms that a beginner needs, so that it also seems like a summary aimed at a scholar who has spent several years in t ...more
I'd give it a higher rating, but the sections on phonetic law and its various classifications went over my head. However, the chapters that were more grounded in sociology and aesthetics were fantastic. Still, as a layman I found Sapir's writing very accessible despite the technical sections. I'm guessing some of this stuff is outdated, but it was definitely worth reading.
It is rather easy to dismiss what E. Sapir started in the study of linguistics if we only understand this science in the aftermath of L. Bloomfield or N. Chomsky; however, Sapir's proposal for a new perspective on grammatical processes underlies every single typological and morpho–syntactical theory nowadays.
I'm not giving this book a rating because I'm in no way qualified to judge it. It is a very technical book that will appeal to people who like to look at structures and formulas and find that a helpful way to look at the world. For me it was utterly exhausting, and I gave up fairly quickly.
This book may have been very good for what it is, but I had a lot of trouble getting through even the first chapter and ultimately didn't finish it. This book isn't really a "read for pleasure" type of book, or at least, it wasn't to me.
Dec 12, 2016 C. Todd White rated it liked it · review of another edition
This was a good book but not a great one. While the word is that this is a good primer to linguistics, I found it to be cumbersome where it most needed clarity. It was mercifully playful in some areas, though, reflecting on language as art.