a short history of languages by Tore Janson

By Tore Janson

This e-book is a background 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 to tell the tale and others die. It indicates how languages switch their sounds and meanings, and the way the heritage of languages is heavily associated with the historical past of peoples.

Writing in a full of life, readable type, unusual Swedish pupil Tore Janson makes no assumptions approximately earlier wisdom. he is taking the reader on a voyage of exploration in the course of the altering styles of the world's languages, from historic China to historical 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 developed from primitive calls; he considers the query of no matter if one language should be extra complex than one other. the writer describes the historical past of writing and the effect of fixing know-how. He ends through assessing the clients for English international domination and predicting the languages of the far away destiny.

5 ancient maps illustrate this attention-grabbing background of our defining attribute and most useful asset.

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38 The Large Language Groups So the Indo-European languages are really related to each other. They are believed to originate from a common protolanguage, usually called Proto-Indo-European. Let us now get back to the problem brought up earlier: how did these languages propagate? What is behind the facts that the Germanic and Slavic languages are found over such large areas and that the Indo-European language has offshoots that are spoken all over Europe and large parts of Asia? Several answers have been proposed.

They first moved, or spread, from an original habitat in the west, perhaps somewhere in Cameroon, several thousand kilometres eastward to the shores of Lake Victoria. They acquired knowledge about farming and livestock, probably from the north, around 2,500 years ago. Later on there was a massive expansion down the continent, towards the south and south-west. The Bantu colonizers practised farming, and they probably became more numerous than the original inhabitants within a few generations in the areas where they settled.

During some periods they have met other people, both for trade and for other common activities. But there has not been any state, or union, or other common institution causing the 22 Languages Before History people who talk in a similar way to regard themselves as a separate unit or group. The groups that people have felt they belong to have mostly been much smaller than any imagined group of all people speaking the same language. In such a situation, the language has no particular importance for a person’s identity or status, and therefore does not have to have a name of its own.

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