- Series: Cambridge Language Surveys
- Paperback: 446 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Digitally Printed 1st Pbk. Version edition (November 23, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521578930
- ISBN-13: 978-0521578936
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Amazonian Languages (Cambridge Language Surveys) Digitally Printed 1st Pbk. Version Edition
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..."a useful, comprehensive linguistic anthology for the Amazonian region" Notes on Linguistics
The Amazon Basin is the least known and most complex linguistic region in the world today. It is the home of some 300 languages many of which (often incompletely documented and mostly endangered) show properties that constitute exceptions to received ideas about linguistic universals. This book is the first in English to provide an accessible overview of this rich and exciting linguistic area. It will provide a basis for further research on Amazonian languages as well as a point of entry to important data for theoretical linguists.
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But it's a great book anyway. Just to see a cohesive explanation on such little known languages and ever their reconstructed proto-language is quite a trip.
Whilst "The Amazonian Languages" does not fail in any of its most basic tasks such as overviewing the languages of Amazonia and explaining the typical characteristics of most languages in the area, I expected more from this book. Although one does learn all the essential basics of the languages of this region, as well as what leads linguists to see Amazonia (including the Orinoco basin and eastern South America as well) as a linguistic area, there is rather too little detail about grammar beyond the basics. The unusual characteristics whose analysis I expected to find in the book were barely discussed and this is what makes the book disappointing.
On the positive side, there is quite a good discussion of the cultural role of languages and their relationship to the peoples of Amazonia. This adds to one's sense of loss that almost all of these languages are critically endangered.
I expected so much from this book that even though it offers a solid level of basics about the languages of the Amazon Basin and surrounding regions that those who can afford it should buy it, I am still a little disappointed.