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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Recommendation: New Intro to Ling Textbook

Date Submitted: 05-Oct-2009
From: Karen Chung
Subject: Recommendation: New Intro to Ling Textbook
Contact Email: click here to access email
Institution/Organization: National Taiwan University

Notice: Every now and then people ask for recommendations for intro to linguistics texts. Yesterday by chance I found one I really like and that I plan to use next time I teach intro to ling, and I thought I'd share it with everyone. It has in fact already been announced over LINGUIST:


But, I would still like to add my personal recommendation. It's:

"Linguistics: An Introduction"
by William B. McGregor
London & New York: Continuum, 2009. 384pp.
Paper: US$39.95
Also available in hardcover.

Features: (1) It offers an alternative to a Chomskian approach to syntax, and says so explicitly, rather than assuming a Chomskian approach without mentioning that it is only one possible approach.

(2) It offers fresh content, and examples from less-often cited languages, like Hungarian, and Australian and Papuan languages.

(3) It is comprehensive in coverage without being overwhelmingly long and detailed, and is very clearly written and easy to read. Slightly less density and length makes it a good choice for classes in non-English-speaking environments, and also leaves more room for the instructor to add their own supplementary materials, adapted to individual and local conditions. And it's new and up to date.

(4) It uses standard IPA symbols rather than Americanist ones, e.g. ʧ (tS) vs. č (c-hacek).

(5) It's about half the price of other popular intro to ling texts. Here's the book URL:


Here's the author's homepage:


Karen Chung
Associate Professor
National Taiwan University karchung@ntu.edu.tw http://homepage.ntu.edu.tw/~karchung/