Linguistics Why It Matters

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2018-09-04
  • Publisher: Polity
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Language is the medium in which we humans compose our thoughts, explain our thinking, construct our arguments, and create works of literature. Without language, societies as complex as ours could not exist.

Geoffrey Pullum offers a stimulating introduction to the many ways in which linguistics, as the scientific study of language, matters. With its close relationships to psychology, education, philosophy, and computer science, the subject has a compelling human story to tell about the ways in which different societies see and describe the world, and its far-reaching applications range from law to medicine and from developmental psychology to artificial intelligence.

Introducing Polity’s Why It Matters series: In these short and lively books, world-leading thinkers make the case for the importance of their subjects and aim to inspire a new generation of students.

Author Biography

Geoffrey K. Pullum is a world-famous linguist and Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is best-known for his seminal book The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, co-authored with Rodney Huddleston.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What Makes Us Human

Chapter 2: How Sentences Work

Chapter 3: Words, Meaning and Thought

Chapter 4: Language and Social Life

Chapter 5: Machines That Understand Us


Notes on Further Reading

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