How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction by Anne Curzan and Michael Adams

Posted November 29, 2017 in Book Review / 0 Comments

How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction by Anne Curzan and Michael AdamsHow English Works: A Linguistic Introduction by Anne Curzan, Michael Adams
Published by Prentice Hall on January 1st 2012
Genres: Nonfiction, Linguistics
Pages: 544
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
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A major introductory language/linguistics textbook written specifically for English and Education majors, this book is an engaging introduction to the structure of English, general theories in linguistics, and important issues in sociolinguistics. This accessible text provides more extensive coverage of issues of particular interest to English and Education majors. Tapping into our natural curiosity about language, it invites all students to connect academic linguistics to everyday use of the English language and to become active participants in the construction of linguistic knowledge. The second edition provides updated examples of language change--including new slang and other word coinages, grammatical developments, and sound changes--as well as new research findings on American dialects, language acquisition, language evolution, eggcorns, English and the Internet, and much more.

Main points

This was one of my textbooks for my Intro to the Study of Language class. It’s a brilliant textbook and I recommend it. The authors write with personality and the information is conveyed really effectively. It covers the very fundamental aspects of language, primarily the English language (but it also explains the IPA). It talks about phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics, semantics, you name it. It finishes up with a very brief history of English (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Modern English) and a few thoughts on how it might be in the future. This is one of the few books I’ve read that really goes into the most basic aspects of grammar and syntax and for that I find it invaluable. I do think that the authors get a little too friendly at times and the editing wasn’t perfect, but as an introduction to the language I think it does an overall marvellous job. It also makes a grand effort to cover all types of English, from Standard to nonstandard, American to British (and Canadian, Australian, and others), and regional dialects to accents. There is even some philosophy in here too, as well as the science of language acquisition. It really covers a broad range of topics and for that it is worth the price. It’s not a resource I would consult regularly, but if I need a refresher on a specific topic (I can see myself brushing up on the IPA frequently) it’s good to have on hand. There are also many topics in it that I’d love to discuss further in a blog post or essay. This has been one of my most useful textbooks for any class, but I might be biased since I love the English language so much.

  reaction upon finishing

Oh no, it’s over!

this book in one word




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