English Faculty Book Gallery

Understanding Language:  A Basic Course in Linguistics


Understanding Language: A Basic Course in Linguistics



Understanding Language is an introduction to linguistics aimed at non-major undergraduate students who are new to the subject. The book is comprehensive in its coverage of the key areas of linguistics, yet explains these in an easy to understand, jargon-free way. Pictures, jokes, diagrams, tables and suggestions for further reading make this an accessible, student friendly guide which should enable students to navigate this often complicated area of study. Topics covered include language acquisition; speech sounds; the make-up of words; grammar; meaning; communication; the history of English; language variation and change.

This is an essential introduction for students who are taking linguistics at university, whether as their core subject of study, as a non-major or as a bridge between school and undergraduate.



Publication Date



Bloomsbury Academic; 2nd ed.


Language Description and Documentation | Linguistics


Elizabeth Grace Winkler earned degrees at Ohio University and Indiana University. Before coming to WKU, she held faculty positions at Columbus State University in Georgia and the University of Arizona, Tucson. In addition to her teaching experience, she has taught English as a second language at several universities in the US and in Monterrey, Mexico. She currently serves on the International Advisory board for the journal of Linguistics and Literature, a publication of the University of Costa Rica. She is also currently serving as a consultant to a group creating orthography of the Kpelle language, a language for which Winkler has authored the only existing dictionary. Winkler has authored an introductory linguistics text that is currently in its second edition as well as published scholarly journal articles and book chapters in edited volumes on creoles and gender.

Understanding Language:  A Basic Course in Linguistics