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Linguistics Language and Literacy


Barber, E. J. W. Archaeological Decipherment: A Handbook. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1974. Discusses history, theory, and methods of archaeological decipherment.

——. The Mummies of Ürümchi. New York: Norton, 1999. Discusses literature on early Chinese loans from Iranians and other evidence for early trans-Eurasian contact.

Daniels, Peter, and William Bright. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. An encyclopedia of all known writing systems.

Deacon, Terrence W. The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain. New York: Norton, 1997. Physical evidence for human development toward language, including evidence from brain studies for change to voluntary speech centers.

de Saussure, Ferdinand. Cours de linguistique générale. Paris: Payot (1964 reprint of 1915 original). First major treatise on descriptive linguistics; early analysis of language as arbitrary and linear.

Friedrich, Johannes. Extinct Languages. Translated by F. Gaynor. New York: Philosophical Library, 1957. Story of all the major decipherments (including Egyptian and cuneiform), written by one of the decipherers of Hittite.

Gelb, Ignace J. A Story of Writing. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963. Analytical history of the development of scripts.

Hockett, Charles. A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York: Macmillan, 1958. Chapter 64 contains an important discussion of arbitrary and productive properties of language.

Justus, Carol. "Indo-European Numerals Since Szemerenyi." In The Emergence of the Modern Language Sciences, Vol. 2: Methodological Perspectives and Applications, edited by S. Embleton, J.E. Joseph, H.-J. Niederehe, 131–152. Philadelphia and Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1999. Discussion of lack of number words in early languages and the process of their introduction.

Lieberman, Philip. Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991. Discusses evidence for the rapid push toward a vocal tract usable for speech.

Pedersen, Holger. The Discovery of Language: Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century. Translated by J. W. Spargo. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1959. Development of historical linguistics, with discussion of key discoveries of scripts and texts, and the basic theories generated about the language families of much of the world.

Schmandt-Besserat, Denise. Before Writing, Vol. I: From Counting to Cuneiform. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992. Development of the Near Eastern token system into writing and numbers.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Kabbalah Mysticism - Types Of Kabbalah to LarynxLinguistics Language and Literacy - Language, Linguistics, Writing, Origin Of Writing, Spread Of Writing And Literacy, Alphabetic Literacy