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Chapter 1

ANT253H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Austroasiatic Languages, Munda Languages, Uralic Languages

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Marcel Danesi

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Chapter 1 Notes
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
12:51 PM
The English term language comes from the Latin word lingua, meaning tongue
Different languages emerge in accordance to the specific experiences and needs of the people who
speak them.
There are between 6000 and 7000 languages spoken in the world today. (not including dialects)
More than half of the languages today are expected to disappear in the next 100 years.
In order, the most spoken languages are Mandarin, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, etc.
Language Families
Comprised of the Germanic languages, the Romance languages, the Indo-Iranian languages, with
3 sub-branches, Iranian, Indo-Aryan, and Nuristani
Uralic Languages
Most of which belonging to the Finno-Ugric family
Dravidian Family
Dominant in southern India
Munda Languages
Represent the Austro-Asiatic family, spoken in central and eastern India and Bangladesh
Sino-Tibetan Family
Covers most of China, much of the Himalayas, and parts of Southeast Asia
Tai Languages
Cover a large territory of Southeast Asia
Austronesian Family
Encompass the languages of the Malay Peninsula and most islands to the southeast of Asia
Ethnology is a method of living among groups of people and interacting with them spontaneously, so as
to gain insights about them as collectives.
Ethnography refers more specifically to the writing up of such insights as a set of observations.
American linguist Dell Hymes coined the term communicative competence, suggesting that
using language is as systematic as knowing the rules of grammar.
Discourse, an important term in pragmatics refers to the unconscious use of a specific type of 7-
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