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Definition of languages
The origin of languages
Definition of languages
The definition of language is to some extent arbitrary. This may be an appropiate and accepted definition:
"Way in wich human beings communicate with each other, as well speaking as by body and sign language".
We could also say human beings' capability to do certain things by means of visual or sonorous signs. We should point out that the term 'language', in English may be used either as a general concept (human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication) or referring to a specific linguistic system we use or have used. In many other languages, each of these two concepts has its own and different term to define it.
As the definition of language suggests only humans have developed such kind of communication.
The origin of languages
The origin of languages is quite uncertain. It is believed to have been a long and invisible process.
Some experts think languages were originated about 2.000.000 years ago and languages, after many changes and modifications, began to turn into something similar to the modern languages around 100.000 years ago.
Since the very beginning to date long time has passed, right?. Many languages have transformed into others, and many have disappeared.
Oldest cave paintings are thought to be more than 30.000 years old.
Egyptian language, one of the most inspiring ancient languages and its hieroglyphs ended up being used by the nobility. Both, cave paintings and hieroglyphs prove how long languages have been around.
Now we know that Sumerian was the first written language, and that ancient greeks called the foreigners
(those who babble), because of the difficulty they had to speak their language.
Many modern languages have born from Indoeuropean language, which spread through Europe, in the beginning, and later, penetrated far into Asia. Later, across the globe.
It is thought there are between 3.000 and 6.000 languages today. Some sources talk about more.
About 30% of these languages are spoken in Africa, and around 32% are spoken in Asia.
In some countries more than 200 languages are spoken.
The current country with the highest number of languages spoken is Papua New Guinea.
850 languages are spoken in this country!.
Only 600 out of those six thousand languages are being spoken by more than 100.000 people. We have to remember that this is the lowest figure for any language to not to be considered an endangered language.
The International Phonetic Alphabet
was devised, in the late nineties, to give a standard notation to all possible pronunciations of a word. It became uniform across languages and it is used in many dictionaries and text books to make the learning of a second language easier.
We add a top ten languages list by number of first and second language speakers (according to
Aside from the thousands of languages which are extint, some experts estimate there may be about 500 endangered languages today.
Two kinds of languages are commonly among them: regional languages and tribes.
It is even thought that in some regions or countries like U.S.A up to 80% of languages of tribes could disappear.
However, not everything is negative about endangered languages. For example, Hebrew was spoken by relatively few people, but after an awareness campaign it became the national language of Israel
In some countries, people are struggling to recover their mother tongues; this is the case for example, of Wales, where its mother tongue, Welsh English, is increasingly being spoken by more people.
Top ten languages list
We don't have very much to say that you don't know yet or you can't think of.
Everyone has their own way to approach languages and to communicate with others.
It may be important to practice every language skill; in other words, to practice writing, reading, speaking and listening.
If you want to master a second language you may want to practice all of them.
Study and practice may be the key words.
On this website you can practice writing and reading with the partner/s you meet, and outside this site you can even practice all the language skills with your partner/s.
No matter which skills are you practicing it will help you to improve the others.
Try to have fun and enjoy the culture and idiosyncrasies of any language. The way you approach a language and you maintain a conversation will depend on your personality and your partner's.
But to try to absorbe instead of analyzing could be a good tip when it comes to talk or converse with a native speaker.
Here you can make as many contacts as you want. If you want to find just one language partner try to be comfortable and enjoy your conversations. In any case the more you practice the better.
Even though you could feel sometimes that you are not improving your second language, you always do; improvement is directly proportional to practice when we talk about learning languages.
If you have time and you think you need to improve your grammar, try to devote part of your time to study it, when you are not with your partner. Or, why not!, you can study grammar with them!
However, don' t forget that your partner wants to practice and improve their second language too.
Take advantage of the vivid and vibrant nature of languages and enjoy!.
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