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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: September 2009

0 - Introduction

Summary

Survey

This book presents a survey of the modern Slavic languages – known as “Slavonic” languages in Britain and some of the Commonwealth countries – seen from the point of view of their genetic and typological properties, their emergence and standing as national languages and selected sociolinguistic characteristics.

The language survey as a genre, and as defined in the description of this series, is not the same as a comprehensive comparative grammar. The survey does require breadth, to cover the full range of languages; and selective depth, to identify and highlight the specific properties of the language family as a whole, and the properties of sub-families and languages within the family. Our treatment is deliberately selective, and we concentrate on topics and features which contribute to the typology of the members of the Slavic language family.

We have tried to achieve this balance with two goals in view: to present an overview of the Slavic languages, combined with sufficient detail and examples to form a sound empirical basis; and to provide an entry point into the field for linguistically informed and interested readers who do not already command a Slavic language.

The Slavic languages in the world

The Slavic languages are one of the major language families of the modern world. In the current world population of over 6 billion the most populous language family is Indo-European, with over 40 percent.

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