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Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction by…

Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction (1989)

by William O'Grady (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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407141,624 (3.48)1
Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction is a comprehensive introduction to linguistics. All the core topics of linguistics are covered, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, the genetic and typological classification of the languages of the world, and historical linguistics. Interdisciplinary areas discussed include language and the brain, psycholinguistics - the study of language processing, first and second language acquisition, language in social contexts and the fast-growing area of computational linguistics.… (more)



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This is the introductory text I recommend for anyone interested in linguistics but unsure of what linguistics actually is. The book ranges from the broad explanation of the field down to specific explanations of what the sub-fields consist of, treating traditional linguistic sub-fields equally with some of the newer sub-fields that have gained popularity in recent decades. The text, while introductory in nature, is nonetheless dense, but don't be turned off by that.

If you're reading this independently just to satisfy curiosity, read the introductory chapters, skim the chapters on classical linguistics (unless that's really your thing) and move on the exciting stuff. I find that most of my classmates are first interested in linguistics when they encounter such topics as psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and language preservation. Once you've got a taste for what you can do with the tools you have as a linguist, go back to the classical linguistics (syntax, semantics, phonology, phonetics, etc.) and read it more thoroughly. You may find some context helps make these particular tools suddenly more enticing. ( )
  inkstained | Aug 14, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Grady, WilliamEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archibald, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aronoff, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rees-Miller, JanieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Convinced at once that, in order to break loose from the beaten paths of opinions and systems, it was necessary to proceed in my study of man and society by scientific methods, and in a rigorous manner, I devoted one year to philology and grammar; linguistics, or the natural history of speech, being, of all the sciences, that which best suited the researches which I was about to commence. -- Pierre-Joseph Proughon, What is Property? (1840)
To the memory of our friend and colleague Ewa Iwanicka 1950-1986
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One -- Language: A Preview -- Language is at the heart of all things human. We use it when we are talking, thinking, reading, writing, and listening. It's part of the social structure of our communities; it forges the emotional bond between parent and child; it's the vehicle for literature and poetry. Language is not just a part of us; language defines us. All normal human beings have at least one language, and it is difficult to imagine much significant social, intellectual, or artistic activity taking place without the opportunities for communication offered by language. -- Linguistics is the study of how language works -- how it is used, how it is acquired, how it changes over time, how it is represented in the brain, and so on.
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This is the U.S. version of Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction, as noted on the title page: edited by William O'Grady and John Archibald; U.S. edition prepared by Mark Aronoff and Janie Rees-Miller.
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