General Question

citizenearth's avatar

Can anyone suggest very good books on linguistics and language?

Asked by citizenearth (401 points ) December 1st, 2011

General books, layman books and textbooks are welcome.

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8 Answers

zensky's avatar

Anything by Richard Lederer. Crazy English is a good start.

morphail's avatar

check out Stephen Pinker and David Crystal

linguaphile's avatar

I second the recommendations up there ^^ ^^

Another good one is The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way by Bill Bryson

The Linguistic Wars is on my reading list—the first part’s good. It explains a LOT about the different perspectives that exist in the linguistics field today.

morphail's avatar

The Mother Tongue is funny, but I found it frustrating because it is full of inaccuracies and misleading statements imo.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Crystal: The Encyclopaedia of the English Language

Joseph: Language and Politics

Joseph: Language and Identity: National, Ethnic, Religious

Disclosure: Prof. Joseph was my Socio- and Applied Linguistics tutor on my master’s degree. He’s a great writer – very accessible and entertaining – and a very good lecturer as well.

O’Grady, Dobrowolski and Katamba (Eds): Contemporary Linguistics

Yule: The Study of Language

fundevogel's avatar

The Power of Babel by John McWhorter rocked my understanding of language. Lots of super interesting things about how language develops and evolves. It is a messy amorphous thing sure to fluster people that like their grammars stable and think certain ways of speaking are “right” while others are just bastardizations.

I ought to read it again.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Jeruba's avatar

Two that I have read and found tremendously informative are A History of the English Language, by Baugh and Cable, and Growth and Structure of the English Language, by Otto Jespersen.

Authors who try to capitalize on the diverse origins of English and its many anomalies by calling it weird and crazy just annoy me. For fun with the playful aspects of English, I prefer the work of Willard Espy.

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