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LANGUAGE. Chapter 6 Lecture Continued. What Are Languages, and What Role Do Languages Play in Culture?. Language : A set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols used for communication Standard language : A language that is published, widely distributed, and purposefully taught

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LANGUAGE

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LANGUAGE

Chapter 6 Lecture Continued


What Are Languages, and What Role Do Languages Play in Culture?

  • Language: A set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols used for communication

  • Standard language: A language that is published, widely distributed, and purposefully taught

  • Role of government in standardizing a language


Example: Gov’t-forced assimilation


Example of Dialect


Example: Dialect

  • African American Vernacular English (AAVE)

    • Aka “Ebonics”

  • Standard American English


Non-English Speakers in the US


Language and Politics


The Internet: Globalization of Language


Language Formation

  • Sound shifts, slight changes in a word across languages over time

    Milk = lacte in Latin leche in Spanish

    lait in French latta in Italian

  • Language divergence: Breakup of a language into dialects and then new languages from lack of interaction among speakers

  • Language convergence: When peoples with different languages have consistent interaction and their languages blend into one


Historical Linkages among Languages

  • Proto-Indo-European

  • (proto = first; original)


The Languages of Europe

  • Romance languages

    • French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese

  • Germanic languages

    • English, German, Danish, Swedish

  • Slavic languages

    • Russian, Polish, Czech


The Case of Euskera

Spoken by the Basque and in no way related to any other language family in Europe


Languages of Subsaharan Africa

  • Dominant language family: Niger-Congo


Nigeria


How Do Languages Diffuse?

  • Human interaction

  • Print distribution

  • Migration

  • Trade

  • Rise of nation-states

  • Colonialism

Elizabeth J. Leppman


Effects of Spatial Interaction

  • Lingua franca: A language used among speakers of different languages for trade and commerce

  • Pidgin language: A language created when people combine parts of two or more languages into a simplified structure and vocabulary

  • Creole language: A pidgin language that has developed a more complex structure and vocabulary and has become the native language of a group of people

    • Haitian creole, Jamaican patois


What Role Does Language Play in Making Places?

  • Place: The uniqueness of a location, what people do in a location, what they create, how they impart a certain character, a certain imprint on the location

  • Toponym: A place name

    • Imparts a certain character on a place

    • Reflects the social processes in a place

    • Can give a glimpse of the history of a place


EXAMPLE

  • Town with the longest name in the world is in Wales (UK)

  • Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlllla-ntysiliogogogoch

  • Translation:"Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave."


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