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Linguistic Diversity in South America

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Haley Vartanian

on 21 November 2014

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Transcript of Linguistic Diversity in South America

Linguistic Diversity in South America
Haley Vartanian
The Languages of South America
-Most commonly spoken languages now are Spanish and Portuguese, introduced by colonizers

-Over 400 indigenous languages, spoken by more than 11 million people

-Estimated 1500 languages at European contact; many were lost


Language Diversity

-South America has an estimated 37 language families (out of 136 in the world), making it one of the most linguistically diverse places

-None of its languages are related to the language families of North and Central America
-Languages are grouped into language families
Why So Many?
-Not many pre-Columbian empires to spread one language across a large area
-Quechua from Incas is the exception

-Geography: jungles, rivers, mountains kept languages separate (and led to many isolates and small families)
Sources
http://aboutworldlanguages.com/indigenous-languages-of-south-america

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_languages_of_the_Americas

http://www.ethnologue.com/statistics/family
Pirahã
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