Review by Choice Review
Trask (linguistics, Univ. of Sussex, and author of The History of Basque, 1997; Language: The Basics, 1995, 2nd ed., 1999; A Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology, CH, May'96; Historical Linguistics, 1996; and A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics, 1993) here defines some 300 elemental concepts used in the study of language and linguistics. He has taken on the immense task not only of defining these terms and concepts, but also providing where possible the historical origins of concepts and the names of individuals who have brought terms to prominence. Cross-references are printed in boldface italics, and suggested readings are given at the end of each entry. A general bibliography appears after the main section of the book. Entries are arranged alphabetically, and a list of all the terms is printed at the beginning of the book and a detailed index at the end. Well arranged and thoughtfully researched, the guide will prove essential to undergraduate and graduate students studying language and linguistics. P. Crossman; Arizona State University West
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Neither a dictionary nor an encyclopedia, Trask's latest entry in the field of linguistics and phonetics deals with important key concepts that every beginning student is likely to encounter from every area of language study. Besides Trask's own previous works, the volume depends heavily on the work of David Crystal, whose encyclopedias and dictionaries of language and linguistics are well respected; the essay on the IndoEuropean language family is an example. There are essays, however, on topics not found in Crystal's Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (Blackwell, 4th ed., 1997), one being animal communication. Key Concepts offers terms related to grammatical analysis, branches of linguistics, discourse analysis, varieties of language, related phenomena, and simple grammatical concepts such as adverb and noun. Students will be pleased to find topics like Black English, nonverbal communication, and sex differences in language. For more serious scholars, terms like deitic category, onomastics, and syntagmatic relation abound. Most entries run three or four short paragraphs, and many are valuable browse material. Each entry begins with a brief definition followed by an indepth discussion of the concept. Historical origins are given where possible. The author admits he has tried to provide the "kind of explanation not readily available elsewhere for concepts not found in textbooks." There are no separate entries for key individuals. Related concepts are adequately crossreferenced not only in the text but also at the ends of entries. Each entry concludes with further reading that identifies the author's sources, and there is a lengthy bibliography at the end of the work. The index is important because there are no see references to guide the reader who may be looking for Ebonics, for example, to the article Black English. Middle-and high-school students may enjoy the much briefer definitions of many of these concepts in Trask's Student's Dictionary of Language and Linguistics (Arnold, 1997). A work for more advanced scholars is Hadumod Bussmann's Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics (1996), which defines most of Trask's concepts, with lengthier bibliographies and brief etymologies. Key Concepts in Language and Linguistics would be a worthwhile addition to language and linguistics collections in academic and large public libraries.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.