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Since its first edition, in 1951, the editors of Ethnologue have been recording the existence, locales, users, growth, and demise of languages around the globe. The efforts of numerous researchers result in a large, densely packed work with concise facts and figures. The primary purpose of the work is to provide a list of living languages, where used and by whom, but there are also a number of value-added features.
The introductory material explains the layout and the types of information available in each record. Next follows a set of statistical tables summarizing distributions, language families, and linguistic diversity. Part 1, "Languages of the World," provides country information, arranged by region. Each country entry is introduced by a paragraph noting basic general demographic information, the main languages, and the sources consulted. This is followed by a list of languages and their particular demographics. Dialects are noted along with estimated numbers of speakers, and in some cases, comments on the viability of a language are provided. It is sad to see the small numbers of documented speakers for some languages, but this is important to know in an ever-flattening and connected world.
Part 2 consists of more than 200 pages of subtly colored maps showing language distribution and locations within countries. The "Language Name Index" includes alternate names and is more than 300 pages in length. The final section of the book is a "Language Code Index" with standard three-letter -language-identifier codes. What is missing is a bibliography to go with the source citations found in the country entries.
Libraries that serve linguists, aid agencies, anthropologists, biological scientists, and researchers in other special fields will find this updated work a useful addition. It is very reasonably priced for the amount of information provided. Linda Loos Scarth
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What others are saying
"...the Ethnologue has grown into one of the most comprehensive catalogs of languages...a source for academics and governments..." Michael Erard, New York Times, July 19, 2005.
"The efforts of numerous researchers result in a large, densely packed work with concise facts and figures. The primary purpose of the work is to provide a list of living languages, where used and by whom, but there are also a number of value-added features. " and "It is very reasonably priced for the amount of information provided." Booklist, November 1, 2006.
"Ethnologue remains one of the most useful scholarly reference sources on languages of the world. Summing Up: Essential. All collections; all levels." J. M. Alexander, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005sup CHOICE web review.
"Close to 7,000 languages spoken in the world today are covered in this one-volume resource culled from the widely regarded SIL International database." Library Journal, September 1, 2005.
"a veritable guide to the world's...languages and cultures, providing a bounty of sociolinguistic and demographic data in addition to linguistic information" ACRL, C&RL News, March 2005.--SIL International Media Release, May 2009
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Book Description Sumner Institute of Linguistic, 1992. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110883128152