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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Book Information


Title: Navlipi, Volume 1
Subtitle: A New, Universal, Script (“Alphabet”) Accommodating the Phonemic Idiosyncrasies Of All the World's Languages
URL: http://www.brandenbooks.com
Series Title: Navlipi

Presenting a new, universal script applicable to all the world’s languages
which addresses the serious deficiencies of the International Phonetic
alphabet and also addresses the concept of “phonemic idiosyncrasy” for the
first time ever in any world script.

This book presents a new, universal script, denoted NAVLIPI, capable of
expressing all the world’s languages, from English and Arabic, to tonal
languages such as Mandarin, to click languages such as !Xo Bushman.
Based on the Roman script, NAVLIPI uses just five new or transformed
letters (glyphs) in addition to the 26 Roman letters; it uses no diacritics,
rather making heavy use of “post-ops”, post-positional operators. Its
expression is very intuitive and highly amenable to cursive writing,
keyboarding and voice transcription. The book incorporates more than 620
detailed references in linguistics and related fields.

It addresses the concept of “phonemic idiosyncrasy” for the first time ever in
any world script.

NAVLIPI incorporates essential features of a universal script, thus far present
in no world script to date, such as universality, completeness,
distinctiveness, and practical phonemic application. Most importantly,
NAVLIPI addresses phonemic idiosyncrasy, for the first time ever in any
world script; among other things, phonemic idiosyncrasy makes transcription,
in the same script, of, e.g. Mandarin and English, or Hindi/Urdu and Tamil,
extremely difficult. NAVLIPI also addresses the serious deficiencies of the
alphabet of the International Phonetic Association and may assist in the
preservation of endangered languages.

Nicholas Ostler observes: “NAVLIPI is a systematic extension of Roman
script with a number of aims in view: To be a practical (legible and writable)
script for all the world’s languages, but at the same time to represent the
languages’ sounds exactly and consistently, making no compromises on the
phonemic principle. It goes beyond existing scripts: Beyond ordinary Roman
scripts, because it requires that its symbols are interpreted the same way
everywhere; beyond phonetic scripts such as that of the IPA, by
representing phonemes singly, rather than as a set of phones; and beyond all
the other scripts, by attempting to replace every single one of them without
loss of significant phonetic detail.

This is a stupendous aim for a single system created by a single scholar.

“The main obstacle to Chandrasekhar’s achievement is the phenomenon of
“phonemic idiosyncrasy”, whereby the actual speech sounds are organized
into different, and cross-cutting, significant sets in various languages: For
example, p, whether aspirated or un-aspirated, is the same phoneme in
English, but the two versions belong to contrasting phonemes in Hindi, where
(however) f is heard as the same sound as aspirated-p. By juxtaposing
letters, Chandrasekhar conjures up new symbols that represent directly the
complex phonemic reality. The attempt to have all the possible virtues of a
phonetic writing system at once - on the basis of a single man’s ideal - is
what makes this a heroic endeavour.”

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Branden Books
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9780828324212
Pages: 576
Prices: U.S. $ 29.95
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780828322157
Pages: 576
Prices: U.S. $ 49.95