Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Linguistics Reference. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. The Story of Human Language

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct. Now you can explore all of these questions and more in an in-depth series of 36 lectures from one of America's leading linguists. You'll be witness to the development of human language, learning how a single tongue spoken 150,000 years ago evolved into the estimated 6,000 languages used around the world today and gaining an appreciation of the remarkable ways in which one language sheds light on another. The many fascinating topics you examine in these lectures include: the intriguing evidence that links a specific gene to the ability to use language; the specific mechanisms responsible for language change; language families and the heated debate over the first language; the phenomenon of language mixture; why some languages develop more grammatical machinery than they actually need; the famous hypothesis that says our grammars channel how we think; artificial languages, including Esperanto and sign languages for the deaf; and how word histories reflect the phenomena of language change and mixture worldwide.

  • Author: John McWhorter
  • Genre: Reference, Words, Language & Grammar, Linguistics


2. Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

A history of English from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem, “written with real authority, enthusiasm and love for our unruly and exquisite language” ( The Washington Post).    Many have written about the evolution of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Seth Lerer situates these developments within the larger history of English, America, and literature. This edition of his “remarkable linguistic investigation” ( Booklist ) features a new chapter on the influence of biblical translation and an epilogue on the relationship of English speech to writing.    A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, both “erudite and accessible” ( The Globe and Mail ),  Inventing English  is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.   “Lerer is not just a scholar; he's also a fan of English—his passion is evident on every page of this examination of how our language came to sound—and look—as it does and how words came to have their current meanings…the book percolates with creative energy and will please anyone intrigued by how our richly variegated language came to be.”— Publishers Weekly  (starred review)

  • Author: Seth Lerer
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; revised and expanded edition (August 25, 2015)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Reference


3. Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power. What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and more importantly, stay in—extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has . . . Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of “brainwashing.” But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear—and are influenced by—every single day.   Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish,” revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere.

  • Author: Amanda Montell
  • Publisher: Harper Wave (June 15, 2021)
  • Genre: Reference, Words, Language & Grammar
  • ISBN: 978-0062993151
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.05 x 8.25 inches


4. Wheelock's Latin, 7th Edition (The Wheelock's Latin Series)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

For nearly sixty years, Wheelock's Latin has remained the optimus liber of beginning Latin textbooks. When Professor Frederic M. Wheelock's Latin first appeared in 1956, the reviews extolled its thoroughness, organization, and conciseness; one reviewer predicted that the book "might well become the standard text" for introducing students to elementary Latin. Now, nearly six decades later, that prediction has certainly proved accurate. This new edition of Wheelock's Latin has all of the features, many of them improved and expanded, that have made it the bestselling single-volume beginning Latin textbook: 40 chapters with grammatical explanations and readings drawn from the works of Rome's major prose and verse writers; Self-tutorial exercises, each with an answer key, for independent study; An extensive English–Latin/Latin–English vocabulary section; A rich selection of original Latin readings—unlike other Latin textbooks, which contain primarily made-up texts; Etymological aids, maps, and dozens of images illustrating aspects of the classical culture and mythology presented in the chapter readings. Also included are expanded notes on the literary passages, comments on vocabulary, and translation tips; new comprehension and discussion questions; and new authentic classical Latin readings, including Roman graffiti, in every chapter.

  • Author: Frederic M. Wheelock
  • Publisher: Collins Reference; 7th edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Genre: Reference, Writing, Research & Publishing Guides
  • ISBN: 978-0061997228
  • Dimensions: 7.38 x 1.34 x 9.25 inches


5. Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter: Then, Now, and Forever

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

A New York Times bestseller   One of the preeminent linguists of our time examines the realms of language that are considered shocking and taboo in order to understand what imbues curse words with such power--and why we love them so much. Profanity has always been a deliciously vibrant part of our lexicon, an integral part of being human. In fact, our ability to curse comes from a different part of the brain than other parts of speech--the urgency with which we say "f&*k!" is instead related to the instinct that tells us to flee from danger. Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.

  • Author: John McWhorter
  • Publisher: Avery (May 4, 2021)
  • Genre: Humor & Entertainment, Humor
  • ISBN: 978-0593188798
  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.95 x 7.3 inches



Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

These 80 Crossword Puzzles are Easy on the Eyes and Challenging to the Mind These challenges were written with the casual crossword puzzle aficionado in mind.  I’ve always like to do the easy or medium puzzles, in fact, all the crossword books I own are completed up to the point the difficult ones begin. Your mind and the minds of your friends deserve this entertaining workout, testing knowledge of words, trivia, and spelling. If you enjoy the daily or weekly crosswords in the New York Times or other such paper, the puzzles in this book will be too easy for you.  We’ve made our puzzles in large type to make them easier on the eyes. Even our solutions are in an easy-to-read format with six answer keys per page. This large-print crossword puzzle book offers: 80 medium crossword puzzles to buoy the spirit and exercise the mind Hours and hours of captivating challenges Large-print puzzles and solutions Large grids make it easier to enter letters Medium level crosswords Hundreds of clues to solve Great for limbering up the mind during breakfast, an evening’s entertainment, a break at the office, or to pass the time enjoyably while on a train or plane.

  • Author: Jenny Patterson
  • Publisher: Independently published (December 9, 2019)
  • Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Gardening & Landscape Design
  • ISBN: 978-1673633092
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.41 x 11 inches


7. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

'The Elements of Style' (1918), by William Strunk, Jr., is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known, most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and usage, and often is required reading and usage in U.S. high school and university composition classes. This edition of 'The Elements of Style' details eight elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition, "a few matters of form", and a list of commonly misused words and expressions.

  • Author: William Strunk JR.
  • Publisher: ESBooks (July 23, 2021)
  • Genre: Reference, Words, Language & Grammar


8. Workbook for Wheelock's Latin

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

Make learning Latin faster and easier with this essential companion to the esteemed classic introductory textbook, Wheelock’s Latin . Reflecting the trend toward more active use of classroom Latin, this supplemental workbook focuses on listening and speaking skills to help students new to the language master its basics. Workbook for Wheelock's Latin offers forty lessons presented in an easy-to-read, clear layout. Each chapter begins with a detailed set of objectives (intellegenda) and continues with a series of questions designed to focus directly on newly introduced grammar (grammatica), as well as: Transformation drills, word and phrase translations, and other exercises to test and sharpen skills; Word Power sections that focus on vocabulary and derivatives; Reading comprehension questions and sentences for translation practice; Perforated pages for written homework assignments, including space for the student’s name, class, and date.

  • Author: Paul T. Comeau
  • Publisher: Collins Reference; 3rd Revised edition (May 30, 2000)
  • Genre: Reference, Foreign Language Study & Reference
  • ISBN: 978-0060956424
  • Dimensions: 7.38 x 0.88 x 9.25 inches


9. Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

Updated to include the 196 new kanji approved by the Japanese government in 2010 as “general-use” kanji, the sixth edition of this popular text aims to provide students with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of forgetting how to write the kanji, or for a way to systematize what he or she already knows. The author begins with writing the kanji because―contrary to first impressions―it is in fact simpler than learning how to the pronounce them. By ordering the kanji according to their component parts or “primitive elements,” and then assigning each of these parts a distinct meaning with its own distinct image, the student is led to harness the powers of “imaginative memory” to learn the various combinations that make up the kanji. In addition, each kanji is given its own key word to represent the meaning, or one of the principal meanings, of that character. These key words provide the setting for a particular kanji’s “story,” whose protagonists are the primitive elements. In this way, one is able to complete in a few short months a task that would otherwise take years. Armed with the same skills as Chinese or Korean students, who know the meaning and writing of the kanji but not their Japanese pronunciations, one is then in a much better position to learn the readings (which are treated in a separate volume). Remembering the Kanji has helped tens of thousands of students advance towards literacy at their own pace, and to acquire a facility that traditional methods have long since given up on as all but impossible for those not raised with the kanji from childhood.

  • Author: James W. Heisig
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; 6th Updated edition (March 31, 2011)
  • Genre: Reference, Foreign Language Study & Reference
  • ISBN: 978-0824835927
  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches


10. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Linguistics Reference - August 2021

The classic book on the development of human language by the world’s leading expert on language and the mind. In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution.  The Language Instinct  received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since  The Language Instinct  was first published.

  • Author: Steven Pinker
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Genre: Reference, Words, Language & Grammar
  • Dimensions: 5.31 x 0.92 x 8 inches