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1. The study of language

1. The study of language  

P. H. Matthews

in Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Apr 2003
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191775321
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780192801487.003.0001
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780192801487
‘The study of language’ argues that studying language ‘scientifically’ is, in part, to refuse to accept uncritically the ways of thinking that, without any professional training, we all ... More
8. Scribes and materials

8. Scribes and materials  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0008
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
Writing is a universal skill, but it can also be an art form. Almost every literate society has a class of professional scribes who are also artists. In ancient Mesopotamia scribes were ... More
8. Sounds

8. Sounds  

P. H. Matthews

in Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Apr 2003
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191775321
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780192801487.003.0008
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780192801487
‘Sounds’ makes the point that in their sounds, too, languages have different systems. Numbers of vowels and consonants vary between languages and it is possible to abstract general rules by ... More
2. ‘Homo loquens’

2. ‘Homo loquens’  

P. H. Matthews

in Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Apr 2003
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191775321
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780192801487.003.0002
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780192801487
‘Homo loquens’ argues that no other aspect of behaviour is as distinctively human as speech. Language has evolved as primarily vocal, though closely integrated with non-vocal behaviour. It ... More
4. Decipherment and undeciphered scripts

4. Decipherment and undeciphered scripts  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0004
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
In a technical sense, ‘decipher’ means different things to different scholars. At one end of the spectrum lies Egyptian script which is more or less completely decipherable with just a ... More
3. Disappearance of scripts

3. Disappearance of scripts  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0003
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
We know more about the death of scripts than we do about their birth. No single theory can encompass why scripts flourish or vanish. Many aspects influence the survival or disappearance of ... More
5. How writing systems work

5. How writing systems work  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0005
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
‘How writing systems work’ looks at the history of the academic study of decipherment. Writing systems vary in complexity from European and American alphabetic signs, numerals, punctuation ... More
7. Chinese and Japanese writing

7. Chinese and Japanese writing  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0007
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
A study of the languages of China is vital if we are to understand the scripts of East Asia. Chinese is made up of eight regional languages, which are made up of many dialects. It is a myth ... More
1. Writing and its emergence

1. Writing and its emergence  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0001
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
We do not need written communication to survive. However, in history, even the most complex society has developed a script or scripts. Writing is a defining marker of civilization. Writing ... More
9. Writing goes electronic

9. Writing goes electronic  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0009
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
Electronic writing whether in English, Chinese, Japanese or German, uses the concepts of phoneticism, logography, rebus, and abbreviation, techniques used in ancient Mesopotamia. Computing ... More
4. Forms, identities, and interpretations

4. Forms, identities, and interpretations  

Matthew Reynolds

in Translation: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Oct 2016
Published Online: 
Oct 2016
eISBN: 
9780191780622
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780198712114.003.0004
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780198712114
‘Forms, identities, and interpretation’ first looks at icons and how shapes and images are used in sign systems to create simple, international languages. It then considers the ... More
2. Development and diffusion of writing

2. Development and diffusion of writing  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0002
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
After writing had been ‘invented’ in Mesopotamia, or Egypt, it diffused across the world. Did it go eastwards to India, China, and Japan? Did it go westwards to Europe and Meso-America? Or ... More
6. Alphabets

6. Alphabets  

Andrew Robinson

in Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.003.0006
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199567782
Even more unknowable than the origins of writing are origins of the first alphabet. We accept that the alphabet reached the modern world via the ancient Greeks. We do not know how or when ... More
9. Endangered languages

9. Endangered languages  

John C. Maher

in Multilingualism: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
May 2017
Published Online: 
May 2017
eISBN: 
9780191792465
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780198724995.003.0009
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780198724995
By the end of the 21st century, half the languages spoken in the world today may have disappeared. Fewer than 10,000 people speak 52 per cent of languages. Many language communities have ... More
Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction  

P. H. Matthews

Print Publication Year: 
Apr 2003
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191775321
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780192801487.001.0001
Item type: 
book
ISBN: 
9780192801487
Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction considers a subject that falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which fascinating discoveries and important problems ... More
Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction  

Andrew Robinson

Print Publication Year: 
Aug 2009
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191777509
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199567782.001.0001
Item type: 
book
ISBN: 
9780199567782
Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction explains how early forms of writing developed into hundreds of scripts including the Roman alphabet and Chinese characters. ... More
5. Some problems in the counting of languages

5. Some problems in the counting of languages  

Stephen R. Anderson

in Languages: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
Jun 2012
Published Online: 
Sep 2013
eISBN: 
9780191778018
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780199590599.003.0005
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780199590599
‘Some problems in the counting of languages’ points out that, though we have assumed that in principle we know how to count the world's languages, what actually makes languages distinct ... More

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