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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 to tell the tale and others die. It indicates 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 kind, special Swedish student Tore Janson makes no assumptions approximately past wisdom. he's taking the reader on a voyage of exploration during 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 exhibits how language advanced from primitive calls; he considers the query of no matter if one language might be extra complex than one other. the writer describes the background of writing and the influence of adjusting know-how. He ends by way of assessing the customers for English international domination and predicting the languages of the far away destiny.

5 old maps illustrate this interesting background of our defining attribute and most useful asset.

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There are many single small (and some large) languages in the world that are not related to any other language. They are usually called isolates. 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.

Languages Before History that all people who talk the same language belong to that group. There may be others who talk in the same way but do not belong to the group. Also, it is quite possible for people who talk in slightly different ways, or even in very different ways, to regard themselves as belonging to one group with one name. The second type of name denotes the area where the speakers live, or the family or small group to which the speaker belongs. That is as if English was called the Luton language or the Smith language.

This means that each group needs a large area, and has to move over it systematically. They cannot live close to other people. There are not many reasons to get in touch with people other than those belonging to neighbouring groups. Thus, each group is comparatively isolated. Each group of course uses a language. It is a well-known fact that languages are never transmitted in exactly the same shape from generation to generation; they change over time. If a group of people has few contacts with others speaking its language, a separate speech form will soon appear.

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a short history of languages by Tore Janson


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