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LING 1100: The Death of Language (Spring 2017): Encyclopedias
 

Research Guide for Carol-Rose Little's First-Year Writing class.

Useful Encyclopedias

The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Keith Brown, editor-in-chief. 2nd ed. Boston: Elsevier, 2006.
(Online)
An updated edition of R. E. Asher's comprehensive and up-to-date encyclopedia in linguistics and related subject areas, published in 1994 (Olin Library Reference P 29 .E56 +). Broad in scope, so that interdisciplinary aspects of linguistics and language studies are covered as well as various areas of linguistics. Global communication and writing systems are included, as well as extensive biographies/bibliographies of linguists. Signed articles include authoritative bibliographies.
International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. 2nd ed. 4 volumes. William J. Frawley, editor. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
(Online. Print: Olin Reference P 29 .I61 2003)
Articles by some 400 scholarly linguists describe concisely many linguistic sub-specialties and concepts. A useful feature is the large number of articles on specific languages or language families, from Akkadian to Zapotec. (Zulu is treated under African languages.) Articles are arranged alphabetically, but appendixes group subjects into topic areas and languages into families. A glossary defines terms; cross references and an index direct the reader to the right article. Numerous bibliographies and some excellent illustrations are provided. As the preface indicates, the work is intended for experts, and some articles are quite technical.... [Library Journal review]
Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 5 volumes. H James Birx, editor. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006.
(Online. Print: Olin Reference GN 11 .E63 2006)
Over 1,000 entries that focus on topics in physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and applied anthropology. The contributions are authored by over 250 internationally renowned experts, professors, and scholars from some of the most distinguished museums, universities, and institutes in the world. Special attention is given to human evolution, primate behavior, genetics, ancient civilizations, sociocultural theories, and the value of human language for symbolic communication.

Additional encyclopedias:

Coulmas, Florian. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996.
(Olin Library Reference Z 40 .C67x 1995)
"The principal purpose of this encyclopedia is to provide basic concise information on the writing systems, scripts and orthographies of the world's major languages" (Preface). A thorough, well-presented work with excellent tables and illustrations. There are numerous cross-references which pull the work together, since it consists of many short articles rather than comprehensive treatments. Most articles have brief bibliographies and there is an extensive bibliography at the end of the work. Highly useful for overviews of every imaginable script from Cherokee to Maldivian (not to be confused with Old Maldivian) and such oddities as the finger alphabet and quipu. See also the less inclusive Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets (Olin Reference P 211 .C25x).
Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
(Olin Reference P 29 .C95 C2)
This illustrated one-volume encyclopedia presents the major themes in language study. A glossary and index provide excellent access to the many articles. Excellent maps, plates, photographs and charts. A bibliography is appended.
International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. Malden, MA: Wiley, 2015.
(Online)
A multi-disciplinary subject encyclopedia with crossover coverage of linguistics and discourse studies, and with psychology, sociology and business. Published as a regularly updated online edition.

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Michael Engle
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