By Tore Janson
This publication is a heritage of human speech from prehistory to the current. It charts the increase of a few languages and the autumn of others, explaining why a few live on and others die. It exhibits how languages switch their sounds and meanings, and the way the historical past of languages is heavily associated with the heritage of peoples.
Writing in a full of life, readable type, special Swedish pupil Tore Janson makes no assumptions approximately prior wisdom. he's taking the reader on a voyage of exploration in the course of the altering styles of the world's languages, from historic China to historic Egypt, imperial Rome to imperial Britain, Sappho's Lesbos to modern Africa. He discovers the hyperlinks among the histories of societies and their languages; he indicates how language advanced from primitive calls; he considers the query of no matter if one language should be extra complex than one other. the writer describes the background of writing and the impression of adjusting know-how. He ends by way of assessing the customers for English global domination and predicting the languages of the far-off destiny.
5 ancient maps illustrate this attention-grabbing heritage of our defining attribute and Most worthy asset.
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Extra resources for a short history of languages
The most well-known isolate is Japanese, a very important language with a long history of writing and with more than 100 million speakers at present. It is true that it has been suggested that the language is affiliated with other groups; Altaic and Korean are prime candidates. But there is no very solid proof for any such connection. Another well-known example is Basque, which is used in northern Spain and south-west France, and is completely surrounded by Indo-European languages. It is certain that the language was spoken there when the Romans expanded over the area 2,000 years ago.
They inhabit a very large area, more than 5,000 kilometres from north to south and around 3,000 kilometres from 44 The Large Language Groups 0 800 400 1200 km 400 0 800 miles Bamileke Pokomo Duala Baya Fang Ngala Mongo Teke Tetela Luganda Haya Rwanda Rundi ku Su Lulua Kongo ma Gikuyu ba Kam Chagga Nyamwezi S WA H I L I Kimbundu Luba Lunda Mwera Bemba Yao Umbundu Lamba Comoros Is. Makua Chewa Lozi Nyanja o er Her Shona Ndebele Venda Tonga Tswana K HOISAN Pedi Zulu Sotho Xhosa Map 2. The Bantu languages 45 The Large Language Groups east to west.
To begin with, only single words are taken over, but in due time there will be other changes. How extensive these changes become, and which language will be most affected, has to do with the kind of contacts between the groups, and with their respective shares of power and influence. In that way, language changes are connected with history. The pace of language change is usually rather slow compared to the lifespan of an individual. Old people notice and often complain about some changes from when they were young, but mostly fairly minor issues.
a short history of languages by Tore Janson