January 22, 2007

When languages die

That's the title of this book, to be published this month by Oxford University Press -- a hardcover at the rare price of £17.99 (about $35.50 at today's exchange rate). [Update: you can order the book for $29.95 from Amazon.com -- free shipping!] The author is K. David Harrison, a phonologist and field linguist at Swarthmore College who in his (so far) brief but remarkable career has conducted extensive fieldwork and research "on endangered and little-documented Turkic languages of Inner Asia (Central Siberia and Western Mongolia)" and more recently on languages in Northeast India and Oregon. Some of Harrison's work is featured in the documentary The Last Speakers from Ironbound Films.

Harrison was recently interviewed on National Geographic World Talk. You can hear that interview here. (When I loaded the page today, Harrison's interview was third in the list of those available.) A special treat for Language Log readers: at about the 12 minute mark, host Patty Kim asks Harrison about the "20-some-odd words for snow" in "the Inuit language".

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at January 22, 2007 08:51 PM