Today I’m making an exception to the usual anglo-centrism of my blog, for a very good reason:
The World Atlas of Language Structures is now online.
Think about it. Over 2,500 languages with over 6,500 references, and all of them treated equally. Thanks to the Max Planck Digital Library and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, both in Germany, you can browse through as many languages as you like for free.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll find at http://wals.info:
number of consonants (from 6 to 122), presence of rare sounds like ö and ü, tone systems, gender categories, plural formation, number of cases, verbal future and past forms, imperatives, word order, passives, numerals, colour terms, writing systems, and more
I predict that linguaphiles everywhere will be jumping on this one. Paging languagehat!
The full press release is here.