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Most languages belong to language families. A language family is a group of related languages that developed from a common historic ancestor, referred to as protolanguage (proto– means ‘early’ … Full article

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The Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family consists of a group of related languages that were spoken mainly in areas to the east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. All Baltic languages are thought to have evolved from a common ancestral Proto-Baltic which itself is thought to have split from a common Proto-Balto-Slavic. The Baltic languages are of particular interest to linguists because they retain many archaic features that are believed to have been present in the early stages … Full article

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The Dravidian language family is one of the largest language families in the world. The vast majority of linguists believe that the Dravidian language family is completely unrelated to any other language family. The family includes 73 languages spoken by over 222 million people in southern India, Sri Lanka, certain areas of Pakistan, and in Nepal. Commerce and emigration have also spread Dravidian languages, particularly Tamil, to Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji, Madagascar, Mauritius, Guyana, Martinique and Trinidad. The only Dravidian … Full article

Indo-European is a family of languages that first spread throughout Europe and many parts of South Asia, and later to every corner of the globe as a result of colonization. The term Indo-European is essentially geographical since it refers to the easternmost extension of the family from the Indian subcontinent to its westernmost reach in Europe. The family includes most of the languages of Europe, as well as many languages of Southwest, Central and South Asia. With over 2.6 …

Pidgins are “on-the-spot” languages that develop when people with no common language come into contact with each other. Nobody speaks a pidgin as their first language. Usually a pidgin language is a blend of the vocabulary of one major language with the grammar of one or more other languages. The major languages are usually the languages of the former major colonial powers, such as English, French, and Portuguese. For example, the establishment of plantation economies in the Caribbean, with large groups of …

Semitic languages constitute a the most populous branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. They are spoken by more than 500 million people across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. They are believed to have evolved from a hypothetical common ancestor called *Proto-Semitic whose place of origin is still disputed: Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and Mesopotamia are the most probable locations. The Semitic branch can be divided into East, West (or Central), and South (or Ethiopic) Semitic. The term “Semitic” is thought to have come from Shem, …

The Austronesian language family stretches halfway around the world, covering a wide geographic area from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Taiwan and Hawai’i to New Zealand. The family includes most of the languages spoken on the islands of the Pacific with the exception of the indigenous Papuan and Australian languages. The name “Austronesian” comes from the Greek words for ‘south’ and ‘island.’ Austronesia includes Madagascar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. With 1268 languages, Austronesian is one of the largest and the most geographically far spread language families …