Mummer BajricMrs. Moore English II 2 June 1997 Why Is The World So Diverse When It Comes To Languages It is known, even to a person to whom the entire study oflanguage isn't familiar, that the language is the greatest factor on which most of the human activities depend. Without any form oflanguage, any cooperation and communication would be almost, if not totally impossible (World Book Encyclopedia 62). This significance of language is what draws scientists to study origin, differences and connections between languages.
Constant change of today's languages is what amazes linguists even more. With the emerging's of the new nations there was quite a number of new languages. One such case is the language of Former Yugoslavia, Serbo-Croatian, which is now called Croatian by Croats, Bosnian by Bosnian, and Serbian by Serbs. Though these languages were once united and actually dialects of one another, they split as the three nations split. With this came huge amounts of new words in Croatian and Bosnian which caused the Serbo-Croatian to rupture even further.
There are few conditions that keep a language unchanged. They include a stable government, good communication, a centralized educational system, a set of beliefs and traditions, and a spirit of national unity (63) Beginning And Change of Language Today's languages all have three basic systems, phonology, grammar, and serology, and many have fourth system, writing. In the beginning, people talked and conversed, but they needed something that would record and later on recall words (Spare 42). This destitution has resulted in early alphabets, pictograms. Pictures were used to represent objects and items. It was easy for people to represent those objects with the pictograms but it also was very hard to find a pictogram that would fulfill idea of, for example, craving (Laind 50-54).
Around 1000 B.C., the Phoenicians were the first people to use graphic signs t represent individual speech sounds (American Heritage Dictionary 65). Their alphabet is the foundation oftoday's Latin and Cyrillic alphabets used in most Indo-European family languages. Phoenician letters looked really different than Latin and Cyrillic. The Cyrillic alphabet is the first to emerge since Greeks have borrowed Phoenician symbols first. Most of the signs have been changed when they entered Greek. Romans too needed some kind of symbols for their language, so they too used Phoenician letters, but via Greeks.
Romans changed them how they wanted and created Latin; Greeks altered them their way and created Cyrillic. Though arrived from one common source, these two alphabets are considerably different from each other. This example of how acommon ancestry can be changed and result in several differentprogenies is a very interesting idea which is investigated by the linguists. There is a theory that today's languages are indeed descendants of distinct "parent" languages. For example many scientists are serious when they talk about pass Indo-European language that is the source of about fifty languages including English and French.
(Colin 112). Linguists hypothesize that all through history there were plenty of reasons for language change. One such is a theory of tribe movement, which states that when a tribe enters a particular territory and settles there for longer time, it will influence people not originally from their tribe to begin speaking thattribe's language. The best way to illustrate this is to give a description of on eof the possible ways of what happened in Europe during such movement. Early in history, people used to live in north-central Europe. Looking for food and better place to live, they entered south Europe, France, Spain, Britain, and reached all the way to Russia, Persia, and Indian subcontinent.
But on their way, for some reason, they didn't touch Finland and Estonia, and went around Hungary. This hypothesis can explain the enormous similitude between the languages of almost all of the Europe, Iran, and India. It also can give as an explanation regarding the strange language isolation when it comes to Hungarian, Estonian and Finnish languages (Davidson 28-29). Sometimes the change doesn't necessarily result in creation of new language.
It may also occur in development of existing grammar and increase in vocabulary. Sometimes it ensues in local dialects, that are still a part of larger language, though, in some cases, contain immense dissimilarities with it (World Book Encyclopedia 64). Other reasons for language change might have been initial migration, climate, and elite dominance. The initial migration is really a name for movement of people from Africa 100,000 years ago. Surviving traces of this migration include Basque, Caucasian, Kho sian, ans Australian languages. Climate, too, is a possible cause of language dispersal.
Global warming several thousand years ago opened regions north of 54th parallel to pioneers whose languages developed into the families known as Ural-Yukaghir, Chukchi-Kamchatka n, Eskimo-Aleut, and Na-Dene. All the differences and similarities have prompted linguists to create so-called language families. Language families are groups of languages that appear to have common characteristics. Linguists decide which language should belong to which group by comparing the words with the same meaning in different languages and by comparing the grammar and phonetic features. Word mother in Latin is mater; in German mutter; in Swedish mo eder; in Bosnian maja / mati. When linguists compared these words they realized that there was acommon ancestor of these languages-Indo-European language.
They have found semblances between other world's languages aswell. By doing that have created a dozen different language families. Some of the major ones, besides Indo-European group, are Indo-Chinese, Hamite-Semitic, and Ural-Altaic (Davidson 30-31). Going back to beginning, linguists wonder what were the first words. According to Guinness' Book of Records, the language withthe largest vocabulary is English, but the question is how 620,000 words English consists of came to being (Young 249). It is thought that the first words were created by caveman andcavewomen who described everyday routine, or other similar event by the means of sound.
One of those events could be hitting their heads when they tried to get up from the floor or sleeping place. The extraordinary pain would cause them to remember this situation by creating a particular word or sound for it. So when they we rein similar situation again, they would yell out that word or sound. Another example would be imitating the animal sounds and by that giving them the names and identifying them in the future (Laind 21).
These may have been the ways of how the word was invented. When more words were invented, "people may have gone on rather rapidly to invent more and more". We can assume that the most necessary words came first-warnings, commands, names of things and actions-and later on abstract words-names for ideas and emotions (23). Power of Language "Language has been called the most powerful drug known to humanity. The words we hear and speak can have a distorting affect on our points of view" ("Words, Thoughts and Deeds" 1). For huge amounts of words this idea is applicable.
Political terms are exceptionally tricky. For example, word "democracy", has started the biggest wars ofthe century. Both World Wars were fought for people to be free. In the World War I, Great Britain, France and U.S. fought against Germany, Turkey and Italy. Democracy against expansionism. In the World War II, again Great Britain and U.S. against Germany, Italy and Japan.
In this case it was democracy against Naziism and militarism. Vietnam War was fought "to stop communism from expanding", and to save democracy throughout the world. Words have been used to create different stereotypes aboutone's ethnicity or religion. Words have divided humans into white, black, red, and yellow.
When a person says "n r", people automatically think of a black man who is criminal, not thinking that their race is full of criminals, too. Words have been responsible for some of the most horrible crimes of humanity. Naziism got it's start by calling names. Their leader, Hitler, was known in history as the "master orator", since he managed to turn so many German people against the Jews". He knew how to pick the 'right' words for his purposes and to arrange them in slogans, which utterly overwhelm nonconformity with party doctrine".
Third Party Languages With today 6000 languages and dialects, the attempt to unite our divided world has been virtually impossible. The multiple languages in one country have also been a problem for human communities. More times the language has been used to partition a particular country, than to unite it. Since this is a serious problem, third language is often us edin relations between two countries. Those languages are often called linguae francae, which in Italian means Frankish language, named after a mixture of Italian and other languages used during the Middle Ages. Linguae francae are often used in trade and politics.
The best know lingua franca in politics is probably English, since it is used, along with French, as an official language of United Nations. English is frequently used in peace talks and in sporting events, such as Olympic Games. In a country where many seperate languages and dialects are spoken, one language may be chosen as the lingua franca of commerce and government. One country like that is India, where, even though 15 languages are constitutionally recognized, English serves as third party language. Other examples include Mandarin Chinese and Swahili, a Bantu language spoken throughout East Africa (Lingua Franca 1).
Creole languages are truly phenomenons, when it comes to linguistics. They are fully formed languages that develop from pidgin (trade) language and gradually become the primary language of a linguistic community. Basically pidgin and creole languages mean the same. Pidgin language becomes creole when it becomes acommunity's language, replacing community's original language. About 15 million people speak creolized languages throughout the world. Their vocabularies are often derived from Europe " 's major languages.
Some of those creole languages are French-based Creole in Haiti, Mauritius, and Dominica; Gullah language in east-central coastal states of U.S. ; Jamaican Creole; Kri o; Pidgin English et al. (Creole 1). Artificial languages are one more way to abate the differences between languages and misunderstandings those differences create. Since 17th-century, there has been an enormous number of artificial languages introduced.
An interesting example was the language Solresol, developed by Jean Fran ois Sure in 1817. Allies words were formed of combinations of the syllables designating the notes of the musical scale (Artificial Languages 1). One recent attempt is Hans Freudenthal's Linc os, intended as a program for establishing communication with extraterrestrial intelligent beings should they be located. "Although some natural languages have been widely used around the world at various times as a common means of communication among speakers of various languages, it is uncertain that any one language will ever be adopted universally". English and French are difficult to learn and are too closely identified with particular national groups. Basic English, proposed in 1932, was an attempt to remedy the first impediment by reducing the vocabulary to a core of 850 words.
For example, enter is replaced by go into, and precede by go infront of (Artificial Language 2). But of all the artificial languages, Esperanto is the most popular. It has a highly regular system of word information, with roots drawn from French, English, German, Latin, and Russian. A simple and consistent set of endings indicates grammatical functions of words. Thus, for example every noun ends in o, every adjective in a, and the infinitive of every verb in i (Esperanto 1). It was presented in 1887 by its creator Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof.
Esperanto has about 2 million speakers in about 80 countries. However, in China it had the greater impact. It is though in universities and used in many translations. Judging by that, ith as fulfilled its function.
Why is the world so diverse when it comes to languages was athe title question. There were many reasons why as explained int his project. Historic, political, and economic reasons interchange at this subject. We know how language is important tous, but we also have faced some situations where language was neither pleasant or kind. Those include wars, political disputes, killings, name calling.
All of these should have been eliminated long time ago, but since they are still here we all should work on those differences. Language is very powerful, but it shouldn't be used in above mentioned situations..