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Linguistics For Dummies

ISBN: 978-1-118-10159-9
February 2012
Linguistics For Dummies (1118101596) cover image
The fascinating, fun, and friendly way to understand the science behind human language

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics students study how languages are constructed, how they function, how they affect society, and how humans learn language. From understanding other languages to teaching computers to communicate, linguistics plays a vital role in society. Linguistics For Dummies tracks to a typical college-level introductory linguistics course and arms you with the confidence, knowledge, and know-how to score your highest.

  • Understand the science behind human language
  • Grasp how language is constructed
  • Score your highest in college-level linguistics

If you're enrolled in an introductory linguistics course or simply have a love of human language, Linguistics For Dummies is your one-stop resource for unlocking the science of the spoken word.

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Introduction 1

Part I: Looking at Language through the Lens of Linguistics 7

Chapter 1: Knowing a Language Versus Knowing What Language Is 9

Chapter 2: Communicating with Language: The Design Features 21

Part II: The Building Blocks of Language 33

Chapter 3: Building Sounds: Phonetics 35

Chapter 4: Putting Sounds Together: Phonology 57

Chapter 5: Building Words: Morphology 77

Chapter 6: Creating Sentences: Syntax 95

Chapter 7: Making Sense of Meaning: Semantics 117

Chapter 8: Using Language in Conversation: Pragmatics 133

Part III: The Social Life of Language 151

Chapter 9: Living with Language Variation: Sociolinguistics 153

Chapter 10: Finding Family Relations: Historical Linguistics 171

Chapter 11: Cataloguing Differences: Linguistic Typology 189

Chapter 12: Beginning and Ending: Language Birth and Language Death 205

Part IV: Your Brain on Language: Learning and Processing Language 221

Chapter 13: Learning Language 223

Chapter 14: Perceiving Language 245

Chapter 15: Producing Language 259

Chapter 16: Locating Language in the Brain: Neurolinguistics 277

Part V: Getting from Speaking to Writing 293

Chapter 17: Writing Down Language 295

Chapter 18: Writing Changes You 307

Part VI: The Part of Tens 321

Chapter 19: Ten Myths about Language Busted by Linguistics 323

Chapter 20: Ten Unsolved Problems in Linguistics 331

Chapter 21: Top 10 Jobs for Linguists 337

Index 343

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Strang Burton is a linguist with the Stolo nation and has taught linguistics at a number of universities.

Rose-Marie Dechaine and Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson are professors of linguistics at the University of British Columbia.

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