LINGUIST List 23.2972

Sun Jul 08 2012

Books: The Languages of the Amazon: Aikhenvald

Editor for this issue: Danniella Hornby <>

Date: 06-Jul-2012
From: Helen Boyd <>
Subject: The Languages of the Amazon: Aikhenvald
E-mail this message to a friend

Title: The Languages of the Amazon Published: 2012 Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Author: Alexandra A. Aikhenvald Hardback: ISBN: 9780199593569 Pages: 500 Price: U.K. £ 85

This is the first guide and introduction to the extraordinary range of languagesin Amazonia, which include some of the most the most fascinating in theworld 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 theircommon and unique features, setting out their main characteristics, anddescribing the histories and cultures of the people who speak them. Thelanguages abound in rare features and in most cases have been in contactwith each other for generations, giving rise to complex patterns of linguisticinfluence. The author draws on her own extensive field research to tease outand analyse the patterns of their genetic and structural diversity. In theprocess she shows how they reflect the interrelations of language andculture: different kinship systems, for example, produce different linguisticoutcomes. She also explains the roles and workings of their unusual featuresincluding evidentials, tones and whistles, and elaborate positional verbs. Thebook ends with a glossary of terms, and a comprehensive list of referencesfor 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 esotericterminology, written in her characteristically straightforward style, and broughtvividly to life with numerous anaecdotes of her experience in the region. Itmay be used as reference for research and as an introduction for courses inLatin American studies, Amazonian studies, linguistic typology, and generallinguistics.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics                             Language Documentation                             Typology Areal Regions: Amazonian
Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

-------------------------- Major Supporters --------------------------


Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Cambridge University Press

Cascadilla Press

Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd

De Gruyter Mouton

Edinburgh University Press

Elsevier Ltd

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Equinox Publishing Ltd

European Language Resources Association - ELRA

Georgetown University Press

Hodder Education

John Benjamins

Lincom GmbH

MIT Press

Morgan & Claypool Publishers

Multilingual Matters

Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG

Oxford University Press

Palgrave Macmillan

Pearson Linguistics

Peter Lang AG


Routledge (Taylor and Francis)


University of Toronto Press


---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------

Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics

Graduate Linguistic Students' Association, Umass

International Pragmatics Assoc.

Linguistic Association of Finland

Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke - LOT

Pacific Linguistics

SIL International

University of Nebraska Press

Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 08-Jul-2012