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Re: Books for conlangers

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 16:29

"Ph.D." wrote:
> > For those with no knowledge of a language outside their native > language's family, I would recommend "Languages and their > Speakers" and "Languages and their Status." The first has > chapters on Jacaltec (Guatemala), Maninka (West Africa), > Malagasy, Guugu Yimidhirr (Australia), and Japanese. The > second has chapters on Mohawk, Hua (Papua New Guinea), > Russian, Cape York Creole, Swahili, and Chinese. Both are > edited by Timothy Shopen and published by the University of > Pennsylvania Press. > > These chapters are not textbooks of the languages and do > not give a complete grammar, but they are designed to give > non-linguists a taste of those languages.
Another good book to get a taste of languages from all over the world is _An Introduction to the Languages of the World_ by Anatole Lyovin. It is essentially a list of all the world's language families (with some typological information about them), spiced with sketches of Russian, Finnish, Mandarin, Tibetan, Arabic, Swahili, Dyirbal, Hawaiian, Yup'ik, Quechua and Tok Pisin. (As you can see from this list, the only continent not represented is Antarctica.) If you want to construct your own branch of Indo-European, are looking for inspirations for sound changes to subject your conlangs to, or just want to get a taste of the diversity that exists even within this single family, _Indo-European Language and Culture_ by Benjamin W. Fortson IV is the book you are looking for. It contains sketches of Proto-Indo-European and several individual Indo-European languages, and lists the sound changes characteristic for the various branches of Indo-European. Greetings, Jörg.