Language , Culture, and SocietyLinguistics 115CSU FresnoChandra Shekar. Ph. D.
Language , Culture, and Society•Questions addressed in this course: •What is the relation among major languages of the world, Culture and society in which these languages spoken,? •Why languages that in their day seemed utterly irresistible in their dominance and prestige, spoken across large regions of the world for thousands of years, were eventually eclipsed?
Scope of this book• Avenues of research on the history of Languages • Close study of a few current languages • Shallow study of many current languages • Study of languages through history• Topic of the present study. • Study of languages through history
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler Ways of recounting the history of the world. Via rise and fall of civilizations The (mis)fortunes of nation states Socio-economic systems and patterns (Capitalism, Socialism, Mixed-economic system, Communism, Princely states) Development of Technology (advanced vs. primitive) Chronology of war and military prowess (military might) Cultural and linguistic dominance
Empires of the Word Story of rise and fall of languages ◦ Reasons for the rise and fall of languages. ◦ Resulting rise and fall of cultures and civilizations.
History of Languages Languages and their cultural contributions studied in ‘Empires of the word’. ◦ Sumerian Akkadian ◦ Phoenician Egyptian ◦ Assyrian Persian ◦ Arabic Hebrew ◦ Turkish Chinese ◦ Sanskrit Russian ◦ German French ◦ Greek English
History of Languages The book concentrates on those languages that have been - in some form or another - globally influential: they include Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and the main European languages, not the least, English.
Languages of the WorldAbout 16 language phyla, about 6000 languages spoken today phylum group of related language families family group of related languages language group of related dialects dialect group of related idiolects idiolect speech of an individual Indo-European Mong-Mien Families / | | English Spanish Hmong Languages | | | | American Cuban Green Dialects | | | | George Fidel Phong Idiolects
Historical PerspectiveWe’ll take a long, purely historical perspective this semester: pre-history: before written records varies geographically history: after written records (6000 bce) varies geographically We’ll be looking only at written languages
Major Historical LanguagesEmpires of the Word covers the following and we’ll do so aswell• Expansion by land Sumerian (isolate) Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Babylonian, Egyptian, Phoenician (all Semitic) Turkish (Finno-Ugric) Chinese (Sino-Tibetan) Greek, Hittite, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit (Indo-European)• Expansion by sea French, Spanish, Portguese (Indo-European: Romance) Russian (Indo-European: Slavic) Dutch, German, English (Indo-European: Germanic)
Language FamiliesAre RoughlyRelated to GeneticPopulations
Journey of Mankind Type the following URL to view interactive power point presentation of the journey of Mankind. www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Scientists have used mtDNA to trace the evolution and migration of human species. Nuclear DNA vs mtDNA ◦ DNA within the cell nucleus (nuclear DNA) that consists of an estimated 70,000 genes that we inherit from our parents. ◦ mtDNA found in mitochondria that we find outside the nucleus, but within the cell structure.
Spread of mtDNA Fertilization of sperm and egg will have a mixture of parents DNA, and an exact copy of mother’s mtDNA. Father’s mtDNA is left out. One can trace the foot prints of mtDNA in human population. Mutations do occur, and through testing, one can trace the ancestry of any group of people and all the way back to the ‘mother of all mothers and fathers’.
Language must have spread the same way But the dates and maps have yet to bemade. This will probably be done in the next 20 years. All languages, and the cultures and civilizations associated with these languages, must have spread along the paths of human migration over millions of years.