Representation of the history of linguistics in American college textbooks, 1950–2020


  • Margaret Thomas Boston College



history of linguistics, teaching of linguistics, historical context of textbooks


Many students of linguistics get their first classroom exposure to the field in courses with titles like Introduction to Linguistics or Survey of Linguistics.  Such courses commonly employ textbooks that communicate the scope and methods of the discipline, and tacitly set students’ standards for what the discipline values.  This article examines textbooks that have been employed from the 1950s to the early 21st century in U.S. college courses that introduce students to linguistics.  The goal is to bring to light how the how the presence—or absence—of historical material shapes students’ assumptions about the value of the history of linguistics.

Note: A video of the session in which this was presented and the associated slide deck are available in the foreword to this issue


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How to Cite

Thomas, Margaret. 2024. “Representation of the History of Linguistics in American College Textbooks, 1950–2020”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (2): 5747.