Voices of the World AP Human Geography Unit 3: Language Copeland 2010
Language Families of the World Today, the people of the world speak more than 7,000 distinct languages, which are grouped into language families. Only 10 of these languages are spoken by at least 100 million people. Approximately 100 of those languages are spoken by at least 5 million people, another 70 languages spoken by 3-4 million people. The remaining languages are spoken by fewer than 2 million people.
History of the English-Language Dialects of English A dialect is a regional variation of a language distinguished by distinctive vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation. In a language with multiple dialects, such as English, one dialect may be recognized as the standard language (most widely accepted and recognized) Ex. BRP (British Received Pronunciation Dialect Differences within the United States, as an English-speaking country continue to exist. Because every word in the English language is not used nationally. Geographers have established word usage boundaries, known as isoglosses. English is spoken by over ½ billion people and is the official language of over 50 countries. The English language began with the invasion of tribes into England. Those tribes were known as the Angles, Jutes and Saxons. These tribes from present-day Norway, Denmark and Germany are credited with starting the very language that you and I speak today. The Normans, from present-day Normandy in France, later would establish French as the official language of England, despite the fact that the only ones that spoke French in England were the aristocrats.
The Indo-European family represents about 1.6 billion people and includes most of the languages of Europe and northern India, Australia, the United States, and parts of South America. Seeded around the world by Colonialism, this family sprang from a tongue spoken on the Russian steppes approx. 6000 years ago. This influence continues to grow with widespread adoption of English as a second language.
Native American languages are spoken throughout the Americas, although the precise number of languages in this classification is not known. More than 300 native languages were once spoken in the U.S. and Canada. Two-thirds survive, but the few speakers left are aging. Even as native languages fade, their sounds echo in place-names such as Chicago an Massachusetts. • Survival of Native American Languages Today • The arrival of European culture was not kind to the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The population of the native civilizations of the current territory of the United States fell from about 20 million to the present level of less than 2 million. Beyond the shrinking size of the ethnic populations, the languages have also suffered due to the prevalence of English among those of Native American ancestry. Most Native American languages have ceased to exist, or are spoken only by older speakers, with whom the language will die in the coming decades. • Only 8 indigenous languages of the area of the continental United States currently have a population of speakers in the U.S. and Canada large enough to populate a medium-sized town. Only Navajo still has a population of greater than 25,000 within the U.S.
Distribution of North American language families and isolates north of Mexico
American Indian Languages Spoken at Home by American Indian Persons 5 Years and Over in Households: 2000 Source: U.S. Census Bureau. The American Indian languages shown above are the major languages. NOTE: Data are estimates based on a sample.
American Indian - Meso Quiche and Yucatec, Mayan languages, are the region’s strongest indigenous tongues. Most languages faded after European contact, but a few were docu- mented by missionaries. Distribution of Meso-American Indians.
The most widely spoken Sino-Tibetan language is Chinese, with over 1 billion speakers. This family includes eight mutually unintelligible Chinese languages, often mistakenly called dialects. The Chinese government promotes the standard use of Mandarin. Mandarin sample I am a teacher. Wǒ shì lǎoshī 我是老師
African languages are grouped into four families: Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Khoisan, and Afro-Asiatic. Niger-Congo: With more than 1400 languages – almost one-fourth of the world’s total – Niger-Congo is one of the largest language families. It includes Swahili, used by 35 million East Africans as a lingua franca. Swahili: Where are you going? Nilo-Saharan: About 200 Nilo-Saharan languages are spoken by ethnic minorities in their home countries. Only Dongolawi, a Nubian language of the southern Nile in Sudan, has a long written record. Khoisan: Famous for clicking sounds, Africa’s Khoisan languages may be the continent’s oldest. Several have vanished; most have fewer than a thousand speakers. Afro-Asiatic: The languages of ancient Babylon, Assyria, Egypt and Palestine belonged to this family. Still thriving, the largest living Afro-Asiatic language, Arabic, spreads in tandem with Islam. Arabic: يولد جميع الناس أحراراً متساوين في الكرامة والحقوق. وقد وهبوا عقلاً وضميراً وعليهم ان يعامل بعضهم بعضاً بروح اﻹخاء Hebrew:
The languages of Eurasia are classified as members of either the Uralic or Altaic language families, which include over 70 related languages. Also found in Asia are three further groups—the Austro-Asiatic languages, spoken by 45 million people in South East Asian countries, and the Dravidian family, which includes the main languages of India and Sri Lanka. The Austronesian (formerly known as Malayo-Polynesian) language family is the main language grouping of the Pacific, spoken from Madagascar to Easter Island and Hawaii. Uralic: Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian are safeguarded by their status as national languages. Other Uralic languages have declined in the past 100 years, many crowded out by Russian. Altaic: Some linguists think Mongolian, Tungusic, and Turkic languages are linked by kinship. Others attribute similarities to linguistic borrowing between traditionally nomadic peoples. Austro-Asiatic: Now distributed from Vietnam to India, this family’s languages may once have dominated most of SE Asia. Dravidian: Pockets of these language speakers live in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but most are found in southern India, where linguistic independence movements in the 1950’s led to the birth of several language-based states, such as Andhra Pradesh, home of Telugu. Austronesian: Island-hopping seafarers spread these languages across the Pacific and Indian Oceans from Hawaii to Madagascar. More than 1200 languages remain-about a hundred on the tiny Pacific islands of Vanuatu alone. Maori Hello:
Languages that do not belong to any of these families include language isolates such as Korean and Japanese, the languages of New Guinea, and the Athabascan and Algonquian languages of sub arctic Canada. There are dozens of other rare languages, such as Basque in Spain and France, Burushaski in Pakistan, persist as linguistic islands. Despite decades of research, links to known language groups have yet to be verified. Chukchi, spoken in Siberia, is an example of a member of an isolated small language family. Kam-Tai, now mostly spoken by Thai and Laotians, may have come from southwest China. Korean and Japanese: Both of these languages may be related. Both were influenced by Chinese. Many words are Chinese loans, and Japanese writing still uses Chinese characters. How do you say it in Japanese? major divisions of the Tai and related languages
Basque Basque is a language with no known linguistic relatives spoken by about 660,000 people in Spain and France, mainly in the Basque country (Euskal Herria). An ancestral form of Basque known as Aquitanian appears in Roman inscriptions in Aquitaine, in the southwest of France. The inscriptions consist of the names of people and gods plus a few other words and were inscribed during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Basque first appeared in writing in Latin religious texts, the Glosas Emilianenses, dating from the 11th century. The first published book in Basque was a collection of poems entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae, published by Bernard Detchepare in 1545. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Basque: Gizon-emakume guztiak aske jaiotzen dira, duintasun eta eskubide berberak dituztela; eta ezaguera eta kontzientzia dutenez gero, elkarren artean senide legez jokatu beharra dute.
Australian-Indigenous Languages As many as 250 of Australia’s Aboriginal languages may have slipped into Extinction since Europeans arrived. Only five of the remaining 250 languages have more than a thousand speakers. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WHO SPOKE AN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE OR CREOLE AT HOME,1996.
Top Ten World Languages Chinese Mandarin – 885 million English – 322 million Spanish – 266 million Bengali – 189 million Hindi – 182 million Portuguese – 170 million Russian – 170 million Japanese – 125 million German – 98 million Chinese (Wu) – 77 million Seven of the ten languages with the most native speakers are Indo-European. They are dwarfed by Mandarin, the mother tongue of nearly one in six humans. The top ten languages account for more than half the world’s population.