Human languages are grouped in families, which usually indicate close interrelation and/or descendence from a common ancestor. This type is used to document families and related language groups. Broader/narrower groups of languages can be described by using the "member of"/"subfamilies" feature of this type.
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The Latino-Faliscan languages are a group of languages that belong to the Italic language family of the Indo-European languages. They were spoken in Italy. Latin and Faliscan belong to this group. It is also likely that Sicel also belonged to this group, though this is unverifiable due to lack of data.
Latin eventually absorbed the others, replacing Faliscan as the power of the Romans expanded. The only member of the group to survive extinction was Latin, which in turn, via Vulgar Latin, developed into the Romance languages.
The Goidelic languages or Gaelic languages (Scottish Gaelic: cànanan Goidhealach, Irish: teangacha Gaelacha, Manx: çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland. There are three modern Goidelic languages: Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and Manx (Gaelg).
The Goidelic languages are part of the Q-Celtic branch of the Celtic languages.
Although Irish and Manx are often referred to as Irish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic (as they are Goidelic or Gaelic languages), the use of the word Gaelic is unnecessary because the terms Irish and Manx, when referring to language, only ever refer to these languages, whereas Scots has come to refer to a Germanic language, and therefore "Scottish" can refer to things not at all Gaelic. The word Gaelic by itself is sometimes used to refer to Scottish Gaelic and is thus ambiguous.
The names used in the languages themselves (Gaeilge/Gaolainn/Gaelic in Irish, Gaelg/Gailck in Manx, and Gàidhlig in Scottish Gaelic) are derived
Tucanoan (also Tukanoan, Tukánoan) is a language family of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.
There are two dozen Tucanoan languages:
?Yauna (AKA Jaúna, Yahuna, Yaúna) (†)
Most languages are, or were, spoken in Colombia.
The Central Solomon languages are four distantly but demonstrably related languages of the Solomon Islands, identified as a family by Wilhelm Schmidt in 1908. They were classified as East Papuan languages by Wurm, but this does not now seem tenable, and was abandoned in Ethnologue (2009).
The four languages are,
Ross (2005) reconstructs pronouns for proto-Central Solomons as follows,
Southern Athabaskan (also Apachean) is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the North American Southwest (including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Sonora) with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas. These languages are spoken by various groups of Apache and Navajo peoples.
Self-designations for Western Apache and Navajo are Nnee biyáti’ or Ndee biyáti’ and Diné bizaad or Naabeehó bizaad, respectively.
There are several well known historical people whose first language was Southern Athabaskan. Geronimo (Goyaałé) who spoke Chiricahua was a famous raider and war leader. Manuelito who spoke Navajo is famous for his pre and post Long walk of the Navajos leadership.
The seven Southern Athabaskan languages can be divided into 2 groups according to the classification of Harry Hoijer: (I) Plains and (II) Southwestern. Plains Apache is the only member of the Plains Apache group. The Southwestern group can be further divided into two subgroups (A) Western and (B) Eastern. The Western subgroup consists of Western Apache, Navajo, Mescalero, and Chiricahua. The Eastern subgroup consists of Jicarilla and Lipan.
I. Plains (AKA Kiowa–Apache)
The Austro-Asiatic (Austroasiatic) languages, in recent classifications synonymous with Mon–Khmer, are a large language family of Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. The name Austro-Asiatic comes from the Latin words for "south" and "Asia", hence "South Asia". Among these languages, only Khmer, Vietnamese, and Mon have a long-established recorded history, and only Vietnamese and Khmer have official status (in Vietnam and Cambodia, respectively). The rest of the languages are spoken by minority groups. Ethnologue identifies 168 Austro-Asiatic languages. These form thirteen established families (plus perhaps Shompen, which is poorly attested, as a fourteenth), which have traditionally been grouped into two, as Mon–Khmer and Munda. However, recent classifications have abandoned Mon–Khmer as a taxon, either reducing it in scope or making it synonymous with the larger family (Diffloth 2005, Sidwell 2009).
Austro-Asiatic languages have a disjunct distribution across India, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia, separated by regions where other languages are spoken. They appear to be the autochthonous languages of Southeast Asia, with the neighboring Indic, Tai,
A planned or constructed language—known colloquially as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary has been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally. There are many possible reasons to create a constructed language: to ease human communication (see international auxiliary language and code), to give fiction or an associated constructed world an added layer of realism, for linguistic experimentation, for artistic creation, and for language games.
The expression planned language is sometimes used to mean international auxiliary languages and other languages designed for actual use in human communication. Some prefer it to the term "artificial", as that term may have pejorative connotations in some languages. Outside the Esperanto community, the term language planning means the prescriptions given to a natural language to standardize it; in this regard, even "natural languages" may be artificial in some respects. Prescriptive grammars, which date to ancient times for classical languages such as Latin and Sanskrit are rule-based codifications of natural languages, such codifications being a middle ground between naive
member of language families:Indo-Iranian languages
The Iranian or Iranic languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn are a subgroup of the Indo-European language family. The speakers of Iranian languages are known as Iranian peoples.
The Iranian languages are considered in three stages of Old (until 400 BCE), Middle (400 BCE – 900 CE), and New (since 900 CE). From the Old Iranian languages the better understood and recorded ones are Old Persian (a language of Achaemenid Iran) and Avestan (the language of Zarathushtra). Middle Iranian languages included Middle Persian (a language of Sassanid Iran) and Parthian (a language of Arsacid Iran). There are many Iranian languages, the largest amongst them are Persian, Pashto, Kurdish, and Balochi.
As of 2008, there were an estimated 150–200 million native speakers of Iranian languages. The Ethnologue lists 87 Iranian languages. Persian has about 65 million native speakers, Pashto about 50 million, Kurdish about 32 million, Balochi about 7 million, and Lori about 2.3 million.
The term Iranian language is applied to any language which is descended from the Proto-Iranian parent language. While unattested, Proto-Iranian was first spoken by presumably people/tribes in
Ongan, or South Andamanese, is a small family of two languages, Önge and Jarawa, spoken in the southern Andaman Islands:
A third language, Jangil, extinct sometime between 1895 and 1920, is reported to have been unintelligible with but to have had noticeable connections with Jarawa.
The Andamanese languages fall into two clear families, Great Andamanese and Ongan, plus one unattested language, Sentinelese. The similarities between Great Andamanese and Ongan are so far mainly of a typological and morphological nature, with little demonstrated common vocabulary. Linguists, including long-range researchers such as Joseph Greenberg, have expressed doubts as to the validity of Andamanese as a family. It has since been proposed that Ongan (but not Great Andamanese) is distantly related to Austronesian (Blevins 2007).
The two attested Ongan languages are relatively close, and the historical sound reconstruction mostly straightforward:
*ə appears to be allophonic for *e before a nasal coda.
The Ongan languages are agglutinative, with an extensive prefix and suffix system. They have a noun class system based largely on body parts, in which every noun and adjective may take a prefix
The over 200 Central-Eastern Oceanic languages form a branch of the Oceanic language family within the Austronesian languages.
Traditional classifications have posited a Remote Oceanic branch within this family, but this was abandoned in Lynch et al. (2002), as no defining features could be found for such a group of languages.
In 2007 Ross & Næss moved the Utupua-Vanikoro languages from Central-Eastern to the newly established Temotu branch of Oceanic.
Lynch, John, Malcolm Ross & Terry Crowley. (2002). The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.
The Malibu languages are a poorly attested group of extinct languages once spoken along the Magdalena River in Colombia. Material exists only for two of the numerous languages mentioned in the literature: Malibú and Mocana.
The Malibu languages have previously been grouped into a single family with the Chimila language. However, Chimila is now now known to be a Chibchan language, and Adelaar & Muysken regard the grouping of Chimila with the Malibu languages as "without any factual basis".
Rivet initially listed three Malibu tribes, each with its own language:
To this list, Loukotka adds six more languages (excluding Chimila):
Rivet gives a brief list of words from Malibú and Mocana, but does not distinguish the two languages. A selection of these is provided below:
The two Lule–Vilela languages constitute a small, distantly related language family of northern Argentina. Kaufman (1990) found the relationship likely and with general agreement among the major classifiers of South American languages. Viegas Barros published additional evidence 1996–2006.
The East Semitic languages are one of six fairly uncontroversial divisions of the Semitic languages, the others being Northwest Semitic, Arabian, Old South Arabian (also known as Sayhadic), Modern South Arabian, and Ethiopic. The East Semitic group is attested by two distinct languages, Akkadian and Eblaite, both of which have been long extinct. They stand apart from other Semitic languages, traditionally called West Semitic, in a number of respects. Historically, it is believed that this linguistic situation came about as speakers of East Semitic languages wandered further east, settling in Mesopotamia during the third millennium BCE, as attested by Akkadian texts from this period. By the beginning of the second millennium BCE, East Semitic languages, in particular Akkadian, had come to dominate the region. They were influenced by the non-Semitic Sumerian language and adopted cuneiform writing.
Modern understanding of the phonology of East Semitic languages can only be derived from careful study of written texts and comparison with the reconstructed Proto-Semitic. Most striking is the loss of the glottal stop, or aleph, and the voiced pharyngeal fricative, or ayin, both of which
The Alacalufan languages are a small language family of South America. They have not been definitely linked to any other American language family. Kakauhua is extinct and Kawésqar is highly endangered.
Arawan (also Arahuan, Arauan, Arawán, Arawa, Arauán) is a family of languages spoken in western Brazil (Amazonas, Acre) and Peru.
Arauan consists of 8 or 9 languages:
The entire ethnic group that spoke Arawá became extinct in 1877 due to measles.
Kanamanti is listed in Kaufman (1994) with a question mark. Gordon (2005) does not list a Kanamantí language but does list the terms Kanamanti and Canamanti as alternate names for Jamamadi. Buller et al. (1993) does not list Kanamanti in their list of Arawan languages.
Zuruahá is listed in Gordon (2005) and mentioned in Kaufman (1994) from personal communication from Dan Everett — first contact with the community (a 3-day hike from the Dení's territory in Amazonas) was made in 1980. The language had not been studied as of 1994, but seems most similar to Deni.
The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family spoken in the Horn of Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. They are named after the Biblical character Cush, who was traditionally identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as AD 947 (in Masudi's Arabic history Meadows of Gold). The most populous Cushitic language is Oromo with about 35 million speakers, followed by Somali with about 18 million speakers, and Sidamo in Ethiopia with about 2 million speakers. Other languages with more than one million speakers are Hadia (1.6 million), Kambata (1.4 million), and Afar (1.5 million).
There are six clearly valid groups of languages which are usually included in the Cushitic family (Beja, Agaw, Sidamic, Lowland East Cushitic, Dullay, and South Cushitic), as well as a few poorly classified languages (Yaaku, Dahalo, Aasax and Kw'adza, Boon, and the Cushitic element of Mbugu). However, there is a wide range of opinions as to how they are interrelated.
The Beja language, or North Cushitic, is sometimes placed outside Cushitic proper, though there is no evidence that the rest of Cushitic forms a valid group.
The positions of the
Paezan (also Páesan, Paezano, Interandine) may be any of several language-family proposals of Colombia and Ecuador named after the Paez language.
Currently, Páez (Nasa Yuwe) is best considered either a language isolate or the only surviving member of an otherwise extinct language family (Adelaar & Muysken 2004, Gordon 2005, Matteson 1972, Fabre 2005). However, Páez has often been grouped with other languages into a Paezan family, although some of these proposals are due to historical error. Campbell (1997: 173) states: "There is no consensus upon Paezan, and opinions vary greatly".
One of the more oft repeated statements (e.g. Loukota 1968; Kaufman 1990, 1994) is the supposed connection between Páez and the extinct Panzaleo (also known as Pansaleo, Latacunga, or Quito), formerly spoken in highlands of Ecuador. However, Panzaleo is poorly documented and the evidence for this relationship is weak and may be due to language contact. Thus, Panzaleo may best be considered an unclassified isolate (Adelaar & Muysken 2004: 393-397; Campbell 1997).
The Andaquí isolate (also extinct) is often connected with Páez in a Paezan grouping. The documentation consists of a 20-page list of words and
The Sko or Skou languages are a small language family spoken by about 7000 people, mainly along the coast of Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea, with a few being inland from this area and at least one just across the border in the Indonesian province of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya). Skou languages are unusual in New Guinea for being tonal. Vanimo, for example, has three tones, high, mid, low.
Currently there are linguists working on most of these languages, writing grammars, compiling dictionaries, and assisting the speakers to develop vernacular materials for use in schools.
Skou languages were first linked by G. Frederici in 1912. In 1941, K.H. Thomas expanded the family to its current extent.
Laycock posited two branches, Vanimo and Krisa:
However, Krisa is poorly supported and Malcolm Ross abandoned it,
Mark Donohue proposed a subclassification based on areal diffusion he called Macro-Skou.
The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto-Skou are,
The Skou languages also have a dual, with a distinction between inclusive and exclusive we, but the forms are not reconstructable for the proto-language.
The Tungusic languages (also known as Manchu-Tungus, Tungus) form a language family spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria by Tungusic peoples. Many Tungusic languages are endangered, and the long-term future of the family is uncertain. Traditionally, linguists considered Tungusic to be part of the Altaic language family along with the Turkic and Mongolic language families; more recent proposals are that it belongs to Macro-Altaic, the latter including Japanese and Korean as well, or, on the other hand, that Altaic is not a genetic group, but a Sprachbund.
Linguists working on Tungusic have proposed a number of different classifications based on different criteria, including morphological, lexical, and phonological characteristics. One classification which seems favoured over others is that the Tungusic languages can be divided into a northern branch and a southern branch (Georg 2004):
Jurchen–Manchu (Jurchen and Manchu are simply different stages of the same language; in fact, the ethnonym "Manchu" did not come about until 1636 when Emperor Hong Taiji decreed that the term would replace "Jurchen") is the only Tungusic language with a literary form (in Jurchen script and later the
Central Tibetan, also known as Dbus AKA Ü or Ü-Tsang, is the most widely spoken Tibetic language and the basis of the standard language.
Dbus and Ü are forms of the same name. Dbus is a transliteration of the name in Tibetan script, དབུས་, while Ü is the pronunciation of the same in Lhasa dialect, [y˧˥˧ʔ]. That is, in Tibetan, the name is spelled Dbus and pronounced Ü. All of these names are frequently applied specifically to the prestige dialect of Lhasa.
There are many mutually intelligible Central Tibetan dialects besides that of Lhasa, with particular diversity along the border and in Nepal:
The Jirajaran languages are group of extinct languages once spoken in western Venezuela in the regions of Falcón and Lara. All of the Jirajaran languages appear to have become extinct in the early 20th Century.
Based on the little documentation that exists, a number of typological characteristics are reconstructable:
The Jirajaran languages are generally regarded as isolates. Adelaar and Muysken note certain lexical similarities with the Timotean languages and typological similarity to the Chibchan languages, but state that the data is too limited to make a definitive classification. Jahn, among others, has suggested a relation between the Jirajaran language and the Betoi languages, mostly on the basis of similar ethnonyms. Greenberg and Ruhlen classify Jirajaran as belonging to the Paezan language family, along with the Betoi languages, the Páez language, the Barbacoan languages and others.
Based on adequate documentation, three languages are definitively classified as belonging to the Jirajaran family:
Loukotka includes four additional languages, for which no linguistic documentation exists:
Yok-Utian (also Hotian) is a hypothetical language family of California. It consists of the Yokutsan and Utian families.
The name Yok-Utian was coined by Geoffrey Gamble. Catherine Callaghan (who established the Utian family) is one of the major investigators of this hypothesis. Callaghan and Gamble's research on this family started in 1991. An early suggestion of similarities between these two families was made by Kenneth Whistler and Victor Golla in 1986.
Yok-Utian is a part of the larger Penutian proposal.
The Japanese dialects (方言, hōgen) comprise many regional variants. The lingua franca of Japan is called hyōjungo (標準語, lit. "standard language") or kyōtsūgo (共通語, lit. "common language"), and while it was based initially on the Tokyo dialect, the language of Japan's capital has since gone in its own direction to become one of Japan's many dialects. Dialects are commonly called -ben (弁, 辯, ex. Osaka-ben, lit. "Osaka speech"), sometimes also called -kotoba (言葉, ことば, ex. Shitamachi-kotoba, lit. "Shitamachi language") and -namari (訛り, なまり, ex. Tōhoku-namari, lit. "Tōhoku accent").
There is general agreement among linguists that the Ryukyuan languages of Okinawa Prefecture and the southern islands of Kagoshima Prefecture form a separate branch of the Japonic family, and are not Japanese dialects.
Regional variants of Japanese have been confirmed since the Old Japanese era. Man'yōshū, the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry includes poems written in dialects of the capital (Nara) and eastern Japan (see also Old Japanese#Dialects), but other dialects were not recorded. The recorded features of eastern dialects were rarely inherited by modern dialects except for a few language
member of language families:Indo-European languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani. The Indo-Iranian languages occasionally go by the term "Aryan languages".
The contemporary Indo-Iranian languages form the largest sub-branch of Indo-European, with more than one billion speakers in total, stretching from Europe (Romani) and the Caucasus (Ossetian) eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese) and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhalese). SIL in a 2005 estimate counts a total of 308 varieties, the largest in terms of native speakers being Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu, ca. 190-330 million), Bengali (ca. 190 million), Punjabi (ca. 88 million), Marathi (ca. 70 million), Persian (ca. 70 million), Pashto (ca. 50 million), Gujarati (ca. 46 million), Kurdish (ca. 16-30 million), Bhojpuri (ca. 35 million), Awadhi (ca. 35 million), Maithili (ca. 35 million), Oriya (ca. 32 million), Marwari (ca. 31 million), Sindhi (ca. 21 million), Rajasthani (ca. 20 million), Chhattisgarhi (ca. 17 million), Assamese (ca. 17 million), Sinhalese (ca. 16 million), and Rangpuri (ca. 15 million).
The Halmahera–Cenderawasih or South Halmahera – West New Guinea (SHWNG) languages are a moderately supported group of Austronesian languages, commonly said on little evidence to be most closely related to the Oceanic languages. They are found in the islands and along the shores of the Halmahera Sea in the Indonesian province of North Maluku and of Cenderawasih Bay in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The unity of Halmahera–Cenderawasih is moderately credible, supported at an 80% level of confidence according to a 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database, if certain languages are reassigned from the erstwhile West New Guinea branch (leaving the Cenderawasih languages) to the South Halmahera branch (forming a Halmahera Sea branch).
Most of the languages are only known from short word lists, but Buli on Halmahera, and Biak and Waropen in Cenderawasih Bay, are fairly well attested.
The traditional classification of the languages is into two geographic groups,
However, the 2008 analysis did not support this classification, specifically the unity of West Papuan. Looking at ten of the languages, it fully supported two clades, but with a lower confidence at higher
Austric is a large hypothetical grouping of languages primarily spoken in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and the eastern Indian subcontinent. It includes the Austronesian language family of Taiwan, the Malay Archipelago, Pacific Islands, and Madagascar, as well as the Austro-Asiatic language family of mainland Southeast Asia, Eastern India, and Bangladesh. The hypothesis of a genetic relationship between these two language families is not widely accepted among linguists.
Related proposals include Sino-Austronesian (Laurent Sagart), Austro-Tai (Paul K. Benedict), and Dené–Caucasian (Sergei Starostin).
The Austric superfamily was first proposed by the German missionary Wilhelm Schmidt in 1906. He showed phonological, morphological, and lexical evidence to support the existence of an Austric superfamily, but the lexical evidence was considered to be tenuous by the larger linguistic community. Consequently, the Austric hypothesis has never gained wide acceptance. In 1942, Paul K. Benedict extended the Austric hypothesis to include the Tai–Kadai languages and the Hmong–Mien (Miao–Yao) languages.
Despite the tenuous lexical evidence, the relationship of Austronesian with either
The Judￃﾦo-Persian languages include a number of related Jewish languages spoken throughout the formerly extensive realm of the Persian Empire, sometimes including all the Jewish Indo-Iranian languages:
These languages have developed in relative isolation, in some cases for over 2,500 years, to the extent that several of them are considered to be completely independent, notably, Juhuri and Bukhori. Regardless, they have a number of shared features, notably their origin in ancient dialects of Persian and related languages, as well as nearly simultaneous communal development. Like most Jewish languages, all the Judￃﾦo-Persian languages contain great numbers of Hebrew loanword, and are written using variations of the Hebrew alphabet.
Plateau Penutian (also Shahapwailutan, Lepitan) is a family of languages spoken in northern California, reaching through central-western Oregon to northern Washington and central-northern Idaho.
Plateau Penutian consists of four languages:
Plateau Penutian as originally proposed was one branch of the hypothetical Penutian phylum as proposed by Edward Sapir. The original proposal also included Cayuse (which was grouped with Molala into Waiilatpuan branch); however, this language has little documentation and that which is documented is inadequately recorded. Thus, the status of Cayuse within Penutian (or any other genealogical relation for that matter) may very well forever remain unclassified.
The Sahaptian grouping of Sahaptin and Nez Percé has long been uncontroversial. Several linguists have published mounting evidence in support of a connection between Klamath (aka Klamath-Modoc) and Sahaptian. Recently, Berman (1996) provides rather convincing evidence to include Molala within Plateau Penutian. Recent appraisals of the Penutian hypothesis find Plateau Penutian to be "well supported" by specialists (DeLancey & Golla (1997: 181; Campbell 1997), with DeLancey & Golla (1997: 180)
The Yukaghir languages (also Yukagir, Jukagir) are a small family of two closely related languages – Tundra and Kolyma Yukaghir – spoken by the Yukaghir in the Russian Far East living in the basin of the Kolyma River. According to the 2002 Russian census, both Yukaghir languages taken together have 604 speakers. Recent reports from the field reveal that this number is far too high: the Yukaghir languages have at most seventy to eighty speakers. The entire family is thus to be regarded as moribund.
The relationship of the Yukaghir languages with other language families is uncertain, though it has been suggested that they are distantly related to the Uralic languages, thus forming the putative Uralic–Yukaghir language family.
Tundra and Kolyma Yukaghir are the only two remnants of what used to be one of the dominant languages/language families of north-eastern Siberia, spreading from the River Anadyr in the east to the River Lena in the west. On the basis of the evidence of early sources, it can be assumed that there existed a Yukaghir dialect continuum, with what is today Tundra Yukaghir and Kolyma Yukaghir at the extremes.
These two languages share only a relatively small part of
The Algic (also Algonquian–Wiyot–Yurok or Algonquian–Ritwan) languages are an indigenous language family of North America. Most Algic languages belong to the Algonquian family, dispersed over a broad area from the Rocky Mountains to Atlantic Canada. The other Algic languages are the Yurok and Wiyot of northwestern California, which despite their geographic proximity are not closely related. All these languages are thought to descend from Proto-Algic, a second-order protolanguage reconstructed using reconstructed Proto-Algonquian and the attested languages Wiyot and Yurok.
The term "Algic" was first coined by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in his Algic Researches, published in 1839. Schoolcraft defined the term as "derived from the words Alleghany and Atlantic, in reference to the race of Indians anciently located in this geographical area." Schoolcraft's terminology was not retained. The peoples he called "Algic" were later included among the speakers of Algonquian languages.
When Edward Sapir proposed that the well-established Algonquian family was genetically related to the Wiyot and Yurok languages of northern California, he applied the term Algic to this larger family. The original
A family of some 200 Remote Oceanic languages has traditionally been posited as a subgroup of the Central-Eastern Oceanic languages. However, it was abandoned by Lynch, Ross, & Crowley in 2002, as no defining features of the family could be found.
Its components were,
Lynch, John, Malcolm Ross & Terry Crowley. (2002). The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.
member of language families:South Semitic languages
Old South Arabian (or Epigraphic South Arabian, or Sayhadic) was a group of four closely related languages formerly spoken in the far southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. There were a number of other Sayhadic languages (e.g. Awsanic), of which very little evidence survived, however. All those languages were older than Classical Arabic, which developed around the 4th century
The four main Old South Arabian languages were Sabaic, Minaeic (or Madhabic), Qatabanic, and Hadramitic. According to Alice Faber (based on Hetzron's work), together with Ethiopian Semitic languages (such as the contemporary Ge'ez language) and the Modern South Arabian languages (not descended from Old South Arabian but from a sister language), they formed the western branch of the South Semitic languages.
Old South Arabian had its own writing system, the South Arabian alphabet, concurrently used for proto-Ge'ez in the Kingdom of D`mt, ultimately sharing a common origin with the other Semitic abjads, the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.
The last inscription of these languages dates back to 554 CE , 60 years before Islam
The Salishan (also Salish) languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest (the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana). They are characterised by agglutinativity and astonishing consonant clusters — for instance the Nuxálk word xłp̓x̣ʷłtłpłłskʷc̓ (IPA: [xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]) meaning ‘he had had [in his possession] a bunchberry plant’ has thirteen obstruent consonants in a row with no vowels. The Salishan languages are a geographically continuous block, with the exception of Bella Coola, on the north British Columbian coast, and Tillamook, to the south on the coast of Oregon.
The terms Salish and Salishan are used interchangeably by Salishan linguists and anthropologists. The name Salish is the endonym of the Flathead Nation. Linguists later applied the name to related languages. Many languages do not have self-designations and instead have specific names for local dialects, as the local group was more important culturally than larger tribal relations.
All Salishan languages are extinct or endangered—some extremely so, with only three or four speakers left. Few Salish languages currently have more than
Tamil–Kannada is an inner branch (Zvelebil 1990:56) of the South Dravidian I (SDr I) subfamily of the Southern Dravidian languages that include Tamil and Kannada. (There have been slight differences in the way Dravidian languages are grouped by various Dravidian linguists: (See Subrahmanyam 1983, Zvelebil 1990, Krishnamurthi 2003)). Tamil–Kannada itself is designated as a branch of the South Dravidian I subfamily and in turn branches off into Tamil–Kodagu and Kannada–Badaga, whereby we eventually have Tamil, Malayalam, Irula, Toda, Kota and Kodagu, Badaga, and Kannada as the members of the Tamil–Kannada branch (Zvelebil 1990:56).
The separation of Tamil–Kannada occurred with the separation of Tulu and before the separation of Kodagu branch from South-Proto-Dravidian language, somewhere around 2000-1500 BC.
Kannada and Tamil are recognized among the official languages of India and are spoken mainly in South India. Both Kannada and Tamil are also officially recognised as Classical languages along with Sanskrit and Telugu by the Government of India.
Tamil presently has both retroflex lateral (/ɭ/) and retroflex fricative (zh) sounds, while Kannada has retained only the retroflex
The Finnic (Fennic) or Baltic Finnic (Balto-Fennic) languages are a branch of the Uralic language family spoken around the Baltic Sea by about 7 million people.
The major modern representatives of the family are Finnish and Estonian, the official languages of their respective nation states. The other Finnic languages in the Baltic Sea region are Ingrian, Karelian, Ludic, Veps, and Votic, spoken around the Gulf of Finland and Lakes Onega and Ladoga. Võro and Seto (modern descendants of historical South Estonian) are spoken in south-eastern Estonia and Livonian in parts of Latvia.
The smaller languages are disappearing. In the 20th century both Livonian and Votic had fewer than 100 speakers left. Other groups of which there are records have long since disappeared.
Meänkieli (in northern Sweden) and Kven (in northern Norway) are Finnish dialects that the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway have given the legal status of independent languages. They are mutually intelligible with Finnish.
The geographic centre of the maximum divergence between the languages is located south of the Gulf of Finland.
There is no grammatical gender in Finnic languages, nor are there articles nor
The Central Malayo-Polynesian (CMP) linkage is an erstwhile branch of Austronesian languages. The languages are spoken in the Lesser Sunda and Maluku Islands of the Banda Sea, in an area corresponding closely to the Indonesian provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and Maluku and the nation of East Timor (excepting the Papuan languages of Timor and nearby islands), but with the Bima language extending to the eastern half of Sumbawa Island in the province of West Nusa Tenggara and the Sula languages of the Sula archipelago in the southwest corner of the province of North Maluku. The principal islands in this region are Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor, Buru, and Seram. The numerically most important languages are Bima, Manggarai of western Flores, Uab Meto of West Timor, and Tetum, the national language of East Timor.
The Central Malayo-Polynesian languages are for the most part poorly attested, and they do not constitute a coherent group. Analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database (2008) did not discern the possibility of an exclusive relationship. Many of the proposed defining features of CMP are not found in the geographic extremes of the area. Therefore some linguists consider
The Mongolic languages are a group of languages spoken in East-Central Asia, mostly in Mongolia and surrounding areas plus in Kalmykia. The best-known member of this language family, Mongolian, is the primary language of most of the residents of Mongolia and the Mongolian residents of Inner Mongolia, China with an estimated 5.2 million speakers. A minority of linguists has grouped Mongolic with Turkic, Tungusic and possibly Korean and Japonic as part of the larger Altaic family.
The classification and speaker numbers above follow Janhunen except that Mongghul and Mangghuer are treated as a sub-branch and that Kangjia has been added. In another classificational approach, there is a tendency to call Central Mongolian a language consisting of Mongolian proper, Oirat and Buryat, while Ordos (and implicitly also Khamnigan) is seen as a variety of Mongolian proper. Within Mongolian proper, they then draw a distinction between Khalkha on the one hand and Southern Mongolian (containing everything else) on the other hand. A less common subdivision of Central Mongolian is to divide it into a Central dialect (Khalkha, Chakhar, Ordos), an Eastern
Siouan or Siouan–Catawban is a language family of North America that is located primarily in the Great Plains of North America with a few outlier languages in the east.
Authors who call the entire family Siouan distinguish the two branches as Western Siouan and Eastern Siouan or as Siouan-proper and Catawban. Others restrict the name 'Siouan' to the western branch and use the name Siouan–Catawaban for the entire family. Generally, however, the name 'Siouan' is used without distinction.
There is certain amount of comparative work in Siouan–Catawban languages. Wolff [1950-51] is among the first and more complete works on the subject. Wolff reconstructed the system of proto-Siouan, and this was modified by Matthews (1958), the system generally accepted is:
With respect to vowels, five oral vowels are being reconstructed /*i, *e, *a, *o, *u/ and three nasal vowels /*į, *ą, *ų/. Wolff also reconstructed some consonantal clusters /*tk, *kʃ, *ʃk, *sp/.
The Yuchi isolate may be the closest relative of Sioux–Catawban.
In the 19th century, Robert Latham suggested that the Siouan languages are related to the Caddoan and Iroquoian languages. In 1931, Louis Allen presented the first list of
The Nenets (in former work also Yurak) language, refers to either of two languages spoken in northern Russia by the Nenets people. They are often treated as being two dialects of the same language, but they are very different and mutual intelligibility is very low. The languages are Tundra Nenets, the bigger language of the two in number of speakers, spoken by some 30,000 to 40,000 people in an area stretching from the Kanin Peninsula to the Yenisei River; and Forest Nenets, spoken by 1,000 to 1,500 people around the Agan, Pur, Lyamin and Nadym rivers.
The Nenets languages are classified in the Uralic language family, making them distantly related to some European national languages – namely Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian – in addition to other minority languages spoken in Russia. Both of the Nenets languages have been greatly influenced by Russian. Tundra Nenets has, to a lesser degree, been influenced by Komi, and Northern Khanty. Forest Nenets has also been influenced by Eastern Khanty. Tundra Nenets is well documented, considering its status as an indigenous- and minority language, also having a literary tradition going back to the 1930s, while Forest Nenets was first written
Chitral is the northernmost district in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and is a former Princely State. Despite being in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chitral is not a Pashtun area. Chitral shares much of its history and culture with the neighboring territories of Gilgit-Baltistan, Nuristan and Badakhshan. The major language of Chitral is Khowar, a Dardic langanuage known as Chitrali language. Accoording to the research of Rehmat Aziz Chitrali, Director Khowar Academy most of the minority languages spoken in Chitral are also Dardic including Kalasha, Gawarbati, Dameli, Madaklashti, Kirghizi and Phalula. Iranic languages spoken by immigrant groups in Chitral include Pashto, Persian, and Wakhi. An indigenous Iranic language spoken in Chitral is Yidgha. There are also migrants form Nuristan who speak several Nuristani dialects. Finally there is a large community if Gujjar herdmen who were originally nomadic, but have now settled permanently in parts of Lower Chitral and they speak the Indo-Aryan Gojri Language.
Thus Chitral is considered to be one of the most lingusitically diverse regions in the world, but nearly all of these groups use Khowar as a lingua-franca for inter-ethnic
The Chapacuran languages are a nearly extinct Native American language family of South America. There are three living Chapacuran languages, which are spoken in the southeastern Amazon Basin of Brazil and Bolivia. The languages in the family are classified into the Madeira and Guapore groups. They may be further related to the extinct Wamo language.
All of the languages in the Guapore group are probably extinct, and of the three languages in the Madeira group, two, Oro Win and Torá, have fewer than 100 speakers.
Guajiboan (also Guahiban, Wahívoan, Guahiboan) is a language family spoken in the Orinoco River region in eastern Colombia and southwestern Venezuela, which is a savannah-like area known in Colombia as the Llanos.
Guajiboan consists of 5 languages:
Churuya is now extinct. It was formerly spoken in Meta, Colombia.
Macaguane is listed as a dialect of Guajibo in Kaufman (1994) and Campbell (1997). Gordon (2005) lists Playero (also Rio Arauca Guahibo), a dialect of Guajibo, as a separate language with a "low intelligibility of other Guahibo".
Guajibo and Cuiva form a dialect continuum.
Guajibo has the most speakers (over 23,000) and is the largest indigenous group in eastern Colombia. Approximately 9,000 in Venezuela.
Guayabero is the most divergent language of the family.
Guajiboan has often been grouped together with Arawakan, Arauan, and Candoshi by many classifiers. However, this now seems unlikely as the similarity between Guajiboan and Arawakan has been attributed to language contact.
North Caucasian languages (sometimes called simply Caucasic as opposed to Kartvelian, and to avoid confusion with the concept of "Caucasian race") is a blanket term for two language phyla spoken chiefly in the north Caucasus and Turkey: the Northwest Caucasian family (Pontic, Abkhaz–Adyghe, Circassian, West Caucasian) and the Northeast Caucasian family (Caspian, Nakh–Dagestanian, East Caucasian); the latter includes the former North-central Caucasian (Nakh) family.
Some linguists, notably Sergei Starostin and Sergei Nikolayev, believe that the two groups sprang from a common ancestor about five thousand years ago. However, this proposal is difficult to evaluate, and remains controversial.
There are approximately 34 to 38 distinct living or extinct North Caucasian languages.
Among the linguists who support the North Caucasian hypothesis, the main split between Northeast Caucasian and Northwest Caucasian is considered uncontroversial. Problems arise when it gets to the internal structure of Northeast Caucasian itself. So far no general agreement has been reached in this respect. The following classification is based on Nikolayev & Starostin (1994):
The main perceived similarities
The Paleohispanic languages were the languages of the pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, excluding languages of foreign colonies, such as Greek in Emporion and Phoenician in Qart Hadast. After the Roman conquest of Hispania the Paleohispanic languages, with the exception of Proto-Basque, were replaced by Latin, the ancestor of the modern Iberian Romance languages.
Some of these languages were documented directly through inscriptions, mainly in Paleohispanic scripts, that date for sure between the 5th century BC, maybe from the 7th century in the opinion of some researchers, until the end of the 1st century BC or the beginning of the 1st century AD.
Other Paleohispanic languages can only be identified indirectly through toponyms, anthroponyms or theonyms cited by Roman and Greek sources.
Of these languages, Tartessian, Celtiberian, Lusitanian, and presumably Sorothaptic were Indo-European languages; Tartessian and Celtiberian were Celtic languages, and Lusitanian might have been, but the hypothetical Sorothaptic was not. Iberian is generally considered an unclassified language and Tartessian was until later 2011, while Aquitanian was a precursor of modern Basque.
Pano-Tacanan (also Pano-Takana, Pano-Takánan, Pano-Tacana, Páno-Takána) is a proposed family of languages spoken in Peru, western Brazil, Bolivia and northern Paraguay. There are two close-knit branches, Panoan and Tacanan (Adelaar & Muysken 2004; Kaufman 1990, 1994), with 33 languages. There are lexical and grammatical similarities between the two branches, but it has not yet been demonstrated that these are genetic (Loos 1999).
Most Panoan languages are spoken in either Peru or western Brazil; a few are in Bolivia. All Tacanan languages are spoken in Bolivia (Ese’ejja is also spoken in Peru).
Migliazza has presented lexical evidence in support of a genetic relationship between the Panoan and Yanomaman languages. He also urges that a Panoan–Chibchan relationship is plausible.
The West Benue-Congo languages are a compound of four Groups of the Benue-Congo languages, spoken by about 50 Million people, most of them living in Nigeria. Among these are the most important languages of southern Nigeria, Yoruba language in the southwest, Igbo language (Ibo) in Biafra, Edo language, between them, and Nupe language near river Niger north of the Yoruba region. All four languages form the main part of one of the five main subgroups. The fifth one is connected with Idoma language, spoken near lower river Benue.
The contraction of Yoruboid, Akoko and Ayere-Ahan to a unit called Defoid languages has recently been left.
Franconian is a term collectively referring to a number of languages and dialects possibly derived from the languages and dialects originally spoken by the Franks. They include the Low Franconian languages, of which Dutch is the primary member, the West Central German dialects (also known as "Middle Franconian dialects"), and several transitional High German dialects spoken in Franconia. Linguists have different views about whether there really is a Franconian language group and whether these languages and dialects have really descended from a single proto-language like Istvaeonic or Old Frankish. Some of these dialects are considered to be Dutch dialects or to have Dutch origins; others German.
Low Franconian, also called Low Frankish, consists of Dutch, Afrikaans, Limburgish, and their dialects, some of which are sometimes seen as regional languages. They are spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Namibia, the western tip of Germany (German Niederrhein, former Duchy of Cleves), Suriname, the Caribbean as well as in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
With a total of over 40 million speakers this is the most numerous of the 3 groups, as well as most
member of language families:Gonga-Gimojan languages
The Gonga or Kefoid languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic family and are spoken in Ethiopia. These days, the Kafacho (southwestern Ethiopia), Shekkacho (Southwestern Ethiopia), Boro Shinasha (Northwestern Ethiopia), Anfillo (Western Ethiopia) mainly are speakers of the language. The people were living together some 400 years before and because of different social, environmental, economic and political factors they disintegrated by migrating to their respective place of this time.
Mǐn or Miin (simplified Chinese: 闽语; traditional Chinese: 閩語; pinyin: Mǐn yǔ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Bân gú; BUC: Mìng ngṳ̄) is the name of a broad group of Chinese languages spoken by 60 million people in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou, or Chaoshan area, and the Leizhou peninsula), Hainan, three counties in southern Zhejiang, and Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo, and some towns in Liyang and Jiangyin city in Jiangsu province, and Taiwan. There are many Min speakers also among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia as well as in New York City in the United States. The most widely spoken variety of Min outside Fujian (the Min Province) is Hokkien, which includes Taiwanese and Amoy, amongst other dialects; while in Fujian, Min Dong is considered the standard.
Min has greater dialectal diversity than any other division of Chinese. It is typically divided, on the basis of mutual intelligibility, into five to nine languages, such as Min Dong (Eastern Min) and Min Nan (Southern Min). Phylogenetically, there is a primary split between an Inland Min group consisting of Shao-Jiang Min (disputed), Min Bei, and Min
Osco-Umbrian AKA Sabellian is a group of languages of the Italic language family of the Indo-European languages. They were spoken in central and southern Italy before Latin replaced them as the power of the Romans expanded. They are known almost exclusively through inscriptions, principally of Oscan and Umbrian, though there are also some Osco-Umbrian loanwords in Latin.
Attested languages are:
Aequian and Vestinian may also have been part of this group.
These have traditionally been ascribed to an Oscan group or an Umbrian group. However, they are all poorly attested, and such a division is not supported by the evidence. It appears that they may have formed a continuum, with Umbrian in the north, Oscan in the south, and the 'Sabellic' languages in between (see next section) having features of both.
Sabellic was originally the collective ethnonym of the Italic people who inhabited central and southern Italy at the time of Roman expansion. The name was later used by Theodor Mommsen in his Unteritalische Dialekte to describe the pre-Roman dialects of central Italy which were neither Oscan nor Umbrian. Nowadays, it is used for the Osco-Umbrian languages as a whole. The North Picene
The Ainu languages were a small language family spoken on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō, the southern half of the island of Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands, an island chain that stretches from Hokkaidō to the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. They are alternately considered a group of closely related languages, or as divergent dialects of a single language isolate. The only surviving member is the moribund Hokkaidō Ainu.
Shibatani (1990:9) and Piłsudski (1998:2) speak of "Ainu languages" when comparing the varieties of Hokkaidō and Sakhalin. However, Vovin (1993) speaks only of "dialects". Refsing (1986) says Hokkaidō and Sakhalin Ainu were not mutually intelligible. Hattori (1955) considered Ainu data from 19 regions of Hokkaido and Sakhalin, and found the primary division to lie between the two islands.
Scanty data from Western voyages at the turn of the 19th–20th century (Tamura 2000) suggest there was also great diversity in northern Sakhalin, which was not sampled by Hattori.
It is often reported that Ainu was the language of the indigenous Emishi people of the northern part of the main Japanese island of Honshu. The main evidence for this is the presence of
Bora–Witóto (also Bora–Huitoto, Bora–Uitoto, or, ambiguously, Witotoan) is a proposal to unite the Bora and Witotoan language families of northeastern Peru (Loreto Region), southwestern Colombia (Amazonas Department), and western Brazil (Amazonas State). Kaufman (1990) found the proposal plausible; by 1994 he had accepted it and added the Andoque language.
The classification above is based on Campbell (1997) who follows Richard Aschmann's 1993 classification and reconstruction of proto-Witotoan.
Kaufman (1994) lists Bóran and Witótoan (Huitoto–Ocaina) as separate families (they are grouped together with Andoque as Bora–Witótoan; by 2007 he moved Andoque to Witotoan). He does not show internal branching. Nipode and Mïnïca are listed as dialects of a single Meneka language (whereas Aschmann and Campbell treat these as separate languages at different branch nodes). Kaufman also includes within his Witótoan (Huitoto–Ocaina) the following extinct languages :
Andoquero, Coeruna, and Koihoma are all extinct. Nonuya is nearly extinct, but attempts are being made at revival.
Kaufman's (1994) Bora–Witótoan stock includes the Bóran and Witótoan (Huitoto-Ocaina) sub-families and
The Yeniseian language family (sometimes known as Yeniseic or Yenisei-Ostyak; occasionally spelled with -ss-) is spoken in central Siberia.
0. Proto-Yeniseian (before 500 BC; split around 1 AD)
Only two languages of this family survived into the 20th century, Ket (also known as Imbat Ket), with around 1,000 speakers, and Yugh (also known as Sym Ket), which is now possibly extinct. The other known members of this family, Arin, Assan, Pumpokol, and Kott, have been extinct for over a century. Other groups – Buklin, Baikot, Yarin, Yastin, Ashkyshtym and Koibalkyshtym – are identifiable as Yeniseic-speaking from tsarist fur-tax records compiled during the 17th century, but nothing remains of their languages except a few proper names.
It appears from Chinese sources that a Yeniseian group might have been among the peoples that made up the tribal confederation known as the Xiongnu, who have traditionally been considered the ancestors of the Huns, but these suggestions are difficult to substantiate due to the paucity of data. One sentence of the language of the Jie, a Xiongnu tribe who founded the Later Zhao state, appears consistent with being a Yeniseian language.
In February 2008 a
The Chukotko-Kamchatkan or Chukchi–Kamchatkan languages are a language family of extreme northeastern Siberia. Its speakers are indigenous hunter-gatherers and reindeer-herders.
While the family is sometimes grouped typologically and geographically as Paleo-Siberian, no external genetic relationship has been widely accepted as proven. The most popular such proposals have been for links with Eskimo–Aleut, either alone or in the context of a wider grouping.
Less commonly encountered names for the family are Chukchian, Chukotian, Chukotan, Kamchukchee and Kamchukotic. Of these, Chukchian and Chukotian are ambiguous, since both terms are sometimes used to refer specifically to the family's northern branch.
In addition, Luorawetlan (also spelled Luoravetlan) has been in wide use since 1775 as a name for the family, although it is properly the self-designation of one of its constituent languages, Chukchi. The derivative Luorawetlanic may be preferable as a name for the family.
The Chukotko-Kamchatkan family consists of two distantly related dialect clusters, Chukotkan and Kamchatkan. Chukotkan is considered anywhere from one to four languages, whereas there is only one surviving
The Gallo-Italic or Gallo-Italian language group is a genetic subgroup of the Romance languages. Its place within Romance, however, is in dispute: whether it belongs in Gallo-Romance languages or the Italo-Dalmatian languages. The Venetian language is usually considered to belong to a different dialect community, but some scholars include it too among Gallo-Italic dialects.
Traditionally spoken in Northern Italy, Southern Switzerland, San Marino and Monaco, most Gallo-Italic languages have given way in everyday use to Standardized Italian. The vast majority of current speakers are bilingual with Italian. These languages are still spoken by immigrants in countries with Northern Italian immigrant communities. Ligurian is formalised in Monaco as Monegasque.
The Gallo-Italic languages differ somewhat in their phonology from one language to another, but the following are the most important characteristics, as contrasted with standard Italian:
Varieties of Gallo-Italic languages are also found in Sicily, corresponding with the central-eastern parts of the island that received large numbers of immigrants from Northern Italy, called Lombards, during the decades
The Lechitic (or Lekhitic) languages are a language group consisting of Polish and several other languages which are or were spoken in areas of modern Poland and northeastern parts of modern Germany. It is one of the branches of the larger West Slavic language family; the other branches of this family are the Czech-Slovak languages and the Sorbian languages.
The most significant and widely spoken Lechitic language is Polish (ISO 639-1 code: pl, ISO 639-2 code: pol), which has approximately 38 million native speakers in Poland and several million elsewhere. Polish is considered to have several dialects, including Greater Polish, Lesser Polish and Masovian.
The other Lechitic languages are:
Characteristics of Lechitic languages include:
The term Lechitic is applied both to the languages of this group and to Slavic peoples speaking these languages (known as Lechites). The term is related to the name of the legendary Polish forefather Lech and the name Lechia by which Poland was formerly sometimes known. For more details, see Lechites.
Finno-Volgaic or Fenno-Volgaic is a defunct hypothesis of a subgrouping of the Uralic languages that tried to group the Finnic languages, Sami languages, Mordvinic languages and the Mari language. It was hypothetized to have branched from Finno-Permic languages about 2000 BC.
Finnic and Sami languages are sometimes grouped together under Finno-Lappic languages, while Mordvinic and Mari were formerly grouped together as the defunct group of Volga-Finnic languages.
The current stage of research rejects Volga-Finnic, while the validity of Finno-Lappic and Finno-Permic remains disputed.
Only a single uniting phonological feature of the Finno-Volgaic languages has been proposed: the loss of the consonant *w before rounded vowels.
Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the Koiné (κοινή) as the lingua franca of Hellenism, was divided into several dialects. Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most of them deriving from the Koiné.
Several literary genres are conventionally written in a specific style and dialect, that in which the genre originated, regardless the origin of later authors. Homeric Greek, which is imitated in later Epic poems, such as Argonautica and Dionysiaca, is an artificial mixture of dialects close to Ionic, Aeolic and Arcadocypriot.
Archilochus of Paros is the oldest poet in Ionic proper. This dialect includes also the earliest Greek prose, that of Heraclitus and Ionic philosophers, Hecataeus and logographers, Herodotus, Democritus, and Hippocrates. Elegiac poetry originated in Ionia and always continued to be written in Ionic.
Attic Orators, Plato, Xenophon and Aristotle wrote in Attic proper, Thucydides in Old Attic, the dramatists in an artificial poetic language while the Attic Comedy contains several vernacular elements.
Doric is the conventional dialect of choral lyric poetry, which includes the Laconian Alcman, the Theban Pindar and the
Ugric or Ugrian languages ( /ˈjuːɡrɨk/ or /ˈjuːɡriən/) are a branch of the Uralic language family. The term derives from Yugra, a region in north-central Asia.
They include three subgroups: Hungarian (Magyar), Khanty (Ostyak), and Mansi language (Vogul). The last two have traditionally been considered single languages, though their main dialects are sufficiently distinct that they may also be considered small subfamilies of 3–4 languages each. A common Proto-Ugric language is posited to have been spoken from the end of the 3rd millennium BC until the first half of the 1st millennium BC, in Western Siberia, east from the southern Ural mountains. However, recent reconstructions of Uralic have not generally found support for Ugric. Of the three languages, Khanty and Mansi have traditionally been set apart from Hungarian as Ob-Ugric, though features uniting Mansi and Hungarian in particular are known as well.
Two common phonetic features of the Ugric languages are a rearrangement of the Proto-Uralic (PU) system of sibilant consonants and a lenition of velar consonants:
It has however been pointed out that these changes are applicable to the Samoyedic languages as well.
member of language families:Insular Celtic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages (Welsh: ieithoedd Brythonaidd/Prydeinig, Cornish: yethow brythonek/predennek, Breton: yezhoù predenek) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family; the other is Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael. The name Brittonic derives ultimately from the name Prettanike, recorded by Greek authors for the British Isles. Some authors reserve the term Brittonic for the modified later Brythonic languages after about AD 600.
The Brythonic languages derive from the British language, spoken throughout Britain south of the Firth of Forth during the Iron Age and Roman period. North of the Forth, the Pictish language is considered to be related; it is possible it was a Brythonic language, but it may have been a sister language. In the 4th and 5th centuries emigrating Britons also took Brythonic speech to the continent, most significantly in Brittany. During the next few centuries the language began to split into several dialects, eventually evolving into Welsh, Cornish, Breton, and Cumbric. Welsh and Breton continue
The two dozen Malekula languages are a group or groups of the North Vanuatu languages.
The Malekula languages have been divided into interior and coastal groups. However, this classification is not well supported. According to a 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database, the interior and some of the coastal languages, such as Nahavaq, are related as a group, whereas the analysis found 70% support for including the coastal Nese language. Confidence was higher (90%) for the Santo–Malekula languages.
The traditional classification is,
The Nambikwaran languages are a language family of half a dozen languages, all spoken in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil. They have traditionally been considered dialects of a single language, but at least three of them are mutually unintelligible.
The varieties of Mamaindê are often seen as dialects of a single language, but are treated as separate Northern Nambikwaran languages by Ethnologue. Sabanê is a single speech community and thus has no dialects, while the Nambikwara language has been described as having eleven.
The total number of speakers is estimated to be about 1,500, with Nambikwara proper being 80% of that number. Most Nambikwara are monolingual but some young men speak Portuguese. Especially the men of the Sabanê group are trilingual, speaking both Portuguese and Mamainde.
Nuclear Polynesian refers to those languages comprising the Samoic and the Eastern Polynesian branches of the Polynesian group of Austronesian languages.
The Eastern Polynesian group comprises two major subgroups: Rapa Nui, spoken on Easter Island, and Central Eastern, which is itself composed of Rapan, and the Marquesic and Tahitic languages.
Nuclear Polynesian is differentiated, among Polynesian languages, by its distinguishing characteristics from the Tongic languages spoken in most of Tonga and in Niue.
The Songhay or Songhai languages (pronounced [soŋaj], or [soŋoj] are found in the cities of Timbuktu and Gao and are a group of closely related languages/dialects. They are centered around the middle stretches of the Niger River in the west African states of Mali, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. They have been widely used as a lingua franca in that region ever since the era of the Songhay Empire. In Mali, the government has officially adopted the dialect of Gao (east of Timbuktu) as the dialect to be used as a medium of primary education.
As regards interintelligibility of Songhay languages, the dialect of Koyraboro Senni spoken in Gao is unintelligible to speakers of the Zarma dialect of Niger, according to the Ethnologue.
For linguists, a major point of interest in the Songhay languages has been the difficulty of determining their genetic affiliation; they are commonly taken to be Nilo-Saharan, as defined by Greenberg in 1963, but this classification remains controversial. Dimmendaal (2008) believes that for now it is best considered an independent language family.
The name Songhay is historically neither an ethnic nor a linguistic designation, but a name for the ruling
Wintuan (also Wintun, Wintoon, Copeh, Copehan) is a family of languages spoken in the Sacramento Valley of central Northern California.
All Wintuan languages are severely endangered.
Shipley (1978:89) listed three Wintuan languages in his encyclopedic overview of California Indian languages. More recently Mithun (1999) split Southern Wintuan into a Patwin language and a Southern Patwin language, resulting in the following classification.
I. Northern Wintuan
II. Southern Wintuan
Wintu may only have 2 speakers left. Nomlaki has few to none speakers. One speaker of Patwin (Hill Patwin dialect) remained in 1997. Southern Patwin, once spoken by the Suisun local tribe just northeast of San Francisco Bay, became extinct fairly soon after contact with whites and is thus poorly known (Mithun 1999). Gordon (2005) reports 5-6 speakers total for all Wintuan languages. Wintu proper is the best documented of the four Wintuan languages.
Pitkin (1984) considers the Wintuan languages as close to each other as the Romance languages. They may have diverged from a common tongue only 2,000 years ago.
The Wintuan family is a sometime member of the hypothetical Penutian language phylum or stock. It was
The Hmong–Mien AKA Miao–Yao languages are a language family of southern China and Southeast Asia. They are spoken in mountainous areas of southern China, including Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Hubei provinces, where its speakers have been relegated to being "hill people," while the Han Chinese have settled the more fertile river valleys. Within the last 300–400 years, the Hmong and some Mien people have migrated to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma. As a result of the Indochina Wars, many Hmong speakers left Southeast Asia for Australia, the United States, and other countries.
Hmong (Miao) and Mien (Yao) are clearly distinct, but closely related. For internal classifications, see Hmongic languages and Mienic languages. The largest differences are due to divergent developments in the phonology. The Hmongic languages appear to have kept the large set of initial consonants featured in the protolanguage but greatly reduced the distinctions in the syllable finals, in particular eliminating all medial glides and final consonants. The Mienic languages, on the other hand, have largely preserved syllable finals but reduced the number of initial consonants.
The Northwest Caucasian languages (Adyghe: Азгъэбзэ-Адыгэбзэхэр, Russian: Абхазо-адыгские языки), also called Abkhazo-Adyghean, or sometimes Pontic as opposed to Caspian for the Northeast Caucasian languages, are a group of languages spoken in the Caucasus region, chiefly in Russia (Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay–Cherkessia), the disputed territory of Abkhazia, and Turkey, with smaller communities scattered throughout the Middle East.
The entire family is characterised by a paucity of phonemic vowels (two or three, depending upon the analysis) coupled with rich consonantal systems that include many forms of secondary articulation. Ubykh (Ubyx), for example, had both the minimal number of vowels (two), and probably the largest inventory of consonants outside Southern Africa.
Linguistic reconstructions suggest that both the richness of the consonantal systems and the poverty of the vocalic systems may be the result of a historical process, whereby vowel features such as labialisation and palatalisation were reassigned to adjacent consonants. For example, ancestral */ki/ may have become /kʲə/ and */ku/ may have become /kʷə/, losing the old vowels */i/ and */u/ but gaining the
The neologism 'Quechuan' is synonymous with Quechua, the name of the most widely spoken Native American language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably some 6 to 8 million speakers (estimates vary widely). Quechua is spoken across large areas of the Andes of South America, in many regional varieties, which pattern into broad dialect continua rather than clearly definable individual languages.
All Quechua varieties derive from an original single common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. This first began expanding across the Andes over a millennium ago, however, and changed differently over time in different regions. So today speakers of the most divergent regional varieties of Quechua do not find each other's speech mutually intelligible, the basic criterion that defines Quechua as not a single language but a family of closely related languages. The level of linguistic diversity within the family is similar to that of Arabic or Slavic, and a little less than that within Romance or Germanic.
Individual varieties or 'dialect' regions within the Quechua family are specified by adding the appropriate regional qualification, such as 'Cusco Quechua',
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins (which are believed by scholars to be necessary precedents of creoles) in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, with the result that they have features of natural languages that are normally missing from pidgins.
The vocabulary of a creole language consists of cognates from the parent languages, though there are often clear phonetic and semantic shifts. On the other hand, the grammar often has original features but may differ substantially from those of the parent languages. Most often, the vocabulary comes from the dominant group and the grammar from the subordinate group, where such stratification exists.
A creole is believed to arise when a pidgin, developed by adults for use as a second language, becomes the native and primary language of their children — a process known as nativization. The pidgin-creole life cycle was studied by Hall in the 1960s.
Creoles share more grammatical similarities with each other than with the languages from which they are phylogenetically derived. However, there is no widely
The Finno-Permic languages (also Finno-Permian and Fenno-Permic/Permian) are a traditional but disputed group of the Uralic languages that comprises the Baltic-Finnic languages, Sami languages, Mordvinic languages, Mari language, Permic languages, and likely a number of extinct languages. In the traditional taxonomy of the Uralic languages, Finno-Permic is estimated to have split from Finno-Ugric around 3000–2500 BC, and branched into Permic languages and Finno-Volgaic languages around 2000 BC. Nowadays the validity of the group as a taxonomical entity is questioned.
The term Finnic languages has often been used to designate all the Finno-Permic languages, based on an earlier belief that Permic languages would be much more closely related to the Baltic Finnic languages than to the Ugric languages. (In Finnish scholarly usage Finnic most often refers to the Baltic-Finnic languages alone.)
Interpretation of grouping the Finnic/Finno-Permic languages can vary among different scholars, though all variations treat Permic as a primary division. The following proposals for classification are listed by Ruhlen (1987) and by Angela Marcantonio in 2002:
Oto-Manguean languages (also Otomanguean) are a large family comprising several families of Native American languages. All of the Oto-Manguean languages that are now spoken are indigenous to Mexico, but the Manguean branch of the family, which is now extinct, was spoken as far south as Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The highest number of speakers of Oto-Manguean languages today are found in the state of Oaxaca where the two largest branches, the Zapotecan and Mixtecan languages, are spoken by almost 1.5 million people combined. In central Mexico, particularly in the states of Mexico (state), Hidalgo and Querétaro, the languages of the Oto-Pamean branch are spoken: the Otomi and the closely related Mazahua have over 500,000 speakers combined. Some Oto-Manguean languages are moribund or highly endangered; for example, Ixcatec and Matlatzinca each has fewer than 250 speakers, most of whom are elderly. Other languages particularly of the Manguean branch which was spoken outside of Mexico have become extinct; these include the Chiapanec language, which has only recently been declared extinct. Others such as Subtiaba, which was most closely related to Me'phaa (Tlapanec), have been extinct
The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three traditional branches of the Germanic family of languages and include languages such as German, English, Dutch, Afrikaans, the Frisian languages, and Yiddish. The other two of these three traditional branches of the Germanic languages are the North and East Germanic languages.
The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups: West, East and North Germanic. Their exact relation is difficult to determine from the sparse evidence of runic inscriptions, and they remained mutually intelligible throughout the Migration Period, so that some individual varieties are difficult to classify. Dialects with the features assigned to the western group formed from Proto-Germanic in the late Jastorf culture (ca. 1st century BC). The West Germanic group is characterized by a number of phonological and morphological innovations not found in North and East Germanic, such as:
Nevertheless, many scholars doubt whether the West Germanic languages descend from a common ancestor later than Proto-Germanic, that is, they doubt whether a "Proto-West-Germanic" ever existed. Rather, some have argued that after East Germanic broke
The Arutani–Sape, AKA Awake–Kaliana or Kalianan, are a proposed language family that includes two of the most poorly documented languages in South America, both of which are nearly extinct. They are at best only distantly related, but Kaufman (1990) finds the connection convincing. However, Migliazza & Campbell (1988) maintain that there is no evidence for linking them. The two languages are,
Kaufman (1990) states that a further connection with Maku of Roraima is "promising".
The Jê languages (also spelled Gê, Jean, Ye, Gean), or Jê–Kaingang languages, are spoken by the Gê, a group of indigenous peoples in Brazil.
The language family is as follows:
The Jê family forms the core of the Macro-Jê family. Kaufman (1990) finds the proposal convincing.
The Judæo-Iranian languages include a number of related Jewish languages spoken throughout the formerly extensive realm of the Persian Empire, usually including all the Jewish Iranian languages:
Like most Jewish languages, all the Judæo-Iranian languages contain great numbers of Hebrew loanwords, and are written using variations of the Hebrew alphabet.
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty-five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.
Turkic languages are spoken as a native language by some 165 to 200 million people; and the total number of Turkic speakers is over 300 million, including speakers of a second language. The Turkic language with the greatest number of speakers is Turkish proper, spoken mainly in Anatolia and the Balkans, the speakers of which account for about 40% of all Turkic speakers.
Characteristic features of Turkish, such as vowel harmony, agglutination, and lack of grammatical gender, are universal within the Turkic family. There is also a high degree of mutual intelligibility between the various Oghuz languages, which include Turkish, Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Qashqai, Gagauz, Balkan Gagauz Turkish and Oghuz influenced Crimean Tatar.
The characteristic features of the Turkic languages are vowel harmony, extensive agglutination by means of suffixes and other affixes, and lack of noun classes or grammatical gender.
Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan /ˈjuːtoʊ.æzˈtɛkən/ is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico. The Pipil language, an offshoot of Nahuatl, spread to Central America by a wave of migration from Mexico, formerly had many speakers there. Now it has gone extinct in Guatemala and Honduras and it is nearly extinct in western El Salvador. Classical Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and its modern relatives are part of the Uto-Aztecan family. The name of the language family was given to show that it joins the Ute languages of Utah (also named for the Ute people) and the Aztecan languages of Mexico.
The Proto–Uto-Aztecan language is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Uto-Aztecan languages. Authorities on the history of the language group have usually placed the Proto-Uto-Aztecan homeland in the border region between the USA and Mexico, namely the upland regions of Arizona and New Mexico and the adjacent areas of the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuaua, roughly corresponding to the Sonoran Desert and the western part of the Chihuahuan Desert. The proto-language would have
Zamucoan (also Samúkoan) is a small language family of Paraguay (northeast Chaco) and Bolivia (Santa Cruz Department).
The family has hardly been studied by linguists (as of Adelaar & Muysken 2004), although several studies have recently appeared (see: Bertinetto 2009, 2010; Ciucci 2007/08, 2009, 2010a, 2010b). Recent studies show that the Zamucoan languages are characterized by a rare syntactic configuration which is called para-hypotaxis (Bertinetto & Ciucci 2012).
Zamucoan consists of two living languages:
From the historical record of the Zamucoan peoples, the living Zamucoan languages appear to have had several relatives, now extinct. It's not clear if these were necessarily distinct languages, or even that they were Zamucoan, but Mason (1950) listed them as follows:
Muskogean (also Muskhogean, Muskogee) is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean. They are agglutinative languages.
The Muskogean family consists of six languages which are still spoken: Alabama, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek-Seminole, Koasati, and Mikasuki, as well as the now-extinct Apalachee and Hitchiti (the latter generally considered a dialect of Mikasuki)."Seminole" is listed as one of the Muskogean languages in Hardy's list, but it is generally considered a dialect of Creek, rather than a separate language (as she herself comments: Hardy 2005:70; see also Mithun 2005:462, Crawford). The major subdivisions of the family have long been controversial, though the following lower-level groups are universally accepted: Choctaw-Chickasaw, Alabama-Koasati, Hitchiti-Mikasuki, and Creek-Seminole. Because Apalachee is extinct, its precise relationship to the other languages is uncertain; Mary Haas and Pamela Munro both classify it with the Alabama-Koasati group.
For connections among these
member of language families:Balto-Slavic languages
The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, much of the Balkans, parts of Central Europe, and the northern part of Asia.
Scholars traditionally divide Slavic languages on the basis of geographical distribution into three main branches, some of which feature subbranches:
Some linguists speculate that a North Slavic branch has existed as well. The Old Novgorod dialect may have reflected some idiosyncrasies of this group. On the other hand, the term "North Slavic" is also used sometimes to combine the West and East Slavic languages into one group, in opposition to the South Slavic languages, due to traits the West and East Slavic branches share with each other that they do not with the South Slavic languages.
The most obvious differences between the West and East Slavic branches are in the orthography of the standard languages: West Slavic languages are written in the Latin script, and have had more Western European influence due to their speakers being historically Roman Catholic, whereas the East Slavic languages are written in
The Kwomtari–Fas languages, often referred to ambiguously as Kwomtari, are a dubious language family of six languages spoken by some 4000 people in the north of Papua New Guinea, near the border with Indonesia. The term "Kwomtari languages" can also refer to one of the established branches of this proposal.
A "Kwomtari" (= Kwomtari–Fas) phylum was first proposed by Loving and Bass (1964). The following classification is based on their proposal, with the addition of the Pyu and Guriaso languages, added by Laycock (1975) and Baron (1983):
Laycock (1973; 1975) grouped the languages differently, placing Kwomtari and Fas together in the "Kwomtari family", and Baibai and Nai (Biaka) together in a "Baibai family", and calling the overall grouping "Kwomtari–Baibai". It was also Laycock who added the Pyu isolate, though he admitted, "A great deal more work is required on the Kwomtari Phylum before the classification can be regarded as established" (1973:43), and he published no evidence.
However, Baron (1983) notes that Laycock's reclassification appears to have been due to an alignment error in the published comparative data of Loving & Bass. Their raw field notes
Na-Dene ( /ˌnɑːdɨˈneɪ/; also Nadene, Na-Dené, Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit, Tlina–Dene) is a Native American language family which includes at least the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit languages. An inclusion of Haida is controversial.
In February 2008 a proposal relating Na-Dene (excluding Haida) to the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia was published and well received by a number of linguists.
Edward Sapir originally constructed the term Na-Dene to refer to a combined family of Athabaskan, Tlingit, and Haida. (The existence of Eyak was not known at the time.) In his "The Na-Dene languages: A preliminary report", he describes how he arrived at the term (Sapir 1915, p. 558):
In its non-controversial core, Na-Dene consists of two branches, Tlingit and Athabaskan–Eyak:
For linguists who follow Edward Sapir in connecting Haida to the above languages, the Haida isolate represents an additional branch, with Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit together forming the other. Dene or Dine (the Athabaskan languages) is a widely distributed group of Native languages spoken by associated peoples in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Alaska, parts
The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers, including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of Nile meet. The languages extend through 17 nations in the northern half of Africa: from Algeria to Benin in west; from Libya to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the center; and from Egypt to Tanzania in the east.
Eight of its proposed constituent divisions (excluding Kunama, Kuliak, and Songhay) are found in the modern nation of Sudan, through which the Nile River flows. As indicated by its hyphenated name, Nilo-Saharan is a family of the African interior, including the greater Nile basin and the central Sahara desert.
Joseph Greenberg named the group and argued it was a genetic family in his 1963 book The Languages of Africa. It contains the languages not included in the Niger–Congo, Afroasiatic, or Khoisan families. It has not been demonstrated that the Nilo-Saharan languages constitute a valid genetic grouping, and it has been seen as Greenberg's 'wastebasket' phylum, into which he placed all the otherwise unaffiliated non-click languages of Africa.
South Semitic is a commonly accepted branch of the Semitic languages. Semitic itself is a branch of the larger Afro-Asiatic language family found in (Northern and Eastern) Africa and Western Asia.
South Semitic is divided into two uncontroversial branches: South Arabian, on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Ethiopian Semitic, found across the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa, mainly in modern Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Ethiopian Semitic languages have by far the greatest numbers of modern native speakers. Eritrea's main languages are mainly Tigrinya and Tigre which are North Ethiopic languages while Amharic (South Ethiopic) is the main language spoken in Ethiopia (along with Tigrinya in the northern province of Tigray). Southern Arabian languages have withered at the expense of the more dominant Arabic (also a Semitic language) for more than a millennium. The Ethnologue lists six modern members of the South Arabian branch and 14 members of the Ethiopian branch.
The "homeland" of the South Semitic languages is widely debated, but is believed to have been the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. The modern and historic presence of South Semitic Ethiopian languages
The Teushen or Tehues were an indigenous hunter-gatherer people of Patagonia in Argentina. They were considered "foot nomads", between the Tehuelche people to the south and the Puelche people to their north.
Before 1850, there were an estimated 500 to 600 Teushen people. They were slaughtered in the Argentinian genocides of Patagonia. By 1925, only ten to twelve Teushen survived, and today they are considered to be extinct.
The Teushen language is almost entirely unknown. It is thought, however, from the limited data available that it was closest to Tehuelche.
member of language families:Austronesian languages
The Formosan languages are the languages of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Taiwanese aborigines (those recognized by the government) currently comprise about 2% of the island's population. However, far fewer can still speak their ancestral language, after centuries of language shift. Of the approximately 26 languages of the Taiwanese aborigines, at least ten are extinct, another four (perhaps five) are moribund, and several others are to some degree endangered.
The aboriginal languages of Taiwan have significance in historical linguistics, since in all likelihood Taiwan was the place of origin of the entire Austronesian language family. According to linguist Robert Blust the Formosan languages form nine of the ten principal branches of the Austronesian language family, while the one remaining principal branch contains nearly 1,200 Malayo-Polynesian languages found outside of Taiwan. Although linguists disagree with some details of Blust's analysis, a broad consensus has coalesced around the conclusion that the Austronesian languages originated in Taiwan. This theory has been strengthened by recent studies in human population genetics.
All Formosan languages are slowly being
The High German languages (in German, Hochdeutsche Sprachen) or the High German dialects (Hochdeutsche Mundarten/Dialekte) are any of the varieties of standard German, Luxembourgish and Yiddish, as well as the local German dialects spoken in central and southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg and in neighboring portions of Belgium and the Netherlands (Ripuarian dialects in southeast Limburg), France (Alsace and northern Lorraine), Italy, Denmark, and Poland. The language is also spoken in diaspora in Romania , Russia, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Namibia.
As a technical term, the "high" in High German is a geographical reference to the group of dialects that forms "High German" (in the broader sense), out of which developed standard High German (in the narrower sense), Yiddish and Luxembourgish. It refers to the upland and mountainous areas of central and southern Germany, it also includes Luxembourg, Austria, Liechtenstein and most of Switzerland. This is opposed to Low German, which is spoken on the lowlands and along the flat sea coasts of the north. High German in this broader sense can be subdivided into Upper German (Oberdeutsch,
The Dravidian languages are a language family of approximately 85 languages spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and overseas in other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. The most widely spoken Dravidian languages are Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. There are also small groups of Dravidian-speaking scheduled tribes, who live beyond the mainstream communities. It is often speculated that Dravidian languages are native to India. Epigraphically the Dravidian languages have been attested since the 6th century BCE. Only two Dravidian languages are exclusively spoken outside India, Brahui and Dhangar, a dialect of Kurukh. Dravidian place-names along the northwest coast, in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and to a lesser extent in Sindh as well as Dravidian grammatical influence such as clusivity in the Marathi, Gujarati, Marwari, and to a lesser extent Sindhi languages, suggest that Dravidian languages were once spoken more widely across the Indian subcontinent.
The English word Dravidian was first employed by Robert
The Caddoan languages are a family of Native American languages. They are spoken by Native Americans in parts of the Great Plains of the central United States, from North Dakota south to Oklahoma.
Five languages belong to the Caddoan language family:
The Kitsai language is now extinct, as its members were absorbed in the 19th century into the Wichita tribe. All of the other Caddoan languages are critically endangered; Caddo is now spoken by only 25 people, Pawnee by 20, Arikara by three, and Wichita by just one tribal elder, Doris McLemore. Caddo, Wichita, and Pawnee are spoken in Oklahoma by small numbers of tribal elders. Arikara is spoken on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.
Speakers of some of the languages were formerly more widespread; the Caddo, for example, used to live in northeastern Texas, southwestern Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana, as well as southeastern Oklahoma. The Pawnee formerly lived along the Platte River in what is now Nebraska.
Glottochronology is a controversial method of reconstructing in broad detail the history of a language and its relationships. In the case of proto-Caddoan it appears that it divided into two branches, Northern and
The Anglo-Frisian languages form a group of West Germanic languages consisting of Old English, Old Frisian, and their descendants. The Anglo-Frisian family tree is:
The Anglo-Frisian languages are distinguished from other West Germanic languages partially by the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, Anglo-Frisian brightening, and by the palatalization of Proto-Germanic *k to a coronal affricate before front vowels, e.g.
The early Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon speech communities lived close enough together to form a linguistic crossroads which is why they share some of the traits otherwise only typical of Anglo-Frisian languages. However, despite their common origins, Anglic and Frisian have become very divergent, largely due to the heavy Norse and French influences on English and similarly heavy Dutch and Low German influences on Frisian. The result is that Frisian has now far more in common with Dutch and the adjacent Low German dialects, bringing it into the West Germanic dialect continuum, whereas Anglic has stronger North Germanic and non-Germanic influences than the languages on the mainland.
The following is a summary of the major sound changes affecting vowels in chronological order:
Borean (also Boreal or Boralean) is a hypothetical linguistic macrofamily that encompasses almost all language families except for those native to Sub-Saharan Africa, New Guinea, and Australia. The Borean hypothesis proposes that the various languages of Eurasia and adjacent regions are genetically related to each other, and ultimately descend from languages spoken in the Upper Paleolithic in the millennia following the Last Glacial Maximum. The name "Borean", based on Greek βορέας, means "northern". This reflects the fact that the group is held by its proponents to include most language families native to the northern hemisphere, but not language families native to the southern hemisphere. Two distinct models of the Borean macrofamily exist: that of Harold C. Fleming and that of Sergei Starostin. Neither model has widespread scholarly acceptance.
The concept is due to Harold C. Fleming (1987), who proposed such a "mega-super-phylum" for the languages of Eurasia, termed Borean or Boreal in Fleming (1991) and later publications. In Fleming's model, Borean includes ten different groups: Afrasian (his term for Afroasiatic), Kartvelian, Dravidian, a group comprising Sumerian, Elamitic,
The Uralic languages /jʊərˈrælɨk/ (sometimes called Uralian /jʊˈreɪliən/ languages) constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt. Countries that are home to a significant number of speakers of Uralic languages include Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine.
The name "Uralic" refers to the suggested Urheimat (original homeland) of the Uralic family, which is often located in the vicinity of the Ural Mountains, as the modern languages are spoken on both sides of this mountain range.
Finno-Ugric is now sometimes used as a synonym for Uralic, though historically Finno-Ugric had been understood to exclude the Samoyedic languages.
In recent times, linguists often place the Urheimat, (German: original homeland), of the Proto-Uralic language in the vicinity of the Volga River, west of the Urals, close to the Urheimat of the Indo-European languages, or to the east and southeast of the Urals. Gy. Laszlo places its origin in the forest
There are over 2100 and by some counts over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa in several major language families:
There are several other small families and language isolates, as well as obscure languages that have yet to be classified. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of which are language isolates.
Several African languages are whistled or drummed to communicate over long distances.
About a hundred of the languages of Africa are widely used for inter-ethnic communication. Arabic, Berber, Igbo, Somali, Swahili, Hausa, Amharic, Oromo, and Yoruba are spoken by tens of millions of people. If clusters of up to a hundred similar languages are counted together, twelve are spoken by 75 percent, and fifteen by 85 percent, of Africans as a first or additional language.
The high linguistic diversity of many African countries (Nigeria alone has over 500 languages, one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world) has made language policy a vital issue in the post-colonial era. In recent years, African countries have become increasingly aware of the value of their linguistic inheritance. Language policies being developed nowadays are
member of language families:Trans–New Guinea languages
The Alor–Pantar languages are a family of clearly related Papuan languages spoken on islands of the Alor archipelago near Timor in southern Indonesia. They may be most closely related to the non-Austronesian languages of western Timor, but this is not yet clear. A more distant relationship with the Trans–New Guinea languages of the Bomberai peninsula has been proposed based on pronominal evidence, but though often cited has never been firmly established.
The family is conventionally divided into two branches, centered on the islands of Alor and Pantar.
Tereweng is sometimes considered a separate language from Blagar, and Hamap sometimes separate from Adang. Abui, Kamang, and Kabola may also not be unitary languages.
Kula and Sawila were once included in the Alor branch, but these are perhaps best split off as a Tanglapui family.
The 15th edition of Ethnologue included Makasae as a third branch, but by comparing pronouns, Malcolm Ross concluded that Makasae belongs with the East Timor languages. This is reflected in the 16th edition.
Language documentation efforts in the early 21st century have produced a range of published documentary materials.
It has long been recognized that the
Altaic is a proposed language family that includes the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, and Japonic language families and the Korean language. These languages are spoken in a wide arc stretching from northeast Asia through Central Asia to Anatolia and eastern Europe (Turks, Kalmyks). The group is named after the Altai Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia.
These language families share numerous characteristics. The debate is over the origin of their similarities. One camp, often called the "Altaicists", views these similarities as arising from common descent from a proto-Altaic language spoken several thousand years ago. The other camp, often called the "anti-Altaicists", views these similarities as arising from areal interaction between the language groups concerned. Some linguists believe the case for either interpretation is about equally strong; they have been called the "skeptics".
Another view accepts Altaic as a valid family but includes in it only Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic. This view was widespread prior to the 1960s, but has almost no supporters among specialists today. The expanded grouping, including Korean and Japanese, came to be known as "Macro-Altaic", leading
The Chibchan languages (also Chíbchan, Chibchano) make up a language family indigenous to the Isthmo-Colombian area, which extends from eastern Honduras to northern Colombia and includes populations of these countries as well as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The name is derived from the name of an extinct language called Chibcha or Muisca cubun, once spoken by the people who lived in the city of Bogotá at the time of the European invasion. However, genetic and linguistic data now indicate that the original heart of Chibchan languages and Chibchan-speaking peoples may not have been in Colombia at all, but in the area of the Costa Rica-Panama border, where one finds the greatest variety of Chibchan languages.
The extinct languages of Antioquia, Old Catío and Nutabe, have been shown to be Chibchan (Adelaar & Muysken, 2004:49). The language of the Tairona is unattested, but may well be one of the Arwako languages still spoken in the Santa Marta range. The Zenú AKA Sinú language of northern Colombia is also sometimes included, as are the Malibu languages, though without any factual basis.
Constenla argues that Cueva, the extinct dominant language of pre-Columbian Panama long
Chumashan is a family of languages that were spoken on the southern California coast by Native American Chumash people.
From the Coastal plains and valleys of San Luis Obispo to Malibu), neighboring inland and Transverse Ranges valleys and canyons east to bordering the San Joaquin Valley; and on three adjacent Channel Islands: (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz).
All of the Chumashan languages are now extinct, although they are well documented in the unpublished fieldnotes of linguist John Peabody Harrington. Especially well documented are Barbareño, Ineseño, and Ventureño. The last first-language speaker of a Chumashan language was Barbareño speaker Mary Yee, who died in 1965.
Chumashan consists of 6 languages.
I. Northern Chumash
II. Southern Chumash
Obispeño was the most divergent Chumashan language. Ineseño and Barbareño may have been dialects of the same language. There is very little documentation of Purisimeño. Ventureño had several different subdialects. Island Chumash had different subdialects spoken on Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island, but all its speakers were relocated to the mainland in the early 19th century. John Peabody Harrington conducted fieldwork on
member of language families:Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages constitute a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Indo-Aryan speakers form about one half (approx 1.5 billion) of all Indo-European speakers (approx 3 billion), also Indo-Aryan has more than half of all recognized Indo-European languages, according to Ethnologue.
The largest in terms of native speakers being Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) (about 240 million), Bengali (about 230 million), Punjabi (about 90 million), Marathi (about 70 million), Gujarati (about 45 million), Oriya (about 30 million), Sindhi (about 20 million), Saraiki (about 18 million), Nepali (about 14 million), Chittagonian (about 14 million), Sinhala (about 16 million), and Assamese (about 13 million) with a total number of native speakers of more than 900 million. They form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, which consists of two other language groups: the Iranian and Nuristani.
The earliest evidence of the group is from Vedic Sanskrit, the language used in the ancient preserved texts of the Indian subcontinent, the foundational canon of Hinduism known as the Vedas. The Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni is of similar age as
Nostratic is a hypothetical language family (sometimes called a macrofamily or a superfamily) that includes many of the indigenous language families of Eurasia, including the Indo-European, Uralic and Altaic as well as Kartvelian languages. Usually also included are the Afroasiatic languages native to the North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East, as well as the Dravidian languages of the Indian Subcontinent (sometimes extended to Elamo-Dravidian, connecting India and the Persian Plateau). The exact composition and structure of the family varies among proponents.
The hypothetical ancestral language of the Nostratic family is called Proto-Nostratic. Proto-Nostratic would necessarily have been spoken at an earlier time than the language families descended from it, which would place it in the Epipaleolithic period, close to the end of the last glacial period.
The Nostratic hypothesis originates with Holger Pedersen in the early 20th century. The name "Nostratic" is due to Pedersen (1903), derived from the Latin nostrates "fellow countrymen". The hypothesis was significantly expanded in the 1960s by Soviet linguists, notably Vladislav Illich-Svitych and
The Peba–Yaguan language family (also Yaguan, Peban, Yáwan) is located in the northwestern Amazon, but today Yagua is the only remaining spoken language of the family.
The linguist Paul Rivet suggested that the Peba–Yaguan family divided into two branches, with Yameo in one branch, and Peba and Yagua in the other. There is extremely little documentation of Yameo and Peba, both of which are now extinct, though the town Pebas on the Amazon River clearly takes its name from this group of people. The available documentation is largely due to the efforts of early Catholic missionaries, summarized by Paul Rivet.
As of yet, there is no sound scientific evidence that the Peba–Yaguan family is related to any other family or stock of South America (in particular, there is no evidence for grouping it with Cariban languages). There has likely been contact between the Yaguas and Bora–Witotoan peoples, perhaps particularly during the era of the rubber-trade; this may account for some structural similarities between the languages (Payne, forthcoming). Kaufman (2007) includes Sabela, Taushiro, and Omurano in his Yawan family.
The Tai or Zhuang–Tai languages (Thai: ภาษาไต transliteration: p̣hās̛̄ātay) are a branch of the Tai–Kadai language family. The Tai languages include the most widely spoken of the Tai–Kadai languages, including standard Thai or Siamese, the national language of Thailand; Lao or Laotian, the national language of Laos; Burma's Shan language; and Zhuang, a major language in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi.
Cognates with the name Tai (Thai, Dai, etc.) are used by speakers of many Tai languages. The term Tai is now well-established as the generic name in English. Several Lao linguists have objected to this, opining that Siamese Thai should be considered a Lao language, but that hasn't made much headway in English usage. Because Tai and Thai, the national language of Thailand, are homonyms, some linguists continue to use Siamese for the latter. Similarly, the terms Dai and Daic have fallen somewhat out of favor as the name for the entire family, with forms based on Kadai now more common.
Many of the languages are called Zhuang in China and Nung in Vietnam.
Citing the fact that both the Zhuang and Thai peoples have the same exonym for the Vietnamese, kɛɛuA1, Jerold A. Edmondson of
The Torricelli languages are a language family of about fifty languages of the northern Papua New Guinea coast, spoken by only about 80,000 people. They are named after the Torricelli Mountains. The most populous and best known Torricelli languages are the Arapesh, with about 30,000 speakers.
The most promising external relationship for the Torricelli family is the Sepik languages. In reconstructions of both families, the pronouns have a plural suffix *-m and a dual suffix *-p.
The Torricelli languages occupy three geographically separated areas, evidently separated by migrations of Sepik-language speakers several centuries ago.
Wilhelm Schmidt linked the Wapei and Monumbo branches, and the coastal western and eastern extremes of the family, in 1905. The family was more fully established by David Laycock in 1965. Most recently, Ross broke up Laycock and Z’graggen's (1975) Kombio branch, placing the Kombio language in the Palei branch and leaving Wom as on its own, with the other languages (Eitiep, Torricelli (Lou), Yambes, Aruek) unclassified due to lack of data.
Ethnologue also lists Bragat in the Palei branch.
The Torricelli languages are unusual among Papuan languages in having
Tyrsenian (Tyrsenisch, also Tyrrhenian), named after the Tyrrhenians (Ancient Greek: Tursānoi, Tursēnoi, Turrhēnoi), is a closely related ancient language family proposed by Helmut Rix (1998), that consists of the extinct Etruscan language of central Italy, the extinct Raetic language of the Alps, and the extinct Lemnian language of the Aegean Sea.
Rix assumes a date for Proto-Tyrsenian of roughly 1000 BC.
Cognates common to Raetic and Etruscan are:
Cognates common to Lemnian and Etruscan are:
Strabo's (Geography V, 2), citation from Anticlides attributes to Pelasgians of Lemnos and Imbros a share in the foundation of Etruria.
A larger Aegean family including Eteocretan (Minoan language) and Eteocypriot has been proposed by G.M. Facchetti, referring to some alleged similarities between the Etruscan language and ancient Lemnian (an Aegean language widely thought to be related to Etruscan), and some Ancient Aegean languages: such as Minoan, Eteocretan and Philistine languages. If these languages could be shown to be related to Etruscan and Rhaetic, they would constitute a pre-Indo-European phylum stretching from (at the very least) the Aegean islands and Crete across mainland Greece
Amto–Musan is a language family of two closely related but not mutually intelligible Papuan languages, Amto and Siawi, of the Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea. Amto–Musan was left unclassified by Ross (2005) (see Papuan_languages#Ross_classification) due to lack of data; Wurm (1975) had posited it as an independent family. The family has typological similarities with the Busa language isolate, but these do not appear to demonstrate a genetic relationship.
The Karirí languages, generally considered dialects of a single language, are extinct languages spoken until the middle of the 20th century; the 4,000 ethnic Karirí are now monolingual Portuguese speakers, though a few know common phrases and names of medicinal plants.
The four known Kariri languages are:
There are short grammatical descriptions of Kipeá and Dzubukuá, and word lists for Kamurú and Sabujá. Ribeiro established through morphological analysis that Kariri is likely to be related to the Jê languages.
The names Kariri and Kiriri were applied to many peoples over a wide area in the east of Brazil, in the lower and middle São Francisco River area and further north. Most of their now-extinct languages are too poorly known to classify, but what is recorded does not suggest that they were all members of the Kariri family. Examples are:
The West Papuan languages are a hypothetical language family of about two dozen Papuan languages of the Bird's Head Peninsula (Vogelkop or Doberai Peninsula) of far western New Guinea and the island of Halmahera, spoken by about 220 000 people in all.
The best known West Papuan language is Ternate (50 000 native speakers), which is a regional lingua franca and which, along with Tidore, were the languages of the rival medieval Ternate and Tidore kingdoms of the spice trade.
The German linguist Wilhelm Schmidt first linked the Bird's Head and Halmahera languages in 1900. In 1957 HKL Cowan linked them to the non-Austronesian languages of Timor as well. Stephen Wurm believed that although traces of West Papuan languages were to be found in the languages of Timor, as well as those of Aru and Great Andaman, this was due to a substratum and that these languages should be classified as Trans–New Guinea, Austronesian, and Andamanese, respectively.
In 2005 Malcolm Ross made a tentative proposal that the West Papuan languages form one of three branches of an extended West Papuan family that also includes the Yawa language isolate (or small family), previously placed in the hypothetical
The Cahuapanan languages include two languages, Chayahuita and Jebero. They are spoken by more than 11,300 people in Peru. Chayahuita is spoken by most of that number, but Jebero is almost extinct.
Kaufman (2007) includes Urarina and Puelche from the Macro-Jivaro proposal in this branch.
The Cariban languages are an indigenous language family of South America. They are widespread across northernmost South America, from the mouth of the Amazon River to the Colombian Andes, but also appear in central Brazil. Cariban languages are relatively closely related, and number two to three dozen, depending on what is considered a dialect. Most are still spoken, though often by only a few hundred speakers; the only one with more than a few thousand is Macushi, with 30,000. The Cariban family is well known in the linguistic world partly due to the fact that Hixkaryana has a default object–verb–subject word order, previously thought not to exist in human language.
Some years prior to the arrival of the first Spanish explorers, Caribs invaded and occupied the Lesser Antilles, killing, displacing or assimilating the Arawaks who inhabited the islands. The resulting language was Carib in name but largely Arawak in substance. This was due to invading Carib men killing Arawak men and taking Arawak wives, who then passed their language on to the children. For a time, Arawak was spoken by women and children and Carib by adult men, but the situation was unstable. As each generation of
Dené–Caucasian is a proposed language family that includes the Sino-Tibetan, North Caucasian, Na-Dené, and Yeniseian language families and the Basque and Burushaski languages. The connection between two of its members has recently been accepted by many linguists (see Dené–Yeniseian languages). The validity of the rest of the family is viewed as doubtful by many historical linguists and rejected by some, including Lyle Campbell, Ives Goddard, and Larry Trask.
Classifications similar to Dené–Caucasian were put forward in the 20th century by Alfredo Trombetti, Edward Sapir, Robert Bleichsteiner, Karl Bouda, E. J. Furnée, René Lafon, Robert Shafer, Olivier Guy Tailleur, Morris Swadesh, Vladimir N. Toporov, and other scholars.
Morris Swadesh included all of the members of Dené–Caucasian in a family that he called "Basque-Dennean" (when writing in English, 2006/1971: 223) or "vascodene" (when writing in Spanish, 1959: 114). It was named for Basque and Navajo, the languages at its geographic extremes. According to Swadesh (1959: 114), it included "Vasconic, the Caucasian languages, Ural-Altaic, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Chinese, Austronesian, Japanese, Chukchi (Siberia), Eskimo-Aleut,
The East Germanic languages are a group of extinct Indo-European languages in the Germanic family. The only East Germanic language of which texts are known is Gothic and Crimean Gothic; other languages that are assumed to be East Germanic include Vandalic and Burgundian. Crimean Gothic is believed to have survived until the 18th century.
Based on accounts by Jordanes, Procopius, Paul the Deacon and others, linguistic evidence (see Gothic language), placename evidence, and on archaeological evidence, it is believed that the East Germanic tribes, the speakers of the East Germanic languages, migrated from Scandinavia to the area between the Oder and the Vistula rivers, ca 600 BCE – ca 300 BCE. In fact, the Scandinavian influence on Pomerania and northern Poland from period III and onwards was so considerable that this region is sometimes included in the Nordic Bronze Age culture (Dabrowski 1989:73).
There is also archaeological and toponymic evidence that Burgundians resided in the island of Bornholm in Denmark (Old Norse: Borgundarholm).
The East Germanic tribes (Vandals, Burgundians, Goths, Rugians and others), related to the North Germanic tribes, had migrated from Scandinavia into
The Hebrew languages refer to a variety of Canaanite languages and dialects historically spoken by various peoples in the region of Canaan whom Abrahamic religion believes to have been Hebrews who emigrated from Aram Naharaim. These different languages were not necessarily more or less related to each other than to other Canaanite languages, and their traditional distinction as Hebrew languages is almost purely by religious belief.
Of the varieties of Hebrew, only one Modern Hebrew is used as a spoken language today, and is one of the official language of the State of Israel. A few others survive as liturgical language, but are otherwise not actively used in daily life.
Abrahamic religion believes that there were (at least) four Hebrew nations in Canaan: Ammon, Moab, Edom and Israel, all believed to be direct descendants of the Hebrew patriarch Terah, whose son Abram and grandson Lot (Abram's nephew) settled in Canaan and adapted to the local language of the Canaanites. Although they are believed to have had contact and trade with the indigenous Canaanites, it is also believed that the more pious families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob forbade intermarriage or assimilation to
The Left May or Arai languages are a small language family of half a dozen closely related but not mutually intelligible languages in the centre of New Guinea, along the left bank of the May River. There are about 2000 speakers in all.
The languages are:
Left May neighbors the Amto–Musan languages, but does not appear to be related to them (Laycock 1973; 1975).
Malcolm Ross (2005) linked the Left May languages to Laycock's Kwomtari–Baibai languages in a Left May – Kwomtari family, based on similarities in the pronouns of Rocky Peak. However, he had not corrected for Laycock's errors in classification, and it is not clear if the links are with the Kwomtari or Fas languages.
Mura is a language of Amazonas, Brazil. It is famous for Pirahã, its remaining dialect. Linguistically, it is typified by agglutinativity, a very small number of phonemes (11 compared to over 40 in English), whistled speech, and the use of tone.
In the 19th century, there were an estimated 30,000–60,000 Mura. It is now spoken by only 300 Pirahã people in eight villages.
Since at least Barboza Rodrigues (1892), there have been three ethnic names commonly listed as dialects of Mura, or even as Muran languages. The names are:
On the basis of a minuscule amount of data, it would appear that Bohurá (Mura proper) was mutually intelligible with Pirahã; however, for Yahahí we have only ethnographic information, and can only assume they spoke the same language as other Mura.
The Mura/Bohurá endonym is Buhuraen, according to Barboza Rodrigues (1892), or Buxivaray ~ Buxwarahay, according to Tastevin (1923). This was pronounced Murá by their neighbors, the Torá and Matanawi. In his vocabulary, Rodrigues lists Bohura for the people and bhurai-ada 'Mura language' for the language, from the Mura of the Manicoré River; Tastevin has Bohurai and bohuarai-arase for the same. The also record,
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami languages: Saami, Sámi, Saame, Samic, Saamic, as well as the exonyms Lappish and Lappic. The last two are, along with the term Lapp, considered derogatory by many.
The Sami languages form a branch of the Uralic language family. According to the traditional view, Sami is within the Uralic family most closely related to the Finnic languages (Sammallahti 1998). However, this view has recently been doubted by some scholars, who argue that the traditional view of a common Finno-Sami protolanguage is not as strongly supported as has been earlier assumed, and that the similarities may stem from an areal influence on Sami from Finnic.
In terms of internal relationships, the Sami languages are divided into two groups: western and eastern. The groups may be further divided into various subgroups and ultimately individual languages. (Sammallahti 1998: 6-38.) Parts of the Sami language area form a dialect
The Sorbian languages (Serbsce, Serbski) are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code is wen. It is closely related to Polish, Kashubian, Czech and Slovak.
There are two literary languages: Upper Sorbian (hornjoserbsce), spoken by about 40,000 people in Saxony, and Lower Sorbian (dolnoserbski) spoken by about 10,000 people in Brandenburg. The area where the two languages are spoken is known as Lusatia (Łužica in Upper Sorbian, Łužyca in Lower Sorbian, or Lausitz in German).
Both languages have the dual for nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs; very few known living Indo-European languages retain this feature as a productive aspect of the grammar (see Slovenian grammar or Lithuanian grammar for other ones).
In Germany, Upper and Lower Sorbian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages. In the home areas of the Sorbs, both languages are officially equal to German.
The city of Bautzen in Upper Lusatia is the centre of Upper Sorbian
The Kartvelian languages (Georgian: ქართველური ენები) (also known as South Caucasian) are spoken primarily in Georgia, with large groups of native speakers in Russia, the United States, the European Union, Israel, and northeastern parts of Turkey. There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of this language family worldwide. It is not known to be related to any other language group, making it one of the world's primary language families. The first literary source in a Kartvelian language (the inscription of Abba Antoni, composed in ancient Georgian script at the Georgian monastery near Bethlehem) dates back to 440 AD.
Georgian is the official language of Georgia (spoken by 90% of the population) and the main language for literary and business use for all Kartvelian speakers in Georgia. It is written with an original and distinctive alphabet, and the oldest surviving literary text dates from the 5th century AD — the only Caucasian language that does possess an ancient literary tradition. The old Georgian script seems to have derived from Aramaic, with Greek influences.
Mingrelian has been written with the Georgian alphabet since 1864, especially in the period from 1930 to 1938,
The Totonacan languages (AKA Totonac–Tepehua languages) are a family of closely related languages spoken by approximately 290,000 Totonac (approx. 280,000) and Tepehua (approx. 10,000) people in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo in Mexico. At the time of the Spanish conquest Totonacan languages were spoken all along the gulf coast of Mexico (Reid & Bishop 1974). During the colonial period Totonacan languages were occasionally written and at least one grammar was produced (Anonymous 1990). In the 20th century the number of speakers of most varieties have dwindled as indigenous identity increasingly became stigmatized encouraging speakers to adopt Spanish as their main language (Lam 2009).
The Totonacan languages have only recently been compared to other families on the basis of historical-comparative linguistics, though they share numerous areal features with other languages of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area, such as the Mayan languages and Nahuatl. Recent work suggests a possible genetic link to the Mixe–Zoque language family (Brown et al. 2011), although this has yet to be firmly established.
The family is divided into two branches, Totonac and Tepehua. Of the two,
The Zapotec language(s) are a group of closely related indigenous Mesoamerican languages that constitute a main branch of the Oto-Manguean language family and which is spoken by the Zapotec people from the southwestern-central highlands of Mexico. Present-day native speakers are estimated to number over half a million, with the majority inhabiting the state of Oaxaca. Zapotec-speaking communities are also found in the neighboring states of Puebla and Guerrero. Labor migration has also brought a number of native Zapotec-speakers to the United States, particularly in California. Most Zapotec speaking communities are highly bilingual in Spanish.
The name of the language in Zapotec itself varies according to the geographical variant. In Juchitán (Isthmus) it is Diidxazá [didʒaˈza], in Mitla it is Didxsaj [didʒˈsaʰ], in Zoogocho it is Diža'xon [diʒaʔˈʐon], and in Santa Catarina Quioquitani it is Tiits Së [tiˀts sæ], for example. The first part of these expressions has the meaning 'word' (perhaps slightly reduced as appropriate for part of a compound).
Zapotec and the related language Chatino together form the Zapotecan subgroup of the Oto-Manguean language family. Zapotec languages
Tanoan /təˈnoʊ.ən/, also Kiowa–Tanoan or Tanoan–Kiowa, is a family of languages spoken in New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Most of the languages – Tiwa (Taos, Picuris, Southern Tiwa), Tewa, and Towa – are spoken in the Pueblos of New Mexico (with one outlier in Arizona) and were the ones first given the collective name Tanoan, while Kiowa is spoken mostly in southwestern Oklahoma.
The Tanoan language family has seven languages in four branches:
Kiowa–Towa might form an intermediate branch, as might Tiwa–Tewa.
Tanoan has long been recognized as a major family of Pueblo languages, consisting of Tiwa, Tewa and Towa. The inclusion of Kiowa into the family was at first controversial; the once-nomadic Kiowa people of the Plains are culturally quite distinct from the Tiwa, Tewa, and Towa pueblos. However, it is now accepted that a Tanoan family without Kiowa would be paraphyletic, as any ancestor of the pueblo languages would be ancestral to Kiowa as well. Indeed, Kiowa may be closer to Towa than Towa is to Tiwa–Tewa. Thus technically Tanoan and Kiowa–Tanoan are synonyms. However, because of the cultural use of the name Tanoan, the more explicit term Kiowa–Tanoan is still commonly
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger–Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the best-established ancient language families. Otto Dempwolff, a German scholar, was the first researcher to extensively explore Austronesian using the comparative method. Another German scholar, Wilhelm Schmidt, coined the German word austronesisch which comes from Latin auster "south wind" plus Greek nêsos "island". The name Austronesian was formed from the same roots. The family is aptly named, as the vast majority of Austronesian languages are spoken on islands: only a few languages, such as Malay and the Chamic languages, are indigenous to mainland Asia. Many Austronesian languages have very few speakers, but the major Austronesian languages are spoken by tens of millions of people and one Austronesian language, Malay, is spoken by 180 million people, making it the 8th most spoken language in the world. Twenty or so Austronesian languages are official of their respective countries (see
The Iberian Romance languages or Ibero-Romance languages are the Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, and Andorra.
Originating in Iberia, the most widely spoken Iberian Romance languages are Castilian, Portuguese, Catalan and Galician. These languages also have their own regional and local dialects.
Like all Romance languages, the Iberian Romance languages descend from Vulgar Latin. Vulgar Latin was the nonstandard (in contrast to Classical Latin) form of the Latin language spoken by soldiers and merchants throughout the Roman Empire. With the expansion of the empire, Vulgar Latin came to be spoken by inhabitants of the various Roman-controlled territories. Latin and its descendants have been spoken in Iberia since the Punic Wars, when the Romans conquered the territory (see Roman conquest of Hispania).
The modern Iberian Romance languages were formed roughly through the following process:
Politically (not linguistic genetically), there are four major officially recognised Iberian Romance languages:
Additionally, the Asturian language, while not an official language is recognised by the Spanish autonomous
member of language families:Austronesian languages
The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in geographical Polynesia as well as on a patchwork of "Outliers" from south central Micronesia, to small islands off the northeast of the larger islands of the Southeast Solomon Islands and sprinked through Vanuatu. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. Polynesians share many unique cultural traits which resulted from about 1000 years of common development, including common linguistic development, in the Tonga and Samoa area through most of the first millennium BC.
Today there are many cognate words across the different islands e.g. tapu, ali'i, motu, kava (Kava culture), and tapa as well as Hawaiki, the mythical homeland for some of the cultures.
There are approximately forty Polynesian languages. The most prominent of these are Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Māori and Hawaiian. Because the Polynesian islands were settled relatively recently and because internal linguistic diversification only began around 2,000 years ago, their languages retain strong commonalities.
Polynesian languages fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Tongan and Niuean
The Samoyedic languages (/sæmɵˈjɛdɨk/ or /ˈsæmɵjɛd/) are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by approximately 30,000 speakers altogether.
The Samoyedic languages derive from a common ancestral language called Proto-Samoyedic, and they form a branch of the Uralic languages. They are not a diverse group of languages, having separated perhaps in the last centuries BC (Janhunen 1998), and are traditionally considered to be an outgroup, branching off first from the other Uralic languages.
The term Samoyedic is derived from the Russian term samoyed (Russian: самоед) for some indigenous peoples of Siberia. It is sometimes considered derogatory because its etymology has been interpreted as originating from Russian: Samo-yed: "self-eater". Therefore sometimes the word Samodeic is suggested by some ethnologists. Other interpretations of Samoyedic etymology suggest that the term originates from an expression same-edne, meaning the Land of the Sami peoples.
The language and respective ethnic groups are traditionally divided into Taiga, Tundra, and Mountain groups, and further into Northern and Southern groups; these are areal rather than genealogical
The Senari languages form a central dialect cluster of the Senufo languages. They are spoken in northern Ivory Coast, southern Mali and southwest Burkina Faso by more than a million Senufo. Four varieties can be distinguished, Cebaara, Nyarafolo, Senara and Syenara, all with several dialects. With 862,000 speakers, Cebaara (Tyembara) is the largest of the four; it is also the central variety, spoken around the traditional Senufo center Korhogo. Syenara is spoken north of Cebaara by about 136,500 people. Nyarafolo is spoken by 48,000 in northeast Ivory Coast around Ferkessédougou. Senara (50,000 native speakers) of the Laraba Province of Burkina Faso is the outlier of the four; intelligibility testing with Cebaara yields ratings between 42 and 74 per cent (SIL). Within Senufo as a whole, the Senari languages are thought to be most closely related to the Karaboro languages.
Hindi, in the broad sense, is a dialect continuum within the Indo-Aryan language family in the northern plains of India, bounded on the northwest and west by Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati and Marathi; on the east by Maithili and Bengali; and on the north by Nepali.
This wide definition is the one used in the official Indian census and results in a clear majority of Indians being speakers of Hindi. As defined in the 1991 census, Hindi covers a number of Central, East-Central, Eastern, and Northern Zone languages, including the Bihari languages excepting Maithili, the Rajasthani languages, and the Pahari languages excepting Dogri and Nepali. Linguistically, it is equally possible to classify these as separate languages rather than dialects.
The Central Zone languages, or Hindi proper, are conventionally divided into Western and Eastern Hindi. An even more narrow definition of "Hindi" is Standard Hindi, a standardized register of one of the Central Zone dialects historically based on the Khariboli dialect of 17th-century Delhi.
The Hindi languages predominate in the Indian states and union territories of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh,
The Tupi or Tupian language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi proper and Guarani.
When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, they found that wherever they went along the vast coast of this newly discovered land, most natives spoke similar languages. Jesuit missionaries took advantage of these similarities, systematizing common standards then named línguas gerais ("general languages"), which were spoken in that region until the 19th century. The best known and most widely spoken of these languages was Old Tupi, a modern descendent of which is still used today by indigenous peoples around the Rio Negro region, where it is known as Nheengatu ([ɲɛʔẽŋaˈtu]), or the "good language". However, the Tupi family also comprises other languages.
In the neighbouring Spanish colonies, Guarani, another Tupian language closely related to Old Tupi, had a similar history, but managed to resist the spread of Spanish more successfully than Tupi resisted Portuguese. Today, Guarani has 7 million speakers, and is one of the official languages of Paraguay. The Tupian family also includes several other languages with fewer speakers. These share
Vasconic languages (from Late Latin vasconĭce, from which Basque is derived) is a term sometimes encountered in the literature to describe a putative family of languages that includes Basque.
This approach argues that Aquitanian may not be a direct ancestor of Basque (which would be descended from a hypothesized Proto-Basque) but a close relative, and/or that the modern varieties of Basque are themselves distinct languages rather than dialects of a single language.
However, in Basque linguistics they are always seen as dialects with varying degrees of mutual intelligibility; this view is held by scholars including Koldo Zuazo, Koldo Mitxelena and Larry Trask. Trask states: "None the less the diversification should not be exaggerated, as has often been done in the literature: the dialects are overwhelmingly congruent in their fundamentals and differ chiefly in vocabulary and in a few low-level phonological rules."
The only widely-accepted extinct relative in Basque linguistics is Aquitanian, which is today considered the ancestor of Basque. As Trask puts it, "Aquitanian is so closely related to Basque that we can, for practical purposes, regard it as being the more-or-less direct
member of language families:Northwest Semitic languages
The Canaanite languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, which were spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Israelites and Phoenicians. All of them became extinct as native languages in the early 1st millennium CE, although Hebrew remained in continuous literary and religious use among Jews, and was revived as an everyday spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries in an effort spearheaded by Eliezer Ben Yehuda. The Phoenician and Carthaginian expansion spread the Phoenician language and its Punic dialect to the Western Mediterranean for a time, but there too it died out, although it seems to have survived slightly longer than in Phoenicia itself.
The main sources for study of Canaanite languages are the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), and inscriptions such as:
The Deir Alla Inscription is written in a dialect with Aramaic and South Canaanite characteristics, which is classified as Canaanite in Hetzron.
The extra-biblical Canaanite inscriptions are gathered along with Aramaic inscriptions in editions of the book "Kanaanäische und Aramäische Inschriften", from which they may be referenced as KAI n (for a number n); for example, the Mesha Stele is
The East Geelvink Bay or East Cenderawasih languages are a language family of a dozen Papuan languages along the eastern coast of Geelvink Bay in Indonesian Papua, which is also known as Sarera Bay or Cenderawasih.
The East Geelvink Bay languages are:
Of these, only Turunggare, Barapasi, and Bauzi are known well enough to demonstrate a relationship, though they are all lexically similar (> 60%). The unclassified Kehu language, spoken between Turunggare and Burate, may turn out to be East Geelvink Bay as well.
A relationship between Yawa, spoken on Yapen Island, and the East Geelvink Bay languages was tentatively proposed by C. L. Voorhoeve in 1975 in a proposal he called Geelvink Bay. The hypothesis was taken up by Stephen Wurm, who developed it as part of an initial attempt to classify the Papuan languages; however, the relationship would be a distant one, and later linguists such as Mark Donohue considered Yawa to be a language isolate.
Clouse 1997 removed the Lakes Plain languages of the upper Mamberamo River in the interior of Papua from Trans–New Guinea, where Würm had placed them, and added them to the Geelvink Bay languages. However, in his 2005 classification based on
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or "genetic") relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single language. Commonly cited examples include Basque, Korean, Ainu and Burushaski, though in each case a minority of linguists claim to have demonstrated a relationship with other languages.
With context, a language isolate may be understood to be relatively isolated. For instance, Albanian, Armenian and Greek are commonly called 'Indo-European isolates'. While part of the Indo-European family, they do not belong to any established branch (like the Romance, Indo-Iranian, Slavic or Germanic branches), but instead form independent branches of their own. Similarly, within the Romance languages, Sardinian is a relative isolate. However, without a qualifier, "isolate" is understood to be in the absolute sense.
Some languages have become isolates after all their known relatives became extinct. The Pirahã language of Brazil is one such example, the last surviving member of the Mura
The Misumalpan languages (also Misumalpa or Misuluan) are a small family of Native American languages spoken by indigenous peoples on the east coast of Nicaragua and nearby areas. The name "Misumalpan" was devised by John Alden Mason and is composed of syllables from the names of the family's three members Miskitu, Sumu and Matagalpan. It was first recognized by Walter Lehmann in 1920. While all the languages of the Matagalpan branch are now extinct, the Miskitu and Sumu languages are alive and well: Miskito has almost 200,000 speakers and serves as a second language for speakers of other Indian languages on the Mosquito Coast. According to Hale, most speakers of Sumu also speak Miskitu.
Kaufman (1990) finds a connection with Macro-Chibchan to be "convincing", but Misumalpan specialist Ken Hale considers a possible connection between Chibchan and Misumalpan to be "too distant to establish".
The Misumalpan languages include:
Miskito became the dominant language of the Mosquito Coast from the late 17th century on, as a result of the people's alliance with the British Empire, which colonized the area. In northeastern Nicaragua, it continues to be adopted by former speakers of Sumo.
The North or West Bougainville languages are a small language family spoken on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. They were classified as East Papuan languages by Stephen Wurm, but this does not now seem tenable, and was abandoned in Ethnologue (2009).
The family includes the closely related Rotokas and Eivo language, plus two languages that are only distantly related:
The Occitano-Romance (Catalan: llengües occitanoromàniques, Occitan: lengas occitanoromanicas) branch of Romance languages encompasses the dialects pertaining to the Occitan and the Catalan languages situated in France (Occitania, Northern Catalonia), Spain (Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, La Franja, Carche), Andorra, Monaco, parts of Italy (Occitan Valleys, Alghero, Guardia Piemontese), and historically in the County of Tripoli and the possessions of the Crown of Aragon. The existence of this group of languages is discussed both in linguistic and political basis.
According to some linguists both Occitan and Catalan should be considered Gallo-Romance. Other linguists concur as regarding Occitan but consider Catalan to be part of the Ibero-Romance languages.
The issue at debate is as political as it is linguistic, since the division on Gallo-Romance and Ibero-Romance languages stems from the current nation-states of France and Spain, and thus is based more on territorial criteria than historic and linguistic criteria. One of the main proponents of the unity of the languages of the Iberian peninsula was Spanish philologist Ramón Menéndez Pidal, while from long time
member of language families:Gallo-Romance languages
Rhaeto-Romance, or Rhaetian, is a Romance language sub-family which includes multiple languages spoken in north and north-eastern Italy, and Switzerland. The name "Rhaeto-Romance" refers to the former Roman province of Rhaetia.
The area where Rhaeto-Romance languages (also called Ladin languages, not to be confused with Judaeo-Spanish) were spoken during the Middle Ages stretched from Switzerland to the Julian Alps (in modern-day western Slovenia).
Today some of the spoken varieties are:
The inclusion of the following two dialects in the Rhaeto-Romance languages is still debated (the so-called "Questione Ladina"):
The family is most closely related to its nearest neighbors: French, Franco-Provençal, Occitan, Gallo-Italian (Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Venetian), and Istriote. A number of lexical items are shared with Ibero-Romance due to the similar date of latinization for both regions, although it can also be explained by means of Bartoli's areal linguistics theory, being Ibero-romance a lateral area, as it is Balkano-romance, Southern-Italian and Rhaeto-romance, while Gallo-romance and Italo-romance are central area.
The Rhaeto-Romance languages originated
A number of creole languages are based on the Spanish language.
List of Spanish-based creole:
Chavacano (also Chabacano) is a Spanish-based Creole language and the name of the Six Dialects of Spanish evolved words turned into a Creole language spoken in the Philippines. The name of the language stems from the Spanish word Chabacano which means "tasteless", "common", or "vulgar". Dialects of Chavacano are spoken in Cavite City and Ternate (both in Luzon); Zamboanga, Cotabato and Davao (in Mindanao), Isabela City and other part of Province of Basilan and other places. According to a 2007 census, there are 2,502,185 speakers excluding outside the Philippines. It is the major language of Zamboanga City. Chavacano is also spoken in Cavite City and in parts of Ternate, Cavite and Sabah, Malaysia nearest to the Philippines, and even in Brunei and Latin America, because of recent migrations.
Most of the vocabulary comes from Spanish, while the grammar is mostly based on the Austronesian structure. It is used in primary education, television, and radio. Recently English words are infiltrating the language.
For more information see the article on Chavacano, or the Ethnologue Report on
Utian (also Miwok–Costanoan, previously Mutsun) is a family of indigenous languages spoken in the central and north portion of California, United States. The Miwok and Ohlone peoples both spoke languages of the Utian language family. It has recently been argued that the Utian languages and Yokuts languages are sub-families of the Yok-Utian language family (Callaghan 1997, 2001; Golla 2007:76-77). Utian and Yokutsan have traditionally been considered part of the Penutian language stock or phylum (Goddard 1996:313-319; Mithun 1999; Shipley 1978:82-85).
All Utian languages are severely endangered.
member of language families:Afro-Asiatic languages
The Omotic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic family spoken in southwestern Ethiopia. The Ge'ez alphabet is used to write some Omotic languages, the Roman alphabet for some others. They are fairly agglutinative, and have complex tonal systems (see Bench language).
The North and South Omotic branches ("Nomotic" and "Somotic") are universally recognized. The primary debate is over the placement of the Mao languages. Bender (2000) classifies Omotic languages as follows:
Apart from terminology, this differs from Fleming (1976) in including the Mao languages, whose affiliation had originally been controversial, and in abolishing the "Gimojan" group. There are also differences in the subclassification of Ometo, which is not covered here.
Hayward (2003) separates out the Mao languages as a third branch of Omotic, and breaks up Ometo–Gimira:
Blench (2006) gives a more agnostic classification:
Bosha† is unclassified; Ethnologue lists it as a dialect of Kafa, but notes it may be a distinct language.
Omotic is generally considered the most divergent branch of the Afroasiatic languages. Greenberg (1963) had classified it as the Western branch of Cushitic. Fleming (1969) argued that it
Athabaskan or Athabascan (also Dene, Athapascan, Athapaskan) is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family. The Athabaskan family is the second largest family in North America in terms of number of languages and the number of speakers, following the Uto-Aztecan family which extends into Mexico. In terms of territory, only the Algic language family covers a larger area. Most Athabaskans prefer to be identified by their specific language and location; however, the general term persists in linguistics and anthropology despite alternative suggestions such as Dene.
The word Athabaskan is an anglicized version of a Cree language name for Lake Athabasca (Woods Cree: Aδapaska˙w “[where] there are reeds one after another”) in Canada. The name was assigned by Albert Gallatin in his 1836 (written 1826) classification of the languages of North America. He acknowledged that it was his own preference to assign this name to the group of languages and peoples, writing:
Albert Gallatin’s arbitrary designation has unfortunate connotations as the term describes a shallow, weedy lake
The Choco languages (also Chocoan, Chocó, Chokó) are a small family of Native American languages spread across Colombia and Panama.
Choco consists of perhaps ten languages, half of them extinct.
Anserma, Cenu, Cauca, Sinúfana, Runa, and Kimbaya are all extinct now. Quimbaya is known from only 8 words. Gordon (2005) states that the Arma people spoke either Cenu or Cauca, but list an Arma language in Ethnologue regardless.
The Emberá group is two languages mainly in Colombia with over 60,000 speakers that lie within a fairly mutually intelligible dialect continuum. Ethnologue divides this into 6 languages. Kaufman (1994) considers the term Cholo to be vague and condescending. Noanamá has some 6,000 speakers on the Panama-Colombia border.
Kaufman (1994) states that Quimbaya may not be a Choco language.
Choco has been included in a number of hypothetical phylum relationships:
The family of Erromanga languages is a subgroup of the South Vanuatu languages. It consists of 4 languages. They are from the island of Erromango, in the Tafea province of Vanuatu.
Holy scriptures were printed in this language in 1864.
Huarpe (Warpe) was a small language family of central Argentina that consisted of two closely related languages, traditionally considered dialects, Alyentiyak (Allentiac, Huarpe) and Milykayak (Millcayac).
Kaufman (1994) tentatively linked Huarpe to the Mura-Matanawi languages in a family he called Macro-Warpean. However, he noted that "no systematic study" had been made, so that it is best to consider them independent families. Swadesh and Suárez both connected Huarpe to Macro-Jibaro, a possibility that has yet to be investigated.
The two languages had apparently similar sound systems, and were not dissimilar from Spanish, at least from the records we have. Barros (2007) reconstructs the consonants as follows:
Allentiac had at least five vowels, written a, e, i, o, ù. The ù is thought to represent the central vowel [ɨ].
Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language isolates and unclassified languages. Many proposals to group these into higher-level families have been made, such as in three macrofamilies of Eskimo–Aleut, Na-Dene, and Amerind, though this scheme is rejected by nearly all specialists. According to UNESCO, most of the indigenous American languages in North America are critically endangered, and many of them are already extinct. The most widely spoken indigenous language is Southern Quechua, with about 6 to 7 million speakers.
Thousands of languages were spoken in North and South America prior to first contact with Europeans between the beginning of the 11th century (Norwegian settlement of Greenland and attempted settlement of Labrador and Newfoundland) and the end of the 15th century (the voyages of Christopher Columbus). Several indigenous cultures of the Americas had also developed their own writing systems, including the Mayan and
The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is sometimes referred to as the Nordic languages, a direct translation of the most common term used among Danish, Swedish and Norwegian scholars and laypeople. In Scandinavia, Scandinavian languages is also used as a term referring specifically to the mutually intelligible languages of the three Scandinavian countries, and is thus used in a more narrow sense as a subset of the Nordic languages. The term Scandinavian arose in the 18th century, as a result of the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement, referring to the peoples, cultures and languages of the three Scandinavian countries and stressing their common heritage.
The term "North Germanic languages" is used in genetic linguistics, while the term "Scandinavian languages" appears in studies of the modern standard languages and the dialect continuum of Scandinavia.
Approximately 20 million people in the Nordic countries have a
Penutian is a proposed grouping of language families that includes many Native American languages of western North America, predominantly spoken at one time in Washington, Oregon, and California. The existence of a Penutian stock or phylum has been the subject of debate among specialists. Even the unity of some of its component families has been disputed. Some of the problems in the comparative study of languages within the phylum are the result of their early extinction and minimal documentation.
Consensus was reached at a 1994 workshop on Comparative Penutian at the University of Oregon that the families within the proposed phylum's California, Oregon, Plateau, and Chinookan clusters would eventually be shown to be genetically related. Subsequently, Marie-Lucie Tarpent reassessed Tsimshianic, a geographically isolated family in northern British Columbia, and concluded that its affiliation within Penutian is also probable.
Some of the more recently proposed subgroupings of Penutian have been convincingly demonstrated. The Miwokan and the Costanoan languages have been grouped into an Utian language family by Catherine Callaghan. Callaghan has more recently provided evidence
The Ryukyuan languages are the indigenous languages of the Ryukyu Islands, the southernmost part of the Japanese archipelago. Along with the Japanese language, they make up the Japonic language family. Although the Ryukyuan languages have sometimes been considered to be dialects of Japanese, they are not mutually intelligible with Japanese or even with each other. It is not known how many speakers of these languages remain, but language shift towards the use of Standard Japanese and dialects like Okinawan Japanese has resulted in these languages becoming endangered.
The Ryukyu Islands were populated from Mainland Japan in the first millenium CE, and since then relative isolation from the mainland allowed the Ryukyuan languages to diverge significantly from Japanese. Japanese hegemony began to increase in the 17th century, and in 1879 the Ryukyu Kingdom was annexed by Japan. The Japanese government imposed a policy of forced assimilation, which continued through the post-World War II occupation of the Ryukyu Islands by the United States. This hastened the abandonment of the Ryukyuan languages by the younger generations, although recently there have been calls for language
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches (West and East) by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers. The first South Slavic language to be written (the first Slavic language) was the dialect spoken in Thessalonica, now called Old Church Slavonic, in the ninth century AD. It is retained as a liturgical language in some South Slavic Orthodox churches in the form of various local Church Slavonic traditions.
The South Slavic languages constitute a dialect continuum. Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin constitute a single dialect within this continuum.
The Slavic languages are part of the Balto-Slavic group, which belongs to the Indo-European language family. The South Slavic languages have been considered a genetic node in Slavic studies: defined by a set of phonological, morphological and lexical innovations (isoglosses) which separate it from the Western and Eastern Slavic groups. That view, however, has been challenged in recent decades (see below).
West Iberian (or Hispano-Iberian) is a branch of the Romance languages which includes Navarro-Aragonese, Castilian, Ladino, Astur-Leonese (Asturian, Leonese, and Mirandese, but also Extremaduran and Cantabrian), and the modern descendants of Galician-Portuguese (Galician, Portuguese, and the Fala language). According to historical linguistic analysis, these languages are significantly closer to each other in historical terms than to any other living language in the peninsula—including Catalan, the other major Romance language of the Iberian Peninsula.
Until a few centuries ago, they formed a dialect continuum covering the western, central and southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula—excepting the Basque and Catalan-speaking territories. This is still the situation in a few regions, particularly in the northern part of the peninsula, but due to the differing sociopolitical histories of these languages (independence of Portugal since the early 12th century, though briefly interrupted in the 16th and the 17th centuries; unification of Spain in the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs, who privileged Castilian over the other Iberian languages), Spanish and Portuguese have tended to
The Charruan languages are an extinct group of languages once spoken in Uruguay and the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. Recently (2005) a semi-speaker of Chaná language has appeared
Four languages are considered to definitively belong to the Charruan language family:
A number of unattested languages are also presumed to belong to the Charruan family:
The Charruan languages are poorly attested. However, sufficient vocabulary has been gathered for the languages to be compared:
Morris Swadesh includes Charruan along with Matacoan languages, Guaicuruan, and Mascoian within his Macro-Mapuche stock.
Kaufman (1990) suggests that the Guaicuruan–Matacoan–Charruan–Mascoyan–Lule–Vilela proposal deserves to be explored — a grouping which he calls Macro-Waikurúan. Kaufman's (1994) Macro-Waikurúan proposal excludes Lule–Vilela.
The Coosan (also Coos or Kusan) language family consists of two languages spoken along the southern Oregon coast. Both languages are now extinct.
Melville Jacobs (1939) says that the languages are as close as Dutch and German. They share more than half of their vocabulary, though this is not always obvious, and grammatical differences cause the two languages to look quite different.
The origin of the name Coos is uncertain: one idea is that it is derived from a Hanis stem gus- meaning 'south' as in gusimídži·č 'southward'; another idea is that it is derived from a southwestern Oregon Athabaskan word ku·s meaning 'bay'.
In 1916 Edward Sapir suggested that the Coosan languages are part of a larger Oregon Penutian genetic grouping. This is currently being investigated. See Oregon Coast Penutian languages.
The East Formosan languages consists of various Formosan languages scattered across Taiwan, including Kavalan, Amis, and the extinct Siraya language. This grouping is supported by both Robert Blust and Paul Jen-kuei Li. Li considers the Siraya-speaking area in the southwestern plains of Taiwan to be most likely homeland of the East Formosan speakers, where they then spread to the eastern coast of Taiwan and gradually migrated to the area of modern-day Taipei (Li 2004).
Li (2004) presents the following criteria as evidence for an East Formosan subgrouping.
Li (2004) notes that the split of *k into k and q (before *a) is shared exclusively by Basay and Kavalan. Like Kavalan and Basay, the Siraya language merges the patient-focus and locative-focus forms, although Amis distinguishes the two focus forms. Li also gives scores of lexical innovations shared by the East Formosan languages.
The Basay, Kavalan, and Amis also share an oral tradition stating a common origin from an island called “Sinasay” or “Sanasay,” which is probably the Green Island of today.
Li (1992) distinguishes 6 Ketagalan dialects (alternatively called the "Basaic" group).
The Sirayaic languages are:
Paul Jen-kuei Li
The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.
Scholars are finding that what has been called the Laurentian language appears to be more than one dialect or language.
In 1649 the tribes constituting the Huron and Petun confederations were displaced by war parties from Five Nations villages (Mithun 1985). Many of the survivors went on to form the Wyandot tribe. Ethnographic and linguistic field work with the Wyandot (Barbeau 1960) yielded enough documentation to be able to make some characterizations of the Huron and Petun languages.
The languages of the tribes that constituted the Wenrohronon, Neutral and the Erie confederations were very poorly documented. These groups were called Atiwandaronk meaning 'they who understand the language' by the Huron, and thus are historically grouped with them.
The group known as the Meherrin were neighbors to the Tuscarora and the Nottoway (Binford 1967) and may have spoken an Iroquoian language. There is not enough data to determine this with certainty.
Attempts to link the Iroquoian, Siouan, and Caddoan languages in a Macro-Siouan family are suggestive but remain unproven (Mithun 1999:305).
As of 2012, a program
The Mixe–Zoque languages constitute a language family whose living members are spoken in and around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. The Mexican government recognizes three distinct Mixe–Zoquean languages as official: Mixe or ayook with 188,000 speakers, Zoque or o'de püt with 88,000 speakers, and the Popoluca languages of which some are Mixean and some Zoquean with 69,000 speakers. However the internal diversity in each of these groups is great and the Ethnologue counts 17 different languages, and the current classification of Mixe–Zoquean languages by Wichmann (1995) counts 12 languages and 11 dialects. Extinct languages classified as Mixe–Zoquean include Tapachultec, formerly spoken along the southeast coast of Chiapas.
Historically the Mixe–Zoquean family may have been much more widespread, reaching into the Guatemalan Pacific coast (i.e. the Soconusco region). Terrence Kaufman and Lyle Campbell have argued, based on a number of widespread loanwords in other Mesoamerican languages, that it is likely that the Olmec people, generally seen as the earliest dominating culture of Mesoamerica, spoke a Mixe–Zoquean language. Kaufman and John Justeson also claim to have deciphered a
Yanomaman (also Yanomam, Yanomáman, Yamomámi, Yanomamana, Shamatari, Shirianan) is a small language family of northwestern Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas) and southern Venezuela.
Yanomaman consists of 4 languages, very similar with each other, sometimes classified as a dialect continuum:
Sunumá is the most lexically distinct. Yanomamö has the most speakers (17,600) while Yanam has the fewest (560).
Yanomamam is usually not connected with any other language family. Joseph Greenberg has suggested a relationship between (his) Chibchan. Migliazza (1985) has suggested a connection with Panoan and Chibchan. Neither proposal has been accepted.
Yanomami is not what the Yanomami call themselves (an autonym), but rather it is a word in their language meaning "man" or "human being". The American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon adopted this term to use as an exonym to refer to the culture and, by extension, the people. The word is correctly pronounced thorough nasalisation. As the phonetic sound 'ö' does not occur in English, variations in spelling and pronunciation of the name have developed, with Yanomami, Yanomamö, Ya̧nomamö, and Yanomama all being used. Some anthropologists had published the
The Ao languages are a small family of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken by the Ao people of north-central Nagaland in northeast India. Conventionally classified as "Naga", they are not clearly related to other Naga languages, and are conservatively classified as an independent branch of Tibeto-Burman, pending further research.
There are six known Ao languages:
plus undescribed Ao 'dialects' (Yacham, Tengsa) which may turn out to be separate languages (see Mongsen Ao).
The Atlas languages, or more exactly Moroccan Atlas, also Masmuda, are a subgroup of the Northern Berber languages spoken in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. By mutual intelligibility, they are a single language; however, they are distinct sociolinguistically and are considered separate languages by the Royal institute of the Amazigh culture. They are,
The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulanti (see List of ancient tribes in Illyria). Some sound-changes from Proto-Indo-European to Illyrian and other language features are deduced from what remains of the Illyrian languages, but because there are no examples of ancient Illyrian literature surviving (aside from the Messapian writings if they can be considered Illyrian), it is difficult to clarify its place within the Indo-European language family. Because of the uncertainty, most sources provisionally place Illyrian on its own branch of Indo-European, though its relation to other languages, ancient and modern, continues to be studied.
The Illyrian languages are part of the Indo-European language family. The relation of the Illyrian languages to other Indo-European languages—ancient and modern—is poorly understood due to the paucity of data and is still being examined. Today, the main source of authoritative information about the Illyrian language consists of a handful of Illyrian words cited in classical sources,
A mixed language is a language that arises through the fusion of two source languages, normally in situations of thorough bilingualism, so that it is not possible to classify the resulting language as belonging to either of the language families that were its sources. Although the concept is frequently encountered in historical linguistics from the early twentieth century, attested cases of language mixture, as opposed to code-switching, substrata, or lexical borrowing, are quite rare. A mixed language may mark the appearance of a new ethnic or cultural group, such as the Métis. The fusion of more than two languages is not attested.
Every language is mixed to some extent but few languages are "mixed languages" in the specific sense here.
A mixed language differs from a pidgin in that the speakers developing the language are fluent, even native, speakers of both languages, whereas a pidgin develops when groups of people with little knowledge of each other's languages come into contact and have need of a basic communication system, as for trade, but do not have enough contact to learn each other's language.
In a mixed language, both source languages are clearly identifiable. This
The Sino-Tibetan languages are a family of some 250 languages of East Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia, including the Sinitic (Chinese) and Tibeto-Burman languages. They are second only to the Indo-European languages in terms of the number of native speakers. The internal classification of the family is debated.
During the 18th century, several scholars had noticed parallels between Tibetan and Burmese, both languages with extensive literary traditions. Early in the following century, Brian Houghton Hodgson and others noted that many non-literary languages of the highlands of northeast India and Southeast Asia were also related to these. The name "Tibeto-Burman" was first applied to this group in 1856 by James Richardson Logan, who added Karen in 1858. Charles Forbes viewed the family as uniting the Gangetic and Lohitic branches of Max Müller's Turanian, a huge family consisting of all the Eurasian languages except the Semitic, Aryan (Indo-European) and Chinese languages.
Studies of the "Indo-Chinese" languages of Southeast Asia from the mid-19th century by Logan and others revealed that they comprised four families: Tibeto-Burman, Tai, Mon–Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian.
Aymaran (also Jaqi, Aru, Jaqui, Aimara, Haki) is one of the two dominant language families of the central Andes, along with Quechuan.
Hardman (1978) proposed the name Jaqi for the family of languages (1978), Alfredo Torero Aru 'to speak', and Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino Aymaran, with two branches, Southern (or Altiplano) Aymaran and Central Aymaran (Jaqaru and Kawki).
Quechuan languages, especially that of the south, share a large amount of vocabulary with Aymara, and the languages have often been grouped together as Quechumaran. This proposal is controversial, however; the shared vocabulary may be better explained as intensive borrowing due to long-term contact.
Aymaran consists of 2 languages:
Aymara has approximately 2.2 million speakers; 1.7 million in Bolivia, 350,000 in Peru, and the rest in Chile and Argentina. Jaqaru has approximately 725 speakers in central Peru, while Cauqui had 9 surviving speakers as of 2005. Cauqui is little documented, though its relationship with Jaqaru is extremely close. Initially they were considered by Dr Martha Hardman (on very limited data at the time) to be different languages, but all subsequent fieldwork and research has contradicted this and
The Chimakuan language family consists of two languages spoken in northwestern Washington, USA on the Olympic Peninsula. It is part of the Mosan sprachbund, and one of its languages is famous for having no nasal consonants. The two languages were about as close as English and German.
Chemakum is now extinct. It was spoken until the 1940s on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula between Port Townsend and Hood Canal. The name Chemakum is an Anglicized version of a Salishan word for the Chimakum people, such as the nearby Twana word čə́bqəb [t͡ʃə́bqəb] (earlier [t͡ʃə́mqəm]).
Quileute is now severely endangered. It is spoken by a few people south of the Makah on the western coast of the Olympic peninsula south of Cape Flattery at La Push and the lower Hoh River. The name Quileute comes from kʷoʔlí·yot’ [kʷoʔlíːjotʼ], the name of a village at La Push.
The Chimakuan languages have phonemic inventories similar to other languages of the Mosan sprachbund, with three vowels, ejective consonants, uvular consonants, and lateral affricates. However, both languages have typological oddities: Chemakum had no simple velar consonants, and Quileute has no nasal consonants.
The Northern Formosan languages is a proposed grouping of Formosan languages that includes the Atayalic languages, the Western Plains languages (Papora, Hoanya, Babuza, and Taokas), and the Northwest Formosan languages (Pazeh and Saisiyat; Li places Western Plains with this grouping).
The Northern Formosan subgroup was first proposed by Paul Jen-kuei Li in 1985. Blust (1999) rejects the unity of the proposed Northern Formosan branch. A 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database, however, supports the unity of the Northern Formosan branch with a 97% confidence level (see Austronesian languages#Classification).
The following sound changes from Proto-Austronesian occurred in the Northern Formosan languages (Li 2008:215).
Also, Pazeh, Saisiyat, and Thao are only Formosan languages that allow for SVO constructions, although this may be due to intensive contact with Taiwanese.
Also, the Atayal, Seediq, and Pazeh languages have devoiced final consonants that were present in the Proto-Austronesian (Blust 2009:616).
Li (2003) considers six western Plains languages to have split off from Proto-Northwestern Formosan. The classification is as follows.
The four coastal
The Permic languages are a branch of the Uralic language family. They are spoken in several regions to the west of the Ural Mountains within the Russian Federation. The total number of speakers is around 950,000, of which around 550,000 speak the most widely spoken language, Udmurt. Like other Finno-Ugric languages, the Permic languages are primarily agglutinative and have a rich system of grammatical cases. Unlike many others, they do not have vowel harmony.
The earliest Permic language to be preserved in writing was Old Permic or Old Zyrian, in the 14th century.
The extant Permic languages are Udmurt and several closely related Komi varieties:
The Permic languages have traditionally been classified as Finno-Permic languages, along with the Finnic, Saami, Mordvin, and Mari languages. The Finno-Permic and Ugric languages together made up the Finno-Ugric family. However, this taxonomy has more recently been called into question, and the relationship of the Permic languages to other Uralic languages remains uncertain.
The Proto-Permic consonant inventory is reconstructed as:
This inventory is retained nearly unchanged in the modern-day Permic languages. Komi has merged original *w
The Tibetic languages are a cluster of mutually unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. The classical written form is a major regional literary language, particularly for its use in Buddhist literature.
The dialects of U-Tsang (otherwise known as Central Tibet, including Lhasa), Kham, and Amdo are generally considered to be dialects of a single Tibetan language, especially since they all share the same literary language, while Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, and Ladakhi are generally considered to be separate languages.
The Tibetic languages are spoken by approximately 8 million plus people. With the worldwide spread of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan language has spread into the western world and can be found in many Buddhist publications and prayer materials; with some western students learning the language for translation of Tibetan texts. Outside of Lhasa itself, Lhasa Tibetan is spoken by approximately 200,000 exile speakers who have moved from
The Tsouic languages (also known as the Central Formosan languages) are three Formosan languages, Tsou proper and the Southern languages Kanakanabu and Saaroa. The Southern Tsouic languages of Kanakanabu and Saaroa have the smallest phonemic inventories out of all the Formosan languages, with each language having only 13 consonants and 4 vowels (Blust 2009:165). These two languages are highly endangered, as many Southern Tsouic speakers are shifting to Bunun and Mandarin Chinese.
The Proto-Tsouic language was reconstructed by Japanese linguist Shigeru Tsichida in 1976, and is supported by Blust (1999) and Li (2008). However, Chang (2006) and Ross (2009) deny that Tsouic is a valid group; Ross places Southern Tsouic within Nuclear Austronesian (the family of the various proto-Austronesian reconstructions), but the Tsou language as a more divergent branch.
The following sound changes from Proto-Austronesian occurred in the Tsouic languages (Li 2008:215).
Afroasiatic (alternatively Afro-Asiatic), also known as Hamito-Semitic, is a large language family, including about 375 living languages.
Afroasiatic languages are spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel. More than 300 million people speak an Afroasiatic language.
The most widely spoken Afroasiatic language is Arabic (including all its colloquial varieties), with 230 million native speakers, spoken mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. Berber languages are spoken in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and across the rest of North Africa and the Sahara Desert by about 25 to 35 million people. Other widely spoken Afroasiatic languages are Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, with 18 million native speakers; Somali, spoken by around 19 million people in Greater Somalia; and Hausa, the dominant language of northern Nigeria and southern Niger, spoken by 18.5 million people and used as a lingua franca in large parts of the Sahel, with some 25 million speakers in total.
In addition to languages spoken today, Afroasiatic includes several ancient languages, such as Ancient Egyptian, Akkadian, and Biblical Hebrew.
member of language families:Balto-Slavic languages
The Baltic languages are a subbranch of the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Baltic languages are spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The group is usually divided into two sub-groups: Western Baltic, containing only extinct languages, and Eastern Baltic, containing both extinct and the two living languages in the group: Lithuanian (including both Standard Lithuanian and Samogitian) and Latvian (including both literary Latvian and Latgalian). The range of Eastern Balts reached to the Ural mountains. While related, the Lithuanian, the Latvian, and particularly the Old Prussian vocabularies differ substantially from one another and are not mutually intelligible. The now-extinct Old Prussian language has been considered the most archaic of the Baltic languages.
The Baltic languages are generally thought to form a single family with two branches, Eastern and Western.
Speakers of modern Baltic languages are generally concentrated within the borders of Lithuania and Latvia, and in emigrant communities in the United States, Canada, Australia and states of the former Soviet Union.
The Bayono–Awbono languages are a pair of Papuan languages, Bayono and Awbono, each spoken by a hundred people in the southeast of Papua province, Indonesia. The Awbono are monolingual.
The languages have only recently been recognized as a unit, and were not classified by either Stephen Wurm or Malcolm Ross.
The Chadic languages constitute a language family of perhaps 150 languages spoken across northern Nigeria, southern Niger, southern Chad, Central African Republic and nortern Cameroon, belonging to the Afroasiatic phylum. The most widely spoken Chadic language is Hausa, a lingua franca of much of inland West Africa.
Newman (1977) divided the family into four groups, which have been accepted in all subsequent literature. The subbranching, however, is not as robust; Blench (2006), for example, only accepts the A/B bifurcation of East Chadic.
Proto-Chadic language is believed* to have originated in Asia before it entered Africa as early as 7 kya, probably before or after the First Egyptian Dynasty. The speakers of Proto-Chadic might have been a Levantine population dating back to an Africa migration. And they played a larger roll in the diffusion of Euro-Asian Y-Chromosome R1b R-V88 into Africa.
The Great Andamanese languages are a nearly extinct language family spoken by the Great Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, in the Indian Ocean.
By the late 18th century, when the British first settled on the Andaman islands, they were an estimated 5,000 Great Andamanese living on Great Andaman and surrounding islands, comprising 10 distinct tribes with distinct but closely related languages. From the 1860s onwards, the setting up of a permanent British penal colony and the subsequent arrival of immigrant settlers and indentured labourers, mainly from the Indian subcontinent greatly reduced their numbers, to a low of 19 individuals in 1961.
Since then their numbers have rebounded somewhat, reaching 52 by 2010. However, by 1994 seven of the ten tribes were already extinct, and divisions among the surviving tribes (Jeru, Bo and Cari) had effectively ceased to exist due to intermarriage and resettlement to a much smaller territory on Strait Island. Some of them also intermarried with Karen (Burmese) and Indian settlers. Hindi increasingly serves as their primary language, and is the only language for around half of them. last known speaker of the Bo language died in 2010 at age
The langues d'oïl [lɑ̃ɡᵊdɔjl] or langues d'oui [lɑ̃ɡᵊdwi], in English the Oïl /ˈwiːl/ or Oui /ˈwiː/ languages, are a dialect continuum that includes standard French and its closest autochthonous relatives spoken today in the northern half of France, southern Belgium, and the Channel Islands. They belong to the larger Gallo-Romance group of languages, which also covers most of southern France (Occitania), northern Italy and east Spain (Catalan Countries).
Linguists divide the Romance languages of France, and especially of Medieval France, into three geographical subgroups: Langues d'oïl and Langues d'oc, named after their words for 'yes', with Franco-Provençal (Arpitan) considered transitional.
Langue d'oïl (in the singular), Oïl dialects and Oïl languages (in the plural) designate the ancient northern Gallo-Romance languages as well as their modern-day descendants. They share many linguistic features, a prominent one being the word oïl for yes. (Oc was and still is the southern word for yes, hence the langues d'oc or Occitan languages). The most widely spoken modern Oïl language is French (oïl was pronounced [o.il] or [o.i], which has become [wi], in modern French oui).
The Munda languages are a language family spoken by about nine million people in central and eastern India and Bangladesh. They constitute a branch of the Austro-Asiatic language family, which means they are distantly related to Vietnamese and Khmer (Cambodian). The origins of the Munda languages are not known, though they predate the other languages of eastern India. Ho, Mundari, and Santali are notable languages of this group.
The family is generally divided into two branches: North Munda, spoken in the Chota Nagpur Plateau of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, and Orissa, and South Munda, spoken in central Orissa and along the border between Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
North Munda, of which Santhali is the chief language, is the larger of the two groups; its languages are spoken by about nine-tenths of Munda speakers. After Santhali, the Mundari and Ho languages rank next in number of speakers, followed by Korku and Sora. The remaining Munda languages are spoken by small, isolated groups of people and are little known.
Characteristics of the Munda languages include three grammatical numbers (singular, dual, and plural), two genders (animate and inanimate), a distinction between
The Northeast Caucasian languages constitute a language family spoken in the Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, northern Azerbaijan, and in northeastern Georgia, as well as in diaspora populations in Russia, Turkey, and the Middle East. They are also called Nakho-Dagestanian / Nakh-Dagestanian or just Dagestanian (Daghestanian), or sometimes Caspian, as opposed to Pontic for the Northwest Caucasian languages.
Several names have been in use for this family. The most common term, Northeast Caucasian, contrasts the three established families of the Caucasus language area: Northeast Caucasian, Northwest Caucasian, and South Caucasian (Kartvelian). This may be shortened to East Caucasian, especially by those linguists who accept the North Caucasian languages as a language family. The older term Nakho-Dagestanian reflected an erstwhile primary division of the family into Nakh and Dagestanian branches, a view which is no longer widely accepted. The rare term Caspian (that is, bordering the Caspian Sea) is only used in opposition to Pontic (that is, bordering the Black Sea) for the Northwest Caucasian languages.
This family is known for the complex phonology (70+
The South or East Bougainville languages are a small language family spoken on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. They were classified as East Papuan languages by Wurm, but this does not now seem tenable, and was abandoned in Ethnologue (2009).
The languages include a closely related group called Nasioi and three more divergent languages tentatively classified together under the name Buin:
Ross reconstructed three pronoun paradigms for proto-South Bougainville, free forms plus agentive and patientive (see morphosyntactic alignment) affixes:
Panoan (also Pánoan, Panoano, Panoana, Páno) is a family of languages spoken in Peru, western Brazil, and Bolivia. It is a branch of the larger Pano–Tacanan family.
Panoan consists of some two dozen languages:
Kulino, Nocamán, Pánobo, Huariapano, Remo, Tuxinawa, Atsahuaca, Parannawa, Xipinahua, and Sensi have all become extinct.
The Panoan family is generally believed to be related to the Tacanan family, forming with it Pano–Tacanan, though this has not yet been established (Loos 1999). Some other languages that have been associated with the Panoan family are:
For more information see Shell (1975: 14), Miglizza & Campbell (1988: 189-190), Rodrigues (1986: 77-81), Campbell (2012: 100–102)
A sign language (also signed language) is a language which, instead of acoustically conveyed sound patterns, uses manual communication and body language to convey meaning. This can involve simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speaker's thoughts.
Wherever communities of deaf people exist, sign languages develop. Signing is also done by persons who can hear, but cannot physically speak. While they utilize space for grammar in a way that spoken languages do not, sign languages exhibit the same linguistic properties and use the same language faculty as do spoken languages. Hundreds of sign languages are in use around the world and are at the cores of local deaf cultures. Some sign languages have obtained some form of legal recognition, while others have no status at all.
One of the earliest written records of a sign language occurred in the fifth century BC, in Plato's Cratylus, where Socrates says: "If we hadn't a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn't we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body, just as dumb people do at
Ural–Altaic or Uralo-Altaic is a language-family proposal uniting the Uralic and Altaic languages.
Originally suggested in the 19th century, the hypothesis enjoyed wide acceptance among linguists into the mid 20th century. Since the 1960s, it has been controversial and rejected. From the 1990s, interest in a relationship between the Uralic and Altaic families has been revived in the context of the Eurasiatic hypothesis. Bomhard (2008) treats Uralic, Altaic and Indo-European as Eurasiatic daughter groups on equal footing.
Philip Johan von Strahlenberg, Swedish explorer and war prisoner in Siberia, described Finno-Ugric, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Caucasian languages as sharing common features by 1730.
Rask described what he vaguely called "Scythian" languages in 1834, which included Finno-Ugric, Turkic, Samoyedic, Eskimo, Caucasian, Basque and others.
The hypothesis was elaborated at least as early as 1836 by W. Schott and in 1838 by F. J. Wiedemann.
The Altaic hypothesis, as mentioned by Finnish linguist and explorer Matthias Castrén by 1844, included Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic, collectively known as "Chudic", and Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic, collectively known as
The Volta–Niger family of languages, also known as West Benue–Congo or East Kwa, is one of the branches of the Niger–Congo language family, with perhaps 50 million speakers. Among these are the most important languages of southern Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and southeast Ghana: Yoruba, Igbo, Bini, Fon, and Ewe.
These languages have variously been placed within the Kwa or Benue–Congo families, but Williamson & Blench (2000) separate them from both. The boundaries between the various branches of Volta–Niger are rather vague, suggesting diversification of a dialect continuum rather than a clear split of families.
The constituent groups of the Volta–Niger family, along with the most important languages in terms of number of speakers, are as follows (with number of languages for each branch in parenthesis):
The Yoruboid languages and Akoko were once linked as the Defoid branche, but more recently they, Edoid, and Igboid have been suggested to be primary branches of an as-yet unnamed group, often abbreviated yeai. Similarly, Oko, Nupoid, and Idomoid are often grouped together under the acronym noi. Ukaan is an Atlantic–Congo language, but it is unclear if it belongs to the Volta–Niger family;
member of language families:Afro-Asiatic languages
Berber or the Berber languages (Berber: Tamaziɣt or Tamazight, ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ [tæmæˈzɪɣt], [θæmæˈzɪɣθ]) are a family of similar or closely related languages and dialects indigenous to North Africa. Berber is spoken by large populations of Morocco and Algeria, and by smaller populations in Libya, Tunisia, eastern Mali, western and northern Niger, northern Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and the Egyptian Siwa Oasis. Large Berber-speaking migrant communities have lived in Western Europe since the 1950s. In 2001, Berber became a national language of Algeria in the constitution, and in 2011, Berber became an official language of Morocco, in the new Moroccan constitution.
Berber constitutes a branch of the Afroasiatic language family and has been attested since ancient times. The number of ethnic Berbers (whether they speak Berber or not) is much higher than the current number of actual Berber speakers in North Africa. The bulk of the populations of the Maghreb countries are considered to have Berber ancestors. In Algeria, for example, a majority of the population consists of Arabized Berbers.
There is a movement among speakers of the closely related "Northern Berber" varieties to unite them into a
The Bantu languages, technically the Narrow Bantu languages, constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages. Bantu languages are spoken largely east and south of the present day country of Cameroon; i.e., in the regions commonly known as central Africa, east Africa, and southern Africa. Parts of the Bantu area include languages from other language families (see map).
The Bantu language with the largest total number of speakers is Swahili; however, nearly all speakers know it as a second language. According to Ethnologue, there are over 40 million L2 speakers, and only about 1,000,000 native speakers.
According to Ethnologue, Shona is the most widely spoken as a first language, with 10.8 million speakers, followed closely by Zulu, with 10.3 million. Ethnologue also lists Manyika and Ndau as separate languages, though Shona speakers consider them to be two of the five main dialects of Shona. If the 3.4 million Manyika and Ndau speakers are included among the Shona, then Shona totals
member of language families:Indo-European languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin (Catalan, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Occitan, etc.), and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and South Picene.
In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed. This article uses the classification presented by the Linguist List: Italic includes the Latin subgroup (Latin and the Romance languages) as well as the ancient Italic languages (Faliscan, Osco-Umbrian and two unclassified Italic languages, Aequian and Vestinian). Venetic (the language of the ancient Veneti), as revealed by its inscriptions, was also closely related to the Italic languages and is sometimes classified as Italic. However, since it also shares similarities with other Western Indo-European branches (particularly Germanic), some linguists prefer to consider it an independent Indo-European language.
In the extreme view, Italic did not exist, but the different groups descended directly from Indo-European and converged because of geographic contiguity. This view stems in part from the difficulty in
The Nguni languages are a group of Bantu languages spoken in southern Africa by the Nguni people. Nguni languages include Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, Hlubi, Phuthi and Ndebele (both Southern Transvaal Ndebele and Northern Ndebele). The appellation "Nguni" derives from the Nguni cattle type. Ngoni (see below) is an older, or a shifted, variant.
It is sometimes argued that use of Nguni as a generic label suggests a historical monolithic unity of the peoples in question, where in fact the situation may have been more complex. The linguistic use of the label (referring to a subgrouping of the Bantu languages) is relatively stable.
Within a subset of Southern Bantu, the label "Nguni" is used both genetically (in the linguistic sense) and typologically (quite apart from any historical significance that it may accurately or inaccurately imply).
The Nguni languages are closely related, and in many instances different languages are mutually intelligible; in this way, Nguni languages might better be construed as a dialect continuum than as a cluster of separate languages. In scholarly literature on southern African languages, the linguistic classificatory category "Nguni" is traditionally considered
The Niger–Congo languages constitute one of the world's major language families, and Africa's largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. They may constitute the world's largest language family in terms of distinct languages, although this question is complicated by ambiguity about what constitutes a distinct language. Most of the most widely spoken indigenous languages of Subsaharan Africa belong to this group. A common property of many Niger–Congo languages is the use of a noun class system. The most widely spoken Niger–Congo languages by number of native speakers are Yoruba, Igbo, Fula and Shona and Zulu. The most widely spoken by total number of speakers is Swahili. Some scholars have doubted whether the Niger-Congo languages is a valid genetic unit or rather a typological grouping, but specialists today consider it to be a valid phylum, although there is no consensus on the subclassification.
Niger–Congo as it is known today was only gradually recognized as a unity. In early classifications of African languages, one of the principal criteria used to distinguish different groupings was the languages' use of prefixes to classify
The Pamir languages are a group of the Eastern Iranian languages, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains, primarily along the Panj River and its tributaries. This includes the Badakhshan Province of northeastern Afghanistan and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province of eastern Tajikistan. Smaller communities can be found in the adjacent areas of Pakistan where many have settled in recent decades. Sarikoli, one of the languages of the Pamir group, is spoken beyond the Sarikol Range on the Afghanistan-China border, and thus qualifies as the eastern-most of the extant Iranian languages. The only other living member of the Southeastern Iranian languages is Pashto.
The Ethnologue lists Pamir languages along with Pashto as Southeastern Iranian, however, according to Encyclopedia Iranica, Pamir languages and Pashto belong to the North-Eastern Iranian branch. Members of the Pamir language group include Shughni, Sarikoli, Yazgulyam, Munji, Ishkashimi language, Wakhi, and Yidgha. They have the subject–object–verb syntactic typology.
The vast majority of Pamir languages speakers in Tajikistan and Afghanistan also use Tajik (Persian) as literary language, which is—unlike the
The forty or so Plateau are a tentative group of Benue–Congo languages spoken by 3.5 million people on the Jos Plateau and in adjacent areas in Central Nigeria. The original formulation, now called Platoid or Central Nigerian, included the Jukunoid, Kainji languages, and later the Dakoid languages. (See Benue–Congo.) Defining features of the Plateau family have only been published in manuscript form (Blench 2008). Many of the languages have "fearsomely complex" phonologies that make comparison with poor data difficult.
Little work has been done on the Plateau languages, and the results to date are tentative. The following classification is taken from Blench (2008). Most of the branches are discrete constituents, though Central is a residual grouping and there are doubts about some of the purported Ninzic languages. Plateau languages as a whole share a number of isoglosses, as do all branches apart from Tarokoid.
Only some of the languages have nominal classes, as the Bantu languages have, where in others these have eroded. The large numbers of consonants in many languages is due to the erosion of noun-class prefixes.
Adjectives and possessive forms generally follow the noun.
The Piaroa–Saliban or Saliba–Piaroan languages, also known as Saliban (Salivan), is a small proposed language family of the middle Orinoco Basin, which forms an independent island within an area of Venezuela and Colombia (northern llanos) dominated by peoples of Carib and Arawakan affiliation.
A connection between the two primary divisions, Piaroan and Sáliba, is widely assumed but has not been demonstrated. In addition, Hotï is "probably" related.
Saliba is a possible language isolate; if related to Piaroa, the connection is a distant one. Piaroan is a language or dialect cluster, consisting of Piaroa itself, Wirö (or "Maco"), and the extinct Ature. The Piaroa and Wirö both consider their languages to be distinct: they can understand each other, but not reliably. Hotï was little known until recently and remains unclassified in most accounts.
The Sepik–Ramu languages are a hypothetical language family linking the Sepik, Ramu, Nor–Pondo (Lower Sepik), Leonhard Schultze (Walio–Papi), and Yuat families, together with the Taiap language isolate, and proposed by Donald Laycock in 1973.
Sepik–Ramu would consist of a hundred languages of the Sepik and Ramu river basins of northern Papua New Guinea, but spoken by only 200 000 people in all. The languages tend to have simple phonologies, with few consonants or vowels and usually no tones.
The best known Sepik–Ramu language is Iatmül. The most populous are Iatmül's fellow Ndu languages Abelam and Boiken, with about 35 000 speakers apiece.
Malcolm Ross and William Foley separately re-evaluated the Sepik–Ramu hypothesis in 2005. They both found no evidence that it forms a valid family. However, all of the constituent branches, except for Yuat within Ramu, remain individually valid in his evaluation. Ross links Nor–Pondo to Ramu in a Ramu–Lower Sepik proposal, places Leonhard Schultze (tentatively broken up into Walio and Papi) within an extended Sepik family, and treats Yuat and Taiap as independent families.
This list is a mirror of the Ethnologue article here.
The Western Romance languages are one of the primary subdivisions of the Romance languages. They include at least the following:
Some classifications include central and southern Italian; the resulting clade is generally called Italo-Western Romance. Other classifications place an Italo-Dalmatian clade in with Eastern Romance. Sardinian does not fit into either Western or Eastern Romance, and may have split off before either.
Today the 4 most widely spoken standardized Western Romance languages are Spanish (c. 330 million native), Portuguese (c. 205 million native, another 45 million or so second-language speakers, mainly in lusophone Africa), French (c. 70 million native speakers, another 70 million or so second-language speakers, mostly in francophone Africa), and Catalan (c. 12 million native). Many of these languages have large numbers of non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, in widespread use throughout West Africa as a lingua franca.
member of language families:Siouan-Catawban languages
The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan, are a Native American language family of North America, and the second largest indigenous language family in North America, after Algonquian. The Western Siouan family is related to the Catawban languages, also called Eastern Siouan, which together make up the Siouan (Siouan–Catawban) language family.
While the Lakota and Dakota comprise "the Great Sioux Nation", the language family is much broader and includes "the old speakers", the Ho-Chunk and their linguistic cousins, the Crow. The Siouan family also extends eastward to Virginia and southward to the Gulf of Mexico.
Linguistic and historical records indicate a possible southern origin of Siouan people, with migrations over a thousand years ago from North Carolina and Virginia to Ohio. Some peoples continued down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and up to the Missouri, and others across Ohio to Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, home of the Dakota.
The Siouan family proper consists of some 18 languages and various dialects:
I. Missouri River Siouan (AKA Crow–Hidatsa)
II. Mandan Siouan
III. Mississippi Valley Siouan (AKA Central Siouan)
IV. Ohio Valley
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean.
Originally the name "Arawak" was used exclusively for a powerful tribe in Netherlands Antilles, Guyana and Suriname. The tribe became allies of the Spanish because they traditionally were enemies of the Carib groups with whom the Spanish were at war. Forms of the Arawak language are still spoken in Suriname.
Filippo Gilii recognized the unity of the Maipure language of the Orinoco and Moxos of Bolivia in 1783, and named their family Maipure. It was renamed Arawak by Von den Steinen (1886) and Brinten (1891) after one of the most important languages of the family, Arawak in the Guianas. The modern equivalents are Maipurean or Maipuran and Arawak or Arawakan. The term Arawakan is now used in two senses. In South America, Aruák is generally used for the family demonstrated by Gilij and subsequent linguists. In North America, however, it has been extended to a hypothetical proposal that includes that adds the Guajiboan and Arawan families. The name Maipurean was then resurrected
Finno-Ugric ( /ˌfɪnoʊˈjuːɡrɪk/ or /ˌfɪnoʊˈuːɡrɪk/), Finno-Ugrian or Fenno-Ugric is a traditional group of languages in the Uralic language family that comprises the Finno-Permic and Ugric language families. The three most spoken members are Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian.
Linguistic roots common to both branches of the traditional Finno-Ugric language tree (Finno-Permic and Ugric) are extremely distant. About two hundred words with common roots in all main Finno-Ugric languages have been identified by philologists including fifty-five about fishing, fifteen about reindeer, and three about commerce.
The term Finno-Ugric languages, which originally represented the entire language-family proposal, is sometimes used as a synonym for the more recent term Uralic, including the Samoyedic branch, as commonly happens when a language family is expanded with further discoveries.
The validity of Finno-Ugric as a genetic grouping is under challenge, with some feeling that the Finno-Permic languages are as distinct from the Ugric languages as they are from the Samoyedic languages spoken in Siberia, or even that none of the Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, or Ugric branches have been established.
The Northern Luzon languages (also known as the Cordilleran languages) are one of the few established large groups of languages in the Philippines, with over forty closely languages in and around the Cordillera Central of northern Luzon.
The languages are generally subdivided as follows:
Except for Arta, which was not included, this subclassification is strongly supported (confidence >95%) by a 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database
Below is a list of northern Luzon ethnic groups organized by linguistic classification. Approximate geographic distributions are also given.
Numic is a branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It includes seven languages spoken by Native American peoples traditionally living in the Great Basin, Colorado River basin, and southern Great Plains. The word Numic comes from the cognate word in all Numic languages for "person." For example, in the three Central Numic languages and the two Western Numic languages it is /nɨmɨ/. In Kawaiisu it is /nɨwɨ/ and in Colorado River /nɨwɨ/, /nɨŋwɨ/ and /nuu/.
These languages are classified in three groups:
Apart from Comanche, each of these groups contains one language spoken in a small area in the southern Sierra Nevada and valleys to the east (Mono, Timbisha, and Kawaiisu), and one language spoken in a much larger area extending to the north and east (Northern Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute-Southern Paiute). Some linguists have taken this pattern as an indication that Numic speaking peoples expanded quite recently from a small core, perhaps near the Owens Valley, into their current range. This view is supported by lexicostatistical studies. Fowler's reconstruction of Proto-Numic ethnobiology also points to the region of the southern Sierra Nevada as the homeland of Proto-Numic
Portuguese creoles are creole languages which has Portuguese as superstrate language.
Portuguese overseas exploration in the 15th and 16th century's led to the establishment of a Portuguese Empire with trading posts, forts and colonies in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Contact between the Portuguese language and native languages gave rise to many Portuguese-based pidgins, used as linguas francas throughout the Portuguese sphere of influence. In time, many of these pidgins were nativized becoming new stable creole languages.
As is the rule in most creoles, the lexicon of these languages can be traced to the parent languages, usually with predominance of Portuguese; while the grammar is mostly original and unique to each creole with little resemblance to the syntax of Portuguese or of other parent languages.
These creoles are (or were) spoken mostly by communities of descendants of Portuguese, natives, and sometimes other peoples from the Portuguese colonial empire.
Until recently creoles were considered "degenerate" languages unworthy of attention. As a consequence, there is little documentation on the details of their formation. Since the 20th century, increased study of creoles by
The Andamanese languages are the indigenous languages of the Andaman Islands, spoken by the Andamanese Negritos. There are two clear families of Andamanese languages, Great Andamanese and Ongan, as well as Sentinelese, which is unknown and therefore at present unclassifiable.
The indigenous Andamanese peoples have lived on the islands for thousands of years. Although the existence of the islands and their inhabitants was long known to maritime powers and traders of the South– and Southeast–Asia region, contact with these peoples was highly sporadic and very often hostile; as a result, almost nothing is recorded of them or their languages until the mid-18th century. From the 1860s onwards, the setting up of a permanent British penal colony and the subsequent arrival of immigrant settlers and indentured labourers mainly from the Indian subcontinent brought the first sustained impacts upon these societies, particularly among the Great Andamanese groups.
By the turn of the 20th century most of these populations were greatly reduced in numbers, and the various linguistic and tribal divisions among the Great Andamanese effectively ceased to exist, despite a census of the time still
Aztec–Tanoan is a hypothetical and undemonstrated language family that proposes a genealogical relation between the Tanoan and the Uto-Aztecan families. In some forms, Aztec–Tanoan has also included the Zuni isolate. This proposed classification has not been definitively demonstrated, largely because of slow progress in the reconstruction of the intermediate stages of the two language families involved, but is still considered promising by many linguists. The grouping was originally proposed by Edward Sapir in his 1921 classification, but it was not until 1937 that supporting evidence was published by Benjamin Lee Whorf and G. L. Trager. Their proposal included some 67 proposed cognates, but subsequent reviews have found most of them to be unconvincing (monosyllables, onomatopoeia). A small number of their proposed cognates do seem to have some merit and in his 1997 review of the hypothesis Lyle Campbell states that the proposal is not implausible but requires detailed study. A recent article by Jane H. Hill argues that the evidence cited for the genetic relation by Whorf and Trager is better understood as a result of Language contact between the Uto-Aztecan and Kiowa-Tanoan
The Eastern Romance languages in their narrow conception, sometimes known as the Vlach languages, are a group of Romance languages that developed in Southeastern Europe from the local eastern variant of Vulgar Latin. Some classifications include the Italo-Dalmatian languages; when Italian is classified as Western Romance, Dalmatian generally remains in Eastern. This article will be concerned with Eastern Romance in the narrow sense, without Italian.
Several hundred years after the Roman Empire's dominance of the region, the local form of Vulgar Latin developed into Proto-Romanian, a language which had most of the features of modern Romanian. Probably due to foreign invasions (see Romania in the Dark Ages) and the migration of Vlach shepherds (see Vlachs in Wallachia), between 800 AD and 1200 AD Proto-Romanian split into four separate languages:
The Proto-Romanian branch was one of the earliest language groups to be isolated from the larger Latin family. As such, the languages contain a few words that were replaced with Germanic borrowings in Western Romance languages, for example, the word for white is derived from Latin "albus" instead of Germanic "blank".
They also share a few
member of language families:Afro-Asiatic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. They constitute a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are Arabic (206 million native speakers), Amharic (27 million), Hebrew (about 7 million), Tigrinya (6.7 million), and Aramaic (about 2.2 million).
Semitic languages are attested in written form from a very early date, with texts in Eblaite and Akkadian appearing from around the middle of the third millennium BC, written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform. However, most scripts used to write Semitic languages are abjads — a type of alphabetic script that omits some or all of the vowels, which is feasible for these languages because the consonants in the Semitic languages are the primary carriers of meaning. Among them are the Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and South Arabian alphabets. The Ge'ez alphabet, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida — a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using
Trans–New Guinea (TNG) is an extensive family of Papuan languages spoken in New Guinea and neighboring islands, perhaps the third largest language family in the world. (See List of language families#By variety.) The core of the family is considered to be established, but its boundaries and overall membership are uncertain. There have been three main proposals.
Although Papuan languages for the most part are poorly documented, several of the branches of Trans–New Guinea have been recognized for some time. The Eleman languages were first proposed by S. Ray in 1907, parts of Marind were recognized by Ray and JHP Murray in 1918, and the Rai Coast languages in 1919, again by Ray.
The precursor of the Trans–New Guinea family was Stephen Wurm's 1960 proposal of an East New Guinea Highlands family. Although broken up as a unit (though retained within TNG) by Malcolm Ross in 2005, it united different branches of TNG for the first time, linking Engan, Chimbu–Wahgi, Goroka, and Kainantu. (Duna and Kalam were added in 1971.) Then in 1970 Clemens Voorhoeve and Kenneth McElhanon noted 91 lexical resemblances between the Central and South New Guinea (CSNG) and Finisterre–Huon families, which they
The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian, Silesian and Sorbian.
Some distinctive features of the West Slavic languages, as from when they split from the East Slavic and South Slavic branches around the 3rd to 6th centuries AD, are as follows:
The East Papuan languages is a defunct proposal for a family of Papuan languages spoken on the islands to the east of New Guinea, including New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, and the Santa Cruz Islands. There is no evidence that these languages are related to each other, and the Santa Cruz languages are no longer recognized as Papuan.
All but two of the starred languages below (Yélî Dnye and Sulka) make a gender distinction in their pronouns. Several of the heavily Papuanized Austronesian languages of New Britain do as well. This suggests a pre-Austronesian language area in the region.
The East Papuan languages were identified as a phylum by linguist Stephen Wurm (1975) and others. However, their work was preliminary, and there is little evidence the East Papuan languages actually have a genetic relationship. For example, none of these fifteen languages marked with asterisks below share more than 2-3% of their basic vocabulary with any of the others. Dunn et al. (2005) tested the reliability of the proposed 2-3% cognates by randomizing the vocabulary lists and comparing them again. The nonsense comparisons produced the same 2-3% of "shared" vocabulary,
Tolatecan is a proposal by Campbell and Oltrogge (1980) linking two language families of Mesoamerica, Tequistlatecan (Chontal of Oaxaca) and Tol/Jicaque languages of Honduras. It does not have good support (Campbell 1997).
Zaparoan (also Sáparoan, Záparo, Zaparoano, Zaparoana) is an endangered language family of Peru and Ecuador with fewer than 100 speakers. Zaparoan speakers seem to have been very numerous before the arrival of the Europeans but their groups have been decimated by imported diseases and warfare and only a handful of them have survived.
There were 39 Zaparoan-speaking tribes at the beginning of the 20th century, every one of them presumably using its own distinctive language or dialect. Most of them have become extinct before being recorded, however, and we have information only about nine of them.
Aushiri and Omurano are included by Stark (1985). Aushiri is generally accepted, but Omurano remains unclassified.
The relationship of zaparoan languages with other language families of the area is uncertain. It is generally considered isolated. Links with other languages or families have been proposed but none has been widely accepted so far.
Zaparoan languages distinguishes between inclusive and exclusive we and consider the first person singular as the default person. A rare feature is the existence of two sets of personal pronouns with different syntactic values according to the nature
Eskimo–Aleut is a language family native to Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, Greenland, and the Chukchi Peninsula on the eastern tip of Siberia. It is also known as Eskaleut, Eskaleutian, Eskaleutic, Eskimish, Eskimoan, and Macro-Eskimo or Inuit–Unangan.
The Eskimo–Aleut language family is divided into two branches, the Eskimo languages and the Aleut language.
The Aleut language family consists of a single language, Aleut, spoken in the Aleutian Islands and the Pribilof Islands. Aleut is divided into several dialects.
The Eskimo languages are divided into two branches, the Yupik languages, spoken in western and southwestern Alaska and in easternmost Siberia, and the Inuit language, spoken in northern Alaska, in Canada, and in Greenland. The Inuit language, which covers a huge range of territory, is divided into several dialects.
The proper place of one language, Sirenik, within the Eskimo family has not been settled. Some linguists list it as a branch of Yupik, others as a separate branch of the Eskimo family, alongside Yupik and Inuit.
It is thought that the common ancestral language of the Eskimo languages and of Aleut divided into the Eskimo and Aleut branches
In the Ethnologue's classification of Berber, the Awjila–Sokna languages, spoken in Libya, are a subgroup. In the classification of Kossmann (1999), no such group exists; instead, Awjila groups with Ghadames, and Sokna with Siwi.
member of language families:Indo-European languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European (IE) language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic (also known as Common Germanic), which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe. Proto-Germanic, along with all of its descendants, is characterized by a number of unique linguistic features, most famously the consonant change known as Grimm's law. Early varieties of Germanic enter history with the Germanic peoples moving south from northern Europe in the 2nd century BC, to settle in north-central Europe.
The most widely spoken Germanic languages are English and German, with approximately 300–400 million and over 100 million native speakers respectively. They belong to the West Germanic family. The West Germanic group also includes other major languages, such as Dutch with 23 million and Afrikaans with over 6 million native speakers;. The North Germanic languages include Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese, which have a combined total of about 20 million speakers. The SIL Ethnologue lists 53 different Germanic languages.
Germanic languages possess a number
The Khoisan languages (also known as the Khoesan or Khoesaan languages) are the click languages of Africa which do not belong to other language families. They were once thought to form a language family, but this is no longer generally accepted, and has become a minority position among linguists.
Khoisan languages include languages indigenous to southern and eastern Africa, though some, such as the Khoi languages, appear to have moved to their current locations not long before the Bantu expansion. In southern Africa, their speakers are the Khoi and Bushmen (Saan), in east Africa the Sandawe and Hadza.
Prior to the Bantu expansion, it is likely that Khoisan languages, or languages like them, were spread throughout southern and eastern Africa. They are currently restricted to the Kalahari Desert, primarily in Namibia and Botswana, and to the Rift Valley in central Tanzania.
Most of the languages are endangered, and several are moribund or extinct. Most have no written record. The only widespread Khoisan language is Khoekhoe ("Nàmá") of Namibia, with a quarter of a million speakers; Sandawe in Tanzania is second in number with about 40,000, some monolingual; and the Juu language
The Konkani language family is a group of languages that are spoken in the Konkan region of India. These languages have either common origins in the Konkan region or are spoken in the region.
Konkani languages form part of the Southern Zone of the Indo-Aryan language family.
The Konkani language family consists of the following languages:
Out of the above languages, Goan Konkani and Maharashtrian Konkani are grouped by ISO 639 into the "macrolanguage" Konkani (ISO 639:kok).
With the exception of Goan Konkani, the languages of the family have no official status. Most are considered to be a dialect of other larger local languages. Goan Konkani is the official language of the Indian state of Goa and is also one of India's national languages.
Macro-Jê (also spelled Macro-Gê) is a medium-sized language stock in South America centered on the Jê language family, with all other branches currently being single languages due to recent extinctions. The family was first proposed in 1926, and has undergone moderate modifications since then. Kaufman (1990) finds the proposal "probable".
Eduardo Ribeiro of the University of Chicago finds no evidence to classify Fulniô (Yatê) and Guató as Macro-Je, pace Kaufman, nor Otí and Chiquitano, pace Greenberg.
These languages share irregular morphology with the Tupi and Carib families, and Rodrigues (2000) and Ribeiro connect them all as a Je–Tupi–Carib family.
The Mayan languages (alternatively: the languages of the Maya) form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more.
The Mayan language family is one of the best documented and most studied in the Americas. Modern Mayan languages descend from Proto-Mayan, a language thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method.
Mayan languages form part of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area, an area of linguistic convergence developed throughout millennia of interaction between the peoples of Mesoamerica. All Mayan languages display the basic diagnostic traits of this linguistic area. For example, all use relational nouns instead of prepositions to indicate spatial relationships. They also possess grammatical and typological features that set them apart from other languages of Mesoamerica, such as the use of ergativity in the grammatical treatment of verbs and their subjects and objects,
member of language families:Central Semitic languages
The Northwest Semitic languages form a medium-level division of the Semitic language family. The languages of this group are spoken by approximately eight million people today. The group is generally divided into three branches: Ugaritic (extinct), Canaanite (including Hebrew) and Aramaic. Semiticists group the Northwest Semitic languages together with Arabic to form the larger Central Semitic group.
The extinct Ugaritic language is the earliest witness to Northwest Semitic. Phonologically, Ugaritic has lost the sound *ṣ́, replacing it with /sˤ/ (ṣ) (the same shift occurred in Canaanite and Akkadian). That this same sound became /ʕ/ in Aramaic (although in Ancient Aramaic, it was written with qoph), suggests that Ugaritic is not the parent language of the group. An example of this sound shift can be seen in the word for earth: Ugaritic /ʔarsˤ/ (’arṣ), Hebrew /ʔɛrɛsˤ/ (’ereṣ) and Aramaic /ʔarʕaː/ (’ar‘ā’).
Prior to the spread of Aramaic during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (934-608 BC, see also Imperial Aramaic), they were spoken throughout the area that is covered by modern-day Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Sinai. The vowel shift from *aː to /oː/ distinguishes
A pidgin ( /ˈpɪdʒɪn/), or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups). Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language. A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or body language from multiple other languages and cultures. Pidgins allow people or a group of people to communicate with each other without having any similarities in language and do not have any rules, as long as both parties are able to understand each other. Pidgins can be changed and do not follow a specific order. Pidgins usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.
Not all simplified or "broken" forms of a language are pidgins. Each pidgin has its own norms of
Quechua (endonym: Runa Simi) is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from a common ancestral language. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably some 8 to 10 million speakers. At the time of the conquest, the Incans referred to their language as runasimi, only later to be called quechua by conquistadors. Many contemporary Andean Quechua speakers still call it runasimi (or regional variants thereof), literally "people speech", although "runa" here has the more specific sense of "indigenous Andean" people.
To compare with the historically known language families such as Romance, Germanic, Slavic or Arabic entails considering the linguistic process that explains other cases. Several studies (Alfredo Torero or Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino) show that the oldest form of Quechua appeared in Cajamarquilla, Lima. Afterwards, the main focus of this language was the famous zone of Pachacamac (Lima). A third period of expansion was Chincha (Ica). At this time, the Incas found out that the Quechua was very widespread and decided that this was a tool to
The Delaware languages, also known as the Lenape languages, are Munsee and Unami, two closely related languages of the Eastern Algonquian subgroup of the Algonquian language family. Munsee and Unami were spoken aboriginally by the Lenape people in the vicinity of the modern New York City area in the United States, including western Long Island, Manhattan Island, Staten Island, as well as adjacent areas on the mainland: southeastern New York State, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and coastal Delaware.
Munsee and Unami are assigned to the Algonquian language family, and are analysed as members of Eastern Algonquian, a subgroup of Algonquian.
The languages of the Algonquian family constitute a group of historically related languages descended from a common source language, Proto-Algonquian. The Algonquian languages are spoken across Canada from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast; on the American Plains; south of the Great Lakes; and on the Atlantic coast. Many of the Algonquian languages are now extinct.
The Eastern Algonquian languages were spoken on the Atlantic coast from the Canadian Maritime provinces to North Carolina. Many of the languages are now extinct, and some are
member of language families:Indo-European languages
The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development. Most Indo-Europeanists classify Baltic and Slavic languages into a single branch, even though some details of the nature of their relationship remain in dispute in some circles, usually due to political controversies. Some linguists, however, have recently suggested that Balto-Slavic should be split into three equidistant nodes: Eastern Baltic, Western Baltic and Slavic.
A Proto-Balto-Slavic language is reconstructable by comparative method, descending from Proto-Indo-European by means of well-defined sound laws, and out of which modern Slavic and Baltic languages descended. One particularly innovative dialect separated from the Balto-Slavic dialect continuum and became ancestral to Proto-Slavic language, out of which all other Slavic languages descended.
The nature of the relationship of the Balto-Slavic languages has been the subject of much discussion from the very beginning of historical
Barbacoan (also Barbakóan, Barbacoano, Barbacoana) is a language family spoken in Colombia and Ecuador.
Barboacoan consists of 6 languages:
Pasto, Muellama, Coconuco, and Caranqui are now extinct.
Pasto and Muellama are usually classified as Barbacoan, but the current evidence is weak and deserves further attention. Muellama may have been one of the last surviving dialects of Pasto (both extinct, replaced by Spanish) — Muellama is known only by a short wordlist recorded in the 19th century. The Muellama vocabulary is similar to modern Awa Pit. The Cañari–Puruhá languages are ever more poorly attested, and while often placed in a Chimuan family, Adelaar (2004:397) thinks they may have been Barbacoan.
The Coconucan languages were first connected to Barbacoan by Daniel Brinton in 1891. However, a subsequent publication by Henri Beuchat and Paul Rivet placed Coconucan together with a Paezan family (which included Páez and Paniquita) due a misleading "Moguex" vocabulary list. The "Moguex" vocabulary turned out to be a mix of both Páez and Guambiano languages (Curnow 1998). This vocabulary has led to misclassifications by Greenberg (1956, 1987), Loukotka (1968), Kaufman (1990, 1994), and
member of language families:Indo-European languages
The Celtic or Keltic languages (usually pronounced /ˈkɛltɪk/ but sometimes /ˈsɛltɪk/) are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707.
Celtic languages are most commonly spoken on the north-western edge of Europe, notably in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, and can be found spoken on Cape Breton Island. There are also a substantial number of Welsh speakers in the Patagonia area of Argentina. Some people speak Celtic languages in the other Celtic diaspora areas of the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In all these areas, the Celtic languages are now only spoken by minorities though there are continuing efforts at revitalization.
During the 1st millennium BC, they were spoken across Europe, in the Iberian Peninsula, from the Atlantic and North Sea coastlines, up the Rhine valley and down the Danube valley to the Black Sea, the Upper Balkan Peninsula, and in Galatia in Asia Minor. The spread to Cape Breton and Patagonia occurred in modern times. Celtic languages were spoken in Australia
The East Bird's Head languages form a language family of three languages in the "Bird's Head" Peninsula of western New Guinea, spoken by only 20,000 people in all.
Stephen Wurm identifies the subdivisions of his Papuan classification as families (on the order of the Germanic languages), stocks (on the order of the Indo-European languages), and phyla (on the order of the Nostratic hypothesis). East Bird's Head is a stock in this terminology. A language that is not related to any other at a family level, such as Greek within Indo-European, will be called an isolate in this scheme.
East Bird's Head stock (3 languages)
The Hurro-Urartian languages are an extinct language family of the Ancient Near East, comprising only two known languages: Hurrian and Urartian, both of which were spoken in the Taurus mountains area.
Hurro-Urartian was related neither to the Semitic nor to the Indo-European language families of the region.
Proponents of linguistic macrofamilies have suggested that Hurro-Urartian is part of an "Alarodian" phylum, together with Northeast Caucasian and further as "Macro-Caucasian", but these theories are without support in mainstream linguistics.
The poorly attested Kassite language may have been related to Hurrian.
Hurrian was the language of the Hurrians (occasionally called "Hurrites"), and was spoken in the northern parts of Mesopotamia and Syria and the southeastern parts of Anatolia between at least last quarter of the third millennium BC and its extinction towards the end of the second millennium BC. There have been various Hurrian-speaking states, of which the most prominent one was the kingdom of Mitanni (1450–1270 BC). It has also been proposed that two little known groups, the Nairi and the Mannae, might have been Hurrian speakers, but as little is known about them, it is
Jivaroan (also Hívaro, Jívaro, Jibaroana, Jibaro) is a small language family, or perhaps a language isolate, of northern Peru and eastern Ecuador.
Jivaroan consists of 4 languages:
This language family is spoken in Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, and San Martin, Peru and the Oriente region of Ecuador. .
The extinct Palta language was classified as Jivaroan by Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño ca. 1940, followed by Čestmír Loukotka. However, only a few words are known, and Kaufman (1994) states that there is "little resemblance".
The most promising external connections are with the Cahuapanan languages and perhaps a few other language isolates in proposals variously called Jívaro-Cahuapana (Hívaro-Kawapánan) (Jorge Suárez and others) or Macro-Jibaro or Macro-Andean (Morris Swadesh and others, with Cahuapanan, Urarina, Puelche, and maybe Huarpe).
The unclassified language Candoshi has also been linked to Jivaroan, but more recently linguists have searched elsewhere for Candoshi's relatives.
Keresan /kəˈriːsən/, also Keres /ˈkɛərɨs/, is a dialect cluster spoken by the Keres Pueblo people in New Mexico. Each of seven varieties is mutually intelligible with its closest neighbors. There is significant diversity between the Western and Eastern groups, and these are commonly counted as separate languages.
Keres is a language isolate. Edward Sapir grouped it together with a Hokan–Siouan stock. Morris Swadesh suggested a connection with Wichita. Joseph Greenberg grouped Keres with Siouan, Yuchi, Caddoan, and Iroquoian in a super-stock called Keresiouan. None of these proposals has gained the consensus of linguists.
The chart below contains the reconstructed consonants of the proto-Keresan (or pre-Keresan) as reconstructed by Miller & Davis (1963) based on a comparison of Acoma, Santa Ana, and Santo Domingo.
The consonant *c̣’ only surfaces as an alternate form of underlying *ẓ or *c̣.
The Algonquian languages ( /ælˈɡɒŋkwiən/ or /ælˈɡɒŋkiən/; also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a member of the Algonquian language family. The term "Algonquin" has been suggested to derive from the Maliseet word elakómkwik (pronounced [ɛlæˈɡomoɡwik]), "they are our relatives/allies". A number of Algonquian languages have already become extinct.
Speakers of Algonquian languages stretch from the east coast of North America all the way to the Rocky Mountains. The proto-language from which all of the languages of the family descend, Proto-Algonquian, was spoken at least 3,000 years ago. There is no scholarly consensus as to the territory where this language was spoken.
This subfamily of around 30 languages is divided into three groups according to geography: Plains, Central, and Eastern Algonquian. Only Eastern Algonquian constitutes a true genetic subgroup.
The languages are listed below, following the classifications of Goddard (1996) and Mithun
A cant (or cryptolect) is the jargon or argot of a group, often implying its use to exclude or mislead people outside the group.
There are two main schools of thought on the origin of the word cant.
In Celtic linguistics, the derivation is normally seen to be from the Scottish Gaelic chainnt or Irish word caint (older spelling cainnt) "speech, talk". In this sense it is seen to have derived amongst the itinerant groups of people in Scotland and Ireland, hailing from both Irish/Scottish Gaelic and English speaking backgrounds ultimately leading to a creole language.
The most widely known form is "the Cant", known to its native speakers in Ireland as Gammon and to the linguistic community as Shelta.
In the Scottish context, it has given rise to the terms Scottish Cant (a variant of Scots with Romani and Scottish Gaelic influences) and the Highland Traveller's Cant (or Beurla Reagaird), a Gaelic-based cant.
Outside Goidelic circles, the derivation is normally seen to be from Latin cantāre "to sing" via Norman French canter.
Within this derivation, the history of the word is seen to originally have referred to the chanting of friars in a disparaging way some time between the 12th and
The Central Semitic languages are a proposed intermediate group of Semitic languages, comprising Arabic and Northwest Semitic languages (which include Aramaic, Ugaritic, and the Canaanite languages of Hebrew and Phoenician).
Different classification systems disagree on the precise structure of the group. The most common approach divides it into Arabic and Northwest Semitic, while SIL Ethnologue has South Central Semitic (including Arabic and Hebrew) vs. Aramaic.
The main distinction between Arabic and the Northwest Semitic languages is the presence of broken plurals in the former. The majority of Arabic masculine non-human nouns form plurals in this manner (called inanimate plural), whereas almost all nouns in the Northwest Semitic languages form their plurals with a suffix. For example, the Arabic بيت bayt ("house") becomes بيوت buyūt ("houses"); the Hebrew בית bayit ("house") becomes בתים battīm ("houses").
The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian. Rusyn is considered to be either a separate language or a dialect of Ukrainian.
The East Slavic languages descend from a common predecessor, the language of the medieval Kievan Rus' (9th to 13th centuries).
All these languages use the Cyrillic script, but with particular modifications.
The East Slavic territory shows definitely a linguistic continuum with many transitional dialects. Between Belarusian and Ukrainian there is the Polesian dialect, which shares features from the both languages. East Polesian is a transitional step between Belarusian and Ukrainian on the one hand, and between South Russian and Ukrainian on the other hand. While Belarusian and Southern Russian form a continuous area, making it virtually impossible to draw a line between two languages. Central or Middle Russian (with its Moscow sub-dialect), the transitional step between the North and the South, became a
The Hokan language family is a hypothetical grouping of a dozen small language families spoken in California, Arizona and Mexico. In nearly a century since Edward Sapir first proposed the "Hokan" hypothesis, little additional evidence has been found that these families were related to each other. Although some Hokan families may indeed be related, especially in northern California, few linguists today expect Hokan as a whole to prove to be valid, and the term is often used as a convenient label to simplify one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the world.
The name Hokan is loosely based on the word for "two" in the various Hokan languages: *xwak in Proto-Yuman, c-oocj (pronounced [koːkx]) in Seri, ha'k in Achumawi, etc.
Geographic distribution of the Hokan languages suggests that they became separated around the great central valley of California by the influx of later-arriving Penutian and other peoples; archaeological evidence for this is summarized in Chase-Dunn & Mann (1998). These languages are spoken by Native American communities around and east of Mount Shasta, others near Lake Tahoe, the Pomo on the California coast, and the Yuman peoples along the lower Colorado
The Japonic language family includes the Japanese language spoken on the main islands of Japan as well as the Ryukyuan languages spoken in the Ryukyu Islands. The family is widely accepted by linguists, and the term "Japonic languages" was coined by Leon Serafim. The common ancestral language is known as Proto-Japonic. The essential feature of this classification is that the first split in the family resulted in the separation of all dialects of Japanese from all varieties of Ryukyuan. According to Shiro Hattori, this separation occurred during the Yamato period (250–710).
Scholarly discussions about the origin of Japonic languages present an unresolved set of related issues. The clearest connections seem to be with toponyms in southern Korea which may be in Gaya (Kara) or other scarcely attested languages.
The Japonic (or Japanese–Ryukyuan) languages are:
Beckwith, who controversially believes that the closest relatives of Japonic are the Koguryoic languages, includes toponymic material from southern Korea as evidence of a Japonic language there:
It is not clear if "pre-Kara" was related to the language of the later Gaya (Kara) confederacy.
The relationship of the Japonic (or
The Lower Mamberamo languages are a recently proposed language family linking two languages spoken along the northern coast of Papua province, Indonesia, near the mouth of the Mamberamo River.
The two languages, Warembori and Yoke, were listed as isolates in Stephen Wurm's widely used classification. Donohue (1998) showed them to be related with shared morphological irregularities. Ross (2007) classified Warembori as an Austronesian language based on pronouns; however, Donohue argues that these are borrowed, since the two pronouns most resistant to borrowing, 'I' and 'thou', do not resemble Austronesian or any other language family. The singular prefixes resemble Kwerba languages, but Lower Mamberamo has nothing else in common with that family. (See Warembori language and Yoke language for details.) Donohue argues that they form an independent family, though one perhaps related to another Papuan family, that has been extensively relexified under Austronesian influence, especially in the case of Warembori.
The Macro-Siouan languages are a proposed language family that would include the Siouan, Iroquoian, and Caddoan families. Most linguists remain unconvinced that these languages share a genetic relationship, and the existence of a Macro-Siouan language family remains a subject of debate.
In the 19th century, Robert Latham suggested that the Siouan languages are related to the Caddoan and Iroquoian languages. In 1931, Louis Allen presented the first list of systematic correspondences between a set of 25 lexical items in Siouan and Iroquoian. In the 1960s and 1970s, Wallace Chafe further explored the link between Siouan and Caddoan languages. In the 1990s, Marianne Mithun compared the morphology and syntax of all the three families. At present, the Macro-Siouan hypothesis based on relations among Siouan, Caddoan, and Iroquoian is not universally accepted proven.
Mataco-Guaicuru or Macro-Waikurúan is a hypothetical language phylum consisting of the Guaicuruan, Matacoan, and sometimes Mascoian and Charruan language families. They are spoken in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
The Mon–Khmer languages are a purported language family of Southeast Asia. Together with the Munda languages of India, they are one of the two traditional primary branches of the Austro-Asiatic family. However, recent classifications have abandoned this dichotomy, either reducing the scope of Mon–Khmer (Diffloth 2005) or breaking it up entirely, effectively reclassifying Munda as a branch of Mon–Khmer (Sidwell 2009). (See Austro-Asiatic languages for details.)
The reconstructed ancestor of the Mon–Khmer languages is Proto-Mon–Khmer.
The classic classification of Mon–Khmer is that of Diffloth (1974), now abandoned by Diffloth himself. (See Austroasiatic languages for details.) The only proper classification in recent years is that of Diffloth (2005), though the evidence has not been published and so cannot be evaluated by other researchers. Diffloth (2005) breaks up his 1974 conception of Mon–Khmer, resulting in Khasi–Khmuic (see) and Nuclear Mon–Khmer:
Sidwell (2005) casts doubt on Diffloth's Vieto-Katuic hypothesis, saying that the evidence is ambiguous, and that it is not clear where Katuic belongs in the family. Using lexicostatistics, Sidwell (2009) sees no strong evidence for
The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages, Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages) are all the related languages derived from Vulgar Latin and forming a subgroup of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family.
The Romance languages developed from Latin in the sixth to ninth centuries. Today, there are more than 800 million native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Americas and many smaller regions scattered throughout the world, as well as large numbers of non-native speakers, and widespread use as lingua franca. Because of the extreme difficulty and varying methodology of distinguishing among language, variety, and dialect, it is impossible to count the number of Romance languages now in existence, but the standard count places the number of living Romance languages at almost 25. In fact, the number may be slightly larger, and many more existed previously (SIL Ethnologue lists 47 Romance languages).
The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (387 million), Portuguese (204 million), French (74 million), Italian (59 million), and Romanian (24 million). Many of these languages have large
The Savu languages, Hawu and Dhao, are spoken on Savu and Ndao Islands in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
Cappell (1975) noted a large amount of non-Austronesian vocabulary and grammatical features in the Central Malayo-Polynesian languages of East Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, notably in Hawu. While he generally spoke of a non-Austronesian substratum, Hawu is so divergent from Austronesian norms that he classified it (and Dhao) as a non-Austronesian language. He says,
However, it is now generally accepted that Savu is no more divergent than the other Central Malayo-Polynesian languages, all of which display a non-Austronesian component that defines Melanesian languages.
The Savu languages have the same vowels and stress rules. They share implosive (or perhaps pre-glottalized) consonants with the Bima–Sumba languages and with languages of Flores and Sulawesi further north, such Wolio, and languages of Flores such as Ngad'a have rather similar lengthening of consonants after schwa. Dhao has the larger inventory, but even where the languages have the same consonants, there is often not a one-to-one correspondence. Apart from Hawu /v/, Dhao is more conservative. Hawu *s, *c shifted to /h/
The Tai–Kadai languages, also known as Daic, Kadai, Kradai, or Kra–Dai, are a language family of highly tonal languages found in southern China and Southeast Asia. They include Thai and Lao, the national languages of Thailand and Laos respectively. There are nearly 100 million speakers of these languages in the world. Ethnologue lists 92 languages in this family, with 76 of these languages being in the Kam–Tai branch.
The diversity of the Tai–Kadai languages in southeastern China, especially in Guizhou and Hainan, suggests that this is close to their homeland. The Tai branch moved south into Southeast Asia only about a thousand years ago, founding the nations that later became Thailand and Laos in what had been Austro-Asiatic territory.
The name "Tai–Kadai" comes from an obsolete bifurcation of the family into two branches, Tai and Kadai (all else). Since this Kadai can only be a valid group if it includes Tai, it is sometimes used to refer to the entire family; on the other hand, some references narrow its usage to the Kra branch of the family.
The Tai–Kadai languages were formerly considered to be part of the Sino-Tibetan family, but outside China they are now classified as an
The Tsimshianic languages are a family of languages spoken in northwestern British Columbia and in southern Alaska on Annette Island and Ketchikan. About 2,170 people of the ethnic Tsimshian population in Canada still speak the Tsimshian languages; about 50 of the 1,300 Tsimshian people living in Alaska still speak Coast Tsimshian. Tsimshianic languages are considered by most linguists to be an isolate group of languages, with four main languages or lects: Coast Tsimshian, Southern Tsimshian, Nisga’a, and Gitksan.
The Tsimshianic languages were included by Edward Sapir in his Penutian hypothesis, a theory which is currently not widely accepted but is undergoing investigation by Marie-Lucie Tarpent.
Tsimshianic consists of 4 lects:
Coast Tsimshian is spoken along the lower Skeena River in Northwestern British Columbia, on some neighbouring islands, and to the north at New Metlakatla, Alaska. Southern Tsimshian is spoken on an island quite far south of the Skeena River in the village of Klemtu. Southern Tsimshian is severely endangered, nearing extinction. Nisga’a is spoken along the Nass River. Gitksan is spoken along the Upper Skeena River around Hazelton and other areas.
Uralic–Yukaghir is a proposed language family composed of Uralic and Yukaghir. It is also known as Uralo-Yukaghir.
Uralic is a large and diverse family of languages spoken in northern and eastern Europe and northwestern Siberia. Among the better-known Uralic languages are Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian.
Yukaghir is a small family of languages spoken in eastern Siberia. It formerly extended over a much wider area (Collinder 1965:30). It consists of two languages, Tundra and Kolyma Yukaghir.
The idea that the Uralic and Yukaghir languages are related is not new. It was advanced in passing by Holger Pedersen in his 1931 book Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century (p. 338). Pedersen included both languages in his proposed Nostratic language family (ib.).
A genetic relationship between Uralic and Yukaghir was argued for in Jukagirisch und Uralisch ('Yukaghir and Uralic'), a 1940 work by Björn Collinder, one of the leading Uralic specialists of the 20th century (Greenberg 2005:124). Collinder was inspired by a 1907 article by Heikki Paasonen, which pointed to similarities between Uralic and Yukaghir, though it did not identify the two languages as genetically related (Greenberg,
Wakashan is a family of languages spoken in British Columbia around and on Vancouver Island, and in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, on the south side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
As is typical of the Northwest Coast, Wakashan languages have large consonant inventories—the consonants often occurring in complex clusters.
The Wakashan language family consists of seven languages:
I. Northern Wakashan (Kwakiutlan) languages
II. Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) languages
The name Wakesh or Waukash is Nuu-chah-nulth for "good", and was given by one of the early explorers including Captain James Cook, who believed it to be the tribal appellation.
Juan de Fuca was probably the first white man to meet Wakashan-speaking peoples, and Juan Perez visited the Nuu-chah-nulth people in 1774. After 1786, English mariners frequently sailed to Nootka Sound; in 1803 the crew of the American ship Boston were almost all killed by these Indians. In 1843 the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post at Victoria. European-Canadians had regular contact with the First Nations after that time, resulting in population losses in the early 20th century due to smallpox