The Five-Minute Linguist
The Five-Minute Linguist provides a lively, reader-friendly introduction to the subject of language suitable for the general reader and beginning students. The book offers brief essays on more than 60 intriguing questions such as “What’s the difference between a language and a dialect?” Can animals understand us?” “What causes foreign accents?” and “How is language used on social media?” These are conveniently organized into 12 topical areas that include What is Linguistics, Language and Thought, Language and Society, and Language and Technology, among others.
Each essay is written by a leading authority in the specialization who offers succinct, insightful answers to questions that most of us have wondered about, with follow-up references to more in-depth reading on each question. The third edition adds new topics now at the forefront of linguistics and updates others, serving as an unrivaled introduction to the mysteries and intrigue of language. The third edition of this book was produced under the sponsorship of the Linguistic Society of America.
Published: Jul 9, 2019
Reviews of Previous Editions
An excellent, very accessible, and extremely easy- and fun-to-read introduction to some of the basic questions (and misconceptions) regarding language, language learning, and linguistics. The book clearly meets the editors’ intended goals; with each essay, the reader is engaged in a five-minute, light and informal conversation about the passionate topic of language.
This book is for anyone who has a question about languages or the nature of language—which means just about all of us. But it’s not just a musty academic text for specialists. While written by leading experts on the subject of language,The Five-Minute Linguist is a user-friendly exploration of the basics, a linguistic start-up kit for general readers. It assumes nothing on your part except interest in the subject. Its bite-sized chapters (no more than 3-4 pages each) give authoritative answers to the most frequently asked questions people have about language, and tell the story in a lively and colloquial style. It is a delightful read.
From the Foreword by Bret Lovejoy, Executive Director, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language
What a gift to those who love language and those who are simply curious about it. Leading experts each tackle an intriguing question, and explain it in straightforward, delightful prose. Read it from cover to cover or keep it by your bed to dip into for endless fascination.
Deborah Tannen, Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University, and author of You Just Don't Understand
This is a marvellous collection of informative, provocative and stimulating essays. The topics that were selected are both timely, and timeless, and the essays are sure to pique the curiosity of a broad range of readers. The material is accessible and the suggestions for further reading are wonderful pointers to additional exploration. This collection certainly has my five-star recommendation.
G. Richard Tucker, Paul Mellon University Professor of Applied Linguistics, Carnegie Mellon University
...recommended for language majors, and attractive to language afficionados and mavens. Essential.