Are you looking for a genuine introduction to the linguistics of English that provides a broad overview of the subject that sustains students' interest and avoids excessive detail? Introducing English Linguistics accomplishes this goal in two ways. First, it takes a top-down approach to language, beginning with the largest unit of linguistic structure, the text, and working its way down through successively smaller structures (sentences, words, and finally speech sounds). The advantage of presenting language this way is that students are first given the larger picture - they study language in context - and then see how the smaller pieces of language are a consequence of the larger goals of linguistic communication. Second, the book does not contain invented examples, as is the case with most comparable texts, but instead takes its sample materials from the major computerised databases of spoken and written English, giving students a more realistic view of language.
Charles F. Meyer is Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His recent publications include English Corpus Linguistics: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2002).
1. The study of language; 2. The development of English; 3. The social context of English; 4. The structure of English texts; 5. English syntax; 6. English words: structure and meaning; 7. The sounds of English.