Articles tagged with: language classification
Examining the history and geography of just one word across languages can reveal fascinating and instructive patterns. In this post, we will take a closer look at the words for ‘onion’—as well as its relatives, leek, garlic, scallion, and shallot—in a number of European languages. The important lesson to draw from this is that the distribution of cognates for any single meaning (and by extension a relatively small set of such meanings, such as a Swadesh list) may tell an interesting story, but it is often one of both common descent and borrowing.
In this post, we will focus on the problems surrounding Bouckaert et al.’s tree diagram of Indo-European languages; the next post will focus on dating issues.
Reading place names on a map can reveal who used to inhabit the land in earlier times. Take, for example, the map of Scotland. The toponyms here shed light on its earlier inhabitants: Picts, Scots, Anglo-Saxons, and Vikings.
The previous GeoCurrents post described the less commonly spoken indigenous Siberian languages and suggested that they elude easy familial classification. The other languages of Siberia fall into three separate language families: Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic. It has been hypothesized that these three families can be grouped together into a single Altaic language family. But the issue of genetic relatedness of …
Although Siberia is land of little linguistic diversity, the languages that it does possess present a number of interesting issues. Scholars continue to disagree on the basic classification of most Siberian tongues.