Sunday, July 06, 2014

BOOK BRIEF: "Teach Yourself ... Linguistics" by Jean Aitchison

As a primer for the new language student, Jean Aitchison's Linguistics is an excellent choice. In 257 pages, she covers with accuracy, clarity, and simplicity so many key topics of the discipline that it might be best to simply provide an overview of  the book:

  • end-of-chapter review questions, which the reader should be able to answer correctly before moving to the next chapter
  • a synopsis of the history of language (Chapters 1-3)
  • a lucid description of the elements of grammar, namely, phonology, syntax, and semantics (Chapter 4)
  • a precis on English and universal sounds, including phonemes and allophones (Chapters 5 and 6) 
  • a deeper analysis of how sentence structure interacts with word meaning (Chapters 7 and 8)
  • a look at the broader context of language in everyday discourse through pragmatics (Chapter 9), sociolinguistics (Chapter 10), psycholinguistics (Chapter 11), and literature (Chapter 12)
  • a discussion of the influences on the language evolution (Chapters 13 through 15)
  • a high-level review of modern language structural theory (Chapters 16 through 18)

The Teach Yourself series, an imprint of  British-based Hodder Education, has been publishing instructional books since 1938, reaching tens of millions of readers worldwide. Unquestionably, Linguistics makes a strong case to review more of this publisher's volumes.