Beneath the Dust of Time is an unconventional combination of history and the etymology of names. It was inspired and guided by two new paradigms. The first is the "Sahara hypothesis" which postulates a historical migration from North Africa to Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia thousands of years ago, when the end of the last Ice Age led to the emergence of the Sahara Desert in North Africa and to a retreat of the glaciers in Europe. The second is a radically new view of the history of the languages conventionally classified as Indo-European and Semitic.
Almost all studies of ancient history ignore the origins of the names of the peoples and places that determined its course. This book is different. It aims to explain the origin and meaning of the names of peoples (e.g. Greeks, Germans), countries (e.g. Spain), continents (Europe, Africa), seas (Baltic), mountains (Alps, Pyrenees), rivers (Nile, Rhine, Danube), and cities (Rome, Babylon). These names are generally extremely old, and many can be traced back to migrants who had fled from their desertifying homeland in North Africa and who spoke non-Indo-European languages such as Etruscan.
"Pauwels has written a book for the general public, but historians, geographers, and linguists will also benefit from reading it (...). [He] is a scholar who knows how to tell an intriguing story. Too few of his colleagues possess that talent."
Wim de Neuter, Uitpers Webzine.
Language of Environment : Environment of Language is designed for use both as an introduction to the growing field of ecolinguistics and to add a linguistic perspective to environmental studies, environmental impact planning, ecotourism and philosophy. It deals with such major questions as the interrelationship between language and the world, environmental problems, and the importance of preserving language diversity. The book is structured in such a way as to make it ideal for use as a textbook at university level but great care has been taken to ensure that its contents are also accessible to the interested layman.
This book shows how language and the world are interrelated. It examines the consequences of this ecolinguistic perspective in a wide range of domains including ecotourism, advertising, green campaigns, and environmental impact assessments. It provides the concepts and linguistic tools needed to gain a critical understanding of the role of language in shaping environmental attitudes and actions. The author argues that environmental problems require multiple perspectives for their solution and that preserving language diversity is a necessary part of preserving biodiversity.
This book can be used as an introduction to the growing field of ecolinguistics or to add a linguistic perspective to environmental studies, environmental impact planning, ecotourism and philosophy. It is informed by virtually the entire body of writings about language and ecology in a number of languages, and by the author’s personal contacts with some of the main players in this field. Apart from its comprehensive (interdisciplinary) database, the book aims at developing a theory or research tool with applications in many areas of knowledge.
In what country are people the most polyglot?
Can a word be used to mean the opposite of itself?
Has there ever been a state with Esperanto as its official language?
Can Koko the Gorilla handle human speech? How do deaf Japanese say 'condom'?
What is the least useful dictionary ever produced? What is the world's smallest language?
Does English have more words than other languages? Can words consist of consonants alone? Are there native speakers of Klingon? Which country has the most generous minority language policy?
These and hundreds of other questions are answered in "Limits of language", a dazzling collection of the most extreme and unusual facts about the languages of the world. Written for a very wide readership, this book will both entertain the general public and inform them about the vast array of phenomena that make languages so interesting yet so diverse, while defining for students and teachers the limits of linguistic variability.
Comments from the internet:
"An unusual book"
This is an unusual book. First, it contains a wide range of information about language and linguistic behavior, some of it well known, much of it new (at least to me), and a good part of it unexpected and surprising. Second, it is the ideal book to attract a freshman who might still be hesitant on whether linguistics is really worth the effort. And third, it is a highly suitable source for introductory courses to linguistics; it answers many of the questions that students constantly confront you with but where you are not always quite sure whether you have the best answer at hand. (Finally, a warning: If you have little time to spend, do not open this book, because chances are high that once you have looked at it you will not stop before you have read it from cover to cover.)
Posted by Bernd Heine on the Funknet and Lingtyp lists.
"The book for your linguist lover"
I have come upon a book that would be the ideal birthday present for the linguist in your life who you feel already has everything, even a copy of Far From the Madding Gerund. (By the way, if you don't have a linguist in your life, you should definitely consider it. When a linguist kisses you, you stay kissed.) The book in question is quite obscure at the moment. The publisher is Battlebridge, located in London and Ahungalla. (Really, Ahungalla. It's in Sri Lanka.) As yet, it is only available via Amazon in the UK and Japan, so have some pounds sterling or yen ready), and your linguist lover will not know about it yet. It is called Limits of Language: Almost Everything You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Language and Languages, and it's by Mikael Parkvall.
The ISBN for the paperback that I have appears to be 9 781903 292044 but the ISBN cited by Amazon.co.uk is 1 903292 04 2 (and they're charging just £15, so it surely can't be a hardback; I don't know why there would be two ISBNs). I can only describe the book as the realization of a fantasy idea I once had for a Linguist's Book of Lists (see chapter 22 of my book The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax).
It also has a touch of Guinness Book of World Linguistic Records about it. It is really cute, and absolutely stuffed with linguistic trivia and facts and dates and lists and ephemera and exotica (and a linguist joke or two among the fake endorsement quotes on the back). It's often funny, but also quite serious and useful. It will delight any member of our profession. Buy it, and check it out for yourself before you gift-wrap it for your linguist lover. Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum on Language Log