Chapter 5
“Language”
Language: System of communication through speech. A
collection of sounds that a group of people understand. It
also involves the written word called Literary Tradition.
Language is part of culture. Religion and Ethnicity are
communicated through language.
Dialects are regional variations of a language - due to
Isolation.
The diffusion of language is due to Interaction through
migration and trade.
Official Language (standard) - the official languages of
the country. The language of laws, road signs,
documents etc. Canada has two official languages.
GREG SMITH
TORONTO STAR - January 20, 2008
A meow is a miaou is a miyau. Unless it's a mia'oon.
Or a nyan.
And chickens cluck, if they're not tokking, or doing the caca-racá.
As for Lassie, a woof by any other name might well be a vuff, a voff or
even a vau.
It all depends on where you are and whom you're talking to. A Greek bee
zoums. A German bee summs. A Turkish bee vizzes. A Japanese bee
goes . . . boon.
Before you roll your eyes at that one, try rolling it around first in your
mouth: boooon, booooonnnnnn, bnnnnnnnnnnnn. Feeling the buzz?
Animals sound pretty much the same the world over but people, with our
hundreds of languages, don't.
The differences are cultural, to be sure. Different groups have different
ways of describing similar things.
"Part of it depends on the speech sounds used in a given language,"
explains Alexei Kochetov, assistant professor of linguistics at the University
of Toronto.
"It also depends on how particular organs – the lips, the tongue, the cheeks
– are used in the language."
But there are less complex considerations, like simple twists of fate.
"It's also random choice," says Kochetov, "depending on how the sound
was first heard and how it developed over thousands of years."
A woman in a tribe in the heart of Africa 10,000 years ago hears a bird in
the bush and tries to mimic the sound. She teaches it to her son, and as it
gets passed on through the generations it becomes embedded in the
language.
The result, to English-hearing ears, can be a bit strange.
Animal
Sound
Bee
droning
Dutch English
Finnish French
buzz
buzz/bzz
bzz
z
Bird (small) tjiep
cheep/chi
rp/
piip
chirrup/p
eep
Cat
mewing
miauw meow
Cat purring prrr
purr
bzzz
German
Greek
Hebrew Hungarian Italian Japanese
summ
summ
zoum
zoum
bzzz
piep piep
tsiou
tsiou
tziff-tziff csip-csirip chip
miyau
zzzz
boon boon
zh-zh-zh bzzz
buzz
buzz
pee pee/
pii pii
fiyt-fiyt
pip-pip
miyau
miao
mrrr
rrr
miau
miau
nyan nyan/
nyaa nyaa
doromb
purr
goro goro
mjan
mjan
miau
miaou
miau
hrr
ronron
srr
kot-kot
ko ko
cotcotcod
chucktock tock ko/ka ka
kot kot
et
chuck
ka
cacaku-ku-ku-ku/
coccod
racá/
ko-ko-ko-ko ko-ko-ko
ock-ock
é
cocoroc
ó/
piou piou piep piep ko ko ko
csip-csip
pio pio
moo
mu
muu
woofwoof
vau vau
bau
bau
Chicken
(hen)
clucking
cluck
tok tok
cluck
Chick
(baby
chicken)
piep
piep
cheep/pe
piip
ep
Cow lowing
moe/
boe
moo
ammuu/
möö
meuh
(calf)
Dog
barking
(medium
dog)
woef
woef
woof
woof/
ruff ruff
vuff
ouah
ouah
mmuuh
miaou
bzzz
Russian Spanish Swedish
moo
wau wau gav gav
piyo piyo
mau mau
wan wan
pi-pi-pi
pi-pi
mu-u-u
muuu/
mu mu
meee
hav-hav/
guav
gav-gav
pip-pip
vov-vov/
voff
Actual Language
- Recent
- English
Language Group
-Old
- West Germanic
Language Branch
- Very Old
- Germanic
Language Family
- Ancient
- Indo-European
Language Roots
- Pre-historic
- Proto-Indo-European
or Nostratic
Language Family trees and estimated numbers of speakers for the main world
language families.
Language Families of the World
Major Language Families
Percentage of World Population
The percentage of world population speaking each of the main language families.
Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan together represent almost 75% of the world’s
people.
INDO-EUROPEAN FAMILY
The main branches of the Indo-European language family include Germanic, Romance,
Balto-Slavic, and Indo-Iranian.
Germanic Branch
The Germanic branch today is divided
into North and West Germanic groups.
English is in the West Germanic group.
Invasions of England
5th–11th centuries
The groups that brought what
became English to England
included Jutes, Angles, Saxons, and
Vikings. The Normans later brought
French vocabulary to English.
Welsh
Gaelic
Swedish, English, German
WHERE IS ENGLISH SPOKEN (official language)? Colonialization by Britain
Economic Power (language of business - United States)
Romance Branch
Indo-Iranian Branch
There are two general theories on how the IndoEuropean Language Family spread:
1. Kurgan Theory
2. Anatolian Hearth Theory
Kurgan Theory of Indo-European Origin
In the Kurgan theory, Proto-Indo-European diffused from the Kurgan hearth north
of the Caspian Sea, beginning about 7,000 years ago through conquest and
expansion.
Anatolian Hearth Theory of IndoEuropean Origin
In the Anatolian hearth theory, Indo-European originated in Turkey before the
Kurgans and diffused through agricultural expansion.
Languages of Nigeria
What Problems can
arise from this
situation?
More than 200 languages are spoken in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa (by
population). English, considered neutral, is the official language.
Languages in
Belgium
Languages in Switzerland
Hebrew, Arabic, English
Distribution
of
Language
across
Canada
French-English Boundary in Canada
Although Canada is bilingual, French speakers are concentrated in the province
of Québec, where 80% of the population speaks French.
The Language Divide in Montreal
Anglophone
a person whose mother tongue is English
Francophone
a person whose mother tongue is French
Allophone
a person whose mother tongue is neither English nor French
Canada’s Top Ten Languages
Percent Spanish
Speaking Residents by
U.S. State
Any relations to location
of borders?
The Spread of English - Internet Hosts
A large proportion of the world’s internet users and hosts are in the developed
countries of North America and western Europe.
Internet Hosts, by Language
The large majority of internet hosts in 1999 used English, Chinese, Japanese, or
European languages.
Questions Geographers would ask:
• Where did Languages originate?
• How did lanuages originate? (the bible)
• How and why did they diffuse and where did
they diffuse?
• What is the scale of the Language?
• What effects does Globalization have on
Language?
• What is the Local Diversity of Language?
Why does Eastern United States have many dialects will
Western US does not?
What is the problem of having English as the language of
Globalization?
How can the following affect language?
•Rivers
•Mountains
•Agriculture
•Trade Routes
•Historic Battles
•Old ancient boundaries
•Overall Climate
Key Terms:
• Dialects: Regional (Spatial) variations of a language –
Vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation. British/American separated by Atlantic. English - new words, the use of ‘u’,
accents. With increased communications and mobility - dialects
are disappearing.
• Standard Language: Main dialect – used in government,
business and education.
• Isogloss: Word usage boundaries. A line drawn to signify
where one language or dialect starts and another stops.
• Ideograms: Symbols that represent ideas and/or concepts – a
form of written language.
• Toponym: A place name. Place names are important part of
cultural geography of a region. They can reveal much about the
people who chose the name.
Creole: Language mix from indigenous people and colonizers
Extinct Languages: Latin? Hebrew – revived (new words had
to be made up), Aztec, Peru, Gothic
Lingua Franca: Language mutually understood by two groups.
Simplified version. Mainly used for economic reasons –
English, Ebonics – Language of people with African ancestry +
English. Other examples – Franglais or Spanglish or Denglish
or Esperanto.
Pidgin: Learning a simplified version of a language.
Sometimes refers to a mixing of two languages. Examples of
English words incorporated in Italian.
Vulgar Latin: Language spoken by the common people - the
masses.
English as a
Lingua Franca
Vocabulary List
Language
Creole
Dialect
Indo-European languages
Isogloss
Language
Language family
Language group
Language subfamily
Lingua franca
Linguistic diversity
Monolingual/multilingual
Official language
Pidgin
Toponymy
Trade language
The End
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