The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language by David Crystal


Paperback, 524 pages, ISBN: 9780521736503
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2010, 3rd Edition

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From the publisher:
This new, thoroughly revised edition of the acclaimed Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language incorporates the major developments in language study which have taken place since the mid 1990s. Two main new areas have been added: the rise of electronic communication in all its current forms from email to texting, and the crisis affecting the world’s languages, of which half are thought to be so seriously endangered that they will die out this century. • All language statistics have been updated, and additional information provided about their linguistic affiliation • All topics involving technology have been revised to take account of recent developments, notably in phonetics, language disability, and computing • Maps have been revised to include new countries or country names • Special attention has been paid to fast-moving areas such as language teaching and learning • The text design has been completely updated with many new illustrations throughout.

  • Features new sections on the rise of electronic communications and language death
  • Incorporates all major developments in language study since the mid 1990s
  • Statistics, geographical information, illustrations and text design have all been revised and updated from the last edition

Praise for the previous edition of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language:

“… a celebration of language in all its oddity, beauty, fun, astonishing complexity and limitless variety.” —London Review of Books

“… an ingenious tour de force … stunningly diverse linguistic menu.” — Robert Burchfield, The Times

“… David Crystal has a great facility for explaining language issues with plain good sense, wit and admirable brevity.” —The Times Educational Supplement

About the author:

David Crystal

University of Wales, Bangor
David Crystal is one of the world’s foremost authorities on language and works as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. He is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor and has published over 100 books. His most recent publications include: Think On My Words: Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (2008), Language and the Internet, 2nd Edition (2006) and English as a Global Language, 2nd Edition (2003).


Table of Contents

Preface to 1st edition

Preface to 2nd edition

Preface to 3rd edition

Part I. Popular Ideas About Language:

1. The prescriptive tradition

2. The equality of languages

3. The magic of language

4. The functions of language

5. Language and thought

Part II. Language and Identity:

6. Physical identity

7. Psychological identity

8. Geographical identity

9. Ethnic and national identity

10. Social identity

11 Contextual identity

12. Stylistic identity and literature

Part III. The Structure of Language:

13. Linguistic levels

14. Typology and universals

15. The statistical structure of language

16. Grammar

17. Semantics

18. Dictionaries

19. Names

20. Discourse and text

21. Pragmatics

Part IV. The Medium of Language: Speaking and Listening:

22. The anatomy and physiology of speech

23. The acoustics of speech

24. The instrumental analysis of speech

25. Speech reception

26. Speech interaction with machines

27. The sounds of speech

28. The linguistic use of sound

29. Suprasegmentals

30. Sound symbolism

Part V. The Medium of Language: Writing and Reading:

31. Written and spoken language

32. Graphic expression

33. Graphology

34. The process of reading and writing

Part VI. The Medium of Language: Signing and Seeing:

35. Sign language

36. Sign language structure

37. Types of sign language

Part VII. Child Language Acquisition:

38. Investigating children’s language

39. The first year

40. Phonological development

41. Grammatical development

42. Semantic development

43. Pragmatic development

44. Language development in school

Part VIII. Language, Brain, and Disability:

45. Language and the brain

46. Language disability

Part IX. The Languages of the World:

47. How many languages?

48. How many speakers?

49. The origins of language

50. Families of language

51. The Indo-European family

52. Other families

53. Language isolates

54. Language change

55. Pidgins and creoles

Part X. Language in the World:

56. The language barrier

57. Translating and interpreting

58. Artificial languages

59. World languages

60. Multilingualism

61. Language planning

62. Foreign language teaching and learning

63. Language for special purposes

Part XI. Language and Communication:

64. Language and other communication systems

65. Linguistics


I. Glossary

II. Special symbols and abbreviations

III. Table of the world’s languages

IV. Further reading

V. Index of languages, families, dialects, and scripts

VI. Index of authors and personalities

VII. Index of topics


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(Credits: Book cover image and publisher’s description have been retrieved from BiblioShare.)

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