Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication

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This popular introductory linguistics text is unique in the way various themes are integrated throughout the book. One primary theme is the question, How is a speaker's communicative intent recognized? Rather than treat phonology, phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics as completely separate fields, the text shows how they interact in principled ways. Similarly, language variation and acquisition are informed by results in these fields. The text provides a sound introduction to linguistic methodology while also revealing why people are intrinsically interested in language -- the ultimate puzzle of the human mind.

The fifth edition has been thoroughly revised. Revisions include, but are not limited to, the addition of selected readings sections, updated examples, new discussion on the creative nature of neologisms, and the use of IPA as the primary transcription system throughout. This edition also includes an account of the patterns of occurrence of reduced vowels in English. An understanding of these patterns enables the reader to write a phonemic transcription of any English word.


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Page 285 - English is not the result of erratic or illogical behavior: it follows the same regular rules as standard English contraction. Wherever standard English can contract, Negro children use either the contracted form or (more commonly) the deleted zero form. Thus They mine corresponds to standard They're mine, not to the full form They are mine. On the other hand, no such deletion is possible in positions where standard English cannot contract : just as one cannot say That's what they're in standard...
Page 261 - passed from link to link," the receiver of the name must, I think, intend when he learns it to use it with the same reference as the man from whom he heard it. If I hear the name "Napoleon...
Page 423 - Semantic" factors pick lexical formatives and grammatical relations Syntactic factors pick positional frames with their attendant grammatical formatives; phonemically specified lexical formatives are inserted in frames Phonetic detail of both lexical and grammatical formatives specified...
Page 9 - A human language is a system of remarkable complexity. To come to know a human language would be an extraordinary intellectual achievement for a creature not specifically designed to accomplish this task. A normal child acquires this knowledge on relatively slight exposure and without specific training.
Page 477 - How comes it that human beings, whose contacts with the world are brief and personal and limited, are nevertheless able to know as much as they do know?
Page 366 - The basic outlines of the conduit metaphor, at least in its "major framework" version, consist of the following points: "1) language functions like a conduit, transferring thoughts bodily from one person to another; 2) in writing and speaking, people insert their thoughts or feelings in the words; 3) words accomplish the transfer by containing the thoughts or feelings and conveying them to others; and 4) in listening or reading, people extract the thoughts and feelings once again from the words
Page 366 - Reddy (1979, 290), the major ideas structuring this metaphor are: (1) language functions like a conduit, transferring thoughts bodily from one person to another; (2) in writing and speaking, people insert their thoughts or feelings in the words...
Page 281 - Excuse me, where are the women's shoes?" the answer would normally be, "Fourth floor." The interviewer then leaned forward and said, "Excuse me?" He would usually then obtain another utterance, "Fourth floor. " spoken in careful style under emphatic stress. The interviewer would then move along the aisle of the store to a point immediately beyond the informant's view, and make a written note of the data. The following independent variables were included: the...
Page 9 - language is a mirror of mind in a deep and significant sense.
Page 402 - focus of a sentence' to denote the information in the sentence that is assumed by the speaker not to be shared by him and the hearer...

About the author (2001)

The late Adrian Akmajian was Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

Richard A. Demers is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

Ann K. Farmer is an Information Engineer at Google.

Robert M. Harnish is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

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