How Language Works

Author: David Crystal
Year: 2005
Genre: Nonfiction (Science/Linguistics)

I've read several introductory books on linguistics, and this is by far the broadest. Such books usually describe neurology, phonology, morphology, syntax, acquisition, and historical linguistics, and offer a nod to sociolinguistics. Crystal casts his net much wider, addressing writing, sign language, bilingualism and its politics, foreign-language teaching, the maintenance and extinction of rare languages, and the prescriptive-descriptive debate. (He's got a bullet with Lynne Truss's name on it.)

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