Designed for beginners, this best-selling textbook provides a lively introduction to the study of language. Starting from the basics, it provides a solid foundation in all of the essential topics, and introduces the analysis of the key elements of language - sounds, words, structures and meanings. A wide range of fascinating questions are explored, such as how conversation works, how children learn language, why women and men speak differently, and how language varies between regions and social groups. This third edition has been extensively revised to include new sections on important contemporary issues in language study, including language and culture, African American English, sign language, and slang. A comprehensive glossary provides useful explanations of technical terms, and each chapter contains a range of new study questions and research tasks, with suggested answers. Unrivalled in its popularity, The Study of Language is quite simply the best introduction to the field available today.