Review by Choice Review
Many libraries own encyclopedias devoted to the increasingly recondite field of linguistics, but it can be hard to find a simple definition in, e.g., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics, ed. by Rajend Mesthrie (2001), which at 1,031 pages is hardly concise. Trudgill's glossary is a small paperback dictionary suitable for students and amateurs. An expansion of his Introducing Language and Society (1992), it provides succinct definitions specific to the study of language in its social context: dialects, discourse analysis, sociology of language, language contact, change, planning, and the like. The author, a pioneer of British sociolinguistics, brings authority and personality to the project. A sampling of terms that go unmentioned in general linguistics dictionaries includes "Americana" (a Brazilian settlement founded by defeated Southerners after the Civil War), "restricted code" (language use characterized by inexplicitness, taking shared knowledge for granted), and "Northern Cities Shift" (a vowel shift underway from Milwaukee to Syracuse that makes "rest," "John," "cut," and "caught" sound like "rust," "jan," "caught," and "cot"). Rounding out this very affordable book are examples, dialect maps, and a short bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All libraries. J. M. Alexander Carnegie Mellon University
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