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Marathi (also known as Maharashtri) is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Hindi and Punjabi. It is spoken as a first language by 72 million people and by another 3 million people as a second language in India, primarily in the state of Maharashtra. Marathi is the fourth largest language of India. Outside of India it … Full article

The Berber languages are a group of 26 closely related languages that constitute a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. They are spoken by 14 to 25 million people in Northern Africa throughout the Mediterranean coast, the Sahara desert and Sahel, an area which used to be dominated by Berbers before the arrival of the Arabs. Today, there are large groups of Berber-speaking …

Sanskrit, meaning ‘perfected’ or ‘refined’, is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of of all attested human languages. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family. The oldest form of Sanskrit is Vedic Sanskrit that dates back to the 2nd millennium BCE. Known as ‘the mother of all languages,’ Sanskrit is the dominant classical language of the Indian subcontinent and one of …

Aramaic (ארמית Arāmît, Ārāmāyâ), a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, has a remarkable 3,000-year history. It was spoken by Aramaeans, an ancient semi-nomadic people who had lived in upper Mesopotamia. This area is now, occupied by Iraq, eastern Syria, and southeastern Turkey. Hebrew is closely related to Aramaic. Aramaic is thought to have first appeared among the Aramaeans in the …

German (Deutsch) belongs to the Western group of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is one of the world’s major languages spoken by an estimated 95 million native and 28 million second-language speakers in some 40 countries around the world (Ethnologue). German diverged from other Germanic languages by a sound change called the High German Consonant Shift, also known as the Second German …

Catalan, also known as Catala, Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Catalonian, belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by 6.9 million people in Spain with a total world population of 7.2 million people. In addition, there are 5 million second-language speakers of Catalan. In Spain Catalan is spoken in the Barcelona area, Catalonia, Valencia provinces, Balearic Islands, Carche region, and Murcia Province. …

Tigrinya (Tigrinya, Tigray, Tigriññā, ትግርኛ) is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is closely related to Amharic,Tigré and Ge’ez, an extinct language that is still used in religious practice. It is distantly related to Arabic and Hebrew. Ethiopia According to the 2007 census, Tigrigna is spoken by 4.3 million people in Ethiopia, 2.8 million of whom are monolingual speakers of the language. It is …

Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ), also known as Kanarese, or Canarese, belongs to the Southern branch of the Dravidian language family. It is spoken as a first language by 38 million people and as a second language by another 9 million people in southern India, primarily in the state of Karnataka. It is also spoken in the neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. It is estimated that world-wide …

Slovak (Slovenský jazyk), also called Slovakian, belongs to the West Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by  4.75 million people in Slovakia. There are also expatriate Slovak communities in Canada, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, and USA.The total number of Slovak speakers worldwide is 5.2 million (Ethnologue). Slovak is close to Czech, and Slovak speakers in the …

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 …

The Yuè dialects, also known as Cantonese (Guăngdōnghuà), are one of the major dialect groups of China. They are spoken by 52 million people in the province of Guăngdōn and in the city of Guăngzhōu (Canton), as well as in Hong Kong, Macau, and in expatriate Chinese communities and Chinatowns in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. The total number of Cantonese speakers is estimated at …

The Austro-Asiatic language family consists of 169 languages spoken in Southeast Asia, in countries located between China and Indonesia. A few are spoken to the west of this area in the Nicobar Islands and in India. The austro– part of the name comes from the Latin word for ‘south.’ It is not known where the speakers of Austro-Asiatic languages came from or …

The Altaic language family derives its name from the Altai Mountain region where it is believed that these languages may have originated. It includes 66 languages spoken by about 250 million people (Ethnologue). Speakers of Altaic languages live over a vast territory that stretches from northeastern Siberia to the Persian Gulf, and from the Baltic Sea to China, with most of them clustering around Central Asia. …

Khoekhoe, also known as Nama, and Hottentot (the latter term is pejorative), belongs to the Khoe language family. It is spoken by 200,000 people in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa by the Nama, Damara, and Haiǁom people (Ethnologue). The name Khoekhoen comes from the Nama word khoe ‘person.’ Namibia Khoekhoe is the national language along with English and a number of other regional languages (Ethnologue). It is used …

The Algic language family is one of the largest indigenous language families of North America. It consists of 44 languages, the overwhelming majority of which (42 languages) belong to the Algonquian branch. The two Algic languages that are not Algonquian are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California whose relationship with the Algonquian languages was established by Edward Sapir, the first linguist to use the name Algic. …