Languages and Linguistics

> Literature references and annotations by Dick Grune,
Last update: Wed May 03 17:17:55 2023.

These references and annotations were originally intended for personal use and are presented here only in the hope that they may be useful to others. There is no claim to completeness or even correctness. Each annotation represents my understanding of the text at the moment I wrote the annotation.
> No guarantees given; comments and content criticism welcome.

For the (macro-)Altaic languages and Yeniseian see North-Asiatic.html.

For the Indo-European languages see Indo-European.html.

* Rouard, X., Did Indo-European Languages Stem from a Trans-Eurasian Language? An Interdisciplinary Approach: Conclusions of Findings, 2022, pp. 6.
The paper summarizes the linguistic, genetic, historical, archaeological, agricultural and religion considerations from Rouard (2021, see below). The conclusion is that there was a Trans-Eurasian language in Central Asia and that the Indo-European and Dravidian languages and Burushaski derive from it. The paper closes with a list of 50 words that are common to these languages and which could ultimately stem from Trans-Eurasian. Examples are cleu `hear', kahla `speak' and edo `eat'.

* Austin, P.K., A Grammar of Diyari, South Australia, 2021, pp. 287.
Diyari is an average, representative, Pama-Nyungan language (most Pama-Nyungan languages are). Its main features are its ergativity and its handing of sub-clauses, both of which are unusual to Western minds. The ergativity can be explained (right below) but the sub-clauses remain just complicated.
     Diyari is a split-ergative language. As in any language a verb (or actually a verb form) is accompanied by one or more noun forms. These noun forms perform certain roles with respect to the verb in the verb form. These roles come with levels of importance. The most important roles are Subject (S) and Agent (A); on the next level we have the Patient (P) aka the Object; then come the indirect object (IO) and/or the Beneficiary (B); and in the periphery we have miscellaneous roles, e.g. Location, Direction, and Instrument. The semantics of each of these roles with a given verb depends on the language, but almost always the S is the only noun form with an intransitive verb, A is the actor of a transitive verb, and O is what is acted on. The other roles are self-explanatory. Note that both S and A cannot occur with the same verb form.
     To show which nouns fulfill which roles, many languages mark nouns for "case", usually by endings. Usual cases are: absolutive (usually marked by the absence of an ending), ergative, nominative, accusative, dative, locative, ablative, instrumental, etc. Note that there is no genitive here: a genitive relates a noun to another noun rather than to a verb; this is often solved differently in non-Western languages.
     The mapping from roles onto cases (called the alignment in linguistics) is in principle arbitrary, but three alignments cover almost all languages:
1. S & A → nominative, P → accusative: most Western languages (except Basque and Georgian);
2. A → ergative, S → nominative, P → accusative: some ergative languages;
3. A → ergative, S & P → absolutive: some ergative languages, e.g. Basque.
B is usually mapped onto the dative, although some languages use the locative or allative for this purpose.
     Most ergative languages do not use one of the ergative alignments consistently throughout, and also use the nominative-accusative alignment in some constructions. This is called split-ergativity. The distribution of the alignments over the language constructions depends of course on the language, but often the choice is determined by the TAM (Tense, Aspect, Modality) of the verb form, as it is in Georgian and Hindi.
     Diyari goes further than this and uses all three of the above alignments, based on the nature of the nominal that occupies the role. For this purpose nominals have to be divided into pronouns, personal names, and the rest, the "common nouns". The Diyari alignments are as follows (Table 3.2 in the paper):
• 1st & 2nd person dual and plural pronouns: alignment 1;
• other pronouns, dual and plural common nouns, female personal names: alignment 2;
• singular common nouns, male personal names: alignment 3.
It is unclear what concepts underlie this distribution.
     Now back to the grammar.
The phonetics of Diyari are simple and systematic: there are 3 articulation regions: labial (p/m), lingual (t/n/l), and velar (k/ng); within the lingual region there are 4 articulation points: dental (-h), alveolar (), palatal (-y), and domal (retroflex) (r-). There are three modes of articulation: plosive, nasal, and lateral (for the linguals only). This yields 2*6+4 = 16 consonants; examples are th, an (inter)-dental t, no relation to the English th; rn, a retroflex n; and ty, a palatalized t. To this are added three rhotics: r, an alveolar flip, r, a retroflex flip, and rr, a rolling `r'. Two glides, w and y, and three vowels, a, i, and u complete the picture. Note that there are no fricatives or sibilants. Particular to Diyari, next to t and rt there are voiced d and rd, which contrast with t and rt in some positions. The digraphs rt and rd are written tr and dr word-initially and after consonants. Unfortunately the difference between dental (th/nh/lh) and alveolar (t/n/l) articulation was not recognized (and thus not recorded) by early researchers.
     Word structure is equally simple. Almost all roots have the form CV(C)CV; examples are: karna `man', thupu `smoke', and nganka `beard'. There is one word of one syllable, ya `and'. There are quite a number of roots of three syllables, e.g. tyukurru `kangaroo'. Almost all endings are two syllables long (suggesting that they were once roots). In general words forms with an even number of syllables are preferred: if possible odd-length words get special endings to make them even-length: kanku `boy' has ergative kankuyali, and pinarru `old man' has ergative pinarrali. Most roots can be reduplicated and they frequently are; the resulting meaning is usually diminutive for nouns, emphasis for adjectives, and repetition or continuality for verbs, but is sometimes unrelated: yatha- `to speak' gives reduplicated yathayatha- `to converse' but the reduplicated form of karra- `to tie', karrakarra-, means to feel'.
     Nouns can be singular (no suffix), dual ( -wurla), or plural (-wara). They occur in 8 cases: absolutive (no suffix), ergative (-li), nominative (-ni), accusative (-nha), dative (-ya), locative (-nhi), allative (-ya), and ablative (-ndru). They are expressed by attaching the above endings, or a variant thereof, to the noun with no or minimal modification. Examples are:
     kinthala-li dog-ergative `a dog' (as Agent),
     wilha-wurla-rni woman-dual-dative `for the two women',
     karna-wara-ngundru man-plural-ablative `from the men'.
The nominative dual has an irregular form: -wurlu.
     Pronouns are used extensively in Diyari. The usual 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person are distinguished, in singular, dual, and plural; 3rd singular is split in feminine (`she') and non-feminine (`he'/`it'); 1st person dual and plural are split in inclusive (including the speak) and exclusive; in total 12 pronouns. Each pronoun comes in 6 cases, although the language has 8 cases. Because pronouns occur only in alignments 1 and 2 (see above) and the absolutive is used only in alignment 3, the pronouns have no absolute form [DG: this seems to me to be significant of something]; also for pronouns the locative and allative coincide -- the accompanying verb should do the disambiguation. Table 3.6 in the paper gives the 68 case forms of the pronouns (6 x 12 = 72, but because the 1st and 2nd person dual and plural pronouns are used in alignment 1 only, they have no ergative); the declination is fairly but not complete regular, and it is not always obvious what is the root. In the absence of an absolutive, the nominative has the shortest forms:

     1 sing nganhi `I'
     2 sing yini `you'
     3 sing feminine nhani `she'
     3 sing non-feminine nhawu `he/it'
     1 dual inclusive ngaldra `you and me'
     1 dual exclusive ngali `I and he/she'
     2 dual yula `you two'
     3 dual pula `they two'
     1 plur inclusive ngayana `we and others'
     1 plur exclusive ngayani `we'
     2 plur yura `you all'
     3 plur thana `they'
It would seem that the first person root might be nga- and that the 2nd person root yu-; no root for the 3rd person suggests itself. The dative of the personal pronoun is used as the possessive pronoun: nga-karni `my', dative of nga-nhi `I', and as such it can be inflected for case:

    ngakarni    kinthala  pirna  marla  yingkarna-nhi
    1.sing.dat  dog.nom   big    more   2.sing.dat-locative
`My dog is bigger than yours', which shows that the locative is also used for comparisons.
     The function of a verb form in a sentence is indicated by an ending on the verb (Table 3.9 in the paper). There are 4 TAM endings, for present, past, imperative and optative; 2 endings for participles (non-future and future); and 7 for sub-clauses, the mainstay of Diyari syntax. Although there is a past ending, the past is more often expressed by a participle and an auxiliary verb in the present tense; this is comparable to English "saw" versus "has seen".
     There are four types of clause endings: imperfect, perfect, "implicated", and "lest". The first three have different forms for same-subject (SS) and different-subject (DS), depending on whether the subject of the sub-clause is the same as that of the main clause or not.
[DG: There is a lot of literature on this "switch-reference", and in some languages it may help to disambiguate e.g. implicit pronouns, but in Diyari all pronouns are always explicit, so it seems to me that in Diyari it just supplies (useful) redundancy, just like gender in nouns in most languages.]
     The imperfect, perfect, and implicated clauses have a large number of specific meanings, often depending on the auxiliary verbs used in them, but basically they live up to their names:
• imperfect: anything that has not finished (and may not even have started) at the time implied in the main clause; this expresses "if", "when", "while", etc.
• perfect: anything that has finished at the time implied in the main clause; this expresses "after having ...", "because", etc.
• implicated: anything that is indirectly involved in the contents of the main clause; this expresses notions like "in order to", "just at that moment", "so that", etc.
• lest: something undesirable which should be prevented; often with an imperative in the main clause:
    ngama-mayi     yura        puri-yathi.
    sit.imper-emph 2plural.nom fall-lest.
`Sit down or you’ll fall'.
     There are no relative clauses: "the man I saw" is rendered as `the man, I saw him (imperfect clause DS), '. Verbs are not conjugated for person, which is always provided by personal pronouns.
Example sentences:
    kinthala-li nhungkarni-yali        nganha  matha-rna     wara-yi.
    dog-erg     3singnonfem.dat-erg   1sg.acc bite-particple aux-pres.
‘His dog bit me.'
    kanku-yali wata yani-ya        thayi-rnanthu nganthi waka
    boy-erg    not  like_this-near eat-implDS    meat    small.acc
‘Boys shouldn’t eat small animals like these ones here.'
     Diyari personal pronouns: 1sg: nga-; 2sg: yin-.
     There is a companion dictionary with about 700 Diyari terms by the same author (2013).

* Rouard, X., Did Indo-European Languages Stem from a Trans-Eurasian Original Language? An Interdisciplinary Approach, 2021, pp. 35.
A summary and examination of the theories of the origin of the Indo-Europeans in the light of genetic, linguistic, and religious similarities. The arguments are supported by maps of movements of peoples. On the linguistic side Appendix 1 lists several hundred Gaulish stems that can be recognized in unrelated (or far-off) languages like Kartvelian, Dravidian, Burushaski, and Elamite. Appendix 2 does the same for English stems. Some of these stems might be of Trans-Eurasian origin (not Robbeets' Transeurasian). For the conclusions see Rouard (2022).

* Manaster Ramer, A., The Early Turkic Numerals 20 and 11-19, 21-29, 31-39, etc., 2020, pp. 5.
Somewhat confusing (tongue in cheek? dyslexia?) paper about "Oberstufenzählung" or the "anticipating counting system" in Early Turkic. The author refutes Erdal's and Clark's idea that this phenomenon is related to people numbering the first element in a series by 0 (e.g. Ground Floor, First Floor, etc.). Instead the author proposed that people counted by bending fingers from 1 to 10, and the stretch them again from 11 to 20. This is then extended to form an explanation of the vigesimal system. This leads to the suggestion that the Early Turkic (and proto-Indo-European) words for 10 and 20 would have meant `closed hand' and `open hand', resp. This is not illustrated further.
     [DG: Oberstufenzählung also (and even primarily) occurs in German time-of-day terminology: Viertel Zwei `quarter two' for 1h15. The author's finger counting explanation cannot hold here, so either it is wrong or Oberstufenzählung in German and anticipating counting system in Early Turkic have different explanations (unlikely). The explanation of the German time-of-day terminology is pretty obvious: Viertel Zwei is a quarter into the second hour.]

* Alfieri, L., Is Burushaski an Indo-European Language? On a Series of Recent Publications by Professor Ilija Čašule, 2020, pp. 22.
Level-headed analysis of Čašule's publications on the subject. Conclusions:
1. Čašule shows that there is a lot of Indo-European material in Burushaski.
2. The given etymologies are far removed from forming the interlocking system required to prove genetic relationship.
3. The hypothesis that Phrygian was the main source of the IE material is untenable; the material, if genuine, most likely comes from an unknown branch of IE.
4. Burushaski data cannot assist in the reconstruction of proto-Indo-European.
     The author does not say outright that it is madness to compare a 5 millennia old language to a modern language.
     The paper gives an example of an accepted failure of the comparative method: "Nobody rejects the IE origin of Germ. Mutter ‘mother' and Tch.B mācer, although the expected outcomes of PIE *méh2ter- are Germ. **Muder and Tch.B **mocer (Germ. Bruder, Tch.B procer < *bhréh2ter-)." In this case one accepts analogy with the word for ‘father' as an explanation.

* Huehnergard, J., Proto-Semitic, 2019, pp. 36.
Systematic description of same. From the looks of it, proto-Semitic differed somewhat less from Modern Hebrew than Beowulf from Modern English.
     Proto-Semitic personal pronouns: 1sg: ɂana; 2masc: ɂanta; 2fem: ɂanti.

* Rowland, M.J., 65,000 Years of Isolation in Aboriginal Australia or Continuity and External Contacts?, 2018, pp. 33.
Even in precolonial times there were visitors to Aboriginal Australia. There were Macassan fishermen and traders, and the dingo was imported about 3500 years ago; and there are hints of others. However, these probably incidental visits left hardly any linguistic or genetic evidence. The paper has many details.

* Remco R. Bouckaert, Claire Bowern, Quentin D. Atkinson, The Origin and Expansion of Pama–Nyungan Languages across Australia, 2018, pp. 9+3.
Starting with word lists of 306 Pama-Nyungan languages and their locations, assuming a replacement rate of ??%/kyr [DG: I could not squeeze a number for the assumed word replacement rate from the paper], and a migration speed of 0,14km/yr, Bayesian analysis is used to "run the clock backwards" to infer the origin of the Pama-Nyungan languages. The results place this origin at 4500-7000 years ago, somewhere perhaps a 300 miles south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Both results are reasonably insensitive to changes in the input parameters. These results are then related to climate change and change in hunter-gatherer technology. The results also indicate that expansion over water along the coast played no role.
     There are two maps showing two (almost identical) expansion scenarios, and an intricate language tree of the Pama-Nyungan languages. And there is a fair deal of math concerning Bayesian analysis.

* Fedden, S., Corbett, G.G., Gender and Classifiers in Concurrent Systems: Refining the Typology of Nominal Classification, 2017, pp. 47.
It is tempting to consider gender as just another classifier, but gender and classifiers have very different properties (Dixon, 1986). Basically classifiers are much less strict than gender: they dnned not apply to all nouns; they are usually not incorporated in verb forms; they may vary with speech style and/or level; and they may be context-dependent. Gender markers and classifiers must be viewed as two different domains.
     In this light the Bantu noun classes are actually genders: the sometimes more than 10 classes of the Bantu languages require as strict agreement as the 3 genders in Latin or the 2 genders in Hebrew. Gender is wider than sex: the numerous Bantu classes cannot all be based on sex, and even Latin involves a non-sex gender: neuter. The paper gives examples from LamNso, a Bantu language with 6 genders from Cameroon.
     A gender-classifier concurrent system is a system that has both gender and classifiers. Languages featuring them are found in South America, and in a few other isolated places. Languages with gender-number concurrency are found closer to home: for example, number (singular/plural) and gender (masculine/feminine) form an orthogonal concurrent system in Italian. The authors disturb this system by introducing other criteria, e.g. animate/inanimate, and demonstrate the effect in examples in various fictitious "dialects" of Italian, which is kind of creepy.
     A clear example of a language with both a gender-based and a classifier-based system is the TNG language Mian. The gender is expressed in the definite article, which is a one-vowel clitic, as follows:

                sing.   plur.
    masculine    =e      =i
    feminine     =o      =i
    neuter 1     =e      =o
    neuter 2     =o      =o
There are 6 classes; the class of a noun expresses itself as a short syllable prefix to a transitive verb, as follows:
    M-classifier    dob-
    F-classifier    om-
    Long            tob-
    Bundle          gam-
    Covering        gol-
    Residue         ob-
A 4 by 6 table of gender versus class is provided, in which only 8 out of the 24 boxes are occupied by nouns, showing that the combined system is far from orthogonal: all nouns that are not in the two human classes are of gender neuter 1, and all neuter 2 nouns are used with F-classifier. Also, there are only two words that are used with the Bundle classifier. The author calls such sets inquorate, i.e. too small to warrant a decision by voting, and suggests just treating them as irregular. [DG: seems a matter of economy of expression.]
     Mian personal pronouns: 1sg: ne; 2sg: kebo/ob(m/f).

* Hamori, F., The Etruscan Language, 2017, pp. 23.
Defending Alinei (2003) and regretting the lack of an English translation of same. Contains a long list of Etruscan ~ Modern Hungarian correspondences, with sound laws.

* Sansò, A., Where Do Antipassive Constructions Come From?, 2017, pp. 44.
Antipassive constructions originate from grammaticalization of mainly one of four forms: agent nouns; verb forms with generic or indefinite items in the object slot; action nouns + optional auxiliary verb; morphemes for reflexive or reciprocal actions.

* Viti, C., On Degrammaticalization: Controversial Points and Possible Explanations, 2015, pp. 39.
Grammaticalization occurs when small grammatical words connect to the main word to form conjugations, declinations, etc. Degrammaticalization occurs when they fall apart again. The author gives more than 40 examples of degrammaticalization, among which: the detachment of the first-person plural ending -muid into an independent pronoun “we” in Irish; the pseudo-numeral tig `a convincingly large number of ...' in Dutch, from twintig `20', dertig `30', etc.; the development of the Proto-Semitic accusative marker -Vt into a preposition ʔet in Modern Hebrew (but ʔet is also the construct state of ʔot `sign, marker' and is followed by ha-, just like any other construct state ...); and the change of conjunctions to nouns ("ifs and buts"). Some examples are contrived: in to go boldlyto boldly go, the "bound morpheme" to is said to become a "free morpheme", as if the original was togo boldly.
     Examples of degrammaticalization are often contested (see above), and in the bulk of the paper the author gives criteria, e.g. distinguishing it from back-formation and misinterpreted grammaticalization.

* Nikolaeva, I., On the Expression of TAM on Nouns: Evidence from Tundra Nenets, 2015, pp. 44.
Tundra Nenets nouns are inflected for number, case, and, optionally, possessor. But the possessor may be shifted into the future by using the infix -də-:

    kniga-də-mt°          m΄iŋa-d°m
    book-future-your(ACC) give-I          = I gave you a book
[DG: where does the past tense in `gave' come from?]
Note that there is no dative in this sentence: the beneficiary is indicated as the future possessor. But if there is already a possessor, the beneficiary must be supplied separately:
    kniga-m΄i    n΄aənt°  m΄iŋa-d°m
    book-my(ACC) you(DAT) give-I          = I gave my book to you
The paper gives full analysis of this phenomenon.

* Audring, J., Calibrating Complexity: How Complex Is a Gender System?, 2015, pp. 26.
Shows how difficult it is to formalize common sense. Everybody can see that Russian is more complex than Bahasa Indonesia, but why exactly is that? And everybody knows that Dutch is easier than German, but is it?
     This paper concentrates on gender, a property that can have only a (very) finite number of values. The vocabulary of the paper is idiosyncratic and needs getting used to: "canonical" seems to mean "describing the system if it were exceptionless", but most technical terms are explained in the text.
     Genders systems can be decomposed into the following 6 components, called "dimensions" here, because they are considered to be measurable on an (ordinal) scale of complexity.
1. Controllers: they emit gender informations; e.g. nouns, pronouns. (6 dpts.)
2. Agreement targets: they receive the gender information and and process it into their form; e.g adjectives, verb forms. (9 dpts.)
3. Domains: the part of the sentence (or sub-conversation) over which the gender information can b picked up; e.g. noun phase, clause. (1 dpt.)
4. Values: the nominal values of the gender variable; includes (Bantu) noun classes, but not (East Asian) classifiers. (3 dpts.)
5. Assignment rules: given a controller, they determine which gender information it emits; e.g. in German monosyllabic nouns ending in /ʃ/ are masculine. (3 dpts.)
6. Conditions: interrelations of the behavior of gender with other "dimensions" in the language; e.g. most Indo-European languages distinguish gender only in the 3rd person of the personal pronoun system [DG: seems a misnomer for "correlations" to me; a condition has to be "fulfilled", whereas these "conditions" emerge from the language all by themselves.].
     In the next 14 pages, the above "dimensions" are analysed one by one, data points (or "variations"; the terminology in the paper is vague) on their complexity scales are determined (with far too few examples; mostly the reader is referred to handbooks of the pertinent languages), and ordinal rules for them are determined. An example of a data point is the redundancy of the gender marking on the target. Normally (canonically) that marking is redundant, because the gender was already knows after meeting the controller: ma sœur[f] est forte[f]; but sometimes the target resolves an ambiguity: je[m/f] suis forte[f]. The existence of this situation makes the gender system more complicated. This is captured in the (ordinal) rule

    "Gender value on target is redundant" < "Gender value on target is informative"
[DG: These rules are "ordinal" in that they order the data points, but do not specify the magnitude of their difference.]
     German is analysed according to the 23 data points determined above. On the following points, German is more complicated than a canonical language:
dpt 3. No overt marking on controller (i.e. German nouns don't directly show their gender, unlike e.g. (most) Italian words).
dpt 8. Portmanteau gender marker (G. des combines masculine with genitive and determined).
dpt 9. Gender marker is syncretic (G. die serves for feminine and plural).
dpt 12. Gender markers have different forms per value (the German masculine gender marker for the genitive on the noun can be -s, -es, and -en).
dpt 20. Redundancy rules (i.e. there are hardly any synchronic rules to determine the gender of a noun).
dpt 21. Higher number of rules (i.e if an attempt is made to find such rules, a very high number is required (Köpcke (1982) required 44 different rules to explain the gender of 90% of the mono-morphemic nouns in German).
dpt 22. Several types of rule (i.e. these rules draw information from all over the place).
     Although these scales are not rational (i.e. not based on proportions) the author (and everybody else) identifies dpts 20-22 (i.e. the fact that you basically have to learn the gender of each German noun separately) as "the main source of the notoriety of the German gender system"; this analysis shows that for the rest it is "a fairly run-of-the-mill, even simple gender system".
[DG: Roughly the same pertains to Dutch, with two gender values rather than three. In Hebrew gender can be deduced from the form of the word in all except perhaps a hundred nouns.]

* Adiego, I-X., The Etruscan Texts of the Pyrgi Golden Tablets: Certainties and Uncertainties, 2015, pp. 22.
Given the fact that the Phoenician part of the Pyrgi tablets is not at all a direct translation, and that Semiticists cannot agree on many details of its translation, the author sets out to analyze the Etruscan part on its own strength, without any reference to the Phoenician semi-equivalent.
     Observing that several sentences in the text come in matched pairs, the author is able to clarify the use of some determinatives, and to identify a relative-clause construction. A reasonable translation with many unidentified verbs results.

* Piispanen, P., Evaluating the Uralic–Yukaghiric Word-Initial, Proto-Sibilant Correspondence Rules, 2015, pp. 37 (237-273).
The word initial consonants of corresponding words in proto-Uralic and proto-Yukaghir show an unmistakable but not a straightforward correlation, and the question is if this correlation should be seen as genetic or areal (borrowing). The author gives 18 phonetic correspondence rules for the sibilants (s-, ś-, š-, ć-, and č-; l- and θ- and Ø- (deletion) are also involved), which can help to distinguish loans from cognates.

* Miceli, L., Pama-Nyungan, 2015, pp. 22.
The effort to construct a robust and reliable language tree of the Pama-Nyungan languages is severely hindered by three phenomena:
1. The phonetic systems of almost all Pama-Nyungan languages are very simple (no voicing contrast, no fricatives, three vowels, no nasalisation) and very similar, and the place of articulation plays a far more important role than the manner of articulation. This makes it difficult to find non-trivial, significant sound laws.
2. Words for the same concept in two different languages, regardless of whether these languages are located next to each other or thousands of miles apart, are either (almost) the same or completely different. This suggests that a word either does not change or is replaced.
3. Most Pama-Nyungan languages have several different words for each concept, which makes finding sets of cognates showing regular sound changes (required for proving relatedness) difficult. This richness of words may be caused by the multilingualism prevalent in aboriginal Australia and the heavy borrowing that that entails.
     Study of code-switching by multi-linguial speakers and their contribution to language change may help in explaining the Pama-Nyungan situation.

* LaPolla, R.J., review of Evans V `The language myth: Why language is not an instinct', 2015, pp. 18.
The author of the review expresses amazement at the fact that Evans thought it necessary to beat to death such an outmoded theory as that of the innate language module, but finds that Evans points out that an influential scientist as Chomsky claims that the language instinct originated as a single mutation about 60.000 years ago, and that the term Universal Grammar is still found in scientific and especially in popular science publications.
[DG: Any summary of a publication in a field notorious for its heated discussions is necessarily a gross over-simplification.]
[DG: See also Guy Deutscher, `The Unfolding of Language', 2005.]

* Daniel A. Foxvog, Introduction to Sumerian Grammar, 2014, pp. 170.
Matter-of-fact description of the Sumerian language, based on lecture notes, with warnings and hints for avoiding pitfalls when particles or constructions might be confused or misinterpreted. The author is not given to theorizing, and does not even begin to suggest why there would 7 different signs that are pronounced gu, although sometimes alternative analyses are presented. The explanations are clear, with neat tables and enough examples, but their relationship to the surrounding material is sometimes puzzling. There is an appendix of 16 exercises, ranging from simple to serious; the exercises refer to a "glossary" but it is not in the book, nor is it an accompanying publication that I can find.
     The book is a typographical disaster, printed in a spidery non-proportional font with very long lines, and any structure present in the text is hardly mirrored in the layout. But then, for 5 quid what am I complaining.

* Norde, M., Quirky Quotes and Needles in the Haystack: Tracing Grammatical Change in Untagged Corpora, 2013, pp. 17.
Linguistic changes is reported in big jumps, but in fact occur in a large number of very small steps (`micro-stories').
[DG: Just like chemical reactions: the decomposition of ozone occurs in three steps:

    O3 → O2 + O        (O very reactive)
    O + O3 → O4        (O4 very unstable)
    O4 → 2 O2
whereas the overall big jump is written as 2 O3 → 3 O2.]

* Austin, P.K., A Dictionary of Diyari, South Australia, 2013, pp. 41.
Companion to Austin's 2021 grammar of the Pama-Nyungan language Diyari. Contains about 700 words in Diyari alphabetical order D-Y, many of them illustrated by a short sentence or a picture (for local animals and cultural objects).

* Jacques, G., The Sound Change s- to n- in Arapaho, 2013, pp. 16.
Proto-Algonquian initial *s- yields n- in Arapaho, which is strange. Three hypotheses are put forward, each based in sequences of well-known sound laws:
Picard (1994): *s- → *h- → *ç- → *y- → *l-n-.
Goddard (2001): *s- → *z- → *r-n-.
Jacques (2013): *s-l̥- → *l-n-.

* Kenanidis, I., Yet Another Suggestion about the Origins of the Sumerian Language, 2013, pp. 15.
Several people have tried to connect Sumerian to the Common Turkic (z-Altaic) languages. The author associates it to Proto-Bulghar/Chuvash, the r-Altaic branch, supplying 39 sound rules. Remarkably in the examples Sumerian words are connected to Common Turkic words, sidestepping Bulghar/Chuvash by incorporating the Common Turkic / Chuvash rules into the 39 Sumerian / Common Turkic rules, as in Sumerian kul ~ Old Turkic qoš `to run'.

* Carrasquer Vidal, M., A Grammatical Sketch of Proto-Nostratic, 2013, pp. 25.
Rather an overview of a form of Nostratic which includes Basque, Afro-Asiatic, and Georgian, based on pronouns and plurality markers. Extensive lists of pronouns in many languages.

* Yoshioka, Noboru, A Reference Grammar of Eastern Burushaski, (dissertation), 2012, pp. 626.
The title says it all: 220 pages of grammar; 68 pages of theory; 180 pages of stories; and 120 pages of vocabulary, of Hunza and Nagar Burushaski.

* Joseph Biddulph, Byways and Beasts of Sacred Scripture, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2012, pp. 56.
In his other religio-linguistic works the author advocated taking the bible literally as long as possible. Here the author turns to a number of passages where a literal interpretation is no longer possible: the day the sun stood still; dragons and liliths; etc.

* Joseph Biddulph, Gwyliwch y gwagle -- Mind the Gap, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2012, pp. 56.
Personal thoughts of the author, linguistic and otherwise, from his wanderings in the English-Welsh border region around Pontypridd.

* De Schepper, K., Against a Minimal–Augmented Analysis of Number, 2012, pp. 13.
Introduction to Minimal–Augmented Analysis of Number:
"Plural" means "more than one", but that does not work well with pronouns. "We" is not actually the plural of "I"; it is not more than one I-s. Also some languages have a dual, in addition to singular and plural, used when there are two objects. For personal pronouns the term dual is used to mean "you and me", more or less. Indonesian is an example. It has a 1st person singular aku `I', but its dual, kita means "you and me and possibly other(s)" and can easily cover 3, 4 people; and its plural kami means "me and other(s) (but not you)".
     In this case the terms plural and dual are not really appropriate, and a better description should be possible.
1. The word "possibly" in the above description of kita shows that it actually has two meanings, "you and me" and "you and me and other(s)", just as the English "you" has two meanings, "you (alone)" and "you and others" (Dutch: jij and jullie, resp.).
2. Many languages that have a personal pronouns dual use it as a specific personal pronoun, meaning "us-two", on par with "I", "you", "we", etc.
     This suggests that the properties separating aku from kami are not singular and plural, but rather alone and with others. The technical terms for alone and with others are "minimal" and "augmented". So for Indonesian we get:

    person	minimal			augmented
1st person	aku  "I alone"		kami   "I and others"
1+2 person	kita "us-two alone"	kita   "us-two and others"
2nd person	kamu "you alone"	kalian "you and others"
and for the Philippine language Ilocano, which differentiates between 1+2 person minimal and 1+2 person augmented, we get:
1st person	co "I alone"		mi   "I and others"
1+2 person	ta "us-two alone"	tayo "us-two and others"
2nd person	mo "you alone"		yo   "you and others"
This minimal-augmented view is helpful for many Austronesian and Australian languages, and a few isolated languages elsewhere. It is not incompatible with other languages, though.
     Criticizing a proposal by Bobajik (2008, “Missing persons: A case study in morphological universals”) to make minimal-augmented the standard description of pronouns in all languages, and using numerical data from various papers on the pronominal systems in a wide range of languages, the author argues that since "more paradigms in the languages of the world can be explained by a singular–plural analysis of number than a minimal–augmented analysis, speakers predominantly look at both nouns and pronouns with a singular–plural perspective." Thus the minimal–augmented analysis is an unnecessary complication, requiring a different concept for number in pronouns and nouns whereas "a single category of number covering both nouns and pronoun still suffices."
     [DG: I cannot agree: 1. In many Australian languages minimal–augmented analysis clarifies a lot; 2. Even in languages that do not "require" it, the minimal–augmented analysis allows the question "Is 'we' really the plural of 'I'?" to be answered by "No, it is the augmented of 'I'"; 3. That languages profiting from minimal–augmented analysis are a minority cannot be an argument.]

* Kulinov, L., Voice Typology, 2011, pp. 31.
This is Chapter 18 of Jae-Jung Song's `The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology'.
The Leningrad-St Petersburg Typology Group (1970-) has developed a formalism for the possible relations between the two main representations of the linguistic structure of a phrase: the semantic level, which features semantic roles (Agent, Patient, Experiencer, etc.) and the grammatical, syntactic representation with Subjects, Direct Objects, Indirect Object, Oblique Object, etc. Each such relation is a "diathesis". The formalism can express very many different diatheses; only a few occur in natural languages, and most of these have names:
active voice (Actor: Subject; Patient: Direct Object),
passive voice (Patient: Subject; Actor: Oblique Object | Empty),
(both as in English), antipassive, benefactive, etc.
     The diatheses in a language have interrelationships; between some (active ↔ passive) the interrelationships involves no (fundamental) change of semantics, others (e.g. active ↔ benefactive) involve a change (increase) of semantics.
[DG: Active and passive don't have the same connotation, but that is apparently ignored here.]
The field suffers from techincal term pollution; the author gives four additional terms for `diathesis' and four terms for verbs that can both be transitive and intransitive.
     The body of the paper consists of the systematic enumeration of the diatheses found in natural languages, often (but unfortunately by no means always) with examples. I missed for instance an example of the use of the particle -ax used in Nivkh exclusively to mark the person who is made to do something in a causative construction; and I missed the German "anti-benefactive": Man hat mir das Fahrrad geklaut `They stole me the bicycle'. This is not a frivolous complaint: interesting things are going on here. Compared to the standard higher-level Man hat mein Fahrrad gestohlen, we see that the possessor indication has moved from the possessive pronoun to the anti-benefactive pronoun mir. This seems linguistically significant and matches the tendency of German not to specify information twice, as in ein alter Mann versus der alte Mann (rather than der alter* Mann).
     I was surprised to see the be- in the German verb bearbeiten `to work a material' from arbeiten `to work' called an "applicative prefix", but when one comes to think about it, it makes sense: beschreiben `to write on something', befahren `to drive on something (road)', but it does not work (today?) for behaupten `to state, to claim'.

* Holman, E.W., Brown, C.H., et al., Automated Dating of the World’s Language Families Based on Lexical Similarity, 2011, pp. 36.
Exactly what is says in the title: old techniques spruced up and improved. All datings in years before present, with a proclaimed accuracy of 25-29%. With critical letters and rebuttals.

* Joseph Biddulph, Ethiopic -- A Straightforward Introduction to the Classical Language, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2010, pp. 56.
Exactly what it says in the title, with an eye to reading, or at least decyphering the bible books of which copies have survived in Ge'ez.

* Joseph Biddulph, Bible Linguistics and Apocrypha, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2010, pp. 56.
Part 2 of "The Tractate of Khons." Discusses and criticises the interpretation of linguistic properties of the bible text by some bible experts, for example as to dating the various parts.

* Joseph Biddulph, The Tractate of Khons, and Other Red Herrings, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2010, pp. 56.
Plea, in a very personal style, for a method of text exegesis in which the text is taken at face value and assumptions like "later editing", "textual corruption" and "author error" are shunned, at least until all avenues to explain the text within these limits are exhausted.
     (The Tractate of Khons is an inscription on a 5-th century BC stele in Egypt concerned with exorcism, which is used by H. St. John Tackeray to declare the Book of Tobit a derivative, a view that is fought by the author of this booklet.)

* Joseph Biddulph, Too Many Syllables? -- The Languages of the Sanskrit World, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2010, pp. 56.
More than 300 small notes about the Sanskrit footprint on the world: languages, historical figures, grammatical terms, etc. "A sample of a sample", as it says in the preface.

* Anatoly Liberman, Word Origins, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2009, pp. 325.
This book makes one realize that there are two kinds of etymologies: one that tries to explain terms like "hackney" and "jack-o-lantern"; and one that tries to explain terms like "hand" and "bring". The first makes you search through medieval tomes and books about ancient crafts; the second causes one to delve into ablaut series and next to unpronounceable Proto-Indo-European (PIE) words that look more like formulas (which they partly are). The first yields a number of anecdotal and often amusing stories, the second dry-as-dust formal word derivations. The author, although acknowledging the existence of the second, is clearly much more interested in the first; PIE figures only sporadically in the text and does not even occur in the index.
     This approach makes the book a juicy read, especially on "funny" English words; the sections on ablaut series etc. lack the same flourish and are mercifully small. Yet even in the juicy part there are quite a number of promising paragraphs that lead nowhere. For example, on page 101 we learn that "Cockney" has an interesting origin, but that origin is never revealed.
     Much too much to my taste is attributed to sound symbolism (page 212: the b in "to beat" is suggested to be "imitative (echoic)" of the beating action; the argument is that out of 115 synonyms of "beat, strike" about 20 begin with a b) or explained as "baby words" (pig - big - bag for "swollen things"). I think such claims are warranted only when supported by similar phenomena from several non-Indo-European languages. I personally cannot find any of these sound symbolisms in Hebrew, the only Non-IE language I know well. Latin capere (to take), Finnish kappan (to seize) and Hebr. kaf (hollow hand) may very well be related (and I think they probably are) but I don't hear any sound symbolism in them (page 43). For that matter, Hebr. chataf (he grabbed) sounds much more like seizing.
     The editing is far from perfect; one problem is that the Old-English/Icelandic letter "thorn" (a p with an upward stick like a b) is often printed as a p (f.e. page 83). In summary, the subtitle "Etymology for Everybody" is fully justified, but it is a limited form of etymology.

* Paulien Cornelisse, Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding, (in Dutch: I'm so into languages, I really am), Contact, 2009, pp. 212+19.
A hundred or so newspaper columns about the sillier uses of the Dutch language, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sarcastic, often both.

* Jeremy Butterfield, Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, OUP, 2009, pp. 192.
Annotated statistical data of the English language, based on the Oxford Corpus, containing over 2 billion words. The title is a corruption of 'damp squib', where 'squib' is a small piece of firework.

* Abbi, A., Is Great Andamanese Genealogically and Typologically Distinct from Onge and Jarawa?, 2009, pp. 22.
Argues that the inhabitants of the Great Andamanese islands speak languages from two different phyla, Great Andamanese and Ongan, both without further relatives. (See, however, Blevins, 2007, `A Long Lost Sister of Proto-Austronesian?'.)

* Joseph Biddulph, A New Method in Aramaic, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2008, pp. 56.
Details the four scripts in which Aramaic was written: Samaritan, Hebrew, First Syriac, and Second Syriac (but none of these looks even remotely like Hebrew handwriting, since that is a 13th century development).
     Starting from a Palmyrene inscription in a Roman camp in South Shields, Northumbria, the author supplies enough vocabulary and grammar of Aramaic to explain parts of the bible written in Aramaic and parts translated into Syriac.

* Roger D. Woodard, The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008, pp. 262.
This is volume five of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, a collection of 45 entries covering in principle all languages of which sufficient recorded material is available from before 476 AD to write a meaningful entry about. All entries are of superb quality, so I'll restrict myself to specific comments on the entries in this volume.
     This is the least exciting of the five volumes, not because of the text itself, but because the languages of the Near East are so similar; no juicy Etruscan, Hurrian, or Elamite here. The volume covers Ugaritic, Hebrew, Phoenician/Punic, Canaanite dialects, Aramaic, Ancient South Arabian, and Ancient North Arabian.
     Most of Ugaritic is written in its own cuneiform, without any vowels, except a, i, and u when precede by an aleph. This obscures much morphology, especially in the verb forms, which is an obstacle to the study of the language; many vowels must be guessed on the basis of the other Semitic languages. Another problem is that the language used in prose differs considerably from that used poetry.
     Ugaritic is much more conservative than Hebrew, with the three traditional Semitic cases nominative (-u), genitive (-i), and accusative (-a) still fully operative. The construct state is still in its infancy, and the genitive construction is still usual: malku qarīti = the king (nom.) of the city; malka qarīti = the king (acc.) of the city. Only in the dual and plural a shorter (construct) form may appear: malkū qarīti = the kings (nom.) of the city, rather than malkūma qarīti = the kings (nom.) of the city. Short forms do, however, occur before personal pronouns: malkūhu = his kings. There is no article, prefix or postfix.
     The verb has full singular, dual, and plural conjugations, for perfect, imperfect, jussive and imperative.
     The usual Semitic prepositions b-, l-, and k- are present, all governing the genitive, but mi- is missing: motion in any direction is indicated by l- and the appropriate verb. There is no preposition for the direct object either, since its function is performed by the accusative.
     Although I am reasonably familiar with the subject, I had to read several explanations twice, because they are often less than intuitive. An example (page 31): "Personal pronouns agree ... with an appositional verb." Huh? I thought the verb agreed with the personal pronoun (actually both agree with the person, of course).
     Hebrew: Since the development of Hebrew from Proto-North-west Semitic is mainly driven by vowel and stress shifts, these are treated in depth, e.g. kotèvet (= she writes) from katibt. We also learn that the glottal stop in z'ev (=wolf) from zi'b is a hypercorrectism (even in those days!) since it should have been left in unpronounced position, just as in -se't (=to carry) from -si't. Hebrew lost the Proto-NWS case endings, resulting in stress on the last syllable. A table of how the 6 vowel classes of the Proto-NWS verb fared in Hebrew clarifies many of the perceived irregularities of the H. verb. Unfortunately there is no discussion of the origin of the article ha- (= the) nor why it would cause lengthening of the following consonant.
     Phoenician/Punic: The differences between Phoenician/Punic and Hebrew are minute,except that they are written in different alphabets and that P/P is written entirely without vowels. Some differences are: 1. the article ha- is often pronounced as 'a- or even a- (as it does in Modern Hebrew). 2. negation is not expressed by lo' but by bal or 'i-, the latter also known from Hebrew.
     Comparison of the Phoenician alphabet in the table in this chapter with the text on the cover of the book shows how far practice can deviate from theory.
     The chapter on the Canaanite languages is actually a high-level theoretical discussion of what offsets the Canaanite languages from the other Semitic languages. Not a single word of Moabite, Edomite, etc.
     Aramaic was and is spoken from about 1500 BC to the present day; it was written from about 950 BC until about 700 AD. It was written in two scripts, Tiberian (= Hebrew) and Syriac (Estrangelo).
     Old Aramaic had more emphatics than Hebrew, which developed differently. This accounts for much of the difference between them,for example H. 'arets (=land) = A. 'argha, both from original 'arł', the last sound being a voiceless glottalized lateral fricative. It shares with Hebrew the property that b alternates with v, etc.
     In addition to Absolute and Construct, the author introduces a state Emphatic, but since it is always formed by the suffix -'ā, it can just as well be considered a postfixed definite article .
     Some Aramaic dialects have prefixes n- or l- for the 3rd person instead of y-, forms totally absent in Hebrew. Unlike Hebrew, Aramaic had already early on a progressive/habitual form consisting of the present participle + the verb hwh = to be. Such forms were developed much further in Syriac.
     The determinate direct object is marked by 'yt, as in Hebrew, or, remarkably, by l-. The unmarked word order is VSOI, but other orders are readily found.
     All Aramaic text in this chapter is written without vowels, although in many cases the vowels are known. Somehow this gives the language a more arcane flavour than is necessary.
     Ancient South Arabian, spoken from the 8th century BC until the 6th century AD in and around Yemen, was written in an impressive monumental script, of letters sometimes 30 cm. high, practically without vowels. At the other extreme, thousands of wooden sticks have come to light in Yemen in the 1970s, inscribed with minuscule letters.
     The main Ancient South Arabian dialect is Sabaic.
     The noun has three states: indeterminate, determinate, and construct, characterized by endings -n, -nhn, and -w/-y, resp., in the plural. Case endings would not have been written, but an occasional -w/-y suggest an unsurprising -u for the nominative and -i for the genitive. The probable -a for the accusative would have no chance of ever being written. The indefinite in -n returns in mn = who (Hebr. mi), and mhn = what (Hebr. mah).
     The suffix conjugation of the verb uses -k- rather than -t- in 1st and 2nd singular.
     The chapter features a very extensive and illuminating section on the syntax of Ancient South Arabian, in which quite complicated sentences are analyzed. The literature references show that this is a specialty of one of the authors.
     The vocabulary of Ancient South Arabian differs considerably from that of the other Semitic languages and from that of Modern South Arabian. Dictionaries of related languages are of limited use, and many texts have only been partially deciphered. Especially the wooden sticks still pose many riddles.
     Ancient North Arabian consists of a dozen dialects, one for each oasis and then some, written in a very variable alphabet that left great freedom to the individual scribent as to letter form and writing direction: some text is written vertically or in a spiral. Tens of thousands of small texts have been found.
     Tables are given of how the Proto-Semitic sibilants fared in Ancient North Arabian (two dialects), and in Arabic (before and after the 9th century AD). The second step in table 2, however, cannot be correct, since the two occurrences of sh interfere. Presumably the top line occurred before the bottom line.
     Ancient North Arabian cannot be the parent of Classical Arabic, since it has already lost the -n at the end of a syllable, as in Hebrew, while this -n is still present in Classical Arabic (or is Classical Arabic an artifact in which the -n has been restored? DG).
     Many verb forms in the various binyanim are known and reported here, mostly of the 3rd person.
     Here we finally find some hard evidence on the origin of the Hebrew determinate article ha- with gemination of the following consonant. In many Ancient North Arabian dialects the article is h-, as in Hebrew, but in some it is hn- before aleph, ayin and chet: hn-'lt = the goddess (vocalized han'elit?). The author interprets this as a local development, but assimilation of the n to the following consonant would explain the gemination. And this han- could be related to Hebrew hineh = this-is.
     Another explanation could come from the occurrence of the article hal-, a contraction of ha- and the Arabic article 'al (also interpreted differently by the author). Vowelless -l- is known to cause gemination in Hebrew: yiqqaħ (= he will take) for yilqaħ from lqħ = to take.
     Ancient North Arabian uses the construct state (called here 'annexation') to express possession, but because of the lack of vowels, its existence is visible only in particular contexts. There is no sign of a particle indicating the accusative.
     Modern North Arabian languages have been of help in determining the meanings of some words in Ancient North Arabian.
     Afro-Asiatic: The appendix has the title 'Afro-Asiatic', but after a short survey of the Afro-Asiatic languages and an even shorter (less than a page) treatment of Afro-Asiatic as a language, the chapter covers Proto-Semitic only.
     The first Semitic words are found as Akkadian loans in Sumerian texts of about 3300 BC, and the first full Akkadian texts are from about 2500 BC.
     Much information is given about the development of the Afro-Asiatic consonants in the various daughter languages. For example, s before vowels changed to h in Semitic, except... when there are too many forms of the same root in which the s is not in front of a vowel, root consistence overrides phonetic shift. The Proto-Semitic sum (= they) turned into Hebrew hem; the root srq (= to steal; Akkadian sharraaqum = thief remained srq, however, due to the prevalence of forms like yisraq which could not change.
     It is interesting and illuminating to see this stylized and no doubt simplified form of a Semitic language, in which many properties of the daughter languages can be recognized.
     Proto-Semitic had the endings -at and -t for feminine; the first led to -ah in Hebrew, the second to -eth. The Proto-Semitic genitive in -i is related to the all-purpose adjective ending -īy. The plural in Proto-Semitic was originally formed by inserting a between second and third radical. The plural in an ending (-im in Hebrew) originated from adjectives followed by a pronoun (hem in Hebrew). (The Hebrew feminine plural ending -ot can be explained as inserting a in the last syllable: malkatmalkaat. DG)
     There were independent pronouns and suffixed pronouns. The latter existed in a nominative form (salim-ta = you are well) to be used after adjectives, and a genitive/accusative form (baytu-ka = your house) to be used after nouns, resp. verbs. The first resulted in the suffix conjugation in Hebrew, the second in the possessive forms of the noun.
     There was a declinable relative pronoun, θū, which, remarkably, agreed with the antecedent rather than with its position in the subordinate sentence: baytu ba`lim θī 'anθ'aru = the house of the lord whom (genitive!) I guarded.
     Remarkably some Semitic languages use mah for "who" and min for "what", and others use the reverse. But there is always 'ayy-, as in Hebrew 'e-ze =which, 'e-fo = where, etc.
     The Proto-Semitic verb had two forms, the 'perfective' with pattern yap`ul, which led to forms like yisgor in Hebrew, and an 'imperfect' with pattern yapa``al, which was lost in Hebrew.
     The verb had several participles, which, being adjectives, were combined with the nominative endings; these led to the suffix conjugation in Hebrew.
     In addition to the qal (G-stem), three more stems are reconstructed for Proto-Semitic: the N-stem (passive); the C-stem (causative), with a prefixed s- (which changed into a h- in Hebrew); and a D-stem, in which the second radical is doubled. Each of these stems could further obtain a prefixed t-, indicating reflexivity, etc. There may have been an R-stem, with reduplication of the third radical.
     Proto-Semitic word order was VSO. Akkadian word order SOV is ascribed to Sumerian influence.
     Proto-Semitic and Proto-Indo-European had some words in common, f.e. PS qarn- = PIE kr-n- = horn.
     Maltese is missing from the list of Semitic languages in Section 2.1.
     Classical Arabic is too young to be included in this series, unfortunately.
     These five books are going to get prime estate in my book case!

* Roger D. Woodard, The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008, pp. 250.
This is volume four of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, a collection of 45 entries covering in principle all languages of which sufficient recorded material is available from before 476 AD. All entries are of superb quality, and describe all aspects of the language in some depth, often even diachronically. So I'll restrict myself to specific comments on the entries in this volume.
     The Sumerian entry alone is worth the money. Sumerian is heavily nesting: sa'a dummu lugal.ak.ak.she = cat-1 son-2 king-3 of-3 of-2 to-1 = "to the cat of the son of the king", where the numbers are nesting depths. It is structurally completely different from the surrounding languages, and looks vaguely like a North-Caucasian language. Its verb system is split-ergative. The description of cuneiform is deferred to the entry on Akkadian.
     Elamite was described in contemporary texts of the surrounding countries as weird and twisted. The phonetic inventory that has been recovered is very normal and tame, so we are probably missing something here. The purported relationship to the Dravidian languages is reported but neither endorsed nor rejected.
     The Akkadian and Eblaite entry starts with a good explanation of cuneiform and its developments; a full list of signs was given in an appendix in volume two. The infamous homonymy of the signs (there are 27 ways to write ge!) is explained away by the fact that at any given moment in time only perhaps two or three of these signs were in use, and their use was fixed by tradition. Since Akkadian and Eblaite are East-Semitic languages, they differ considerably from Arabic, Hebrew, etc., but the main morphology is easily recognizable as Semitic.
     The Egyptian language (Afro-Asiatic but not Semitic) covers 4400 years (±3000 BC - ±1400 AD, from Early Egyptian to Coptic), and it is not surprising that the text feels cramped for space; even Loprieno's book 'Ancient Egyptian -- A Linguistic Introduction', which is ten times bigger, makes dense reading. An enormous lot of information is supplied, but sometimes in highly technical prose (like what is a 'prospective'? Ah, I see, it is a stem used in future forms, etc.; what is a 'rheme'? I still haven't found out). Hieroglyphs are explained very well, and demystified in a few paragraphs: the usual form of a word consists of one to three signs each contributing a few consonants to the consonant skeleton, plus a determinative sign, which specifies the class of the object or the action; together that is almost always enough to figure out what is written. Quite some attention is paid to Coptic. A 25 page appendix with a structured list of about 750 hieroglyphs closes the entry.
     Ge`ez (Classic Ethiopian) is the language of Aksum (Axum) in Ethiopia; it is much neglected in linguistics, but here you find lots of information. The interesting/weird Ethiopian syllabary with its corresponding phonetics is explained in detail. The language is South-Semitic and may not differ more from Hebrew than German from English, in spite of there being more than 1500 kilometer between the two. This allows interesting comparisons between Akkadian (above) and Ge`ez, some of which are worked out in the text.

* Roger D. Woodard, The Ancient Languages of Europe, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008, pp. 261.
This is volume three of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, a collection of 45 entries covering in principle all languages of which sufficient recorded material is available from before 476 AD to write a meaningful entry about. All entries are of superb quality, so I'll restrict myself to specific comments on the entries in this volume.
     In the last two millennia BC the north half of the Mediterranean was a hotchpotch of recorded languages. The introduction divides them into three classes of accessibility: 1. the language's existence is known, but little else is; 2. there is a reasonable guess at the language's affiliation; 3. enough is known to sketch a grammar. The first two classes are covered in the introduction, leading to a bewildering variety of scripts and languages; a map is sorely missing. The further chapters cover class 3: Attic Greek, Greek dialects, Latin, Sabellian languages, Venetic, Etruscan, Celtic, Gothic, and Nordic.
     Attic Greek, 400 BC. The language is shown in considerable detail, with, for example, 10 pages of verb morphology, deriving many forms from PIE. What is missing is an explanation of the pronunciation of the zeta, which at times and places seems to have been pronounced as dz, zd, and z. Remarkably, and probably superfluously, (but consistently) all Greek texts are also transcribed in Latin letters.
     The Greek dialects entry makes confusing reading, not surprisingly. After all the author tries to describe a three-dimensional object, an aquarium whose length and width are the length and width of the Mediterranean area, and whose height is time; dialects form stalagmites and stalactites in this aquarium. Fortunately in this case a map is supplied, although 2D. As expected the labiovelars of PIE are pretty distinctive: some languages have delphis, others belphis, for "dolphin"; some have tettares, others pettares, for "four"; etc. Hundreds of such differences are given and explained.
     The authors place Latin, the Sabellian languages, and Venetic in three different chapters, since there are fundamental differences between the three groups, but they fail to tell what these are and on what the split is based. This is confusing, because the languages as presented seem to differ no more than German, Dutch, and Frisian. (The EB explains that one reason is that the three branches form the perfect tense in fundamentally different ways, by v, t, and s, resp.: Lat. donavit, Osc. duunated, Ven. donasto = he gave, which points to an ancient split; and that the similarities arose from almost a millennium of contact.)
     The Latin entry shows conclusively that Latin is simpler than Greek: the Latin verb forms take only 5 pages to explain.
     There are three Sabellian languages known to us: Umbrian, South Picene, and Oscan; almost nothing is known about South Picene, so the entry is about the other two. Umbrian and Oscan differ considerably from each other, and from Latin, and from just looking at it it is difficult to tell which difference is larger. A representative word is water: Umbr. utar, Lat. akwa, Osc. āpa. This seems reasonably comparable to Dutch hoofd, Frisian holle, German Kopf = head.
     Oscan is often written in an extended Etruscan alphabet (250 BC), which uses diacritics to express its three front vowels (i, é, è), where Etr. had only two, i and e, and its two back vowels (u and o) where Etr. had only one. Umbrian uses a similar alphabet but without diacritics, in spite of the fact that it has three back vowels, u, ó, and ò). The first two are written u, the third with a. We know this because some words are also found written in the Latin alphabet, and then some us are written o (i.e. ó), and some as are written o (i.e. ò): Umbr. script pihaz = Lat. script pihos (= purified), so we have an ò (and a z expressed as a s in Latin letters); and Umbr. script puplum = Lat. script poplom (= people), so we have two ós.
     Oscan is characterized by palatalization of both consonants and vowels: múinikú (= common), deivai (= divine), tiurri (= tower). Umbrian has no palatalization and no diphthongs (except recent ones). South Picene had words ending in -h: matereih = to the mother.
     In spite of purported ancient differences Venetic cannot have been too different from Latin: of the 10 Venetic words with known PIE etymologies, 10 have very similar Latin forms, e.g. vhraterei = to the brother (vh = f), Lat. fratri. It may have felt some Celtic influence (genitive in -oiso rather than -osio) from neighboring Lepontic.
     As with the Sumerian entry in volume four, the entry on Etruscan in this volume is by itself worth the money: all recent information about Etruscan from the expert in 24 pages. A few notes: 1. Etruscan had two sibilants, s and sh, written with three different characters, using mappings that differ in the north, the south, and the far south. This causes major transliteration problems; the author solves them by writing s as s, and sh as σ, and modifies them with accents to show which character was used in the original text. It works (but it's still complicated). 2. Although the Etr. φ, θ, and χ are usually interpreted as aspirates, ph, th, and kh, Rix has a different view, explaining the vast discrepancy in frequency of φ, θ, and χ: rather than aspirated, these sounds are palatalized. That is, next to the unmarked stops, there is a series of palatalized stops, py, written φ; ty, written θ; and ky, changed into ts in Pre-Etruscan times and written z. Next comes a series of fricatives, labial f; dental, the English th, also written θ; and velar, written χ, which has a variant h at word initial. In the same vein there are two sibilants, an unmarked one, written s, and a palatalized one, written σ. This neatly ties together all Etruscan consonants. (There are more arguments: it explains why the Romans copied Θefarie as Tiberius rather than as Thiberius; and there is the regional argument: no other language in Italy, then or now, has aspirated consonants, but several have palatalized ones. DG) (It also makes Etr. a lot more easy to pronounce!) 3. The author contradicts himself with σa = 6 on page 152, and σa = 4 on page 159. 4. The translation (from German, I think) is described as "masterful" in the preface, but contains a few strange sentences; I'd like to see the original.
     The Continental Celtic chapter covers Hispano-Celtic, with its own interesting alphabet; Lepontic, written in a modified Etr. alphabet; and Gaulish, both in Greek and Latin letters. Enough material exists to reconstruct noun declensions for all three languages, but conjugated verbs are scarce. Unfortunately on pages 180 and 181 the translations are missing, which leaves the reader seriously guessing.
     Gothic: at last a language again about which enough is known for a coherent description without question marks or guesswork. And the author makes full use of it: all the robust Germanic sounds laws are explained and then used to derive large numbers of Gothic forms straight from PIE, through Proto-Germanic and East-Germanic (unfortunately laryngeals do not figure in the derivations, although they are occasionally mentioned). Very illuminating! Differences between Gothic and Old High German are also pointed out: f.e. Gothic giban, OHD geeben (= to give). In spite of its importance in Gothic, vowel length is not indicated; ah, well, there is always Wright to fill in the details.
     Ancient Nordic: between 40 and 50 inscriptions, in futhark. As with Celtic, it is enough to reconstruct much of the noun declensions, but little of the verb conjugations beyond forms like nam (= he took), was, tawō (= I make), tawidō (= I made) (I suppose the latter are from a verb related to Eng. to do).
     The last chapter is about Proto-Indo-European. I hesitate to call it a language; it's more a container of the reduction of our knowledge of the IE languages, it has too many weird features. 1. It is described as having three laryngeals, h1, h2, and h3, consonants, with three accompanying vowels, on par with y/i, w/u, n/vocalic-n, etc., i.e. the known semi-vowel and vowel pairs. Does any language have laryngeals which are in a semi-vowel/vowel relation to vowels? Wouldn't these vowels then perhaps just be e, a, and o? And what are the semi-vowels belonging to e, a, and o? (The text obscures the issue by introducing new terminology: nonsyllabics versus syllabics.) 2. Roots can optionally be preceded by an s-, without any semantic effect; does any language have such a feature? 3. There is an unexplained and seemingly incomprehensible set of restrictions on allowable roots.
     The chapter is quite high-level, meaning: many paragraphs with rules, with hardly an example; grades (full, e-, zero, and lengthened) are listed, but no hint of their application and their relation to pitch is given (some explanation can be found in the chapter on Greek, around and in Table 2.3).
     A word consists of a root, followed by zero of more suffixes, followed by an ending. Suffixes can modify meaning, or make verbs from nouns, or vice versa; the ending terminates the word. As a result PIE is more regular than its children, more agglutinative. There are five moods to the verb, indicative, subjunctive, optative, injunctive, and imperative, but two of them, the subjunctive and the optative, are constructed with suffixes; they are not separate paradigms. The paradigms for indicative (active, middle, and perfect; there is no passive) and imperative are given; the injunctive is not shown. There is a thematic paradigm (= with connecting vowel) and an athematic one. The original (secondary) endings can, and usually are extended with a -i to yield the primary ones. In the thematic indicative singular there are two completely different sets, earlier and later ones, the latter derived from the athematic ones (the presentation in the book in Tables (8) and (9) is confusing). The endings show a strong relationship to the reconstructed personal pronouns. Unfortunately the pitch positions on the endings are not given, so the application of the grades in the two examples comes as a surprise.
     The index of this volume leaves much to be desired: 1. it is structured on main languages; as a result one has to know that, for example, Phocian is a Greek dialect before one can find it in the index; 2. it is far from complete: for example, North Picene (one paragraph in the Introduction) is not in it, neither under North nor under Picene.
     In spite of these criticisms these five books are going to get prime estate in my book case!

* Roger D. Woodard, The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008, pp. 184.
This is volume two of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, a collection of 45 entries covering in principle all languages of which sufficient recorded material is available from before 476 AD to write a meaningful entry about. All entries are of superb quality, so I'll restrict myself to specific comments on the entries in this volume.
     Where Attic Greek, Latin, Gothic, Ancient Nordic, the Sabellian languages, etc., are easily recognized as Indo-European (and as even fairly similar in morphology), one has to look very hard at Hittite (and at Armenian!) to get any feeling of familiarity. Only when one reaches the verb conjugation, some recognition dawns.
     Most of Hittite is written in cuneiform; cuneiform is covered in the entry on Akkadian in volume four of this series. The Anatolian languages are the only ones in which the PIE laryngeals have direct consonantal representations, as hh, however that may have been pronounced. The gender system of Hittite, animate vs. inanimate, differs profoundly from that of PIE (masculine, feminine, neuter); this has given rise to a lot of controversy. The author's view is that the Anatolian languages inherited the PIE system, lost the feminine, and were left with an animate/inanimate system. (That is a lot of change; the simplest explanation seems to me that PIE just had a suffix (among its many suffixes) -eh2-, for constructing a feminine word when needed, something like Eng. -ess, that Hittite didn't get this suffix, and that it took off in the other branches of PIE to form a full-fledged feminine paradigm. DG) There is no dualis either. The difference between animate and inanimate shows moderately in the morphology of nouns, but, more importantly, affects the syntax: inanimate subjects of action verbs are not in the nominative but in a special case, the ergative; this seems to reflect the idea that inanimate objects cannot act. Unfortunately the text does not give an example, so I'll have to make one up: "The ball rolls" is expressed by something like "Rolling happens by/to the ball", where "by/to" is the ergative case. (The actual situation is more complicated, since there are two sets of action verbs.)
     Hittite has two classes of verbs: mi-verbs and hi-verbs. They differ it the singular: -mi, -shi, -zi versus -hi, -ti, -i. Again the origin is controversial; the author attributes the hi-conjugation to an old perfect (but it also looks quite similar to the old secondary endings; DG).
     (Hittite religious texts contain embedded fragments of Hattic, the language of the older inhabitants of Anatolia; this is the only source of Hattic material, and there is not enough of it to warrant a description in this encyclopedia; it may be remotely related to Hurrian, which see below.)
     Much, much less is known from the other Anatolian languages, although the author claims that "Luvian was arguably the most widely spoken member of the Anatolian subgroup of IE".
     In addition to cuneiform, Luvian was also written in home-made hieroglyphs; a sample is shown in the text and the signs look like rebus drawings, quite recognizable.
     Palaic was written in cuneiform only; scarcely a dozen inscriptions are known. It has an f, but probably only in Hattic loans.
     Lycian is known from some 150 inscriptions and was written in a Greek-like alphabet, so we know pretty well how it was pronounced. It is then not surprising that it shows greater phonetic variety than the previous three, including sounds like th and dh.
     Lycian comes in two dialects, Lycian A and Milyan. It has nasal vowels, which were not always distinguished; many accusatives ended in from -in, which is indistinguishable from nominative -i. Many consonants are doubled in writing, even at the beginning of a word; it is unknown what this means (except that the writers were not satisfied with one consonant). Lycian shows some signs of the feminine-forming suffix -eh2-.
     Lydian is written in another Greek-like alphabet; it is known from perhaps a 100 inscriptions. It differs so much from the above Anatolian languages, that little of the contents is understood; Hittite apa (= that) shows up as bi. It had weird consonant clusters, or else sibilants are syllabic: kśbλa- or dçtdid.
     Carian script looks like Greek-derived, but it turns out many of the symbols don't have their normal values; it's kind of an Anatolian futhark. Much of the text is still not understood.
     Phrygian was recorded in two separate periods, centuries 8-6 BC, and 1-2 AD; the language of the second period is the direct continuation of the first. Phrygian is written in a Greek alphabet, without the letters for the aspirates; its morphology looks very Greek, but it uses many words we don't know, so much of the Phrygian text is still obscure. The entry does not address the question whether Phrygian and Ancient Greek form a subgroup or if both are independent branches of IE.
     Hurrian was spoken over a wide area, from Mesopotamia to Asia Minor; material is known from the entire second millennium BC. Most Hurrian text was written in Akkadian cuneiform (= syllabic), but a part was written in Ugaritic cuneiform (= alphabetic), so we know pretty well how Hurrian was pronounced. Hurrian is considered a language-isolate; a possible connection to the North-Caucasian languages is mentioned. It distinguished between voiced and voiceless in the stops and the fricatives, but voicedness was automatic, controlled by rules. The simple version is: initial and clusters of stops and fricatives were voiceless; internal, final, and mixed clusters were voiced. The syllabic scribes understood this, and used only one or the other for a given syllable, thus reducing the number of different cuneiforms needed; the alphabetic scribes wrote in full, which is how we know. Hurrian is unusual in Anatolia in having a large set of fricatives: f/v, s/z, th/dh, hh/gh; for historical reasons the th/dh is transcribed as sh/zh.
     The general form of a Hurrian word is: root, complements, suffixes, ending. The root+complements determine the basic meaning; the suffixes determine details; and the ending specifies the grammatical function. For nouns this boils down to: root+complements, plurality_1, possession, plurality_2, case ending. Example: eniffazhuzh = en - - iff - azh - uzh = god - - our - plural - ergative = our gods. Verbs are more complicated; example: shid-ar-ill-oo-m X = curse - verbalizer - beginning - past - ergative = he started to curse X (-ar- is a complement; -ill- and -oo- are suffixes). There are zillions of complementers and suffixes, for modes, tenses, negation, valence switching, etc., but there are many of unknown meaning. (Since most of them have the form VC, easily pronounceable words result.)
     Hurrian is an ergative language, but ergativity means different things in different languages. The ergative conjugation is used only for transitive verb forms with explicit object (as is the X above). Only the ergative conjugation is a real conjugation, in that it has endings for the person of the subject; the other verbal constructions just use the absolutive of the pronoun (ishte = I, fe = you) as an enclitic to the verb or some other suitable word in the sentence.
     Surprise: the numbers 6 and 7 are shezhe and shindi in Hurrian, repeating a pattern found in IE (Eng. six, seven), Semitic (Hebrew shesh, sheva'), and Etruscan (σa, semφ).
     Although more recent (two centuries around 800 BC) much less is known about Hurrian's sister language Urartian. There are several reasons for this: the language is written in a variant of syllabic cuneiform in which often CV and VC syllables are swapped (perhaps for good reasons, but we don't know); except for a small Urartian-Assyrian one, there are no bilinguals; and the Urartian texts are about military affairs, the Hurrian ones are religious, and they do not have many words in common. Decipherment rests solely on its similarity to Hurrian and the one bilingual. The general structure is like that of Hurrian; ergativity must have worked a bit different, though: in Hurrian the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are in the same case (the absolutive), but in Urartian they can be different, in the first person singular anyway: nom. ishtid0, acc. shuk0, erg. iesh0 (cf. Hurr. abs. ishte, erg. izhazh). (The sample sentences in the text lack a verbatim translation, which leaves the non-Uratian speaker puzzling about which word means what.)
     The Armenian alphabet was designed in the beginning of the fifth century AD, and the first texts are from the middle of that century, just in time to be included in this encyclopedia. With Classical Armenian we are back in the IE realm, but it takes an expert to see that. The language is notorious for the weird transformations it has undergone through the ages; for example, the Old Armenian lateral ł developed into the voiced uvular fricative G. The most famous transformation is that of dw- to erk-, occurring in several words, among which dwoerkow = two. A possible scenario is: 1. dw-dg- (wg occurs elsewhere); 2. dg-edg- (to ease pronunciation); 3. edg-erg-; 4. erg-erk- (during a voiced-to-voiceless period).
     Armenian has no gender, not even in the pronouns; this is very un-IE. There are seven cases, but only some pronouns have that many different forms; for all nouns we have in the singular: nom. = acc., and gen. = dat.; in the plural we have gen. = dat. = abl., and acc. = loc. . Armenian has a definite article; actually it has three of them, enclitics -s, -d, and -n, depending on whether the "the" was a weak form of "this", "that", or "yon".
     With berem, beres, berê, = I carry, etc., we are back on firm IE ground, but the numerals again tax our derivative powers; some easier ones are hing = 5 (cf. pente), and k`san = 10 (cf. dekem). The chapter shows that the weirdness of Modern Armenian is not the product of the last millennium and a half; Classical Armenian was already that way.
     The last chapter is about Early Georgian; not exactly Asia Minor, but it's interesting, so who cares. Modern Georgian is notorious for its consonant clusters, and Early Georgian is no different. The reason is that various restricted consonant clusters are considered as single consonants. One such restriction that the articulation moves from front to back and the voicedness stays the same; and example is sx. Such "single consonants" can be preceded and/or followed by m or r, allowing such clusters as msxr-.
     Like Armenian, Georgian nouns have seven cases and no gender, but unlike Armenian, nouns have all seven forms, and the pronouns have fewer. There is a short and a long declination, the application of which is depends on the context, vaguely similar to the strong and weak declination of the Germanic adjective. Plurals using the suffix -eb- are syntactically singular (collectives?) Genitives additionally get the case endings of the words they belong to: c'iaγ abraham-is = the bosom of Abraham; c'iaγ-ta abraham-is-ta = into the bosom of Abraham.
     The Early Georgian verb has 13 skreeves (term not used here), grouped in three series; the good thing is that the nature of these three series can be understood: Series I (present) was originally an antipassive: X sees Y = X-abs. Y-dat. sees (X is busy seeing (intr. → X-abs.), using Y (indirect → Y-dat.). Series II (aorist) is just the standard ergative construction: X saw Y = X-erg. Y-abs. saw. Series III (perfect) was originally a passive, later modified into an active without changing the construction (its passive is still the simplest verb form): X has seen Y = X-dat. Y-abs has-seen (by X (indirect → X-dat.) Y (intrans. → Y-abs) has-been-seen). And so it all makes perfect sense...
     The Early Georgian verb form has fourteen slots, with 2 preverbs, several slots for object, subject, and plural combinations, tense, mood, the works; the author explains them all. Unusual is that there is a slot, after the preverbs, for an additional enclitic; apparently the preverbs still had some independence in Early Georgian. The language uses "normal" subordinate sentences, with the relative pronoun romel- = which, that; this is surprising, since most languages of this structure use participles or special verb forms.
     The volume closes with an appendix with a list of cuneiform signs; unfortunately the Borger numbers of the signs are not given.
     These five books are going to get prime estate in my book case!

* Roger D. Woodard, The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008, pp. 264.
This is volume one of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, a collection of 45 entries covering in principle all languages of which sufficient recorded material is available from before 476 AD. The book also exists in one volume, but at 1150 pages I take my copy in five manageable parts any day; the price difference is next to negligible depending on where you buy. The volumes are not numbered; I derived my ordering from the order of the descriptions in the ads at the end of the books, and the ISBN numbers, which happen to agree. The EWAL is a marvelous opportunity to get information about a large number of languages from long ago. All entries are of superb quality, describing all aspects of the language (history, writing system (with tables), phonetics, morphology, syntax, lexicon) in some depth, often even diachronically, and are written by experts in the field. Nevertheless there are some things I'd rather have seen different.
     This part covers Sanskrit, Middle Indic, Old Tamil, Old Persian, Avestan, Pahlavi, Ancient Chinese, Mayan, Epi-Olmec and Zapotec. For some scripts the direction is not specified, e.g. Sanskrit (left-to-right) and Pahlavi (right-to-left).
     It is, I think, a pity that Vedic Sanskrit and Classic Sanskrit were not given different entries. Separate treatment would have made both more understandable: much of the morphological complexity of Vedic Sanskrit is motivated and made understandable by its pitch accent, but shows up as next to incomprehensible irregularity in Classic Sanskrit, which has an unrelated stress accent.
     The entry on Old Tamil is very interesting; not much is readily available on it elsewhere. But many of the sample text fragments have (unexplained) XML-like structure information in them in the form of numbered or marked brackets. This makes the samples hard to read, and since it is not referred to in the text it adds little or nothing.
     The words (characters) in the Old Chinese samples are given in their modern pin-yin pronunciation (without tones to boot), rather than in the reconstructed phonetics of Old Chinese; it says so right in the second paragraph of the entry and it does. This is like having a grammar of Beowulf English with all the words replaced by their modern English equivalents! For example, we are told in the morphology section that Old Chinese has prefixes n-, t-, s-, etc., but we never get to see them since modern Chinese does not allow consonant clusters.
     As the nineteenth century was the age of decipherment of the ancient oriental languages, the last few decades of the twentieth are the age of the decipherment of the ancient meso-american languages; I somehow suspect that this was one of the reasons to publish this encyclopedia now. It is impressive to see how much progress has been made in deciphering the Mayan language. Here "decipherment" is to be taken literally: the language was not the problem since it is the parent of several well-known present-day Meso-American languages; but the script was. It left so much to the artistic freedom of the scribes (chiselers?) that almost all signs are different: for example, any cartouche containing a picture of a man, a man's head or a vulture was an acceptable sign for 'ahaw (= ruler). The script is explained extensively, and the Old-Mayan language is then described in the same format as the other languages.
     Epi-Olmec is a (non-Mayan) language with a completely different script, which is still being deciphered. This shows clearly in some of the purported translations: a translation like "Four are your elsewhere [otherworldly] sky pillars" does raise some eyebrows. Still a large number of translated fragments make sense. Unlike the other entries in the encyclopedia, this entry contains an approx. 100-word dictionary of all known words; I don't know how much this adds; I'd rather seen more translations from steles instead. This entry uses the transliteration usual in Native-American linguistics (7 for the glottal stop; j for h; x for sh) and so is out of step with the rest of the books. (In the meantime the decipherment has been criticized by Houston and Coe, and that criticism has been criticized by Mora-Marin; in short - decipherment in progress.) A two-and-a-half page report on the decipherment of the Zapotec script concludes the entry.
     The last section of the book concerns the techniques of proto-language reconstruction. The author advocates a very cautious and conservative approach, showing by example that anything but iron-clad proof can be misleading. (The section numbers in this entry are missing. Editing is better or even unnoticeable (= perfect) in the later parts.)
     The above remarks are only minor gripes. These five books are going to get prime estate in my book case!

* John Kruse, The Etruscan Language -- A Brief Introduction, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2008, pp. 32.
In spite of the subtitle "Zich Raśnal" (Etruscan Writing) in Etruscan letters on the cover this book is more a treatise on the Etruscan language than a description of it. The introduction describes the position of E. among the almost 20 languages spoken in ancient Italy, ranging from Lepontic around present-day Lugano to Elymian on the western tip of Sicily. The 6 chapters cover sources, script, and outline grammar of the Etruscan language, and personal names, cultural relations, and origin of the Etruscans.

* Campbell, L., What Can We Learn about the Earliest Human Language by Comparing Languages Known Today?, 2008, pp. 33.
The paper goes into two questions: What can be learn about the lexicon of the earliest language; and what can we learn about its structure.
     The author claims that the rules for global etymologies as used by long-rangers are so lax that a required word can always be found. There is, however, a challenge by Bengtson and Ruhlen concerning the proto-World words KUNA `woman' and the Amerind word TUNA `girl'. Whereas KUNA can be found all over the world, TUNA is restricted to the New World. If it is so easy to find a required word, then why can TUNA not be found in the Old World? In answer the author comes up with six examples from Spanish alone [DG: although one is from South American Spanish].
     Using the "superficial resemblance check" of the long-rangers on the Swadesh 100 list of English, Hindi, and Maori, the author shows that there are 9 matches between English and Hindi, 15 between English and Maori (f.e. `hair' ~ `huruhuru'), and 10 between Hindi and Maori. This shows that the superficial resemblance method yields meaningless results.
     Hindi and English spilt about 6000 years ago, and in that time their similarity had dropped to 15%. Equating the first use of human language with the rise of the modern human at about 100.000 years ago, there surely is no hope of finding cognates from that time at present.
[DG: That statement can be strengthened quite a bit. Assuming an initial basic vocabulary of about 2000 non-derived non-composite roots, after 6,000 years we have 15% of 2000 = 300 of them left in common; after 12,000 years we have 15% of 300 = 45 left; after 18,000 years 6,75; after 24,000 years 1; and after 30,000 years 0,15 root words in common.
Actually it is worse: The 15 matches between English and Maori and the 10 matches between Hindi and Maori are all false positives, noise, and these do not diminish with time. So for our 2000 roots there will always between 200 to 300 false positives. This means that after 6000 years the 300 true positives may still be discernible between the 200 to 300 false positives (using the comparative method) but even with a time depth of 12,000 years the expected 45 true positives will be invisible among the 200 to 300 false positives; The signal-to-noise ratio will be far below 1.]
     Some long-rangers claim that speech originated only 35,000 years ago, but that is impossible because people reached Australia 40,000 years ago.
     The most frequent word order today is SOV, but that means nothing, because languages can easily switch to other word orders. [DG: Dutch switched its word order considerably over the last millennium, ending up today with SVO in main sentences and SOV in subordinate sentences.]
     Languages become more complicated through grammaticalization but become simpler through erosion. It is likely that language started out simple, but it may even after a few millennia have become quite complex.
     Researchers have tried to find correlations between the size of a society and the complexity of its language, and although the general trend is of small societies to have complicated languages and vice versa, there many exceptions. Logic suggests that language began simple, in a small population, which is against this trend, so no help here.
     Researchers have made lists of "design features" for languages, but they are extensive and define fully grown languages. [DG: But see Guy Deutscher, `The Unfolding of Language', 2005.]
     The author concludes that we basically can learn nothing about the early language; we can only learn why we cannot learn something.

* John Kruse, Joseph Biddulph, The Native American Languages, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2007, pp. 40.
After a lament on the treatment of the American Indians at the hands of the white, the author examines the state of the art of research in the Native American languages through the ages. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Indian was seen as a fellow soul in need of conversion to some form of Christianity, and reasonable good grammars and dictionaries were made, albeit based on the structure of Latin. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Indian was seen as an obstacle, and any research or recording there was served commerce, and was in the hands of amateurs. These often misjudged the prefix-root-suffix nature of many Amerind language, which resulted in incorrect identification of forms, for example k-nisk for 'hand' where the actual meaning is 'your hand' (from a white man holding up his hand and asking "What do you call this?"). Also, glottalization and tone were often not recorded (or heard).
     The second part is an annotated list of about 170 languages from North and South America, in the same style as 'Some Languages of the Pacific Region' by the same author.

* Joseph Biddulph, Notes on Old Nubian, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2007, pp. 41.
Old Nubian is known from 8-th century Gospel translations. Its relationship to the modern Nubian languages is not obvious, and these notes collect some information on the subject. It consists of several parts: introduction; notes on Coptic, Egyptian, Meroitic, Greek, Old Nubian, modern Nubian language, and Nandi; language trees for the region; conclusion. No firm conclusions drawn.

* Blevins, J., A Long Lost Sister of Proto-Austronesian? Proto-Ongan, Mother of Jarawa and Onge of the Andaman Islands, 2007, pp. 45.
Constructs a (tenuous) relation between proto-Ongan and proto-Austronesian.

* Joseph Biddulph, Some Forgotten Languages of Europe, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2006, pp. 40.
List of about 240 minority languages and (mainly English) dialects of Europe, with annotations, in a style similar to Biddulph's "Some Languages of the Pacific Region". The most glaring omission is Luxemburgian, the sole remaining Frankish language.

* Joseph Biddulph, The Five Languages -- Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2005, pp. 60.
Short initial reading aid to the five "original languages of the Scriptures and their earliest translations". For each language, the booklet supplies the alphabet, some grammar, some basic vocabulary, and, except for Syriac, a short fragment from the Scriptures with translation. Not everything is transliterated, and the author relies heavily on the reader's ability to learn foreign alphabets fast, which with the 251 (33x7+4x5) characters of Ethiopic is beyond me.

* Hickey, R., Language Change, 2005, pp. 65.
Causes and results of language change, in short understandable paragraphs. Excellent source of examples --in the English language-- of all kinds of language change phenomena: palatalization, umlaut, contamination, metathesis, grammaticalization, you name it. Discussions of methods for lexical reconstructions, language typology, language contact, and pidgins and creoles.

* Hans-Jorg Bibiko, Hagen Jung, Claudia Schmidt, Martin Haspelmath, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil, Bernard Comrie, The World Atlas of Language Structures, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005, pp. 695 + CD-ROM.
[This summary is concerned with the 2005 book. There is a regularly updated Internet version that may differ.] More than a hundred world maps of language features, with locations and extents of their occurrences; each map is preceded by a careful explanation and analysis of the feature in question. There is, of course, a wealth of material; some noteworthy observations are:
1. Rounded front vowels are really rare; they are effectively restricted to Eurasia.
2. Although gutturals occur in clusters, the th does not; it is just rare.
3. Australian phonetics is often the odd man out: no fricatives.
4. The large majority of the languages is concatenative (agglutinative).
5. A large majority of the languages expresses possession by an affix.
6. The ordering of fragments (SV/VS), (OV/VO) is more important than the usual distinction SVO/SOV/... (map 81-94).
7. Wichita stands out as having the most complicated verb forms (map 22), as I long suspected.
     It does not feel right to criticise such a monumental book, but it is inevitable that a work of this magnitude should include some statements that might raise some eyebrows.
1. The a in the Spanish Maria vio a Juan `Mary saw John' is considered a case form; the et in Ivrit Miryam ra'ata et Yohanan is not.
2. The vowel management in Hebrew is called "ablaut".
3. French is considered a no-case language, English a 2-case one.
4. Map 70 shows German to have no imperative plural.
     Unfortunately Dutch is not one of the 500+ languages included; too similar to German, I suppose.

* Robert Craig, Zeaxysch Vor To-Dai, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2005, pp. 56.
Seems to be an attempt to construct the language that would have resulted if the West-English dialects had given rise to the "main" language. No reasons are given for the design decisions. The spelling is atrocious and seems intentionally complicated.

* Joseph Biddulph, Some Languages of the Pacific Region, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2005, pp. 44.
An encyclopedia of about 250 lemmata of the languages along the Pacific, from Abau (a Papua language of Upper Sepik) to Yis (another Papuan language). The sizes of the lemmata range from one line to three pages (Maori), with about 7 languages per page on the average.

* Joseph Biddulph, The Mercian Language, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2004, pp. 56.
Dissatisfied with the many complicated books on Anglo-Saxon and Old English, which make the language next to inaccessible to the speakers of Modern English, the author describes the 11th to 12th century Mercian language, claimed to be the direct precursor to Modern English, in layman terms. The last 14 pages contain annotated samples of the language, A Hymn of Praise, Layamon's "Brut", The Legend of St. Kenelm, and Magnificat (untranslated).

* The Japan Foundation, Basic Japanese-English Dictionary, 2nd Ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004, pp. 1024.
Unlike its first edition (1984), the entries in this one are in kana order rather than in alphabetic order, which makes it pretty useless to anybody interested in Japanese but lacking the time or unwilling to spend the effort to learn to read Japanese script.
     Also, the additions are minimal.

* Evans, N. (ed.), The non-Pama-Nyungan Languages of Northern Australia: Comparative Studies of the Continent's Most Linguistically Complex Region, 2003, pp. 522.
Impressive collection of 16 papers covering the non-Pama-Nyungan languages from the Kimberley, Daly, Arnhem Land, and Barkly regions.
     The first paper is concerned with the place of the Pama-Nyungan languages in the Australian languages. Two models are considered: the binary model, which has PN and non-PN as the first families under proto-Australian, and the offshoot model, which has a sequence of non-PN families, one deriving from the other, with the PN family as the most recent offshoot. Mainly because the binary model does not explain enough the similarities between non-PN and PN, the author prefers the offshoot model.
[DG: Although non-PN and PN have elements in common (and phonemically they are next to identical) their differences are much larger than their similarities. The offshoot model would require a very large change in the last step, as if a array of Caucasian languages would end in Japanese.]
     Chapters 6 and 7 show many interesting details of the Daly River languages, especially Matngele.

* Marlies Philippa, et al., Etymologisch woordenboek van het Nederlands, (in Dutch: Etymological Dictionary of the Dutch Language), vol. I, II, III, IV, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2003-2009,
Far superior to any of its predecessors. (But I keep my de Vries, "Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek" (1971) still on a top shelf!)

* Joseph Biddulph, Platt and Old Saxon, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2003, pp. 60.
The first half covers Plattduuts with some grammar, mostly from Buxtehude, with many examples and amusing stories; not everything is translated, which may be an obstacle for those unfamiliar with any English or German dialect. The second half concerns Old Saxon, with lots of grammar and excerpts from charm books and the Heliant.

* Mario Alinei, Etrusco -- Una forma arcaica di ungherese, (in Italian: Etruscan -- An archaic form of Hungarian), Il Mulino -- Ricerca, Bologna, 2003, pp. 450.
The author attaches Etruscan to the Finno-Ugric language tree, after Finnish and Hungarian split, but before Hungarian, Khanty and Mansi split. Chronologically this is problematic, but the author is also the author of the Continuity Theory, which holds, among other things, that the time scale of the cultural and linguistic development is much larger than traditional science tells us.
     This view allows the author to translate Etruscan by comparing each word to Hungarian. The methodology of this is not described in detail, but seems to be based on "looks like", sometimes with reasonable results. For example, Etruscan words ending in -nac, -nal, -ve/va and -u are often assumed to contain the Hungarian postfix particles -nak ("to"), -nál ("at, near"), -ve/va (gerund) and ó (present participle / actor), and are analysed accordingly. This leads immediately to Etr. maru (land surveyer) ~ Hung. mérö (somebody who measures), Etr. pazu (on the wall of the tomb Gollini I, near a picture of a cook) ~ Hung. fözö (somebody who cooks), Etr. parliu (on the same wall, near another cook) ~ Hung. parló (somebody who distills/steams), and several others.
     Some correspondences are quite striking: the Etruscans named the north of their territory Felsina, the middle region Velsna, and the southern region Alsina. The author compares this to Hung. felsö (above), belsö (inside) and alsó (beneath). Some, however, strain the reader's credulity to the limit and most are of a "could be" quality. Occasionally the author makes the Etruscan read like a Hungarian dialect -- on a cup: Etr naceme uru iθal θilen is read as Hung. nekem úr ital teljen, litt. to-me master drink may-he-pour, Eng. "May the master pour a drink into me", corresponding to some Latin inscriptions on cups.
     The book consists of six chapters, three of which (1, 5, 6) seem to be separate papers (the first about Etruscan titles, and the others about the place of the Etruscans in Continuity Theory). Chapter 2 covers the phonetic and morphologic relationships between old Hungarian and Etruscan, based on words and place names. Chapter 3 uses these relationships to translate many small and several larger texts, among which the Pyrgi Tablets; unfortunately the Tabula Cortonensis is not among them. Chapter 4 gives phonetic developments from old Hung. to modern Hung., indicating where the Etr. forms fit in.

* Lindström, E., Topics in the Grammar of Kuot: A non-Austronesian Language of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, 2002, pp. 264.

Kuot is a very complicated language. For a quick first impression think Georgian + gender marked on almost every form + not well understood phonetic processes − the gutturals and glottals. It is spoken in a few villages on the West coast of New Ireland, an island off the East coast of New Guinea. It differs greatly from all languages in the neighbourhood, including the Papuan and Australian languages, and is very probably an isolate.

     The phonetics are superficially simple. There are 13 consonants, 7 of which have variants in certain contexts: p/v, t/r, k/γ, b/mb, d/nd, g/ŋg, m, n/l, ŋ, and a real (non-variant) r and l, plus an f and an s which do not occur in the morphology. The consonant set may be simple but the rules governing the occurrence of the variants are not. The γ is written `g' in written Kuot, which causes confusion
[DG: `h' would have been appropriate and available.]
There are 6 vowels, 5 of which with variants: a/ə, e/ε, ə, i/ɪ, o/ɔ, and u/ʊ. The ə is both a variant of a and a vowel in its own right (e.g. gas `story' versus gəs `possum'). This causes problems both in the spelling, where the ə is written `a' and in the theory, where the rules governing the variation a/ə have not yet been fully determined.

     Nouns have gender: they can be masculine or feminine. Gender is lexical: except where the noun refers to a being with natural gender, the gender has to be learned with the word:

The gender of a noun shows up in the morphemes on all words that refer to th noun. These morphemes are different for masculine an feminine in the singular but not in the dual or plural:

Verb forms are marked with one or two morphemes which refer to the pertinent Subject, Actor, and/or Object. The way these morphemes are attached to the verb stem depends on the verb (??). There are 7 classes to distinguish: I, II, and III for intransitives and I, IIa, IIb, and III for transitives. These would be called "skreeves" in Georgian grammar. Verb stems can consist of two parts, leaving a place for a morpheme between them:

Adjectives act like intransitive verbs with some minor differences.


(73): pronunciation attrubuted to tranns/intrans difference


* Joseph Biddulph, A Love of Languages, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2002, pp. 56.
Autobiographical account of his contact with and love of languages, interspersed with snippets of language lore.

* John Colarusso, A Grammar of the Kabardian Language, University of Calgary Press, 2002, pp. 254.
Kabardian is spoken by about 300,000 people in the North Caucasus. It is an East-Caucasian language; East- and West-Caucasian differ enough to be considered different languages. The key word is 'very complicated': it is phonetically very complicated, morphologically very complicated, syntactically very complicated, and semantically very complicated. On the other hand, it is surprising how much it looks like an American Indian language, f.e. Wichita.
     Kabardian (and the other Caucasian languages), have a large number of different consonants: there are several laterals and several gutturals, and almost all consonants come in groups of three, voiced, voiceless, and glottalized, just as proposed for PIE, to a total of 48. One of the weirdest is a glottalized f; I don't think any Amerind language has one. But there are no θ or ð, and more remarkably there is no l (a lateral approximant); the three Kabardian laterals are fricatives: voiced, voiceless, and glottalized.
     Words (= noun forms and verb forms) consist of chains of morphemes, each being either a root or a morphological particle. A morpheme consists of one or sometimes two consonants, usually a vowel, and possibly another consonant. There are two underlying vowels, a, and ə. The a belongs strictly to the morpheme, but the ə can often be predicted, in which case the morpheme can be considered to have no vowel. But other morphemes always carry a ə. Under influence of the surrounding consonants, the underlying vowels can turn into any of the standard vowels, following precise and well-described rules.
     The general principle is that the noun and verb forms consist of one or more roots embellished with a number of particles, mostly prefixes. The application of one or more of the 24 phonetic transformation rules then turns the sequence of morphemes into the pronounced word.
     Nouns have no gender. There are three cases: the absolutive, in -r; the oblique, in -m; and the predicative, in -w. The oblique can be extended with the suffix -k'ya to form an instrumental. The predicative is used as a predicate, in a comparison, for the object in a subclause, etc. There is an indeterminate form of the noun, in which the absolutive and the oblique have no endings. There are no irregular nouns.
     The plural is formed with the suffix -ha-, inserted between noun and case ending. That is, however, exactly the place where numbers go in numbered nouns, so -ha- may also be considered a numeral with the meaning 'more than one'.
     Possession is indicated just by the personal pronoun particle followed by the particle -y- = 'of', placed before the noun: w-əy-wəna = you-of-house = your house.
     The personal pronouns are: sa = I; wa = you; a = he,she,it; da = we; fa = you; a-ha = they. They are declined as nouns.
     Verbs, and sometimes nouns, in American Indian languages are often described by specifying a list of slots into which particles and roots can be inserted. From the looks of it, the same could be done for Kabardian, but the author uses 'autolexical grammar' (Sadock, 1991), with too little explanation. Even after reading Sadock, I could follow the discussion of the language only by analyzing the examples. The formalism has the advantage that it can describe the structure of both nouns, verbs, and sentences. It is not used in Chapter 6, Syntax, though.
     The series-of-slots nature of Kabardian is shown in such simple forms as sa wa wə-s-a-w-lhaaghw = I you you-I-present-progressive-see = I am seeing you, and in many much more complicated forms. Remarkably the personal pronouns sa and wa are not dropped here, and they occur in mirror image order, as if nesting in a context-free grammar. For good measure there are a couple of situations in which these slots are shuffled around.
     The verb has intransitive, transitive, ergative, causative, anti-passive and passive patterns. Passives can also be made with an auxiliary verb.
     Semantics: Kabardian has few roots, each with a fairly general meaning, and many words are compounds based on these roots, f.e. lhə-sh'ə-zhə-n = blood-make-again-ing = vendetta, and f'a-zh-a-a-p'a = sharp-throw-on-connective-place = hat peg, in close correspondence to similar constructions in Navaho.
     The semantics and application of some particles is surprising, f.e. the particle q'ə = 'belonging to the sphere of the speaker'. An application is sa wa txəlh=ər -w=a-s-tə=agh-sh = I you book=abs it-you=to-I-give=past-yes = I gave the book to you; versus sa wa txəlh=ər -q'ə-w=a-s-tə=agh-sh = I you book=abs it=(in-my-sphere)-you=to-I-give=past-yes = I lent the book to you.
     Sentences can, with some modification, be used as nouns: xyəbahr-z-y-a-ħ-a = news-who-to-dat-carry-dat = carries-news-to-someone = 'messenger', a construction reminiscent of "Dances-with-wolves".
     The book closes with a fully analyzed 'Nart' saga: 4 ½ pages of Kabardian, 11 pages of detailed analysis, and 4 pages of translation.
     It is great that a book on this weird and exotic language exists. It demands a great deal from the reader (and says so in several places), but it may not be possible to make the language any more accessible. This is not a textbook for learning the language; if it is a textbook of anything it is so of theoretical linguistics, using Kabardian as its only running example. (But then, there are probably more theoretical linguistics in the world than tourists who want to learn Kabardian. I am not certain what a textbook of Kabardian should look like; interesting question.) Accessibility is even more impaired by the use of the autolexical formalism in several chapters, except perhaps for the real specialist. That said, the book gives much more information about the language than any other source, the Internet included, if only through the more than 1500 example sentences and a fully analyzed 'Nart' saga. In summary, the book is a definite must for the theoretical linguist, a great source of entertainment for the amateur linguist, and a cure for any linguist who thinks he has seen it all. Not for the faint of heart.
     The book lacks an index, which is awkward; for example, although Kabardian has no dative, the term is used in many places, (f.e. Section 6.4.2) and I would like to find where it was introduced. It has an extensive table of contents, though.

* Donohue, M., Animacy, Class and Gender in Burmeso, 2001, pp. 20.


* Haspelmath, M., The European Linguistic Area: Standard Average European, 2001, pp. 19.
[DG: see also Michael Cysouw.]
     Makes a strong case for Europe as a linguistic area quite different from the rest of the world. More than two dozen features are put forward that are either predominant in Europe and virtually absent elsewhere (or more particularly in the direct neighbourhood) or virtually absent in Europe and quite common elsewhere. The most prominent are:
1. Both definite and indefinite articles (Dutch: both: de/een; Hebrew: definite only: ha-; Korean: none).
2. Relative clauses with relative pronouns. The relative pronoun can be interrogative or demonstrative: the man who ... / the money that .... Alternatives are a relative particle and a pre-nominal participle. (Dutch: de man die ... / de plaats waar ...; Hebrew: particle: ha-ish she ...; Korean: pre-nominal participle: ...eun saram).
3. Perfect tense formed with passive past participle + `to have', as in `I have written'. Alternatives are active past participle + `to be': `I am having-written'; with `after': `I am after writing'. (Dutch: Ik heb geschreven; Hebrew: no past perfect; Korean: no past perfect.)
4. Nominative experiencers, as in `I like it'. In many languages this requires a dative or locative. (German: mixed strategy: nominative in Ich mag es `I like it', but dative Mir ekelt `I am disgusted'; Hebrew: mixed strategy: nominative ka`asti `I was angry', but dative nimɂas li; Korean: with optional focus: [naneun] cohayo `[as-for-me] it-is-good' = `I like it'.)
5. Passive formed with passive participle + `to be', as in `The letter was written'. Widely spread in Europe, with only Welsh (`Terry got his hitting by a snowball') and Basque outside. Alternatives are: morphological: and no passive at all. (Dutch: several forms: De brief werd/is/was geschreven; Hebrew: morphological: ha-mixtav ni-xtav `the-letter was-written'; Korean: almost no passive, but infix -ci- for some verbs.)
6. Anticausative prominence: many verbs that describe change come in pairs, a causative one (`to break [something]') and an anticausative (`to break [by itself]'). The author claims it turns out that in Europe predominantly the anticausative is the basic word and the causative is derived from it, while in the rest of the world the ratio is reversed, but gives no examples.
[DG: That would be difficult because in English, Dutch and German the two words are usually the same. Even German brechen (neutral) and zerbrechen (formally a causative) can fulfill both functions: die Tasse zerbrach `the cup broke'.]
(Hebrew: antipassive derived from basic word: shavar `he broke [something]' versus ni-shbar `it broke [by itself]'; Korean: occasionally with the infix -hi-, in both directions.)
7. Negative pronouns (without also negating the verb), as in `Nobody comes'. Alternatives are: no negative pronouns; negative pronouns and negating the verb (Italian Non ho visto nessuno). (Dutch: Er komt niemand; Hebrew: no negative pronouns: Ish lo' ba' `Man not comes' = `Nobody comes'; Korean: question pronoun + negated verb: Nugu an wayo `who[ever] not comes'.)
8. Verb fronting in yes-no questions, as in `Did you see him?'. This is particular to North-West Europe. Alternatives are: intonation (Italian: L'hai visto?); question particle; morphological verb form. (Dutch: verb fronting: Heb je hem gezien? `Have you ...'; Hebrew: question particle: Ha'im ra'ita oto? `whether you-saw him?'; Korean: morphology: pwass-seupnikka? `have-seen polite-question')
9. Comparative marking of adjectives + syntactic particle, as in `the dog is bigg-er than the cat'. Alternatives are: two particles, one for the adjective and one for the syntax; syntax only. (Dutch: De hond is grot-er dan de kat; Hebrew: adjective particle is optional: Ha-kelev gadol [yoter] me-ha-chatul `The-dog big [more] than-the-cat'; Korean: syntactic particle only: gae-ga goyangi buteo kheoyo `dog-subj cat comparison-particle big-is'.)
And another nine follow.
     [DG: And I'd like to add having masc./fem./neut. gender. The author could not include this because it is an Indo-European feature, not a specifically European feature. Most languages don't have gender; gender is almost exclusively restricted to a vertical Europe-Africa belt. Outside that belt there are a few languages that make an animate/inanimate distinction. Many languages in Africa have 6 or more "classes". Only some languages in the Caucasus and Burushaski stand out with 4 genders. The point is that the distribution is very uneven.]
     The above common European features were largely absent in antiquity, and almost completely present in the Middle Ages. This suggests that the features arose in the turmoil of the Great Migrations, although evidence is difficult to find.
[DG: I find it hard to imagine how verb fronting in yes-no questions originated at all.]

* Joseph Biddulph, Bantu Byways -- Some Explorations among the Languages of Central and Southern Africa, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2001, pp. 56.
About 22 Bantu languages are examined, at about 2.5 page per language, to demonstrate both the unity and the differences among the Bantu languages; as usual in Africa, there is choice enough. The Bantu verb morphology is treated on the basis of the Ila language, with its rich set of prefixes and postfixes and its two roots for each verb. Tones are discussed briefly in the basis of the Ekoi languages, while the Mwera language serves to demonstrate the Bantu class system.

* George Carcas, A Reference Grammar of Icelandic, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2001, pp. 56.
As it says in the preface, this is an aid both for the author and the reader to remember the fine points of Icelandic grammar. So pages 5-30 are mainly tables. Pages 31-37 contain translation (Icelandic to English) exercises based on short fragments of the Icelandic bible. The next five pages give short pieces of literature, from a saga, a text about cats, and a poem, with translation. A 14 page vocabulary closes the booklet.

* Naoko Chino, All About Particles, Kodansha Int., Tokyo, 2001, pp. 149.
Detailed description of 53 noun particles and 16 sentence particles, with example sentences in romaji and kana/kanji.

* Rumsey, A., Bunuba, 2000, pp. 121.
Bunuba is a non-Pama-Nyungan language of the Bunuban family, one of the 26 or so non-Pama-Nyungan language families. It is spoken around Fitzroy Crossing in North-Western Australia.
     Whereas the Pama-Nyungan languages are essentially simple agglutinative languages, structurally even simpler than Turkish or Mongolian, this non-Pama-Nyungan language is of Caucasian complexity, featuring very complex verb forms. However, with respect to phonetics Bunuba differs hardly from the Pama-Nyungan languages.
     The basic verb form is verb_stem TMP_prefix+auxiliary_verb+TMP_suffix, where TMP_prefix and TMP_suffix specify Tense, Mode, and Participants. [DG: The verb stem is called "preverb" and the auxiliary verb is called "verb root" in the paper. Also "future" seems to mean "non-Past".] There are nine auxiliaries, which specify telic/atelic, change of state or motion, etc. Their forms differ for Present/Irrealis and Past/Exclusive, sometimes considerably: f.e. auxiliary WU2 (telic: impact upon) has representations -iy and -nu, respectively.
     Pronouns can have tens of different forms, depending on Tense and on which auxiliary they are applied to. Again these differences can be considerable: 1st person singular is ng- for auxiliaries RA and NI, and l- for MA and WU. [DG: This raises the question whether it is justified to split the auxiliary form into three parts, if each part has a small number of representations and they influence each other strongly. Reminiscent of Basque.]
     A peculiarity of the language is that it has a speech style, called Gun.gunma, which is (was) used between a man and his mother-in-law. Such styles exist elsewhere and usually differ from the unmarked style in vocabulary only, but in Bunuba there are also differences in grammar. Transitive verbs are replaced by intransitive ones, and the original Object reference is replaced by an Oblique reference at the end of the auxiliary form; also the (few) examples seem to show that the combined 1sg/2sg pronouns are avoided and are split over an additional auxiliary.
     Pronouns: 1sg: often characterized by a form starting with ng- or l-; 2sg: usually characterized by a form containing -ngg-.

* Nordlinger, R., Sadler, L., Tense as a Nominal Category, 2000, pp. 18.
Head-driven phrase structure grammars (HPSG) are based [DG: among other things] on the assumption that sentence-level information (Tense, Aspect, Modality, TAM for short) is stored in and derives from the head of the sentence. This assumption is not universally valid. Examples are mala-mu `the tomorrow-sea' and mala-y `the yesterday-sea' from Kayardild, and the too-obvious English You'll be leaving `The future you is leaving'. (The English example is rejected by many because "the 'll is a clitic, not an ending, on the you.)
     Many more examples are provided, sometimes very subtle ones, and the phenomenon is explained in the Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) model. Examples from Polish and Welsh are also treated.

* Witzel, M., The Languages of Harappa, 2000, pp. 44.
Concludes that the language(s) of Harappa cannot have been Dravidian, because the substratum words in the oldest parts of the Rigveda do not have properties of Dravidian words. The author then speculates about the order in which the Indo-Aryans and the Dravidians entered India.

* Joseph Biddulph, Tongues of Prester John -- An Overview of Ge`ez and Amharic, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2000, pp. 56.
[According to legend Prester (=Presbyter) John was the ruler of a Christian kingdom lost in Muslim lands, more concretely Ethiopia.] Equally divided between Ge`ez and Amharic. Amharic is linguistically not the continuation of Ge`ez, but a South-Semitic language with its own history, just as Aramaic is not the continuation of Hebrew. The syllabary (incorrectly called an alphabet in the book) is composed of 33 base letters, to which seven vowels can be added as diacritics that have become ligatures; in this is differs from hiragana, in which there is no relation between characters for the same consonant followed by different vowels. Although the ligatures are in principle unpredictable, decomposing them is a help in recognizing the 231 combination.
     The base character represents the consonant followed by ä. The -u form is usually formed by adding a stroke with closed circle to the right. The -i form is usually formed by adding a stroke with closed circle to the bottom right. The -a form is usually formed by shortening the left side or lengthening the right side. The -e form is usually formed by adding an open circle to the bottom right. The form without following vowel is usually formed by modifying or nicking the left side in some way. The -o form is usually formed by adding an open circle to the top right, and/or shortening the right side. The language has long consonants; the difference cannot be expressed in the script.
     Name: Ge`ez
Affiliation: South-Semitic
Location: Ethiopia (~ 500 BC - ~ 1500 AD)
Phonetics: consonants: the semitic set; vowels: a, e, i, o, u.
Nouns: gender/classes: masc./fem.; number: 2; cases: 2; possessor indication: status constructus.
Pre/postpositions: pre.
Pronouns: 'ana = I, 'anta = you(m), 'anti = you(f), we'etu = he, ye'etu = she, neħna = we, 'antemmu = you all(m), 'anten = you all(f), 'emuntu = they (m), 'emantu = they (f), # = they (n).
Numbers: 1 'aħadu, 2 kel'e (probably from a Bantu language), 3 shalas, 4 'arba', 5 ħams, etc.
Adjectives: precede the noun.
     The book then spends two pages on Tigré, the living language most closely related to Ge`ez.
     The next 18 pages of the book concern Amharic. For historic reasons the transliteration of Amharic uses Italian orthography; this is not followed here.
Name: Amharic.
Affiliation: South-Semitic.
Location: Ethiopia.
Phonetics: consonants: the semitic set; vowels: a, e, i, o, u, and ä.
Nouns: gender/classes: masc./fem.; number: 2; cases: 2, acc. = direct object; possessor indication: constr. state or yä- = of, preceding the owner: of-the-man the-hat.
Pre/postpositions: small ones prefixed, larger ones post-posed.
Pronouns: ine = I, antä = you(m), anki = you(f), issu = he, isswa = she, inya = we, innant = you all, innäsu = they (m).
Numbers: are not so clearly Semitic as in Ge`ez: 1 and, 2 hulät, 3 sost, 4 arat, 5 ammist.
Adjectives: preceding the noun.
Verbs: less clearly Semitic than Ge`ez; there are two conjugations: one which doubles the middle consonant in some forms, and one which always doubles the middle consonant; has a polite 2nd person sing. in -wo.
Word order: SOV, strictly.
Relative clauses: use = 'of': bäreun (the ox, direct object) yägäddälä (of "it has killed") anbässa (lion) = lion of "it has killed the ox" = the lion which has killed the ox.
     The book closes with two chapters on the other languages of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian calendar.

* George Carcas, A Reference Grammar of Afrikaans, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 2000, pp. 48.
Although Afrikaans has little morphology (except for the plurals of nouns), it has lots of prepositions, connecting words, and sentence constructions. These are presented with examples of almost all of them. Like the author's `A Reference Grammar of Icelandic', exercises are based on fragments of the bible, and a vocabulary closes the booklet. There are no longer sample texts, however.

* Giulio M. Facchetti, L'enigma svelato della lingua Etrusca, (in Italian: The Riddle of the Etruscan Language Unveiled), Newton Compton, Roma, 2000, pp. 295.
Books that promise to "unveil the riddle of the Etruscan language" should be approached with caution, especially when they are published by a firm which also publishes books like "300 Simple and Original Recipes for Cooking with Nutella"...
     But unlike for example Mario Alinei's book, this book is main-stream, and safely based on Rix and Agostiniani. The author is an expert on Roman and Etruscan law, and uses his knowledge of the first to interpret texts in Etruscan about the second, based in the idea that contracts in both languages often phrase similar things similarly. For example, the Latin words for the three possible obligations, facere, dare, praestare (to do, to allow, to refrain from) are found to correspond to Etr. acilune, turune, scune.
     The book consists of 14 chapters + an appendix on grammar. Some of the chapters are on general subjects, for example "Doni sacri e profani", others are concrete, for example "La 'tavola di Cortona'", but their internal structure is similar: the subject is explained using many short Etruscan texts with word-by-word translation. The translation of almost each word is motivated; in addition, longer texts are also summarized in a natural translation. All this makes the text easily accessible. There are many detailed drawings of inscriptions and Etruscan objects.

* Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Genes, Peoples, and Languages, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000, pp. 228.
Factual and fairly dry but not very systematic description of the mechanisms that cause correlations between genes, peoples, and languages, and of those that disturb those correlations.

* Bernd Heine, Derek Nurse, African Languages -- An Introduction, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000, pp. 396.
This book has a combined purpose: teaching about African languages and teaching linguistics using them. Of course "African languages" is not a linguistic notion, and that is both a weakness and a strength. The weakness shows in generalizations like "The large majority of the African languages are tonal." True, but less than informative: almost all Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo and Khoisan languages are, but almost none of the Afroasiatic ones are. The strength is that in teaching linguistic features, the authors can choose from hundreds of languages from four vastly different phyla.
     The book consists of 12 chapters, each written by a different author/expert, usually a big name in the field. It is divided in three parts: I. the African languages (chapters 2-5, covering Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Afroasiatic, and Khoisan); II. Elements of linguistics (chapters 6-9, covering Phonology, Morphology, Syntax and Typology); and III. Linguistics (chapter 10-12, Comparative linguistics, Language and history, and Language and society).
     Not surprisingly with so many authors (15) the style, terminology and quality is variable (which only adds to the realism in linguistics). There is an excellent analysis (section 6.7) of the research on the tonal system of Bambara, i.e. what the rules AND how these rules were discovered. The weakest point in African linguistics, the validity of the Nilo-Saharan phylum, is given extensive attention (sections 3.3 and 11.2), thus showing linguistics in action in a very educational way.
     In summary the book is a very good introduction to linguistics for people who have affinity with African languages, and very informative for anybody interested in both its subjects. Its main drawback is its unevenness.

* Nancy Yaw Davis, The Zuni Enigma, W.W. Norton, New York, 2000, pp. 318.
Defends the premise that about 1350 AD (not BC!) a group of Japanese pilgrims went to America, mingled with Indians (Anasazi or their neighbors) to form the Zuni. The book lists those aspects of Zuni and Japanese culture and language in which the author sees enough correspondence. The linguistic part is unconvincing; if anything it more suggests a long-range relationship to Eurasian. I think a serious problem with Davis' thesis is that 14th century Japanese pilgrims would have known about writing, and it is hard to believe that they would have given it up. And even so, one would expect remnants of script to appear ornamentally. As the author says in the last paragraph: "These finding may nor be conclusive, but together they are suggestive." Whether it is more than that is doubtful.

* Anne van der Meiden, Biebel in de Twentse Sproake, Nieje Testament, deelen 1, 2 en 3, (in Twents: Bible in the Twents (Tubantian) Language, New Testament, Parts 1, 2 and 3), Stichting Twentse Bijbelvertaling, Enschede, 1999, 1998, 2001, pp. 412, 316, 390.
The bible in Twents, a Saxon language spoken in Twente, eastern Overijssel, the Netherlands. The spelling (for which no standard exists) has been chosen so as to look as much as possible like Dutch; this is an unusual choice. Diacritical marks are used only for ö; the difference between ò and ó is not indicated. The language differs slightly from what I used to speak; for example, the text has "breeve" for "letters", where I say "breem'm" (for "breev'n").

* Van Dale Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal -- A-I, J-R, S-Z, (in Dutch: Van Dale's Major Dictionary of the Dutch Language, in 3 volumes), Van Dale Lexicografie, Utrecht, 1999, pp. 1-1484, 1485-2912, 2913-4295.
The authoritative definition of the Dutch vocabulary.

* Cysouw, M., Singular Pronominal Marking, or Exotic Aspects of Some Germanic Languages, 1999, pp. 13.
The personal markings on the verb may be all different or there may be syncretisms between them. There are the following possibilities:

        1  2  3
    SA  A  B  C
    SB  A  B  B
    SC  A  B  A
    SD  A  A  B
    SE  A  A  A
[DG: The table looks irregular because the line marked SB should be B A A.]
     The research question is: as we descend in the table, are pronouns getting more obligatory, and languages more non-pro-drop?
SA: Many examples: Russian is non-pro-drop, the other Slavic languages are more or less pro-drop. Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian are fully pro-drop.
SB: Dutch is type SB and is non-pro-drop, but the author found that Lengua (Mascoian, Paraguay), Chitimacha (Gulf, USA), and many New Guinea languages (e.g. Wambon) are type SB and pro-drop.
SC: Rarer than the above, the author knows only three examples: Koiari (Koiarian, Papua New Guinea), non-pro-drop; Icelandic (in the preterit tense), non-pro-drop; and Ika (Chibchan, Peru), largely pro-drop. (Middle Dutch past tense was also SC: ik maeckte, gij maecktet, hij maeckte.)
SD: This equally rare type occurs in English (present tense),non-pro-drop; Hunzib (Nakh-Dagestanian, Dagestan), non-pro-drop; and Waskia (Isumrud, Papua New Guinea), largely non-pro-drop.
SE: The author provides no examples of languages of type SE, but mentions French (present tense in pronunciation), non-pro-drop, in a footnote. It is easy to find further examples: Bahasa Indonesia (non-pro-drop), Korean and Japanese (pro-drop), Hopi (non-pro-drop). etc.
     The conclusion is that there is no real correlation between syncretism in the personal verb markings and being pro-drop or non-pro-drop. English and French did not become non-pro-drop because their verb markings eroded away.
     [DG: The paper treats the absence of an ending as just another ending, which is formally correct. Still I feel that in this case we are losing information. For example, all languages of type SE I know just use the stem, without ending, in the present singular.]
     [DG: In spite of the author's conclusion the above data show that there is a slight correlation between syncretism and non-pro-drop. After all syncretism causes uncertainly and pronouns take that uncertainty away. Languages like Korean and Japanese show that people can handle lots of uncertainty, but others (Russian) are belts-and-suspenders. It seems to me that the core question is how well the speakers tolerate uncertainty.]

* Yoon Jeong-Me, A Critical Survey of GB/Minimalist Research on Case and A-Chains in Korean, 1998, pp. 53.

Deeply steeped in Government-Binding//Minimalist terminology. Contains good and interesting examples of cross-linguistically unusual use of case in Korean.


* Jay Rubin, Making Sense of Japanese, Kodansha Int., Tokyo, 1998, pp. 136.
The booklet starts with a litany on the myth that Japanese is a mysterious language in which things just happen in Zen fashion, without anybody doing them. Two main parts follow, both short pieces about various issues in Japanese. They treat wa/ga, yaru/ageru/kudaseru/kureru, morau/itadaku, kara da/wake da/no da, hodo, shiru/wakaru, tame, tsumori, kimeru/kimaru, aru/de aru, kite, and many others. The book ends with a thorough analysis of two sentences from Ienaga Saburō's history book Taiheiyō Sensō, "The Pacific Wars", one of 18 and one of 50 words; very instructive!
     There are many trunk-bearing and disappearing elephants in this book. The example zō wa hana ga nagai ('Elephants have long trunks') is even worse than the author describes: hana means both 'nose/trunk' and 'flower'. Now there is little chance of misunderstanding, but tone marks would have helped: zō wa ha'na ga naga`i for 'trunks' as opposed to zō wa han'a` ga na'ga`i for 'flowers'. This also shows that Sansom's remark about writing Japanese with a [Latin] alphabet is not entirely true: one needs the tone marks.
     And it seems to me that orenji itadakimasu ka (page 117) just means 'Do I humbly receive the honor of [getting you] an orange?' = 'May I get you an orange?' This fits the language -- 'I' is the natural subject of itadakimasu and the '[getting you]' is supplied by the context as the obvious task of a waiter-- and it fits the semantics.

* Joseph Biddulph, Mandingo, Malinké, Bambara: Speeches of Mali, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1998, pp. 36.
The three named languages are actually almost a single language, and are treated as one in this booklet, called Mandingo. It is a West-African language of the Mande group, and with between 8 and 10 million speakers it is the second largest language in Africa, after Swahili.
     Pages 3-12 are concerned with the languages of the region in general; the rest concentrates on Mandingo.
     Name: Mandingo/Bambara
Affiliation: Mande
Location: in and around Ghana
Phonetics: consonants: the usual + γ, R, kp, gb; vowels: 9, short, long and nasal; tones: none.
Nouns: gender/classes: none number: 2, plural by suffix -u cases: none possessor indication: juxtaposition: mansa ba = 'king mother' = the king's mother
Pre/postpositions: post
Pronouns: ne = I, i = you, e = he, she, it, ana = we, alu = you all, u = they.
Adjectives: are verbs
Verbs: root is only used as imperative; all other uses require the auxiliary verb 'to be', which is only marked for tense, mode, and negation.
Word order: SOV
Relative clauses: with connective mi = where.
     In summary, Mandingo is a very simple language: no gender, no classes, no tones (not even stress), no declination and minimal conjugation: the verb = 'to be' has 18 forms, 9 positive and 9 negative (actually only 5 + 5, since 'past' is expressed by tun- prefixed and assimilated to the non-past forms).

* T. Burrow, M.B. Emeneau, A Dravidan Etymological Dictionary, pp. 574. 1998, South Asia Books,
Price: $82.95 Complete and systematic record of the whole available Dravidian vocabulary. Covers 4 major lit. languages.

* Dick Grune, Burushaski: An Extraordinary Language in the Karakoram Mountains, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1998, pp. 40.
Covers the phonetics, the grammar of nouns, adjectives and verbs, the syntax and the numerals of the Yasin dialect of Burushaski, in an informal though detailed style. Possible parallels with the Yeniseian language Ket are pointed out. The Hunza dialect of the language is introduced in a short comparison. A small annotated bibliography concludes the booklet.

* Joseph Biddulph, An Introduction to Malagasy -- The Language of Madagascar, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1997, pp. 32.
Confusing account of a remarkable language, in spite of the author's efforts to make things clear. Understanding is not helped by the fact that words often are translated only the first time; this is especially a problem since Malagasy words change both at their fronts and at their ends, as in Welsh, so related forms are often hard to recognize, f.e. mamonóa = 'kill!' vs. vonòy ny omby = 'the ox must be killed', from mono = 'to kill'. Also, the accent system is not explained, but is apparently significant: àzy = 'him, her', ázy = 'them'.
     Word order is VOS. There are three voices, active, passive and instrumental, which place in subject position the actor, the patient and the instrument, resp., similar to Tagalog.

* Manaster Ramer, A., Nostratic from a Typological Point of View, 1997, pp. 26.
Information-dense paper, refuting objections to features of Nostratic by several scholars, mainly by providing counterexamples.
     Serebennikov criticizes the Nostratic proposals of Illitch-Svitych for its phonetic rules judged impossible by Serebennikov. The author shows that each of these rejected phonetic rules corresponds to a real phonetic change in a real language. The same applies to typological features, e.g. having tones, which is a property that languages can acquire and lose over time. Serebennikov's claim that Nostratic has too many vowels and consonants is shown to be unfounded (e.g. Cracovian Polish has more).
     Klimov claims that the Kartvelian languages cannot be Nostratic, because they are ergative and Nostratic is not. But ergativity has risen in Indo-Iranian, which developed out of Old Indic, which was an accusative language.
     Illitch-Svitych has one word in Nostratic for both `wolf' and `dog' and Hamp claimed that that is unnatural. But South Arabic languages have only one word for both.
     Doerfer objects to the Nostratic affricates becoming clusters in Indo-European and Kartvelian, but the author reconstructs them as s+stop, which solves the problem.
     The author proposes a shuffling of the notions voiceless, voiced , and glottalized in Nostratic to better fit the expected statistical distribution and the development of stops to the stops in the daughter phyla. Lots of statistics about many other languages (often Australian) follow.
     Finally the author emphasizes that "just because Nostratic reconstruction meets a number of typological criteria of naturalness, it does not means that Nostratic ever existed."

* Bescherelle -- 1. La Conjugaison pour tous, (in French: Conjugation for everybody), Hatier, Paris, 1997, pp. (not numbered).
All the ins and outs of the French verb.

* Bescherelle -- 2. L'Orthographe pour tous, (in French: Spelling for everybody), Hatier, Paris, 1997, pp. (not numbered).
All the ins and outs of French spelling.

* Bescherelle -- 3. La Grammaire pour tous, (in French: Grammar for everybody), Hatier, Paris, 1997, pp. (not numbered).
All the ins and outs of French grammar.

* Anatole V. Lyovin, An Introduction to the Languages of the World, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1997, pp. 491.
The purpose of this book is to teach languages; some linguistics is taught in the process, but the emphasis is on languages. The main body of the book consists of six chapters, one for each continent (Oceania is grouped with Australia), and one for pidgin languages. The surrounding material consists of chapters on classification of languages and writing systems, and a set of language maps.
     Each chapter in the main body starts with a summary of the languages found in the region concerned, followed by "sketches" of two languages from the region; exercises introducing a few more languages and selected literature references conclude the chapter. This approach gives quite a balanced view of the languages of the world.
     The languages featured are: Europe: Russian and Finnish (with exercises about Turkish and Sanskrit); Asia: Mandarin Chinese and Classical Tibetan (+ Hmong and Japanese); Africa: Modern Literary Arabic and Swahili (+ !Xũ (Khoisan)); Oceania: Hawaiian and Dyirbal (+ Tagalog, Fijian and Buang (Papuan)); Americas: Yup'ik (Eskimo) and Quechua (+ Hixkaryana, Aztec, and Huave); Pidgin and Creole: Tok Pisin (+ Hawaiian Creole English). Each "sketch", which is actually a description of reasonable depth, covers the background, phonetics, morphology, and syntax of the language, in about twenty pages. This knowledge is then applied to analyse a small (about fifteen sentences) text; the analysis consists of a literal morpheme-by-morpheme translation, explanatory notes and a translation to normal English. These sketches are of high quality; seriously working your way through such a "sketch" gives one a good grasp of the language and may well allow one to decipher simple texts in it, using a dictionary. The treatment of the languages in the exercises is of course much more restricted.
     The chapter in pidgins and creoles has this same structure, and Tok Pisin (Talk Pidgin) gets the same treatment as, for example, Finnish or Quechua. It is remarkable how much Tok Pisin looks like a normal language under this treatment, even though it is evident that the English original is never far away: Dispela man i kam asde em i papa bilong me = This-fellow man he come yesterday him he father belong me = This man who came yesterday is my father.
     In summary this book gives the student/reader some knowledge of a very wide range of languages and their features, supplemented by more in-depth knowledge of a dozen or so specific languages; a good combination it seems to me.
     Having finished the book I came away with the intuitive impression that actually all languages are the same. For example, some languages have prepositions, some have postpositions, and others have case endings, and so on, but even these differences repeat themselves so often that they become next to meaningless.

* Steven Roger Fischer, Glyphbreaker, Copernicus/Springer-Verlag, New-York, pp. 234. 1997,
Consists of two parts, one about the Phaistos Disk and the other about Rongorongo.
     A decipherment of the Phaistos Disk is offered as follows: 1. One glyph, PD 12, is given the semantic value "and" because it is used very often as a connective. 2. Glyphs that resemble Linear B glyphs are given their Linear B values. 3. Given 2, names of Mediterranean tribes are discerned in the text, yielding more glyph values. 4. A few more glyphs suggest the text is basically Greek. 5. The pictures of still unknown glyphs were translated to Greek and then reduced to one syllable. 6. Mapping rules from Greek to the syllabary were devised. Running these rules in reverse allows a text in an ancient form of Greek to be constructed. 7. The resulting text is a call to arms for the impending invasion of the Carians.
     The arguments are reasonably convincing, and the decipherment might be correct. There are three problems with it. 1. The mapping is so loose that one suspects any kind of text could be retrofitted to the Disk, but that might be more difficult than it seems. 2. The Minoans wrote Linear A, which certainly is not Greek, ancient or otherwise. The author makes a feeble attempt to turn it into Greek anyway. 3. There are five, very similar very short inscriptions in glyphs similar to those of the Phaistos Disk; they seem to translate into "belonging to Sara", where the author suggests that Sara is an old form of Hera, which it may be.
     The Rongorongo sticks are deciphered as follows. 1. The last person to claim to be able to read Rongorongo, Daniel Ure Va'e Iko had recited from them, and much of his recitation has been taken down. This text was analysed, and contains mainly of "X and Y begot Z". 2. Rongorongo consists of about 55 different glyphs, most of which also occur with a phallic extension. 3. This phallic extension is taken to be an end-of-line marker, or a representation of "begot". 4. The Rongorongo sticks are memory devices for reciting the story of creation. The pictures mainly represent the objects they represent, or abstracta that sound similar in Old Rapanui.
     Sounds quite reasonable, and seems to explain all the known facts.

* George L. Campbell, Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets, Routledge, London, 1997, pp. 131.
Excerpt from Campbell's Compendium of the World's Languages (1991).

* Joseph Biddulph, A Handbook of West Country Brythonic -- Old Devonian, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1996, pp. 36.
Extremely hypothetical reconstruction of the Celtic language spoken in Devon around 700 AD, based on the analysis of place names and developmental processes in Cornish and Breton. Being a reconstruction it is more stylized than an actual language and as such it gives a good -but necessarily overly simple- impression of a Celtic language.
     Name: West Country Brythonic -- Old Devonian.
Affiliation: Celtic.
Status: hypothetical reconstruction. Location: Devon, about 700 AD.
Phonetics: consonants: the usual + th (as in "thin"), dh (as in "there"), ch (as in "loch"); vowels: 5, short.
Nouns: gender: masc. , fem.; number: 2, + dualis by prefixing dou-, for pairs; cases: none possessor indication: by juxtaposition: tir dafat = land of sheep; mutations (pt, etc.) occur in several positions.
Pre/postpositions: pre-; combine with the pronouns: ar = on, arnaf = on me.
Pronouns: mi = I, ti = you, ef = he, it hi = she, ni = we, hui = you all, i = they.
Verbs: often with infinite and auxiliary.
Word order: VSO?
Relative clauses: connected with a, or negatively with nak.

* Paul Kekai Manansala, The Austric Origin of the Sumerian Language, Language Forum, vol. 22, #1-2, 1996, pp. 9-28.
Impressive list of possible cognates, without sound correspondences. But maybe the only thing the list proves is that it is always possible to find a Sumerian-looking word of similar meaning in one or more of the hundreds of Austric languages (the author even includes Japanese occasionally!). Needs solid statstics, badly; or systematic sound correspondences. Skip the skull measurements.

* Cefas van Rossem, Hein van der Voort, Die Creol Taal -- 250 years of Negerhollands texts, Amsterdam Univ. Press, Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 325.
Negerhollands, like Afrikaans, derives from the colonization by the Dutch, in this case of the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. The Dutch arrived around 1670, imported slaves, but abandoned the island soon afterwards. The slave population continued to use Dutch, which then developed independently of Dutch. The language was thought to have died out in the 1940s, but around 1980 a last speaker, Mrs. Alice Stevens, was found, and research was reopened.
     Negerhollands differs about as much from Dutch as Afrikaans does, and has undergone some similar simplifications; it is about equally readable to a Dutchman as Afrikaans is: 80% of the text is understood immediately, and another 10% can be figured out. Remarkably, the handwriting specimens are easily readable.
     The book features a historical introduction, some linguistic considerations, and all known texts with morphological and English translation; no grammar, no dictionary.

* John Mook, Kimberley O'Neil, Trekking in the Karakoram and Hindukush, Lonely Planet, Hawthorn, Australia, 1996, pp. 322.
Contains short (about 50 words, 30 phrases and 20 numerals) vocabularies of Urdu, Balti, Burushaski, Kalasha, Khowar, Shina, and Wakhi (Xikwor). And of course descriptions of dozens of foot trips and tons of advice.

* Jonathan Lotan, From A to Aleph -- 3 steps to Writing in Hebrew, Qualum Publ., London, 1996, pp. 182.
The Hebrew alphabet explained as a contorted Roman alphabet and vice versa.

* E.J. Furnée, Etruskische etymologie; de Kartveelse these bevestigd, (in Dutch: Etruscan Etymology -- The Kartvelian Hypothesis Confirmed), Furnée, Den Haag, 1996, pp. 186.
Mainly a list of 752 etyma, about 90% of them proper names. The Kartvelian hypothesis is explained in previous books by Furnée (1993, 1992, 1992, and primarily 1990): Proto-Kartvelian (reconstructed Proto-Old-Georgian, about 1800 BC) and Etruscan (oldest forms about 600 BC) are hypothesized to have a not too distant common ancestor, Proto-Tyrrhenian (perhaps 3000 BC or so), which can be reconstructed by examining the children.
     Source of Proto-Kartvelian was Fähnrich and Sardzhveladze, "Etymological Lexicon of the Kartvelian Languages" (in Georgian) (Tbilisi, 1990), of Etruscan Rix "Etruskische Texte" (Tübingen, 1991).
     Two dominant features of the Kartvelian hypothesis.
     1. As in Georgian and Svan, sa-, a- and la- are prefixes, which are followed by the stem; often this stem is again followed by some suffix, which leaves it in zero grade. As a result the root of an Etruscan word is often the consonant cluster in the middle; this is also suggested by the not infrequent occurrence of names with identical consonant clusters, for example Nucrtele, Śacrtuna, Cretlu, and Crutlunia; or Secne, Lecne; and many others. As an example, the Etr. name Satre is analysed as sa-tr-e, and the root -tr- is identified as tur- = to give, which leads to the meaning of the name: Giver, Giver of Gifts. With a different suffix this yields sa-tr-ne, from which Lat. Saturnus is then derived, for which a Proto-Indo-European derivation seems to be lacking (etymon 488).
     Another example is the Etr. name Acle = a-cl-e, from PKartv. -k.l- = to kill, which makes Acle = Butcher; this may find confirmation in two known E. words: Calu = god of death (with part. pres. in -u), and cleva = sacrifice (cp. Georg. sa-k.l-avi = sacrificial animal), and in the name Thevruclna (thevru-cl-na = bull-kill-family name = Bullkiller) (etyma 23, 119, 162; and pg. 164, Ad p, 22 of Furnée 1993).
     An example not involving a name is na-per (a surface measurement) and per-as =? the act of measuring, cp. Georg. per- = to fit (etymon 677).
     2. When a PTyrrh. root contains a guttural preceded by a stop, the stop gets aspirated and the guttural disappears (reasonably enough). Example: Etr. auth =? lightning is derived here from PKartv. -deγ- = to shine, or more in particular auth = a-u-th = a-u-dγ = that-which-shines.
     The reconstructed meanings of the names are unverifiable; those of the nouns fit. All examples are from word formations; Etr. morphology is based in suffixes and leaves the word intact, as far as we know. So Etruscan is structurally similar to Georgian in word formation only; no skreeves.

* Viacheslav A. Chirikba, Common West Caucasian, PhD Thesis, Research School CNSW, Leiden, 1996, pp. 452.
Reconstruction of the phonological system and parts of the lexicon and morphology of Common West Caucasian, starting from reconstructions of Common Abkhaz, Common Circassian and Ubykh; since the latter had no direct relatives, external reconstruction of its predecessor is not possible. The above reconstructions are also by the same author, and are based on detailed information about the present languages and dialects, including the Sadz dialect of Abkhaz, recently recovered in Turkey by the author. These reconstructions are also described in the thesis, all in great detail and with many (all?) examples.
     In a final chapter the author argues that Hattic was a West-Caucasian language, supplies some 100 etymologies with extensive comments and suggests some new interpretations, especially for some pronouns.

* Tej K. Bhatia, Colloquial Hindi -- The Complete Course for Beginners, Routledge, London, 1996, pp. 343.
Lots of explanation, and a slow introduction to Devanagari.

* Joseph Biddulph, Northumbrian and Other Languages of the Old North, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1995, pp. 36.
History of the languages of North Britain from Roman times to the 13th/14th century, based in part on place names and local inscriptions. Aside from Pictish, which is treated very scantily, the primary dialects of the Old North were Old North Welsh, the precursor to present-day Welsh. In the first centuries AD is gave way to (Irish) Gaelic from the west and Anglo-Saxon from the east. This Old North Welsh is discussed using a poem by Taliesin. The Gaelic was often written in the Ogham alphabet, which is discussed, and Old North welsh and Gaelic are compared.
     Northumbrian was the version of Anglo-Saxon spoken in the Old North (different from Mercian in the South). It is written in runes, and discussed using the inscription on the Ruthwell Cross.
     The next arrivals were the Vikings, who spoke Old Norse. It is compared to Anglo-Saxon, and the variety of runes in which it was written, including the twig runes, is discussed.
     Then came the Normans from Normandy, who spoke Norman French. That language penetrated to the North, witness many Scottish surnames. It is discussed using three stanzas from the Jeu d'Adam (c. 1150).
     The last change was effected not by migration but by diffusion, which brought Middle English. A section on the modern dialects of the North close the booklet.

* Dick Grune, Hopi -- Survey of an Uto-Aztecan Language (Arizona), Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1995, pp. 26.
Treats the general structure, phonetics and details like nouns, adjectives, verbs, sentence particles and numerals in an informal fashion.

* George L. Campbell, Concise Compendium of the World's Languages, Routledge, London, 1995, pp. 670.
Excerpt from Campbell's Compendium of the World's Languages (1991), covering 108 languages.

* Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian -- A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1995, pp. 322.
[ with lots of Coptic ]

* Kan Qian, Colloquial Chinese, Routledge, London, 1995, pp. 345.
Entirely in Pinyin, with tones.

* Václav Blažek, D. Bengtson, Lexica Dene-Caucasica, Central Asiatic J., vol. 39, 1995, pp. 11-50,161-164.
A set of 219 etymologies linking Basque, Caucasian, Burushaski, Yeniseian, Sino-Tibetan, Na-Dene and occasionally Sumerian, Nahali and Kusunda. The etymologies generally involve 3 to 4 members of the groups mentioned. The time depth of the Dene-Caucasian family is estimated at some 11000 years. A table of sounds correspondences is given. The literature references are ample, to say the least.

* Jacques B.M. Guy, The incidence of chance resemblances on language comparison, Anthropos 90, 1995, pp. 223-228.
A program is presented that attempts to simulate the mass language comparison process as performed by Greenberg, Ruhlen et al. on random data. The program includes the option to allow semantic shift inside a notion. Parameters of the program are: the number of languages compared, the size of the notion list (called "word list" here), the probability of chance resemblance between two unrelated words, and the size of the semantic domain (the number of subnotions allowed in a notion).
     The result shows that when comparing 20 languages, using a notion list of 200 notions, a resemblance chance of 1/250 and a semantic domain of 8 subnotions per notion, we will find about 80 instances of words attested by 4 languages, 12 attested by 5 languages, 1 by 7 languages and next to zero chance of words attested by more than 7 languages. Other parameter sets yield similar results.
     The author draws the conclusion that "strongly attested, yet spurious resemblances are certain to occur", and that "language comparison based on a small number of different possibles(!) instantiations, such as word order, tonality, etc., are also certain to yield abundant false evidence for classification". Greenberg, Ruhlen, et. al. would probably agree; as far as I can see they use only words that are attested by at least half the languages, and they certainly do not consider word order or intonation as evidence for classification.

* Jacques B.M. Guy, Merritt Ruhlen: On the Origin of Languages, (book review), Anthropos: revue internationale d'ethnologie et de linguistique, vol. 90, #4-6, 1995, pp. 638-639.
Devastating critique of Merritt Ruhlen: On the Origin of Languages. The author's main gripe is lack of explicit methodology.

* Martin B. Atchison, Dobuan Grammar, ed. by Raoul Zamponi, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1995, pp. 56.
Remarkably detailed grammar (36 pages) of Dobuan, followed by 14 pages of "How to Say it Dobuan". Dobuan is a Melanesian language spoken on the islands at the easter-most tip of Papua New Guinea. Its relatedness to Hawaiian can be recognized, but not easily; Dobuan seems more complicated.
     Name: Dobuan
Affiliation: Melanesian / Milne Bay
Location: D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea
Phonetics: all syllables have the form CV; consonants: usual + glottal stop; b, g, k, m, p, and the glottal stop can be labialized in front of a and e; vowels: the usual 5 + some diphthongues.
Nouns: gender/classes: none; number: 2, expressed only when not obvious otherwise; cases: see pre/postpositions. possessor indication: there are 3 levels of possession, just ownership, indicated by possessive pronouns of the i- series (i-gu kedewa = my dog), personal items, using pronouns of the a- series (a-gu masula = my food), and inalienable, using suffixes (deba-gu = my head).
Pre/postpositions: by suffixes; these suffixes also combine with the pronouns: eguya = to me, emuya = to you for the suffix -ya = towards.
Pronouns: ya = I, u = you, i = he, she, it, ta = we (I+you), a = we (we-you), wa = you all, si = they (m), they (f), they (n).
Adjectives: most derive from verbs; they follow the noun, except for the demonstratives.
Verbs: three tenses, past, present, future; the "regular" verb with root R has past R-na, present RR, and future rR, where r is the reduplicated first syllable of R: sapina, sapisapi, sasapi = to hit; the object is suffixed to the verb using the possessive suffixes.
Word order: sentences tend to end in SV, but other parts of speech may surround them.

* Martin Orwin, Colloquial Somali -- A Complete Language Course, Routledge, London, 1995, pp. 295.
Fourteen extensive lessons, each containing a dialog, grammatical explanations, vocabulary, reading and translation exercises and notes. With tables of conjugations (which clearly show its relation to Hebrew) and a 30-page dictionary.

* David Cohen, Dictionnaire des racines sémitiques, (Fascicule 1: '/H - 'TN), Peeters, Brussels, 1994, pp. xxxiv + 36.
Not an etymological dictionary, but does not claim to be one; it is a list of almost exclusively triliteral roots, with their occurrences in the Semitic languages where they exist; occasionally possible Egyptian and/or Berber cognates are given. Much material for study, nothing in the way of analysis; lots and lots of references, though.

* P.J. Hillery, Georgian -- The Kartvelian Literary Language, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1994, pp. 32.
Compact but comprehensive account of the Georgian grammar, with a very accessible treatment of the verb, in 24 pages, all in the Latin alphabet. Next come 5 pages of sample text, in Georgian and in transcription, fully analysed. Material on Old Georgian and a bibliography conclude the book. Unsurprisingly, the print is very small.

* Patrik Bye, Basque the Mysterious, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, ~1994, pp. 33.
Broad and occasionally in-depth information about the Basque dialects, where Batua ("official Basque") is treated as just another dialect. This approach allows some comparisons, but is more often confusing. Includes thoughts about the provenance of the Basques, and affiliation of the language (tentatively Caucasian).
     Name: Basque
Affiliation: unknown
Location: Spain/France
Phonetics: consonants: simple, but x = sh, z = sharp (English) s, s = broad (Spanish) s; vowels: the usual 5.
Nouns: gender/classes: none; number: 2; cases: many (11 to 16), among which an ergative and many location-related ones, as suffixes; possessor indication: using a genitive; nouns are easily formed by suffixes and/or composition, thus limiting the number of roots needed.
Pre/postpositions: covered by the cases.
Pronouns: ni = I, hi = thou, zu = you, hura = he, she, it, gu = we, zuek = you all, haik = they.
Number: 2.
Adjectives: noun + following adjective(s) form a unit to which all suffixes are appended.
Verbs: there are 6 tenses times 4 moods, for a total of 17 combinations. Normally the verb is in an infinitive form, and the auxiliary "to have" or "to be" scoops up subject, indirect object, direct object, tense and mood, all in a single form. This is the basis of the saying "A Basque verb can have 2000 forms", but only the auxiliaries have full conjugations. Only 9 other verbs ("to go", "to take", etc.) have some conjugation. The rest has 4 (regular) infinitives only. The conjugated verbs have different forms for masc. and fem. 2 sg. Using the auxiliary "to be" with a transitive verb constructs a passive form.
Word order: strict, actor (ergative) - indirect object - direct object - infinitive - finite synthetic auxiliary; different, equally strict orders exist for negative sentences and questions.

* Archibald Norman Tucker, A grammar of Kenya Luo (Dholuo), Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Köln, 1994, pp. 626, in 2 vol..
Note: Luo has a complicated phonetic structure and is written in an extended form of the Latin alphabet richly sprinkled with diacritics. The spelling used here is a coarse approximation and should be ignored.
     The language --
Name: Luo, Dholuo = Luo language.
Affiliation: West-Nilotic; it is described as "lacking the exotic features of some of its relatives"...
Location: Near Lake Victoria.
Phonetics: Distinguished between dental d and t (written dh and th) and alveolar (d and t). Has the usual 5 vowels, short and long, but in two "categories", open and closed (raised). The the vowels in the root, which is usually CVCV, are of the same category, and prefixes and suffixes match them (category harmony). Luo has 7 tones in long syllables and 8 in short ones, for a total of 9 tones. This gives 150 combinations, all distinguished in the orthography by using diacritics over (for tone), after (for length), and under (for quality) the five vowel letters.
The tonal pattern of Luo is complicated by Downdrift, the gradual lowering of the pitch through a sentence; and Downstep, a syntactic device that for example marks the transition between subject and imperfect verb.
Pronouns: an = I, in = you, en = he/she/it, wan = we, un = you all, gin = they. Forms without the -n are used as prefixes (for subjects) and suffixes (for objects and possessors).
Nouns: have no gender or cases. They can be modified with one of several prefixes to obtain new meanings: dho-luo = Luo language, ja-luo = Luo person. The possessor is indicated by a suffix: leep = tongue, leew-a = my tongue.
Prepositions also get suffixes: kood = with, kood-a = with me, kood-i = with you, kood-e = with him/her/it, kod-wa = with us, kood-u = with you all, kod-gi = with them.
Verbs can be modified with one of several suffixes to obtain a gamut of related meanings. Verbs have prefixes indicating the subject and suffixes for the object: riinggo = to run, a-riinggo = I run, o-riinggo = he/she/it runs, wa-riinggo = we run, etc. With different tones they mean "I ran", etc. With an object: o-nen-a = he/she/it sees me.
Word order: mainly SVO
     The book -- Meticulous description of the language, with variants and pronouncements on the certainty of some observations, in technical prose, for the specialist. Part 2 contains a thorough analysis of the tones, a more formal grammar and a word list.

* Rossana McKeane, Italian Vocabulary Handbook, Berlitz, Oxford, 1994, pp. 245.
Subject-oriented word lists.

* Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue, New York, Wiley, 1994, pp.
In defense of the broad classification of languages of Greenberg and Ruhlen, for the educated layman. Using tables of about 12 words in about 12 languages, the author guides the reader to classify first the families of the Indo-European phylum, then the languages of Asia (including Yukagir as Uralic), Africa, the Americas. Next the reader can identify the super-phyla Eurasian, Dene-Caucasian, Austronesian and Khoisan, the latter two as phylum-isolates. And finally a table (Table 10) shows that all languages of the world are related. The resulting structure is supported by comparison with population DNA data.
     There is a polemic discussion of why these ideas have not been universally accepted. The obvious reason, difference over acceptable methodology, is mentioned but not pinpointed precisely. What is lacking in this entire discussion is good statistics. Of course there are correlations, but are they significant?

* Vincenzo Lo Cascio, Annelies Kooijman, De taalvos -- Valstrikken in the Italiaanse taal, (in Dutch: The Language Buff -- Pitfalls of the Italian Language), Thomas Rap, Amsterdam, 1994, pp. 96.
Humorous account of pitfalls of the Italian Language for the Dutch, including gestures.

* Dana Gall, Beginner's Romanian, Hippocrene Books, New York, 1994, pp. 105.
[ Type-written ]

* Merritt Ruhlen, On the Origin of Languages: Studies in Linguistic Taxonomy, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Ca., 1994, pp. 342.
A collection of fourteen papers of varying nature and polemic content: considerations about genetic classification in general, in which the enemy is not spared; specific etymology lists of the Khoisan, Yeniseian, Na-Dene and Amerind language families; a world-wide pronoun list and a list of 27 world-wide etymologies, some of which are very convincing; and several papers on Amerind, including some very specific etymologies. All this amounts to large quantities of very interesting data, but it is up to the reader to judge their quality; but then, it always is. Zillions of literature references.

* E.J. Furnée, Etruskisch en Burushaski: vijf opstellen, (in Dutch: Etruscan and Burushaski -- Five Essays), Leiden, The Hakuchi Press, pp. 172. 1993,
Compilation of five earlier essays by the author: Etruscan -- Once More (1990), Four understandable lines of Etruscan? (1991), Burushaski -- Member of a Family? (1991), Prefixing in Proto-Burushaski (1992), and Proto-Tyrrhenian -- Precursor to Etruscan and Lemnian (1992).

* Boyd Robertson, Iain Taylor, Gaelic: A Complete Course for Beginners, Teach Yourself, 1993, London, Hodder & Stoughton,
Recommended by (MC Morrison). This book also comes with two audio tapes.
     B.Lueke ( writes: This is an excellent book for beginners....assumes you know nothing but is very thorough. Comes with two cassettes to accompany the pronunciation exercises in the book. I just recently got this and I'm really impressed with its thoroughness.

* Bernard Leeman, Ongamoi (KiNgassa) -- A Nilotic Remnant of Kilimanjaro, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1993, pp. 20.
In spite of its title, out of the 20 pages of this booklet, 5 pages are about Kanuri (Nilo-Saharan), Luo (West Nilotic) and Karamojong (East Nilotic); 5 are about Nandi (South Nilotic); 4 contain a word list of Ongamoi (again East Nilotic); and 3 are comparative word lists of Chagga (a Bantu language(!)). Each of them interesting enough, but it took me some detective work to find all this out.

* Hoyrup, J., Sumerian: The Descendant of a Proto-Historical Creole? An Alternative Approach to the `Sumerian Problem', 1993, pp. 68.
The author's hypothesis in broad outline is as follows. In the fifth and early fourth millennium BZ the region between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers was marsh land, flooded regularly and was essentially uninhabitable, but the surrounding area was relatively densely populated by miscellaneous tribes. When the sea level dropped in the middle of the fourth millennium, the area became arable, and peoples flooded in from all sides, importing numerous different languages. One tribe happened to be better organizers than the rest and became the ruling class. Each of the other (now lower class) tribes developed a pidgin to communicate with the rules. Around 3000 BZ the ruling class disappeared / was assimilated and the pidgins formed a creole language: pre-Sumerian, which then developed into (post-creole) Sumerian.
     This hypothesis is supported by a careful analysis of the chronology of the development of the written Sumerian language in its first 1000 years. The analysis shows that initially the symbols used in writing were just references to objects and had no phonetic or syntactic function. Only from 2700 BZ onwards the symbols were arranged in the order to be read, and formed sentences.
     The creole aspect is supported by enumerating the criteria for creole languages set up by Mintz (1971), and showing that they are fulfilled by Sumerian. Several creole properties of Sumerian are discussed in depth, e.g. the small lexicon, which is extended by combining notions into more complex notions. The author points out that Sumer was a very religious society, with priests and temples, and still the word for `to pray' is a triple compound: `nose-hands-hold'. This is evidence that Sumerian still had strong creole properties when it was already the state language.
     Unlike most creoles, Sumerian has noun classes: it distinguishes persons from non-persons. Only persons can be subjects, agents, used in the dative case and in the plural, only non-persons can be used in the locative and instrumental, etc.
     The ergativity of Sumerian is discussed extensively, delving into the various theories of its origin, in general and in Sumerian, but the author points out that the question is moot for creoles: when there is no grammaticalized case and no verbal agreement, "ergative" and "nominative-accusative" are indistinguishable.
     Sumerian roots are very simple. Many native place names and words for tools contain comsonant clusters and thus do not fit the structure of Sumerian words. These anomalous terms are, quite hesitantly, explained as remnants of the language of the (disappeared) ruling class.
     This is not an easy paper to read. It exposes many quite complicated ideas, presents them in long sentences, and hardly illustrates them with examples. The author assumes the reader has M.-L. Thomsen's `The Sumerian Language' (1984), D. Bickerton's `Creole Languages' (1981), and several other works close at hand, liberally referring to them by page number and not always telling what they say.

* Jack Halpern, NTC's New Japanese-English Character Dictionary, National Textbook Comp. / Kenkyusha Ltd., Lincolnwood, Ill., 1993, pp. 1992.
Contains 3587 character descriptions. For each character the following information is given in about half a page: The printed character, stroke composition, Chinese version, frequency/radical information, basic meaning, a dozen or so ON compounds, some KUN constructions, synonyms and homonyms, information about usage.
     The access system does not use radicals but is based on the general pattern of the character. An index using radicals is provided. Many other appendices and indices.
     Fewer characters than Nelson and far fewer compounds, but more information on the character itself. More a dictionary of characters than a dictionary of Japanese. A useful addition to Nelson.

* Joseph Biddulph, A Short Ibo Grammar, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1992, pp. 20.
Short but very concentrated sketch of the grammar of Ibo. Tones are explained in the last few pages, but used sparingly elsewhere in the booklet.
     Name: Ibo
Affiliation: Atlantic Niger-Congo (i.e. very remotely related to the Bantu languages).
Location: Nigeria
Phonetics: consonants: usual + gb, kp; vowels: 7: open and closed e and o; tones: 2, high and low.
Nouns: gender/classes: no gender, but can be expressed when needed; number: a few words have a number distinction, but plural can be expressed when needed; cases: none, but many prepositions; possessor indication: juxtaposition or with nke = "of".
Pre/postpositions: Pre.
Pronouns: mu = I, ngi = you, o = he, she, it, ayi = we, unu = you all, fa = they.
Adjectives: a few important ones precede the noun, most follow it.
Verbs: The verb system is three-dimensional: it has tenses: indefinite, present, past, perfect, pluperfect and future; a continuous and non-continuous aspect; and positive or negative. This leads to 12 combinations, each expressed by suffixes to the verb. In addition there is a subjunctive, an irrealis, and a positive and negative imperative. The verb form is not conjugated for subject, except in the first person singular (!); the object pronoun can, however, be suffixed. There is an impersonal, which is used to produce a passive: a-kpò-lu-m = someone call perfect-tense me = I was called.
Word order: SVO
Relative clauses: using na = that, ka = so that, or leaving the particle out, like in English.

* Joseph Biddulph, Meet me at Windhoek: Notes on Four Bantu Languages of Namibia -- Herero, Ndonga, Kwanyama, Dhimba, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1992, pp. 24.
As it says in the title, fairly unsystematic notes on the subject languages.

* E.J. Furnée, Proto-Tyrrheens -- Voorloper van Etruskisch en Lemnisch, (in Dutch: Proto-Tyrrhenian -- Precursor to Etruscan and Lemnian), E.J. Furnée, Den Haag, 1992, pp. 35.
Part I: As a rebuttal to Gordeziani's argument that it is unlikely that Etruscan is related to Kartvelian because K. works with prefixes and E. does not (a dubious argument, it seems to me), the author suggests 10 Etruscan prefixes, used in 20 etyma, and relates them to Proto-Tyrrhenian (closely related to Proto-Kartvelian) forms.
     Part II: A few more Proto-Tyrrhenian to Etruscan sound laws, of which initial z1 → Etr. š seems the most promising.

* E.J. Furnée, Prefigering in het Proto-Burušaski, (in Dutch: Prefixing in Proto-Burushaski), E.J. Furnée, Den Haag, 1992, pp. 37.
The hypothesis is that the Proto-Kartvelian prefix s1a- is represented by s- or l- in Burushaski (as it is represented by sa- or la- in the Kartv. language Svan); (the nature of the Proto-Kartv. s1 series is controversial, but lateral sibilants is not an unreasonable suggestion).
     On the basis of this, initial s- or l- is removed from Burushaski words or stems, and Proto-Kartv. cognates are sought for the remainder. This yields between 45 and 50 etyma.

* Bríd Bean Oireachtaigh, Foclóir -- English-Irish-English Dictionary, C.S. Ó Fallúin, Baile Átha Cliath, 1992, pp. 80.
Entirely in Irish; includes some Irish verb paradigms, for speakers of Irish.

* John J. Torikashvili, Georgian-English English-Georgian Dictionary, (Pocket Dictionary), Hippocrene Books, New York, 1992, pp. 347.
Rather a vocabulary than a dictionary. Georgian-English in Georgian script + transcription, English-Georgian in Georgian script only. No grammar.

* Fred C. Woudhuizen, Linguistica Tyrrhenica: A Compendium of Recent Results in Etruscan Linguistics, Amsterdam, Gieben, 1992, pp. 117.
Actually, an interpretation of existing Etruscan texts based on the hypothesis that it is almost Indo-European (but more removed than Hittite). This yields reasonable translations which, however, deviate from the traditional ones. For one thing, it yields a different mapping for the numbers: zal = 1 (cf. semel), whereas main stream has zal = 2.

* The evolution of human languages: proceedings of the Workshop on the Evolution of Human Languages, held August, 1989 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ed. by John A. Hawkins, ed. by Murray Gell-Mann, Redwood City, Calif., Addison-Wesley, 1992, pp. 361.
Contents: On complex adaptive systems. Complexity and complex adaptive systems / Murray Gell-Mann.
Brain and speech physiology in language evolution. On the evolution of human language / Philip Lieberman
Brain-language coevolution / Terrence W. Deacon
Innateness and function in language universals. / John A. Hawkins
A brief presentation of the generative enterprise / Joseph Aoun
The evolution of linguistic diversity and language families. Preliminaries to a systematic comparison between biological and linguistic evolution / Joseph H. Greenberg
An overview of genetic classification / Merritt Ruhlen
The evolution of complexity in language change. Before complexity / Bernard Comrie
The evolution of linguistic complexity in Pidgin and Creole languages / Suzanne Romaine
Ontogeny and phylogeny. Complexity and language acquisition: influences on the development of morphological systems in children / Elaine S. Andersen.
An approach to the phylogeny of the language faculty / James R. Hurford
Ontogeny and phylogeny: what child language and archaeology have to say to each other / E.J.W. Barber and A.M.W. Peters.

* R.S.P Beekes, L.B. van der Meer, De Etrusken spreken, (in Dutch: The Etruscans speak), Coutinho, Muiderberg, Neth., 1991, pp. 111.
All authors of books on Etruscan have their own limits to the amount of guessing they are willing to do: Kruse (2008) is very conservative, giving very few translations; Facchetti (2000) is quite liberal, with many almost complete translations; the present authors strike a sober middle, with several translations with many dot-dot-dots in them.
     Like Kruse (2008) this book covers the languages of ancient Italy, Etruscan, inscriptions, origins, and a short grammar.

* E.J. Furnée, Burushaski -- Member of a Family?, E.J. Furnée, The Hague, 1991, pp. 16.
With minimal introduction, the author's technique of finding cognates between Basque and Kartvelian (F. 1989) and between Etruscan and K. (F. 1990) is now applied to Burushaski, resulting in 100 etyma. Example: Bu. tham (= king) cmp. Kartv. txem- = head. The list ends with a few etyma between Burushaski and Etruscan, without Kartv. relations. Furnée would have loved the recently determined Etr. un = you, cmp. Bur. un = you.

* E.J. Furnée, Vier begrijpelijke regels Etruskisch?, (in Dutch: Four understandable lines of Etruscan?), E.J. Furnée, Den Haag, 1991, pp. 12.
Attempt to shed light on two Etr. words of unknown meaning by exploiting the Kartvelian hypothesis put forward in Furnée (1990): mur-ce and tlech-e. It is suggested the latter is related to a Kv. stem t.lik. = to run away; mur-ce from Kartv. mo-rc.-a = to become rich. These meanings lead to a reasonable translation of a 4-line Etr. epitaph. In a very terse appendix the author suggests Kv. relatives for dozens of Etr. words; example: Etr. cleva (= sacrificial animal) with Geo. sa-k.lav-i (id.) from stem k.lav (= to slaugher) from root k.l (= to kill).

* Natela Sturua, On the Basque-Caucasian hypothesis, Studia Linguistica, vol. 45, #1/2, 1991, pp. 164-175.
Non-committal inventory of the existing hypotheses.

* Karina Valming, Introduction to Georgian morphology and simple sentence structures, Studia Linguistica, vol. 45, #1/2, 1991, pp. 2-17.
Name: Georgian (Sakartveli).
Affiliation: South-Caucasian.
Location: Georgia, Caucasus.
Phonetics: plosives and affricates have a voiced / glottalized / aspirated opposition. The usual five vowels.
Nouns: have no gender nor class. Plural formed by suffixing -eb. Seven cases: nominative (stative subject), ergative (active subject), oblique ((in-)direct object), genitive, instrumental, adverbial, vocative; all through suffixes. The case system is bizarre: each of the skreeves (see below) has its own case usage; the above indications are a kind of majority vote.
Pre/postpositions: post.
Pronouns: 3 singular + 3 plural. Some verbs distinguish animate and inanimate subjects and/or objects.
Adjectives: follow nouns, and have their own declination.
Verbs: The full verb form consists of: <preverb> <subject/object> <version> <root> <auxiliary> <tense> <subject/object plurality>. <preverb>+<root> determine the meaning, <version> determines the beneficiary (subject, indirect object or otherwise), <auxiliary> is determined lexically by the <root> and the <tense>. As usual, actual usage varies and these are again majority votes. All forms that share the same <preverb>* <version> <root> <auxiliary> <tense>* are together called a skreeve.
Word order: mainly SOV and SVO

* Joseph Biddulph, Lithuanian -- A Beginning, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1991, pp. 24.
As is the case with much of Biddulph's writings, this booklet has several aims. One is to explain the nature of a highly inflecting language to an English-speaking audience; the author states with some amazement / admiration that words like "bigger" and "biggest" have separate form for two genders, three numbers, and seven cases, in spite of already having a suffix. Another is to show the beauty of the Gothic or German blackletter script, in which older Lithuanian texts are printed, and which features amply in calligraphed form in this booklet. And last but not least some aspects of Lithuanian are presented.
     Name: Lithuanian.
Affiliation: Baltic.
Phonetics: consonants: with palatalized versions of most; vowels: five, long and short.
Nouns: 2 genders (masc. fem.), 3 numbers (sing. dual. plur.), 7 cases (nom. gen. dat. acc. voc. instr. loc.).
Pre/postpositions: pre-, but mostly cases.
Pronouns: most with 7 cases: asz = I, tu = you, jis = he, ji = she, mudu = we two (m), mudwi = we two (f), judu = you two (m), judwi = you two (f), més = we, jús = you all, jie = they (m), jos = they (f).
Adjectives: with forms for all genders, numbers and cases.
Verbs: similar in structure to and about as complex as the French verb.
Word order: SVO

* Jan-Olof Svantesson, Språk och skrift i Öst- och Sydöstasien, (in Swedish: Language and Writing in East and Southeast Asia), Studentlitteratur, Lund, 1991, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Provides an introductory survey of the languages and writing systems of East and Southeast Asia. Deals with the geographical distribution of the languages, their linguistic relationships, language structure, and writing systems. Concludes with a brief but helpful and very up to date chapter giving pointers to further reading on the various languages and language families as well as to general works on the languages and writing systems of the world and to relevant bibliographies, in Swedish, English, German, and French.

* George L. Campbell, Compendium of the World's Languages -- Vol. 1. Abaza to Lusatian, Vol 2. Maasai to Zuni, Routledge, London, 1991, pp. 1574.
Covering about 300 languages.

* Robert Parkin, A Guide to Austroasiatic Speakers and Their Languages, Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication No. 23, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1991, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Gives information on classification, number of speakers, intelligibility with related languages, location and culture. Has extensive bibliography and a dozen maps.

* H.A. Maniku, J.B. Disanayaka, Say It in Maldivian, Lake House Investments, Male, 1990, pp. 357.
Delightful little book, mainly about the language, but with lots of cultural and historical information.
Name: Dhivehi (Maldivian).
Affiliation: Indic, closely related to Sinhala.
Location: Maldives.
Phonetics: consonants: retroflex s and l, nasalized b, d, dh, g; vowels: 5.
Nouns: gender/classes: animate/inanimate; number: 2; cases: a few postpositions; possessor indication: magey = me-of = my.
Pronouns: ma = I, tha = you, but also aharen = I, kaley = you, plus a three-level politeness system.
Verbs: no conjugation for person, but tens of modi: "because it is said he may not ...", etc. Verb forms are both finite and participle.
Word order: SOV
Relative clauses: using participles.

* J. M. Sadock, Autolexical Syntax: A Theory of Parallel Grammatical Representations, University of Chicago Press, 1990, pp. 254.
I find it difficult to give a fair summary of this book since I don't particularly like GPSG. My main gripe is that GPSG is so awfully complicated. Since the book regularly explains something and then continues with a phase like "the elucidation of which will also occupy much of what is to follow" (p. 42, bottom), I will only summarize what I understand.
     A traditional CF grammar which is capable of describing a large part of a natural language almost inevitably also generates a lot of garbage. F.e., a grammar which generates 'Fido seems to bark' and 'It seems that Fido barks' almost certainly also generates 'Fido seems that he barks'. To prevent such horrors, Autolexical Syntax proposes three grammars for the production of a sentence: a morphological one, a syntactic one, and a semantic one. For a sentence to be acceptable (= well-formed), the three productions must match somehow. The 'somehow' is the problem, and is the subject of the rest of the book. Why this approach is called 'Autolexical' is not explained; and I have no idea.
     The following shows how two regular expressions and a matching procedure can produce a context-free (i.e. stronger than regular) result. One regular expression is R1 = a^m b^n, the other R2 = (cd)^k; and the matching procedure is that every a should match a c and v.v.; and likewise for b and d. The first requirement forces m=k and the second n=k. So m=n and the system produces a^n b^n, a context-free set.
     Through a similar process the notorious (awkward) Dutch subordinate clause '... dat Jan Piet Marie laat helpen zien' is derived, where R1 is the syntactic component (aaabbb) and R2 the semantic component (ababab).
     The matching criteria are specified in an arcane formalism that is not (sufficiently) explained.
     The bulk of the book examines many language phenomena, often curious ones, and, after shooting down other proposals, shows how they can be interpreted in Autolexical Syntax. Especially clitics are the author's favorites; why doesn't "Haven't you left" expand to "Have not you left" but to "Have you not left"?
     Often the problems solved by Autolexical Grammar seem to me to originate from an upside-down view of the phenomenon. For example, if you take the Russian sentence Fido sabaka (= Fido is a dog) as the basic form, and then claim that the past tense is expressed by a suffix -l, you have no place to put the suffix and you have to bring in "some semantically neutral verb like byt'" (page 36, top) to carry the -l. I prefer the traditional explanation that the present of the copula byt' is ε. (Also, when speaking Hebrew I hear a gap at the place of the ε in my head when I say Bubi kelev = Bubi is a dog.) And calling the English auxiliary verb had in I had not seen him an 'anticipatory clitic' (pg. 67) borders on obfuscation.
     Another example is the Japanese word sugiru, which is described as a "derivational suffix" meaning "excessively" (pg. 125). But it is actually just a verb, meaning 'to overdo', with all the properties of a verb, including a past tense sugita (sample text 80). There is a problem/discrepancy only because English usually translates it using an adverb, 'too', or 'excessively'.
     Probably the point is that if you view these phenomena in this way, they can be given a place in Autolexical Syntax.
     The formalism shows its full strength (morphology, syntax, semantics) in the description of the French particle du, which contracts de and le, even through quotation: Le roi s'amuse => l'auteur du "Roi s'amuse".
     It seems to me that much and perhaps all of this is an application of the theorem from Formal Languages which says that any Type 0 language can be generated as the intersection of two CF languages followed by the application of an erasing homomorphism (Salomaa, Formal Languages, 1973, p. 103).
     In the weird-construction department I missed the illogical English I can't seem to get it right, where it's not the seeming that you can't do but the getting it right; and the similar Finnish talo-ssa-ni = house-in-my = in my house (cf. Hungarian a ház-am-ban = the house-my-in).
     (And the plural of Dutch vlag (= Eng.flag) is vlaggen, not vlagen (p. 187).)

* E.J. Furnée, Nogmaals: Het Etruskisch, (in Dutch: Etruscan -- Once More), E.J. Furnée, Den Haag, 1990, pp. 42.
In a 4-page introduction the author puts forward the hypothesis that the Kartvelian languages, Etruscan, and Basque are related, roughly in the same way as the Keltic languages, Lydian, and Armenian, and suggests that if the latter three were the only remainders of the IE languages, we would experience the same situation as we now have with Kartvelian, Etruscan, and Basque.
     This hypothesis is then supported by 40 lemmata for Etr. words, with their possible Proto-Kv., Georgian/Svan and occasionally Basque relatives. Examples that require little explanation are (1) Etr. sval (= to live), with Geor. sul-i (= soul, ghost), from Proto-Kv. root s1w- = to blow, to breathe, with suffix -al. (36) Etr. tiu (= moon), with Geor. tve (= month). But most have longer explanations.

* Lothar Lutze, Bahadur Singh, Teach Yourself Hindi -- Patterns and Grammatical Notes, Radhakrishna Prakashan, New Delhi, 1990, pp. 92.
Note: This is NOT the TYH from the Teach Yourself series!
This is another example of the idea that a study book need not be a text book. This is a series of teacher's notes, including an 8 page introduction on how to use this book as a teacher. It contains several hundred sets of sentence patterns in Devanagari, with words to substitute; no translation, no transliteration, very little explanation (wide margins, though). Table of contents, no dictionary, no index.

* John L. Hayes, A manual of Sumerian grammar and texts, Malibu, Undena, 1990,
Peter D Banos <> writes:
It uses authentic texts from the first lesson; so much of the corpus is formulaic and repetitive that Hayes can get away with this, using lots of examples of the same sentence pattern, introducing variations gradually so before you know it you've learned a fair amount. And there are lots of illustrations to show how the texts look in their original setting.

* Larissa Bonfante, Etruscan, Reading the Past, British Museum Publications, London, 1990, pp. 64.
Conservative introduction to Etruscan, with a 4-page word list.

* Masayoshi Shibatani, The Languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1990, pp. 411.
Part 1: 85 pages of Ainu grammar. Part 2: some 300 pages of information about Japanese: genetic affiliation (hesitantly Eurasian), history (including information about Old Japanese), lexicon, phonology, dialects (with pitch differences), word formation, and grammatical structure (130 pages).
     Ainu (Classical Ainu and the several modern dialects described here) is a relatively simple language of the agglutinative and incorporating type, with limited morphological and syntactic complexity, unlike the surrounding Japanese and Korean languages. Its main special features are the semantics of the verb and the use of applicative particles.
     The basic meaning of the verbs is static, i.e., verbs describe states. For descriptive verbs this is natural, but for action verbs this means that the basic form has past-tense meaning. This works well with the property that possessive pronouns are the same as subject pronouns; so "This ring - my gift" is indistinguishable from "This ring - I gave", both morphologically and semantically.
     An applicative particle prefixed to a verb changes a noun+preposition into the object of the verb. English has no applicative particles, but uses different verbs (Germanic/Latin) for the feature: "I go with him" (prep.) vs. "I accompany him" (appl.); "We live in this house" (prep.) vs. "We occupy this house" (appl.); "I talked to him" (prep.) vs. "I addressed him" (appl.); etc. Ainu has three applicative particles, e-, which replaces "at" and "with an instrument"; o-, which replaces "towards" and "from"; and ko-, which replaces "to" and "with a person".
     Since only objects can be incorporated in verbs, applicative particles greatly widen the opportunities for noun incorporation: "I talked to the teacher" → (appl.) "I addressed the teacher" → (incorp.) "I teacher-addressed".
     Japanese emerges from the description not as a single language but as a language group consisting of between 30 and 50 mutually unintelligible dialects, which in many cases might as well be called separate languages. For example the East-Japanese kuwana (= do not eat!) is pan in the local dialect/anguage around Kagoshima, through kuwanakwanpan, with kwp. Note that in spite of the name this is not on an island, but on the mainland of Kyushu. This is very reminiscent of the Romance language group, which also contains outliers like Rhaeto-Romance, except that there are no "big" languages like French or Spanish in the Japanese group.
     Japan is full of small regions with various archaic features surrounded by more modern ones, especially south and west of the Japanese Alps. This is explained by assuming that around the year 700 Japan was covered with Old Japanese, and that then innovations spread from the cultural centers, first from Nara and later from Kyoto, leaving islands of the old speech. The innovations were somewhat blocked by the J. Alps, but later some spilled over to Tokyo.

* E.J. Furnée, Urbaskisch und Urkartvelisch -- Indizien für eine Verwandtschaft, (in german: Proto-Basque and Proto-Kartvelian -- Indications of a Relationship), Leiden, The Hakuchi Press, 1989, pp. 201.
Unlike the previous publications of the author, which were concerned with loans and did not imply a relationship, this one is intended to prove a relationship between Basque and the Kv. languages. More in particular, both are claimed to derive from a common language, called Proto-Basque (Urbaskisch) in the book, and apparently supposed to be the same as Proto-Kartvelian; at least it seems to say so on page 21. The split is supposed to have occurred about 5000 to 6000 years ago.
     Since the phonemes of this common language PB-PK (abbrev. mine) are much like those of the Kv. languages (pg. 19, middle), the step from PB-PK to Basque is much larger than that from PB-PK to Kv., and this is reflected in the form of the lemmata, of which there are about 300.
     Each lemma starts with a Basque word, of which the PB-PK form is then given; most of these forms come from Michalena and/or Löpelman. Next the derivation of the present-day Basque form is shown, followed by derivations of the same PB-PK form in the Kv. languages.
     Some rules are surprising/bizarre, for example PB-PK x → Basque rr, but the author gives no less than 15 occurrences. Some lemmata seem to support each other: (62) B. hortz (= tooth) < PB-PK γrdž > Georg. γodži (= canine tooth), and (64) B. hur (= water) < PB-PK γur > Georg. γvar (= to pour). And there is of course (255) B. herri (= land, region) < PB-PK e-r-i > Georg. e-ri (= people). (The actual lemmata are much more extensive.)
     The list contains many basic words, and there are quite a number from agriculture. Only after the research was finished the lemmata were compared to Swadesh's list of the 100 most stable words, and 33 were found to be explained in the book; this suggests the split took place between 7000 and 8000 years ago, which seems much more acceptable than the original author's estimate given above (appendix, pg. 186).

* K. Srinivasachari, Learn Sanskrit in 30 Days, National Integration Language Series, Balaji Publ., 103 Pycrofts Road, Madras, 1989, pp. 212.
Quickly instills some sense of what Sanskrit is, by using a minimal vocabulary and trivial sentences; all text is in Devanagari and transcribed. Spending 30 full days with this book will give you an excellent start for studying Sanskrit for real. Definitely worth its money (1 pound). English-Sanskrit glossary (15 pages), table of contents, no index.

* Étienne Tiffou, Jurgen Pesot, Contes du Yasin -- Introduction au bourouchaski du Yasin avec grammaire et dictionaire analytique, (in French: Tales from Yasin -- Introduction to Yasin Burushaski with Grammar and Analytical Dictionary), AMI 16, Peeters, Paris, 1989, pp. 159.
Assumes that the reader has read Berger's book, and extends it with more and new material. Paradigms given in full, more about vowel lengths, more stories. The dictionary is a word list to the stories only.

* Yves Charles Morin, Etienne Tiffou, Dictionnaire complementaire du Bourouchaski du Yasin, (in French: Supplemenary Dictionary of Yasin Burushaski), Asie et monde insulindien; 17., Etudes bourouchaski; 2., Societe d'etudes linguistiques et anthropologiques de France; 304., Paris, Peeters/SELAF, 1989, pp. 58.
Notes: "Ce dictionnaire veut etre un complement a l'excellent travail lexicologique accompli par Berger (1974) dans sa description du bourouchaski du Yasin"--P. 1. Summaries in French, English, German, and Russian. Includes bibliographical references (p.9) Subjects: Burushaski language -- Dictionaries -- French. Yasin (Pakistan) -- Languages.
     Additions and corrections to the dictionaries of Lorimer and Berger. The main difference with Berger is that the authors take vowel length as significant.

* Pieter van Reenen, Karin van Reenen-Stein, Spatial and Temporal Distributions -- Manuscript Constellations, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 1988, pp. 277.
Contains 15 papers on language variation and 5 about stemmatology, computer-assisted; partly in French.

* Richard Caplice, Introduction to Akkadian, Biblical Institute Press, Rome, 1988, pp. 106.
With fold-out paradigm table.

* Joseph Biddulph, Sango -- An Esperanto of Africa., Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, ~1988, pp. 24.
Sango is an isolating language. It is unusually easy to learn, which has given it its position as the common language of the Central African Republic, although it is the native language of only a small group. The booklet gives a short introduction + a short annotated bible text. The tones are not explained.
     Name: Sängö.
Affiliation: Niger-Congo/Adamawa.
Location: CAR.
Phonetics: consonants: many combinations like kp, mv, ngb; vowels: 7 + 5 nasalized; tones: 3 (H, M, L), Sängö is MM.
Nouns: gender/classes: none; number: none - plural can be indicated by prefixing a-; cases: none - uses prepositions; possessor indication: with preposition ti = "of".
Prepositions: used heavily.
Pronouns: mbi = I, mo = you, lo = he, she, it, ani = we, i = you all, al = they.
Adjectives: indeclinable - common ones precede the noun, other follow it.
Verbs: largely immutable, but get a prefix a- when uses without a pronoun. Tenses and aspects expressed by particles of auxiliary yèké = "to be".
Word order: SVO.

* Florence Abena Dolphyne, The Akan (Twi-fante) language -- its sound systems and tonal structure, Accra, Ghana Universities Press, 1988, pp. 199.
Akan is a South-Central Niger-Congo language spoken in Ghana; it is also known as Twi or Chwee and it is related to Ewe and Yoruba. It consists of three dialects, Akuapem, Asante and Fante. The book analyses and compares the phonetics and grammar of the three dialects extensively, with the aim of explaining the rationale behind the spelling unification of 1978. This spelling adheres almost to the Latin alphabet, except that IPA symbols for open e (ε) and open o (ɔ) are used; tones, of which Akan has two, are not indicated.
     The unification capitalizes heavily on the fact that many phonetic changes in the three dialects are automatic (but different). The unified spelling is to be augmented by a set of reading rules that is different for each of the dialect, and which allows speakers to read the text in their own dialects.
     As is usual in such projects, tones are badly short-sold. It is argued that the tones (which differ more than the rest of the phonetics between the dialects) can be supplied easily by the reader. This leaves us with homographs like ɔnda[LLH] `he does not sleep', and ɔnda[HHH] `he should sleep' (the n is syllabic). The negative optative is however distiguished by a double n: ɔnnda[LLLH] `he should not sleep'.

* Yves-Charles Morin, Etienne Tiffou, Passives in Burushaski, in Passive and Voice, ed. by Masayoshi Shibatani, pp. 493-524. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 1988,
Affirmation and description of passive voice in Burushaski. Most ergative verbs have a passive counterpart. Identification of a pathetive construction. LFG analysis for both phenomena.

* The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology -- The Core Vocabulary of Standard English Produced by American Scholarship, ed. by Robert K. Barnhart and Sol Steinmetz, Bronx, N.Y., H.W. Wilson Comp., 1988, pp. 1284.
More or less narrative entries, which usually stop at Old German or Latin. Very few Indo-European roots.

* Bertil Tikkanen, On Burushaski and other ancient substrata in northwestern South Asia, Studia Orientalia, vol. 64, 1988, pp. 303-325.
The influence of Burushaski, the Indo-Iranian, Tibeto-Burman, Dravidian and Austroasiatic languages on each other is examined in moderate detail. The conclusion is that they together cannot account for more than two thirds of the observed phenomena. Although very carefully worded, the author suggests the existence of an entirely lost substratum in this area.

* Masayoshi Shibatani, Passive and voice, Amsterdam, Benjamins, 1988,
Introductions to and a collection of articles on passive, antipassive, etc., from some twenty languages, including Austrailian languages, Hungarian, etc.

* Joseph Biddulph, Fernandian -- The Bubi Bantu Language of Bioco/Fernando Po, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1988, pp. 24.
The author shows how far Bubi is removed from the mainstream Bantu languages by examining a number of words in a string of languages from Bubi to Zulu; only the personal pronouns are clearly and unequivocally Bantu: na, nne = I, oe = you, boe = he/she (personal class), tue = we, lue = you all (of unclear provenance), ba = they (personal class, plural). The Bantu class system is absent or frozen (i.e. the prefixes, predominantly b- and l-, are just part of the words) in Bubi. Bubi itself consists of several dialects, which seem to differ from each other at least as much as the Scandinavian languages.
See also: National Geographic, Aug. 2008, pp. 68-91.

* Vasudeo Govind Apte, The concise English-Sanskrit dictionary, Sri Satguru Publ. / Indian Books Centre, Delhi, 1988, pp. 360.
No transcription of the Devanagari. Up to date; shows the word for telephone; has a separate section for international terms (bona fide, tète-a-tète, etc.)

* Merritt Ruhlen, A Guide to the World's Languages: Volume 1: Classification; with a postscript on recent developments, Edward Arnold, London, 1991; c1987, pp. 463.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: The most recent reference on language classification. In addition to classification, gives brief histories of classificatory work on the various families. Contains no information on language structure. Should be used with caution at higher levels of classification since Ruhlen accepts the radical views of Joseph H. Greenberg and presents as established such families as Indo-Pacific and Amerind which in fact are extremely controversial and are not generally accepted.

* S. Robert Ramsey, The Languages of China, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1987, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Divided about equally into sections on Chinese and on the minority languages of China. Contains both structural information and information on distribution and classification.

* Frederik Otto Lindeman, Introduction to the 'Laryngeal Theory', Oslo, Norwegian University Press, (Oxford: Distributed by Oxford University Press), 1987,
??? writes: This is a mid-1980s synthesis of the state of our knowledge. It is fairly technical; you should have at least some background in linguistics and the classical languages to appreciate it. However, it is intended as a classroom text for students of Indo-European linguistics, and is one of the books you should read.

* Albert Dauzat, Jean Dubois, Herni Mitterand, Nouveau dictionnaire étymologique et historique, Librairie Larousse, Paris, 1987, pp. 805.
Disappointing, like its English counterpart, in that it stops at Latin and does not make any connection to Indo-European.

* Ekkehart Malotki, Michael Lomatuway'ma, Stories of Maasaw, a Hopi God, Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Ne., 1987, pp. 347.
Sixteen stories plus 80 pages of glossary, all fully bilingual.

* Joseph H. Greenberg, Language in the Americas, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif., 1987, pp. 438.
This work is a collection of four papers of very different sizes and structures rather than a book.
     The first part is concerned with the existence of Amerind as a group. The author points out that if it is our purpose to show the existence of the Indo-European group rather than to set up a genealogy tree or to reconstruct Proto-Indo-European, a small number (say 10) of clearly related words in a large number (say 20) of languages suffice. The forms of the words for one, two, three and tooth in various Indo-European languages show unmistakably that these languages form a group. This method is called the horizontal method as opposed to the vertical method, which compares a small number of languages in depth.
     Using this much less stringent but still sufficient criterion, the author first shows the existence of 11 major stocks in the Americas by listing words common to the members of the stocks. The relationship between these 11 stocks is then proved by showing 281 words that occur in two or more stocks in similar forms; a few words occur in all 11 stocks. A separate section shows 48 morphological features that are common to more than one stock. Two such features are common to all 11 of them: the occurrence of forms with n- for the first person, and that of forms with m- for the second person.
     The second part addresses the so-called "Na-Dené" problem, the question whether Haida is a "Na-Dené" language. The author investigates the imaginary situation in which modern Irish, Albanian and Armenian were the only known Indo-European languages, to find what kind of evidence could still be detected. He then shows that a similar situation obtains between Haida, Tlingit and Athabaskan.
     The third part tries to determine the dates of arrival of the various phylums in the Americas. It suggests that Amerind is related to Eurasiatic and shows a possible structure for Proto-Sapiens.
     The fourth part extends the glottochronological method to more than two languages (actually to four), in spite of the fact that the author claims the glottochronological method is actually too weak to be used.
     The book closes with a full classification of about 1300 Amerind languages and groups.

* Oda Buchholz, Wilfried Fiedler, Gerda Uhlisch, Wörterbuch Albanisch-Deutsch, (in German: Dictionary Albanian-German), VEB Verlag Enzyklop, Leipzig, 1987, pp.
Also contains chapter "Grammatik".

* Francoise Grillot-Susini, Claude Roche, Eléments de grammaire élamite, (in French: Elements of Elamite Grammar), Paris, Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1987, pp. 79.
Nouns: A striking property of the language is the classification of nouns into classes that include the first and second persons: sunki-k = I who am king, sunki-t = you who are king, sunki-r = he who is king = the king, sunki-p = they who are kings = the kings, sunki-me = that which is of the king = kingdom. Such forms are called appellatives. Much of Elamite text consists of this kind of appellatives; adjectives and relative clauses are also appelative constructions.
     Verbs: There is one simple conjugation for the verb, consisting of 3 persons singular and plural, plus 3 compound attributive constructions based on an active participle, a passive participle and an infinitive, loosely speaking.
     Only one numeral is known: ki- = one, of course with the usual ki-k = I alone, ki-r = the one person, etc. The others are known as graphic numerals only.

* Joseph Biddulph, Guide to Visigothic -- An Introduction to the Script and Basic Grammar, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1987, pp. 24.
The first 13 pages are dedicated to a calligraphed exposition of the Gothic alphabet. Next the declinations of a few nouns are given. A much too short 2½ page segment covers the verb, and the booklet concludes with two pages of annotated sentences and one page of the Gospel of St. Mark.
     Name: Gothic.
Affiliation: East-Germanic.
Phonetics: consonants: the usual + kw, hw, th vowels: 5, both short and long.
Nouns: gender/classes: masc., fem., neuter; number: 2; cases: 4, nominative, accusative, genitive and dative; possessor indication: genitive.
Pre/postpositions: pre-.
Pronouns: feature a dualis for 1st and 2nd person: ik = I, thu = you, is = he, si = she, ita = it, wit = we two, yut = you two, weis = we, yus = you all, eis = they (m). iyoos = they (f). iya = they (n).
Adjectives: like nouns, but with weak and strong declensions.
Verbs: many conjugations.

* Hans Joachim Störig, Aberteuer Sprache, (in German: Adventure Language), Langenscheid, Berlin, 1987, pp. 400.
Survey of the languages of Europe (chapters 1-9), of the rest of the world (10-13), and artificial languages (ch. 14). Tells more about the languages than that it shows of them; often lacks detail. Cf. Fischer Lexikon Sprachen (1961).

* Judith Goedbloed, Kompakt Grammatik Niederländisch, (in German), Ernst Klett Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 137. 1986,
Effective, terse summary of the grammar of Dutch, brightened by the sample sentences, which are always on target, and stylistically correct Dutch, which is more than one can say for many other text books on Dutch.

* Kirsten Refsing, The Ainu Language -- The Morphology and Syntax of the ..., Aarhus, Aarhus University Press, 1986, Thesis: University of Copenhagen, 1985, pp. .
hg etage11 TA.10551.- Aanwezig
sci.lang: Kirsten Refsing has written a very good grammar of a now extinct dialect of Hokkaidoo. Kirsten refsing was formerly professor at the University of Copenhagen and last year I heard she is lecturing in Hong Kong. I don't remember the title of her grammar, but it won't be to difficult to find. [DG: Yes, at $1000!]

* The Japan Foundation, Basic Japanese-English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986, pp. 958.
Relatively few (2873) entries, each with elaborate explanation and examples of use. The dictionary is in two columns, the left one giving the Japanese, in characters and in transcription, the right one giving the parallel English translation. As it says on the cover, "easy to use".

* E.J. Furnée, Paläokartvelisch-pelasgische Einflüsse in den indogermanischen Sprachen -- nachgewiesen anhand der spätindogermanisch-griechischen Reflexe urkartvelischer Sibilanten und Affrikaten, (Paleo-kartvelian/Pelasgian Influences in the IE Languages), Leiden, The Hakuchi Press, 1986, pp. 238.
Two-hundred Kartvelian (Georgian + family) roots with their derived stems, leading to etymologies of words in IE languages that lack an IE derivation. Most of these words are found in Greek and the Germanic languages, but some are from Latin, Armenian, Russian, etc. The etymologies are based on the sound shifts described by the author in his doctoral thesis (1972).
Examples are (just from the beginning of the list): (9) Kv zaγwa (= sea) → ProtoGerm. saiγwa = Eng. sea, a well-known non-IE word; (10) Kv z1e-s- (= heavenly, the highest) from Kv z1e (= up) → ProtoGr. dheso- → Gr. theos = god, which is known not to be related to Latin deus (z1 is the z from the ProtoKv. middle series of sibilants); (16) Kv sw-ar- (= dirty, black) from Kv sw- (= to spread grease etc.) → Goth. swarts, Germ. schwarz = Eng. black, another famous word without IE background. (Did the author miss (9) Kv zi-k- (= feeling sick) from Kv zi- (= to vomit etc.) → Eng. sick, Dutch ziek = ill, yet another word without IE background? DG)
Note that this says nothing about a relatedness between Kartvelian and Indo-European: all these words are solid Kv. words and are considered loans in IE. The author points out that there are no IE loans in Kv.; also his sound shifts are one-way only.

* William A. Foley, The Papuan Languages of New Guinea, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Contains both structural descriptions of Papuan languages and information on classification and prehistory.

* T.F. Hoad, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986, pp. 552.
Meager, but admittedly better than nothing. Gives relationships inside Germanic, but hardly ever outside of it. No Proto-Indo-European references.

* Henri Rinnen, Will Reuland, Kleines Deutsch-Luxemburgisches Wörterbuch, (in German: Small German-Luxemburgish Dictionary), Sankt-Paulus Druckerei, Luxemburg, 1986, pp. 178.
Includes orthography guidelines.

* Sakae Saito (??), Dictionary of foreign words to facilitate the Japanese, Saburo, 1986, pp. 469.
All-Japanese dictionary of foreign, mostly English, words, in katakana, explained in Japanese.

* Van Dale Groot Woordenboek Nederlands-Engels, (in Dutch: Van Dale's Major Dictionary Dutch-English), Van Dale Lexicografie, Utrecht, 1986, pp. 1560.
The first serious Dutch-English dictionary (after Jansonius). With grammar.

* Elena Bashir, Toward a semantics of the Burushaski verb, in Conference on Participant Roles: South Asia and Adjacent Areas, ed. by Arlene K. Zide, David Magier, Eric Schiller, pp. 1-32. Bloomington, Indiana, IULC, 1985,
??? writes: Bashir ascribes some predictable features of Burushaski nominal and verbal morphology to semantic parameters such as degree of activity (of verbs and of actors), relative affectedness (of actors), and state/process- vs. actor-oriented verbal conceptions.

* New Concise English-Japanese Dictionary, Sanseido, 1985, pp. 1362.
For Japanese speakers.

* Joseph Biddulph, Bornuese for Beginners, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, ±1985, pp. 24.
This completely handwritten booklet describes 19th-century Kanuri. Kanuri is a West-Saharan language, very remotely related to Luo; it is called Bornuese in the title because it was the language of the Bornu kingdom (±1400-1893). Nouns have no gender, and have a Hungarian-like conjugation: the function of a noun is indicated by a "case" suffix, -bee for the possessor, -gaa for the object, -roo for the indirect object, etc. Like in Latin and German, verbs can govern such cases: sobaantsu-roo digɨrtsɨgin = [to] his friend he praises. The is an -optional- suffix, -yee, for the subject too, which is unusual. Possessive pronouns are suffixes, as in Hungarian, and can be followed by case endings.
     Pronouns: wu = I, ni = you, shi = he/she/it, andi = we, nandi = you all, sandi = they.
     The verb is marked for mode (active, causative, reflexive, and relative(?)), tense (stative, present-continuous, past-punctual, past-continuous, future), subject, object, and negation, all expressed by particles around the stem, in very irregular patterns. Often particles are modified by phonetic changes. The text gives many verb forms, but without analysis, and the analysis is by no means always obvious.
     Four and a half pages of annotated Bornuese text and a short vocabulary conclude the booklet. Unlike Luo Kanuri shows little or no traces of Semitic influence.

* Joseph Biddulph, An Introduction to Luo, with Brief Remarks on Acoli, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1985, pp. 20.
Luo is a West-Nilotic language. It can structurally best be described as Hebrew-like without triliteral roots. Of course the language, being Nilo-Saharan, is not noticeably related to the Afro-Asiatic Hebrew, but the structural similarity is striking; every turn one takes one finds things to recognize. The vocabulary is totally un-Semitic; the Semitic words in Luo are obvious loans ("malaika" - angel, "dhahabu" - gold, "roho" - spirit).
     The noun has an absolute and a construct state, singular and plural, and is declined for possession by suffixing the personal object endings; the absolute often has a somewhat different stem than the declined forms. There is no gender in Luo.
     The conjugated verb form consists of a subject prefix, a tense infix, the stem, a mode suffix and optionally an object suffix. Relative clauses are marked by a prefix "ma-/mo-" on the verb, forming very Hebrew-like words, e.g., "motho" - dead = who died, from "tho" - to die. Many adjectives are of this type.
     For a complete description see "A grammar of Kenya Luo (Dholuo)", by A.N. Tucker (1994).

* Joseph Biddulph, Introduction to Bushman, Joseph Biddulph Publisher, Pontypridd, Wales, 1985, pp. 20.
Starts with four pages on the structure and phonetics of the Khoisan language family. Next comes a 13-pages introduction to the Northern Khoisan language Tshumkwe !Kung, based on a translation of the Gospel according to Mark in that language. Tshumkwe !Kung is, like most Northern Khoisan languages, an isolating monosyllabic language, almost like Chinese. It has a general connective particle -a- used to connect a possessor to the possessed, thus producing a pseudo-genitive; to connect a noun to the verb of a relative clause (±"which"); to connect a verb to its indirect object, which immediately follows the verb; and often to connect an adjective to a noun. Tshumkwe !Kung has tones, but these are not indicated in the text, since regrettably none were given in the gospel translation. A three-pages comparison of the closely related Ekoko language concludes the booklet.

* P. David Seaman, Hopi dictionary -- Hopi-English, English-Hopi, grammatical appendix, Northern Arizona University anthropological paper; no. 2., Dept. of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz., 1985, pp. 603.
See Revised Edition, 1996.

* Alice C. Harris, Diachronic syntax: the Kartvelian case, Syntax and semantics; vol. 18, Orlando, Academic Press, 1985, pp. 463.
Thesis-like historical reconstruction of the Series I and and Series II screeves and the cases they govern, based on data from Old Georgian, Laz and Svan, partly from field research by the author; no Modern Georgian. The reconstruction is based on a set of Demotion Rules for the various operands.

* Ann Kathleen Farmer, Modularity in Syntax -- A Study of Japanese and English, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1984, pp. 238.
Standard Theory considers the syntax of a language as a monolithic block. The author discerns more or less independently operating modules in the syntax of Japanese and possibly of English. As usual with modularity, she achieves simplification in doing so, it seems. Most ideas are expressed in examples only. I don't understand it well enough to comment; not for the faint of heart.

* Van Dale Groot Woordenboek Frans-Nederlands, (in Dutch: Van Dale's Major Dictionary French-Dutch), Van Dale Lexicografie, Utrecht, 1984, pp. 1579.
The first serious French-Dutch dictionary. With grammar.

* Boutros Hallaq, Arabe -- 40 Leçons, Les langues pour tous, Presses Pocket, Paris, 1984, pp. 290.
All new words in transcription; writing exercises.

* Henry R. Stern, Essential Dutch Grammar, Dover, New York, 1984, pp. 107.
Excellent booklet on the Dutch language, with very few mistakes. Highlights the main points and goes beyond that. With one or two exceptions all examples are normal, colloquial Dutch, stylistically correct.
     Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the word "Dutch" on the cover in *Gothic* letters should have his/her head examined.

* K.D. Schönfeld Wichers, Woordenboek Twents Nederlands, Stichting voor Oud-Twentse Volkstaal, Rijssen, 1983, pp. 343.
Describes the Rijssen dialect.

* Joseph Biddulph, Guide to Ge`ez, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, 1983, pp. 20.
A two-page sketch of the Ge`ez (Amharic) alphabet, unvocalized, followed by 26 transliterated and translated sentences + the Lord's Prayer. The other 14 pages contain the extracted Ethiopic contents of Genesius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon.

* Michel Malherbe, Les languages de l'humanité -- une encyclopédie des 3000 langues parlées dans le monde, (in French: The Languages of Mankind -- An Encyclopaedia of the 3000 Languages Spoken in the World), Seghers, Paris, 1983, pp. 443.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: An encyclopedia of 3000 languages from all over the world.

* Irish-English English-Irish Dictionary and Phrase Book, Hippocrene Books, New York, 1983, pp. 72.
[ Pronunciation in English approximation ]

* Ägyptisch-Arabisch, Langenscheidts Sprachführer, Langenscheidt, Berlin, 1983, pp. 208.
With full Arabic script and full transcription.

* Ekkehart Malotki, Hopitutuwutsi = Hopi Tales: a Bilingual Collection of Hopi Indian Stories, University of Arizona Press, 1983, pp. 213.
English and Hopi. Narrated by Herschel Talashoma; recorded and translated by Ekkehart Malotki; illustrated by Anne-Marie Malotki.

* Kenkyusha's New Little Japanese-English Dictionary, (4th Edn.), (Pocket Dictionary), Kenkyusha, Tokyo, 1983, pp. 599.
Intended for a Japanese-speaking audience; preface and instructions in Japanese. Each lemma contains the Japanese word in hiragana or katakana with accent, the kanji version, the English translation, and constructions with the word in kanji only.

* E.J. Furnée, Georgisch-vorgriechische, georgisch-vorromanische und georgisch-vorindogermanische Materialien, Beiträge zur georgischen Etymologie, vol. 1, 1982, Peeters, Leuven, pp. 1-87.
In a sense somewhat of the reverse of Furnée 1979. Etymologies of: 1. non-Kv Georgian words with relations in 1a. Greek (58 words; e.g. abzinda (Eng. absinth)); 1b. Roman (8 words; e.g. k.ap.ano = big boat (Fr. cabane = hut)); 1c. other IE languages (12 words; e.g. lat.ani = long thin rod (Germ. Latte = slat)); 2. genuine Kv words with relations in IE (11 words; e.g. = worm (Germ. Made = maggot)).

* Howard I. Aronson, Georgian -- A Reader, Slavica, Columbus, Ohio, 1982, pp. 526.
Extensive description of the language, with much reading material and exercises. Seems an excellent course book. Georgian text is always (and after the fifth chapter exclusively) in Georgian script, which makes it less useful as a reference grammar. In 15 decidedly non-trivial lessons, with 37 pages of vocabulary.

* Etienne Tiffou, Yves-Charles Morin, A Note on split ergativity in Burushaski, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 45, pp. 88-94. 1982,
Data regarding stress and vowel length, phonological aspects often missed by Lorimer in his transcriptions, reveal that the ergative split in Burushaski is much narrower (at least for the Hunza dialect) than Lorimer believed it to be. Ergative case is the norm for transitive subjects, but first and second person pronouns show a split in the future tense.

* Kenkyusha's New Little English-Japanese Dictionary, (4th Edn.), (Pocket Dictionary), Kenkyusha, Tokyo, 1982, pp. 566.
Intended for a Japanese-speaking audience; preface and instructions in Japanese. Each lemma contains the English word with pronunciation, with translation or explanation in Japanese (kanji).

* Vic Abens, Rieden op lëtzebuergesch -- eng nei Kollektioun mat Texter op lëtzebuergesch, (in Luxemburgish: Speeches in Luxemburgish -- A New Collection with Texts in Luxemburgish), Haffdréckerei Victor Buck, Lëtzebuerg, 1982, pp. 119.
Twentysix speeches in Luxemburgish, mostly concerned with local politics.

* Rumsey, A., An Intra-Sentence Grammar of Ungarinjin: North-Western Australia, 1982, pp. 193.
Ngarinjin (also Ungarinjin) is a non-Pama-Nyungan language, and correspondingly complex.

     Ngarinjin personal pronouns: 1st: lsg: ŋin; 2sg: njaŋan.

* R.E. Asher, Tamil, Lingua Descriptive Series, North-Holland Publ., Amsterdam, 1982, pp. 265.
Detailed description of colloquial Tamil, in Latin transcription.

* M.S. Beeler, Venetic Revisited, in Bono Homini Donum, ed. by Y.L. Arbeitman, 1981, pp. 65-72.
After summarizing all arguments on the question whether Venetic is closely related to Latin or is a separate branch of PIE, the author concludes that the evidence is contradictory: the identical and specific treatment of the aspirates in Latin and Venetic prove that they are closely related, but the lexicon shows that Oscan and Umbrian are much closer to Latin than Venetic is, but they don't share the specific treatment of the aspirates.
     It is clear that the tree model does not work here, but the problem is worse: what was the mechanism that led to this situation? Once we know the mechanism, the model will follow.

* George Dunkel, Typology versus Reconstruction, in Bono Homini Donum, ed. by Y.L. Arbeitman, 1981, pp. 559-569.
Strongly opposes the view that the reconstruction of PIE should coute que coute conform to typological standards, on the grounds that typology only summarizes what has been observed, and cannot deal with what could be. So, if reconstruction says that PIE had a series p, b, bh, then that reconstruction cannot be overthrown by typological considerations.

* Cyrus H. Gordon, The Semitic Language of Minoan Crete, in Bono Homini Donum, ed. by Y.L. Arbeitman, 1981, pp. 761-782.
Shows many examples of Eteocretan fragments that can be interpreted as some form of North-West Semitic. An example from a bilingual is: ihia = 'it will be' (Hebr. yhiye), corresponding to Greek genoito = 'let there be'; another, from Linear A: su-pa-la next to a picture of a cup (Hebr. sefel). But ΣΦA is equated to Hebr. sheva' = seven, which seems to be stretching it a bit. One could also point out that the Minoan (= Linear A) a, i, and u look believably like an ox (aleph), a hand (yad), and a hook (waw), resp.
     Full transcriptions of the Minoan (Linear A) and Greek (± 500 B.C.) texts would be needed to be convincing (or is the reader expected to just be able to read both?)

* Benjamin Schwartz, The Phaistos Disk Again?, in Bono Homini Donum, ed. by Y.L. Arbeitman, 1981, pp. 783-799.
Resumé of the author's papers of 1959 concerning the Phaistos disk. We compare the decipherment to that of S.R. Fischer (Glyphbreaker). 1. They both read the disk in the same direction: outside-in, from right to left. 2. S. assumes it to be a stamp, so the actual pictures are mirrored; F. takes them on face value. 3. Both agree that is a syllabary. 4. Both agree that the language is Proto-Greek. 5. Both assume the script is related to Linear A/B. 6. S. bases the character values mainly on first-middle-last frequency distribution; F. uses several techniques(see Glyphbreaker), among which using the first syllable of the (Proto-)Greek word for the depicted object. 7. In the end they agree on only two characters, PD 12 = qe and PD 35 = te, and a half, PD 01, where S. has ro and F. has ri. 8. According to S. the disk is a "a Baedecker's Guide to some of the holy places in Greece"; F. arrives at the conclusion it is a call to arms against the Carians. 9. They somehow seem to agree that it is a "shopping list".

* Bernard Comrie, The Languages of the Soviet Union, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Contains both structural information and information on the distribution and classification of the languages.

* Yoël Arbeitman, The Hittite is thy Mother, in Bono Homini Donum, ed. by Y.L. Arbeitman, 1981, pp. 761-1016.
Book-size article, arguing/proving that the Hittites from the bible are the same as the Hittites from linguistics.

* Battus, Opperlandse taal- & letterkunde, (in Dutch: Upperlands linguistics and literature), E.M. Querido, Amsterdam, 1981, pp. 203.
Word games, nonsense verse, etc. of the Dutch and un-Dutch language.

* David W. McAlpin, Proto-Elamo-Dravidian: The Evidence and Its Implications, American Philosophical Soc., Philadelphia, 1981, pp. 155.
Starts with a 40 page introduction to Dravidian, followed by a 27 page introduction to Elamite. Part of the evidence is based on 81 lexical entries of Proto-Elamo-Dravidian, from which the Dravidian and Elamite representatives are derived by more or less solid phonetical correspondences. Given the shortness of both Dravidian and Elamite roots, some are not too convincing (PED it.- = to put → E. ta-, Dr. it.-, both to put), but many are stronger. The other part of the evidence, the endings ("morphological etyma"), however, is fully convincing: the appellative endings are (Proto-Elamite / Proto-Dravidian): sing.: -k0/-k0, -t0/-ti, -r0/-anr0; plur. -un(k0)/-kum, ?/-tir, -p(0)/-pa; and the isolated pronouns are only slightly less good. This alone seems evidence enough to me.
     Futhermore, an attempt is made to determine the position of Brahui in the Proto-Elamo-Dravidian tree: is it (Elamite Brahui) Dravidian, Elamite (Brahui Dravidian), or (Elamite) (Brahui) (Dravidian)? The author's conclusion is that not enough Elamite is known to decide the question; for the moment three independent branches seems to be the best working hypothesis.
     Some implications of the common vocabulary for the prehistory of South-Asia are pointed out, mainly that PED has words for goat herding.

* Alice C. Harris, Georgian Syntax: A Study in Relational Grammar, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1981,
Uses the weird properties of Georgian grammar to test the hypothesis, provided by relational grammar theory, that subject, object and indirect object are basic terms in any language, regardless of appearances. Although the book provides much insight, the style is quite argumentative, which makes one suspicious. The usual technique is to examine a number of language phenomena (of which there are enough in Georgian!), to generalize a rule from them, then to move to another language feature and to apply the rule to it. Perhaps this is good methodology but it makes the layman worry what would have happened if the features were considered in a different order.

* McConvell, P., How Lardil Became Accusative, 1981, pp. 39.
Almost all Australian languages are ergative, but there are two small regions of accusative Australian languages: one around Roebourne on the north-west coast, and one about a 1000 km further to the east on Wellesley Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Those around Roebourne have acquired their accusative structure recently, but the ones on Wellesley Island are considered by Hale (1970) as possible remnants of the proto-Australian language. This paper shows in detail how Lardil, one of the Wellesley Island languages, became accusative from being ergative originally, thus refuting Hale's suggestion that Lardil may be an ancestral accusative language.
     The argument follows from the close relationship between Lardil and Yukulta, a (mainly) ergative language spoken on the Gulf coast adjacent to Wellesley Island. Both are members of the Tangic family (which is non-Pama-Nyungan).
     The paper features introductory grammars of Yukulta and Lardil (8 pages each). Next Hale's arguments for an Ancient Australian Accusative language are examined in the light of these two grammars. Finally, using the grammar of Yukulta as that of proto-Tangic, a scenario is sketched showing how Lardil became accusative.
     Tangic personal pronouns: 1sg: ngi-; 2sg: nyi-.

* H. Schuurkes, G. Germeyan, Turks voor beginners, (in Dutch: Turks for Beginners), Educaboek, Tjeenk Willink/Noorduijn, Culemborg, 1981, pp. 100.
Turkish for Dutch beginners; simple but good.

* Wolfgang Hadamitzky, Lehrbuch und Lexikon der Japanischen Schrift -- Kanji und Kana, (in German: Text Book and Lexicon of the Japanese Script -- Kanji and Kana), Langenscheidt, Berlin, 1986, c1980, pp. 385.
Large versions of the 1945 tooyoo kanji, with stroke order and direction, ON, KUN, meaning and 5 compounds which use earlier kanji only, seven to a page. The layout of the entries is such that parts can be covered for various self-tests. Use and construction of the kana and kanji is discussed. With (limited) lists of radicals, and kanji indexes according to radicals, stroke count and reading.

* Rudi Kousbroek, Sarah Hart, Wat moet ik zeggen en Hoe zeg ik het in het Kats, (in Dutch: What to say in Cat and How to say it), De Harmonie, Amsterdam, 1980, pp. 85.
Hilarious Dutch-Cat Phrase Book. Example: "Have you got any brothers or sisters?" => "Dount tellme therare morevyou".

* Peter M. Bergman, The Basic English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary, New American Library, New York, 1980,
A list of "1000 most useful words", in various listings; not a dictionary.

* Adolf Friedrich Stenzler, Elementarbuch der Sanskrit-Sprache -- Grammatik, Texte, Wörterbuch, (in German: Elementary Text Buch of the Sanskrit Language -- Grammar, Texts, Dictionary), Berlin, De Gruyter, 1980, pp. 122.
A compendium of paradigms, rules and ligatures using the traditional Panini approach, rather than a text book. No transcription, no exercises. Not for the faint of heart; this is excellent support material for the very serious student, though. Sanskrit-English dictionary (30 pages), minimal table of contents, no index.

* Victor Golla, Some Yokuts-Maidun comparisons, in American Indian and Indoeuropean studies, ed. by Kathryn Klar, ed. by Margaret Langdon, ed. by Shirley Silver, Trends in Linguistics, #16, Mouton, The Hague, 1980, pp. 57-65.
108 proto-Yokuts-Maidun roots are given, with their forms in various languages, to support the claim that Yokuts and Maidun are more closely related to each other than to the other Penutian languages.

* Mary R. Haas, Notes on Karok internal reconstruction, in American Indian and Indoeuropean studies, ed. by Kathryn Klar, ed. by Margaret Langdon, ed. by Shirley Silver, Trends in Linguistics, #16, Mouton, The Hague, 1980, pp. 67-76.
Hundreds of seemingly monolithic Karok verb stems are decomposed in an instrumental prefix and a root, e.g. 'aktif `to shove aside', from 'ak- `with the hands', and =tif `to move aside'. This has two purposes: to facilitate comparison of Karok to other Hokan languages, and to construct new verb stems based on these components and ask Karok speakers if they exist.

* Marc Okrand, Rumsen II: An evaluation of reconstruction, in American Indian and Indoeuropean studies, ed. by Kathryn Klar, ed. by Margaret Langdon, ed. by Shirley Silver, Trends in Linguistics, #16, Mouton, The Hague, 1980, pp. 170-182.
In 1957, Broadbent designed methods to compare and cross-relate historical material on extinct languages to squeeze out the last drop of information; she applied these methods to Rumsen, a southern Costanoan language. Later, a large amount of data recorded earlier by Harrighton became available. The present article compares the results of Broadbent with the newly discovered material and find Broadbent's reconstruction largely confirmed.

* Jesse O. Sawyer, The non-genetic relationship of Wappo and Yuki, in American Indian and Indoeuropean studies, ed. by Kathryn Klar, ed. by Margaret Langdon, ed. by Shirley Silver, Trends in Linguistics, #16, Mouton, The Hague, 1980, pp. 209-219.
The author shows that the fairly evident relationship between Wappo and Yuki is an optical illusion: Wappo and Yuki are not closely related but have exchanged a large number of words in the past. 1. Correlation between long words is much higher than between short words; 2. Often such longer words are analysable in one language and seem primitive in the other. A relationship with a much greater time depth is of course still possible.

* William Shipley, Rumsen derivation, in American Indian and Indoeuropean studies, ed. by Kathryn Klar, ed. by Margaret Langdon, ed. by Shirley Silver, Trends in Linguistics, #16, Mouton, The Hague, 1980, pp. 237-244.
Rumsen has a di- and triliteral root system strongly reminiscent of the Semitic languages, in which the meaning of the stem derives from insertion in the root and/or doubling of its consonants. Some twenty `themes' are identified.

* Robert W. Young, William Morgan, The Navajo Language: a Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1980, pp. 471+1069.
A revision and expansion of the authors' `The Navaho language and A vocabulary of colloquial Navaho'.

* Qudratullah Beg, Burushaski qa'idah aur huruf-i tahajji = Burushaski base harputs fas mamimiyen, 1980, Rawalpindi, Karina Printers, pp. 22.
A primer of the Burushaski language for Urdu speakers. In Burushaski (romanized) and Urdu.

* J. Buitkamp, Zo leer je Hebreeuws, (in Dutch: This is the way to learn Hebrew), Spectrum, Prisma 1903, 1980, pp. 198.
Unlike its companion "Hebreeuws op reis" (1975) this is a solid text book(let) on Modern Hebrew. The Hebrew text is stiff but not clumsy, and was already old-fashioned when the book was printed, but the explanations are clear and the examples good.

* E.J. Furnée, Vorgriechisch-Kartvelisches -- Studien zum ostmediterranen Substrat nebst einem Versuch zu einer neuen pelasgischen Theorie, Louvain, Peeters, 1979, pp. 65.
Etymologies of a hundred non-IE Greek words found in the Kartvelian languages, 50 of which have solid Kv. etymologies and 50 of which have not, with an introduction that ties them together.

* Ronald W. Langacker, Studies in Uto-Aztecan Grammar -- Vol 2: Modern Aztec Grammatical Sketches, Summer Institute of Linguistics / University of Texas, Dallas, 1979, pp. 380.
Concerns four Nahuatl dialects: Tetelcingo, North Puebla, Huasteca and Michoacán.

* Desmond C. Derbyshire, Hixkaryana, Lingua Descriptive Series, North-Holland Publ., Amsterdam, 1979, pp. 199.
Hixkaryana is a Carib language spoken in northern Brasil.
Nouns: no cases; no gender; possessor prefixed on possessed, which is also marked with a constant suffix; postpositions.
Pronouns: various combinations, e.g. we, we+you-them, we-you+them.
Number: group indication.
Adjectives: don't exist, but adverbs do, in plenty; additional properties of a noun are expressed by choosing an appropriate verb and modifying it with an adverb.
Verb: subject and object prefixed; tense and aspect suffixed; one irregular verb: `to be'.
Basic word order: OVS (although the sample sentences give the inpression that subjects are often only mentioned as an afterthought).
Relative clauses: don't exist, gerunds are used instead.

* B.G. Hewitt, Abkhaz, Lingua Descriptive Series, North-Holland Publ., Amsterdam, 1979, pp. 283.
Abkhaz is a North-west Caucasian language, spoken near the eastermost coast of the Black Sea. It has 53 consonants (normal, glottalized, voiced, labialized or palatalized, on seven positions in the mouth) and two vowels. Nouns: no cases; no gender; possessor prefixed on possessed; postpositions. Pronouns: 1 sing., pl.incl, pl.excl.; 2 sing.masc, sing.fem, pl.incl, pl.excl; 3 sing.masc+non-human, sing.fem, pl. Number: sing./pl.human/pl.non-human. Adjectives: they are verbs. Verbs: consist of a preverb and a root; object, indirect object, preverb and subject are prefixed to the root, in that order; various tense and aspect particles are inserted between the indirect object and the end of the verbal complex; no irregular verbs, but a few phonetic transformations apply. Word order: basically SOV, although any order is allowed. Relative clauses: marked by a special pronoun in the verb: he-sits/who-sits.
     Abkhaz personal pronouns: 1sg: sara; 2masc: wara; 2fem: bara.

* Ekkehart Malotki, Hopi-Raum -- Eine sprachwissenschaftliche Analyse der Raumvorstellungen in der Hopi-Sprache, (in German: `A linguistic analysis of space representations in the Hopi language'), Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen, 1979, pp. 406.
Whereas English has only two built-in location words, `here' for things near the speaker and `there' for things elsewhere, Hopi has some 42 words, including words for `in the north' and `at the foot of the mesa'. Each of them can occur in three motion forms, indicating `at', `towards' and `away from', orthogonally combined with three field forms (`in a point', `diffusely over a field' and `in the middle of') and again distinguished for `normal distance' and `extreme distance'. This book analyses the concepts and gives some 1800 (numbered) examples. Includes an exhaustive list of Hopi endings.

* Jul Christophory, Who's Afraid of Luxembourgish? / Qui a peur du luxembourgeois? -- Bilingual Guide to Luxembourgish Conversation, Bourg-Bourger, Luxembourg, Lux., 1979, pp. 130.
In spite of its corny title, a thorough booklet, including grammar, word lists, sentence lists, exercises, etc. Most of the format is trilingual columns of the type "Deeg vun der Woch" / "Jours de la semaine" / "Days of the week", with grammatical annotations. Literature lists and references to more advanced books.

* Lyle Campbell, Marianne Mithun (Eds.), The Languages of Native America: Historical and Comparative Assessment, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1979, pp. 1034.
Seventeen papers about the state of the art in research in native American language families. Little information about the languages themselves.

* Ellen Schauber, The Syntax and Semantics of Questions in Navajo, Thesis MIT Cambridge, Mass., Garland Publ., New York, N.Y., 1979, pp. 313.
Proves the existence of unbounded forward movement in WH-questions. Makes use of extremely complicated examples.

* Beijing Foreign Languages Institute, The Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 1984; c1978, pp. 976.
The translation of Chinese characters is mostly in complete sentences (of a decidedly Peoples Republic flavour!).

* Donegan, P.J., On the Natural Phonology of Vowels, (thesis), 1978, pp. 170.
Original and interesting approach to vowels, in which the vowels are characterized by the processes they are involved in (fortition/lenition, raising/lowering, lengthening/shortening, bleaching/coloring), rather than by features. It is argued that these processes are natural in that they follow from the form and movements of the vocal organs, and that such natural processes form a better way to think about vowels. Examples from all over the world: Irish, Fe'fe', Texan American (often from personal observation), children's British English, etc. Extensive discussion of chromaticity.

* H.F.A van der Lubbe O.F.M., Woordvolgorde in het Nederlands, (in Dutch: Word Order in Dutch), Van Gorkum, Assen, 1978, pp. 377.
A famous work, but more limited than the title suggests: the subject is the order of words within a word group, rather than the order of word groups in a Dutch sentence, which is so confusing to foreigners. So it analyses and and answers questions like why one says "beautiful red flowers" rather than "red beautiful flowers" (the adjectives are ordered from most subjective to most objective).
     Many examples are analysed in minute detail and ordered in a taxonomic structure. A striking example is that one can say "met een garage opzij", "met opzij een garage", "zonder een garage opzij", but not "zonder opzij een garage" (= with/without a lean-to garage) (no explanation given, as far as I can see).
     The subtitle, "A Synchronous Structural Dissertation", is taken literally: no attempt is shown to explain anything from a historic viewpoint. The book is written in a meticulous but sometimes heavy Dutch.

* W. Sidney Allen, Vox Latina -- A Guide to the Pronunciation of Classical Latin, (2d ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1978, pp. 132.
Motivated account of our knowledge of the pronunciation of classical Latin, especially geared to the speaker of English. There is a lot of information about the pronunciation of Latin: the Romans themselves wrote about it, they made puns and mocked "funny" accents, they copied Greek words phonetically, they made spelling errors, etc. All this information is collated and analyzed.
     Salient points: -- Most sounds are like in Italian, except that vowel length must be distinguished; a chapter is dedicated to explain the methods by which vowel lengths (not indicated in Latin writing) were reconstructed. -- c is always pronounced k, far into the 4th century A.D. -- Double consonants are pronounced long, as in Italian. -- p, t, and c were unaspirated or lightly aspirated; ph, th and ch (Etruscan influence) were aspirated, not fricatives (not like in Eng. "photo", "think" and "loch"). -- The h was on its way out; it was even spelled ch for emphasis by the 3rd century A.D.: michi for mihi. -- qu and gu are single sounds, labio-velars, not composites as in Eng. or It. -- ae is as in Eng. "high", au is as in Eng. "how"; the pronunciation of ae as long e and of au as long o is rural, not a development of Roman Latin. -- There was an "intermediate vowel", shwa-like, sometimes written i and sometimes u: consul / consilium. -- Many contractions happened at vowel junction; a complete chapter is dedicated to them. -- Accent is a stress accent (Italian-style, not the heavily centralized Eng. stress accent); the Romans themselves described it as pitch, but the author shows that they copied a description of Greek and forced it on their own language.
     The author points out that not until the beginning of the 19th century did grammarians correctly establish the mechanism of voicing. The difference between voiced and voiceless was a mystery until then; people could of course hear the difference but could not find out what caused it.
     Appendix A contain selected quotes from classical grammarians. Appendix C gives the alphabet and the names of the letters as used in ancient Rome.

* Milo Kalectaca, Lessons in Hopi, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Ariz., 1978, pp. 234.
Evenly paced set of 30 lessens, by a native speaker. Contains a modest dictionary.

* Charles F. Voegelin, Florence M. Voegelin, Classification and Index of the World's Languages, Elsevier, New York, 1977, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: The most recent comprehensive classification that can be said to reflect mainstream views, in contrast to Ruhlen (1987). Contains only classificatory information.

* Kenneth Katzner, Languages of the World, Routledge, London, 1989 (c 1977), pp. 376.
37 pages of language family tree, followed by about 190 language samples. List of literature references to books about specific languages.

* Xabier Gereño, A New Method for Learning Basque -- Euskara ikasteko metodoa, CINSA, Bilbao, 1977, pp. 176.
Elementary but thorough book using Euskara Batua, Unified Basque. The first 83 pages consist of 40 two-page lessons, with equal amounts of vocabulary, grammar and phrases; these include 12 synthetic verbs. The other pages contain 41 tables of nor-nori, zer-nork and zer-nori-nork conjugations, with roughly 40 forms in each.

* Ronald W. Langacker, Studies in Uto-Aztecan Grammar -- Vol 1: An Overview of Uto-Aztec Grammar, Summer Institute of Linguistics / University of Texas, Dallas, 1977, pp. 199.
Actually a grammar of Proto-Uto-Aztecan, with reflexes in the various Uto-Aztecan languages.

* Marc Okrand, Mutsun Grammar, Thesis (Ph.D. in Linguistics), University of California, Berkeley, June 1977, pp. 349.
From the author of Klingon.
Mutsun is (was) a Costanoan (Ohlonean) language, spoken in San Juan Bautista near San Francisco. It has several sibilants and the usual 5 vowels. Nouns: 2 cases: absolute/oblique; no gender; possessor pre-fixed on the possessed; postpositions. Pronouns: 1,2,3, sing./plural. Number: sing./pl, almost all regular. Adjectives: they are verbs. Verbs: verb stem + a few suffixes; subject and object as separate words; final suffix indicates both non-past/recent past/remote past, and active/passive; no irregular verbs. Word order: basically SOV, although variants occur.

* Robert Detrick van Valin Jr., Aspects of Lakhota Grammar, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Calfornia, Berkeley, 1977, pp. 254.
The book starts with a 50 page introduction to Lakhota. The bulk of the book consists of an argued interpretation of the identification of Actors, Goals, etc., in Lakhota, from a role and reference grammar point of view. Comparisons to Tunica, Tagalog, Dyirbal, Basque, and many others are made.

* Michael Coulson, Sanskrit -- An Introduction to the Classical Language, Teach Yourself Books, Hodder & Stoughton, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1992, c 1976, pp. 513.
Does not make any effort to make the language any easier: 1. Hardly explains the underlying structure, e.g., does not tell that visarga (h-dot) derives from earlier s, but further on assumes you know. 2. Does not show the paradigms in the text but has them collected in an appendix and talks about them without referring to them (also shows other signs of gross editing). Almost (????) all text is also transcribed. Not suitable for first contact.

* Labat, Manuel d'épigraphie akkadienne, P. Geuthner, Paris, 1976, pp. 332+.
Contains the sign shapes for all the periods, from Old Akkadian to Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian. The signlists by Wolfram von Soden ("Akkadisches Syllabar", Rome, 1961) and Riekle Borger ("Assyrisch-babylonische Zeichenliste", [don't know the details]) show the standard Neo-Assyrian shapes.

* English-Hindi Conversation Guide, Central Hindi Directorate, New Delhi, 1976, pp. 176.
[ with full transcription ]

* David S. Rood, Wichita Grammar, Garland studies in American Indian Linguistics, Garland, New York, 1976, pp. 310.
An almost complete grammar of the Caddoan language Wichita, still spoken by some hundred people. The author takes great pains to present a very difficult language as simply as possible. Wichita is a heavily incorporating language and the verb is analysed to have 34 positions, to be filled with morphemes for subject, object, number of both, mood, tense, place, degree, pieces of the verb root, and what not. This defines the morphemic shape; then a number of phonological rules come along which turn this construct into a surface structure, which can then be pronounced. Hundreds of examples of this process are given, followed by annotated texts. The book ends with a Wichita-English morpheme index and an English-Wichita gloss list.

* Paula Ferris Einaudi, A Grammar of Biloxi, Garland studies in American Indian Linguistics, Garland, New York, 1976, pp. 184.
The author has collected all known material about the Siouan language Biloxi (extinct since around 1940), and assembled it into a well-arranged grammar and syntax. Ample literature references and a number of annotated sentences are given.

* Wallace L. Chafe, The Caddoan, Iroquoian, and Siouan languages, Mouton, The Hague, 1976, pp. 98. Trends in linguistics #3,
In spite of its title, this monograph describes only those parts of the subject matter that have not been described satisfactorily elsewhere. These include a history of the research on the three groups (chapter 1), the remote relationships between the groups (chapter 2) and a summary grammar of Caddo (chapter 3). The author considers the Siouan-Iroquian relationship beyond doubt on lexical grounds and spends no text on it. In 9 pages the author presents some material to support the Siouan-Caddoan and Iroquian-Caddoan relationships; the material for the first is meagre (mainly structural) but the second is more or less convincing (similarities in pronouns).

* Daniel M. Berry, Moshe Yavne, The Conway Stones -- What the original Hebrew may have been, Mathematics Magazine, vol. 49, #4, Sept. 1976, pp. 207-210.
In the book "Surreal Numbers" (Addison-Wesley, 1974), D.E. Knuth describes two drop-out students who discover an old Hebrew stone tablet, which they decipher explains Conway's number arithmetics axioms. The book produces the translation of the "Conway Stones" in biblical-style English.
     From that, the authors hypothetically reconstruct the original Hebrew text, puns and all (unvocalized). For example, J.H. Conway, already transformed into J.H.W.H. Conway, appears in the "original Hebrew" as KNWY YHWH, and is then read as 'kanuy yhwh', which means "named Yahweh". Great fun.

* Maurice Pope, The Story of Decipherment, Thames and Hudson, London, 1975, pp. 216.
Densely packed and detail-rich history of the decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, the Palmyra Script, Persian Cuneiform, Babylonian/Hittite Cuneiform, the Ugaritic Alphabet, the Cypriot Syllabary, Hittite Hieroglyphs, and Linear B.
     Two notes: 1. The author is much more interested in the process of decipherment than in its result, with the perhaps logical consequence that sometimes the final tables are missing. 2. The author often tells us that some early conclusion is wrong, without telling what the conclusion should have been. In combination with 1 above this can make for serious puzzling.
     And then there is the mystery that Tacitus could write utter nonsense about the hieroglyphs, when at that time (about AD 100) there were lots of people who new better in the Serapea all over Italy.

* Vladimiro Macchi, Collins-Sansoni Italian Dictionary: English-Italian-English, Sansoni Editore, Firenze, 1995, c1975, pp. 2277.
Very extensive dictionary, both ways. The author has clearly made a considerable effort to create a dictionary that can be used equally well by English and Italian users. Some features are: extensive examples of word usage, stress indicated in all words; fully bilingual instructions; irregular English and Italian verb lists; full pronunciation of the English and indication of open and closed e and o in the Italian part. It seems to me that the English is predominantly British English.

* J. Buitkamp, Hebreeuws op reis, van Goor, Den Haag, 1975, pp. 70.

* Redhouse Elsözlüğü İngılızce-Türkçe Türkçe-İngılızce, (In Turkish: Redhouse' Hand Dictionary English-Turkish Turkish-English), Redhouse, İstanbul, 1975, pp. 503.
[ For Turkish speakers ]

* Zoltán Bánhidi, Zoltán Jókay, Dénes Szabó, Lehrbuch der Ungarischen Sprache, (in German: Text Book of the Hunagrian Language), Max Hueber, München, 1975, pp. 495.
Excellent text book for self-study, extensive explanations and many exercises, fully annotated. A pleasure to use.

* Maria Zagorska Brooks, Polish Reference Grammar, The Hague, Mouton, 1975, pp. 580.
As the title says, a full account of Polish in all its hairy detail.
Name: Polish.
Affiliation: Slavic.
Location: Poland.
Phonetics: consonants: the usual set, all unpalatalized and palatalized, plus sh; some palatalized consosnants are written with subsequent i (for example pi, mi), others with diacritical marks: c' for /tsy/ (as opposed to /tsh/, written cz). vowels: a, e, i, o, u, I (spelled y), o'(pronounced u), all short.
Nouns: gender/classes: sing.: m/f/n; plural: human masc. / others number: singular, plural cases: nom., gen., dat., acc., loc., instr., voc. possessor indication: adjective declinations: 4 classes with in total 28 declinations + many irregularities.
Pre/postpositions: pre.
Adjectives: with their own declinations.
Verbs: 4 conjugations with many subconjugations + irregularities; verbs have different forms for imperfect and perfect aspect. I cannot find "the regular verb".
Word order: SVO
Relative clauses: with the relative pronoun kto'ry (30 forms).
     Conjugation of the word 'ten' - 'this':

      |    masc.      |   fem.    |   neut. / others
      | sg.| sg.       | sg.     pl.
nom   | ten     ci    | ta        | to      te
gen   | tego    tych  | tej       | tego    tych
dat   | temu    tym   | tej       | temu    tym
acc   | ten     tych  | te,       | to      te
loc   | tym     tych  | tej       | tym     tych
ins   | tym     tymi  | ta,       | tym     tymi

* Winfred P. Lehmann, Proto-Indo-European Syntax, University of Texas Press, 1974,
alderson@elaine46.Stanford.EDU (Rich Alderson) writes: The data are well presented; the question is in the syntactic theory adopted as the basis for explaining them. It is very much a generative treatise in a historical mode, using an interpretative semantics model; it further relies on typological universals that aren't viewed as quite so universal any more. The phonology of Proto-Indo-European assumed in the book is that of Lehmann's 1952 book.

* Hermann Berger, Das Yasin-Burushaski (Werkchikwar): Grammatik, Texte, Wörterbuch, (in German: Yasin Burushaski (Werkchikwar): Grammar, Texts, Dictionary), Wiesbaden, Otto Harrassowitz, 1974, pp. 228.
Although the book has the same structure as the three-volume work by Lorimer on Hunza Burushaski, the grammar is a real grammar, with rules and text in phonemic writing. The book is far from a text book, though; the material is presented in a linguistic rather than a pedagogical order, and requires several readings. The Burushaski texts contain some amusing and some X-rated stories. The dictionary is Burushaski-German, with a German-Burushaski index.

* Sprachführer Rätoromanisch für Graubünden, (in German: Language Guide to Raeto-Romance for the Graubünden Area), Polyglott, München, 1972, pp. 32.
Short travel guide to Sursilvan and Ladin, with some grammar.

* Edzard Johan Furnée, Die wichtigsten konsonatischen Erscheinungen des Vorgriechischen: mit einem Appendix über den Vokalismus, Thesis Leiden Univ., Janua linguarum. Series practica #150, (in German: The Main Consonantal Phenomena in Pre-Greek.), The Hague, Mouton, 1972, pp. 461.
This doctoral thesis is written in the best/worst tradition of the North-West European pre-WWII universities: it's in German; it features an introduction of 70 pages, with a 1-page introduction to the introduction; the object of the thesis is not revealed until page 50 of the introduction; and the main body consists of 280 pages with ±500 densely written lemmata. Quotes from papers in French, Italian, and Spanish, and words in Latin and Greek are not translated (but words from Tocharian, Armenian, and Georgian mercifully are).
     It has long been noticed (middle of the 19th century) that there are a considerable number of Classical Greek words for which no Proto-Indo-European derivation can be found using the traditional PIE-to-Greek rules, and it is on this part of the vocabulary that the author concentrates, calling it Pre-Greek. There are two theories about these words:
     1. They are from an unknown extinct IE language, by unknown rules; for example, in this theory Gr. kithara (Eng. zither) is from PIE kwetwora (Eng. four) (p. 42, n. 76). The idea was strengthened by the discovery that "mysterious" languages like Hittite and Minoan (Linear B) turned out to be IE. Several proposals have tried to identify the unknown language in this theory. 1a. Minoic. 1b. An unknown Hittite-related language; this might make, for example, Gr. aphenos (Eng. rich) related to Hitt. happinant- (p. 62). 1c. Psi-Greek, a hypothetical Greek-like language in which p, t, and k are often followed by an s; in this proposal Gr. ksanthos (Eng. blonde) is related to Lat. candidus (Eng. white) (p. 66). The author criticizes all these proposals.
     2. They are from an unknown non-IE language. This idea has led to an avalanche of doubtful and unverifiable theories in the first half of the 20th century (e.g. Alarodic???).
     In view of the prevailing chaos, the author shelves the identification of pre-Greek, and instead tries to determine its properties. The most striking, and well-known, property of the pre-Greek words is that consonants in them show alternations. For example, Gr. polemos (Eng. war), no PIE derivation known, also occurs as ptolemos (hence the name Ptolemaios) (p.317). Going through Hesychius' 50000-entry Greek vocabulary, which gives all known variants, the author identifies 27 such systematic alternations. This analysis forms the main body of the book.
     The most popular explanation for these alternations is that pre-Greek had phonemes that differed so much from those of Greek that the Greeks heard them differently on different occasions. This leads to postulating sounds like [pt] and [mb]. The author rejects this theory on the grounds that no language in the region, not even the North-Caucasian languages with their 50 to 80 consonants, has such sounds, but instead suggests (without being very direct) that different variants may derive from different stems of the same root. A diagram on p. 91 shows, for example, how the word for "bison" (root bona-) may have come to appear as bonassos (from a stem bonass-), bolinthos (from a stem boninth-), monapos, monaipos, monōtos (from a stem bonap-), and monoops (from a stem bonōp-). Each of these forms is derived by using rules from the above set of systematic alternations.
     An appendix discusses Linear A, in which the author discerns evidence of the same alternations.

* V. Tams Jorgensen, Kort sprakeliir foon daat Mooringer Frasch, Braist, [s.n.], 1972,
An East-Frisian language.

* Jan de Vries, Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek, (in Dutch: Dutch Etymological Dictionary), E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1971, pp. 977.
Thorough, taking on related words from all Indo-European languages, and supplying information about Indo-European where available. With indexes to English, German, Middle Dutch, North Germanic (Scandinavian) and East-Germanic (Gothic). Wish all etymological dictionaries were this thorough.

* Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Shridhar Ramkrishna Bhandarkar, First/Second Book of Sanskrit, Karnatak Publ. House, Bombay - 69, 1971, pp. 224/295.
These books drive home the realization that student books in other cultures are not necessarily text books; these books are unusable without a teacher. For instance, in lesson 1, verb endings are given, and verbs are given, but it is left up to the teacher to show how they are connected. Later lessons occasionally give full paradigms. Contains good sets of sandhi rules, though. Sanskrit-English and English-Sanskrit glossaries (68/58 p.) Tables of contents, no indexes.

* Villiana Hyde, An Introduction to the Luiseño Language, Malki Museum Press, 1971, Banning, Calif., pp. 236.
Consists of 45 lessons interspersed with 10 text sections, covering a large part of the language; answers to the exercises and Luiseño-English and English-Luiseño word lists conclude the book. The author teaches Luiseño to students who are not expected to know any other language besides English. She manages the difficult task of introducing and explaining grammatical notions while at the same time teaching Luiseño by cleverly exploiting the regularity available in the language. For example, the rules somewhat evident in the object forms of the pronouns are extended to nouns, and so they come less as a surprise.

* Hale, Kenneth, The Passive and Ergative in Language Change: The Australian Case, 1970, pp. 26.
Argues that the original Australian (= Pama-Nyungan here) language was an accusative language, not an ergative language, as most of them are now. So it has to be explained how these languages become ergative.
     A path is sketched how an accusative/active language can become ergative, and each of the steps on the path is shown to be plausible in an Australian context. The path consists roughly of the following steps.
     We start with the structure of an active/accusative sentence with a transitive verb, consisting of an agent marked as nominative, a patient/object marked as accusative, and an active/transitive verb:

	(Agent,Nom.) (active_verb) (Patient,Acc.)
	 The child    broke         the glass
To this active sentence a passive sentence corresponds, in which the focus is on the patient, and the agent is not mentioned; it requires the verb to be replaces by a passive variant of the verb:
	(Patient,Nom.) (passive_verb)
	 The glass      was broken / broke
As a side line we note that this has the same structure as a stative sentence:
	(Subject,Nom.) (stative_verb)
	 The glass      was blue
Back to the passive sentence. The agent can be re-introduced, but cannot be marked as nominative, nor as accusative; it is marked as ergative:
	(Patient,Nom.) (passive_verb) (Agent,Erg.)
	 The glass      was broken     by the child
When this sentence structure becomes the preferred one in a language, the language becomes typologically OVS, which is unstable, but which can easily be converted to the most frequent type SOV by moving the subject to the front:
	(Agent,Erg.)  (Patient,Nom.) (ergative_verb)
	 by the child  the glass      broke
This results in the well-known ergative sentence typology:
stative:	(Subject,Nom.) (stative_verb)
ergative: 	(Agent,Erg.) (Patient,Nom.) (ergative_verb)
In this context the nominative is often called absolutive; in many ergative languages its representation is the empty ending .
     The above transformations are easier if 1. the morphological difference between active and passive verb forms is slight (as in the English example); 2. the language has little or no agreement between the verb and the subject (unlike the English example, where the verb still agrees (though invisibly) with the glass rather than with the child); 3. the language has (relatively) free word order. All three conditions hold the majority of the Pama-Nyungan languages.
     It is pointed out that due to lack of diachronic data this scenario is a suggestion rather than a proof. However, diachronic data may be replaced by synchronic data from related languages in different stages of development. In the context a connection between the L-conjugation of some languages and a or -yi reflexive/passive marker in some other languages is examined but hesitantly rejected.

* G.A. Klimov, Die kaukasischen Sprachen, Helmut Buske Verlag, Hamburg, 1969, pp. 151 + maps.
Describes the history of and the history of the research of the Caucasian languages. Represents the now accepted view that NE and NW Caucasian are related but that any relation with S Caucasian is considerably more remote. Lists of alphabets, and maps. Little information on the languages themselves, except for some structural explanations about ergativity. Comes down heavily on another Russian linguist, N.J. Marr.

* Ya'aqov Bahat, Mordechai Ron, Wedayeq, (in Hebrew: And be accurate), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, Tel Aviv, 1968, pp. 344.
Advanced grammatical and stylistic notes on Modern Hebrew.

* Edward Sapir, Harry Hoijer, The Phonology and Morphology of the Navaho Language, Los Angeles, Calif., University of California Press, 1967, pp. 124.
Strictly scientific description of same, for the initiated. Read the chapter on morphophonemics last; it contains 56 pages of assimilation rules.

* Capellanus, Spreekt u Latijn? -- Moderne latijnse conversatie, (in Dutch: Do you speak Latin? -- Modern Latin Conversation), J.H. de Bussy, Amsterdam, 1966, pp. 103.
Adaptation of L. Spohr, Sprechen Sie lateinisch?

* Bidhu Bhusan Das Gupta, Assamese -- Self-Taught, Das Gupta Prakashan, Calcutta, 1966, pp. 208.
Low on transcription (but sufficient).

* W.B. Lockwood, An Informal History of the German Language, W. Heffer, Cambridge, UK, 1965, pp. 265.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: A book with a chapter on Frisian (with a bibliography at the end of each chapter).

* R. van de Velde, Het Krimgotisch - berichtgeving en problematiek, (in Dutch: Crimean Gothic -- Reports and Problems), Leuvense bijdragen, vol. LIII, pp. 102-119. 1964,
Describes part of the travels of van Busbeek and gives a critical analysis of the existinging copies of the Crimean Gothic word list collected by him.

* M.A.R. Barker, Klamath Grammar, Berkeley, Calif., University of California Press, 1964, pp. 364.
Very precise and extremely formal description of the language, embedded in an analysis of how we can understand a language without making a priori assumptions. The author takes great pains to avoid any (Indo-European) assumptions and bases the entire description exclusively on observations. For example, the Klamath verb phrase (defined by observed distributional properties) consists of a number of morphs, in 24 slots. For most slots there are only 1 to 15 possibilities, but for 1 slot there are hundreds; this slot is then defined as containing the "root".
It is difficult to obtain an impression of the language from this extremely formal description; this summary describes the method used more than the language. Klamath words fall into several classes, the most important ones being Verbs, Nouns, and Locatives, a large set of composable words with meaning like `from the other side of the river'. A Klamath word consists of a sequence of morphs, which are manifestations of morphemes; one morpheme may appear as several different morphs in different phonetic contexts; these morphs are then called allomorphs. These morphemes fill slots, 25 for Verbs, 14 for Nouns, 9 for Locatives, etc. The root is one of the first slots, and is usually preceded only by reduplicators which specify repetition (scattering in time) and/or distribution (scattering in space). Later slots contain morphemes specifying such things as intensity, locality, completion, aspect, collective, subordination, and several others. Example: the morphemes in the morpheme sequence (word) se-'v-odiil-dk mean "reflexive"-"handle a long object (root)"-"underneath"-"having done", and means "having put a long object under his arm"; the word is pronounced soodiilatk. This is similar to the German word Verunreinigung (Eng. contamination) being analysed as ver-un-rein-ig-ung, with the morphemes "change of state"-"negation"-"clean (root)"-"causative"-"abstract noun", so the meaning is "abstract noun for removing the state of cleanness", which is about right. I'd like to see a description of German using these techniques!
I cannot from Barker's description find out which of the morphemes are productive and which are fossilized; for example, in German one cannot just produce the analogous word Verunweissigung, with the meaning "abstract noun for removing the state of whiteness" (although the word would be understood in that sense, when used anyway).
It is hard to imagine that the author of this bone-dry grammar is also the creator of the Tekumel world, Tsolyani, and many computer games.
The phoneme collection of Klamath is average Amerind: almost all sounds occur in three forms: voiceless, aspirated and glottalized, even the w and the y. In spite of its extensive morphology the verb does not specify person, subject, or object, although it can indicate plurality of subject or object; there is a benefactive morpheme, showing that one of the nouns or pronouns in the sentence is the beneficiary of the action.
The pronouns of Klamath are Amerind: I - ni, me - nis, you(subj) - 'i, you(obj) -mis. They can again be combined with many morphemes: ni-as-dan-t = "I-nonsubject-possessive-in/on" = "right up to me", pronounced noosdat.

* Thomas F. Sebeok (Ed.), Current Trends in Linguistics, Mouton, The Hague, 1963, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: A multi-volume collection of papers on all aspects of linguistics, including surveys of various parts of the world and language families. Each chapter is written by a different author so the quality and views vary considerably. Some chapters are very good, and most are useful for orientation and bibliography.

* G.H. Wanink, Twents-Achterhoeks Woordenboek, (in Dutch: Twents (East Overijssel) and Achterhoeks (East Gelderland) to Dutch Dictionary), W.J. Thieme & Cie., Zutphen, 1963, pp. 220.
With 62 pages of grammar. Grammar and vocabulary are based on the dialect of Kerspel-Goor.

* Everett F. Bleiler, Essential Japanese Grammar, Dover, New York, 1963, pp. 156.
The bare minimum, but useful. With glossary of grammatical terms.

* Eleanor Harz Jorden, Beginning Japanese, Part 1 & 2, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1963, pp. 408 & 410.
Very, very thorough set of 35 lessons in spoken Japanese. No Japanese writing done, all text being in scientific transcription (tu for chu etc.), with meticulous indication of the intonation in each and every utterance. Full of drills (aka very repetitive). Lots of social background.

* Joseph H. Greenberg, Languages of Africa, Indiana University/Mouton & Co, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1963, pp. 180.
This is Greenberg's famous book-size paper on the classification of the African languages into Nigor-Congo-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan, Afroasiatic and Khoisan.
     Chapter I explains the methodology. In the rest of the book, the author brings proof of increasingly large clusters. Chapter II proves the existence of Niger-Congo, consisting of five western groups, the Benue-Congo group, of which the Bantu languages are a member, and an eastern group. Chapter III adduces proof for the membership of the Chad languages (Hausa, etc.) to the Afroasiatic languages, thereby consolidating that group. Chapter IV is concerned with the Khoisan languages. Two points are proved: they are not closely related to Afroasiatic; and the outlier languages Sandawe and Hatsa belong to it. Chapter V proves the existence of the Chari-Nile group (Nubian, Masai, etc.). Chapter VI is the first to construct a larger group: Nilo-Saharan, consisting of the Chari-Nile, Songhai, Saharan and other confirmed language groups. Chapter VII first consolidates the Kordofanian group and then shows its relationship to Niger-Congo.
     All this is supported by word lists and correspondences of morphological particles. A small set of none too clear maps end the book.

* Andrew Nathaniel Nelson, Japanese-English Character Dictionary, (2nd Edn.), Charles E. Tuttle, Rutland, Vt, 1986, c1962, pp. 1109.
Very extensive and efficient. For each of the 5446 characters, the following information is given: ON pronunciation + meaning, KUN pronunciations + meanings in combination with hiragana, extensive lists of compounds.

* R.C. Abraham, Dictionary of the Hausa Language, University of London Press, London, 1962, pp. 992.
Provides pronunciation and conjugation information with every word. Includes a small grammatical compendium.

* Fuishiki Okamoto, The Simplest Universal Auxiliary Language: Babm, Fuishiki Okamoto, Tokyo, April 1962, pp.
Language fiction. Blurp from sci.lang: "Presented to any person cost free" "However if more than two copies are desired $0.40 will cover the cost of each additional copy, post-free."

* Heinz F. Wendt, Sprachen, (in German: Languages), Fischer Lexikon, Fischer Bücherei, Frankfurt am Main, pp. 380. 1961,
Encyclopedia of the languages of the world, with entries like Slavic Languages, Hausa, Japanese, etc. Almost all foreign text comes with phonetic description. Uneven coverage: no word on the Celtic languages; 14 lines on Basque. Loads of information, though.

* H. Kuhn, ????, Zeitschrift für deutsche Mundarten, vol. 28, #4/5/7/8/10/11/12, 1961, pp. ???.
About substrata in Dutch/German,

* Herbert Pierrepont Houghton, An introduction to the Basque Language -- Labourdin Dialect, E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1961,
Unlike some books that are called "Introduction" and which then proceed to explain the subject in full detail, this one really is an introduction. It covers case ending for nouns and adjectives, and the verbs "to be" and "to have it", in various tenses, indicative, subjunctive and imperative. No treatment of conditionals, no indirect objects, no simple verbs. The ergative nature of Basque is vaguely indicated, but is neither named nor explained.

* M.A. Smirnova, The Hausa Language, (translated from Russian: IAzyk khausa), Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1982, c1960, pp. 112.
Does not bother with tones, although the author admits that tones are significant.

* A.L. Kroeber, George William Grace, The Sparkman grammar of Luiseño, University of California Press, 1960, Berkeley, pp. 257. University of California Publications in Linguistics, Vol. 16,
Much more than promised in the title, it is an extensive description of the language, based on the Sparkman grammar (±1900) and the authors' own work on the language (1904-1907), with a comparison to and additions from Pablo Tac (1834-1841) and Harrington (1933). Consists of 177 pages of systematic language description, 43 pages of (sparsely annotated) texts, and 37 pages of appendices and bibliography. No separate vocabulary.

* Emil Meier, Kiswahili-Sprachführer, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1960, pp. 124.
33 pages of grammar, 70 pages German-Swahili and 17 pages Swahili-German. The tone of the grammar is remarkable and implies regularly that Swahili is "the language of the Negro".

* H. Kuhn, Vor- und frühgermanische Ortsnamen in Nord-Deutschland und in den Niederlanden, Westfälische Forschungen, vol. 12, #39??, 1959, pp. 5-44.
About substrata in Dutch/German.

* A. Ernout, A. Meillet, Dictionaire etymologique de la langue latine -- histoire des mots, (in French: Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language -- History of the Words), Klincksieck, Paris, 1959, pp. 820 (2 columns).
Very big, very thorough. Links to Latin dialects, Greek, Sanskrit and Indo-European, though hesitantly so. Cross indexes to Italic, Sanskrit, Avestic, Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Etruskan and French. (TH.05006.c: 54)

* Pavel Poucha, Bruža -- Burušaski?, (in German), Central Asiatic J., vol. 5, 1959, pp. 295-300.
The paper concerns two fragments in a foreign language, occurring in early Tibertan writings, that are identified as Bru-tsha and Bru-zha; the fragments date from the 4th, 5th or 6th century A.D. The Tibetan text says explicitly that the texts stem from Gilgit.
     The paper is chaotic and the author assumes the reader knows both Tibetan and Sanskrit. Also, in at least one place some lines are missing in the paper. The author seems to arrive at the conclusion that Bruzha is not Burushaski, on what seem to be insufficient grounds. For one thing, no allowance is made for the time gap of 1500 years between the recorded texts and present-day Burushaski.

* Leon Wall, William Morgan, Navajo-English Dictionary, Hyppocrene Books, New York, 1994; c1958, pp. 164.
Minimal and fragmentary.

* Denise Bernot, Lucien Bernot, Les Khyang des collines de Chittagong (Pakistan oriental), (in French: The Chittagong Hills Khyangs (East Pakistan)), PLON, Paris, 1958, pp. 148.
Concerns the Khyang (Khyen), living on the coast of the north-east corner of the Gulf of Bengal in what is Bangladesh today. The book is a collection of articles: The Khyang and their Neighbours (8 pp.), Life in the Village of Gongru (21 pp.), Phonetic Considerations (18 pp.), Dictionary Khyang-French (74 pp.), French-Khyang Word List (17 pp.).

* Arnulf Schroeder, Die Laute des Wendischen (Sorbischen) Dialekts von Schleife in der Oberlausitz, (in German: The Phonetics of the Wend (Sorb) Dialect of Schleife in the Oberlausitz), Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen, 1958, pp. 152.
Consists of three parts: an extensive description of the phonetics; texts; and a glossary over the texts containing each word in all its morphological forms, as occurring in the texts. The texts are not translated explicitly; no grammar information given, but much can be deduced from the glossary. Doctoral thesis of the author, who was a native speaker. He died in the last days of World War II, and the thesis was published many years later.
     From the looks of it, Wendish is much like Polish and Czech, and probably to some (large) extent mutually intelligible with these. But the differences are still considerable. Examples are the absence of a stress accent in Wendish, the existence of a full-fledged dual in all three genders, a plural differentiated in three genders and the use of "ten" -- "that" and "jeden" -- "one" as the articles "the" and "a". Also, Wendish has preserved the old Slavic aorist.
     The orthography is loosely based on that of Polish, but all palatalization is indicated by an acute accent on the consonant: &pacute;, &macute;, etc. About 10 percent of the vocabulary is German loans, e.g.: "ufpasować" -- "to watch out", G. "aufpassen". Syntax looks often rather German-like: "ja som tam ŝła" -- "ich bin dorthin gegangen" Like other Slavic languages, it has adjectives to almost all nouns, e.g.: "bursky" -- "of farmers", from "bur" -- "farmer".
     There are an open e and a closed e (not distinguished in writing), an open i and a closed i (written y and i), an open o and a closed o (not distinguished in writing), an open u and a closed u (written ó and u), and of course an a. As in Polish, all vowels are short. Any consonant can be palatalized, and special rules apply stating which vowel can follow a palatalized consonant. Also, there is no f in native words.
     Collected from the glossary -- conjugation of the word 'ten' - 'the, this':

      |         masc.         |         fem.          |         neut.
      | sg.     du.     pl.   | sg.     du.     pl.   | sg.     du.     pl.
nom   | ten     tej     te    | ta              te    | to      tej     ta
gen   | togo            tych  | teje            tych  | togo            tych
dat   | tomu    tyma    tym   | tej             tym   | tomu
acc   | ten     teju    te    | tu      tej     te    | to      tej     ta
loc   | tom                   | tej             tych  | tom             tych
ins   | tym                   | teju            tymi  | tym

     Collected from the glossary -- conjugation of the noun:

      |         masc.         |         fem.          |         neut.
      | sg.     du.     pl.   | sg.     du.     pl.   | sg.     du.     pl.
nom   | -               -i/-y | -a      -ej     -y    | -o              -a
gen   | -a/-u           -ow   | -y              -ow   | -a              -i
dat   | -oju                  | -je     -am     -jom  | -oju            -om
acc   | -               -y    | -u      -ej     -y    | -o              -a
loc   | -u/-je          -ych  | -ej/-i          -ach  | -je             -och
ins   | -om             -ami  | -u      -oma    -ymi  |                 -ami

There is also a vocative.

* Stenhus, That Thusendigste Jar, (in Old Saxon (purportedly): The Thousandth Year), Mouton & Co., Den Haag, pp. ???. 1957,
Purported Old Saxon cronicles of a well-to-do homestedder in the Bentheim region, from mid-999 to mid-1000; with Introduction, Notes and Bibliography, edited by Gerben Colmjon. Fiction, but very intersting to read.

* W. Simon, 1200 Chinese Basic Characters, Lund Humphries, London, 1957, pp. 334.
Transcription in the Gwoyeu system.

* R.K. Harrison, Teach Yourself Hebrew, Teach Yourself, The English University Press, London, 1955, pp. 215.
This is about Classical (Biblical) Hebrew.

* Herbert H. Paper, The Phonology and Morphology of Royal Achaemenid Elamite, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1955, pp. 119.
Phenomenological description of the language. Lists of forms found in texts, with some attempt at classification.

* Raymond Bloch, Les Étrusques, (in French: The Etruscans), Que sais-je? #645, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1990, c1954, pp. 125.
The eighth edition has copyright 1990, but has not been updated well: the Pyrgi tablets, discovered in 1964 and published in 1970, are mentioned as a recent find without any further explanation.
     Covers the origin, history, language, public and private life, religion, and art of the Etruscans. The book is very high-level: it tells about the story, it does not tell the story itself. For example, it makes the point that jewelry from Etruria and from Asia Minor shows considerable similarities, but does not tell what these similarities are. And the language is discussed in 24 pages, but all it shows from the language itself is one short sentence. There is no index.

* K. Balkan, Die Sprache der Kassiten, (The Language of the Kassites, trans. from Turkish by R. Krauss), American Oriental Series, vol. 37, Kassiten Studien 1, New Haven, Conn., 1954, pp. 238.
Although Kassite was spoken in Babylon for at least 4 centuries, very little material has come to us. We have a 49-word Kassite-Assyrian word list, a list of 12 translated names, and several hundreds of short descriptions of horses, without translation; we have no running texts. The material probably dates from 1200 to 1000 BC. The people called themselves galdu or galzu.
     The author squeezes this material to the last drop, arriving at the following, very tentative, conclusions.
     Phonetics: The only vowels in the text are a, e, i, and u, but there are indications that other vowels existed. In words starting with a vowel, the initial vowel is unstable, and may have indicated a marked onset of the word. There is no vowel harmony. The language has a "normal" set of consonants: very moderate or no laryngeals; s, š, and z; z fluctuates with d in some words; l and r do not occur word-initially; word-initial p/b, t/d, k/g, are unstable in some words.
     Morphology: Many basic words have the form CVCCV: galdu/galzu = Kassite, mašhu = god. Nouns seem to have no special form for the plural, although adjectives have; some form their plural with the suffix -ame. No signs of cases have been observed; possession is indicated by word composition: meli-harbe = slave of Harbe. Very many words are composites; often the components are just juxtaposed, but several connecting infixes exist. About a dozen suffixes are known, most of them probably forming nouns from verb stems. Nothing is known about the conjugation of the verb. The numerals are not known either.

* Antoine Meillet, Marcel Cohen (Eds.), Les Langues du Monde -- 2 vols, Honoré Champion, Paris, 1952, pp.
poser@Csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) writes: Somewhat dated but still very useful. Contains chapters written by experts in the various language families, describing not only classification but the history of research on these languages. Also contains structural sketches of representative languages.

* Carl Borgstrøm, The Categories of Person, Number, and Class in the Verbal System of Burushaski, Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap, vol. 13, pp. 130-147. 1945,
The Burushaski verb endings form an extensive system in which much structure can be seen, but also much irregularity (the verb prefixes on the other hand are just the possessive prefixes of nouns). The endings are explained by three mechanisms: 1. a number of mutually non-exclusive suffixes: -a_1: 1st person; -a_2: human; -u: human feminine; -i: non-feminine; -n: plural. 2. the participle in -m followed by the above endings (or a form of the verb b- = to be), in different stages of assimilation. 3. analogy to more frequent forms.
     The main text is about the Hunza dialect, but the Nagari (Yasin, Werchikwar) dialect is touched upon; it seems to show less assimilation and less analogy.
     Borgstrøm makes an important observation on linguistic reconstruction: "Only one must remember that that any reconstruction of an earlier, not directly attested linguistic system implies a simplification of this system, because some features will always be irretrievably lost in the course of time."

* Henry P. Judd, The Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian-English Dictionary, Hawaiian Service, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii, 1945, pp. 117.
83 one-page lessons + 29 pages of word list. The style is very terse, and self-study seems almost impossible. Although the author emphasizes the importance of the glottal stop as a consonant in Hawaiian, there are very few occurrences of it in the text; is that correct?

* Joseph Andrew Teslar, A New Polish Grammar, Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd, 1967, c1941, pp. 469.
Conscientious and probably rather conservative grammar of Polish, with lots of explanations and lots of exercises. It is clearly intended as a class room text book; self-study is a remote second option. The first part, 220 pages, consists of 60 lessons full of Polish text. The second part, 70 pages, contains a grammar full of explanations. The third part, 11 pages, is a short language phrase book. A 90 page dictionary (both ways) closes the book. The missing 100 pages is assorted reading material, pronunciation guide, key to exercises, etc. Given the language, probably not at all an disagreeable book.

* Manuale dei verbi regolari e irregolari della lingua italiana, (in Italian: Handbook of Regular and Irregular Verbs of the Italian language), Casa Editrice Sonzogno, Milano, pp. 62. 1950; c1940,
All the ins and outs of the Italian verb.

* Branco van Dantzig, De korte o-klanken in het Nederlands, (in Dutch: The Short `o' Sounds in Dutch), P. Noordhoff N.V., Groningen-Batavia, 1940, pp. 169.
A number of native speakers of Dutch differentiate between two short `o' sounds: /ɔ/ (deriving from old Frankish `a'), and /o/ (deriving from old Frankish `o' or `u'), but most do not. The book is an in-depth study of the difference, both diachronically, based on old rhymes and contemporary descriptions (pages 1-36), and synchronically, based on research on 13 dialects (pages 37-146). The difference was already decaying in the middle of the 16th century, and at the beginning of the 21st century it is only maintained in small parts of the East and the North of the Netherlands. There were never even a dozen opposition pairs.

* Kaj Birket-Smith, Frederica de Laguna, The Eyak Indians of the Copper River Delta, Alaska, København, Levin & Munksgaard, 1938, pp. 592.
Mainly about their history, culture, stories and recent remains, but also contains 38 pages of Eyak phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and texts.

* Edward Delavan Perry, A Sanskrit Primer, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1988, c1936, pp. 230.
Complete Sanskrit grammar in 45 lessons of in total 508 (daily?) portions, with 42 exercises, 22-page Sanskrit-English and an 11-page English-Sanskrit glossary. The first third is also transcribed and then it tapers off into Devanagari only.

* Carl Meinhof, Die Entstehung flektierender Sprachen, (in German: The Origin of Inflecting Languages), Berlin, Verlag von Dietrich Reimer, 1936, pp. 108.
Using the definition that inflecting languages are those in which the stem of a word is habitually modified in its morphology, the author delineates a region of inflecting languages on earth comprising the Indo-European, Semitic, Hamitic (in which the author includes Nama and its relatives!), Berber, etc. These are contrasted to the Bantu languages which are non-inflecting, and the West-African languages, which are an intermediate form. The author then shows many relationships between the Bantu prefixes and suffixes and the inflections of the inflecting languages, thus suggesting possible ways of development.

* D.L.R. Lorimer, Nugae Burushaskicae, BSOS (Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies??), vol. 8, pp. 627-636. 1936,
??? writes: This reference came out of Bashir's (1985) list of works cited. I'm not exactly sure what "BSOS" stands for, but I suspect it is the "Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies," not to be confused with the aforementioned "Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies."

* C. Brouwer, G. Ras, Schwere Wörter, (in Dutch/German: Difficult Words), Wolters, Groningen, Batavia, 1935, pp. 70.
Legendary Dutch school book, listing 279 German words that are know for confusing Dutch high-school students learning German. With Example sentences.

* Emile Benveniste, Origines de la formation des noms en indo-européen, 1935,
A classic exposition of the data as known in the early 1930s.

* D.L.R. Lorimer, The Burushaski Language -- Vol. 1, 2, 3, Instituttet for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning, Oslo, 1935, pp. 464.
Part 1 contains large amounts of very carefully described data, written phonetically rather than phonemically, organised according to subject. The book is not a grammar in that the author does not present rules but only reports observations. The author deliberately makes no attempt to distinguish between the results of the inherent inaccuracy of normal speech and those of grammatical processes and just recorded what he heard. Often the recorded material fluctuates so much that precise rules are difficult to find.
     Part 2 contains recorded and translated stories, part 3 is a dictionary.

* Leonard Bloomfield, Language, Allen & Unwin, London, 1933, pp. 566.
Every bit as good as its fame! Especially impressive is the way the author explains the point of view of the neo-grammarians, "sound laws have no exceptions" (although he does not endorse this formulation). When a sound law has been applied to all words that fulfill its conditions, it may appear that some words do not "obey" it: the resulting word does not match the supposedly related word which is actually found. These words are called "residual", and they require an explanation. The author specifies 4 explanations: 1. there are specific conditions under which the law has a different effect, or, in other words, the law did not apply, but one with a different condition and different result does; 2. the word is a loan from a neighboring dialect, one in which the word had a different development; 3. the word was modified in analogy to another word; 4. the word is not actually related to the word it was thought to have derived from. Finding out which of the alternatives apply results in the correct etymology of the word.
     There is much, much more in this book.

* Henry Cyril Dieckhoff, A pronouncing dictionary of Scottish Gaelic, Gairm Publications, Glasgow, 1992, c1932, pp. 186.
Based on the Glengarry dialect. Contains 32 pages of phonetic introduction. For each word it gives the traditional spelling, the pronunciation in a special code (explained in the 32 pages), and a translation.

* T.G. Tucker, Etymological Dictionary of Latin, Ares Publ., Chicago, 1931, pp. 307.
Lots of information. With index to Greek and English words.

* Gotthelf Bergsträsser, Einführung in die Semitischen Sprachen, (in German: Introduction to the Semitic Languages), Max Hueber, München, 1928, pp. 240.
To avoid guessing the author restricts the languages to those for which full vocalization is available. The book covers the following groups: Akkadian; Hebrew; Aramaic; South-Arabic-Ethiopian; and North-Arabic. For each group between 3 and 5 representative languages are described in narrative form (no paradigms) and reasonably well-annotated samples (usually full short stories) are given, in a uniform traditional Latin transcription; in total 22 languages are described and sampled. No attempt is made to arrange these in a tree, although there is a chapter on Proto-Semitic, and a list of about 180 common Semitic terms is given. The `sin' as a lateral fricative is mentioned in a couple of places (for example page 126, on the South-Arabic language of Mehri), but is not so indicated in the transcription.
     In spite of the title it is virtually necessary to be well acquainted with at least one semitic language. The book is only an introduction in that it "introduces" the various languages to the initiated.
     The section on Hebrew is of excellent quality; the author even knows that lirkosh (to acquire) is pronounced lirkhosh (pg 58, footnote 7), a fact which is not normally described in books. If the other chapters are of the same quality this is a very precise book. (Just as litpor (to sew) is pronounced litfor. 1. I think these are back-formations from rkhush (possessions) and tfira (seam). 2. The book shows that this pronunciation, which I always took to be a recent one (post-1948), is in fact much older.)
     An independent discussion of the syntax of Ugaritic by Carl Brockelmann closes the book (no sample).

* Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, An Outline of Gujarati, Languages Information Centre, Pontypridd, Wales, ~1994, c1927, pp. 28.
A compilation of rules and tables from Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson book, summarizing the Gujarati grammar; rich in information. The language is similar to Latin or Russian in complexity.
     Name: Gujarati
Affiliation: IE/Indic
Location: India
Phonetics: like Hindi
Nouns: gender/classes: masc./fem./neuter; number: 2 cases: 7: nom., acc., erg., dat., abl., loc.; possessor indication: by a genitive which has 3 forms depending on the gender of the object possessed.
Pre/postpositions: post-, preceded by a genitive, but since the postpositions are actually nouns and thus have gender, the form of that genitive depends on the gender of the postposition.
Pronouns: hum = I, tum = you, te = he, she, it, ame = we (excl.), aapane = we (incl.), tame = you all, teo = they.
Adjectives: precede the noun, with which they agree in gender and number, but not in case.
Verbs: many tenses, both indicative and subjunctive; tenses that use the past participle use the ergative construction, as in Hindi.

* Margaret Alice Murray, Elementary Coptic (Sahidic) Grammar, London, Quaritch, 1911, pp. ???.
Straightforward, minimal grammar with exercises (no answers) and a very small dictionary.

* Joseph Wright, Wright's Grammar of the Gothic Language, (with supplement by O.L. Sayce), Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp. 383. 1968, 1981, c1910,
Chapter 1: Pronunciation, following Grimm; the supplement updates this to the modern view as described in the Wikipedia. Chapters 2-9: development rules from proto-Germanic and Indo-European. Chapters 10-14: morphology. Chapter 15: word formation. Chapter 16: syntax. Pages 195-291: bilingual Greek-Gothic bible books. Pages 292-383: notes, glossaries, supplements.
The bible texts show how strictly word-by-word the translation from the Greek is; it makes one wonder if they really represent the natural way of expression in Gothic.

* Joh.C. Pieters, Nos fautes de prononciation, (in French: Our Pronunciation Errors), Meindert Boogaerdt Jun., Rotterdam, 1907, pp. 77.
Pronunciation guide to the French language, in Dutch. Probably old-fashioned.

* M. de Vries, L.A. te Winkel, Woordenlijst voor de spelling der Nederlandsche taal, (in Dutch: Vocabulary for the Orthography of the Dutch Language), Martinus Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, 1904, pp. 485.
Early version of the "groene boekje", the official spelling bible of Dutch. Good for determining "old" spelling ("visch" vs. "vis") and the masculine-feminine distinction in gender, both of which are out of use now.

* Raoul de la Grassiere, Cinq langues de la Colombie Britannique, (in French: Five Languages of Britsh Columbia), Kraus Reprint, Nendeln, Liechtenstein, 1968, c 1902, pp. 531.
Supplies grammar, vocabulary and translated and analyzed texts for Haida, Tsimshian(sp ???), Kwakiutl, Nootka and Tlingit, followed by a parallel word list of Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Heiltsuk, Kwakiutl and Nootka.

* Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., New Delhi, 1990, c1899, pp. 1333.
Very thorough, with an entertaining preface. The listing is not fully alphabetical, but follows a logical and reasonably convenient four-level structure. Roots and non-compound words only are in Nagari, the rest (compounds and all other occurrences) are in transcription; this is handy.

* J. Vercoullie, Beknopt etymologisch woordenboek der Nederlandse taal, (in Dutch: Concise etymological dictionary of the Dutch language), J. Vuylsteke, Gent, 1898, pp. 464.
Short introduction to Indo-European, with a comparative table of sound shifts to Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and the Germanic languages. 343 pages of entries, followed by an inventory of Dutch words, catalogued by language of provenance, ranging from West-Germanic to American Indian. The book ends with indexes of Greek, Latin, French, English and German words occurring in the dictionary. Very thorough and extremely well-indexed.

* Richard Loewe, Die Reste der Germanen am Schwarzen Meere, (in German: The Remainders of the Germanic Peoples on the Black Sea), Niemeyer, Halle, 1896, pp. 270.
Gathers and carefully analyzes all that is known in 1896 about the Germanic Peoples around the Black Sea. Historical sources mention five Germanic peoples in the region: the Asia Minor Germans, the Caucasus Germans, the (possible) Germans on the Caspian Sea, the Crimean Goths and the Minor (Moesian) Goths. Substantial knowledge is available on the Crimean Goths only.
     Most of the book is on the history of the assorted peoples, but 95 pages are spent on the Crimean Gothic language. Busbecq's word list is presented and analyzed in full, giving Germanic sources for many of the words that Busbecq himself set apart as "cum nostra lingua non satis congruentia" - "not sufficiently similar to our language". In addition, single words from other sources are considered, resulting in a Crimean-Gothic to German dictionary of 99 entries.
     The three-line "Gothic" song supplied by Busbecq is identified as Turkish.
     The author quotes liberally from Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Flemish and Swedish sources, in the original, without translation. The quotes from Slavic languages are translated, though. Shows what was expected from a gentleman-scholar in those days.

* J.S. Farmer, W.E. Henley, A Dictionary of Slang, A-K, L-Z, Wordsworth Editions, 1987, c1890, pp. ± 2688.
Informative and hilarious. In two volumes, originally in 7 volumes of 384 pages each.

* A.N. Pypin, Das Serbisch-Wendische Schriftthum in der Ober- und Niederlausitz, (in German: The Serbian(!)/Wendish Literature in the Ober- and Niederlausitz), F.A. Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1884, pp. 64.
Lament about the miserable state of publishing in Sorbian / Wendish. One of the most successfull enterprises was at the hands of a German who did not speak a word of the language. A sticker inside the booklet corrects the title to "Sorbisch-Wendisch".

* J.G. Christaller, A grammar of the Asante and Fante language called Tshi [Chwee, Twi]: based on the Aknapem dialect, with reference to the other (Akan and Fante) dialects, Ridgewood N.J., Gregg, 1964, c1875, pp. 203.
Name: Twi.
Affiliation: South-Central Niger-Congo.
Location: Ghana.
Phonetics: consonants: k, g and h occur also palatalized or labialized, t and d occur also with simultaneous palatalization and labialization. Example: Chwi. There is only one nasal, which manisfests itself as n, m or ng, depending on the context. Vowels: there are ten vowel, the usual a, e, i, o and u, and the same set again with a "Hindi/English" shift. There are only seven vowel signs in the written language (the IPA symbols for open e and o were added), but due to vowel harmony restrictions, few ambiguities arise. Tone: there are three tones, L, M and H, but only the sequences LL, MM, HM, ML and LH are allowed; the usual pattern is something like LHMM. Tones are not shown in writing but few ambiguities occur. Syllables: CV or CV[nasal].
Nouns: have no gender, but do usually have one of three prefixes: o-, a- and m-; there is some distribution that suggests that a- and m- were abstracta. Plural is by various modifications, the most usual the change of o- to a-: ohene `king", ahene `kings'. The nouns in o- lose the o- when directly connected to the preceeding word in a possessive relation with a noun: Israel hene `king of Israel', or in an accusative relation with a verb: wabisa hene `he has asked the king'.
Pre/postpositions: postpositions, but many verbs take the place where they happen as the object: "to go places".
Pronouns: three singular and plural. Twi personal pronouns: 1sg me, 2sg wo.
Adjectives: are nouns, and are postpositioned. The ones in o- lose the o-.
Verbs: Conjugated form: <person> <mode1> <negation> <root> <mode2>, where <person> and <root> are mandatory and <mode2> is almost always absent. There are 10 tenses: present, continuous state, past, perfect, progressive, remote future, immediate future, optative, personal imperative and impersonal imperative. Within sandhi limits, almost all forms are regular.
Word order: SVO, invariably. The object may also be a place or an infinitive.
Relative clauses: uses the word a in the same way as asher in Hebrew.

* F. Max Müller, A Sanskrit Grammar, Asian Publications Services, New Delhi, 1985, c1870, pp. 300.
[ fully transcribed, fully accented ]