By Dianne Gaspas-Ettl, Coloring Books
Included are ready-to-color illustrations of an impressive giraffe at a water gap, a matriarch and herd of African elephants, a cheetah with its younger on an deserted termite mound, a yellow-winged bat amid the blossoms of the baobab tree, village weaverbirds' nests placing from umbrella acacia, and masses extra. Descriptive captions accompany each one representation, deciding on topics through universal and Latin names and in brief describing the environment.
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But in higher latitude environments, a few species, such as an evergreen tree or a large herbivore, tend to predominate. So it is, in an interesting way, with languages. Warm, moist, lowlatitude environs harbor numerous languages often spoken by small groups of people; on the island of New Guinea, for example, more than 900 languages remain in use, none with regional dominance. In Subsaharan Africa, more than 2,000. But higher latitude Europe is home to only about 200 languages—and among these, a few are strongly The Imperial Legacy of Language 33 dominant.
This detective work is so interesting and challenging that it and its prickly personalities are becoming a riveting saga of science and strife. The giant name in this arena is that of Joseph Greenberg of Stanford University, whose lifetime of research yielded much of the framework that continues to form the basis for this ongoing debate. 1). He grouped the approximately 2,000 African languages into four families, and the numerous indigenous languages of the Americas into three (Greenberg, 1963, 1987).