Higher Education

An Introduction to Language, 9th Edition

  • Victoria Fromkin University of California, Los Angeles
  • Robert Rodman North Carolina State University
  • Nina Hyams University of California, Los Angeles
  • ISBN-10: 1428263926  |  ISBN-13: 9781428263925
  • 640 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2003, 1998
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $182.25
  • Newer Edition Available
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Whether you are studying education, languages, psychology, anthropology, English, or teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), AN INTRODUCTION TO LANGUAGE, Ninth Edition, offers the information you need in a clear and descriptive manner that assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics. This edition retains the same blend of humor and up-to-date information that have made the text a perennial best-seller, while adding new research and exercises that render each topic fresh, engaging, and current.

Features and Benefits

  • The authors' up-to-date descriptions of the major components of language--phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics-are presented at an introductory level that assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics.
  • Discussions about the grammar and other linguistic characteristics of American Sign Language, and other sign languages of deaf people, are woven throughout to reveal the pervasive parallels with spoken languages.
  • Each chapter ends with an array of helpful review materials, including a chapter summary, a comprehensive list of references, suggestions for further reading, and exercises.
  • Numerous new exercises offer instructional options and learning opportunities designed to maximize students' comprehension and mastery of text material.
  • The text's signature cartoons illustrate the authors' clear descriptions of complex linguistic points and principles.

Table of Contents

1. What Is Language?
Linguistic Knowledge. What Is Grammar? Animal "Languages." In the Beginning: The Origin of Language and Thought. What We Know about Language.
2. Brain and Language.
The Human Brain. The Autonomy of Language. Language and Brain Development.
3. Morphology: The Words of Language.
Dictionaries. Content Words and Function Words. Morphemes: The Minimal Units of Meaning. Rules of Word Formation. Sign Language Morphology. Morphological Analysis: Identifying Morphemes.
4. Syntax: The Sentence Patterns of Language.
What the Syntax Rules Do. Sentence Structure. Sentence Relatedness. UG Principles and Parameters. Sign Language Syntax.
5. The Meaning of Language.
What Speakers Know about Sentence Meaning. Compositional Semantics. Lexical Semantics (Word Meanings). Pragmatics.
6. Phonetics: The Sounds of Language.
Sound Segments. Articulatory Phonetics. Prosodic Features.
Phonetic Symbols and Spelling Correspondences. The "Phonetics" of Signed Languages.
7. Phonology: The Sound Patterns of Language.
The Pronunciation of Morphemes. Phonemes: The Phonological Units of Language. Distinctive Features of Phonemes. The Rules of Phonology. Prosodic Phonology. Sequential Constraints of Phonemes. Why Do Phonological Rules Exist? Phonological Analysis.
8. Language Acquisition.
Mechanisms of Language Acquisition. Knowing More Than One Language.
9. Language Processing: Humans and Computers.
The Human Mind at Work: Human Language Processing. Computer Processing of Human Language.
10. Language in Society.
Dialects. Language and Education. Language in Use.
11. Language Change: The Syllables of Time.
The Regularity of Sound Change. Phonological Change. Morphological Change. Syntactic Change. Lexical Change. Reconstructing "Dead" Languages. Extinct and Endangered Languages. The Genetic Classification of Languages. Types of Languages. Why Do Languages Change?
12. Writing: The ABCs of Language.
The History of Writing. Modern Writing Systems. Writing and Speech.

What's New

  • Text has been thoroughly revised to reflect developments in linguistics and related fields, to clarify, to include many new exercises – all to enhance students' understanding and insight. IPA symbols are used throughout.
  • Chapters 3 and 4 on Morphology and Syntax have been extensively revised to reflect current views on topics such as binary branching, heads and complements, and X-bar phrase structure
  • In chapter 9, the sections on Psychology of Language and Computational Linguistics have been rewritten and restructured. Computational Linguistics is reorganized into two subsections: technicalities and applications. The applications section includes an entirely new presentation of forensic computational linguistics.
  • Chapter 10 on Sociolinguistics has been completely reorganized and expanded to include an entirely new section on language and education that discusses various issues facing the classroom teacher in multicultural schools. The section on languages in contact has been updated with new material on pidgins and creoles that includes their origins, interrelationships, and subtypes.
  • In Chapter 11, the section on Extinct and Endangered Languages has been revised and updated to reflect the intense interest in this critical subject.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Resource Center, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 0495803138 | ISBN-13: 9780495803133)

This valuable and rich online resource offers Web quizzes, key concepts, Web links, key term flashcards, chapter outlines, and audio files for topics including morphology, phonetics, syntax, language acquisition, writing systems, and sociolinguistics, among others.

List Price = $29.00  | CengageBrain Price = $29.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $29.00

Student Supplements

Resource Center, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 0495803138 | ISBN-13: 9780495803133)

The Linguistics Resource Center online has many tools to enhance your study--Web quizzes, key concepts, Web links, key term flashcards, chapter outlines, and audio files for topics including morphology, phonetics, syntax, language acquisition, writing systems, and sociolinguistics.

List Price = $29.00  | CengageBrain Price = $29.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $29.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Victoria Fromkin

Victoria Fromkin received her bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was a member of the faculty of the UCLA Department of Linguistics from 1966 until her death, and served as its chair from 1972 to 1976. From 1979 to 1989 she served as the UCLA Graduate Dean and Vice Chancellor of Graduate Programs. She was a visiting professor at the universities of Stockholm, Cambridge, and Oxford. Professor Fromkin served as president of the Linguistics Society of America in 1985, president of the Association of Graduate Schools in 1988, and chair of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Aphasia. She received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and the Professional Achievement Award, and served as the U.S. Delegate and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Permanent Committee of Linguistics (CIPL). She was an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of Science, the American Psychological Society, and the Acoustical Society of America, and in 1996 was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. She published more than one hundred books, monographs, and papers on topics concerned with phonetics, phonology, tone languages, African languages, speech errors, processing models, aphasia, and the brain/mind/language interface--all research areas in which she worked. Professor Fromkin passed away in 2000, at the age of 76.

Robert Rodman

Robert Rodman received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1961, a master's degree in mathematics in 1965, a master's degree in linguistics in 1971, and a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1973. He has been on the faculties of the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kyoto Industrial College in Japan, and North Carolina State University, where he is currently professor of computer science specializing in the areas of forensic linguistics, computer speech processing, and speaker verification and identification.

Nina Hyams

Nina Hyams received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University in 1973 and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in linguistics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1981 and 1983, respectively. She joined the UCLA faculty in 1983, where she is currently professor of linguistics. Her main areas of research are childhood language development and syntax. She is author of LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND THE THEORY OF PARAMETERS (D. Reidel Publishers, 1986), a milestone in language acquisition research. She has also published numerous articles on the development of syntax, morphology, and semantics in children. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Utrecht and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and has given numerous lectures throughout Europe and Japan.