Linguistics: An Introduction

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 580 pages
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Reader-friendly and accessible, this introduction to linguistic methodology and theory assumes no previous background in linguistics and eases students, with step-by-step guidance, into the technical aspects of language. It provides comprehensive coverage of the five core areas of theoretical linguistics--phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics--and adds brief discussions of conversation interaction and historical/comparative linguistics.
Linguistics aims to teach students how linguists think: how they look at data, the manner in which they argue, and the range of conclusions they would find reasonable when studying a set of data. Throughout the book, readers are asked to consider various hypotheses and to use them to account for a range of data. This text is unique in that it brings students face-to-face with current cutting-edge theories, while simultaneously encouraging them to argue with those theories.
Napoli demonstrates to students that the field of linguistics is constantly evolving, and encourages them to learn how to amass evidence in order to address questions, and to understand that all questions should be asked again at regular intervals, so that the field can be reevaluated in light of new information. Each chapter begins with elementary material and progresses to more difficult concepts, allowing instructors to choose which portions of each chapter to cover. Helpful problem sets with exercises of varying degrees of difficulty are included at the end of each chapter. The data in these problem sets are drawn from multiple languages, and all chapters include problem sets on English, a Romance language, Japanese, and American Sign Language.

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About the author (1996)

Donna Jo Napoli is Professor and Chair of Linguistics at Swarthmore College.

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