WEMSK 44 -- Linguistics

1. A good start, if you have read nothing in the field, is
Frederick Bodmer, The Loom of Language, ed. Lancelot Hogben (NY: W.
W. Norton, 1944). It is written by a non-linguist, but offers a
good survey.  I know two well-known linguists who got their start
reading The Loom of Language. Reprinted many times.

2. There are a number of good books offering a picture of where
linguistics was at mid-century.  I recommend: Henry A. Gleason, An
Introduction to Desriptive Linguistics, revised ed. (NY: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 1961).

3. About mid-century, we had an explosion of schools, models,
metaphors, and postures, so that it is difficult to give a picture
of where linguistics is at the millennium:

a. A good survey: William Bright, ed., International Encyclopedia
of Linguistics, 4 vols. (NY: Oxford UP, 1992). A balanced survey in
(Miller) "a field notorious for arguments and quarrels."

b. A larger survey: R. E. Asher, ed.-in-chief, The Encyclopedia of
Language and Linguistics, 10 vols. (Osvord: Pergamon Press, 1994).
Look particularly at vol. 10.

c. A smaller, but excellent, survey: David Crystal, The Cambridge
Encyclopedia of Language, 2d ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 1997).

4. Bibliography:

a. The best one-volume bibliography: Anna L. DeMiller, Linguistics.
A Guide to the Reference Literature, 2d ed. (Englewood, CO:
Libraries Unlimited, 2000).

b. The standard periodical bibliography: Bibliographie linguistique
de l'annee ... Published by the Permqanent International Committee
of Linguists under the auspices of the International Council for
Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (Utrecht: Spectrum, 1948-.  Often
called "the UNESCO bibliography".

5. Sometimes the best way to get your feet on the ground in a
subject is through abstracts:

a. Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts: LLBA (La Jolla, CA:
Sociological Abstracts, Inc., 1967-. Now available on CD-ROM from
Silver Platter, and online in most large libraries. "Abstracts of
the world's literature in linguistics and language-related
research, book abstracts, book review listings, and enhanced
bibliographic citations of relevant dissertations."

6. Terminology:

a. A very good guide to the often perplexing terminology of modern
linguistics: Werner Abraham, Terminologie zur neuerer Linguistik,
2d ed. (Tuebingen: Niemeyer, 1988).

b. Peter H. Matthews, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics
(Oxford: OUP, 1997).

c. Robert L. Trask, The Dictionary of Historical and Comparative
Linguistics (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000).

7. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Comparative Linguistics, 13 vols.
(London: Routledge, 1999). ISBN: 041520425.  Not seen, but our
library has it on order. Sounds good.

8. Series:

a. Thomas A. Sebeok, ed., Current Trends in Linguistics, 14 vols.
(The Hague: Mouton, 1961-73).

b. W. Sidney Allen, ed. Cambridge Language Surveys (Cambridge: CUP,

9. Vocabulary: For the often vexing question "how did they say it
in ...?"

a. A handy, not exhaustive, work is: Carl D. Buck, A Dictionary of
Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages
(Chicago: UCP, 1949). It has even been reissued in paperback.

b. Another good source for vocabulary and life: Oscar Schade and
Alfons Nehring, eds., Reallexikon der indogermanischen
Altertumskunde, 2d ed., 2 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1913-1929).

c. Interesting, but on a different level: Emile Benveniste, Indo-
European Language and Society, transl. Elizabeth Palmer. Miami
Linguistics Series 12 (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press,
1973); transl. of Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-europeennes.

10. Semantics:

a. Stephen Ullmann, Semantics. An Introduction to the Science of
Meaning (NY: Barnes & Noble, 1962); also his: The Principles of
Semantics, 2d ed. (NY: Barnes & Noble, 1957).

b. Gustaf Stern, Meaning and the Change of Meaning (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1965; repr. of a 1931 book).  Good;
somewhat technical.

c. If you are familiar with literary rhetoric, you already have an
idea of the directions changes in meaning are likely to take.

11. Comparative linguistics:

a. Antoine Meillet, Introduction a l'etude comparative des langues
indo-europeennes. Alabama Linguistic and Philological Series #3
(University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1964; repr. of a 1937

b. One of the best ways to catch on to comparative and historical
linguistics is to work through one of the handbooks.  The best is:
Carl D. Buck, Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (Chicago: UCP,
1933; 4th impression, 1948).

12. Lagniappe: Languages of the World. There are now many books on
languages of the world.  A start:

a. An old standby by two outstanding linguists: Antoine Meillet and
Marcel Cohen, eds., Les langues du monde (Paris: CNRS, 1952). A new
edition is appearing; cf.: Jean Perrot, ed., Les langues dans le
monde ancien et modern (Paris: CNRS, 1981).

b. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 13th ed. (Dallas: Summer
Institute of Linguistics, 1996). This is the best of them, as far
as coverage is concerned. Has more than 6700 languages. Easily
consulted online: http://www.sil.org/. This is  also a good site for
linguistics on the web. See also http://www.ethnologue.com/home.asp