An Introduction to the Languages of the World

Publication details

Lyovin, Anatole V. & Kessler, Brett & Leben, William R. 2017. An introduction to the languages of the world. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 9780​19​5149883 paperback; 9780190645274 ebook)

Official publication date is January, 2017, but copies are already available for purchase as paperback or ebook. Services such as BookFinder4U can help you locate a vendor for the paperback edition. Ebooks are available from sources such as Google Play, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Amazon (Kindle). See the Oxford University Press Web site for direct purchase of the paperback or more information. Instructors can also use the OUP Web site to request an examination copy or instructor’s manual.

This is a second edition. Please take note that the first edition (1997) is still being offered by many vendors. If you are looking for the revised paperback, be sure to check the edition statement, the list of authors (the second edition adds Kessler and Leben), the ISBN, or the cover illustration: we now feature a new cartographic collage by Val Britton (click the picture to enlarge). This second edition has 11 original maps as well as new sections on sign languages and language death and revitalization. For greater readability, basic language facts are now organized in tables, and language samples follow international standards for phonetic transcription and word-by-word glossing.

Book cover

By the numbers

Publisher’s summary

Unique in scope, An Introduction to the Languages of the World introduces linguistics students to the variety of world’s languages. It is ideal for use in courses where students have been exposed to the basic principles of linguistics but lack background in the broad range of language phenomena. They will gain familiarity with concepts such as sound change, lexical borrowing, diglossia, and language diffusion, and the rich variety of linguistic structure in word order, morphological types, grammatical relations, gender, inflection, and derivation. It offers students an opportunity to explore, at various levels, structures of varying and fascinating languages even with no prior acquaintance. While genetic ties among the languages are the focus, typological and sociolinguistic topics also play a role. A chapter is devoted to each of the world's continents, with in-depth analyses of representative languages of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America, and separate chapters cover writing systems and pidgins and creoles. Each chapter contains exercises for the students and recommendations for further reading. There are eleven maps and extensive indexes of languages and subjects.

Anatole V. Lyovin is a retired Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Brett Kessler is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

William R. Leben is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Stanford University.

Last change by Brett Kessler, 2016-12-11T13:58:50-06