Re: new book on Ainu
|From:||Marcus Smith <smithma@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, August 1, 2000, 2:46|
Tom Wier wrote:
>Anyone know how this compares to the material in the Cambridge Linguistics
>library book "The Languages of Japan" by Shibatani? I've been thinking of
>getting that one...
The Ainu material in "The Language of Japan" is good for a concise overview of
the language. Shibatani admits that he has never worked with the language,
derived the entire section of the book from material written by others --
hold that against him since the language is effectively dead. One very useful
thing about it is that he discusses some of the features of the language in
light of linguistic theory as it stood when it was written. For example, he
gives interesting evidence against Baker's theory of applicatives as
incorporated adpositions. Unfortunately, the entire description including
genetic affiliation, phonology, morphology, and syntax amounts to around 80
pages. He aimed more for coverage than detail, so there are interesting
of the language that he doesn't cover.
My own recommendation -- buy the book if you want a quick, light reference;
at least read a grammar devoted to the language. English translations aren't
common, but they are out there.