People tend to feel passionately about theirlanguage, especially when they sense that itis threatened.How important is language to a culture?Provide an example of importance.The French are amongst the mostprotective of their language. Explainactions taken by the French govt. to“protect” their language. Are theseactions likely to work? Why or why not?
What is a preliterate society? How are these societies like other endangeredspecies?How many different languages do linguists estimate are in use today? Are thereconcrete answers as to their origins and diffusion patterns?
The North American Navajo people were a preliterate society, yet their language madethem heroes in contemporary times. What was the Navajo contribution to the Pacificwar effort? Why is this ironic? Which battle was highlighted? Did the U.S. govt.attempt to destroy/eliminate the Navajo language?
At first glance on a map, Iowa Jima is a tiny, 8 sq. mile island of volcanic rock. But itslocation made it a strategic, must-have objective. Language would be a decisive factor.
How valuable were the Navajo code talkers? And did the Japanese ever figure itout?
DEFINING LANGUAGEConcerning the definition of language, what is the crucial part of the definition? Doother animals communicate with a “language?” How is human language fundamentallydifferent from other animal and/or primate languages?Do languages remain static, or do they change continuously? Provide some examples.
STANDARD LANGUAGE In technologically advanced societies, there is likely to be a standard language – explain the criteria. Who decides what the standard language will be? Today, which language serves as the predominant standard language in the world?
LANGUAGE DIALECTSThe distinction between a language and a dialect is not always clear. Describe a dialect.For an example, there are international dialects of English ….
…. and regional national dialects of English, such as found in the U.S. (provide examples).
Using a different scale map, geographersfocus on three dialect “regions” in theeastern U.S., where one can hear distinctdialects.
More often, dialects are marked by actual differences in vocabulary. A single word orgroup of words can reveal the source area of the dialect used. Linguistic geographersmap the areal extent of particular words, marking their limits as isoglosses. Identifythe characteristics of isoglosses and provide an example.
LANGUAGE FAMILIESIn the context of cultural geography, we are interested in how languages are distributedthroughout the world, what processes created this distribution, and how the presentpattern is changing. Why is language classification a difficult task?
Languages that are grouped in language families are thought to have a shared, but fairlydistant, origin; in a language subfamily, their commonality is more definite. Subfamiliesare divided into language groups, which consist of sets of individual languages.
THE MAJOR WORLD LANGUAGES Identify the language family spoken the most. To which language family does English belong? What is the single most important language? The 2nd single most important? Why should these numbers, especially for English, be viewed as approximations? Table 8-1 does not list any languages spoken south of the Sahara as major world languages. Why?
Since English is the “unofficial,” “official” world language, many countries, including Japan,go to great lengths to teach students how to speak English. How many years, onaverage, does a Japanese person study English? How is it taught? Are theJapanese mastering the English spoken by Americans?
LANGUAGES of EUROPE Identify the prevailing language family. How are the language groups represented? Is there a correlation between languages spoken and the political organization of space (examples)? Identify the exceptions. Thus, historical events shaped the language map of Europe and other regions.
LANGUAGES of INDIA How many language families are represented? Which two dominate? How many other languages are represented? To overcome this myriad of languages, what language serves as the standard language? How would this language have been introduced?
LANGUAGES of AFRICA How many languages are spoken? Are most written? What problem(s) can this create?
CHINESE: ONE LANGUAGE or MANYWhich language is spoken by the great majority of Chinese? Is there one primarydialect, or many? Describe the impact. Explain the language dilemma in Hong Kongfor the Chinese govt. Explain the Chinese govt. effort to create a national language.