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A map of the world's languages is a jigsaw puzzle for linguists, who look for relationships and universality among the myriad languages on earth. Because much of what is common across languages is not immediately evident from the surface forms of language, linguistic study has to be subtle and creative, to reach below the surface. Among the many generalizations and questions which linguists ponder, here are a few for you to think about:
Everyone speaks a dialect when speaking normally.
Value judgments about dialects have no structural linguistic basis.
All languages change over time.
To what extent are speech styles dependent on context such as region, gender or socioeconomic status?
How universal is the need to compute logic into words?
As you read and listen to the examples above, we invite you to join us in analyzing these issues and others relating to structures, sounds, and meaning. You might also go to the other websites listed below.
"What languages are most spoken in the world?"
The World Wide Web Virtual Library: INDIGENOUS STUDIES
Resources for Studying Human Speech
Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
Lexical Functional Grammar
Introduction to Semantics
What is general semantics?
Information on Endangered Languages
Randy LaPolla's excellent summary of resources
International Clearing House for Endangered Languages (ICHEL)
The Endangered Language Fund
Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive
Information on linguistic annotation
Corpus Encoding Standard
Expert Advisory Group on Language Engineering Standards (EAGLES)
Information on character-encoding
Jukka Korpela's tutorial
Master list of Internet documents related to charcter coding from the Center for Internet Research, U. of Singapore
Information on Unicode
The homepage of the International Unicode Conference
Unicode charts provided by Unicode, Inc.
Roman Czyborra's links to his chapters on Unicode
A free Unicode font named Cyberbit from Bitstream