If I wanted a general introduction to for example the Turkish language, I can look up articles on Turkish in Encyclopedia Britannica, the Routledge Compendium of the World's Languages, the International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, and the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, all of which are excellent resources. The articles range from a page to a few pages. I can also find overview books such as Routledge's Turkish by Jack Kornfilt or Turkish: An Essential Grammar, which are both several hundred pages.

What interests me is if there is any intermediate document between resources of these two different magnitudes. Is there any encyclopedia which provides languages up to a 20-50 page general treatment, or a dedicated Turkish language encyclopedia with a very in-depth overview article on Turkish itself, ideally 20-50 pages?

I know that I can research this myself, and I am, but I ask to discover any possible tips on places to look.

Thank you.

  • Are you specifically limiting this to Turkish, or do you mean "in general" thus possibly including Tuareg?
    – user6726
    Nov 5, 2019 at 17:41
  • Yes, any language at all, as a general reference strategy
    – julkarham
    Nov 5, 2019 at 17:56
  • 2
    Probably the first place to look, at least for major languages like Turkish, is The World's Major Languages, edited by Bernard Comrie.
    – jlawler
    Nov 5, 2019 at 21:09
  • In what language?
    – Alex B.
    Nov 8, 2019 at 3:26
  • If you know of resources outside of English I would be interested
    – julkarham
    Nov 12, 2019 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


This is not yet a general, supported genre, unfortunately. There are language-family volumes, for example Uralic, Bantu, Mongolian, which could contain such works, but typically they are in the 20 page realm. As you will discover, these volumes / articles may be general descriptive works but they may also be historically-focused, thus you may not learn much about the facts of a language unless you already know the history of the language family. I know of no publication outlet where a specialist could present a shortish grammar of any arbitrary language (there are archives such as Lingbuzz, ROA, Xenodo or Figshare where anybody can archive anything, but then you would face the problem of identifying works of interest).

I generally look at the Glottolog page (semi-random selection), because it is the best general bibliographic source on language materials. It has sortable fields for type of work, publication data and page number. The number of clunker entries is relatively low. It usually contains any handbook such as the Routledge Language Family volumes.

  • Glottolog looks like a good website. Which "archives" are you referring to?
    – julkarham
    Nov 7, 2019 at 13:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.