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Book Review: Linguistics – An Introduction by William McGregor

Linguistics: An Introduction
William McGregor

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A fresh and contemporary introductory textbook for all students of linguistics and language studies.


Linguistics is a fresh and contemporary introductory textbook for all students of linguistics and language studies. Firmly based around taught courses and catering to student needs: it addresses all the topics that a student will need in their initial and subsequent study of language. With key terms, further reading, questions at the end of each chapter, exercises and key paragraphs in stand-out boxes, this is a firmly pedagogic text that takes difficult concepts and explain them in an easy to understand way, with examples taken from a range of languages across the world. Global in its scope and comprehensive in its coverage, this is the textbook of choice for linguistics students.

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Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
I. Language: System and Structure
2. Sounds of Language: Phonetics and Phonology
3. Structures of Words: Morphology
4. Lexicon
5. Structure of Sentences: Syntax
6. Meaning: Semantics and Pragmatics
II. Language: A Human Phenomenon
7. Sociolinguistics: Language in its Social Context
8. Psycholinguistics: Language, the Mind, and the Brain
9. Language Acquisition
10. Language in its Biological Context
III. Language: Uniformity and Diversity
11. Unity and Diversity in Language Structure
12. Language Change
13. Languages of the World
Language Index
Name Index
Subject Index

About the author

Professor William McGregor is at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.


“At last – an introduction to the study of language that is neither theory-neutral nor generative, but one that is cognitivist and functional. It highlights the links of linguistics with psychology, neuroscience and biological evolutionary theory. In addition it is engaging, pedagogically well thought through, lucidly written and nicely presented. The perfect book for beginners!”

Dr Eva Eppler, Senior Lecturer in English Language & Linguistics, Roehampton University, UK

‘’William McGregor’s new textbook is an excellent introduction to linguistics. It is clear, precise and readable, comprehensible and comprehensive, and it is eminently usable as both a core course text as well as a reference work. It also does not neglect the extensions and applications of linguistics in the real world. This book is likely to become the benchmark for linguistics texts in the next few years.’’

Peter Stockwell, Professor of Literary Linguistics, University of Nottingham, UK.

“In this introductory text McGregor offers a clear and well-constructed account of core concepts, leading students to explore linguistic diversity with an impressive range of languages and examples, particularly in the later chapters of the book. A reflective student or independent reader with a fascination for the subject will find a wealth of material relevant to basic puzzles about language and more than ample guidance for further study.”

Dr Michael Lumsden, Department of Modern Languages, The University of Hull

“William McGregor has produced a textbook which unfolds the study of language in a refreshing and lively way, positions the subject in relation to adjacent disciplines, and gives the beginning student a general view of the complexity and diversity of the world’s languages.”

Dr David Cram, University of Oxford, UK.

“This book is a superb introduction to linguistics, and cannot fail to entice students to read it. It covers not only the traditional core areas in linguistics of phonetics, phonology, morphology, the lexicon, syntax and semantics, but also highly topical and contemporary areas such as the evolution of language in its biological context, language change, the language and society interface, and how language is acquired, not to be overlooked in any solid modern textbook.

Each chapter is very clearly set out, providing its structure and the objectives to be met at the very start while a concise summary of all the essential facts covered is given at the end, combined with a set of challenging questions and ideas for further reading. An extremely useful glossary of linguistic terms is also to be found at the end of the book. In fact, it is much more astutely organised than other comparable introductory textbooks on the market.

Linguistics: an introduction presents a refreshing new approach to explaining the basic facts about human languages and will undoubtedly prove to be indispensable at university level. Another bonus is that it is completely technically up-to-date with its inclusion of website information and further sets of questions and thus can felicitously cater for today’s enterprising student-internaut.

In short, the book is a gem written by a consummate master of the art and discipline of linguistics, a scholar who has already notched up several decades of experience in empirical research in the field as well as in teaching at university level.”

Hilary M. Chappell, Chair Professor in Linguistic Typology of East Asia, Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’AsieOrientale, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France

Linguistics: An Introduction
William McGregor
Publication Date: 15th Jan, 2009

ISBN: 1847063675
ISBN13: 9781847063670

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