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The Eight Major Language Families

The Eight Major Language Families

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The Eight Major Language Families

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  1. The Eight Major Language Families Because LOVE Isn’t Really An International Langauge

  2. FOR STARTERS It is important to know: THE EIGHT MAJOR LANGUAGE FAMILIES AND THE GLOBAL PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THEM THE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE EIGHT MAJOR LANGUAGE FAMILIES TWO OR THREE EXAMPLE LANGUAGES WITHIN EACH MAJOR FAMILY TWO OR THREE COUNTRIES WHERE EACH EXAMPLE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN The Eight Major Language Families are:

  3. GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION OF MAJOR FAMILIES

  4. FAMILIES LANUAGES AND COUNTRIES We’ve already spoken about Indo European Family languages, but for the sake of review: Indo European has Eight branches… Indo-Iranian Romance Germanic Balto-Slavic Celtic Greek Armenian Albanian French in France Spanish in Spain Portuguese in Portugal Italian in Italy Hindi in India Bengali in Bangladesh Punjabi in Pakistan Persian in Iran German in Germany English all over the place Swedish in Sweden Russian in Russia Polish in Poland Bosnian in Bosnia Scottish Gaelic in Scotland Irish Gaelic in Ireland Greek in Greece Armenian in Armenia Albanian in Albania

  5. SINO-TIBETAN LANUAGES There are a number of Chinese languages, but ¾ of Chinese peoples speak Mandarin Chinese, and the government is imposing Mandarin country-wide. All Chinese languages are written in the same form using characters called ideograms. The Sino-Tibetan family has three branches: The Sinitic Branch: Chinese in China The Austro-Thai Branch: Thai in Thailand The Tibeto-Burman Branch: Burmese in Burma

  6. JAPANESE Japanese uses three separates sets of alphabets. Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. One of them was inherited from the Chinese ideograms, but the other two are purely phonetic. Japanese partly developed from Chinese in isolation. It is spoken on the Islands of Japan.

  7. AFRO-ASIATIC LANGUAGES Afro-Asiatic languages are spoken in the North African and Southwest Asian portions of the world. They include: Hebrew in Israel Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula and Northern Africa Its languages were used to write the Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible), the Bible, and the Qur’an (the Muslim Bible).

  8. ALTAIC LANGUAGES Altaic languages are spoken in an 8,000 kilometer band from Turkey in the west to Mongolia and Northern China in the east. The family includes: Turkish in Turkey Turkmen in Turkmenistan Uzbek in Uzbekistan Kazakh in Kazakhstan Uyghur in the Xinjiang region of Northern China Mongolian in the South Mongolian region of Northern China When the Soviets governed the Altaic region, they suppressed Altaic languages to create a centripetal, homogenous national culture. They also forced Altaic speakers to write in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. Most Altaic speakers are Muslims and many Altaic languages use the Arabic alphabet. With the all of the Soviet Union, Altaic languages became the official languages in many former Soviet Republics. Many of these regions are shatterbelts (areas prone to civil war due to internal clashes between irreconcilable ethnic groups) because: --restoring the Altaic languages threatens the rights of minorities in these countries --the borders of the states formed often do not coincide well with the regions in which the languages are spoken In these cases, languages acts like a centrifugal force

  9. NIGER-CONGO LANGUAGES There are at least 1000 distinct languages in Africa Most of these languages lack a written tradition, and only eight are spoken by more than 10 million people. In Northern Africa, Arabic, an Afro-Asiatic Language dominates. Niger-Congo languages dominate in the Sub Saharan Africa. (95%) There are six branches of the Niger-Congo Family. Yoruba and Igbo in Nigeria Shona in Zimbabwe Zulu in South Africa Swahili in Tanzania Swahili is the first language of only 800,000 people in Tanzania, but it is used as a second language by almost 30 million Africans. Local languages are used to communicate with neighbors, but Swahili is used as a way to communicate between outsiders from other areas and tribes.

  10. AUSTRONESIAN LANGUAGES Austronesian languages are primarily spoken in Southeast Asia. There are 739 Austronesian languages including: Javanese on the island of Java in Indonesia Indonesian (as a second, trade language) in Indonesia Malay in Malaysia Malagasy in Madagascar

  11. DRAVIDIAN LANGUAGES We won’t say much about them here, but there are about 17 Dravidian Languages. 4% of the world’s population speaks one of them. They are clustered mostly in southern India and represent the languages of India’s original inhabitants. India has 18 official languages, four of which are Dravidian (in red).

  12. CASE STUDY: NIGERIA Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and it will be a top 10 country by 2050. It has 493 distinct languages, only three of which have widespread use. Hausa: (Afro-Asiatic) 15% in the North Yoruba: (Niger-Congo) 15% in the Southwest Igbo: (Niger-Congo) 15% in the Southeast The peoples of different language groups have often fought. Southern Ibos tried to secede in the 1960s, northerners claim that Southern Yorubas discriminate against them. In Nigeria language differences create a CENTRIFUGAL force and threaten to shatter the country. To calm the country, the government moved its capital from Lagos in the Yoruban dominated southwest to the more centralized Abuja. It is a former English colony and English is the official language.