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LING 1100: The Death of Language (Fall 2016): Language
Reference Sources

A research guide for Jacob Collard's LING 1100.103 class.

Language Reference sources

Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th ed. Barbara F. Grimes, editor. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 2005.
(Online. 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.


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 ed. 2 vols. 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. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
(Olin Reference P 371 .W6 2009)
The second edition of this scholarly, authoritative work contains fifty chapters, each devoted to a language family or language and written by an expert in that field. Forty-four internationally renowned experts have contributed to this volume. The emphasis, given the expected readership of this guide, is on Indo-European languages with about half the chapters covering languages of this family. Each chapter on a language contains basic material on it structure and its social and historical background; in addition it may highlight different and unusual aspects of the language. References and a bibliography of grammars, surveys, histories, etc., follow each chapter. Figures, maps, tables, and examples are liberally used to illustrate the text.


Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. J.P. Mallory and D.Q. Adams, editors. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
(Olin Library Reference CB 201 .E53 1997)
Over 700 entries provide inclusive coverage of the major Indo-European language stocks and their origins, and the conceptual range of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. The encyclopedia also offers entries on selected archaeological cultures having some relationship to the origin and dispersal of Indo-European groups, and on some of the major issues of Indo-European cultural studies.


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]


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.


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.


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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Michael Engle
106 Olin Library
Cornell University Library

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