1000 Languages : The Worldwide History of Living and Lost Tongues, Hardback

1000 Languages : The Worldwide History of Living and Lost Tongues Hardback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


There are over 6,000 languages used around the world, and linguists estimate that by 2050 half of these will have become extinct.

The use of language is what fundamentally distinguishes humans from other animals: only we have developed languages of such richness and flexibility that they can be used to elucidate abstract concepts, to expose our most intimate feelings and emotions, or even to create entire worlds of imagination to entertain, amuse or inspire others.

This book offers a linguistic guided world tour, looking in detail at the eleven global languages, before exploring the major languages of each region in turn.

Each language entry details numbers of speakers and geographical spread, together with a history of the growth and development of the language.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288 pages, 550 illustrations, 400 in colour
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical & comparative linguistics
  • ISBN: 9780500514115



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1000 Languages gives the reader an interesting introduction not only to the major languages spoken today (Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi, etc.) but also important regional languages for each continent. Most languages have an introduction about its history, literature, and speakers; though unfortunately grammar and syntax are often not discussed. <br/><br/>Aside from major global languages, numerous lesser known languages are covered, though some languages are missed out (Indonesian being a notable one). Of particular interest are the chapters on extinct languages ranging from Hittite and Latin to more recently Ubykh, and on endangered languages grouped by continent, which highlights the pressing need for language preservation, particularly in America. <br/><br/>Nevertheless, Austin provides an admirable introduction to the world's numerous languages and this book is perfect for that or for libraries. It will provide an excellent base for further study about language.