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How Languages Work
An Introduction to Language and Linguistics

2nd Edition

$59.99 (X)

Carol Genetti, Matthew Gordon, Marianne Mithun, Michael Israel, Mira Ariel, Wallace Chafe, Mary Bucholtz, Lal Zimman, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Patricia M. Clancy, Dorothy Chun, Jan Frodesen, Ayla Applebaum, Birgit Hellwig, Kristine Hildebrandt, Ritva Laury, Toshihide Nakayama, Daniel J. Hintz, Bernard Comrie, Claire Bowern, Loretta O'Connor, Anne H. Charity Hudley, Christine Mallinson, Robert Englebretson, Guy Deutscher
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  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108454513
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About the Authors
  • Language is a sophisticated tool which we use to communicate in a multitude of ways. Updated and expanded in its second edition, this book introduces language and linguistics - presenting language in all its amazing complexity while systematically guiding you through the basics. The reader will emerge with an appreciation of the diversity of the world's languages, as well as a deeper understanding of the structure of human language, the ways it is used, and its broader social and cultural context. Part I is devoted to the nuts and bolts of language study - speech sounds, sound patterns, sentence structure, and meaning - and includes chapters dedicated to the functional aspects of language: discourse, prosody, pragmatics, and language contact. The fourteen language profiles included in Part II reveal the world's linguistic variety while expanding on the similarities and differences between languages. Using knowledge gained from Part I, the reader can explore how language functions when speakers use it in daily interaction. With a step-by-step approach that is reinforced with well-chosen illustrations, case studies, and study questions, readers will gain understanding and analytical skills that will only enrich their ongoing study of language and linguistics.

    • Maintaining the structure and content of the first edition, this is a completely revised and updated edition that includes a new language profile (African-American English) as well as discussion of British English phonetics and phonology with accompanying online materials, and more examples from both English and other major languages
    • The second edition has a more streamlined design to better facilitate the flow of reading and understanding, including de-emphasising small box features and increasing emphasis on core content, as well as strengthened cross-referencing which better integrates the language profiles with the theory chapters
    • Contains in-book exercises in each of the primary chapters, and an extensively revised chapter on language and society, as well as increased information on data collection and research, and emphasized research methods
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Genetti’s and the contributing authors’ careful consideration of and attention to the reader’s needs make for a highly engaging and comprehensive revised volume which goes well beyond constituting just another introductory textbook in the field. The volume is most readable, providing a solid, up-to-date understanding in chapters which span the full scope of expected areas.' Martin Howard, University College, Cork

    'This is an excellent text, novel in its approach to the study of language. It assumes no prior knowledge, provides a step-by-step guide to the building blocks of language, with up-to-date examples from across the globe. Other features of the text, such as the sidebars, stop-and-reflect boxes, wireless icons, and instructions for tutors and students alike, are like goodies in a toolbox for both the initiates and novices to this complex area of human communication.' Ayo Amuda, University of South Wales

    'This impressive textbook comprises carefully dovetailed chapters by renowned linguists, combining introductions into numerous subfields with discussions of current controversies from a typological perspective. Both beginners and advanced students are catered for with a wide range of language profiles and exercises.' Florian Haas, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

    'The biggest strength of this book is that it greatly improves students’ analytical skills through an abundance of interesting data from a variety of languages.' Éva Kardos, University of Debrecen

    'How Languages Work captures the joy of linguistics by immersing readers in data from an amazing array of languages. Innovative exercises use online resources to introduce the linguistic world outside the classroom.' Clifton L. Pye, University of Kansas

    '… the book seems to cover its goals since each chapter of the first part explains explicitly the linguistic principles and structures and encourages students to apply methods in order to better perceive a linguistic phenomenon. Also, by reading the second part of the book, students will be able to observe different grammatical structures in different languages of the world and understand the linguistic diversity.' Georgios P. Georgiou, LINGUIST List

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    Customer reviews

    29th Oct 2020 by JingLuo

    First 6 chapters are clear and accessible to students, pragmatics section could improve, language profiles are excellent, but aren't easy to integrate.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108454513
    • length: 704 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 190 x 33 mm
    • weight: 1.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    List of glossing conventions
    The book's approach
    For students: how to use this book
    Part I. Primary Chapters:
    1. Introduction: language, languages, and linguistics Carol Genetti
    2. Phonetics: physical dimensions of speech sounds Matthew Gordon
    3. Phonology: organization of speech sounds Matthew Gordon
    4. Morphology: what's in a word? Marianne Mithun
    5. Word classes: evidence from grammatical behavior Carol Genetti
    6. Syntax: words in combination Carol Genetti
    7. Semantics: how language makes sense Michael Israel
    8. Pragmatics: inference for language Mira Ariel
    9. Discourse: language beyond the sentence Wallace Chafe
    10. Prosody: the music of language Wallace Chafe
    11. Language in the social world Mary Bucholtz and Lal Zimman
    12. Language change: the dynamicity of linguistic systems Marianne Mithun
    13. Language contact and areal linguistics Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
    14. First language acquisition Patricia M. Clancy
    15. Second language acquisition Dorothy Chun and Jan Frodesen
    Part II. Language Profiles:
    1. Kabardian Matthew Gordon and Ayla Applebaum
    2. Goemai Birgit Hellwig
    3. Manange Kristine Hildebrandt
    4. Finnish Ritva Laury
    5. Nuuchahnulth (Nootka) Toshihide Nakayama
    6. South Conchucos Quechua Daniel J. Hintz
    7. Tsez Bernard Comrie
    8. Bardi Claire Bowern
    9. Lowland Chontal Loretta O'Connor
    10. Manambu Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Carol Genetti
    11. African-American English Anne H. Charity Hudley and Christine Mallinson
    12. Indonesian Robert Englebretson
    13. Seneca Wallace Chafe
    14. Akkadian Guy Deutscher
    Appendix: IPA summary sheet.

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    How Languages Work

    Carol Genetti

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  • Author

    Carol Genetti, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Carol Genetti is a Professor of Linguistics and the Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a specialist in Himalayan languages and in the documentation and description of previously undescribed languages. Her Grammar of Dolakha Newar (2007) was awarded the inaugural Von der Gabelentz book award from the international Association for Linguistic Typology. She has published numerous articles, especially on the syntax of clause combining in Tibeto-Burman languages, but also on phonology, morphology, syntax, discourse, typology, grammaticalization, grammar writing, and historical linguistics. In addition, Professor Genetti has a strong interest in the documentation and conservation of endangered languages. She was founding Director of the Institute on Field Linguistics and Language Documentation (InField/CoLang) and Chair of the Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation.


    Carol Genetti, Matthew Gordon, Marianne Mithun, Michael Israel, Mira Ariel, Wallace Chafe, Mary Bucholtz, Lal Zimman, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Patricia M. Clancy, Dorothy Chun, Jan Frodesen, Ayla Applebaum, Birgit Hellwig, Kristine Hildebrandt, Ritva Laury, Toshihide Nakayama, Daniel J. Hintz, Bernard Comrie, Claire Bowern, Loretta O'Connor, Anne H. Charity Hudley, Christine Mallinson, Robert Englebretson, Guy Deutscher

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