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Essential books about linguistics

  Tags: Linguistics | Book
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fortheo
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 Message 1 of 23
24 April 2015 at 4:15am | IP Logged 
Hi, hopefully this is the right forum for this question. I'm looking for some essential books or articles about linguistics. When I say essential, I mean the most influential. I've taken a sociolinguistics class and a teaching ESL class in the past and every single reading had various other articles or books linked into it; it's like one article branches off into a thousand other directions, and then those articles branch off some more etc etc. I feel like I can never connect all the dots, and because of that my knowledge feels like it has a lot of holes in it.

I was hoping someone could suggest important and influential linguistics books or articles. If you do say a linguist, please list the name of the book or article I should read. Also, I'd kind of like to start back in history some time and kind of work my way up to present time.

Thanks for any help. This subject is really hard to get into; reading academic papers is almost as difficult as learning a new language.

Edited by fortheo on 24 April 2015 at 4:31am

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Talib
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 Message 2 of 23
24 April 2015 at 5:51am | IP Logged 
Thanks for bringing this up. I am also interested in learning about the influential works.

fortheo wrote:
This subject is really hard to get into; reading academic papers is almost as difficult as learning a new language.


That is definitely true. Reading academic articles was nearly incomprehensible to me at first. I still do not understand them properly, but I think that reading introductory textbooks in the various branches of Linguistics can make it easier to understand the terminology.
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Arthaey
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 Message 3 of 23
24 April 2015 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
David Crystal has written a number of accessible linguistics books. For a very broad and non-technical intro
to linguistics, check out his Cambridge Encyclopedia of
Language
.
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Chung
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 Message 4 of 23
24 April 2015 at 5:36pm | IP Logged 
There's also some quite good stuff about linguistics available online. Since the time I found it, I've recommended this book (manuscript) used for an introductory linguistics course at the University of Oslo. It's not so much influential as much it represents mainstream linguistic thinking circa 2005. The authors also provide suggestions for additional reading organized by the manuscript's chapters.

There's also this collection of legally available linguistics e-books with this one being an introductory textbook.

The Florida Linguistics Association has a list of whom it deems to be the most notable linguists


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vell
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 Message 5 of 23
26 April 2015 at 12:31am | IP Logged 
Before you can read the essential books and articles, you'll have to start by reading
general introductory stuff. I think Language Files would be a good place to start. You
could start by that and then if you find a subfield that's interesting you could look for
intermediate books in that area. Linguistics is too broad to recommend anything specific
without knowing what exactly you're looking for.
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anamsc2
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 Message 6 of 23
26 April 2015 at 2:01pm | IP Logged 
I second the suggestion for Language Files. It gives a really good, broad introduction of the main areas of linguistics. Another option would be to read Wikipedia articles on the main subfields, or take a MOOC with an introduction to linguistics (like this one).

Once you have a good enough background in linguistics that you know the subfields and the basic terminology, you can pick out what you are interested in and find the important articles for that field.

Or, if you know what subfield you are interested in already, let us know and I'm sure people will be able to give you more specific recommendations.
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Talib
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 Message 7 of 23
26 April 2015 at 6:21pm | IP Logged 
anamsc2 wrote:
Or, if you know what subfield you are interested in already, let us know and I'm sure people will be able to give you more specific recommendations.


Does anyone have recommendations for books about syntactic theories/generative grammar or for Computational Linguistics?
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anamsc2
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 Message 8 of 23
26 April 2015 at 7:53pm | IP Logged 
If it's just generative grammar you're interested in, I'd recommend Syntax: A Generative Introduction as a good intro. This book doesn't have any mention of the many other important theories of syntax, though.

For computational linguistics, I like Speech and Language Processing for an applied approach (more NLP than CL, I guess). For a more theoretical approach, Computational Linguistics: An Introduction is pretty well-known.


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