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Unformatted text preview: Language families 1. How many languages? • Estimates: 4000 ~ 6000 different languages. • Obstacles for accurate count are of three types 1. 1. Chinese-type cases : different languages may be thought of as one language • “Chinese” comprises two different languages: Mandarin and Cantonese. • Reasons for misconstruction: a) Geo-political unity, b) Shared writing system 1. 2. Swedish/Norwegian-type cases : Mutually intel- ligible varieties are counted as different languages. • Other examples: Hindi/Urdu, Serbian/Croatian. • Reasons for misconstruction: a) Geo-political divisions, b) Different writing systems 1. 3. Arabic-type cases : Mutual unintelligibility between casual and formal varieties (DIGLOSSIA). • In the Arab world, casual language and formal language (newsprint, writing) are quite different. • All speakers are fluent in both varieties. 2. Language families • Languages undergo a constant process of separa- tion and differentiation a) First development: DIALECTS (mutually intelli- gible varieties of the same language). b) Second development: different languages • LANGUAGE FAMILY: One or more SIBLING lan- guages descending from a PROTOLANGUAGE. Indoeuropean Indo-Iranian Celtic Tocharian Italic Indic Iranian Sanskrit Hindi Persian Latin Irish Welsh Greek Spanish French Bengali Germanic German English Icelandic Ten widespread language families Family Examples (millions of speakers) Afroasiatic Arabic (160) , Hebrew, Hausa Amerind Navajo, Mayan, Quechua...
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- Winter '08
- different languages, language families, mutually intelligible varieties, Greek Latin Celtic Sanskrit Persian Tocharian Spanish