Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be broadly divided into numerous areas of study, including morphology (word structure), syntax (phrase and sentence structure), phonetics/phonology (sound system), and semantics/pragmatics (meaning).

The various fields of linguistics cover a wide range of research and application, including language documentation, language acquisition and education, sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, corpus linguistics, translation, and interpretation.

This guide highlights resources on linguistics that are available at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library as well as on the Internet. As the guide is not intended to be comprehensive, interested readers should search the NLB catalogue or the Internet for more resources.


Search Terms Call Number
Language 400
Dictionaries & encyclopedias 403
Linguistics 410
Writing systems 411
Phonology & phonetics 414
Grammar 415



Books and texts are often mainstays of resource guides as these provide introductory and comprehensive information on a particular topic. The books below range from broad overviews of the field of linguistics to more specific discussions of language acquisition, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, and more. There are books dealing with global linguistic issues as well as more localised publications, including some focused on Singapore and Southeast Asia. Together they constitute a substantial variety of in-depth material on linguistics and its different fields.


  • Campbell, G. L. & King, G. (2013). Compendium of the world’s languages. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
    Call no.: R 403 CAM
    This book is an extensive compendium of 342 of the world’s natural language systems, recording and explaining their key features, phonology, morphology, history, usage, and more.


  • Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge encyclopedia of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Call no.: R 403 CRY -[DIC] This reference text is a broad survey of language and linguistics that is accessible for a general audience, organised thematically and covering areas such as linguistic components, language and identity, language media, language acquisition and world languages. This third edition notably includes sections on electronic communication and endangered languages.



  • Hornsby, D. (2014). Linguistics: A complete introduction. London: Teach Yourself.
    Call no.: R 410 HOR
    This book covers key areas of introductory linguistics, including structural linguistics, morphology, syntax and more.


  • Larson, R. K. (2010). Grammar as science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
    Call no.: R 415 LAR
    This is a good introductory text to syntax, covering topics such as phrase structure, lexicon and movement rules, as viewed from the perspective of the principles of scientific theorizing.


  • Matthews, P. H. (2014). The concise Oxford dictionary of linguistics (3rd ed.). Oxford : Oxford University Press.
    Call no.: R 410.3 MAT
    This dictionary covers grammar, phonetics, semantics, languages (spoken and written), dialects, and sociolinguistics. It includes some examples and diagrams to convey the meanings of selected terms. Entries on key scholars of linguistics are also found in this volume.


  • O’Keeffe, A. & McCarthy, M. (Eds.). (2010). The Routledge handbook of corpus linguistics. London: Routledge.
    Call no.: R 410.188 ROU
    Corpus linguistics is the computer-assisted analysis of large bodies of a language’s text. This handbook examines its application in computational linguistics, discourse analysis, forensic linguistics, pragmatics and translation studies, and guides readers through using corpora to study literature and translation and even designing and building a corpus.


  • School of Arts and Social Sciences, SIM University. (2010). Linguistics for non-linguists: ELG105: An introduction to language systems (coursebook). Singapore: Pearson Custom Publishing.
    Call no.: RSING 410 LIN
    This book is designed as a course text for students taking introductory classes in language systems. It systematically covers language variation, first and second language acquisition, language processing, the neurology of language, and written language.


  • Siahaan, S. (2013). Exploring language. Singapore: Singapore International Press.
    Call no.: R SEA 410 SIA
    The book aims to explore the knowledge of speakers of their language and the systematic patterns of the languages’ use. Among the structural linguistic aspects uncovered are the phonological process of a language and the production and interpretation of language.


  • Vihman, M. M. (2014). Phonological development: The first two years. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Call no.: R 401.93 VIH
    In her book, Vihman provides a comprehensive and balanced look at the current studies and research on the development of phonological knowledge in babies.


  • Wong, J. (2014). The culture of Singapore English. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Call no.: R SING 427.95957 WON
    The author explains the relationship between meaning and culture of the English language in the Singapore context, using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach. It also explores some difficulties associated with standard English and cultural misunderstanding.



  • Barker, C. & Lasersohn, P. (2016). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from the website:
    This is an extensive online archive of published papers on natural language semantics, submitted by authors from institutions all over the world.


  • Department of Linguistics, Indiana University. (2014). The LINGUIST List: International Linguistics Community Online. Retrieved February 17, 2016, from the LINGUIST List website:
    This website, operated at Indiana University, provides a forum for academic linguists to discuss linguistic issues and exchange linguistic information, and has an extensive list of articles and links for students and researchers.


  • Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (2015). Typological Tools for Field Linguistics. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology website:
    This website contains an extensive list of questionnaires and other elicitation tools for field linguists working on describing new languages. The tools also provide systematic insight  into how linguists go about describing languages.


  • Jones, T. (2016). iLoveLanguages – Your Guide to Languages on the Web iLoveLanguages. Retrieved February 17, 2016, from iLoveLanguages website:
    This is a directory of links to language and linguistics-related websites, containing everything from language learning resources to language identification tools and the websites of linguistics associations.


  • Lewis, M. P., Simons, G. F. & Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2015). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from the Ethnologue website:
    This website is a catalogue of the world’s known living languages. It displays information on the number of languages and the number of its speakers in a region, or even in a single country. It also contains helpful explanations of the concepts of language development and endangerment.


  • Speech, Hearing & Phonetic Sciences, University College London. (2015). Educational Resources in Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from the University College London website:
    The University College of London’s site contains online tutorials for education in phonetics and speech communication, covering topics such as voicing, plosives, intonation, loudness, pitch, and even logarithms related to speech and hearing.


Journals (eResources)

To share and disseminate the knowledge they have derived or unearthed, researchers, historians and scholars usually published their findings as articles in academic journals or popular periodicals. You can retrieve some of these articles from databases in our e-resources page or by visiting the websites of the periodicals.


  • Asian Economic and Social Society. (2016). International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the Asian Economic and Social Society Elsevier website:
    This journal is published quarterly, both online and in print, by the Asian Economic and Social Society. Its scope covers “English linguistics, literatures written in the English language, and English sociolinguistics”.


  • De Gruyter Online. (2016). Open Linguistics. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the De Gruyter Online website:
    Open Linguistics is a new, annually published academic peer-reviewed journal covering a broad spectrum of topics, including descriptive linguistics, theoretical linguistics, and applied linguistics from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives.


  • Directory of Open Access Journals. (2016). Browse Subjects. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the DOAJ website:
    DOAJ provides online access to titles of scholarly and academic journals on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from arts and humanities to science and technology. On selecting the “Language and Literature” link at this page, the site will conduct a search to list the journals and articles on the subject. It covers over 300 journals focusing on linguistics. Some examples of these journals published in English include Biolinguistics, Language Documentation and Conservation, and Oslo Studies in Language (OSLa).


  • Elsevier. (2015). Ampersand: An International Journal of General and Applied Linguistics. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the Elsevier website:
    Ampersand is an international peer-reviewed journal from Elsevier Science. Its publishing focus lies in applied and historical linguistics, phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, semantics, sociolinguistics and syntax.


  • The Linguistics Journal. (2016). The Linguistics Journal | TESOL Linguistics. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the Linguistics Journal website:
    The Linguistics Journal is a refereed online publication that provides access to resources for researching, teaching and learning linguistics. The journal covers phonetics and phonology, semantics, morphology, syntax, semiotics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, computational and corpus linguistics and more.


  • Tinnefeld, T. (Ed.). (2016). Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching website:
    This journal is a refereed academic resource that publishes scientific findings in the fields of linguistics and language teaching, which is a wide scope of topics that includes the major linguistic fields, as well as grammaticography, lexicography, intercultural communication, and the methodology of the four basic language skills (speaking, writing, listening, reading).


  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. (2015). 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature: The South East Asian Journal of English Language Studies. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from the UKM e-Journal System website:
    Published by The National University of Malaysia Press, 3L is a peer-reviewed international journal which explores issues in the broad areas of English language, linguistics and literature, particularly in the Southeast Asian context.


Accessing the National Library Board Singapore Resources

Accessing the Print Materials

You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home ( The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types or language holdings. In both instances, you will also be able to limit your search to specific libraries by clicking on the “limit by branch” option.

To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings

If you wish to search for only materials available in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please always click on the “Limit by Branch” button at the bottom of the page, after you have keyed in your search term. This brings you to a new page whereby you will be able to select the library of your choice. Choose “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library” and select “yes” under the “Display only items available in the selected branch below” and then click on search.

Things to note:

Once you have identified the title that you need, please double-check the following information and write down the necessary info:

i. The “Status” of the item: the item is not available in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.

ii. Double-check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Branch”.

iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please refer to the table below for more information (Note: Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.)

All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.


Accessing the Databases

The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.

If you’re having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to for help. The librarian will get back to you within three working days.


Nathaniel Chew


The information in this resource guide is valid as at Feb 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.

Written by Belinda Chan