How many languages are there? Are new languages still being discovered? Why are so many languages disappearing? In this Very Short Introduction, eminent linguist Stephen Anderson addresses such questions as he illuminates the science behind languages. Considering a wide range of different languages and linguistic examples, Anderson provides the basic facts about the world’s major families of spoken languages and their distribution around the globe. He explores the basis for linguistic classification and raises questions about how we identify a language. Considering signed languages as well as spoken, Anderson also examines the wider social issues of losing languages, and their impact on vanishing cultures and peoples.
Some remarks on the main point of this book appeared on an OUP blog devoted to the VSI series.
- Provides the basic facts about the world’s major families of spoken languages and their distribution around the globe
- Relates to some of the big social issues facing the world today, such as bio-diversity and the endangerment of species and cultures
- Looks at the reasons behind why languages are declining, and why this really matters
- Raises the question about how we identify a language, and considers how we differentiate a ‘language’ from a ‘dialect’
- Looks at signed languages and considers the similarities and differences to spoken language
- Part of the bestselling Very Short Introductions series – over five million copies sold worldwide
144 pages; 15 b/w illus.; 6.9 x 4.4;