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Language Families and Structures.

Understanding Languages and Their Relationships

Ashley Hillier

on 11 December 2017

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Transcript of Language Families and Structures.

Language Families And Structure
Language is a way for people to communicate with each other. This is a gift that has lead to co-operation between people and is a defining feature of humanity. It allows people to communicate with each other in secrecy or openess, with or without words.
Indo-European Family
Malayo-Polynesian Family
Sino-Tibetan Family
Afro-Asiatic Family
Niger-Congo Family
major linguistic group
originated from region bordering the Black Sea to the west, and the Caspian Sea to the east
The Proto Indo-Europeans (PIE) spread far and wide
Split into 10 different smaller families, two of which have become extinct: Celtic, Germanic, Romance or Italic, Hellenic, Armenian, Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavic, Balkan, Anatolian (extinct), and Tocharian (also extinct).
There are many links in between different languages in the Indo-European tree. For example, in English, we say water. In German, we say wasser. Or, in Spanish, one says aqua, and in Italian one says acqua. Please note that Indo-European languages do not encompass all languages in Europe. Hungarian, for example, is a non-Indo-European language.
Map based on Native Speakers
Language Isolates/debated Families

also known as the Austronesian Family
large linguistic group that can be classified into four groups:
Today, the language family is concentrated mainly in the Pacific Ocean and much of South East Asia.

originated from the Himilayan Plateau
main languages in the family are:
Compared to the Tibetan and Burmese languages, Chinese sound systems are actually a bit simple. Many languages in this family have have six vowels to eight vowels. Sino-Tibetan languages are heavy on tones. Tibetan has 2 tones, Burmese has 3, Mandarin has 4, and Cantonese can have up to 9.

distributed mainly across North Africa and the Middle East
should not be confused with the Nilo-Saharan Family
most spoken language in this family is Arabic
The five branches of this family are Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Egyptian (extinct except as liturgical language), and Semetic.
very large language family group covering most of sub-saharan Africa
The language variety is almost uncountable, as many languages are found in small geographic areas
a very old family
There are around 1545 languages in the Niger-Congo family. This is enormous compared to the Indo-European language, which has only 445.
But wait! There's more! Some languages have no links to other languages; these are called language isolates. Japanese was considered a language isolate untill a connection was found with the Ryukyun language. One example of a language isolate is Basque.
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