You will need to download and install the free Python software from http://python.org/download/. You will need Python 3.1.2. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. I will cover how to install Python during the first week of class.
While a book is not required, it may be helpful to have one just to have another view of the language from what is covered in class. Here are some recommendations.
by Jeffrey Elkner, Allen B. Downey, and Chris Meyers
This book is available online for free at http://www.openbookproject.net/thinkcs/python/english2e/. It is a reasaonable introduction to Python programming.
by John Zelle
This book is a solid Python textbook. It is used in many of the sections for this class here at UMW. It is a tad over $35 at Amazon.
by David Griffiths and Paul Barry
This book offers a fun, hands-on approach to learning Python. It is a bit like a guided workbook designed to engage you mind as you read. It is $31 at Amazon.
This is a draft of four chapters I wrote designed to help linguists learn to program. If you are a non-technical liberal arts type, this might be the place to start.