Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192801487

P. H. Matthews
144 Pages
113 x 178 mm
Pub date
Apr 2003
Very Short Introductions
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  • Provides a broad overview of the field, and guides the reader through specific examples
  • Conveys complex linguistic topics in a clear, unbiased, down-to-earth way
  • Takes an original approach to the presentation of linguistics, starting with the oldest 'arts' branch of the subject and moving chronologically through to the newer 'science' aspects of research
  • Uses short thematic chapters to break the subject down into its various fields, such as comparing languages, language and evolution, language in time and space, etc.
  • Written by one of the most distinguished linguists in the world today

Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects. A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics. Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle. 


1: The Study of Language
2: 'Homo loquens'
3: Language in Time and Space
4: Language Families
5: In Praise of Diversity
6: What is a Language?
7: How Much is Systematic?
8: Sounds
9: Language and the Brain
Further Reading

About the author: 

Peter Matthews is Professor of Linguistics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. His many publications in the field of Linguistics include several academic books, particularly in the area of morphology, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (1997).

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