The geography of language
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The Geography of Language. Chapter 8. Defining Language. Language: a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, gestures, marks or especially articulate vocal sounds.

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Defining language
Defining Language

  • Language: a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, gestures, marks or especially articulate vocal sounds.

  • Standard Language: Technologically advanced societies are likely to have standard language. Whose quality is a matter of cultural identity and national concern.

    • Used by official state examinations, teachers, civil servants and others.

Language families
Language Families

Language Families are thought to have a shared, but fairly distant, origin in a language subfamily

Subfamily: are divided into language groups, which consist of sets of individual languages.

Dialect: It is the distinction between a language and a dialect is not always clear. Can generally be thought of as regional variants of a standard language.


  • It is the differentiation over time and space. Languages would branch into dialects, isolation would then increase the differences between dialects.


  • Through human mobility, languages would come together

Language replacement
Language Replacement

  • We know that the languages of traditional, numerically smaller, and technologically less advanced peoples have been replaces, or greatly modified, by the languages of invaders.

Theories of language diffusion
Theories of Language Diffusion

  • Conquest Theory: Is the dispersal in Europe west of the Russian plains was long supported by a majority of archeologists, linguists, and human geographers.

  • Agricultural Theory: Theory of the diffusion of the proto indo-european language into Europe through the innovation of agriculture.

Review chapter 8
Review Chapter 8

  • Languages are constantly in flux.

  • Most people speak languages belonging to the Indo-European languages family than languages of any other family.

  • Chinese is spoken by more people than any other language, but English has become the principal language of cross-cultural communication, economics and science.

Review chapter 9
Review Chapter 9

  • The search for the origins of language goes back ten thousands of years. It has yielded information not only about how language changes but about the environment where early languages were spoken.

  • Language changes through divergence, convergence, and replacement, making the spatial search for origins problematic.

  • Indo-European languages were spread throughout much of the world during the European colonial period.

Review chapter 10
Review Chapter 10

  • English, an Indo-European language that diffused throughout the world during the era of colonialism, has become the dominate international language of education, commerce, and business.

  • Virtually no country is truly monolingual today, and in some countries serious ethnic discord exists between peoples speaking different languages.

  • The study of place names (toponymy) can reveal a great deal about the contents and historical geography of a cultural regions.

  • In their structure and vocabulary and in their ability (or inability) to express certain concepts, ideas, languages reflect the way people think about and perceive their world.