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Zen_Again's avatar

Can you recommend me any academic literature related to English literature or linguistics?

Asked by Zen_Again (9896points) April 23rd, 2010

I don’t have the time, money nor patience to continue my studies right now – but I do have time to read.

Would you help me out by listing a couple of books/textbooks you were required to read – state the year (1st , 2nd, etc.) of university it was required for, and whether you enjoyed it or not. Where applicable, did you ever return to the book and actually use it for reference? Did it help you at all – if you’ve already begun working in your field?

And finally, I prefer books in the various English fields, from Literature to Linguistics (I’m currently reading “Overcoming Dyslexia); also the various Psychology and mind disciplines. History and the like are also welcome, but please no Maths and Physics and such.


Oh – and anyone who has the old textbooks they are suggesting, and want to sell them – let me know.

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13 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

This is a book that changed my life (it doesn’t contain serious amounts of maths or physics either). I’d guess it’s about second-year level. “Direct Use of the Suns Energy” by Farrington Daniels. Some of his information on photovoltaics is a bit dated, the book was written in the mid seventies. This book turned me into a confirmed solar energy nut, sufficiently so that I got a Masters in the field.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I had to read Psychology and Life by Gerrig and Zimbardo. I found it to be a good introduction to psychology, and I plan on reading it in further detail in the future. All my other textbooks have been on human anatomy, physics, statistics, or a combination of these.

If you are looking for a historical read, I highly recommend reading a translation of the original text of Beowulf. I love what little I know of Old English poetry, and this is the best example that I am familiar with.

thriftymaid's avatar

Zen, you can just go to a college bookstore and see what the required reading is for those subjects.

Fyrius's avatar

On the subject of Linguistics, I can suggest Fromkin’s Linguistics as an introductory book. It covers the basics on semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology and phonetics. We’ve been through it in the first year of my bachelor.

Fromkin, Victoria A. (ed.) 2000 – Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory. Blackwell.

If you want to know more about any particular subfield, I could give you some specific references on syntax, semantics, phonology, language acquisition and sociolinguistics too.
It was a very general bachelor.

MissAusten's avatar

For one of my college classes, we read The Language Instinct and I found it fascinating. For the life of me, I can’t remember what class it was for or what year. The book focuses on how children develop language, and it led me to read books about children who grew up without language, like Genie.

None of the actual textbooks make much impression on me, other than the books we used for a required course called World Cultures. It covered three semesters and was a sort of history/literature/religion class. I tried finding the book we used for the class, but had no luck. We also read much of the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita as part of the course.

For one of my literature classes, probably in my junior year, we read Sexual Personae. It was also very interesting, and first introduced me to the lovely phrase “vagina dentata.” ;)

My sophomore year I took a cultural anthropology course and loved it. I can’t find the exact text we used, unfortunately. I know we also read a book about Inuit culture and one about the Masai tribe. I’d imagine you could find books about these subjects by doing an Amazon search and reading the reviews to find which book would have what you are looking for.

Finally, the books I remember most from college were novels. The literature classes I had in high school lacked so much, which I didn’t even realize until I was forced to read the likes of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “Jane Eyre” have been favorites of mine ever since. I’ve read each of them over and over. Also, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood had me on a reading spree, devouring the rest of her books (some better than others!). For one of my education classes my sophomore year, I read The Education of Little Tree. I’ve read it since about once a year, and it changes each time for me. At first I loved it for what it was supposed to be, an autobiography of a Cherokee boy raised by his grandparents. Then I found out it was fiction, and later found out the author wrote racist speeches for political candidates under his real name. Even now, the book makes me cry and laugh, but knowing more about the author makes the book that much more incredible. I read it and try to understand how he could write it and also write hate speech. I am torn between still loving it, and wishing it had a bit less of the “myth of the noble savage.” Regardless, it’s a good story.

Happy reading!

Zen_Again's avatar

@MissAusten Thanks for taking the time! @Fyrius and @FireMadeFlesh Thanks!

liminal's avatar

@Zen_Again, something I used to do, when I wasn’t in school, was go to the bookstores of universities in my area and go through the required texts teachers set aside for classes. Sometimes, if the book was more than I could afford, I would check with the school’s library because teachers had copies on hold. I even e-mailed a teacher once and asked for their syllabus. It made for some interesting reading!

In case you are not aware is a great source for used textbooks.

Zen_Again's avatar

For those of you who do not know, I am neither in the States, nor even in an English speaking country. I was looking for personal recommendations of textbooks, as they are endless. The details part of the question state very clearly what I’m after.


liminal's avatar

@Zen_Again Yes it very was clear. I was offering an unsolicited suggestion. I was thinking that professor opinion might prove interesting. Sorry if I offended.

Jeruba's avatar

I never took a course in linguistics, but I should have. I did read a book of Otto Jesperson’s from cover to cover, and also Baugh and Cable, probably this one. And some others. This is the subject I didn’t get a Ph.D. in.

Scar09's avatar

We read The Roots of Modern English for an introductory linguistics class in the mid ‘70s.
I still refer to it time and again and want to reread it when I have some time. A nice introduction to the IPA and a thorough coverage of how language changes and grows.-

Zen_Again's avatar

Thanks @Scar09 and welcome to flutherville, the community under the sea. You’ll fit right in.

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