Words and Worlds: World Languages Review
This is a remarkably useful book, especially in terms of the breadth that it attempts to cover. This is a volume that could easily be used in a university course in sociolinguistics. It is clearly a volume worth reading and taking seriously.
This book represents an incredibly valuable compendium of information about the status of languages throughout the world.
With many of the world's linguistic communities in peril as a corollary of globalised modernity, the authors' overt manifesto of preserving the linguistic and cultural heritage of humanity through the publication of such a study and the establishment of a linguistic ethic is commendable and it adds significantly to a small but growing number of sociolinguistic studies to date that raise awareness of language endangerment. A sense of zeal and urgency about the future of linguistic diversity remain with the reader long after the book is read. I would recommend it as compulsory reading for all involved or interested in language policy, language planning and language education.
'Words and Worlds' is a significant step forward in advancing public awareness about global linguistic diversity in the new millennium, achieving an admirable synthesis of historical perspective, empirical statement, and forward-looking commentary. It deserves the widest possible circulation.
Professor David Crystal, Wales
The last few decades have seen widespread recognition of the importance of ecological and cultural diversity and of the threats that currently face this diversity. While the world's linguistic diversity has not been at the forefront of these considerations, the phenomenon of language endangerment is if anything even more acute than the danger to biological species and to other aspects of cultural diversity. The World Languages Review succeeds in presenting language endangerment in a way that combines detailed scientific accuracy with justifiable social concern and in making this area of concern accessible to a wide readership. Bernard Comrie, Director, Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Anthropology and Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of California Santa Barbara
With an extraordinary ability to combine empirical data and strategic recommendations, this review of the urgent necessity to protect linguistic diversity is both a fascinating and accessible work of reference. It is also a manifesto for responsible action, so that we do not loose more of our common humanity in the name of so-called progress and globalised modernity. The authors, UNESCO ETXEA and Multilingual Matters have made an important contribution to the understanding of one of the major issues of this and coming decades.
Colin H Williams, Cardiff University