Books on linguistics for non-linguists

I recently asked Twitter for suggestions for introductory books on linguistics I could recommend to people who have no background in it and don’t want a full-on university text. Here’s what I got. If you have more suggestions, do add them in the comments!

Aitchison, Jean. Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon.

Crystal, David. What Is Linguistics?

Everett, Daniel. Language: The Cultural Tool.

Jackendoff, Ray. Patterns in the Mind: Language and Human Nature.

Matthews, Peter H. Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction.

Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought.

Winkler, Elizabeth Grace. Understanding Language.

Vatikiotis-Bateson, Eric; Déchaine, Rose-Marie; and Burton, Strang. Linguistics for Dummies.

Yule, George. The Study of Language.

An online course was also recommended: Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics. Which reminded me that you can access MIT courseware online for free too (see Introduction to Linguistics, for example), but that is full-on university.

8 responses to “Books on linguistics for non-linguists

  1. A Mouthful of Air, by Anthony Burgess

  2. Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world and commented:
    Languages, one of the many talents that I wish I had that I do not have at all. I have always admired the people who can speak, read and write in multiple languages.

  3. Language: The Basics by Larry Trask, Damp Squid by Jeremy Butterfield, The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher

  4. Not sure whether it’s quite what you’re looking for, but I would really recommend ‘Through the Language Glass’ by Guy Deutscher.

  5. Pingback: Books on linguistics for non-linguists — Sesquiotica | MarianaBalauca

  6. Pinker, Steven. The Stuff of Thought: Language As a Window Into Human Nature

  7. I recently met and interviewed David Crystal and have since read the majority of his linguistics books, definitely have a look at them! I also wrote a blog post about meeting David, would love to hear what you think about it.

  8. I need to go into hibernation for a month straight to read all of these books. They all sound so interesting!

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