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Are Some Languages Better than Others?$
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R. M. W. Dixon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766810.001.0001

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An ideal language

An ideal language

(p.213) Chapter 10 An ideal language
Are Some Languages Better than Others?

R. M. W. Dixon

Oxford University Press

Diversity is the heartspring of every aspect of the world we live in. This applies especially for language. There is today an immense variety of languages, each with its own distinctive and endearing character. This chapter summarises some of the features—almost all discussed in previous chapters—which should ideally be present in every language, making up its basic infrastructure. Building on this, each language will have its own special set of ‘luxuries’—an extravagant set of genders in one, several ways of creating causatives in another. The forty-two phonological, grammatical, and lexical features presented in the remainder of this chapter simply reflect my opinion. They are most certainly not set in stone. The reader should think about and assess each one, modifying (or even deleting) it as they judge appropriate; and they may well choose to add further features.

Keywords:   reduplication, homonyms, intonation, word order, orthography, diminutives, augmentatives

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