Learning About Languages

Over the last month I've learned a lot more about .NET localization than I knew before. I think if you want to make sure you've covered your bases, pick a language that reads right-to-left - you'll quickly find out what things you need to "fix" ;). I've also discovered that I know so little about the evolution and history of languages. For example, our current target culture is Arabic. There are a couple people at the client who know Arabic (one is completely fluent in reading and writing it), and I've learned some interesting things about Arabic. The guy who knows Arabic told me that it's hard to read Arabic in an application, and my reasoning is that Arabic looks to me like a cursive language. English can be written cursive or non-cursive (sorry if my terminology is lacking here), but you never see application use a cursive font. My understanding of Arabic is that there are no alternatives in how you write the words, so you're stuck with a font that is cursive in appearance.

My point is that I'd love to learn more about languages and their history, their structure, their meanings, etc. I have "Le Ton Beau De Marot" by Douglas Hofstadter for a while, but I haven't read it yet. If you have any suggestions for good books on linguistics, language history and evolution, etc., please let me know in a comment. Thanks!

* Posted at 01.13.2005 03:06:20 PM CST | Link *

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