A comprehensive advanced introduction to linguistics unique in its integration of variation and change with the more structural or synchronic topics. It includes chapters on variation and change in lexicon, phonology, and syntax. It also covers the topics of pidgins and creoles, on first and second language acquisition, on the development of language in the human species, and on the growth of writing, printing in information technology and how these have affected, and continue to affect, language.
* Integration of variation and change
* New treatment of functional and typological approaches to syntax
* Emphasis on the widest possible diversity of languages
* Offers alternative ways of looking at language
"It seems to me the best current text of its kind; teachers will find it a pleasure to use. The book reflects several of Burling's special strengths: his long experience in teaching this topic, his expert knowledge of current developments in the field; his first-hand research in such interdisciplinary fields as social dialect, and his anthropologist's emphasis on the cultural context of language. The focus is balanced and coherent; the perspective is up-to-date without falling into trendiness; the examples are a pleasing mix of material from familiar languages and from interestingly exotic ones. The writing is graceful and clear."
--William Bright, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, Boulder