Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, past and Present

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Nearly 200 international linguistics scholars contributed to this reference text for both the general public and specialists in linguistics. The text includes nearly all languages currently spoken by two million or more people, several noteworthy ancient languages, and several languages spoken by smaller populations but representative of some less frequently described language families. Each of the 191 entries includes basic outlines of the phonetic, phonological, morphological, and syntactic systems; the history of the ethnolinguistic group; sociolinguistic contact information; political factors affecting the development of the language and the identity of the group; and a bibliography for further research. The entries use standard orthography, instead of IPA representation. Includes a glossary of linguistic terminology, and is indexed by country, family, and languages and alternative names. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824209704
  • Publisher: Wilson, H.W., Company, The
  • Publication date: 7/1/2001
  • Series: Wilson Facts Series
  • Pages: 896
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 1.92 (d)

Table of Contents

Contributors v
Abbreviations Employed in this Volume viii
Introduction ix
How to Use This Book xi
The Languages of the World 1
Glossary 859
Index of Languages by Country 883
Index of Languages by Family 887
Index of Languages and Alternate Names 889
Acehnese 1
Afrikaans 4
Akan 8
Akkadian 11
Albanian 15
Amharic 20
Arabic 23
Aramaic 28
Arapesh 33
Armenian 39
Assamese 43
Aymara 48
Azerbaijanian 52
Balinese 55
Balochi 59
Bangla 65
Basque 72
Belorussian 77
Bemba 81
Bhojpuri 86
Bikol 90
Bugis 96
Bulgarian 100
Burmese 105
Caribbean Creole English 111
Catalan 115
Cebuano 121
Cherokee 127
Chichewa 131
Chinese Languages
Classical Chinese 134
Gan 139
Hakka 142
Mandarin 146
Min 151
Wu 158
Xiang 162
Yue 164
Coptic 169
Creek 173
Czech 177
Dagaare 180
Danish 184
Dutch 190
Egyptian, Ancient 194
English 199
Etruscan 204
Ewe 207
Finnish 214
French 219
Fula 224
Galician 229
Ge'ez 234
Georgian 237
German 241
Gikuyu 246
Gondi 249
Gothic 253
Ancient 256
Modern 263
Guarani 271
Gujarati 274
Gusii 278
Haitian Creole 282
Hausa 286
Biblical 291
Modern 296
Hiligaynon 300
Hindi 305
Hittite 310
Hungarian 314
Ibibio 317
Igbo 322
Ilocano 331
Irish 336
Italian 341
Japanese 345
Javanese 350
Kam 356
Kannada 360
Kanuri 366
Kapampangan 371
Kazakh 376
Khmer 379
Kikongo Kituba 383
Kinyarwanda 385
Kirghiz 387
Konkani 390
Korean 394
Kurmanji Kurdish 398
Lakota 404
Lao 409
Latin 412
Latvian 417
Lingala 421
Lithuanian 424
Luganda 429
Macedonian 435
Madurese 440
Maithili 443
Malagasy 448
Malay/Indonesian 452
Malayalam 459
Maninka-Bambara-Dyula 463
Manipuri/Meithei 466
Marathi 471
Maya 475
Mende 480
Minangkabau 483
Mongolian 488
Moore 492
Nama 497
Nahuatl 502
Navajo 506
Nepali 511
Nivkh 515
Norwegian 520
Occitan 524
Oriya 528
Oromo 531
Pali 534
Pangasinan 539
Pashto 543
Persian 548
Phoenician/Punic 552
Polish 556
Polynesian Languages 560
Portuguese 567
Pulaar 572
Punjabi 576
Pwo Karen 580
Quechua 584
Rajasthani 591
Romani 594
Romanian 598
Rundi 602
Russian 605
Sango 608
Sanskrit 611
Santali 623
Serbo-Croatian 629
Sesotho 633
Shan 637
Shona 642
Sindhi 647
Sinhala 654
Siraiki 657
siSwati 660
Slovak 664
Slovene 668
Sogdian 672
Somali 675
Spanish 680
Sukuma 685
Sumerian 690
Sundanese 692
Swahili 697
Swedish 700
Tagalog 703
Tajik 708
Tamazight 712
Tamil 716
Tatar 719
Tay-Nung 722
Telugu 728
Thai 733
Tibetan 740
Tigrinya 745
Tocharian 748
Tok Pisin 752
Tshiluba 757
Tswana 762
Turkish 766
Turkmen 770
Ukrainian 773
UMbundu 776
Urdu 780
Uyghur 786
Uzbek 791
Vietnamese 794
Waray Waray 797
Warlpiri 801
Welsh 804
Wolaitta 809
Wolof 816
Xhosa 822
Yi 826
Yiddish 830
Yoruba 836
Yup'ik (Eskimo) 842
Zhuang-Bouyei 848
Zulu 852
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2002

    A Problem of which languages shall be included

    One of the better purchases I had with B&N recently after a disappointing Musichound Jazz (see my review, too, if you're into jazz music). Basically, from a layman and not a linguistics scholar that is, this book is great since it discusses the properties of languages such as phonetics, syntax, morphology etc. It also gives an introduction of where it is spoken, dialects that are related to it as well as possible number of speaker. Although the languages represented are fairly inclusive of the major ones as well as representative languages from major language families, I have some reservations which are quite obvious from just going over the Table of Contents. The book's Foreword has indicated however that not all the possible languages that could be represented be included herein on account of the following reasons: 1: close affiliation with a language included in the book and 2. reasons that it is inadequately researched or documented. This I would say are valid excuses but not good enough to warrant the steep price. However, I would just like to point out my observations that are quite material to be ignored. a. Estonian and Kannada are missed out. One is a national and official language of the former Soviet republic and presently independent Estonia. Kannada, of course, is the state language of the populous state of Karnataka in India which has about 40 million speakers. Although Estonian is related to Finnish (which is in the book) , this does not preclude it from being taken out since there are a lot of languages discussed here sharing the same predicament: Czech and Slovak, Bulgarian and Macedonian, Lithuanian and Latvian. As for Kannada, it's worse. As mentioned earlier, its speakers' population and the fact that it is a major language itself deserves an explanation for the editors' omissions. If Konkani (under Indo-European is included and does not even possess an official status) is represented, why is Kannada left out? b. Some language families are underrepresented: Although Sino-Tibetan were represented with a number of Chinese languages, I am just wondering if the following would have made a better and fairer treatment if a couple or so of these languages would have been included: Dzongkha of Bhutan, Sherpa of Nepal, Sikkimese, Naga or Ladakhi of India or Chin of Myanmar. The Nilo Saharan family has only Kanuri to represent this huge family whose speakers are spread out in Eastern and Central Africa: Sudan, Kenya, Mali, Chad, Uganda, Niger, etc. Where are these languages?: Zarma (Djerma) of Niger which has more than 2 million speakers, Songhai of the famous Timbuktu region, Fur of Sudan or Teso in Uganda and Kenya. How about Apache for Na Dene family or Enga (one of the more populous of the languages in Papua New Guinea of the Trans New Guinea family rather than Arapesh (4000) speakers of Torrecelli family? Except for Aymara, Guarani and Quechua for the native South American Indians, how come Mixteco or Zapoteco of the Oto-Manguean family are excluded? How about one of those less known languages from the North Caucasian family like Adyghe or Abkhaz or perhaps Kabardin to make a comparison with Georgian of the South Caucasian group? Except for those mentioned above, the book, however, is a good introduction to the languages that were represented here. This, of course, is not a good reference for learning a language but it gives one an idea on the structure of the subject. For these reasons, I withhold my 5 star rating until I get a more comprehensive coverage.

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