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Are Some Languages Better than Others?
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Are Some Languages Better than Others?

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ISBN-13:
9780198766810
Einband:
Buch
Erscheinungsdatum:
01.03.2016
Seiten:
272
Autor:
R. M. W. Dixon
Gewicht:
458 g
Format:
223x141x25 mm
Sprache:
Englisch
Beschreibung:

This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Written in the author's usual accessible and engaging style, the book outlines the essential and optional features of language, before concluding that the ideal language does not and probably never will exist.
This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Written in the author's usual accessible and engaging style, the book outlines the essential and optional features of language, before concluding that the ideal language does not and probably never will exist.
Preface; 1 Setting the scene; 2 How languages work; 3 What is necessary; 4 What is desirable; 5 What is not (really) needed; 6 How about complexity?; 7 How many words should there be?; 8 The limits of a language; 9 Better for what purpose?; 10 An ideal language; 11 Facing up to the question; Notes and sources; Abbreviations; Acknowledgements; References; Index
This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Can we say, for instance, that because German has three genders and French only two, German is a better language in this respect? Jarawara, spoken in the Amazonian jungle, has two ways of showing possession: one for a part (e.g. 'Father's foot') and the other for something which is owned and can be given away or sold (e.g. 'Father's knife');
is it thus a better language than English, which marks all possession in the same way?

R. M. W. Dixon begins by outlining what he feels are the essential components of any language, such as the ability to pose questions, command actions, and provide statements. He then discusses desirable features including gender agreement, tenses, and articles, before concluding with his view of what the ideal language would look like - and an explanation of why it does not and probably never will exist. Written in the author's usual accessible and engaging style, and full of personal anecdotes
and unusual linguistic phenomena, the book will be of interest to all general language enthusiasts as well as to a linguistics student audience, and particularly to anyone with an interest in linguistic typology.

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