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Linguistics Research Guide


Research Help is still available during remote instruction!

Email or chat your subject librarian using the contact information on the right of this page. We can provide remote research assistance via Zoom (which allows for screensharing), chat, email, and phone.  


Beyond textbooks used in class, there are dictionaries, pronunciation guides, and reference works to help you do research on various topics in linguistics Here are some examples:

  • Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages  P140 .C36 2004 
  • Encyclopedic Dictionary of Language and Languages  P29 .C68 1992
  • International Encyclopedia of Linguistics  REF P29 .I58 2003
  • Pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States  PE2970.E2 K86 1982 
  • What is Language Development?: Rationalist, Empiricist, and Pragmatist Approaches to the Acquisition of Syntax   P118 .R87 2004   
  • Handbook of North American Indians REF E77 .H25 (vol. 17 is on Linguistics)

Here are several strategies for successful searching in the Library Catalog:

Keyword search

In the simple search screen, type your topic in the KEYWORD search and use the Modify Search function to restrict the search once you have the list of results. The Modify Search button allows you to choose from the language, publisher, publication year and more to narrow your search.

Subject Search

Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group related books together. This is different from the genre search discussed below in that genre headings address the specific format and writing style, but subject headings identify the topic of the work. Since Linguistics is a very broad and interdisciplinary field, the subject headings can cover a lot of topics. Here are a few samples.

Specialized Subject Searches

Additional subjects can be found by looking for specific languages, geographic areas, or cultural groups such as:

Genre Search

In the simple search screen, select the Genre Search option to look for the categories of materials we have in the collection on linguistics.

Finding a Person in the Catalog

What type of search depends on whether you are looking for works BY or works ABOUT the person.

Looking for works by a specific author? Use the AUTHOR search option and type the name in lastname, firstname order. Be sure to spell correctly! A search on Chomsky, Noam as author brings back 49 works that he wrote that are owned in the CSUSM collection.

Looking for works about a particular scholar or authority in linguistics? Chomsky, Noam as a SUBJECT search brings back 6 different subject headings, some of which have a number of works attached (3 titles have the subject heading 'political and social views' as he is also a political activist as well as linguist.) Notice the lastname, firstname order!

Other options to locate books and videos:

CSU+ (3-5 day delivery) is a resource sharing service that allows students, faculty, and staff to borrow books and media not available at the University Library from other California State University libraries. Before you request an item through Interlibrary Loan, check to see if it is available in CSU+. CSU+ materials arrive faster and check out for 60 days.

WorldCat (5-10 day delivery)
Search the collections of libraries world-wide -- about 52,000,000 books. Find a book in this database, and fill-out an Interlibrary Loan delivery request. Book will be delivered to Library for pickup.

Browse the Book Stacks
Sometimes, just looking through the shelves can turn up works you would not have considered otherwise. Using the Library of Congress subject system, Books addressing linguistics are generally shelved in the P call number area, but psycholinguistics can be found in BF. The Wikipedia online encyclopedia provides a list of the subclasses in the P area so you can see how this is organized.