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Language Family
A LANGUAGE FAMILY is a group of languages related through descent from a common _ancestral language_ or _parental language_, called the proto-language of that family. The term "family" reflects the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics , which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a biological family tree , or in a subsequent modification, to species in a phylogenetic tree of evolutionary taxonomy . Linguists therefore describe the _daughter languages_ within a language family as being _genetically related_. Estimates of the number of living languages vary from 5,000 to 8,000, depending on the precision of one's definition of "language", and in particular on how one classifies dialects . The 2013 edition of Ethnologue catalogs just over 7,000 living human languages. A "living language" is simply one that is used as the primary form of communication of a group of people. There are also many dead and extinct languages, as well as some that are still insufficiently studied to be classified, or are even unknown outside their respective speech communities. Membership of languages in a language family is established by comparative linguistics . Sister languages are said to have a "genetic" or "genealogical" relationship. The latter term is older
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List Of Language Families
This set of lists of language families also includes language isolates, unclassified languages and other types. CONTENTS* 1 Major language families * 1.1 By number of languages * 2 Language families * 3 Language isolates * 3.1 Central for example Lyle Campbell counts 27 Otomanguean languages, although he, Ethnologue and Glottolog disagree as to which languages belong in the family. LANGUAGE FAMILIES See also: Language family and List of languages by number of native speakers In the following, each bullet item is a known or suspected language family. Phyla with historically wide geographical distributions but comparatively few current-day speakers include Eskimo–Aleut , Na-Dené , Algic , Quechuan and Nilo-Saharan . The geographic headings over them are meant solely as a tool for grouping families into collections, more comprehensible than an unstructured list of a few hundred independent families. Geographic relationship is convenient for that purpose, but these headings are not a suggestion of any "super-families" phylogenetically relating the families named. The number of individual languages in a family and the number of their speakers are only rough estimates: see dialect or language and linguistic demography for further explanation. A pie chart showing the percentage of speakers each language family has. The language families of Africa
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Language
LANGUAGE is the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication , particularly the human ability to do so, and A LANGUAGE is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics . Questions concerning the philosophy of language , such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated since Gorgias and Plato in Ancient Greece . Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th-century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. Major figures in linguistics include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky . Estimates of the number of languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on a partly arbitrary distinction between languages and dialects . Natural languages are spoken or signed , but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, in whistling , signed , or braille . This is because human language is modality -independent
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Genetic (linguistics)
In linguistics , GENETIC RELATIONSHIP is the usual term for the relationship which exists between languages that are members of the same language family . The term GENEALOGICAL RELATIONSHIP is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the unrelated use of the term in biological genetics . Languages that possess genetic ties with one another belong to the same linguistic grouping, known as a language family . These ties are established through use of the comparative method of linguistic analysis. Two languages are considered to be genetically related if one is descended from the other or if both are descended from a common ancestor. For example, Italian is descended from Latin
Latin
. Italian and Latin
Latin
are therefore said to be genetically related. Spanish is also descended from Latin. Therefore, Spanish and Italian are genetically related. In a similar way, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are genetically related through the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. CONTENTS* 1 Language
Language
families * 1.1 Linguistic interference and borrowing * 2 Visual representation * 3 Complications * 4 See also * 5 References LANGUAGE FAMILIESThe classification of languages into language families begins by making a list of words in the potential languages that exhibit lexical and grammatical similarities; that is, they are similar in sound and meaning
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Proto-language
A PROTO-LANGUAGE in the tree model of historical linguistics is a language, usually hypothetical or reconstructed, and unattested , from which a number of attested, or documented, known languages are believed to have descended by evolution, or slow modification of the proto-language into languages that form a language family . In the strict sense, a proto-language is the latest common ancestor of a language family, immediately before the start of the family's divergence into the attested daughter languages . It is therefore equivalent with the ancestral language or parental language of a language family. Moreover, a group of idioms (such as a dialect cluster ) which are not considered separate languages (for whichever reasons) can also be described as descending from a unitary proto-language. Occasionally, the German term Ursprache (from Ur- "primordial" and Sprache "language", pronounced ) is used instead. CONTENTS * 1 Definition and verification * 2 Proto-X vs. Pre-X * 3 Accuracy * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References DEFINITION AND VERIFICATIONTypically, the proto-language is not known directly. It is by definition a linguistic reconstruction formulated by applying the comparative method to a group of languages featuring similar characteristics. The tree is a statement of similarity and a hypothesis that the similarity results from descent from a common language
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Tree Model
Pontic Steppe * Domestication of the horse * Kurgan
Kurgan
* Kurgan
Kurgan
culture * Steppe cultures * Bug-Dniester * Sredny Stog * Dnieper-Donets * Samara * Khvalynsk * Yamna *
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Historical Linguistics
HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS, also called DIACHRONIC LINGUISTICS, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: * to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages * to reconstruct the pre-history of languages and to determine their relatedness, grouping them into language families (comparative linguistics ) * to develop general theories about how and why language changes * to describe the history of speech communities * to study the history of words, i.e. etymology CONTENTS * 1 History and development * 2 Diachronic and synchronic analysis * 3 Sub-fields of study * 3.1 Comparative linguistics * 3.2 Etymology * 3.3 Dialectology * 3.4 Phonology * 3.5 Morphology * 3.6 Syntax * 4 Rates of change and varieties of adaptation * 5 Evolutionary context * 6 See also * 7 Citations and notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENTModern historical linguistics dates from the late 18th century. It grew out of the earlier discipline of philology , the study of ancient texts and documents dating back to antiquity. At first, historical linguistics was comparative linguistics . Scholars were concerned chiefly with establishing language families and reconstructing prehistoric proto-languages, using the comparative method and internal reconstruction
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Family Tree
A FAMILY TREE, or pedigree chart, is a chart representing family relationships in a conventional tree structure . The more detailed family trees used in medicine and social work are known as genograms . CONTENTS* 1 Family
Family
history representations * 1.1 Fan chart * 2 Graph theory * 3 Notable examples * 4 Other uses * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links FAMILY HISTORY REPRESENTATIONSGenealogical data can be represented in several formats, for example as a pedigree or ANCESTRY CHART. Family
Family
trees are often presented with the oldest generations at the top and the newer generations at the bottom. An ancestry chart, which is a tree showing the ancestors of an individual, will more closely resemble a tree in shape, being wider at the top than the bottom. In some ancestry charts, an individual appears on the left and his or her ancestors appear to the right. A descendancy chart, which depicts all the descendants of an individual will be narrowest at the top. Family
Family
trees can have many themes. One might encompass all direct descendants of a single figure, or all known ancestors of a living person. Another might include all members of a particular surname (e.g. male-line descendants). Yet another approach is to construct a tree including all holders of a certain office, such as kings of Germany
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Phylogenetic Tree
A PHYLOGENETIC TREE or EVOLUTIONARY TREE is a branching diagram or "tree " showing the inferred evolutionary relationships among various biological species or other entities—their PHYLOGENY—based upon similarities and differences in their physical or genetic characteristics. The taxa joined together in the tree are implied to have descended from a common ancestor . Phylogenetic trees are central to the field of phylogenetics . In a _rooted_ phylogenetic tree, each node with descendants represents the inferred most recent common ancestor of the descendants, and the edge lengths in some trees may be interpreted as time estimates. Each node is called a taxonomic unit. Internal nodes are generally called hypothetical taxonomic units, as they cannot be directly observed. Trees are useful in fields of biology such as bioinformatics , systematics , and phylogenetic comparative methods . _Unrooted_ trees illustrate only the relatedness of the leaf nodes and do not require the ancestral root to be known or inferred
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Taxonomy (biology)
TAXONOMY (from Ancient Greek τάξις _(taxis )_, meaning 'arrangement', and -νομία _(-nomia)_, meaning 'method ') is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank ; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The principal ranks in modern use are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean taxonomy for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms. With the advent of such fields of study as phylogenetics , cladistics , and systematics , the Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms, both living and extinct
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Dialect
The term DIALECT (from Latin _dialectus_, _dialectos_, from the Ancient Greek word διάλεκτος, _diálektos_, "discourse", from διά, _diá_, "through" and λέγω, _légō_, "I speak") is used in two distinct ways to refer to two different types of linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. Under this definition, the dialects or varieties of a particular language are closely related and, despite their differences, are most often mutually intelligible , especially if close to one another on the dialect continuum . The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class or ethnicity . A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect , a dialect that is associated with a particular ethnic group can be termed as ethnolect , and a regional dialect may be termed a regiolect. According to this definition, any variety of a given language constitutes "a dialect", including any standard varieties . In this case, the distinction between the "standard language" (i.e. the "standard" dialect of a particular language) and the "nonstandard" dialects of the same language is often arbitrary and based on social, political, cultural, or historical considerations
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Ethnologue
_ETHNOLOGUE: LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD_ is a commercial publication about the living languages of the world, first issued in 1951. As of 2017, it contains web-based information about 7,099 languages in its 20th edition, including the number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliations, autonym , availability of the Bible
Bible
in each language and dialect described, a cursory description of revitalization efforts where reported, and an estimate of language viability using the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS). CONTENTS * 1 Overview * 2 History * 3 Reputation * 4 Editions * 5 See also * 6 Citations * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links OVERVIEW_Ethnologue_ has been published by SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization with an international office in Dallas
Dallas
, Texas
Texas
. The organization studies numerous minority languages in order to facilitate language development and work with speakers of such language communities in translating portions of the Bible
Bible
into their language
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Language Death
In linguistics , LANGUAGE DEATH (also LANGUAGE EXTINCTION (the language is no longer spoken) or LINGUICIDE (death of a language from natural or political causes), and rarely also GLOTTOPHAGY (absorption or replacement of minor language with major language)) occurs when a language loses its last native speaker . Language
Language
death is a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language variety is decreased, eventually resulting in no native or fluent speakers of the variety. Language
Language
death may affect any language idiom, including dialects . Language
Language
death should not be confused with language attrition (also called language loss), which describes the loss of proficiency in a first language of an individual
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Extinct Language
An EXTINCT LANGUAGE is a language that no longer has any speakers, especially if it has no living descendants . In contrast, a _dead language_ is "one that is no longer the native language of any community", even if it is still in use, like Latin
Latin
. In the modern period, language death has typically resulted from the process of cultural assimilation leading to language shift , and the gradual abandonment of a native language in favour of a foreign _lingua franca _. A language that currently has living native speakers is called a modern language . As of the 2000s, a total of roughly 7,000 natively spoken languages existed worldwide. Most of these are minor languages in danger of extinction; one estimate published in 2004 expected that some 90% of the currently spoken languages will have become extinct by 2050. CONTENTS * 1 Language death * 2 Language
Language
revival * 3 Recently extinct languages * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 External links LANGUAGE DEATH Main article: Language death Sisters Maxine Wildcat Barnett (left) and Josephine Wildcat Bigler; two of the final surviving elderly speakers of Yuchi , visiting their grandmother’s grave in a cemetery behind Pickett Chapel in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. According to the sisters, their grandmother had insisted that Yuchi be their native language
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Comparative Linguistics
COMPARATIVE LINGUISTICS (originally COMPARATIVE PHILOLOGY ) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness. Genetic relatedness implies a common origin or proto-language and comparative linguistics aims to construct language families , to reconstruct proto-languages and specify the changes that have resulted in the documented languages. To maintain a clear distinction between attested and reconstructed forms, comparative linguists prefix an asterisk to any form that is not found in surviving texts. A number of methods for carrying out language classification have been developed, ranging from simple inspection to computerised hypothesis testing. Such methods have gone through a long process of development. CONTENTS * 1 Methods * 2 History * 3 Related fields * 4 Pseudolinguistic comparisons * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Bibliography METHODSThe fundamental technique of comparative linguistics is to compare phonological systems, morphological systems, syntax and the lexicon of two or more languages using techniques such as the comparative method . In principle, every difference between two related languages should be explicable to a high degree of plausibility and systematic changes, for example in phonological or morphological systems are expected to be highly regular (i.e. consistent). In practice, the comparison may be more restricted, e.g. just to the lexicon
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Sister Language
In historical linguistics , SISTER LANGUAGES, also known as SIBLING LANGUAGES or BROTHER LANGUAGES are cognate languages; that is, languages that descend from a common ancestral language, the so-called proto-language . Every language in an established language family is a sister to the others. A commonly given example is the Romance languages
Romance languages
, each one of which derives from Latin . Italian and French have about 89% lexical overlap , meaning the words share 89 percent of the same characteristics and root origins. Both Italian and French have a huge number of similar words. Similarly, Spanish and Portuguese have about 89% lexical overlap, so many words are shared or similar between those two languages (see also cognates ). Spanish and Romanian\'s overlap is lower, at about 67%. Spanish and Portuguese have undergone Arabic influence and Romanian has undergone many different influences over the years, particularly from the Slavic languages and Greek . The Scots language is considered to be a sister language of English , as they are both descended from the common ancestor Old English (via Early Middle English ). The phonological development of the two languages is divergent, with different loanwords entering each language from sources such as Norse, Latin and French
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