Language Family & Similarities

Similarities

When going on holiday or learning a new language, we often spot similarities between our own language and the foreign language. The similarities can either be big or minor – but why the similarities?IndoEuroean language_map

Language scientists have found out that many languages are connected and bear similarities, why they have been divided into language families. There are more than 1000 languages in the world, but not all are spoken by more than a couple of thousands people and not all have a so-called written language. Because of the similarities the scientists have been able to relate the languages to each other and divide them into families. One of the families, which English, German, Danish, Italian, Albanian, Greek etc. belong to, is the Indo-European language family. As the name suggests, then the languages in the family are detected in both India and Europe.

Indo-European Language Family

The Indo-European language family is the most widespread and studied of the families. It’s believed to originate from north of the Black Sea and then around 3500-2500 BC to have spread as people migrated west to Europe, north to Scandinavia, east to India and south to the Mediterranean. The language then developed in different directions and transformed into the way we know them today.

The Indo-European family is divided into 12 branches, of which only 10 consist today.

The branches are: Germanic, Latin, Slavic, Baltic, Hellenic, Illyric, Anatolian, Thracian, Iranian, Indic, and Tokharian. (To read more about the branches go to: http://www.krysstal.com/langfams_indoeuro.html)

Where has the Indo-European language spread to?

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia.

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia. (http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm)

The Indo-European language Family Tree

Indoeuropean language family tree

This was just one of the many language families, of which can be explored further. I just wanted to give you a foretaste of the topic, so feel free to explore the topic even further.

/Sembach

Sources:
http://www.thisted-gymnasium.dk/klassiker/Sproghistorie.pdf
http://www.jensrasmussen.dk/sprogforstaaelse/familier.htm
http://www2.aasg.dk/asgaf/AP/03-Sproghistorie/index.htm
http://www.krysstal.com/langfams.html
http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/languagefamilyterm.htm
http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm
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