Language. Chapter 6. Language. Language – a set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols that are used for communication. Mutual Intelligibility. Means two people can understand each other when speaking. Problems: Cannot measure mutual intelligibility
Language – a set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols that are used for communication.
eg. Milk =lacte in Latin
latta in Italian
leche in Spanish
lait in French
when a lack of spatial interaction among speakers of a language breaks the language into dialects and then new languages.
when peoples with different languages have consistent spatial interaction and their languages collapse into one.
Monolingual State a country in which only one language is spokenMultilingual State a country in which more than one language is in useOfficial Languageshould a multilingual state adopt an official language?
A geographic boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs
Language and Cultural Identity
“No one was allowed to speak the language – the Dena’ina language. They [the American government] didn’t allow it in the schools, and a lot of the women had married non-native men, and the men said, ‘You’re American now so you can’t speak the language.’ So, we became invisible in the community. Invisible to each other. And, then, because we couldn’t speak the language – what happens when you can’t speak your own language is you have to think with someone else’s words, and that’s a dreadful kind of isolation [emphasis added].”
- Clare Swan, elder, Kenaitze band, Dena’ina Indians
a language that is published, widely distributed, and purposefully taught.
Government usually plays a big role in standardizing a language.
Language and Political Conflict
Flanders (Flemish language)
Wallonia (French language)
How Languages Diffuse?
A language used among speakers of different languages for the purposes of trade and commerce.
a language created when people combine parts of two or more languages into a simplified structure and vocabulary.
a pidgin language that has developed a more complex structure and vocabulary and has become the native language of a group of people.
Proto-Indo-European began in the Fertile Crescent, and then:
With increased food supply and increased population, speakers
from the hearth of Indo-European languages migrated into Europe.
Indo-European languages first moved from the hearth eastward into present-day Iran and then around the Caspian and into Europe.
- No names for domestic plants
- Hunters/gathers not farmers
- Links widely separated languages
- May date back as far as 14,000 years
Diffusion to the Americas
The Americas are dominated by the Indo-
Pre-Columbian population did not exceed
As many as 200 million languages have been
Believed that first American languages
diverged into the most intricately divided
branches of the Language Tree
- Amerind: Most widely distributed
- Na-Dene: NW Canada and Alaska
- Eskimo-Aleut: Arctic area
Bridge approximately 40,000 years ago
research methods and proper procedures
of dental data to prove hypothesis of early
migration occurring prior to 12,000 years ago
- Pennsylvania 16,000 B.P
- Chile (approx.) 33,000 B.P.
The Basque speak the Euskera language, which is in no way related to any other language family in Europe.
How did Euskera survive?
Polish: matka, Greek: meter, Spanish: madre, Farsi: madar, Sinhalese: mava
A. Imperial conquest or technological advances cause the replacement of indigenous languages
B. Conquered group remains in a low social class until a loss of pride in the language forces its abandonment
C. Formal education system is based on the socially dominant class
D. No official recognition of the conquered language=social inferiority (old language is primitive; socially degrading)
Changes in Language
- children were not allowed to speak their
- reduced languages from 148,000 in 1990
to 3 first graders in 2005
1793 France (New Republican government)
Languages used to Google
World’ nearly extinct languages
Geographer Derek Alderman asks:
* Where are MLK streets?
* Why are they where they are?
* What controversies surround memorializing MLK with a street name?
- Yi-Fu Tuan