LINGUIST List 13.2320

Mon Sep 16 2002

Books: Sociolinguistics: Abram de Swaan

Editor for this issue: Tomoko Okuno <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


  1. tmac, Abram de Swaan: Sociolinguistics

Message 1: Abram de Swaan: Sociolinguistics

Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 14:42:00 +0000
From: tmac <>
Subject: Abram de Swaan: Sociolinguistics

Title: Words of the World
Subtitle: The Global Language System
Publication Year: 2001
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Book URL:
Author: Abram de Swaan 
Hardback: ISBN: 0745627471, Pages: 272, Price: 64.95
Comment: *30% off with a subscription to Blackwell's LL+
Paperback: ISBN: 074562748X, Pages: 272, Price: 29.95
Comment: *30% off with a subscription to Blackwell's LL+

This bold and accessible study of human languages and communication
explores issues which are at the forefront of today's globalized

The human species is divided into more than five thousand language
groups that do not understand each other. And yet these groups
constitute one coherent world language system, connected by
multilingual speakers in a surprisingly powerful way. The chances of a
language thriving depend on its position in the system. There are
thousands of small, peripheral languages, each connected to one of a
hundred central languages. The entire system is held together by one
global language: English. A language is a 'hypercollective' good: the
more speakers it has, the higher its communication value for each one
of them. Thus, when people think that a language is gaining new
speakers, that in itself is a reason for them to want to learn it
too. That is why, in an age of globalization, only a few languages
remain for transnational communication and these often prevail even in
national societies.

This important book discusses a number of specific constellations in
detail: India, Indonesia, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and the
European Union. De Swaan concludes by providing a sober but
illuminating view of language policy in multilingual societies. This
book will be essential reading for those studying sociology,
communication studies and linguistics.

Lingfield(s): Sociolinguistics
Subject Language(s): English (Language code: ENG)
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue


----------------- Major Supporters ----------------



Academic Press



Arnold Publishers



Athelstan Publications



Blackwell Publishers




Cambridge University Press



Cascadilla Press




Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd




CSLI Publications




Distribution Fides



Elsevier Science Ltd.



John Benjamins����




Kluwer Academic Publishers




Lernout & Hauspie



Lincom Europa



MIT Press




Mouton de Gruyter




Multilingual Matters





Oxford UP



Pearson Education











Summer Institute of Linguistics





---------Other Supporting Publishers-------------


Anthropological Linguistics


Bedford/St. Martin's


Finno-Ugrian Society


Graduate Linguistic Students' Assoc., Umass


International Pragmatics Assoc.


Kingston Press Ltd.


Linguistic Assoc. of Finland


Linguistic Society of Southern Africa (LSSA)


MIT Working Publishers in Linguistics


Pacific Linguistics


Pacini Editore Spa


Utrecht Institute of Linguistics


Virittaja Aikakauslehti


Thursday, January 17, 2002