This popular introductory linguistics text is unique for its integration of
themes. Rather than treat morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, and
semantics as completely separate fields, the book shows how they interact.
It provides a sound introduction to linguistic methodology while
encouraging students to consider why people are intrinsically interested in
language—the ultimate puzzle of the human mind.
The text first treats such structural and interpretive parts of language as
morphology, phonology, syntax, and semantics, then takes a cognitive
perspective and covers such topics as pragmatics, psychology of language,
language acquisition, and language and the brain. For this sixth edition,
all chapters have been revised. New material includes updated examples, new
special topics sections, and new discussions of the minimalist program,
semantic minimalism, human genetic relationships and historical
relationships among languages, Gricean theories, experimental pragmatics,
and language acquisition.
The organization of the book gives instructors flexibility in designing
their courses. Chapters have numerous subsections with core material
presented first and additional material following as special topics. The
accompanying workbook supplements the text with exercises drawn from a
variety of languages. The goal is to teach basic conceptual foundations of
linguistics and the methods of argumentation, justification, and hypothesis
testing within the field. By presenting the most fundamental linguistics
concepts in detail, the text allows students to get a feeling for how real
work in different areas of linguistics is done.