The Five Minute Linguist
Saturday, February 12th, 2011 @ 10:36AM
ed. by Rickerson and Hilton
–Review by Lee Ballard
The Five Minute Linguist is an excellent book to introduce beginners or laypeople to topics of current interest in linguistics. Composed completely of short chapters on subjects like what the original language was, who speaks Italian, and how children acquire grammar, the authors of the articles are often leaders in the subfields they
explain (for instance Mark Baker on grammar, and Peter Ladefoged–who wrote the essay on phonetics shortly before his passing). The essays are all short enough to be read during a morning bus ride, and can be read in any order. Each chapter ends with an “about the author” and suggestions for further reading, including other chapters in the book and web resources. Although probably not entirely sufficient for the only book used in an introductory course, The Five Minute Linguist makes a great companion text. While not a must read, if you read it, you will have a good understanding of what linguists study, and may even be reminded of some ideas you forgot about.