Language Families

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Information about Language Families

Published on April 3, 2008

Author: Dionigi


Language Families:  Language Families Who are you related to? Origin of Languages:  Origin of Languages Scientists don’t know when language was first used by humans or their ancestors Estimates range 2 million years ago during the time of Homo habilis 40 thousand years ago during the time of Cro-Magnon man Nature of speech means almost no data Today it’s estimated there are 6,089 languages in the world Brothers, sisters, cousins…:  Brothers, sisters, cousins… Just like our relatives, languages are grouped into families that are believed to have common ancestors Indo-European:  Indo-European Largest family approximately 3 billion native speakers 443 different languages Most of the major languages of Europe and many of Asia Super-family languages have more than 100 million native speakers each Bengali English French German Hindi Portuguese Russian Spanish Sino-Tibetan:  Sino-Tibetan Second in number of native speakers 250 different languages Most from East Asia two major subfamilies: Chinese, or Sinitic languages Tibeto-Burman The Tibeto-Burman subfamily comprises many more languages than the Chinese subfamily, but Chinese languages are spoken by many more people. Afro-Asiatic:  Afro-Asiatic 285 million native speakers 240 different languages North Africa East Africa the Sahel, region in western Africa, between the arid Sahara on the north and the wetter tropical areas to the south Southwest Asia Arabic language, the Hebrew language, and the Amharic language (the official language of Ethiopia) ancient tongues such as the Assyro-Babylonian language, or Akkadian, the Aramaic language, and the Phoenician language, the ancient Egyptian language most important of these languages: Hausa native to northern Nigeria and neighboring areas, but also serving as a regional lingua franca for millions of nonnative speakers Austronesian:  Austronesian Fewest number of native speakers Largest number of languages 1,244 different languages Most widely dispersed homelands From Madagascar to Easter Island Most are on the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Also includes Hawaii, Tahiti, and Madagascar Languages of Australia and New Guinea are not in this family English words of Austronesian origin include taboo, tattoo, and ukelele (from Polynesian); amok, gingham, and kapok (from Malay); batik and junk (from Javanese); and boondocks (from Tagalog, or Filipino, bundok,”mountain”). Typology:  Typology Classification of languages based on order of verb, subject, and object in sentences Does not follow same groupings as families SOV:  SOV Subject Object Verb Most common Includes: Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Indian, German, Dutch Sam oranges ate. SVO:  SVO Subject Verb Object Second most common Includes: English, Spanish, Russian, French, Italian, Chinese Sam ate oranges. VSO:  VSO Verb Subject Object Least common Includes: Irish, Scottish, Egyptian, Polish Ate Sam oranges. Constructed languages:  Constructed languages They’re not real Esperanto Compliation of different languages Made to be easy to learn For international communication Most widely spoken Estimated to have 100,000 – 2 million speakers Developed in 1887 Not the official language of any country Claimed that if learned before any foreign/second language, it will improve ability to learn other languages Other fantasy languages:  Other fantasy languages Writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings Quenya, a form of Elvish Has its own alphabet Phonology and syntax are modeled on Finnish Linguist Mark Okrand Klingon and Vulcan for Star Trek Developed into full languages What do you think is the language spoken by the most people in the world?:  What do you think is the language spoken by the most people in the world? World Languages:  World Languages Mandarin Chinese 874,000,000 speakers 16 countries Hindi 366,000,000 speakers 17 countries English 341,000,000 speakers 104 countries Slide16:  Spanish 322,000,000 speakers 43 countries Bengali 207,000,000 speakers 9 countries Portuguese 176,000,000 speakers 33 countries Russian 167,000,000 speakers 30 countries Slide17:  Japanese 125,000,000 speakers 26 countries German 100,000,000 speakers 40 countries Korean 78,000,000 speakers 31 countries French 77,000,000 speakers 53 countries Slide18:  Wu Chinese 77,000,000 speakers 1 country Javanese 75,000,000 speakers 4 countries Yue Chinese 71,000,000 speakers 20 countries Telegu (India) 69,000,000 speakers 7 countries English Most Popular World Language?:  English Most Popular World Language? Wider in distribution than any other spoken language Official language in 52 countries 25-33% of the people in the world understand and speak English Most useful language to learn for international travel, business, diplomacy Of 189 UN member countries, more than 120 chose English as the language to communicate with other embassies. Included former Soviet Union countries, Vietnam, and most of the Arab world 40 selected French and 20 wanted to use Spanish Where English is on Top:  Where English is on Top Dominant language in electronic communication 75% of mail, telefaxes, and cables 60% of radio programs 90% of Internet traffic Nations with English as Official Language:  Nations with English as Official Language Antigua and Barbuda Australia Barbados Belize Botswana Cameroon Canada Dominica Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Islands Ghana Grenada India Ireland Slide22:  Jamaica Kenya Kiribati Lesotho Liberia Malawi Malta Marshall Islands Mauritius Nambia New Zealand Nigeria Palau Papua New Guinea Philippines Slide23:  Rwanda Saint Lucia Samoa Sierra Leone Singapore Solomon Islands South Africa Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Swaziland Tanzania The Bahamas The Gambia Tonga Slide24:  Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu Uganda United Kingdom United States Vanuatu Zambia Zimbabwe Now do you see why it’s important to learn English?:  Now do you see why it’s important to learn English?

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