5.1 Classifying Languages

Languages around the world can group up to family trees

Language, Official Language, and Literary Tradition

Language is a system of communication through speech. It's a collection of sounds that a group of people that will understand to have the same meaning.

Official language is one that is used by the government for conducting business and publishing documents.

Many languages also have a literary tradition, or a system of written communication. Approximately 85 languages are spoken by at least 10 million people, and approximately 300 languages by between 1 million and 10 million people.

Language Family Tree

Language Family Tree

The worlds languages can be organized in a language Tree. The sections of the tree are families, branches, and groups.

Language Family: a collection of Languages related through a common ancestral language that existed long before recorded history.

Language branch: a collection of languages within a family related through a common ancestral language that existed several thousand years ago.

Language group: a collection of languages within a branch that share a common origin in the relatively recent past and display many similarities in grammar and vocabulary.