Fantasist's Scroll

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6/9/2004

Review: Describing Morphosyntax : A Guide for Field Linguists

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I finished Describing Morphosyntax : A Guide for Field Linguists this week.

I wish I could reccomend it whole-heartily and without reservation, but I just can’t. First, it is a very techinical book. When this book was reccomended to me, it was with the idea of learning various aspects of language so that I could create a more realistic conlang. And, it will do that, I have to admit, but it will help me as a reference book. So, imagine reading a dictionary of linguistic terms with some examples, primarily in languages that you’ve never heard of before. (Well, okay, that part is actually cool. Some of those languages were really interesting!) Not the easiest thing to read.
Second, it reads like a textbook, which, of course, it is. At least, of a sort. The author intended this to be a guide for amatuer linguists in the field trying to save dying languages. And, I’m sure it serves that purpose quite well, if those linguists have a fair amount of linguistic study under their belt already. This is definately not for the first time linguistic reader. I have read several books on linguistics and I still found myself overwhelmed more than once.

So, while it was certainly a challenge for me to get through, I will absolutely refer back to sections of this book while working on conlangs. It really presents information and ideas that no other book on linguistics seems to touch. A little dry at times, but worth the effort.
In short, Describing Morphosyntax is not for the begginer, but the dedicated amatuer linguist or conlanger (conlinguist?).

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