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Questions tagged [language-families]

Groupings of languages which can all be traced back to a common ancestor language they evolved from, for instance the Romance languages are all descended from Latin.

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What make Latin and ancient Greek into different subgroups in the Indo-European family of languages?

Latin and ancient (Attic) Greek look similar in vocabulary and in grammar. What make them into different subgroups in the Indo-European family of languages?
Tim's user avatar
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How and when do polygenesis advocates think new primary language families arose?

I've been reading about linguistics and have read that most linguists are harshly critical of proposals of genetic relationships between primary language families, and that the predominant theory of ...
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How similar are Hebrew and Arabic?

Assuming they share a recent common ancestor, are there a number of cognates in their lexicons?
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Most different language from Zulu

Out of all languages in the world, through all language families on earth, of all 7,000 languages on the planet, which one has the most genetic distance from Zulu.
Ngumza Kwanza's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
354 views

Japanese is in its own lingustic family, but it sure seems to have a lot in common with Turkish

I speak Japanese, and recently, I've been exposed to Turkish. There's a good deal of overlap between structure, and some words. An example is "good", where it's "iidesu" in ...
b degnan's user avatar
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1 answer
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Can Tungusic and Mongolic be a language family that has same root

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16qyiuz4-rFJl0W1BHbFxA2Ujv9Qp7Key/view?usp=share_link Mongolic language family book pdf https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tGPEMAgZRqBiuFT4vJrvf41NXxlANjpg/view?usp=...
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5 votes
2 answers
473 views

Have other language families been mapped like Proto-Indo-European has?

Are there Linguists that have or are currently working to reconstruct proto-languages other than PIE? Or to map the historical relationships between various African, Asian, Native American, or other ...
SaraMonstera's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to explain differences in mutual intelligibility?

Suppose language A and language B belong to the same language family. And suppose the speakers of language A understand language B a lot better than the speakers of language B understand language A. ...
dobrze's user avatar
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How does an original proto language produce its daughter languages?

I am trying to understand the principles how a proto language produces it daughter languages, do they proliferate from dialects of the same proto language or do they proliferate from dialects of other ...
Linguist Enthusiast's user avatar
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2 answers
1k views

Why didn't a single language predominate China, Japan, Korea?

Because related Indo-European languages in the West spread enormously, why didn't related languages of some family (an obvious possibility is Sinitic) similarly spread through the areas that are now ...
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1 vote
1 answer
289 views

How likely is a close connection between Northwest Caucasian languages and Proto-Indo-European?

How likely is a "Pontic" language family linking languages from Northwestern Caucasus with Proto-Indo-European? The Yamnaya people had a lot of Caucasus ancestry, could some tribe from the ...
MMastro1610's user avatar
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Would we be able to prove "Afroasiatic hypothesis" without Akkadian and Egyptian corpora?

In an alternative world where ancient Akkadian and Egyptian corpora didn't survive, if someone formulated the "Afroasiatic hypothesis" encompassing the branches that current consensus places ...
Szczepan Hołyszewski's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
700 views

Examples of languages that should be considered dialects, or dialects that should be considered languages

Are there any examples of languages that are extremely similar but are nonetheless considered to still be separate languages? Or the converse, dialects of one language that are extremely different ...
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3 answers
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Are proto-languages necessary to divide languages ​within a family into groups?

For example, Indo-European family is divided into groups, such as Slavic, Romance, Germanic, etc. Some of these groups can also be divided, but let`s just assume, that there is no further division. ...
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Why are mixed languages so rare?

It seems to be an established fact that mixed languages are rare, and that most languages can be classified as belonging to some family. And this seems to be true; for example, in the former ...
Aqualone's user avatar
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How are languages classified into families?

I have heard that languages like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French are classified as Romance languages. Languages like Dutch, German, and English are classified as Germanic languages. All of ...
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3 answers
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Does an affinity between languages necessitate that the speakers be ethnically related?

It is generally assumed that semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic are similar because the speakers of those languages are ethnically related and share a common ancestry. In other words, A Hebrew ...
Bach's user avatar
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1 answer
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Could English fracture into a family in the future [closed]

I am curious about the future, and the English language. Could English turn into a family of languages, like American, British, and Indian which are related? This happened with Romance languages, and ...
Number File's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
408 views

Is agnosticism the current orthodoxy regarding linguistic macrofamilies?

I'm asking this very much much as a interested layman. As I understand things, the academic linguistics community, by and large, views macrofamily hypotheses - Nostratic, Altaic, etc - rather poorly. ...
Tom Hosker's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
277 views

Similarities between Proto-Austronesian and Chinese?

Proto-Austronesian was a language that was spoken about 5,000 years ago near Taiwan. I am just curious about, partly because of the geographic connection, if Chinese is related to the Austronesian ...
Number File's user avatar
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Modern Khmer and modern Vietnamese genetic proximity

I know that Khmer and Vietnamese are considered genetically related (Austroasian language family) but I don't know what were and/or are significant commonalities to justify that consideration. I also ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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Is the Indo-European language family made up?

Question Which European Languages are not Indo-European? on History.SE got this peculiar comment from user mathreadler: None of them are. Indo-European is completely made-up language family by ...
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1 answer
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What language was spoken in East Asia before Proto-Turkic?

From Wikipedia we have: The Proto-Turkic language is the linguistic reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Turkic languages that was spoken by the Proto-Turks before their divergence ...
Sepideh Abadpour's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
217 views

Accuracy of automatic (machine) translation of two languages in same language family

Are there any statistic on how accuracy the automated (program/machine) transition from one language to another language of the same language family? For example from turkey to azerbaijan, uzbek, ...
UserKa's user avatar
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3 answers
352 views

Is the existence of a mixed branch of Indo-European plausible?

I was thinking about the possible existence of a branch of the Indo-European family that combines features of several branches. For example, a branch that is something in between the Germanic and ...
X30Marco's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
191 views

What is Songhay's Family?

What's the current thinking on genetic affiliations of Songhay? My old texts confidentially place it as Nilo-Saharan. This places a likely proto-Songhay homeland back closer to the Nile, with its ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Where do I find datasets for linguistic phylogenetics?

Where can I find machine readable datasets for use in phylogenetic estimation? I am looking for anything---lexical cognate data, phonological data, morphosyntactic data---in any language family.
Namenlos's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
377 views

Can Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian be considered linguistically distinct?

I grew up the in the former Yugoslavia, and the language I studied in school was called Serbocroatian, which was spoken in four out of the six republics of the union. When the country fell apart, the ...
amphibient's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
831 views

How to get the similarity between languages?

Is there a good dataset or library or some trick for getting the similarity between languages, or n most similar languages? Similarity here means lexical and structural similarity for the purposes of ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
453 views

Does Sanskrit really have a large proportion of borrowings from non IE stock?

A comment on an answer to anoher question about Lithuanian suggests that 'quite a large number of words was borrowed from non-IE languages'. While some words in Sanskrit indeed seem to have Fenno-...
Manjusri's user avatar
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Is Thai language related or a descendant of Sanskrit?

Why is the Thai language classified as Sino-Tibetan/Sino-Burmese when its script looks like Sanskrit to me?
Ying Xiong's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
138 views

All all genetically Eastern Algonquian languages in the east?

Below is the distribution of the Algonquian Language Family from Wikipedia: They report this language family has 3 branches, but only one is "genetic" (actually related in structure, not just in ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is historical linguistics still producing new results?

My impression is that language families were established in the early XX century and, since then, there have been speculations how language families may be related but no new results, which are ...
martinkunev's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What is a small language w.r.t. the number of speakers?

What would you call a "small" or "medium" language in regards to the number of speakers? I suppose a "big" language would be Mandarin, English, Spanish, Arabic. Small would be Greenlandic or Faroese. ...
Finn Årup Nielsen's user avatar
9 votes
7 answers
11k views

Are Semitic and Indo-European languages at all related?

I can't help but notice word pairs between Arabic and some European languages that seem to be cognate, such as: Sabah "seven"/ German Sieben also "seven" Ktab "book"/ English tablet (both something ...
Harry Anderson's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
312 views

Difference between languages related a long time ago and unrelated ones

Would there be a theoretical way to distinguish between two related languages which diverged a long time ago, like tens of thousands years, and two totally unrelated languages, say, created ...
user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
615 views

Why are the first three digits in Austronesian languages so close to P.I.E.?

I noticed that the first three digit words for most Austronesian languages are awfully close to P.I.E. I speak Tagalog and at first, I had thought that the words for one two and three had been taken ...
Marco Ruben Abuyuan Llanes's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
291 views

Given two languages, one older than the other, what are the criteria to decide if the older one is an ancestor or an older variety of the other?

Let us consider two languages that are clearly related to each other, and one of them is older than the other. How would an academic linguist determine if the older language is an/the ancestor of the ...
vin's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
306 views

Filipino versus Tagalog

Is the only difference between Filipino and Tagalog the alphabet used to transcribe the various associated words?-Thanks.
Jack Maddington's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
556 views

What decides the language family of a language the most structure/grammar or the vocabulary?

My assumed premise: Indo-European language classification is broad. We can always find two languages of this family which are grammatically so different, and also the languages grammatically similar. ...
pinkpanther's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
362 views

Isolated language as null hypotheses?

When reading about rare or antique languages I often came across statements like "the most widespread / widely accepted theory is that it is an isolated language". You can read that for example in ...
Raphael J.F. Berger's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

What program can I use to make a tree of a language family?

I'm not looking to make anything really special looking, I'd just like to make basic branches going down to draw a family tree. I tried Paint but that's difficult to edit, and Word wouldn't be easy to ...
Sue's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there a phylogenetic tree for all known languages?

I have searched all over, and found a few but none of them have all known languages that ever existed, does anyone know of one of these? (p.s. I apologize for making language mistakes, as English is ...
theunie's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Origins of Turkic language family? Alternatives to Altaic?

I was just reading about various Altaic language grouping hypotheses on wikipedia. According the article, evidence for an Altaic language family that would include Turkic, Uralic, Mongolian, Tungusic, ...
Thomas Shaw's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
625 views

Do mixed languages have families?

It seems to me that when linguists talk about mixed languages, they talk about the parent languages that resulted in the creole or pidgin tongue, rather than what language family it belongs to. I've ...
Einheri's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
6k views

Which sign language should I learn first? [closed]

I want to start learning sign language. The Wikipedia lists several sign languages depending on real spoken languages, and they all have their origins and families and classifications just like spoken ...
Xirux Nefer's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
235 views

Would it be possible to discover through linguistics if any non-human languages influenced known language families?

Suppose some recent hominins such as Neanderthal had a spoken language (currently, as far as I'm aware, we are uncertain if they did, but suppose we knew they did). If this were the case, would it be ...
called2voyage's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

How much Lithuanian and Romanian languages are mutually intelligible?

I have heard that Lithuanian and Romanian are related. As such, I want to know, to what extent they are mutually intelligible.
user3245's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
251 views

How old is Hixkaryana?

Hixkaryana is a Carib language, spoken by some 500 people, in the states Amazonas and Pará in Brazil. I am interested in the history of this language, but very little is known. Can someone help me to ...
Lien's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
209 views

Why do we use "someone" to signify one person?

I can't come up with a better title so let me just say that I'm sorry for misleading you if this question isn't even close to what you expected. First of all my observation: In the three languages ...
Daniel Figueroa's user avatar