a short history of languages by Tore Janson PDF

By Tore Janson

This ebook 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 exhibits how languages switch their sounds and meanings, and the way the historical past of languages is heavily associated with the historical past of peoples.

Writing in a full of life, readable kind, extraordinary Swedish pupil Tore Janson makes no assumptions approximately past 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 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 exhibits how language advanced from primitive calls; he considers the query of even if one language might be extra complex than one other. the writer describes the background of writing and the effect of adjusting know-how. He ends via assessing the customers for English global domination and predicting the languages of the far away destiny.

5 historic maps illustrate this attention-grabbing heritage of our defining attribute and most precious asset.

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But the Romans gradually expanded their realm, and around ad 100 they ruled over all western Europe and the entire 34 The Large Language Groups Mediterranean region. After a few centuries their empire vanished, but their language had become the native tongue of the inhabitants in most of the western part. Did the Germans and the Slavs also rule over large empires? The answer is no. There are no indications that such states ever existed, either in historical sources or in archaeological remains.

No one knows for certain what Proto-Germanic sounded like. It was never written down, and we do not know much about the people who may have spoken this language or precisely when and where it was used. But we do know a good deal about what has happened to the several Germanic languages. The oldest substantial texts in Old English were written about 1,300 years ago, and the first Old German texts are about as old. Thus, it is possible to follow the development of these two languages for many centuries.

In many other cases the situation is somewhat different. This is the case with Semitic languages, for example. The reason may be that there have been a number of dialects or closely related languages that have influenced each other through continuous contacts for a very long time. ” Among the numerous language groups in the world, IndoEuropean and Bantu languages are not the only examples of significant spread during a relatively short period. The Fertile Crescent, which is in Renfrew’s view the startingpoint for Indo-European languages, is also an area where speakers of Semitic languages are found.

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