Why do we have so many Languages ?
Wouldn’t it have been cool to go any part of the world and know their language, which will instantly let you also understand their culture , food , heritage , beliefs and slangs. But that’s not in my control for today , so let's see why are there over 7000 languages in the world .we (humans) had languages looooong before we had society & we were shifting from one place to next, wandering, leaving our cousins behind but more than that splitting up into a number of groups. And since language alters with time, each group's language altered but not in same way; so if after a 100 years, You ran into your fifth or seventh cousin, You would probably understand each other but have very different accents and convey some things with different analogies. Wouldn’t they ?
A 1000 years and forget about comprehension. 20000 and even if we had records of those languages, all our linguistic know-how would not enable us to identify a connection between them.
We think that the languages we speak stays relatively stable, but in fact, it's constantly changing .The people of a certain area would come up with a common set of words to communicate about particular thoughts and ideas that’s related to only their problems and geography . People in other parts of the earth, though, with different needs and backgrounds, would likely develop another set of words. And thus, different languages developed independently all around the world.Ok enough theory , lets see the proof.
Check out the Lord's Prayer in Old English, c. the 11th century:
And in Old English, c. the 14th century:
You see how words evolve and meanings too change as they move through generations. Go see the meaning of word Gay in 1600s if you have a doubt.
Did you know Papua New Guinea holds the record of 851 spoken languages ? In Indonesia, its 719 languages and in Nigeria, its 525. If you add all 3 of that , you are looking at a whopping 29% of the world’s 7111 languages. But Russia, 1403 times larger in size , has only 105 indigenous languages. This has been a trend that many linguists noticed , the countries in the tropical regions tent to have more languages than other.
In Papua New Guinea , as a result of the varied landscapes : tropical rainforests, coastal lowlands, swamps and many rivers it would have been difficult for populations to travel around and several groups ended up living in isolation, and have done so for so long, that they developed their own languages that are very different from each other.
In regions where vegetation is more dense, it becomes tricky to communicate from a distance. This affects specifically consonants, in particular the letters p, t and k, that have higher frequencies than vowels, which is why languages in these regions develop in different ways than in other parts of the world. The languages from colder regions does have a different characteristics to it . You see the pattern ?
Ok too much of info , just tell me how are new languages formed ?
A new language is formed when a group of people stop talking in their ancestral language due to a number of reason : something as simple as moving to a new place and starting a trade with a speaker of another language and trying to adapt to the new language for the better trade.
Imagine such an iteration happening due to number of reasons : natural calamity , war , collapse of a kingdom or even suppression of language , which we will speak about shortly. This is when , you can admit we've got 2 languages where there used to be 1.
Repeat this process through 1000s of years, a continuously changing language against the backdrop of the great migrations, conquests, and explorations of human history, and it gives way to the array of languages that we know today.
Do languages die ?
They die once speakers stop speaking them. However the majority don’t simply stop speaking their native language. It’s said easily than done.
For many years, the u. s., Canada, & Australia forced kids from Indigenous cultures to stay in residential schools and had to speak English.
Adults didn’t let them speak youngsters once they spoke their native languages. This traumatised the kids. That trauma still affects Indigenous peoples nowadays, and many indigenous languages and hence leading to extinction of few languages.
Sometimes, languages shift or evolve rather than going extinct.. How many of us can speak Latin today ? A handful. However that doesn’t mean it’s extinct. Scientists use it to call plants and animals. The language is common in religions, particularly Catholicism. In fact, Latin is that the official language of Vatican city..
Latin isn’t extinct. however why isn’t it usually spoken anymore ? Latin was the language of the Roman Empire. It spread way and wide. Then, in 476 CE, the empire fell. rather than going extinct, Latin evolved. In a way, the language remains alive nowadays. It became the Romance languages—Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
Tell me in the Facebook page comments , if you would pick up a language to learn , which one would be that and why ? Maybe i can help you find native speakers to practice. I am doing that with a friend in Russia for practising Russian.
SEE YOU SOON IN THE MOUNTAINS
Old Manali, Manali,
Himachal Pradesh, India
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