Language Key Issues * Origins of Language Where are English language speakers distributed? Why is English related to other languages? Where are other language families distributed? Why do people preserve local language? * The American Perspective
The Importance of Language to Geographers Language and religion are two of the most important cultural traits for geographers to study. Geographers describe the spatial distributions of language and religion across the landscape because these distributions are useful measures of cultural identification.
Language and Religion Are Tied to Patterns of Migration Why do people living in different places speak the same language and practice the same religion? Because people migrate from one place to another. Why do people living in different places speak different languages and practice different religions? Because of lack of migration or other forms of spatial interaction.
Defines Human Cultural • 2.5 million years ago • Proto-tongue • Language divergence- develop variations upon need (Snake, Iceberg, Buffalo) • Language replacement- invaders replace • Language extinction- language is dead • Follow diffusion through reverse reconstruction- words that are similar to a geographic area
The Indo-European Language Family Branches of Indo-European Germanic branch Indo-Iranian branch Balto-Slavic branch Romance branch Origin and diffusion of Indo-European Kurgan and Anatolian theories
Indo-European Language Family The main branches of the Indo-European language family include Germanic, Romance, Balto-Slavic, and Indo-Iranian.
Germanic Branch of Indo-European The Germanic branch today is divided into North and West Germanic groups. English is in the West Germanic group.
Romance Branch of Indo-European The Romance branch includes three of the world’s 12 most widely spoken languages (Spanish, French, and Portuguese), as well as a number of smaller languages and dialects.
South Asian Languages & Language Families Indo-European is the largest of four main language families in South Asia. The country of India has 18 official languages.
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 7000 years ago.
Anatolian Hearth Theory of Indo-European Origin In the Anatolian hearth theory, Indo-European originated in Turkey before the Kurgans and diffused through agricultural expansion.
Roots of Language • Literary tradition- a system of written communication. • Many languages lack a literary tradition, therefore impeding advancement and documentation. IdeogramsIdeogram- “letters” that represent ideas or concepts, not specific pronunciations.-Chinese; Japanese - Sumerian and Egyptian have both ideographic and phonetic components.
How to Write Down a Language? • Phonetic • Most languages, including Romance languages • Symbols (letters) generally represent sounds, not ideas. A phonetic alphabet is the key innovation.
Language as Element of Cultural Diversity • 6000+ Languages spoken today, not including dialects • 1500+ Spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa alone • 400+ in New Guinea alone • 100+ in Europe • However, this diversity is diminishing: • 2000+ Threatened or Endangered Languages
Key Issue 1: Where are English-language speakers distributed? • Language- a system of communication through speech, or other conventional methods, that groups of people understand to have the same meaning. • Language (another definition)- Organized system of spoken words by which people communicate with one another with mutual comprehension (Getis, 1985). • Official language- language designated for use by a country’s government.
English is spoken by one-half a billion people across the globe. • It is the official language of at least 42 countries; two billion people live in one of these countries. • The widespread diffusion of English is thanks to the colonial practices of the British. • Through their colonization of the Earth, English was spread eventually to N. America, Ireland, S. Asia, S. Pacific, S. Africa, and numerous other remote locations.
Germanic Branch - English Diffused throughout the world by hundreds of years of British colonialism. Brought to New World by British colonies in 1600s. Has become an important global lingua franca.( Universal Language)
Indo-European Language Family - Germanic Branch • West Germanic • English (514 million) • German (128) • Dutch (21) • East Germanic • Danish (5) • Norwegian (5) • Swedish (9)
Germanic Branch - Icelandic Iceland colonized by Norwegians in AD 874. Largely unchanged because of isolation combined with literary tradition. Highly developed literary tradition. Ancient sagas can be read by modern speakers of Icelandic.
Development of English • British Isles until the Celts arrived around 2000 B.C., speaking languages that we appropriately call, Celtic. • Around 450 B.C. Germanic tribes, the Anglos, Saxons, and Jutes, invaded and pushed the Celts farther north and ruled “England” for several hundred years. • Modern English would resemble German to a large degree had not the Normans invaded in 1066 A.D. • These French ruled for nearly 300 years, and made their language the official language of the Isles. • King Richard spoke French as his primary language and the royal court spoke French for many years after the invasion • Once they were driven out, few people wished to speak the “enemy’s” language anymore, but the French influence on the language had already taken place. • Today’s English can be seen as a hybrid of the original Germanic languages, with some Celtic and French mixed in. (along with varying degrees of influence from a large number of other languages.) • English is seen as a very ugly language due to this mesh up
Development of English • Germanic Tribes (Germany/Denmanrk) • Jutes • Angles • Saxons • Vikings (Norway) • 9th - 11th Centuries • Normans (French) • Battle of Hastings, 1066 • French was official language for 150 years.
Dialect- a regional variation of a language distinguished by a distinctive vocab, spelling, and pronunciation. • English has the largest # of dialects b/c of its wide diffusion. • Do you have a dialect? How about Coach Serina? • Standard language- a dialect well-established and recognized for government use. • Which way are we taught in school • British Received Pronunciation- the official dialect of English used by politicians, broadcasters, and actors in Great Britain.
“My Fair Lady” was a musical in the 50’s that depicted social effects of dialect. • Differences between British and American English are: • Vocab- different mainly because settlers in America encountered new objects and experiences, many of which were assigned Native American names. • Grammar- distinctly different because Americans had a strong national feeling for an independent identity. • The first American dictionary, published by Noah Webster was purposely altered from British spelling to differentiate the two languages. • Pronunciation- the most obvious reason for differences is that large expanse of water that seems to separate the U.S. from the U.K. The extreme physical separation caused the language to diverge into two very distinct dialects.
Dialects within the States are numerous and varied due to the number of people in the U.S., the wide land area across which the language is spoken, the historical mobility of the American people as they ventured across the West, and the varied ethnicity of the English-speakers within this country. • Three main dialects exist in England: -Northern -Midland -Southern • These are used to classify many of the dialects within the U.S. • What are some words that are different for each of these regions? • Isogloss- the word-usage boundary that can be constructed for any word.
Key Issue 2: Why is English related to other languages? • Language family- a collection of languages related through a common ancestor that existed long before recorded history. • Language branch- a collection of languages within a family that are related through a common ancestor that existed several thousand years ago. • Language group- collection of languages within a branch that share a common origin in relatively recent history. • Largest family is Indo-European, spoken by nearly 3 billion people.
Indo-European Language Family (50% of World) • Main Branches: • Germanic - Dutch, German • Romance - Spanish, French • Baltic-Slavic - Russian • Indo-Iranian - Hindu, Bengali
Indo-European Language Branches Non-Indo-European Language Families and Branches
Vulgar Latin- the Latin that people in the provinces learned; substandard. • Evidence exists that a “super family” language once was used, known as Proto-Indo-European. • little conclusive evidence has been found, and the issue is hotly debated among linguists. Most theories on the diffusion of language are conjecture and invalidated.
Which languages share a common ancestor? Some Indo-European Shared Words Many Indo-European languages have common words for snow, winter, spring; for dog, horse, cow, sheep bear but not camel, lion, elephant, or tiger; for beech, oak, pine, willow, but not palm or banyan tree.
Indo-European Language Family - Romance Branch • Like English these languages have been spread by Colonialism. • Spanish (425 million) • Portuguese (194) - most in Brazil • French (129) • Italian (62) • Romanian (26)
Indo-European Family - Romance Branch The Roman Empire, at its height in 2nd century A.D., extinguished many local languages. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, communication declined and languages evolved again. • Literature was all written in Latin until the 13th and 14th centuries. • Dante Alighieri’s 1314 Inferno written in vulgar latin(Florentine).
Key Issue 3: Where are other language families distributed? • The main language families of the world, other than Indo-European (spoken by 50% of world population) are: -Sino-Tibetan spoken by 20% of pop; in China and S.E. Asia -Afro-Asiatic spoken by 5% of pop; N. Africa and S.W. Asia and Mid East -Austronesian spoken by 5% of pop; S.E. Asia -Niger-Congo spoken by 5% of pop; sub-Saharan Africa -Dravidian spoken by 5% of pop; in India -Remaining 10% speak one of following: -Nilo-Saharan -Amerindian -Caucasian (Georgian) -Altaic -Uralic -Japanese -Korean -Ausro-Asiatic
Distribution of Other LanguageFamilies Classification of languages Distribution of language families Sino-Tibetan language family Other East and Southeast Asian language families Afro-Asiatic language family Altaic and Uralic language families African language families
19 Languages Families • Each has its own branch • Groups • Language • Dialects • Indo European is the largest- Sino-Tibetan 2nd • Germanic Branch (West)- English • Romance- Spanish, Italian etc.. • Prot-Indo European- original- What theory backs this up • Conquest theory- Kurgan Hearth • Agriculture theory- farming on the Danube- “snow”- but not “sea”
Mono Lingual and Multi Lingual State • Language often defines a culture or creates a homogeneous nation • Multilingual states are countries that speak more then one language- Often creates problems- The Basque, Walloons, English • Monolingual- Not many left because of our friction of distance
Canada Belgium Cyprus Nigeria English and French in Quebec Dutch and the French- Belgium Greek and Turkey- Island off of Turkey- “Green Line” Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo 230+ Conflict because of Language
Language Divisions in Belgium There has been much tension in Belgium between Flemings, who live in the north and speak Flemish, a Dutch dialect, and Walloons, who live in the south and speak French.
Language Variations • Official Language- Used by the govt for legal proceedings • May have more then one- Canada • Standard Language- acceptable or taught form of language- Mid-West • British Received Pronunciation • Germans learn High German
Language Families of the World Distribution of the world’s main language families. Languages with more than 50 million speakers are named.
Language Families of Africa The 1000 or more languages of Africa are divided among five main language families, including Austronesian languages in Madagascar.