This is a treasury of authoritative yet concise information about major languages and language families. The emphasis is on Indo-European, over half the book being devoted to that family. Each of the 50 chapters is written by an expert in that field. Phonology, morphology, and syntax are discussed, and, where appropriate, the writing system. Some chapters, such as that on Chinese, are very lucid and accessible to the non-expert; others are more difficult. This is not a book for beginners, and specialists will have more detailed treatments at their disposal. Its best use would seem to be in an academic reference collection, for the scholar to dip into to refresh his or her memory of a language once studied, or to get a birds-eye view of a language not studied. Includes a language index and bibliographies.