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Linguistics and Language: A Research Guide: World

This is an extensive, annotated list of the print and online resources available for research in linguistics. Click on the TABS to access each Section in this guide.

World Languages

Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Roger D. Woodard, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
(Olin Reference P 371 .C357 2004 +)
"[C]overage of ancient languages from around the globe. Besides the expected languages such as Sumerian, Akkadian, and Latin, this work is important because of its inclusion of African, Asian, and New World ancient language." [Guide to Reference]


Campbell, George L. Compendium of the World's Languages. 2nd edition. 2 volumes. New York: Routledge, 2000.
(Olin Reference P 371 .C36x 2000)
Each entry contains a brief historical introduction and sections on the language's script, phonology, and morphology and syntax.


Comrie, Bernard. The World's Major Languages. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
(Olin Reference P 371 .W6 2009)
This scholarly work contains fifty chapters devoted to a language family or language and written by an expert in that field. The emphasis is on Indo-European languages with about half the chapters covering languages of this family. Each chapter on a language contains basic material on its structure and social and historical background. A bibliography of grammars, surveys, and histories, follows each chapter.


Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Georgios K. Giannakis, general editor. Leiden: Brill.
(Online only)
"[B]rings together the latest research from across a range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of Ancient Greek. It is an indispensable research tool for scholars and students of Greek, of linguistics, and of other Indo-European languages, as well as of Biblical literature."   [Introduction]


Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics. Kees Versteegh, general editor of the print edition. Leiden: Brill, 2005-2009. 5 print volumes.
(Online and print: PJ 6031 .E5 2006 +)
The online edition contains all content of the print edition and new content will be added on a regular basis as of 2010. "[C]overs all aspects of Arabic languages and linguistics. It is interdisciplinary in scope and represents different schools and approaches...."   [Introduction to the online edition]


Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Goeffrey Khan, editor. Leiden: Brill, 2014. 4 volumes.
(Olin Reference PJ 4519 .E43 2013)
A single extensive reference source uniting the research of scholars working on different periods of this language and with different disciplinary approaches.


Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe. Glanville Price, editor. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998.
(Olin Reference P 380 .E53x 1998)
The subdivisions of entries varies widely from one language entry to the next. A grab-bag of interesting facts about European languages both modern and ancient.


Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Christopher Moseley, ed. London: Routledge, 2007.
(Kroch Asia Reference P 40.5 .L332 E45 2007)
"[P]rovides a five-grade scale of the level of endangerment for languages around the world. After a general introd. that covers possible causes for language extinction, each chapter addresses the linguistic situation in a particular geographic region, followed by specific languages in alphabetical order, their precise geographic range, and a ranking (potentially endangered, endangered, seriously/severely endangered, moribund, extinct). The scale is based on the age of fluent speakers and the presence of language use in social institutions." [Guide to Reference]


Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th ed. Barbara F. Grimes, editor. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 2005.
(Online and print: Olin Reference P 371 .E83 2005)
The Ethnologue is a catalogue of more than 6,900 languages spoken in 228 countries. It tries to bring together the best information available on the languages of the world. Entries represent separate languages or probable languages (highly divergent "dialects") according to their best sources. Each entry lists number of speakers, alternate names, language family, where spoken, religion of speakers, etc. Search by virtually any variation of language name or dialect.


Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present. Jane Garry and Carl Rubino, editors. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2001.
(Olin Reference P 371 .F33x 2001 +)
For each language: Origin and History; Orthography and Basic Phonology; Basic Morphology; Basic Syntax; Contact with Other Languages; Common Words; Example Sentences; Efforts to Preserve, Protect, and Promote the Language; and Select Bibliography.


Hartmann, R. R. K. and Gregory James. Dictionary of Lexicography. New York: Routledge, 1998.
(Olin Reference P 327 .H37x)
Two thousand entries covering all aspects of lexicography. Contains an extensive bibliography.


Katzner, Kenneth. The Languages of the World. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2002.
(Olin Reference P 371 .K38x 2002)
A very handy guide to the language families of the world. Contains brief descriptions of each language including where and by whom it is spoken. Part I covers language families (e.g. Altaic languages), Part II individual languages (e.g., Russian) including even Esperanto, and Part III a country survey of languages spoken and numbers of people speaking them. A bibliography and an index are included.


Linguistic Composition of the Nations of the World/Composition linguistique des nations du monde. Heinz Kloss and Grant D. McConnell. Quebec: Presses de l'Université Laval, 1974- .
(Olin Stacks + P 120 .I61)
The first five volumes of what was to eventually have been a seven-volume set. At this point it is a partial statistical survey of the demography of the world's languages. In the aim to be comprehensive the authors have included all types of language figures (first language, second language, bilingualism, ethnic data, etc.) from all available sources (official, secondary, estimates, scientific, etc.).

Volumes 1-5 cover central and western South Asia, North America, Central and South America, Oceania, and Europe and the USSR, respectively. Each volume begins with an extensive introduction providing background information on languages of the area. This is followed by a bibliography of sources for the data. The statistical tables listing the data comprise the bulk of each volume. The editors provide an index of statistical offices and a language and country index. Explanatory material and headings throughout the volumes are in both English and French.


The World’s Writing Systems. Edited by Peter T. Daniels and William Bright. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
(Olin Reference P 211 .W714 1996)
"Ranging from cuneiform to shorthand, from archaic Greek to modern Chinese, from Old Persian to modern Cherokee, this is the only available work in English to cover all of the world's writing systems from ancient times to the present. Describing scores of scripts in use now or in the past around the world, this unusually comprehensive reference offers a detailed exploration of the history and typology of writing systems. More than eighty articles by scholars from over a dozen countries explain and document how a vast array of writing systems work--how alphabets, ideograms, pictographs, and hieroglyphics convey meaning in graphic form." [Oxford University Press: Description]

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