why do we have different languages in the world
How many do you speak? If you're a student in the United States, the answer might be just one: English. Of course, many U. S. students speak two languages, such as English and Spanish, while other students may speak a few different. You're probably familiar with the languages in many countries. For example, if you lived in, you would speak what? French, of course! What about Germany? German, naturally! But what about the many other nations around the world? Just how many languages are there, and why are there so many? Linguists, experts who study, don't have all the answers. Human beings have been communicating with
languages since their earliest days on Earth. Some people that everyone once spoke a common. Whether that's true or not can't be confirmed, because there simply aren't historical accounts that go back in time to the earliest days of. Linguists can only make educated guesses about how the earliest humans began to use. Perhaps they imitated sounds they around them in. Or maybe they developed sounds to the simplest ideas, such as how to use tools and obtain necessary resources, such as food, water, shelter, and fire. All of the people living in a certain area would tend to develop a common set of words for thoughts and ideas they wanted to communicate. People in other areas of the world, though, with different needs and backgrounds, would likely develop other words. In this way, different languages might have developed all around the world. Over time, groups of people would meet and merge. At other times, one group of people would another. During these times of, great changes could take place within languages, with some languages dying out while others or changed to a new altogether. Linguists also cannot tell us exactly how many languages there are in the world today.
Part of the reason is that some areas of the world remain unexplored to the point of knowing the exact range of languages in any specific area. It's also more complicated to count languages than you might guess. For example, many languages have many different dialects within them. These dialects may be very similar to the base with only minor differences based upon local customs and usage. On the other hand, some dialects can be different to the point of seeming like an entirely separate. Linguists often disagree about exactly how to count languages when these issues arise. Despite the issues with defining and counting languages, linguists now believe there might be close to 7,000 distinct languages around the world. Where in the world are all these languages? Linguists agree that they're not spread around the world. For example, only about 230 languages are in Europe, whereas over 2,000 languages are across Asia. One particularly-diverse area is Papua-New Guinea, where a population of about 4 million people speaks as many as 832 different languages! Could you imagine learning so many languages? Most people struggle to learn a second in addition to their primary. Others, though, have learned to master many different languages. For example, hyperpolyglots are people who study to learn large numbers of languages. Studies of hyperpolyglots around the world reveal people who use up to 14 languages on a daily basis as a translator to those who have a working knowledge of 60 or more languages. How many languages do you think you could learn if you set your mind to it? Why don't humans all speak the same language? And if they (we? ) did, what language would it be? Misunderstandings run rampant even when humans speak the same language, so what difference does it make?
It is supposed, but not proven, that all humans came originally from Africa. But no one knows for sure if language arose in just one group or simultaneously in several groups. Some languages are clearly related, others, such as the Basque language, seem to be entirely different from any other. We do know, however, that language ability is a genetic trait, even if they have different words and word orders, all languages have the same structure and parts of speech. Children in any culture naturally know how to form a past participle, for instance, English children initially saying "catched" until they are taught it is an irregular verb. But, regardless, of whether or not all languages originated from a single prototype language, we can see that groups of humans all over the world have been physicallly and culturally isolated for long periods throughout history. Look at China even now, we know little or nothing about what one sixth of the world population is doing. Moreover there are a few tribes even today in South America and New Guinea entirely isolated from the rest of the world. Taking the aborigines of Australia as an example, we know that, apart from a little trading across the Torres strait, they remained cut off from Asia 13000 years ago when rising sea level flooded the land bridges which had enabled them to get to Australia, only to be rediscovered a few hundred years ago. It would be pretty amazing if, after 13000 years of separation, they still spoke essentially the same language as the peoples of mainland Asia. Now that geographical separation is a thing of the past and cultural isolation very difficult to maintain we are going to see a trend towards a common language. There are between 5 and 6 thousand known languages but the top 30 account for half the world's population.
Language changes so quickly that by the time any two peoples have diverged their dialects have also diverged. This is because most of human language is not "hard-wired" into our genetic makeup, but is developed instinctively by language-learning mechanisms that are hard-wired. Primitive expressions of emotional or physical sensation (such as laughter) are programmed into our genes, but instead of having equivalent systems for higher language we are programmed to learn language in a certain structured way, allowing our language to adapt to suit our purposes. If language did not evolve in this way we would never have been able to build cities since we would have had no words to describe the concepts involved - and even if we had succeeded we would be at a loss to describe our experiences in a modern urban world with only words for "fire", "wolf", "eat", "sex" and so on. If the Bible is to believed, man did once speak a common language. However, apparently God wasn't happy with this arrangement, and thus created chaos at the Tower of Babel, when suddenly everyone became unable to understand one another. We did (once). All our European/Caucasian ancestors spoke Proto-Indo-European. Rational assumption would be that before that, the tribe we all come from communicated in the same language. More rational question would be - why do we all speak different languages now? It's a great pity that Esperanto was not received with the enthusiasm such a wonderful and uniting concept deserved. Now it's too late and English seems to be well on the way towards establishing itself as the essential second language world wide. In another hundred years it could be the universal first language. English speakers today would probably not recognise it. Totally awesome ain't it.
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