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Other Linguistics Book

  1. May 13, 2016 #1
    Which book gives a thorough overview of the structures of all the general languages from antiquity to present?
    If there is no such book, a suggestion on the way of achieving it, would also be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2016 #2


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    This is a pretty vague and wide-ranging request.

    What constitutes a 'general' language, as opposed to just a language?

    You do realize that not all languages have a written form (even many spoken at the present), and that documentation of many languages of antiquity, even if they have a written form, is often fragmentary at best. Some languages have resisted decipherment of the available written material, such as Linear A and Cretan hieroglyphics:


    If a language has not been reduced to writing and all of its speakers have died off, then no one will be able to re-construct its structure. Heck, the very existence of the language may never even be known.

    And why would you think a place called Physics Forum would be appropriate to post about linguistics text books?
  4. May 14, 2016 #3
    :oops: It may be. I am new to this field of study. If it is possible to break it down into many sub-books, to help in achieving that wide aim, it would be helpful. In between the time of your post, I found phonetics to be the basic field of linguistics, so I have started reading the Phonetics book. If you have anything more to say on the best way of attaining the same instead of starting from phonetics, it will also be helpful.

    I meant to say a language to be general if it obeys the structure followed by most of the languages. I mentioned general, to set free some of the languages which may not obey that structure, to avoid thus that structure being not given. I meant it in this way (google general meaning):
    considering or including only the main features or elements of something; not exact or detailed.
    "the arrangements were outlined in very general terms"

    Sorry, if I was not clear.

    I understand your objection. But, is there any research data or book available for the structure of only the languages which can be deciphered, only for those general languages?

    :DD Physics Forums includes most of the other domains inside itself, like Chemistry, Mathematics, etc, it is no wonder, if any other subject question exists inside its frame.

    I posted linguistics question in this forum, considering the forum name, which includes the word "Science"; Linguistics for me follows reasoning, and this doesn't seem to be a topic, which is not Science.
  5. May 14, 2016 #4


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    Phonetics is only one aspect of language. Its study concerns itself with the arbitrary sounds which are used to utter words. It has very little to do with other important aspects of language, like meaning, symbology, grammar, syntax, etc.

    Again, the structure followed by 'most of the languages' is another vague phrase. There are more than 6,000 languages and dialects known to be spoken in the world today, and generalizations about all or most of them will be fraught with error, since there are many different ways of expressing an idea.

    The languages spoken in Europe, for example, are organized and structured very differently from languages spoken in east Asia, for example. The same can be said for languages spoken by Stone Age tribes living in the Amazon basin.

    It's not an objection, merely an observation.

    Physics Forums leans heavily toward the physical sciences. It does not encourage posters who wish to discuss philosophy or the humanities in general, except how they pertain to understanding science, particularly experimental science.

    This is not to say that there may be other forums out there on the internet which may be more appropriate for helping you find what you're looking for, though.

    I have found that if you want to study how language is structured, how it works, etc., it helps tremendously if you know or have studied one or more foreign languages, even if not to the point of becoming fluent. At least then, you have a larger knowledge base on which to study linguistics, etc.
  6. May 14, 2016 #5


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    Your comment on phonetics seems to indicate that you're completely new the subject.
    Look for a book on language typology or historical and comparative linguistics. Searching for those terms e.g. on Amazon should net you some results. A general introductory book on linguistics containing those chapters may be best, so that you get introduced to the terms and ideas used. Even an intro text on linguistic of the English language (or your own native language, if different), should be enough for a start, as most contain an overview of locally relevant typology, and have the advantage of being grounded in what you know from use.
  7. May 14, 2016 #6
    Thank you very much for introducing me with the concept of Language typology. I will start with it.
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