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Are some languages better than others?

book
posted on 23.06.2022, 04:15 authored by Robert DixonRobert Dixon

This book sets out to answer a question that many linguists have been hesitant to ask: are some languages better than others? Can we say, for instance, that because German has three genders and French only two, German is a better language in this respect? Jarawara, spoken in the Amazonian jungle, has two ways of showing possession: one for a part (e.g. 'Father's foot') and the other for something which is owned and can be given away or sold (e.g. 'Father's knife'); is it thus a better language than English, which marks all possession in the same way? R. M. W. Dixon begins by outlining what he feels are the essential components of any language, such as the ability to pose questions, command actions, and provide statements. He then discusses desirable features including gender agreement, tenses, and articles, before concluding with his view of what the ideal language would look like - and an explanation of why it does not and probably never will exist. 

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Start Page

1

End Page

208

Number of Pages

208

ISBN-10

0198766815

ISBN-13

9780198766810

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Place of Publication

Oxford, UK

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

Era Eligible

Yes

Medium

Electronic

Edition

1st

Number of Chapters

11