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Ch. 5—Language . KI 2—Why is English Related to Other Languages?. Language family—a collection of languages related through a common ancestral language that existed before recorded history Indo-European is the world’s most extensively spoken language family by a wide margin

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ch 5 language

Ch. 5—Language

KI 2—Why is English Related to Other Languages?

indo european branches

Language family—a collection of languages related through a common ancestral language that existed before recorded history

  • Indo-European is the world’s most extensively spoken language family by a wide margin
    • Can be divided into 8 branches
      • Indo-Iranian
      • Romance
      • Germanic
      • Balto-Slavic
      • Albanian
      • Armenian
      • Greek
      • Celtic
Indo-European Branches
germanic branch

Language group—a collections of languages within a branch that share a common origin in the relatively recent past with few differences in grammar and vocab

  • German and English are closely related
  • Can be broken into Western or Northern Germanic
    • West—broken into High and Low subgroups
    • North—spoken in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)—4 main languages are Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic—all derive from Old Norse
Germanic Branch
indo iranian branch

Branch of Indo-European language family with most speakers

  • More than 100 individual languages
  • Indic Group—most widely used language group in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
  • English and Hindi are the official languages on India—there are roughly 438 languages spoken in India, 29 by 1 million people
    • Consequently, English is usually the common language used to communicate
  • Iranian Group—spoken in Iran and neighboring countries
    • Common languages include Farsi, Pashto, Kurdish (all are written with Arabic Alphabet)
Indo-Iranian Branch
balto slavic branch

Slavic was once a single language, differences evolved with migration from Asia in 7th century

  • Divided into East, South, and West groups
  • East Slavic are most widely used—Russian spread as Soviet Union became powerful after WWII
    • Ukrainian and Belarusanare other important East Slavic
  • West and South
    • Most common West is Polish, followed by Czech and Slovak (very similar, can understand each other)
    • Former state of Czechoslovakia tried to use both—announcers of sporting events would use one in the 1st half, and the other in the 2nd half—worked during communist era, but countries split in 1993 after fall of soviet union
Balto-Slavic Branch
balto slavic branch1

Most common South Slavic language is the one spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia (Serbo-Croatian)

    • Bosnians and Croats write language in Roman Alphabet (like this)—Montenegrans and Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet (pg. 146)
  • Most differences in Slavic languages are very small
    • However, because language is a major part of a person’s cultural identity, even small differences are being preserved and have accentuated independence movements in the region
Balto-Slavic Branch
romance branch

Evolved from Latin language spoken by Romans 2,000 years ago

  • 4 most commonly used are Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian (Spanish and French are two of the 6 official languages of the United Nations—Arabic, Mandarin, English, French, Spanish, Russian)
  • European regions in which these languages are spoken include the modern boundaries of Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy
  • Romanian is 5th most important or common—spoken in Romania and Moldova
  • Branch is influenced greatly by the Roman Empire that stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Atlantic Ocean—languages are different because of physical barriers and influence of native people
Romance Branch
romance branch1

A creole or creolized language is a language that results from the mixing of the colonizer’s language with the indigenous language of the people being dominated (ex. Haiti)

  • Sometimes creolized languages are considered separate languages—French Creole in Haiti
Romance Branch
origin and diffusion of indo european family

All languages in the family must be descended from one common language, but historians cannot prove a single one (Proto-Indo-European) because there is no recorded history of it

  • It is believed that they come from one language because the languages share common words, meaning that at one time, people shared common experiences in their daily lives (deer, bear, oak, etc.)
Origin and Diffusion of Indo-European Family
nomadic warrior thesis

Hypothesizes that first Proto-Indo-European speakers were the Kurgan people from the boarder between present-day Russia and Kazakhstan

  • Earliest archaeological evidence from 4300 bc.
  • Nomadic herders
  • Among the first to domesticate horses and cattle
  • Traveled to find grass for their animals
  • Went west to Europe and East to Siberia
  • Around 3500-2500 bc they conquered much of Europe and South Asia
Nomadic Warrior Thesis
sedentary farmer thesis

Colin Renfrew (archaeologist) argues first speakers of Proto-Indo-European lived 2,000 years before Kurgans in part of present day Turkey

  • Diffused west towards Greece and then through Europe
  • Renfrew argues that it diffused through agricultural practices rather than military conquest
Sedentary Farmer Thesis