By Tore Janson
This e-book is a historical past 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 heritage of languages is heavily associated with the heritage of peoples.
Writing in a full of life, readable kind, exotic Swedish student Tore Janson makes no assumptions approximately earlier wisdom. he's taking the reader on a voyage of exploration throughout the altering styles of the world's languages, from historical 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 could be extra complicated than one other. the writer describes the heritage of writing and the influence of adjusting know-how. He ends by means of assessing the customers for English international domination and predicting the languages of the far-off destiny.
5 ancient maps illustrate this interesting background of our defining attribute and Most worthy asset.
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Extra resources for a short history of languages
Even in a relatively fertile area, a square kilometre of land can support only a few people. In the Kalahari Desert, where the San people live, even more 25 Languages Before History space is needed. 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.
Most historical linguists share this opinion, but not quite all. A few think that it is possible to establish the existence of very early proto-languages, such as Nostratic, that is supposed to have been the proto-language of Indo-European, Uralic, AfroAsiatic, and more. Some even believe that one can reconstruct relationships among all languages on earth and retrieve actual words from the proto-language that they suppose was the origin of all other languages. For my part, I think that these ideas are not founded on actual facts, but on preconceived notions and wishful thinking.
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. This is what we call a dialect. If this process is allowed to run its course for a few centuries, the group may develop a language that is incomprehensible to all other people.
a short history of languages by Tore Janson