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Analytic languages typically have words of one syllable with no affixes, or added parts; words are on their own, isolated , as in Chinese. In agglutinative from the Latin for "to glue to" languages, words are composed of roots, or basic parts, and one or more affixes prefixes at the beginning, infixes in the middle, and suffixes at the end of words with distinct meanings.

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In inflectional languages, the basic and added parts have merged, and the added parts have no independent meaning. For example, in Latin, which is inflectional, the subject's person and number are reflected in the form of the verb, as in fero "I bear" , ferimus "we bear" , and ferent "they bear" See also Inflection. An incorporating language is one in which objects, indirect objects, and other sentence elements are incorporated into the verb as one word.

The components of this word are ha negative , tu "we" , ku indicator of past , vi "them", meaning "objects" , wa "them", meaning "people" , and nunulia "buy for". Even though two languages form words or organise sentence elements in the same way, they are not necessarily related to each other. To establish relationships among languages is to study their genealogy and classify them genetically.

Unlike a typological classification, a genetic classification involves comparing the sound and meaning units of different languages in order to show common parentage.

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Like family resemblances among people, shared genetic resemblances among related languages do not depend on where the languages are spoken or when they existed. Members of a language family have a historical connection with one another and descend in common from a single ancestor. Language family trees show the relationships among languages; the oldest traceable ancestor language is shown at the top of the tree, and the bottom branches show the distance of relationship among current living members of the family.

Related languages are alike in that their grammatical elements and vocabulary show regular correspondences in both sound and meaning. For example, the English word fish corresponds to Latin piscis, and English father to Latin pater. The English and Latin words are cognates, that is, genetically the same. Where English has f, Latin has p; English th corresponds to Latin t; and so forth. Comparative linguistics is the field in which sound and meaning correspondences that is, cognates among languages are analysed ; genetic groups of languages are established ; and by comparing modern languages, the hypothetical ancestor languages of such groups are tentatively reconstructed.

Such reconstructed precursor languages are indicated by the term proto-, as in Proto-Indo-European.


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The best-known language family is the Indo-European family, which represents about 1. Further sub-classifications exist within subfamilies. English, for example, belongs to the Anglo-Frisian group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic subfamily. The closest relative of English is Frisian, which is spoken today only in parts of Germany and the Netherlands. The Indo-European family is only one of several dozen families and proposed larger groupings. Linguists differ in their approach to classification, and what a conservative scholar may term a family, another more liberal scholar may consider a subfamily within a larger grouping.

Conservative scholars, on the other hand, may consider that too little evidence exists to support such larger groupings. Other languages are present in Europe besides the Indo-European family. Basque is an isolate , or a language with no known relatives; and Finnish, Estonian, Saami Lapp , and Hungarian are the westernmost members of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic family which also includes various languages of the Ural Mountains region and Siberia.

Occasionally linked with the Uralic languages in a Ural-Altaic group a relationship now rejected by most scholars is the Altaic family, the main branches of which are Turkic, Mongolian, and Manchu-Tungus see Altaic Languages. Several unrelated language groups of Siberia are referred to by the regional name Palaeosiberian languages. In the Caucasus three groups, possibly related, have been identified ; the best known of the Caucasian languages is Georgian.

Many languages of India and its northwest neighbours belong to the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Two other groups - the Munda languages, usually considered a branch of the Austro-Asiatic languages, and the Dravidian family - represent more than 80 million speakers see Indian Languages. The family's principal branches are the Tibeto-Burman and the Sinitic which includes the many Chinese "dialects", really separate languages. Some scholars attach the Tai languages including Thai or Siamese to this family; others consider them of separate ancestry.

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In the Pacific, the three main language groups are, first, the Malayo-Polynesian languages, a family that has a Western or Indonesian branch and an Eastern or Oceanic branch; second, the Papuan languages, a regional group of New Guinea, comprising a number of isolates and families some possibly related to one another ; and third, the Australian aboriginal languages related to one another but not to non-Australian languages.

The extinct Tasmanian language may represent a fourth group.

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Africa has three other important families. Of the Niger-Kordofanian family, the major branch is the Niger-Congo; it includes Africa's most widespread group, the Bantu languages such as Swahili and Zulu. In the Nilo-Saharan family the principal sub-division is the Chari-Nile; its Nilotic branch includes such languages as Masai. The Khoisan family comprises the click languages of the San and other peoples of the Kalahari Desert.

Attempts to classify native American languages have resulted in the conservative identification of more than families. In liberal classifications these are further grouped into about a dozen so-called superstocks, but recent studies have challenged such groupings. Even with a liberal approach , many small families remain unlinked to larger groups, and many isolates exist.

Sub-arctic Canada includes various Athabascan and Algonquian languages. The principal Great Plains family is the Siouan, but Caddoan and western Algonquian languages are also spoken. Shoshonean languages Uto-Aztecan family dominate the Great Basin, bordered on the north by the Sahaptian family. On the Northwest Coast are the Salishan and Wakashan families, Tlingit thought to be related to Athabascan languages , and a probable isolate , Haida. In California many small families exist, their mutual relationships often disputed. The Mayan family comprises about two dozen languages with millions of speakers.

The geographic, or areal , classification of languages is also useful. Areal classification is based on the observation of the ways in which neighbouring languages have influenced one another. In discussions of the Northwest Coast languages of North America, for example, statements are often made that these languages share various consonants of a certain type, or that they all have a large fishing-related vocabulary.

Underlying such statements is an assumption that the similarities exist because, over time, these languages have borrowed grammar, sounds, and vocabulary from one another. Such regional resemblances, however, do not necessarily indicate either genetic relationship or typological similarity. When individual languages have a written as well as a spoken form, it is often the case that the writing system does not represent all the distinctive sounds of the language.

The writing system of one language may make use of symbols from the writing system of another language, applying them to sounds, syllables, or morphemes for which they were not originally intended. Written and spoken forms of the same language can be compared by studying the "fit" between the writing system and the spoken language.

Many kinds of writing systems exist. In Chinese, a written character is used for every morpheme. The written form of the Cherokee language has a symbol for every consonant-and-vowel syllable. Japanese is also written with such a system, which is called a syllabary. In writing systems using an alphabet, such as the Latin alphabet, each symbol theoretically stands for a sound in the spoken language. The Latin alphabet has 26 letters, and languages written with it generally use all 26, whether their spoken form has more or fewer sounds.

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Although it is used for written English, the Latin alphabet does not have symbols for all the sounds of English. For example, for some sounds, combinations of two letters digraphs , such as th, are used. Even so, the combination th does not indicate the spoken distinction between th in "thin" and th in "this". The written form of a language is static, unchanging, reflecting the form of the language at the time the alphabet, syllabary, or character system was adopted.

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The spoken form is dynamic , always changing; eventually , the written and spoken forms may no longer coincide. One of the problems with the English written language is that it still represents the pronunciation of the language several centuries ago. The word light, for example, is today pronounced "lite"; the spelling "light" reflects the former pronunciation.

In languages with writing systems that have been recently developed such as Swahili or reformed such as Hebrew , the written and spoken forms are more likely to fit. Unlike speech, writing may ignore pitch and stress , omit vowels, or include punctuation and capitalisation. The written and spoken forms of a language also differ in that writing does not incorporate spoken dialect differences.

https://wyndselabacde.tk Speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects, for example, can read one another's writing even though they cannot communicate through speech. Similarly , speakers of the different German dialects all write in High German, the accepted standard form of the language. The written form of a language may have more prestige than the spoken form, and it also may have a more complex grammar and a distinctive vocabulary. A standard written literary language thus tends to influence the speech of educated people.