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Language and Language Families. World Languages-- Today there are approximately 6,000 languages spoken around the world. We do not know for certain if all of these derive originally from one common ancestor or parent language. . Language Origins.

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language and language families

Language and Language Families

World Languages-- Today there are approximately 6,000 languages spoken around the world. We do not know for certain if all of these derive originally from one common ancestor or parent language.

language origins
Language Origins
  • Monogenetic Theories – Language origins in ONE common source, a Proto-Language.
  • Garden of Eden– Common Source
  • Tower of Babel—Language diversity as punishment.
language origins3
Language Origins
  • Multi-Source Theories– Several Proto-Languages emerge in different locations around the world, either around the same time or at different times.
language families
Language Families
  • We do know that many languages are related to each other. We call these groups of languages that have a common ancestor Language Families.
  • English is part of the Indo-European Language Family.
discovery of language families
Discovery of Language Families
  • Although we don't have any evidence of the original parent language (the culture that spoke it did not possess writing), we call the original language Proto-Indo-European.
  • An Englishman, Sir William Jones (1786) was the first to notice that some languages were related to each other by comparing words in Sanskrit (a very ancient I-E language) with words in Greek, Latin and English.
comparative linguistics
Comparative Linguistics
  • Comparative Linguistics–

The study of the relationships between different languages, often with the goal of reconstructing or identifying the parent language.

indo european
  • There are 10 major groups within the Indo-European Family of Languages.
  • 1. Germanic (English is part of this group or sub-family).
  • 2. Italic– This includes the Romance (Roman) languages of Latin (parent), French, Spanish, and Portugese.
i e language groups 10
I-E Language Groups (10)
  • 3. Celtic—This was one of the earliest and most wide-spread of the IE languages throughout Europe. Its descendants include Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Breton, and Welsh.
  • 4. Hellenic—The languages and dialects of Greece, including Attic-Ionic (Athens) from with Modern Greek derives.
ie language groups 10
IE Language Groups (10)
  • 5. Balto-Slavic– This includes most of the major languages of Eastern Europe, including Polish and Russian.
  • 6. Albanian
  • 7. Armenian
ie language groups 1010
IE Language Groups (10)
  • 8. Indo-Iranian: Some scholars divide this into two separate groups.
  • A. From this group we get most of the major languages spoken in India, inluding Hindi and Urdu.
  • Sanskrit is the most ancient written form of IE (written Hindu)
ie language groups 1011
IE Language Groups (10)
  • 8.B– We also get many of the most ancient languages spoken in Iran, including Persian.
  • 9. Anatolian—This is an ancient language group. The most well-known language in this group is Hittite, a language documented in the Old Testament.
ie language groups 1012
IE Language Groups (10)
  • Tocharian– An isolated language (no longer spoken) discovered from fragments of texts in Western China.
language families two models
Language Families (Two Models)
  • Family Tree Model—Helpful because it shows patterns of direct descent.
  • Wave Model—Helpful because it shows more complicated inter-relationships among languages, how they influence each other over time.
proto indo european map
Proto Indo-European (Map)
  • Major immigration probably began in 3rd or 4th millennium BCE.
  • Location was probably in Northern Central Europe (Southern Russia).
  • Origins were perhaps among the Kurgans who lived somewhere north of the Caspian Sea.
  • Cognates-- I-E languages have similar word forms:
  • Numbers--
  • Body parts-- heart, head, foot.
  • Natural phenomena-- star, snow, sun, moon.
  • Plant/animal names-- beech, bear, corn, wolf.
  • Cultural terms-- yoke, mead, weave, sew.
  • Highly inflected language–

Inflections on the end of words were used to indicate such grammatical functions as case, number tense, person, and mood.

The best examples of this are Sanskrit, Greek, and Classical Latin.