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Chapter 6: Languages. By: Alex B and Allison S. What are languages, and what role do languages play in cultures?. Language : is a set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols that are used for communication Language binds cultural identity, often unifies people of a country

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chapter 6 languages

Chapter 6: Languages

By: Alex B and Allison S

what are languages and what role do languages play in cultures
What are languages, and what role do languages play in cultures?
  • Language: is a set of sounds, combinations of sounds, and symbols that are used for communication
  • Language binds cultural identity, often unifies people of a country
  • Language reveals how people view their culture and cultures of other countries
  • Standard Language: is published, widely distributed and purposefully taught, sometimes decided by the govt.
Dialect: is variants of a standard language along with regional or ethnic lines
  • Isogloss: is a geographic boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs, but rarely a simple line
  • Mutual intelligibility: is when 2 people can understand each other when speaking
    • Cannot be measured
  • Dialect chains: are a set of contiguous dialects nearest to each other at any place in the chain are most closely related
why are languages distributed the way they are
Why are languages distributed the way they are?
  • Language families: are a group of languages with a shared but fairly distant origin
    • 20 different language families
  • Language subfamilies: are further divisions of Language families
  • Sound shift: is a slight change in a word across languages within subfamily or through a language family from the present
  • Backward reconstruction: is a tracking sound shifts and hardening of consonants “back” to the original language
Extinct Language: has no native speakers
  • Proto-Indo-European: linguistic hypothesis proposing the existence of an ancestral Indo-European language that is near the hearth of Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit
  • Nostratic: ancient ancestor of Proto-Indo-European only

Top ten languages, besides English, spoken in the United States

Renfrew Hypothesis: claims that’s from Anatolia diffused Europe’s Indo-European languages
      • From the western arc of the Fertile Crescent came the languages of North Africa and Arabia
      • From the Fertile Crescent eastern arc ancient languages spread into present-day Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, later to be replaced by Indo- European languages.
  • Dispersal hypothesis: claims that the Indo-European languages that arose from Proto-Indo-European …

- First carried eastward into Southwest Asia, next around the Caspian Sea, and then across the Russian- Ukrainian plains and on into the Balkans.

European languages-
    • Romantic: coming from areas controlled by the Roman Empire (French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese)
    • Germanic: reflect expansion of people out of Northern Europe (English, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)
    • Slavic: coming from when Slavic people migrated (Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Slovenian)
  • Sub-Saharan African languages-
    • Niger-Congo language family dominate
    • Oldest languages from Khoisan Language family
    • Nigeria has over 400 languages
how do languages diffuse
How do languages diffuse?
  • Lingua Franca:a “common language” used among speakers of different languages for the purposes of trade and commerce
    • Pidgin Language: when two or more languages are combined in a simplified structure and vocabulary
    • Creole Language: begins as a pidgin language but is later adopted as the mother tongue by a group.
  • Multilingual states: countries with more than one language spoken
    • Ex. United States and Canada
  • Monolingual states: countries in which only one language is spoken
    • Ex. Japan and Portugal
  • Global Language: the language used most commonly around the world
    • Defined by the number of speakers
    • Defined by the prevalence of use in commerce and trade
  • Official Languages: the language selected to be used to promote internal cohesion
    • Usually the language of the courts and the government
    • Often chosen by the educated and politically powerful elite
what role does language play in making places
What role does language play in making places?
  • Toponyms- place names given to certain features on the land such as settlements, terrain features, and streams
    • Descriptive ex. Rocky Mountains
    • Associative ex. Mill Valley, California
    • Commemorative ex. San Fransisco
    • Commendatory ex. Paradise Valley, Arizona
    • Incidents ex. Battle Creek, Michigan
    • Possession ex. Johnson City, Texas
    • Folk Culture ex. Plains, Georgia
    • Manufactured ex. Truth, New Mexico
    • Mistakes ex. Lasker, North Carolina (Alaska)
    • Shift names ex. Lancaster, Pennsylvania (England)
When people change the toponym of a place…

- they have the power to “wipe out the past and call forth the new”

- Toponyms are part of the cultural landscape

- The changes in the place-name clarifies the cultural landscape

-- Post-Colonial --Postrevolution -- Memorial