Indo-European Branches of Language, Romance, Balto-Slavic Branch of Indo-European
The Indo-European language family is the world’s most extensively spoken language family. Nearly 3 billion people speak an Indo-European language as their first language. English is a part of the Indo-European language family.
- A language family is a collection of languages related through a common ancestral language.
- Within a language family, is a language branch is a collection of languages related through a common ancestral language from several thousand years ago.
- In a language branch, is a language group which is a collection of languages that share a common origin and have few differences in grammer and vocabulary.
Indo-European language is divided into 8 brances: 4 of the branches-Indo-Iranian, Romance, Germanic, and Balto-Slavic. The other 4 less extensively used branches are Albanian, Armenian, Greek, and Celtic.
- The Germanic branch is spoken in Northwestern Europe and North America. It is broken up into two groups: West Germanic and North Germanic. Languages in the North Germanic group include Swedish, Danish, Norwegian,
and Icelandic. In the West Germanic Group, there is high and low Germanic. High Germanic is the modern standard German Language. Low Germanic consists of English, Dutch, Flemish, Afrikaans, Frisian, and a dialect of German in northern low lands.
- The Indo-Iranian branch is spoken in South Asia. It has the most speakers (1 billion), and more than 100 individual languages. It can be categorized into two groups: Indic (Eastern) and Iranian (Western). The Indic group is most widely used in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 1/3 of Indians use Hindi Language. Pakistan’s principal language is Urdu. Hindustani is the basis of both languages. India recognizes 18 languages, but English has “associate status” in India due to its former colonial rule. The Iranian group is spoken in Iran and countries in Southwestern Asia. Persian (Farsi) is the language used in Iran. Pashto is spoken in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Kurdish is used by the Kurds of western Iran, northern Iraq, and eastern Turkey. These languages are written in Arabic.
- The Balto-Slavic branch also is used by large numbers. Slavic was once a single language, but several Slavs migrated in 7th century A.D. The two groups of this branch include: East Slavic and Baltic Groups, and West and South Slavic Groups. Eastern Slavic languages are the most widely used, for example, Russian is spoken by more than 80% Russian people. Following Russian other popular languages in this area are Ukranian and Belarusan.
The desire for other languages than Russian was a drive in its breakup. The most spoken West Slavic language is Polish, which is then followed by Czech and Slovak. The most important South Slavic is the one spoken in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Bosnians and Croats write in the Roman; Montenegrans and Serbs use Cyrillic.
- The Romance branch evolved from the Latin language spoken by the Romans 2,000 years ago. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, regions still spoke variated Latin and were isolated long enough for distinct languages to evolve. The four most widely used contemporary Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. These are in the modern states of Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. The fifth most important is Romanian. Romania is separated from the other countries by Slavic-speaking peoples. Other unofficial languages that are spoken in various regions of each of these Romance countries include: Galician, Catalan, French (Occitan), Sardinian, Romansh, Ladin, Friulian.
1.) What is the influence of geography on languages?
2.) How have languages changed over time, what factors might have influenced distinct dialects?