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Language: The What, the Where, the Why PowerPoint Presentation
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Language: The What, the Where, the Why

Language: The What, the Where, the Why

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Language: The What, the Where, the Why

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  1. Language: The What, the Where, the Why

  2. What is a language? • Definition (De Blij, 2009): A set of sounds and symbols that is used for communication. • When do you know you have a language? • Good question. Linguists (people who study languages) debate this a lot, but a good rule is • If people can understand each other when speaking (mutual intelligibility), we have a language.

  3. So, which is the “real” form of the language? Standard and Dialects • Languages are dynamic (they can and do change) • New words are added all the time • What would we call new inventions if we couldn’t add new words? “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”

  4. So, which is the “real” form of the language? Standard and Dialects • People pronounce words differently in different places Which one is the tomato, and which one is the tomato?

  5. So, which is the “real” form of the language? Standard and Dialects • Different words are used to describe the same idea/item • What’s that called?

  6. Standard Language • Because of fact languages are dynamic and word choices vary from place to place, some societies have a standard language, the version that is widely-taught and used for publishing.

  7. Who actually uses a standard language? • Probably no one. We all have our own variants of the language. • Variants of a standard language are called dialects. • Different dialects use different words, pronunciations, and pace, but are still part of the same language.

  8. Dialect chains Dialect chains • The closer two dialects are in space, the more similar they are. • The farther away, the more the users of the dialects struggle to understand each other.

  9. Isoglosses • An isogloss is a boundary of a dialect feature. They aren’t perfect, but they might help us figure out where language culture changes.

  10. Why are languages spoken where they are?

  11. Language Families • Just like you, languages have a “family tree.” • The largest “limb” of the tree is called the language family • Major languages we are familiar with (English/Spanish) come from the “Indo-European” language family.

  12. If we’re part of the same family, why do we speak different languages? 2 theories CONQUEST THEORY agricultural theory As farmers spread out, non-farming societies did not change their language, but were gradually taken over by those farmers. This is a boring theory, but archeology seems to support some of it. • Speakers of one language/language family overpowered other languages and POOF, a language spread (diffused) • This is a fun theory, but it doesn’t explain everything.

  13. What causes one language to become another? Language divergence Language convergence Perhaps the opposite is true. As groups of people who didn’t interact start to interact, the separate languages may become one. • When people are far apart and don’t interact (as was the case in most of human history), a language suffers. • It becomes dialects, and then the dialects become so separate they become different languages.

  14. Lingua franca, pidgin, and Creole • Lingua franca: a language used by people who speak different languages for business, trade, and diplomacy. • Pidgin language: Two or more languages in close contact combine parts of each and simplify the rules and vocabulary • Creole language: A pidgin language that has developed a more complex structure and vocabulary AND become the native language of a group of people.