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The Study of Language [Paperback]

George Yule
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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The Study of Language The Study of Language
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Book Description

28 Nov 2005 0521543207 978-0521543200 3
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (28 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521543207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521543200
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 17.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Very clear and easy to read for beginners; user-friendly and non-threatening to those nervous of linguistics; chapters in absorbable bite-size chunks.' Jean Aitchison, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication, University of Oxford

'Perfect for the beginners' level introductory linguistics course, both in style and content. The exercises and discussion are excellent. One of the highlights of the book is the clear links between chapters.' Hugh Buckingham, Professor of Linguistics, Louisiana State University

'An impressive breadth of coverage ... clear presentation, lucid style and accessibility ... a solid foundation for further study in linguistics as well as being a pleasure to read in its own right.' Alan Smith, Web Journal of Modern Languages and Linguistics

Book Description

Unrivalled in its popularity, The Study of Language is quite simply the best introduction to the field available today. Covering all of the essential topics, this third edition has been extensively revised to include fresh study questions, a comprehensive glossary, and new sections on important contemporary issues in language study.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessity for all English undergrads 6 Oct 2000
By A Customer
With a whole new chapter on pragmatics Yule addresses all the key issues necessary for all English Undergrads. As a first year myself, I found the text extremely easy to follow, simple to understand and a good starting point. It is a necessity to read this if you are studying English and it is well worth buying. Other great books include Aitchinson, Linguistics and Montgomery, Ways of reading.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easiest read on this out there 27 Feb 2007
This book is an amazing read for those wanting to learn about linguistics. It has clear examples and explanations, it covers every topic, from the theories about the origin of the language, phonetics or phonology, on to pragmatics, discourse and the like.

Obviously, it is not a thorough linguistics manual, it is for beginners, so to speak. But there's no better starting point than this. Every concept is introduced with really helpful examples, so it's easy to grasp everything. As an analogy, this is like a "popular science" book: it does not use special vocabulary without introducing it first, it assumes little prior knowledge fromt he reader, etc.

The choice of colour and font is superb as well. It always helps reading the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting 17 Nov 2007
I just couldn't put it down until I finished reading this book. This book deals with wide-ranging, complicated issues on linguistics in the plainest English. Well done. It has inspired me, who know little about linguistics, to look further into specific topics that interest me most. If you feel like knowing what's the language all about but don't know where to start, this book is definitely your best choice.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a fantastic book!!! 25 Mar 2004
i am un undergradtuate at york st john university studying linguistics. i was introduced to this book by a friend and once i started to read it i couldn't put it down. it has brief yet informative chapters on all aspects covered in the field of linguistics and the engish language. it explain difficult topics like semantics and pragmatics in an easy to understand manner without sounding patronising. this book is well worth every penny!
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat informative, but entirely untrustworthy 9 April 2004
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE is a basic linguistics introductory published by Cambridge University Press. Generally CUP's linguistics textbooks are the best in the field, so I acquired this book to see how its basic introduction was. Unfortunately, I was left very disappointed, and doubt that this is a trustworthy introduction to the field.
The first warning sign is that there is no biography of the author George Yule, and therefore the reader cannot see how he is qualified to prepare a textbook, where his graduate degrees are from, etc. The author then goes on to pepper his work with urban legends, such as the assertion that English spelling comes from Dutch printers, and the tired yarn that William James had a run-in with a crazy old lady who believed the world was on the back of a turtle.
However, the greatest mark against the book comes in its use of Bill Bryson as a source. Bryson produced two popular-linguistics books over ten years over, even though he had no training in linguistics. Many linguists have condemned the books for their abundance of urban legends, misunderstandings, and total lack of error-checking ("Eskimo's have 50 words for snow", "Russian has no word for "engagement ring" or "fun"). In THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE, Yule uses questionable passages from Bryson's books to illustrate points, and even seems to recommend them to students.
Concerning other aspects of the book, it does not seem usable. Yule spends very little time on phonetics and phonology, and introduces only concepts found in English, even though most students undoubtedly wish to know about more exotic languages. The insubstantial offerings on phonetics and phonology make this book entirely unsuitable for students of philology; how can you teach the comparative IE philologists of tomorrow if you don't even mention laryngeals? Yule also has an annoying tendency to speak to the reader as if he was a child. While this is an undergraduate textbook, it is written at the reading level of a high school work. The epigraphs of each chapter are amusing, but any writer who quotes "Beavis and Butthead" is certainly not teaching at an intellectual level.
In summary, I recommend against the use of THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE as a textbook. The book is clearly not trustworthy, and does not seem an effective and rigorous introduction to linguistics. I feel it would be better to teach from Cambridge University Press' individual introductions, such as Laver's PRINCIPLES OF PHONETICS, Lass' PHONOLOGY, etc.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best overall choice. 26 Jan 2000
By Samuel Chell - Published on Amazon.com
It's not the most comprehensive, analytic, graphically-appealing of the many linguistics texts out there. But for undergraduates I've found it to be the most readable and practical. Students can handle the book in a single semester, insuring that they will come away with an understanding of what linguistics is about. If the goal is to produce linguists, I'd look to other texts.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good general introduction 26 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a good general introduction to the field of linguistics, and it can be used in a course on "linguistics lite", or as the basis of a more indepth course, if the instructor supplements it with other materials. Since the book includes so little example material, I have gotten good results when I've paired it with the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, which is a wonderful source of illustrations and specifics. (Students can buy both books and still come out cheaper than if they had bought just one of the really miserable introductory texts that are in common use.) It has some good exercises in it, but I've found that the instructions need explaining, because for some reason, even though they seem clear, my students find them confusing.
In general, I liked this book very much, as did my students, but there is one very serious defect, which the instructor must address. The typesetter chose to use a sans serif font for phonetic transcription, and the result of this is that the character for a high front lax vowel is indistinguishable from /l/. This is very confusing for the students, but I've found that making up my own vowel and consonant charts as a handout has remedied the problem. I hope this is fixed in the next edition.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Basic Introduction to Linguistics 5 July 2004
By T. Hooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a good basic introduction to the field of Linguistics. Most of the subfields of Linguistics are covered. Of particular interest are the chapters on second-language acquisition and dialects. As a language teacher, I found that by reading this book, I could understand a little more about how to explain the language I teach. If you teach, it really helps to understand the basic building blocks of a language. As I mentioned, this is an introductory level book, but the great thing about it is that it provides a reading list for each subfield, so you can easily find a lot of books to read in the subfields you're interested in. If you're thinking of studying Linguistics, get this book first to see if it interests you before you commit.
One point of caution--this book tries to present the field of Linguistics from the viewpoint of the development of the field. In reviewing the history of Linguistics for each subfield, the book covers some theories that have been disproven or are currently out of fashion. Be careful to read this critically.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview 6 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book certainly doesn't confuse the student with too many messy details, but it's good for a general idea of what linguistics are about. The introductory passages for the seperate chapters were well chosen for their diversity and humor, though they weren't always very illustrative as far as the subject in the chapter goes. This book is required reading for all Students of English at my University in Germany, but it is not intended for study in greater depth.
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