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Chapter 5: language. UNIT 3. LANGUAGE. Language: 1of the most obvious examples of culture Estimated 7,299 languages spoken 10 spoken by 100M+ 100 spoken by 5M+ . Indo-European Language. language.

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Chapter 5: language

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  • Language: 1of the most obvious examples of culture
  • Estimated 7,299 languages spoken
    • 10 spoken by 100M+
    • 100 spoken by 5M+
  • Language: system of communication through speech, a collection of symbols that a group of people understands to have the same meaning
  • Literary tradition: system of written communication
  • Official language: the one used by the gov’t for laws, reports, and public objects; road signs, $, & stamps
big 2
Big 2
  • Where different languages are used
  • How these languages can be grouped in space
  • Why languages have distinctive distributions
  • Language like luggage
    • Look at similarities to understand diffusion and interaction of people around the world
where are english language speakers distributed
Where are English-language speakers distributed?


  • ½ billion people speak it
    • Only Mandarin is spoken more
  • Official language in 50 countries
  • 1/3 of the world live in a country where English is an official language (might not speak it)
origin diffusion of english
Origin & diffusion of english


  • English speakers exist because of the spread of England
  • Spread throughout the world
    • NA
    • Ireland
    • South Asia
    • South Pacific
    • Southern Africa
origin diffusion of english1
Origin & diffusion of english


  • Germanic language say whatttttt?
  • Celts (2000 B.C.)
    • Pushed north (Scotland/Wales)


  • Angles, Jutes (Denmark), and Saxons (German)
  • Angles’ Land  England
  • Evolving through invasion
origin diffusion of english2
Origin & diffusion of english


  • Norman as in Normandy France
  • French spoken for 300 years
    • Commoners continued English
  • English/French which is it?
    • English official language of Parliament in 1489
  • 300 years of mingling
dialects of english
Dialects of english
  • Dialect: regional variation of a language distinguished by distinctive vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation
  • Several dialects in U.S. and other English speaking countries
  • Standard language: dialect that is well est. and widely recognized as the most acceptable for gov. business, edu, mass communication
  • Printing press spreads English
brit am differences
Brit/Am Differences
  • Isolation
  • Vocab: New discoveries, animals, and inventions
    • Forests, chipmunk, bonnet/hood, boot/trunk
  • Spelling
    • Noah Webster
  • Pronunciations
    • A and R difference
    • Brit: /ah/ Am: /a/ ~fauhst/fast, pauth/path
    • Brits don’t pronounce r’s except when it proceeds a vowel
u s dialects
u.s. dialects
  • American settlers; 13 colonies
  • East: New England and Southeastern settlers came from southern and southeastern England
  • Mid Atlantic: Scots/Irish, German, Dutch, Swedes
  • Differences?
  • isogloss: a boundary that separates regions in which different language usages predominate
    • Bucket/pail, brook/creek/run, skillet/pan
    • Car (cahr) heart (haht) lark (lahrk)
indo european branches
Indo-European branches
  • Language family: collection of languages related through a common ancestral language that existed long before recorded history
  • Language branch: “ “ several thousand years ago
  • 4 major branches:
    • Indo-Iranian: South Asia
    • Romance: Southwestern Europe & Latin America
    • Germanic: Northwestern Europe & North America
    • Balto-Slavic: Eastern Europe
  • 4 minor branches: Albanian, Armenian, Greek, and Celtic
indo european branches1
Indo-European branches


  • Language group: collection of languages within a branch that share a common origin in the relatively recent past and have few differences in grammar and vocab.
    • English/German
    • High/Low Germanic: English-Low, German-High
    • Scandinavian: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic
indo european branches2
Indo-European branches


  • 100 languages spoken by 1 billion people
    • East (Indic) West (Iranian)
  • Eastern: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
    • India’s language dispute (north/south)
    • 18 official languages
  • Western: Iran and Southwestern Asia
    • Persian: Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan
    • Kurdish: (western Iran) Iraq and Turkey
indo european branches3
Indo-European branches


  • East/Baltic: Russia, Ukrainian, and Belarusian
    • Russia’s dominance during cold war
  • West/South: Polish, Czech, and Slovak
    • Czech and Slovak very similar
    • Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia
indo european branches4
Indo-European Branches


  • Evolved from Latin spoken by Romans 2,000 y.o.
    • Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian
    • Rugged mountains separate their language
  • Romansh and Catalán
    • Romansh: 40,000 ppl in Switzerland
    • Catalán: official lang. of Andorra, eastern Spain (Barca)
indo european branches5
Indo-European Branches


  • All branch from Latin
    • At its height, stretched from Atlantic to Black Sea
    • With conquering comes diffusion
    • Each province adds its own flavor
    • Vulgar Latin: used in daily convo’s opposed to standard dialect (official docs)
  • Fall of Romans 5thC
    • Regional variations of Latin
    • Revert back to old language
origin diffusion of i ndo european
Origin & diffusion of Indo-European
  • Germanic, Romance, Balto-Slavic, & Indo-Iranian come from the same family:
    • Proto-Indo-European (can’t be fully proven)
    • Beech, oak, bear, deer, pheasant, and bee
    • Winter and snow…not ocean
  • Accept that Proto-Indo-European existed
    • But not when/where/diffused
    • Possible Kurgans (4300 B.C.)
    • Possible Anatolians (6300 B.C.)
      • Agriculture or war?
classification of languages
Classification of languages
  • Language in Indo-European (Eng) spoken by 48% of the world
  • Language in Sino-Tibetan (Mandarin) spoken by 26%
  • Language in Afro-Asiatic (Arabic) spoken by 6%
  • Language in Austronesian(SE Asia) spoken by 5%
  • Language in Dravidian (India) spoken by 4%
  • Language in Altaic (Africa) spoken by 3%
  • Language in Niger-Congo (Africa) spoken by 3%
  • Japanese(separate family) spoken by 2%
  • Remaining 3% belong to one of 100 smaller families
distribution of language families
Distribution of language families


  • ¼ of world speakers
    • China and SE Asia
    • No single Chinese language (Mandarin and Cantonese)
    • Words spelled the same, pronounced differently
    • 420 1-syllable words: Shi: lion, corpse, house, poetry, ten, swear, or die. Listener must infer meanings
    • Thousands of characters
    • Ideograms: represent concepts or ideas, not specific pronunciations
afro asiatic language family
Afro-asiatic language family
  • Arabic and Hebrew, others in N Africa and SE Asia
  • Spread of language because of the Bible and Quran
  • Arabic spread from Morocco to Arabian Peninsula
african language families
African Language families
  • 1,000+ languages, several thousand dialects doc.
  • Niger-Congo: 95% of sub-Saharans speak it
    • Largest branch: Benue-Congo
    • Swahili: secondary language of 30M Africans
  • Nilo-Saharan: North Central
  • Khosian: South West
  • Austronesian: Indonesia
    • Javanese and Malay
preserving language diversity
Preserving language diversity
  • Extinct language: language no longer spoken or read
    • 516 nearly extinct: 46 African, 170 Americas, 78 Asian, 12 European and 210 Pacific
    • Religious influences: Goths and Peru
  • Reviving Hebrew
    • Biblical language
    • Jewish celebrations
    • Israel establishes as one of 2 official languages (Arabic)
    • Eliezer Ben-Yehuda
celtic preserving endangered languages
Celtic: preserving endangered languages
  • Celtic originated in Germany, France, and N Italy
  • Celtic Groups: Goidelic (Gaelic) and Brythonic
  • Irish Gaelic (7%) and Scottish Gaelic (1%)
  • Brythonic (Cymric or Britannic) 
    • Wales: 1/6 still speak Welsh. Lost dominance in 19th C
      • All gov’t & utility companies must provide services in Welsh, BBC broadcasts in Welsh
    • Cornwall: Cornish extinct in 1777
    • Brittany Pen.: ½ Mil speak Breton, French infusion
multilingual states
Multilingual states
  • Belgium: split into Flemings (North/Flanders) and Walloons (South/Wallonia)
    • Flanders speak Flemish (close to Dutch)
    • Wallonia speak French
  • Each region controls cultural affairs, public health, road construction, and urban development
    • Brussels is truly bilingual
  • Switzerland: peacefully exists w/ multiple languages
    • Decentralized gov’t is the key
    • Most power is with local authorities
isolated language
Isolated language
  • Isolated language: language unrelated to any other and therefore not attached to any language family
  • Arise from lack of interaction w/ speakers of other languages
  • Basque: Before arrival of Indo-European speakers
    • Spoken by 600,000 people in Pyrenees Mts in N Spain & S France
    • Isolation
  • Icelandic: North Germanic group
    • Changed less than any other Germanic lang. in the past 1,000 years
english lingua franca
English: Lingua franca
  • Lingua Franca: a language mutually understood and commonly used in trade by ppl who have dif. Native tongues
  • Pidgin language: form of speech that adopts a simplified grammar and limited vocab of a lingua franca, use for comm. among speakers of 2 dif. Lang
    • no native speakers, spoken for trade purposes
  • Swahili, Hindustani, Indonesian, and Russian (others)
  • Knowing Eng. is the most effective way to work in a global econ.
diffusion of english
Diffusion of English
  • Distribution mainly from migration and conquest
  • Recently through expansion diffusion
    • Spread of an idea rather than through relocation
  • Expansion 2 ways: 1) new vocab, spelling, and pronunciation 2) fusing words w/ other languages
  • Ebonics: combination of ebony and phonics
    • Preserved in African American communities
    • Language that slave masters could not understand
  • Appalachian dialect: hollowholler, creekcrick
    • Regional identity and poor education
diffusion of other languages
Diffusion of other languages
  • Franglais: combination of françaisand anglais
    • French aren’t happy about English gaining dominance
  • Spanglish: combination of Spanish and English
    • Cubonics in Cuban-American communities
    • More integration of English with Spanish than just borrowing English words
      • Parquin, taipearbipiar, and i-meiliar
  • Denglish: German and English