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By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

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The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

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Title: The Languages of the Amazon
Written By: Chia-jung Pan

This is the first guide and introduction to the extraordinary range of languages
in Amazonia, which include some of the most the most fascinating in the
world and many of which are now teetering on the edge of extinction.
Alexandra Aikhenvald, one of the world's leading experts on the region,
provides an account of the more than 300 languages, comparing their
common and unique features, setting out their main characteristics, and
describing the histories and cultures of the people who speak them. The
languages abound in rare features and in most cases have been in contact
with each other for generations, giving rise to complex patterns of linguistic
influence. The author draws on her own extensive field research to tease out
and analyse the patterns of their genetic and structural diversity. In the
process she shows how they reflect the interrelations of language and
culture: different kinship systems, for example, produce different linguistic
outcomes. She also explains the roles and workings of their unusual features
including evidentials, tones and whistles, and elaborate positional verbs. The
book ends with a glossary of terms, and a comprehensive list of references
for those interested in following up a language or linguistic phenomenon.

Alexandra Aikhenvald's fascinating book is aimed at a wide readership,
including linguists and anthropologists. It is unburdened by esoteric
terminology, written in her characteristically straightforward style, and brought
vividly to life with numerous anaecdotes of her experience in the region. It
may be used as reference for research and as an introduction for courses in
Latin American studies, Amazonian studies, linguistic typology, and general

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Anthropological Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199593569
Pages: 500
Prices: U.K. £ 85