- Language Families
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’ in Greek). Please select a language family or branch from the drop down menu to learn more about its history, status, sound system, grammar, vocabulary, writing and much more…
Language FamiliesThe Niger-Congo language family is one of the largest language families in the world and the largest one in Africa in terms of its ...Iranian languages constitute a branch of the Indo-European language family. They are spoken over a wide area of the Middle East. The languages are called ...
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The Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family consists of about 195 languages spoken south of the Sahara desert in an area stretching from the south of Niger, across northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Chad. Chadic languages are so called because of Lake Chad. Chadic languages are the most distant branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family because they were the earliest to separate from the
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Artificial, otherwise also known as constructed, planned, or auxiliary, languages are those languages whose phonology, grammar, and vocabulary have been intentionally constructed by people, rather than having developed naturally over an extended period of time. There are many possible reasons for constructing an artificial language. Among some of them are the following: (1) to facilitate international communication, e. g., Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Volapük;
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
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
Language isolates are languages that have no known historical or linguistic relationship to any other languages. Language isolates can be found in all parts of the world. In some cases, languages are classified as isolates because we know so little about them that we are unable to establish a family relationship, as in the case
The Mayan language family is a group of 69 related languages spoken by some 6 million people in Central America. These languages are thought to have originated from a common ancestral language called Proto-Mayan which was spoken at least 5,000 years ago by inhabitants of the Mayan empire whose remains can be found throughout much of Guatemala,Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and southern Mexico.