schwa fire

mishas-wolf-den  asked:

What are your favourite books (or books you would recommend) conserning linguistics, neuro- and psycholinguistics?

Thanks for your question!

There are plenty of good reads to be had across psycho and cognitive linguistics, and I could write a post that went on for ever and a day about some of my favourite linguistics books.

If you’re a recreational dabbler in linguistics there are lots of great gentle introductions. I took to buying David Crystal’s How Language Works for anyone who expressed an interest but didn’t know where to start (it’s also affordable Penguin Classic). For more narrative digression I enjoyed RL Greene’s You Are What You Speak, and loaned it out so willingly to people that it never came back (I hope it’s being happily read somewhere now). Mark Abley’s Spoken Here is a book I read in the first year of my linguistics degree - I’m not sure now how it stacks up on academic rigour, but it made me so excited about what I was studying. I also can’t go past Kate Burridge’s pop linguistics books for examples that kindled my early enthusiasm. She may write about English, but it’s well grounded and you’ll learn about general linguistics principles and analysis while acquiring the kinds of factlets about English you’ll want to remember and harass your friends with. If you already have some linguistic knowledge then Nicholas Evan’s Dying Words is utterly beautiful (it’s possible to read was a novice, but Nick throws a lot at you). (As Nelpas kindly pointed out, I forgot to include any Steven Pinker - The Language Instinct can be found as an affordable paperback, and the first half of the book covers many of the ideas and anecdotes about language you’ll get in a good first year subject. The second half often loses my interest as it gets a bit theory-bound).

In terms of specifically pscyh or cognitive stuff, it’s not a genre I actively seek out, but there’s lots of great stuff out there to be read. If you find something that looks interesting it doesn’t hurt to google the book or the author - blogs like Language Log will likely point out if a book is complete rubbish. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by George Lakoff is a book that immediately comes to mind as a good read - it looks at how metaphors shape our cognitive perception. For a more practical application of some of Lakoff’s theories, try Don’t Think of an Elephant! looks at language and politics - this one came particularly recommended by Georgia, who’s a professional politics wonk when she’s not being a word nerd. I also mentioned How Language Began in a post the other day, it’s an interesting way to get into discussions of the role of gesture in language, and language origins.

Although we may not have as much time as we would like for linguistic book reading these days, there is lots of great reading on the internet! We often link to posts we like on Twitter, and there’s the sidebar on our main page (if you’re not reading this through the Tumblr console). I’m sure there are many other good reads recommended by other authors, and readers are always welcome to leave links and suggestions on this post! There is also a growing genre of professional linguistic journalism - Schwa Fire is a standout, but Babel and Tongues show promise also (and all pay their writers, which is important for fostering this kind of work).