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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

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Title: Facts About the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present
Edited By: Jane Garry
Carl R. Rubino

"Highly recommended for all academic libraries, including those owning
Comrie or Campbell." - Choice Magazine "Since every article is written by an expert in the respective language, both the texts and the bibliographic selections are very good." - American Reference Books Annual

Facts About the World's Languages explores the structure, history and culture of 191 languages worldwide. The volume is the product of seven years of compilation from the work of nearly 200 world-renowned scholars in linguistics. Each entry is written by one or more recognized experts.

Languages spoken by two million or more people are the focus. Coverage does, however, make exceptions to the rule: such noteworthy ancient languages as Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Chinese, Akkadian,
Tocharian, Sumerian, Coptic, Ge'ez, Punic, Etruscan, Biblical Hebrew,
Pali, and Sanskrit are included for their importance in early linguistic scholarship and in the development of many other languages.
Additionally, some languages with smaller populations are featured to represent less frequently described language families and to give a broader typological perspective: Nivkh, Creek, Navajo, Cherokee,
Eskimo, Warlpiri, and Arapesh, among them.

Visit for a complete list of contributors to the volume. Visit for a list of languages covered.

Each of 191 chapters is devoted to a single language, and follows a consistent structure. Headings include:

* Language name: including obsolete or pejorative terms, and the autonym (the name speakers use for their own language).
* Location: where the language is currently spoken, plus where it has spread through migration, colonization, or globalization.
* Family - the deemed "genetic" classification for each family.
* Related languages.
* Dialects - forms that are mutually intelligible, but with varying phonologies, lexicons, and grammatical characteristics.
* Number of speakers - upper and lower estimates.
* Origin and history.
* Orthography and basic phonology - the written symbols and spelling conventions, and inventory and nature of the sound system (with consonant and vowel charts).
* Basic morphology - a detailed overview of word classes for each language and the morphological systems available to them.
* Basic syntax.
* Contact with other languages.
* Common words.
* Selected bibliography - including standard dictionaries and linguistic works for each language. Entries are restricted to works done in
English, unless the documented language does not have a good history of scholarship in the English-speaking community.

Chapters also include a section on Efforts to Preserve, Protect, and
Promote the Language, detailing the history and legacy of preservation programs for "endangered" and officially repressed languages.

The volume also features three indexes:
* Index of Languages by Country
* Index of Languages by Family
* Index of Languages and Alternate Names.

Though linguistics is a highly technical discipline, the volume describes each language in words a student or layperson can comprehend. Technical terms that are indispensable to a thorough understanding of the subject are defined in the volume's glossary.

For more information on Facts About the World's Languages, visit

Hardcover * 896 pages * August 2001 * 0-8242-0970-2

Publication Year: 2001
Publisher: H.W. Wilson Company
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0824209702
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 896