Back for its fourth edition, this core textbook offers a clear and engaging introduction to the building blocks of the English language, namely its words, sounds and sentences. Assuming no prior knowledge, this text combines accessibility with depth and is an ideal companion for anyone with an interest in how language works. Written by experienced and respected lecturers in the field, this book strips the subject down to its bare bones and offers detailed and clear explanations of key topics and theories, including variation in vocabularies, the International Phonetic Alphabet and relevance theory in relation to pragmatics. This is essential reading for undergraduate students of English Language and Linguistics. It is also a valuable resource for students on ESOL courses and teachers of English as a second or foreign language. It can be used as a stand-alone introductory text, or as a precursor to more advanced material.