Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 12:49:44 -0500 (EST) From: Michelle Portalatin <mportalatinhwwilson.com> Subject: Language Description: Facts About the World's Languages
Honored by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title of 2001!
FACTS ABOUT THE WORLD'S LANGUAGES: An Encyclopedia of the World's
Major Languages, Past and Present.
Edited by Jane Garry and Carl 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
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.
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.