- Ethnologue: Languages of the world Ed. by Barbara F. Grimes, and: Index to the Tenth edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the world Ed. by Barbara F. Grimes (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 62, Number 3, September 1986
- p. 698
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK NOTICES Ethnologue: Languages of the world. Tenth edition. Ed. by Barbara F. Grimes. Dallas: Wycliffe Bible Translators, 1984. Pp. xvii, 592. Index to the Tenth edition of Ethnologue : Languages of the world. Ed. by Barbara F. Grimes. Dallas: Wycliffe Bible Translators, 1984. Pp. 225. Processes of language obsolescence and disappearance continue to operate in areas like Native America and Aboriginal Australia; but paradoxically, the number of language names encountered in print is growing steadily. On the one hand, there is a tendency to restore selfdenominations for names imposed by foreigners ; thus the Yuma language of Arizona is now often called Quechan [kwacán], and Tarascan of Mexico is sometimes referred to as Phorhépecha [phorépeèa]. On the other hand, new research often reveals that what were once considered single languages actually consist of varieties which share little mutual intelligibility (e.g., the work under review breaks down the Chatino 'language' of Mexico into six entries, distinguished by village names). The result is a multiplicity of terms—the present Index lists 26,000—often characterized by inconsistency, ambiguity, and overlap. In such a situation, researchers , editors, librarians, and merely curious readers need help; and they have been able to make good use of C. F. & F. M. Voegelin's Classification and index of the world's languages (New York: Elsevier, 1977; reviewed in Lg. 54.756, 1978). However, this 10th edition of the SummerInstitute ofLinguistics Ethnologue, as edited by Barbara Grimes, is an important new advance: it incorporates and corrects the contents ofthe Voegelins' work, and adds much supplementary information—including, for the Western Hemisphere, language maps. A sophisticated use of computer resources and an ingeniously compact format make the work a pleasure to use. The Voegelins' book was organized by genetic groupings—some of them, unfortunately, of controversial status. G's Ethnologue is more oriented to considerations of linguistic geography and sociolinguistics, in that the arrangement is first by continents (plus 'Pacific' as an extra category), and within each continent by nations and other political units. Careful note is taken of cases where languages cross political boundaries, and of immigrant languages. Information given for each language includes alternate names, estimated number of speakers, location, identification of dialects, genetic affiliation (mostly following the Voegelins), typological notes (for some languages), data on bilingualism, and information on the status of Bible translation. Entries for some languages also include non-linguistic dataon the local ecology ; I find this welcome in helping to define the 'personality' of a language. Thus the entry for Huichol, in Mexico, includes the following information (here paraphrased): 12,000 speakers, according to a 1982 SIL survey; located in eastern Nayarit and northwestern Jalisco; AztecoTanoan phylum, Uto-Aztecan stock, Sonoran branch, Corachol family; dialect distinctions between San Andrés Cohamiata and San Sebasti án/Santa Catarina; all dialects easily intelligible among themselves; typology SOV, tonal, long words, affixes, clitics; levels of bilingualism in Spanish range from 10% at FSI Level Zero to 0% at Level Five; scrub forest, mountain slope, swidden agriculture, altitude 500 to 2500 meters; Old Testament portions available since 1967, New Testament since 1967. Specialists in particular languages and areas will undoubtedly be able to offer corrections for some of the data in the Ethnologue. Nevertheless , the quantity, quality, and accessibility of G's compilation is most impressive. The Index gives, for each language or dialect name, the main language entry under which it can be found, plus its genetic classification, its Bible translation status, and the countries in which it is spoken. This pair of volumes is indispensable for any reference shelf on the languages of the world. [WrLLIAMBRiOHT, UCLA.] 1983 Mid-America Linguistics Conference papers. Ed. by David S. Rood. Boulder: Dept. of Linguistics, University of Colorado, 1984. Pp. vii, 425. $13.50. Since the 1960's, regional annual meetings of American linguists have played an important 698 ...