Linguistics: An Introduction

By William B. McGregor




McGregor‘s Introduction is a very well-balanced and informative introductory text. It is designed to give the student a sense of being able to think clearly about language, and to engage in the study of language in any of its diverse manifestations — always in a perspective in which (as McGregor says) “meaning and use play absolutely central roles”. The book will make it clear to students what it means to say that linguistics is the science of language.

– M. A. K. Halliday, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Australia

Linguistics: An Introduction provides a fresh yet traditional functionalist perspective on some of the core issues in modern linguistics, occupying an intermediate position between existing introductory workbooks and textbooks. Students will appreciate the no-nonsense focus on basic facts and concepts, as well as the frequent interjection of practical suggestions for how to study, learn, and conduct linguistic analysis. Professors will enjoy the steady infusion of examples from Australian and other lesser-known languages of the world, as well as the stimulating new questions at the end of each chapter. Linguistics is a textbook suitable for students all around the world — and Americans will find much in this book to get their linguistic juices flowing.

– Dr Bert Vaux, University Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, UK

William McGregor’s new textbook is an excellent introduction to linguistics. It is clear, precise and readable, comprehensible and comprehensive, and it is eminently usable as both a core course text as well as a reference work. It also does not neglect the extensions and applications of linguistics in the real world. This book is likely to become the benchmark for linguistics texts in the next few years.

– Peter Stockwell, Professor of Literary Linguistics, University of Nottingham, UK

At last — an introduction to the study of language that is neither theory-neutral nor generative, but one that is cognitivist and functional. It highlights the links of linguistics with psychology, neuroscience and biological evolutionary theory. In addition it is engaging, pedagogically well thought through, lucidly written and nicely presented. The perfect book for beginners!

– Dr Eva Eppler, Senior Lecturer in English Language & Linguistics, Roehampton University, UK

In this introductory text McGregor offers a clear and well-constructed account of core concepts, leading students to explore linguistic diversity with an impressive range of languages and examples, particularly in the later chapters of the book. A reflective student or independent reader with a fascination for the subject will find a wealth of material relevant to basic puzzles about language and more than ample guidance for further study.

– Dr Michael Lumsden, Department of Modern Languages, The University of Hull, UK

William McGregor has produced a textbook which unfolds the study of language in a refreshing and lively way, positions the subject in relation to adjacent disciplines, and gives the beginning student a general view of the complexity and diversity of the world’s languages.

– Dr David Cram, University of Oxford, UK

This book is a superb introduction to linguistics, and cannot fail to entice students to read it. It covers not only the traditional core areas in linguistics of phonetics, phonology, morphology, the lexicon, syntax and semantics, but also highly topical and contemporary areas such as the evolution of language in its biological context, language change, the language and society interface, and how language is acquired, not to be overlooked in any solid modern textbook.

Each chapter is very clearly set out, providing its structure and the objectives to be met at the very start while a concise summary of all the essential facts covered is given at the end, combined with a set of challenging questions and ideas for further reading. An extremely useful glossary of linguistic terms is also to be found at the end of the book. In fact, it is much more astutely organised than other comparable introductory textbooks on the market.

Linguistics: An Introduction presents a refreshing new approach to explaining the basic facts about human languages and will undoubtedly prove to be indispensable at university level. Another bonus is that it is completely technically up-to-date with its inclusion of website information and further sets of questions and thus can felicitously cater for today's enterprising student-internaut.

In short, the book is a gem written by a consummate master of the art and discipline of linguistics, a scholar who has already notched up several decades of experience in empirical research in the field as well as in teaching at university level.

– Hilary M. Chappell, Chair Professor in Linguistic Typology of East Asia, Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’AsieOrientale, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
Updated: Feb. 11, 2009