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Understanding language : a basic course in linguistics / Elizabeth Grace Winkler.

By: Winkler, Elizabeth Grace.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London ; New York, NY : Continuum, c2007Description: xii, 255 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780826484833(pbk).Subject(s): Linguistics | Language and languagesDDC classification:
Contents:
What every native speaker of a language secretly understands -- Human language versus animal communication systems -- Language acquisition -- Phonetics -- Morphology : the makeup of words in a language -- Grammar -- Semantics : language and meaning -- Pragmatics : language in use -- The history of English -- Language variation and change.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Understanding Language is an introduction to linguistics aimed at non-major undergraduate students who are new to the subject. The book is comprehensive in its coverage of the key areas of linguistics, yet explains these in an easy to understand, jargon-free way. Pictures, jokes, diagrams, tables and suggestions for further reading make this an accessible, student friendly guide which should enable students to navigate this often complicated area of study. Topics covered include language acquisition; speech sounds; the make-up of words; grammar; meaning; communication; the history of English; language variation and change.

This is an essential introduction for students who are taking linguistics at university, whether as their core subject of study, as a non-major or as a bridge between school and undergraduate.

Includes bibliographical references (p. [249]-251) and index.

1. What every native speaker of a language secretly understands -- 2. Human language versus animal communication systems -- 3. Language acquisition -- 4. Phonetics -- 5. Morphology : the makeup of words in a language -- 6. Grammar -- 7. Semantics : language and meaning -- 8. Pragmatics : language in use -- 9. The history of English -- 10. Language variation and change.

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Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface (p. xi)
  • List of Figures (p. xiii)
  • Acknowledgements (p. xv)
  • 1 What every native speaker of a language secretly understands (p. 1)
  • 1.1 The sound system (p. 2)
  • 1.2 The lexicon: the human dictionary (p. 4)
  • 1.3 Morphology (p. 7)
  • 1.4 Grammar (p. 8)
  • 1.5 How the world's languages differ (p. 9)
  • 1.6 The boundaries of a language: language versus dialect (p. 12)
  • 1.6.1 How does a standard develop or get chosen? (p. 14)
  • 1.6.2 Standard and written language versus normal or non-standard speech (p. 17)
  • 1.7 A linguistic approach to language diversity (p. 19)
  • 2 Human Language versus Animal Communication Systems (p. 22)
  • 2.1 Naturally occurring animal communication systems (p. 24)
  • 2.1.1 Black Austrian honeybee communication (p. 24)
  • 2.1.2 Bird calls and songs (p. 26)
  • 2.1.3 Dolphins and whales (p. 28)
  • 2.1.4 More complex animal communication systems (p. 29)
  • 2.1.5 Primate communication (p. 29)
  • 2.2 Artificially taught animal communication systems (p. 30)
  • 2.2.1 Chimpanzees and great apes (p. 30)
  • 2.2.2 African grey parrots (p. 32)
  • 3 Language Acquisition (p. 36)
  • 3.1 Early theories of first language acquisition (p. 37)
  • 3.1.1 Challenges to behaviourism and structuralism (p. 38)
  • 3.1.2 The innateness hypothesis (p. 38)
  • 3.1.3 Support for the innateness hypothesis (p. 39)
  • 3.1.4 Problems with reinforcement and imitation (p. 40)
  • 3.1.5 What children's 'errors' tell us (p. 41)
  • 3.1.6 Studies supporting the innateness hypothesis (p. 43)
  • 3.1.7 Studies on the living brain (p. 44)
  • 3.1.8 Critical age hypothesis for first language acquisition (p. 45)
  • 3.2 Stages of language acquisition (p. 46)
  • 3.2.1 Learning the sound system (p. 46)
  • 3.2.2 Sound and meaning (p. 48)
  • 3.2.3 From single words to grammar (p. 48)
  • 3.3 Second language acquisition (p. 49)
  • 3.3.1 SLA and behaviourism (p. 50)
  • 3.3.2 First language interference in SLA (p. 52)
  • 3.3.3 SLA and feedback or correction (p. 53)
  • 3.3.4 Individual differences (p. 55)
  • 3.3.5 Critical age hypothesis for second language acquisition (p. 57)
  • 3.3.6 Recent developments in second language acquisition (p. 58)
  • 4 Phonetics (p. 62)
  • 4.1 How is speech produced? (p. 63)
  • 4.2 The consonants (p. 64)
  • 4.2.1 Voicing (p. 65)
  • 4.2.2 Place of articulation (p. 65)
  • 4.2.3 Manner of articulation (p. 66)
  • 4.3 The International Phonetic Alphabet (p. 72)
  • 4.4 The vowels (p. 73)
  • 4.4.1 Classification of vowels (p. 73)
  • 4.4.2 The vowel chart (p. 73)
  • 4.4.3 Diphthongs (p. 74)
  • 4.4.4 Vowel length (p. 75)
  • 4.5 Advantages of a phonetic system (p. 76)
  • 4.6 Other features of sound: suprasegmentals (p. 78)
  • 5 Morphology: The Makeup of Words in a Language (p. 82)
  • 5.1 Categorizing the words of a language (p. 84)
  • 5.2 Morphemes (p. 85)
  • 5.2.1 Inflectional and derivational morphemes (p. 86)
  • 5.3 Morphology and phonetics (p. 89)
  • 5.3.1 A final word about morpheme structure (p. 91)
  • 5.4 Our ever-expanding and changing vocabulary (p. 91)
  • 5.4.1 Word formation processes (p. 92)
  • 5.4.2 Linguistic borrowing (p. 98)
  • 5.5 The dictionary (p. 100)
  • 5.5.1 New dictionary words (p. 101)
  • 6 Grammar (p. 105)
  • 6.1 Traditional grammar (p. 108)
  • 6.2 Language word orders (p. 110)
  • 6.3 Phrase structure grammars (p. 111)
  • 6.3.1 Advantages of a phrase structure grammar (p. 113)
  • 6.3.2 Determining phrase structure grammar rules (p. 113)
  • 6.3.3 Other aspects of syntax (p. 128)
  • 7 Semantics: Language and Meaning (p. 132)
  • 7.1 How is meaning developed? (p. 133)
  • 7.2 How is meaning encoded? (p. 134)
  • 7.3 Word meaning: sense and reference (p. 135)
  • 7.3.1 Proper nouns: the problem of names (p. 136)
  • 7.4 What native speakers understand about meaning (p. 138)
  • 7.4.1 Ambiguity (p. 138)
  • 7.4.2 Synonymy (p. 139)
  • 7.4.3 Antonymy (p. 140)
  • 7.4.4 Levels of specificity (p. 140)
  • 7.4.5 Meaning inclusion (p. 141)
  • 7.4.6 Compositional versus non-compositional utterances (p. 142)
  • 7.4.7 Phrasal verbs (p. 146)
  • 7.4.8 Figures of speech (p. 147)
  • 7.4.9 Irony and sarcasm (p. 148)
  • 8 Pragmatics: Language in Use (p. 152)
  • 8.1 Speech acts (p. 153)
  • 8.1.1 Direct versus indirect speech acts (p. 155)
  • 8.2 Speaking the unspeakable: indirection as a linguistic strategy (p. 156)
  • 8.2.1 Euphemisms (p. 156)
  • 8.2.2 Euphemisms for pregnancy (p. 157)
  • 8.2.3 Proverbs as indirect speech (p. 158)
  • 8.3 Language and advertising (p. 160)
  • 8.3.1 Weasel words (p. 161)
  • 8.3.2 Open-ended comparisons (p. 162)
  • 8.3.3 Ambiguous language and modal auxiliaries (p. 163)
  • 8.3.4 Politics as advertising (p. 164)
  • 8.4 Meaning and humour (p. 167)
  • 8.4.1 Humour and the sound system of a language (p. 167)
  • 8.4.2 Humour and morphology (p. 167)
  • 8.4.3 Humour and semantics (p. 168)
  • 8.4.4 Humour and syntax (p. 169)
  • 9 The History of English (p. 172)
  • 9.1 Periods of English (p. 174)
  • 9.1.1 Effects of the Norman invasion (p. 176)
  • 9.1.2 The return of English (p. 177)
  • 9.1.3 The influence of Geoffrey Chaucer (p. 178)
  • 9.1.4 The printing press (p. 179)
  • 9.1.5 The influence of James I (p. 181)
  • 9.2 Lexical change (p. 182)
  • 9.2.1 English expands through military and economic expansion (p. 184)
  • 9.3 Sound change (p. 186)
  • 9.3.1 The Great Vowel Shift (p. 187)
  • 9.3.2 Evidence for sound change from Old English (p. 188)
  • 9.4 Changes in grammar (p. 189)
  • 9.5 The spelling 'system' of English (p. 190)
  • 9.5.1 Fixing the spelling problem (p. 194)
  • 10 Language Variation and Change (p. 197)
  • 10.1 Why languages change (p. 197)
  • 10.1.1 Lexical and semantic change (p. 198)
  • 10.1.2 Changes in the sound system (p. 199)
  • 10.1.3 Changes to grammar and morphology (p. 201)
  • 10.2 Language variation (p. 202)
  • 10.2.1 Causes of dialectal diversity (p. 203)
  • 10.2.2 Social attitudes about language varieties (p. 206)
  • 10.2.3 Measuring attitudes about language varieties (p. 207)
  • 10.3 Dialects of language contact (p. 208)
  • 10.3.1 Chicano English and codeswitching (p. 208)
  • 10.3.2 Codeswitching (p. 211)
  • 10.3.3 Pidgins and Creoles (p. 215)
  • 10.4 Varieties of English (p. 225)
  • 10.4.1 Appalachian English (p. 225)
  • 10.4.2 African American Vernacular English (p. 229)
  • 10.4.3 Cockney English (p. 232)
  • 10.5 Language and gender (p. 234)
  • 10.5.1 Use of titles (p. 235)
  • 10.5.2 Asymmetries in language (p. 236)
  • 10.5.3 Generic 'he' for unspecified reference (p. 237)
  • 10.5.4 Effects of gender on language (p. 238)
  • 10.5.5 Common beliefs about gendered language (p. 239)
  • 10.5.6 Language and the workplace (p. 242)
  • 10.5.7 Early socialization by gender (p. 243)
  • 10.6 The future of English and its dialects (p. 244)
  • References (p. 249)
  • Index (p. 253)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

The study of language from a linguistic point of view--i.e., looking at unconscious rules and patterns speakers use--is generally a complex and difficult topic to present to the inexperienced. Winkler (Univ. of Western Kentucky) attempts this task with a fair degree of success. Writing in an accessible style, she covers the primary areas of linguistic study--phonetics, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics--and in this her book is comparable to such established classroom texts as Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams's An Introduction to Language (8th ed., 2007) and Edward Finnegan's Language: Its Structure and Use (2004). However, for some topics Winkler offers a minimum of detail and examples (for example, she discusses only a few major features of various dialects), and this could leave the reader confused. And Winkler's use of "grammar" to mean "syntax" is problematic, since most linguists define "grammar" more broadly. Winkler does not include exercises (the other books do). This is one of those textbooks that may be as useful in the library as in the classroom; it would be a reasonable resource for those looking for a basic, concise overview. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates; general readers. P. J. Kurtz Minot State University