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  • Cited by 214
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2009
Print publication year:
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Book description

The Andean and Pacific regions of South America are home to a remarkable variety of languages and language families, with a range of typological differences. This linguistic diversity results from a complex historical background, comprising periods of greater communication between different peoples and languages, and periods of fragmentation and individual development. The Languages of the Andes documents in a single volume the indigenous languages spoken and formerly spoken in this linguistically rich region, as well as in adjacent areas. Grouping the languages into different cultural spheres, it describes their characteristics in terms of language typology, language contact, and the social perspectives of present-day languages. The authors provide both historical and contemporary information, and illustrate the languages with detailed grammatical sketches. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be a valuable source for students and scholars of linguistics and anthropology alike.


'What a great book! It is comprehensive, erudite, highly detailed, and extremely invaluable. This is a truly excellent book … a monumental contribution to South American Linguistics, and it will stand as the substantial basic reference for years to come.'

Source: Anthropological Linguistics

'… provide[s] a fascinating narrative of the linguistic history of this vast region of South America, not available in English elsewhere.'

Source: International Journal of American Linguistics

'… written in a language readily readable even by undergraduates having taken only an introductory linguistic course … this book is an ideal starting point for anyone undertaking the study of any dialect of Quechua … I recommend it highly for the reference section of all libraries …'

Source: Project Muse

'The present volume is an unusually useful one, written in a language readily readable even by undergraduates having taken only an introductory linguistic course. Adelaar succeeds amazingly well in covering the main points of linguistic interest of the various Quechua varieties, their histories and relationships.'

Source: Canadian Journal of Linguistics

'Besides being a very informative survey of the language of the extended Andean region, it is actually good reading. It is now the principle reference work on Andean languages, and at the same time an excellent case study of language contact in a broad area.'

Source: Lingua

'This long needed reference work offers a fundamental overview of the linguistic diversity in a hitherto poorly known area of the world. As such, it is essential to any modern library. Together with the volume on Amazonian languages published earlier as part of the same series (Dixon and Aikenvald 1999) it affords the serious linguist an up-to-date reference to virtually all of South America.'

Source: Word

'Undoubtedly we have before us a masterpiece that, in appearing, symbolically enough, at the beginning of the current century, shows the great development and maturity achieved by studies in South American aboriginal linguistics. In this sense, The Languages of the Andes will henceforth be a true classic work on Amerindian languages.'

Source: Language

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