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Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction
 
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Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction [Format Kindle]

P. H. Matthews

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects.
A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics. Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Biographie de l'auteur

Peter Matthews is Professor of Linguistics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. His many publications in the field of Linguistics include several academic books, particularly in the area of morphology, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (1997).

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1422 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 152 pages
  • Editeur : OUP Oxford (24 avril 2003)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003ATPRR4
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Amazon.com: 3.1 étoiles sur 5  9 commentaires
62 internautes sur 66 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Short and Somewhat Lacking 14 janvier 2005
Par D. R. Bricault - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
In my search for a linguistics text for an undergraduate interdisciplinary course I teach, I ran across Peter Matthews' "Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction." The title suggested a brief overview of the subject, and the accompanying blurb described a book that sounded ideal for students who are not well versed in the subject. What I found was a text that touches on several aspects of linguistics but never really covers any in enough detail to satisfy this reader. My rating of this book, therefore, falls between that given by two other reviews, since I didn't find this book as dire as one reader nor as stellar as the other.

Matthews attempts to give an overview to a complex subject in just over 120 pages, a daunting task, to be sure. He accomplishes his goal to some degree by devoting nine short chapters to such topics as language families and phonology, but he tends to examine the shrubbery without considering the entire forest. For example, he first refers to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) on page 10, then defers his discussion of phonology till the penultimate chapter of the book; furthermore, he never produces a comprehensive phonetic chart of the IPA or any other notation system anywhere in the book. Likewise, he touches on morphosyntax, particularly in a historical context, but does little in explicating this cornerstone of linguistic analysis. I realize that space (i.e., the number of pages) is an issue in a "very short introduction," but the author found it necessary to include full-page photographs of Chomsky, Sweet, Jones, and Saussure (important figures in the field, to be sure, but why use up four pages of a book for that?), in addition to photos of grooming chimps and other visuals better left to longer textbooks.

Matthews' work does have its merits, such as his historical treatment of the development of language, an overview of language variation in English, and the inclusion of examples of morphological features in some unusual languages (Tuyuca, for instance). These illustrations are not as frequent as I would have liked, however, and the reader is left hanging with a very sketchy picture of how languages work. Matthews does provide a nice annotated bibliography at the end for those that wish to pursue a particular topic in depth.

In the main, "Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction" is a disappointing book for the layperson. I would recommend another text such as Akmajian's "Linguistics" as more in depth and much more logically organized.
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Poor introduction to the subject 12 novembre 2005
Par Kam-Hung Soh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book starts interestingly with the question of the meaning of words, how we encode sounds with symbols and how languages change over space and time. Unfortunately, from Chapter 4 onwards, the discussion becomes quite hard to follow because it relies on many linguistic terms and complex sentences. For example, I had to re-read this sentence in page 65 several times to understand it:

"This ['distributive' element] distinguishes a set whose members are in some way differentiated; so, for example, forms that might be glossed as 'flower-DIST' could be used of flowers that, as well as being two or more, are not all of the same sort."

The editing and formatting of the book could be better. Some linguistic terms (e.g. "gloss" in page 50 and "genitive" in page 110) are first introduced in an example rather than in the main text. Sometimes examples, captions and quotes are in boxes in a bold font (e.g. in pages 93, 94 and 95) but other times are formatted as a standalone paragraph (e.g. in pages 77, 78 and 79). Poor formatting has resulted in a photograph of Chomsky and some text in page 90, then a description of his ideas in a box starting in page 91 but with the final sentence in a box appearing in page 92.

Many pages in this short (152 page) book are wasted: four pages are allocated to photographs of linguists and eight pages are used to advertise other books in the series! I would have preferred to see some of these pages used for a glossary of terms.

Kam-Hung Soh, 12 November 2005.
24 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Skip this one, even if you like the VSI series 16 avril 2006
Par Irfan A. Alvi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is neither very short nor a proper introduction. In this case, the title is totally misleading.

With respect to length, the book drones on and on, and took me a surprisingly long time to finish considering the modest number of pages.

With respect to being an introduction, the author seems more interested in showing his expertise rather than guiding those new to the subject. He spends a lot of time on esoterica, while failing to clearly present the basics of linguistics.

For a truly good introduction, I suggest "Teach Yourself Linguistics" by Aitchison, which is well organized, concise, and covers all of the basics. Also check out the excellent audio/video linguistics courses offered by "The Teaching Company."
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exactly What It Says - "A Very Short Introduction" 20 mars 2012
Par J. Z. Powell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I am an undergraduate student considering a major in Linguistics. I have always been interested in languages, but never really had any idea what Linguistics was about. This book has given me a wonderfully short introduction to the field, and has spurred my interest enough to pursue a degree.

This is "A Very Short Introduction," so (in my humble opinion) I believe reviewers who are giving the book lower ratings had too high expectations. I wasn't expecting a concise introduction into the field of Linguistics or intricate detailed explanations of every topic that was introduced. Rather, I was looking for a basic explanation of what lingusitics is and what linguists do, so that I can gauge my interest on the subject.

While there were a few sections that were a bit difficult to grasp, overall the text was very well written and easy to understand. I would not recommend this as a textbook for any course on linguistics by any means - however I would recommend it to anyone who had an interest in the subject and was looking to find out more about it in general.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Glimpses into What Linguistics Is About 21 novembre 2011
Par Karen M. Carlson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I'm glad I was not deterred by other people's poor reviews of this book. I enjoyed and found it interesting.

No, it is not a textbook in linguistics. Rather, it discusses some of the topics and problems linguists deal with. In this it is rather like the Mathematics book in the VSI series -- which does not attempt to teach the reader basic arithmetic or any other branch of math, but gives some insight into what mathemeticians do and why the subject is compelling to its practitioners.

While occasionally unclear, this book certainly does not require any special education on the part of the reader. The author does not provide pat answers to some of the difficult questions, but gives the reader a feel for areas of debate amongst experts.

After reading Matthews's book, I had a better sense of what linguistics is, what parts of it are most interesting to me, and what books from the "Further Reading" section at the end might interest me.
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Meanings are not simply given in nature, or in the way the world itself is. They are bound up with a culture of which language is one aspect. &quote;
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Language therefore has two layers of structure. Units that have meanings form specific combinations on one level, and they in turn include specific combinations of still smaller units, which in themselves are without meaning. &quote;
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The fallacy, in its crudest form, is that words are names for pre-existing categories. &quote;
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