Recommended Language and Linguistics Books
Here are a few books I like...
The Language Instinct--by Stephen Pinker.
This book is about language acquisition and a few other things, and is really interesting to read and well-written. (and besides, written by an MIT professor).
- The Languages of the World--by Kenneth Katzner.
I think I've leafed through my own worn-out copy of this hundreds of times. The book has three parts, one which classifies all major languages and a few minor ones (although I'm not sure how up-to-date this is), one which gives brief descriptions and written samples of several dozen languages (this is the most interesting part), and a third listing the languages spoken in every country (some of these may be surprising).
- The Origin of Language--by Merritt Ruhlen
This is a very interesting introduction to the methods of historical linguistics, as well as an excellent defense and description of a controversial theory of language origins
- The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language--by David Crystal
This book covers more aspects of language and linguistics than any other single book I've seen.
- A Guide to the World's Languages--by Merritt Ruhlen
This book is an in depth look at the classification of the world's languages, and also includes interesting history about the classification of various languages.
- Writing Systems of the World--by Akira Nakanishi
This is a fascinating look at the many writing systems used around the world, with lots of information about all the major ones.
- On the Origin of Languages--by Merritt Ruhlen
Another book about language origins (as the title states), this time with lots and lots of word lists. A little technical at times, but the word lists are pretty fascinating for anyone with an interest in language.
February 2, 1997
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