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Linguistics and Language: A Research Guide: Language

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.

Language Atlases

Atlas Linguarum Europae (ALE). Sous la rédaction de A. Weijnen, et al. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1975-1979.
(Library Annex G 1797.21 .E3 A88 1983 ++)
The purpose of this atlas is to present side-by-side comparisons of linguistic data taken from the languages on the European continent regardless of whether the languages are related or not. In doing so it hopes to reveal aspects of language contact.


The Atlas of the World's Languages. Christopher Moseley and R.E. Asher, editors. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2007.
(Olin Reference G 1046 .E3 A8 2007 ++. Shelved in the atlas case.)
"Traditional atlas format, divided into eight geographic regions, with the Americas section then subdivided. Each section contains blocks of maps, preceded by text on the linguistic history of the region, genetic relations among those languages, their linguistic structure, statistical and sociolinguistics information, and often extensive bibliographies of further resources. That information takes the form of classifications, outlines, one-paragraph descriptions of individual languages, and short encyclopedia articles. Map sections start with environment and population maps, then detailed regional maps marked with linguistic groups. Back-of-the-book language index." [Guide to Reference]


The Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing. Paris: UNESCO, 2010. 3rd edition.
(Online supplement to the print edition).
(The 2010 print edition: Olin Reference P 40.5 .L33 A85 2010 +)
(A loose map accompanying this edition is in the Olin Maps Collection: G 3201 .E3 2010 A85)

An atlas of languages that extinct (no speakers are left), moribund (only a few elderly speakers are left), or endangered (to varying degrees depending on the age of the remaining speakers) worldwide with explanatory essays at the front.

"The online edition of the Atlas is complementary to the print edition It does not reproduce the regional and thematic chapters of the print version, but it offers additional information on the listed endangered languages. Via this interface, you can browse through them, using combinations of search criteria and/or zooming in the map." [Online supplement description]


Kurath, Hans, et al. Linguistic Atlas of New England. Providence: Brown University, 1939-1943.
(Olin PE 2845 .L5 K96 ++)
Supervised by Hans Kurath, fieldwork for this seminal American survey took place between 1931 and 1933. It was finally published in three volumes with an accompanying handbook just before the end of World War II. Both the atlas and handbook have since been reprinted. Each volume of the atlas, also known as LANE, is in two parts. They contain double maps showing how residents pronounce certain words. The words are divided into topical areas such as time, family, farm, weather, and social relations. The handbook outlines the regional and social dialects of New England and provides a background for the critical evaluation and historical interpretation of the materials in LANE. [De Miller]


Labov, William. The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology, and Sound Change: A Multimedia Reference Tool. William Labov, Sharon Ash, Charles Boberg. New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006.
(Olin Library Reference PE 2808 .L26 2006 ++. Shelved in the atlas case. Accompanying CD-ROM available in Electronic Text Center.)
"[A] monumental work in the field of dialect geography. Although earlier projects (e.g., Hans Kurath's Linguistic Atlas of New England, 1939-43, above) published detailed regional data, ANAE is the first such atlas to provide a comprehensive view of vocalic pronunciation and phonology across the continent. Based on a 1992-99 telephone survey (Telsur) of 762 urban English speakers, its aim is to identify the features that distinguish US and Canadian dialects; to document phonemic splits and mergers, and phonetic chain and parallel shifts; and to discover and elucidate the causes of linguistic change." [Choice, 10/1/2006]


MLA Language Atlas of the United States.
"The MLA Language Map is intended for use by students, teachers, and anyone interested in learning about the linguistic and cultural composition of the United States. The MLA Language Map uses data from the 2000 United States census to display the locations and numbers of speakers of thirty languages and three groups of less commonly spoken languages in the United States. The census data are based on responses to the question, "Does this person speak a language other than English at home?" The Language Map illustrates the concentration of language speakers in zip codes and counties. The Language Map Data Center provides data from Census 2000 about over three hundred languages spoken in the United States, including actual numbers and percentages of speakers. Data from the 2005 American Community Survey about the thirty languages most commonly spoken in the United States provide a snapshot of recent changes in American language communities." [Home page]


The World Atlas of Language Structures. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
(Olin Library Reference P 143 .W67 2005 ++. Shelved in the atlas case).
The first feature atlas on a worldwide scale, showing abstract features of the language system compared across unrelated languages. "Atlas and accompanying CD-ROM are an outstanding resource for studying the geographical placement of grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Some 142 world maps and many additional national and regional maps are accompanied by detailed definitions of each structural feature they illustrate." [Guide to Reference]

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