Why geographers study language • Provides the single most common variable by which cultural groups are identified • Provides the main means by which learned customs and skills pass from one generation to the next • Facilitates cultural diffusion of innovations • Because languages vary spatially, they reinforce the sense of region and place • Study of language called linguistic geography and geolinguistics by geographers
Language – set of sounds, combination of sounds, and symbols used in communication • Standard language – published, widely distributed, and purposely taught, ex.British Received Pronunciation (BRP) • Isogloss – a geographic boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs • Mutual intelligibility – two people can understand each other when speaking 言語ユニット
Terms used in the study of language • Language — tongues that cannot be mutually understood • Dialects — variantforms of a language that have not lost mutual comprehension • A speaker of English can understand the various dialects of the language • A dialect is distinctive enough in vocabulary and pronunciation to label its speaker • Some 6,000 languages and many more dialects are spoken today
Language Formation • the origins of Sanskrit • Language of ancient Indian religious & literary texts • Resembles Greek and Latin • What accounts for similarities between different languages? • Milk in 4 different languages: lacte, latta, leche, & lait • Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French 言語ユニット
How are Languages Formed? • Language divergence – when a lack of spatial interaction among speakers of a language breaks the language into dialects and then new languages. • Language convergence – when peoples with different languages have consistent spatial interaction and their languages collapse into one.
The Languages of Europe Romance languages Germanic languages Slavic languages
Historical Linkages among Languages • Indo-European language family • Proto-Indo-European language • Nostratic Language
Language Divisions • Language Families • Language Branches • Language Groups • Languages • Dialects • Accents
Language Divisions for English -- Indo-European -- Germanic -- West Germanic -- English -- Northeastern -- Boston (Pak da ka o-fa dere, pleese!) • Language Families • Language Branches • Language Groups • Languages • Dialects • Accents
Language and National Identity Standard Language a language that is published, widely distributed, and purposefully taught. Government usually plays a big role in standardizing a language.
Language and Political Conflict Belgium: Flanders (Flemish language) Wallonia (French language)
Euskera The Basque speak the Euskera language, which is in no way related to any other language family in Europe. How did Euskera survive? After WWII, Spain granted the Basque area some autonomy.
Languages of Subsaharan Africa- extreme language diversity- effects of colonialism
Nigeria • 100 million people speak more than 400 different languages: • Hausa – 35 mil • Yoruba – 25 mil • Ibo – 20 mil • Rest spoken by less than 1 mil School instruction in English
Kenya • Kenya has two official languages: Swahili and English. • These lingua franca facilitate communication among Bantu, Nilotic, and Cushitic language speakers. • Swahili developed along the coast of East Africa where
Kenya • Bantu came in contact with Arabic spoken by Arab sea traders. • English became important during the British colonial period and is still associated with high status. • This shopping center caters to Maasai herders who speak a Nilotic language and Kikuyu farmers who speak a Bantu language. • Jambo means “hello” in Swahili.
How do Languages Diffuse? Key Question:
How do Languages Diffuse? • human interaction • print distribution/internet • migration • trade • rise of nation-states • colonialism
Terms used in the study of language • Lingua franca — a language that spreads over a wide area where it is not the mother tongue • A language of communication and commerce • Swahili language has this status in much of East Africa
Terms used in the study of language • Pidgin language — results when different linguistic groups come into contact • Serves the purposes of commerce • Has a small vocabulary derived from the various contact groups • Official language of Papua, New Guinea is a largely English-derived pidgin language, which includes Spanish, German, and Papuan words
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.
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?
Toponyms • Classification of toponyms • Descriptive – Rocky Mtns. • Associative – Mill Valley • Commemorative – San Francisco • Commendatory – Paradise Valley • Incidents – Battle Creek • Possession – Johnson City • Folk Culture – Plains, Georgia • Manufactured – Truth or Consequences • Mistakes – Lasker, NC (named after Alaska) • Shift Names – Lancaster (England relocated to Penn)
Significance of Toponym • “when people change the toponym of a place, they have the power to ‘wipe out the past and call forth the new.’” (de Blij 172) • Post-Colonial – Gold Coast to Ghana • Sea of Japan • Post revolution – Belgian Congo to Zaire • Memorial – MLK, Jr. Drive • Commodification – FedEx Field
Language and Perception - Eskimo Words for Snow 'ice' sikko 'bare ice' tingenek 'snow (in general)' aput 'snow (like salt)’ pukak 'soft deep snow' mauja 'snowdrift' tipvigut 'soft snow' massak 'watery snow' mangokpok 'snow filled with water' massalerauvok 'soft snow' akkilokipok
Eskimo Words for Snow West Greenlandic - 49 Words 'sea-ice' siku (in plural = drift ice) 'pack-ice/large expanses of ice in motion' sikursuit, pl. (compacted drift ice/ice field = sikut iqimaniri) 'new ice' sikuliaq/sikurlaaq (solid ice cover = nutaaq.) 'thin ice' sikuaq (in plural = thin ice floes) 'rotten (melting) ice floe' sikurluk 'iceberg' iluliaq (ilulisap itsirnga = part of iceberg below waterline) '(piece of) fresh-water ice' nilak 'lumps of ice stranded on the beach' issinnirit, pl. 'glacier' (also ice forming on objects) sirmiq (sirmirsuaq = Inland Ice) 'snow blown in (e.g. doorway)' sullarniq 'rime/hoar-frost' qaqurnak/kanirniq/kaniq 'frost (on inner surface of e.g. window)' iluq 'icy mist' pujurak/pujuq kanirnartuq 'hail' nataqqurnat 'snow (on ground)' aput (aput sisurtuq = avalanche) 'slush (on ground)' aput masannartuq 'snow in air/falling' qaniit (qanik = snowflake) 'air thick with snow' nittaalaq (nittaallat, pl. = snowflakes; nittaalaq nalliuttiqattaartuq = flurries) 'hard grains of snow' nittaalaaqqat, pl. 'feathery clumps of falling snow' qanipalaat 'new fallen snow' apirlaat 'snow crust' pukak 'snowy weather' qannirsuq/nittaatsuq 'snowstorm' pirsuq/pirsirsursuaq 'large ice floe' iluitsuq 'snowdrift' apusiniq 'ice floe' puttaaq 'hummocked ice/pressure ridges in pack ice' maniillat/ingunirit, pl. 'drifting lump of ice' kassuq (dirty lump of glacier-calved ice = anarluk) 'ice-foot (left adhering to shore)' qaannuq 'icicle' kusugaq 'opening in sea ice imarnirsaq/ammaniq (open water amidst ice = imaviaq) 'lead (navigable fissure) in sea ice' quppaq 'rotten snow/slush on sea' qinuq 'wet snow falling' imalik 'rotten ice with streams forming' aakkarniq 'snow patch (on mountain, etc.)' aputitaq 'wet snow on top of ice' putsinniq/puvvinniq 'smooth stretch of ice' manirak (stretch of snow-free ice = quasaliaq) 'lump of old ice frozen into new ice' tuaq 'new ice formed in crack in old ice' nutarniq 'bits of floating' naggutit, pl. 'hard snow' mangiggal/mangikaajaaq 'small ice floe (not large enough to stand on)' masaaraq 'ice swelling over partially frozen river, etc. from water seeping up to the surface' siirsinniq 'piled-up ice-floes frozen together' tiggunnirit 'mountain peak sticking up through inland ice' nunataq 'calved ice (from end of glacier)' uukkarnit 'edge of the (sea) ice' sinaaq