Chapter five
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Chapter Five. Language and Religion: Mosaics of Culture they are mentifacts - component of the ideological subsystem of culture , serving as expressions of culture and as vehicles of its transmittal to succeeding generations. Definition of Languages. Language

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Chapter Five

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Chapter five

Chapter Five

Language and Religion: Mosaics of Culture

they are mentifacts - component of the ideological subsystem of culture , serving as expressions of culture and as vehicles of its transmittal to succeeding generations.


Definition of languages

Definition of Languages

  • Language

    • definition : an organized system of spoken words by which people communicate with each other with mutual comprehension. Like Chinese -Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Hakka, and others with different pronunciation but same written works.(Figure 5.3 – Chinese characters)

  • Communication of sound (vocalization) is the crucial part of this definition

  • Non-human languages- elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees - basic and static unlikely evolving into complex languages.

  • Languages are not static but change continuously

  • Modern English - computer expands the vocabulary of commonly used words.


Extinction fear for languages

Extinction Fear for languages

TOP 10 LANGUAGES(percent of world speakers in parentheses)1. Mandarin/Chinese (16%)

2. English (8%)

3. Spanish (5%)

4. Arabic (4%)

5. (tie) Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian (3% each)

9. (tie) Japanese, French (2% each)Source: U.N. Environment Program

  • 6,800 world languages, nearly 1,700 languages are either endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable (report from Nature)

  • 27% of world languages are endangered.

  • Countries with the most endangered and extinct languages also have more endangered and extinct birds

  • here are 357 languages with fewer than 50 speakers each.

Reference:http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/05/22/extinct.language/index.html


Endangered languages

Endangered Languages

http://www.intersolinc.com/newsletters/newsletter_21.htm


Trace proto languages

Trace proto languages

  • Ancestral language

    • The predecessor of Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit

    • Link Romance language and other languages together

      To prove its existence:

      1) reconstruction

      2) Locate the hearths

      3) Diffusion routes must be traced

      4) knowledge of the ways of life

  • Genetic classification: classification of languages by origin and historical relationship


Language family

Language Family

  • proto-Indo-European languages (Fig 5.3) - originally hunters/fishers later became pastoralists and learnt to grow crops (in eastern Europe) 5000 bp.

  • Table 5.1


World pattern of languages

World Pattern of Languages

  • Language Spread - by migration, conquests, colonization. (fig 5.5)

  • Fig 5.6 - Amerindian language families

    • three waves of migration: Amerind, Na-Dene, and Eskimo-Aleut.

  • Innumerable indigenous languages - extinguished.


Patterns

Patterns

  • Colonization and conquest - 1000 to 2000 Amerindian languages disappeared

  • 16th century - Slavic expansion caused the lost of Paleo-Asiatic languages

  • Australian languages from English speakers

  • Austro-Asiatic speakers reduced by conquest/absorption (Sino-Tibetan)

  • Arabic/Bantu expansion


Spread

Spread

  • Latin replaced Celtic (abandonment of former languages)

  • Adoption (expansion diffusion, acculturation) - major cause of language spread. Indo-European languages was dispersed to other areas.

  • Arabic to N Africa,W Asia through conquest/religious conversion and superiority of culture

  • Relocation Diffusion - massive migration

  • Hierarchical Diffusion - adoption of new languages from administrator-schooling-daily contact-business.. proficiency of new languages symbolizing the culture and education, social status (in Uganda, English instead of Swahili being used to display the prestige..)

  • Cultural Barriers - (Greek/Turkish.. Cyprus, Breton/Caelic..)

  • Physical barriers - Pamirs/Hindu Kush mountains..obstacle for Indo-European), Euskara (in Basques)


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