Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LING 401: Textbooks

I've gotten the textbooks ordered. One of them is from some sort of s used textbook clearinghouse called that looks a hair dodgy seems ok. We'll see if they're worth anything. I'll let you know. (Update, 6 Dec 2011: Book arrived on promised day in promised condition, so I don't quite know what the complaints were.)

Here are the textbooks for Linguistics 401: Fundamentals of Modern Linguistics—the class I am taking in the spring:
O'Grady, William et al. Contemporary Linguistics, 6th ed. Somewhere out East       (Boston/NY): Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. ISBN 978-031261851-3.
Matthews, P.H. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, 2nd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2007. ISBN 978-019920272-0.
The O'Grady book is way too expensive. It retails at Amazon for nearly $90. It is difficult to find used, though I did. While I have no doubt that there are developments in linguistics that merit an up-to-date book, six editions seems suspicious. The fourth edition was released in 2000. What?! Linguistics is moving so rapidly that you need not one, but two updates in nine years? In the age of the internet, that defies belief. Your book is out of date the instant you send it to press. It's just the nature of things.

Well, I'm getting carried away. I suspect the real answer is that the editions coming one atop the other has more to do with making it look like the book is cutting edge. After all, all things being equal, do you want the book that came out this year or last year? Or do you want to read a blog about it?