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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Setting the scene

Setting the scene

(p.1) Chapter 1 Setting the scene
Are Some Languages Better than Others?

R. M. W. Dixon

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by summarising the major functions of language within the social fabric of human society. The putative structure of an actual primitive language (as could have been spoken 100,000 or more years ago) is outlined, and then the ways in which every present-day language is superior. The prevalent myth that a people without a long-established tradition of writing must have an inferior language is laid to rest. Linguistics—conceived of as a science—has four facets: description, explanation, prediction, and evaluation. We here focus on the last.

Keywords:   language functions, evaluation, primitive language, writing, linguistics

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