Memo to Self...

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Didn't blog yesterday due to moodiness.
Should get over that soon.

Ling. 292 notes:
There's no clock in this room, gyah.

How many languages in the world?
We can't really count, but the estimate is 5,000-6,000, with the range being 3,000-8,000.

No way to determine, linguistically, language vs. dialect.
Two key things to sort languages
1. Difference in structure--if extremely different, more likely to regard as separate languages. (Grammatical structure.)
2. Mutual intelligibility--less of this, more likely to regard as separate languages.

Neither simple to apply, nor are these absolute rules.
EX: Dialects of Chinese are very different in structure, but all are still considered Chinese.
Some Romance languages have very close structures, but are all considered different languages.
A speaker of Taiwanese doesn't automatically understand Mandarin--related, but not mutually intelligible.
Whereas some Romance languages are mutually intelligible, though it may not be balanced, as in
Spanish and Portuguese.
Political and ethnic heritage come into play. Two different states speaking varieties close to each other
look to different standards. There are gradations of dialect--language is fluid.
Language or dialect? is more of a political question.

Other problems counting languages--not all 6 billion people have been counted or censused, so it's not
accurate. Also, census questions can be faulty, and people don't always know what they speak.

Top five languages o' the world, come on down!
1. Mandarin Chinese
2. English
3. Spanish
4. Bengali
5. Hindi

About 12% (11.5) of the world's languages are spoken by fewer than 150 people.
About 1/3 (30.1) of the world's languages are spoken by fewer than 1000.

Ling 331 notes:
We will be studying language and gender, endangered languages and language policy, and bilingualism and bidialectalism.

Really. All the notes I took.