Review by Choice Review
Aronoff and Rees-Miller note in their preface the gap between academic and general public thinking about linguistics, a gap largely due to erroneous ideas about language. They hope to bridge that gap with this book, which in their eyes presupposes no prior knowledge of linguistics; but in fact most of it is accessible only to someone with a good knowledge of language history and structure. The editors do include information for people who want to know what linguistics and its subdisciplines are about, and they are successful at showing the state of knowledge of various aspects of human language at the beginning of the 21st century. The volume begins with surveys of the languages and writing systems of the world, goes on to cover the now-traditional disciplines of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), and ends with a survey of newer fields like sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, and even forensic linguistics. Because of its wide range, the book is an essential resource in its area and is more up-to-date than the few other works of its kind. The writers frequently seem at once fascinated and intimidated by the field of linguistics, a reminder that it is an elusive and young science. All linguistics collections. J. B. Beston; formerly, Nazareth College of Rochester
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.