Pub. Date:
Bloomsbury Academic
Understanding Language / Edition 1

Understanding Language / Edition 1

by Elizabeth Winkler


Current price is , Original price is $160.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

This item is available online through Marketplace sellers.


Understanding Language is an introduction to linguistics aimed at non-major undergraduate students who are new to the subject. The book is comprehensive in its coverage of the key areas of linguistics, yet explains these in an easy to understand, jargon-free way. Pictures, jokes, diagrams, tables and suggestions for further reading make this an accessible, student friendly guide which should enable students to navigate this often complicated area of study. Topics covered include language acquisition; speech sounds; the make-up of words; grammar; meaning; communication; the history of English; language variation and change.

This is an essential introduction for any student taking linguistics at university, whether as their main subject of study, as part of a general education course, or in conjunction with related fields.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826484826
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 07/01/2007
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Winkler is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Western Kentucky University, USA.

Table of Contents

1. What Every Native Speaker of a Language Secretly Understands

1.1 The Sound System

1.2 The Lexicon (The Human Dictionary)

1.3 Grammar or Syntax

1.4 How do the World's Languages Differ?

1.5 The Boundaries of a Language: Language versus Dialect

1.6 How does a Standard Develop or get Chosen?

1.7 Standard and Written Language versus Normal or Nonstandard Speech

1.8 A Linguistic Approach to Language Diversity

2. Human Language versus Animal Communication

2.1 Italian Honeybee Communication

2.2 Bird Calls and Songs

2.3 Dolphins and Whales

2.4 Are There More Complex Animal Systems?

2.5 Primate Communication

3. Language Acquisition

3.1 First Language Acquisition

3.1.1 The Language Acquisition Device

3.1.2 Critical Age Hypothesis for First Language Acquisition

3.1.3 Stages of Language Acquisition

3.2 Second Language Acquisition

3.2.1 Individual Differences

3.2.2 Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis

3.2.3 Critical Age Hypothesis for Second Language Acquisition

4. Phonetics
4.1 How is speech produced?
4.2 Classification of Sounds

4.3 Consonants

4.3.1 Voicing

4.3.2 Place of Articulation

4.3.3 Manner of Articulation

4.3.4 Nasals

4.3.5 Fricatives

4.3.6 Afficates

4.3.7 Liquids and glides

4.4 Vowels

4.4.1 Features

4.4.2 Dipthongs

4.4.3 Analyzing Speech Errors

5. Morphology: The Makeup of Words in a Language

5.1 Categorizing the Words of a Language

5.2 Morphemes

5.3 Morphology and Phonetics

5.4 Our Ever Expanding and Changing Vocabulary

5.4.1 Word Formation Processes

5.4.2 Linguistic Borrowing

5.5 The Dictionary

5.5.1 New Dictionary Words

6. Grammar

6.1 Traditional Grammar

6.2 Language Word Orders

6.3 Phrase Structure Grammars

6.3.1 Advantages of a Phrase Structure Grammar

6.3.2 Determining Phrase Structure Grammar Rules

6.3.3 Tense and Aspect

6.3.4 Tree Diagrams

6.3.5 Limitations to Phrase Structure Grammars

7. Language and Meaning

7.1 Semantics

7.2 How is Meaning Developed?

7.3 How Meaning is Encoded

7.4 Word Meaning: Sense and Reference

7.5 Proper Nouns: The Problem of Names

7.6 What Native Speakers Understand about Meaning

7.6.1 Ambiguity

7.6.2 Synonymy

7.6.3 Antonymy

7.6.4 Levels of Specificity

7.6.5 Meaning Inclusion

7.6.6 Compositional versus Noncompositional Utterances

7.7 Pragmatics

7.8 Speech Acts

7.8.1 Direct versus Indirect Speech Acts

7.9 Speaking the Unspeakable: Indirection as a Linguistic Strategy

7.9.1 Euphemisms

7.9.2 Proverbs as Indirect Speech

7.10 Language and Advertising

7.10.1 Weasel Words

7.10.2 Open-ended comparisons.

7.10.3 Ambiguous Language and Modal Auxiliaries

7.10.4 Politics as Advertising

7.11 Meaning and Humor

7.11.1 Humor and the Sound System of a Language

7.11.2 Humor and Morphology

7.11.3 Humor and Semantics

7.11.4 Humor and Syntax

8. The History of English

8.1 Periods of English

8.1.1 Effects of the Norman Invasion

8.1.2 The Return of English

8.2 Lexical Change

8.2.1 English expands through military and economic expansion

8.3 Sound change

8.3.1 The Great Vowel Shift

8.3.2 Evidence for Sound Change from Old English

8.4 Changes in Grammar

8.5 The Spelling "System" of English

8.5.1 Fixing the Problem

10. Language variation and change

10.1 Dialectal variation and accents

10.2 Language and Gender

10.3 A brief look at several varieties of English

10.3.1 Appalachian English (USA)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews