[Corpora-List] Intro to Language Textbook request: Summary and Thank Yous

Linda Bawcom linda.bawcom at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jun 29 07:46:01 CEST 2006


Dear Friends, Colleagues and List Members,

My apologies for not getting back sooner, but I was delightfully overwhelmed with suggestions for a textbook for my Intro to Language course and spent a lot of time browsing to find the books, table of contents, and reviews of them. My heartfelt thank you to the following who so generously took the time to reply and in a number of cases even gave me the links: Lisa Ferro, Annette Kusma, Carlos M Nash, Gregory Martin, Beata Kouchnir, Lars Martin Fosse, Eric Atwell, Mary Boyce, Carmela Chateau, Sara V, Doug Flahive, Kevin Cohen, Mary D. Taffet and Crystal Nakatsu.

For those who are interested the following textbooks were suggested:

Fromkin and Rodman and Hyams' An Introduction to Language (2003)
Ohio University Press' Language Files (I imagine there is an author, but I don't see one on the cover at the website)
Fromkin's An Introduction to Linguistic Theory (2000)
Bauer, Holmes and Warren's Language Matters (2006) (which looks to be a fun supplement)
Kortmann's English Linguistics: Essentials (Published in Germany so there's a shipping problem, but would be a very good supplement for the teacher here)
Lyons' Language and Linguistics (1981)-(This is a book I'd love to use if it weren't a bit outdated. I know I'll be borrowing from it though)
Akmajan & Harnish's An Introduction to Language and Communication
O'Grady, Dobrovolsky & Aronoff's Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction

Eric Atwelll suggested, as a supplement, the website NLTK (Natural Language Tool Kit) at http://nltk.sourceforge.net/teach.html I have only browsed a bit of the introduction, but found it very interesting and [even for this computer challenged person] and even fun to read and easy to understand as the tutorials are written in a friendly manner. Although I have not had the time to browse them, there is a list of at least 30 universities who use this site and you can have chats with them to see how the material is used in their courses.

Fromkin and Rodman's Introduction to Language was the most popular followed by Language Files, which is the one I have decided to use since the other (and a few of the others mentioned above) seems to be a bit daunting for a 40 hour course which 1) is not a pre-requisite for any other course since 2) we don't give degrees in linguistics at this university. In addition, I must confess that while I have respect for and understanding of 'trees' we don't get along very well and there is less of that in LF. Oh (change of state here), Language Files has added a corpus linguistics chapter and that was also a deciding factor for me.

Special note to eagle eye Carmela: you are absolutely right (no you haven't forgotten your English!) those were both typos so it should have read its not it's and no 's' on science .and to Doug Flahive: Thank you for the insider information, it was much appreciated! and to Lars a special thank you for a very nice list of supplemental books which I have listed below.


Hock, H. H. (1991). Principles of Historical Linguistics. Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter.
Woods, A., P. Fletcher, et al. (1986). Statistics in languange studies. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Matthews, P. H. (1981). Syntax. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Radford, A. (1981). Transformational Syntax. A student's guide to Chomsky's Extended Standard Theory. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Lehmann, W. P. (1983). Language : an introduction. New York, Random House.
Lehmann, W. P. (1992). Historical linguistics : an introduction. London ; New York, Routledge.
Lehmann, W. P. (1993). Theoretical bases of Indo-European linguistics. London ; New York, Routledge.
Szemerényi, O. J. L., B. Brogyanyi, et al. (1993). Comparative-historical linguistics : Indo-European and Finno-Ugric. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia, J. Benjamins Pub. Co.
Szemerényi, O. J. L. (1996). Introduction to Indo-European linguistics. Oxford, New York, Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press.
Meillet, A. and Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning (1970). The comparative method in historical linguistics. Paris ,.
Dixon, R. M. W. (1997). The rise and fall of languages. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (Highly recommended as an introduction to "the big picture". Also short and easy to read.)
Eggins, S. (1994). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis, Pinter/St. Martins.
Haegemann, L. An Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. Blackwell's.
Napoli, D. J. (1993). Syntax. Theory and Problems. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Pattanayak, D. P. (1990). Multilingualism in India. Clevedon - Philadelphia, Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Radford, A. (1981). Transformational Syntax. A student's guide to Chomsky's Extended Standard Theory. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Schwink, F. W. (1994). Linguistic typology, universality and the realism of reconstruction. Washington, Institute for the Study of Man.
Furthermore, Joan Bresnan's Lexical-Functional Syntax might be of interest as a contrast to Chomskyan theory.

Best Wishes,
Linda Bawcom
























"Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind." John Donne
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