Introduction to the Languages of the World

ISBN : 9780195149883

Anatole Lyovin; Brett Kessler; William Leben
544 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2016
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The only textbook of its kind, An Introduction to the Languages of the World is designed to introduce beginning linguistics students, who now typically start their study with little background in languages, to the variety of the languages of the world. It is ideal for use in courses where students have mastered the basic principles of linguistics but lack background in the broad range of language phenomena found in the world's languages, such as vowel harmony and ergative constructions. It offers students an opportunity to explore, at various levels, structures of very different, highly interesting languages without necessarily possessing a speaking or reading knowledge of these languages.
Lyovin explains the classification of languages, discussing not only genetic classification but typological and sociolinguistic classification as well. He follows this with an explication of writing systems. A chapter is devoted to each of the world's continents, with in-depth analyses of representative languages of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America, and a separate chapter covers pidgins and creoles. Helpful features include an appendix of nineteen maps, student exercises, and suggestions for further reading.


List of Tables
List of Figures
Symbols and Abbreviations
1 Classification of Languages
1.1 Genetic classification
1.2 Typological classification of languages
1.3 Exercises
1.4 Suggested readings
2 Classification of Writing Systems
2.1 Typological classification of writing systems
2.2 Genetic classification of writing systems
2.3 Exercises
2.4 Suggested readings
3 Europe
3.1 Indo-European
3.2 Uralic
3.3 Caucasus area
3.4 Basque
3.5 Sketch of Russian
3.6 Sketch of Finnish
3.7 Exercises
3.8 Suggested readings
4 Asia
4.1 Altaic area
4.2 Paleosiberian area
4.3 Sino-Tibetan
4.4 Hmong-Mien
4.5 Tai-Kadai
4.6 Austroasiatic
4.7 Dravidian
4.8 Burushaski
4.9 Other languages in Asia
4.10 Sketch of Mandarin Chinese
4.11 Sketch of Classical Tibetan
4.12 Exercises
4.13 Suggested readings
5 Africa
5.1 Afro-Asiatic
5.2 Nilo-Saharan
5.3 Niger-Congo
5.4 Khoisan area
5.5 Other languages in Africa
5.6 Sketch of Modern Standard Arabic
5.7 Sketch of Swahili
5.8 Exercises
5.9 Suggested readings
6 Oceania
6.1 Austronesian
6.2 Papuan area
6.3 Australian area
6.4 Sketch of Hawaiian
6.5 Sketch of Dyirbal
6.6 Exercises
6.7 Suggested readings
7 The Americas
North American area
7.1 Eskimo-Aleut
7.2 Na-Dene
7.3 Algic
7.4 Muskogean
7.5 Siouan
7.6 Iroquoian
7.7 Caddoan
7.8 Yuman
7.9 Sahaptian
7.10 Tsimshianic
7.11 Kiowa-Tanoan
7.12 Uto-Aztecan
7.13 Salishan
Mesoamerican area
7.14 Oto-Manguean
7.15 Totonacan
7.16 Mixe-Zoquean
7.17 Mayan
South American area
7.18 Intermediate area
7.19 Western Amazonia
7.20 Northern foothills
7.21 Andes region
7.22 Southern foothills
7.23 South
7.24 Central Amazonia
7.25 Northern Amazonia
7.26 Sketch of Central Alaskan Yup?ik
7.27 Sketch of Ayacucho Quechua
7.28 Exercises
7.29 Suggested readings
8 Language Birth, Death, and Revitalization
8.1 Mixed languages
8.2 Constructed languages
8.3 Pidgins
8.4 Creoles
8.5 Sign languages
8.6 Language endangerment and renewal
8.7 Sketch of Tok Pisin
8.8 Exercises
8.9 Suggested readings
Language Index
Subject Index

About the author: 

Born of Russian emigre parents in Leskovac, Serbia, Yugoslavia, in 1938. In 1950 left Yugoslavia, and after one year spent in refugee camps in Italy and Germany immigrated to Canada. Finished high school in Toronto, Canada, and received a scholarship to study at Princeton University in New Jersey. Also studied at the Taiwan National University for one year before completing AB at Princeton. After graduating from Princeton, studied at University of California, Berkeley, for a doctorate in linguistics. Appointed Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the fall of 1968. Retired as an associate professor from that institution in 2000. Taught in Burma, Korea, Japan, and Russia. (Russia and Korea were on a Fulbright.) Presently serving as the rector of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church, Honolulu, Hawaii, with the rank of an archpriest.

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