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Language and languages

A collection of books about language and languages that are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.


Dictiory of Languages

Dictionary of Languages

by Andrew Dalby

- provides detailed information about over 400 languages, including all those with official status and an additional 175 'minor' languages of special anthropological or historical interest. Also includes basic script charts for most alphabets and other writing systems. This tome provided the main source of inspiration for this site and is a major source of information.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk


The World's Major Languages

The World's Major Languages

by Bernard Comrie

- a guide to the historical development, grammar, sound systems and writing systems of the world's major languages and language families, focusing particularly on the Indo-European languages.

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Les langages de l'humanité

Les langages de l'humanité

de Michel Malherbe

- une encyclopédie des 3.000 langues parlées dans le monde. Michel Malherbe qui, par ses activités professionnelles et, aussi, par curiosité personnelle, a visité plus de 120 pays, a tenu la gageure de présenter une image globale et moderne de toutes les langues parlées dans le monde, en ne négligeant aucun des aspects susceptibles d'intéresser un esprit curieux d'acquérir une culture générale dans ce domaine mal connu

Achetez de: Amazon.fr


Langues sans frontières

Langues sans frontières : A la découverte des langues de l'Europe

de Georges Kersaudy

- Expert, linguiste, et surtout polyglotte passionné, Georges Kersaudy nous entraîne ici dans un étonnant voyage de découverte, au fil d'une analyse comparative et jubilatoire des alphabets, des sons et des vocables des langues de l'Europe.

Achetez de: Amazon.fr


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language

by David Crystal

- an excellent, entertaining and comprehensive general reference book on all aspects of language

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Empires of the Word

Empires of the Word - A Language History of the World

by Nicholas Ostler

- a fascinating exploration of the history of the world's major languages: i.e. those that have spread beyond their original homelands. Covers the history of language since the invention of writing in Sumeria about 5,000 years ago to the present day. Seeks to explain why some languages, such as English, Spanish and Arabic, have spread to many countries and continients, while others, such as Dutch, German and Phoenician, haven't.

A more detailed review of Empires of the Word

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The Last Lingua Franca: The Rise and Fall of World Languages

The Last Lingua Franca: The Rise and Fall of World Languages

by Nicholas Ostler

- a fascinating exploration of the history of the world's major languages: i.e. those that have spread beyond their original homelands. Covers the history of language since the invention of writing in Sumeria about 5,000 years ago to the present day. Seeks to explain why some languages, such as English, Spanish and Arabic, have spread to many countries and continients, while others, such as Dutch, German and Phoenician, haven't.

A more detailed review of The Last Lingua Franca

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Through the Language Glass: How Words Colour your World

Through the Language Glass: How Words Colour your World

by Guy Deutscher

- In the twenty-first century, can we really take the dominance of English for granted? In their time, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit and Persian have each been world languages, sweeping the globe for centuries at a time. And yet they have all been displaced, just as Nicholas Ostler predicts English will be. What forces drive these linguistic currents? What characteristics do lingua francas share? And most importantly, how do they lose their power?

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Um...

Um...

by Michael Erard

- an original, entertaining, and surprising book that investigates verbal blunders: what they are, what they say about those who make them, and how and why we've come to judge them. Um... is about how you really speak, and why it's normal for your everyday speech to be filled with errors - about one in every ten words.

More information about this book and the author

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Babel No More - The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners

Babel No More - The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners

by Michael Erard

- If you've ever tried to learn another language, you know how much time, energy, and brain power is required. Imagine a person who can pick up languages very easily. Someone who can navigate our world's multilingual hullaballoo. Who can leap language barriers with a single bound. Who can learn without effort and remember indelibly. Such people aren't parrots. They're not computers. They're language superlearners.

Michael Erard searched for these people, and when he found them - in history books and living among us - he tried to make sense of their linguistic feats and their mental powers. His book answers the age-old question, What are the upper limits of the human ability to learn, remember, and use languages?

More information about this book and the author

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Language: The Cultural Tool

Language: The Cultural Tool

by Daniel L. Everett

- an interesting book that argues that language is primarily a cultural tool that has evolved much like our other abilities. Argues that language emerged from a complex combination of human physical, mental and cultural evolution, and that all the physical and mental structures used for language are also used for other things. As a result any kind of language instinct or language module in the brain seems unnecessary.

Also argues that the idea of a universal grammar, a deep structure that underlies all languages, seems unlikely to be true if you look at the diversity of languages, especially languages like Pirahã, which is spoken in Brazil and is used throughout the book to illustrate various points. Simiarities between languages might well be a result of the physical and mental abilities of human beings rather than of any hard-wired mental language framework.

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Language and the Internet

Language and the Internet

by David Crystal

- an entertaining and informative study of the myriad ways language is change on the internet.

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Language Play

Language Play

by David Crystal

- an interesting exploration of the many ways in which we play with language, including puns, jokes, rhymes and nonsense.

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Language Myths

Language Myths

by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill (Editors)

- an accessible and interesting collection of essays which address common misconceptions about language and languages, such as "Women Talk Too Much" and "In the Appalachians They Speak Like Shakespeare".

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Inside Language

Inside Language

by Vivian J, Cook

- an introduction to the study of language with information on grammar, pronunciation, writing and words. Also explores childhood language acquisition and language handicaps.

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The Symbolic Species

The Symbolic Species

by Terence Deacon

- a study of the relationships between language and the brain which begins with a question posed by a 7-year-old child: Why can't animals talk?

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Words in the Mind

Words in the Mind

by Jean Aitchinson

- this book deals with words, and how humans learn them, remember them, understand them, and find the ones they want. It discusses the structure and content of the human word-store or "mental lexicon", with particular reference to the spoken language of native English speakers.

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Language Change: Progress or Decay?

Language Change: Progress or Decay?

by Jean Aitchinson

- a lucid and up-to-date overview of language change. It discusses where our evidence about language change comes from, how and why changes happen, and how languages begin and end. It considers both changes which occurred long ago, and those currently in progress.

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The Language Instinct

The Language Instinct

by Steven Pinker

- argues that some aspects of language are hard-wired in the brain, and that we wouldn't be able to learn any language overwise.

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Words and Rules

Words and Rules

by Steven Pinker

- explores regular and irregular patterns in language and what they reveal about language and the mind.

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A Mouthful of Air

A Mouthful of Air

by Anthony Burgess

- a survey of the English language, how it operates now, how it reached its present situation and how it will develop in the future. Burgess writes on Shakespeare's pronunciation, on English newly-generated abroad, on low-life language and on the place of English in the world family of languages.

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The Loom of Language

The Loom of Language

by Frederick Bodmer

- a wide-ranging study of all aspects of language, including its origins and development through history, together with a good overview of the Indo-European and Near East languages.

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In Other Words

In Other Words

by Christopher J. Moore

- a languguage lovers guide to the most intriguing words around the world

 

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The Meaning of Tingo

The Meaning of Tingo

by Adam Jacot de Boinod

- an interesting and amusing collection of unusual words from hundreds of different languages. The word tingo apparently comes from Easter Island and means "to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them".

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Talk Talk Talk

Talk Talk Talk : Decoding the Mysteries of Speech

by Jay Ingram

- a witty and knowledgeable investigation into the sociology and science of talking which explores the brain processes responsible for this unique skill, traces the language roots of North America, and discusses the speech differences between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.

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Your Mother's Tongue

Your Mother's Tongue

by Stephen Burgen

- a study of the insults and swearwords used in Europe which provides fascinating insights into the differing taboos of various European cultures.

An invaluable book if you you want to learn how to be rude in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, Welsh, Romani, Catalan, Corsican, Danish, Dutch, Basque, Finnish, Flemish, Galician, Greek, Swedish, Yiddish or Pied-Noir.

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Bad Language

by Lars-Gunnar Andersson & Peter Trudgill

- a study of slang, swearing, dialects, accents and jargon.

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The Genetic Code of All Languages

The Genetic Code of All Languages

by Moni Kanchan Panda

- provides a system of one page code sheets to encode and decode alphabets and numerals of different languages. It is easy to learn and remember. The codes are fixed for all languages and there are 44 individual sets in numbers.

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