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Introducing Linguistics [Paperback]

Larry Trask , Bill Mayblin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Introducing Linguistics: A Graphic Guide Introducing Linguistics: A Graphic Guide 4.3 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2000 Introducing...
More than anything else, language is what makes us human. Linguistics, the discipline which studies the structure, function and phenomena of language, has uncovered many surprising and fascinating things about the nature of our human language faculty. But these findings are often presented in opaque technical terminology which hides their simplicity and beauty. "Intoducing Linguistics" demystifies the subject, presenting a clear account of what linguists do, how they go about it, and what they have achieved so far. A summary of the history of linguistics, from Aristotle to Chomsky, includes the chief contributions of its leading figures - Saussure, the Prague Circle, the American structuralists, Sapir, Bloomfield and others. Illustrated by Bill Mayblin, this book provides a review of the most recent and dramatic advances in the field, such as first-language acquisition by children, language in the brain, sign languages, language change and linguistic prehistory, men's and women's language, language engineering and the universal properties of languages. Here is the ideal companion to related titles in this series on Chomsky, semiotics, mind and brain and consciousness.


Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (1 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840461691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840461695
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Human beings have probably been speaking for as long as we have existed, but it was only around 3,000 years ago that anybody began to be curious about language and to start examining it. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Like the rest of this series (and in fact a whole sub-genre of books), what first impacts about this book is the use of pictures. And fine pictures they are, aiming more for a photographic than a cartoony effect and all the better for it. Generally, though, they more break up and enliven than illustrate the text, with the 'faces of linguistics' with speech bubbles being used more than graphs/ charts/ maps etc. It is in fact the text that sets this book apart. It freely wheels through the history of linguistics before splitting off into the definition and origins of language, variation and sociolinguistics, semantics and pragmatics, language planning, speech disorders and neurolinguistics, and the purposes of language. When I say it wheels freely, I mean somehow it manages to fuse these into a single narrative that it is quite possible (and maybe preferable) to read through in one or two sittings. The amount of text and the simple style certainly make this possible.
Obviously in such a short book they can't cover everything equally, and if you are familiar with the 'Introducing......' range of books you will be unsurprised that they give the most coverage to the people and ideas that have the most relevance to philosophy. In fact the two figures who are given most prominence, Saussure and Chomsky, have books in the series dedicated to them. Generally, though, they deal with every figure/ school of thought in a balanced way.
The book doesn't contain a contents page or glossary, but it doesn't really need these due to the way it's written. What it does have is a very useful 'suggested reading' list, which actually tells you something about the books rather than just listing them.
I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in this subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 3 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Trask manages to make linguistics fun....one of the few! A must read for all those who are new to the subject
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4.0 out of 5 stars great grammarian 24 Nov 2012
By Sal
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Larry Trask, who sadly died a few years ago, was on the faculty of Sussex University and taught Grammar when I studied Applied Language at Brighton University in the mid-1990s. He was an inspiring teacher. As my course studied all aspects of linguistics, with Brighton's particular interest in automatically generated and translated language, it was essential to have a sound grasp of its underlying structure. I was lucky enough, as a mature student, to have been educated in an age where we were taught grammar, although at a far more basic level than subsequently at Uni, whereas the 'traditionally-aged' students were at an almost complete loss. Larry dealt with us all, whatever our levels.
So I bought Larry's book in his memory. It is sound and detailed, although not as inspiring as the man himself, and covers much more than just grammatical structures, dealing also with sociolinguistic topics. Excellent glossary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 4 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant cover of most of the issues in modern linguistics; highly recommended to those taking college level (for Americans read high school) English.
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