This textbook is a self-contained introduction to linguistics for beginning students. It offers a unified approach to language from several perspectives. A language is a complex structure represented in the minds of its speakers, and this book introduces the tools necessary for understanding this structure. In addition, it focuses on how small children acquire their native language; the psychological processes which are involved in mature speakers producing and understanding language; linguistic difficulties which arise as a consequence of brain damage or genetic disorders; and additional issues which arise when we consider individual speakers as part of a social community.Written by a team based at one of the world's leading centres for linguistic teaching and research, the second edition of this highly successful textbook offers a unified approach to language, viewed from a range of perspectives essential for students' understanding of the subject. Using clear explanations throughout, the book is divided into three main sections: sounds, words, and sentences. In each, the foundational concepts are introduced, along with their application to the fields of child language acquisition, psycholinguistics, language disorders, and sociolinguistics, giving the book a unique yet simple structure that helps students to engage with the subject more easily than other textbooks on the market. This edition includes a completely new section on sentence use, including an introduction and discussion of core areas of pragmatics and conversational analysis; coverage of sociolinguistic topics, introducing communities of practice; a wealth of new exercise material and updated further reading.