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Are Some Languages Better than Others? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Are Some Languages Better than Others?

R. M. W. Dixon


There was a tendency, in the nineteenth century, for Europeans to denigrate the customs of dark-skinned peoples, and to put forward the uninformed opinion that their languages were ‘primitive’. To counter this mistaken idea, the first pages of textbooks and the first lectures of freshman courses in linguistics have emphasised, as loud as was possible, that ‘no language spoken in the world today is primitive’ and then ‘that all languages are about equal in complexity’. But surely they are not all of exactly equal worth. The present volume is the first serious attempt to address this question, i ... More

Keywords: language, linguistics, evaluation, grammar, vocabulary, phonology, synonymy, homonymy, complexity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198766810
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766810.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

R. M. W. Dixon, author
Adjunct Professor and Deputy Director, Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University