Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More than 400 Languages

安德鲁·达尔比 Andrew Dalby
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语言词典:超过400种语言的通用参考(Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More than 400 Languages)简介:

This new tome of tongues is one of the most remarkable general reference works of the century. From Abkhaz and Abaza (300,000 speakers in Georgia, Turkey, and Russia) to Zulu (8,800,000 speakers in South Africa and Lesotho), Dalby comprehensively details more than 400 languages (living and dead), arranged A-to-Z for easy access, and delving into the political, social, and historical background of each. In addition, more than 200 maps indicate where the languages are spoken today, while sidebars show alphabets, numerals, and anecdotes.

If you've got even a passing interest in linguistics, this work of erudition is addictively browsable. In the entry on Greek is an insert on the dialect of Tsakonian. Spoken only in an inaccessible mountain district in the Peloponnese, it's a direct descendant of the ancient Greek Doric dialect. And Fulani is spoken by some 15,000,000 individuals in West Africa, thanks to the migrant, pastoral lifestyle of the Fulani people, which spread the language across the Western Sudan such that it is now a national language in Guinea, Niger, and Mali. The section on Australian languages notes that when Europeans first began to explore the continent, there were about 300 languages spoken by the people who lived there, with up to 12 existing on the island of Tasmania alone. In addition, Dalby explains "mother-in-law languages," separate speech registers that most Australian tongues have, with different vocabulary and sometimes even different sound patterns, for use in the presence of a taboo relative, such as a man's mother-in-law.

This encyclopedic dictionary offers an overview of over 400 alphabetically arranged living and extinct languages and language families. Introductory material provides background information on why languages grow apart and converge, some basic methodologies of historical linguistics, views on learning other languages, and frequently asked questions/answers about language. As in his Guide to World Language Dictionaries (LJ 3/15/99), Darby clearly describes and explains the book's many reference features, which include a glossary of 100 linguistic terms. He also explains positions taken on linguistic disagreements and considers each language's history, relationships to other languages, and estimated current speakers. To illustrate where a language is presently spoken and its proximity to related languages, 200 maps are included, along with examples of script, numerals, and alphabets. Cross references point to additional coverage, e.g., from "Latvian" and "Lithuanian" to "Baltic Languages." An extensive index gives access by languages and dialects referred to in the text or by major languages spoken within a country. Less technical than the International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (LJ 4/1/92), this highly practical work intended for the nonspecialist is an excellent source for browsing or reference.AStanley P. Hodge, Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN



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  • 语言词典:超过400种语言的通用参考 Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More than 400 Languages