Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects. A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics. Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
About the Author
Peter Matthews is Professor of Linguistics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. His many publications in the field of Linguistics include several academic books, particularly in the area of morphology, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (1997).
Table of Contents
|List of illustrations||xi|
|List of maps||xiii|
|1||The study of language||1|
|3||Language in time and space||29|
|5||In praise of diversity||60|
|6||What is a language?||76|
|7||How much is systematic?||87|
|9||Language and the brain||113|