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Interesting Facts on Languages- 2012

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Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems ofcommunication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication. The scientific study of language in any of its senses is called linguistics. The approximately 3,0006,000 languages that are spoken by humans today are the most salient examples, but natural languages can also be based on visual rather than auditory stimuli, for example insign languages and written language. Codes and other kinds of artificially constructed communication systems such as those used for computer programming can also be called languages. A language in this sense is a system of signs for encoding and decoding information. The English word derives ultimately from Latin lingua, "language, tongue", via Old [2] French. When used as a general concept, "language" refers to the cognitive faculty that enables humans to learn and use systems of complex communication. All languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate a sign with a particular meaning. Spoken and signed languages contain a phonological system that governs how sounds or visual symbols are used to form sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are used to form phrases and utterances. Written languages use visual symbols to represent the sounds of the spoken languages, but they still require syntactic rules that govern the production of meaning from sequences of words.

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Interesting Facts about languages

Dialect - The term dialect (from the Greek word dialektos, ) is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of alanguage that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. Number of living languages: 7,358 Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516 Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 830 living languages. How long have languages existed: Since about 100,000 BC First Oldest language ever written is Sumerian(Cuneiform script -2900 BC). Second is ancient Egyptian (2700 BC) The oldest continuously written language is either Chinese or Greek, both being about 3500 years old. Oldest Spoken Language currently existing except in Asia is Greek. Chinese is the Oldest Spoken language currently existing in Asia Language with the most words: English, approx. 250,000 distinct words The first true alphabet is believed to be the Greek alphabet. The most common alphabet being used today is the Latin alphabet which was derived from Greek.

Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers)

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English is the mostly used language in internet and most widely published. The collection of all the letters in English is called the alphabet. It is made up of twenty-six (26) letters. Do not refer to any individual letter as an alphabet. This is incorrect, because only the collection of ALL the letters taken together is referred to as the alphabet. So the English language has only one alphabet which is made up of twenty-six (26) letters. The English alphabet contains two types of letters: vowels and consonants. Here is a list of which letters are which. Vowels (6) Consonants (20) A B C D F E G H J K I L M N P O Q R S T U V W X Z Y (sometimes) Diphthong a combination of two vowel sounds or vowel letters, for example the sounds /a/ in pipe /pap/ or the letters ou in doubt

Africa More than 2100 ( nearly 3000) different languages are spoken on the continent of Africa. 2006 was declared by the African Union as the "Year of African Languages"
Afrikaans is the only Indo-European language known to have developed in Africa. Afrikaans is Indo-European language, as are the lexifiers of most African creoles and one of the official languages of Africa. Many languages in Africa include a click sound that is pronounced at the same time as other sounds. You must learn these languages in childhood to do it properly. Somali is the only African country in which the entire population speaks the same African language, Somali .

Number language spoken in India:438
The oldest script used in India is Believed to be Brahmi

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The Brahmi script was the ancestor of all South Asian Writing Systems. In addition, many East and Southeast Asian scripts, such as Burmese, Thai, Tibetan, and even Japanese to a very small extent (vowel order), were also ultimately derived from the Brahmi script. Thus the Brahmi script was the Indian equivalent of the Greek script that gave arise to a host of different systems. The Bhattiprolu script is a variant of the Brahmi script which has been found in old inscriptions at Bhattiprolu, a small village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, South India. The best-known Brhm inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India The Gupta Script was descended from the Ashokan Brahmi script. The Gupta script (sometimes referred to as Gupta Brahmi Script or Late Brahmi Script ) was used for writing Sanskrit and is associated with the Gupta Empire of India. The first king of Gupta dynasty was Chandragupta I , the son of Ghatotkacha. The Gupta script was descended from Brahmi and gave rise to the Nagari, Sharada and Siddham scripts. These scripts in turn gave rise to many of the most important scripts of India, including Devanagari (the most common script used for writing Sanskrit since the 19th Century), the Gurmukhi script for Punjabi Language and theTibetan script. Vedas are written in Brahmi . Oldest Spoken Language currently existing in India is Sanskrit since most of religious slokas recited in Hindu temples are in SanskritThe oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is Pini Adhyy ("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). Sanskrit has been transliterated using the Latin alphabet. The system most commonly used today is the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1888/1912. Hindi is a "Sanskritized register" of the Khariboli dialect. However, all modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as Munda and Dravidian languages, have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (tatsama words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages (tadbhavawords). There are lot of Sanskrit Universities across India and one at Kerala in the honor of Sree Sankaracharya known as Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady

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Tamil is one of the oldest classical language in the world from available evidences. Tamil is only Indian language other than Sanskrit to be considered to be ancient and authentically original in its form and rich literature. Vatteluthu alphabet, also spelled Vattezhutthu alphabet (Tamil: y { vaeuttu; Malayalam: Vaeutt) (means rounded letters) is an abugida writing system originating from the Tamil people of Southern India. This rounded form of writing was also used in Kerala to write in Tamil as well as in proto-Malayalam and Malayalam language. Some Indian language became vulnerable due to partition between India and Pakistan Constitution of India provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the Official Language of the Union. The Constitution also lays down that both Hindi and English shall compulsorily be used for certain specified purposes such as Resolutions, General Orders, Rules, Notifications, Administrative and other Reports, Press Communiqus; Administrative and other Reports and Official Papers to be laid before a House or the Houses of Parliament; Contracts, Agreements, Licences, Permits, Tender Notices and Forms of Tender, etc. Regional language with English is mostly used for the communication purpose in state legislative assemblies. In some of the states Contracts, Agreements, Licences, Permits, Tender Notices and Forms of Tender are issued in English. The principal language being used in Kerala is Malayalam. The term 'Malayalam' as referring to the language of Kerala is of comparatively recent origin. To begin with, it denoted the land itself. It is probable that the term is the resultant of a combination of two words, mala meaning mountain and alam meaning the land or locality (which lies along side the mountain). Subsequently the synonyms Malayanma and Malayayma came into being as denoting the language of the Malayalam County and finally the name of the land itself was taken over as the name of its language. Evidently Malayalam belongs to the Dravidian family of languages, but there is considerable difference of opinion about the exact nature of its relationship with the other languages of the stock, with Tamil in particular towards which it bears the closest affinity. Quite a few scholars are of the opinion that Malayalam is but an offshoot of Tamil, or

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rather, a daughter. Linguistic research has yet to discover unmistakable evidence to prove its antiquity.

World Hebrew is an example of a nearly extinct spoken language that became a lingua franca and a liturgical language that has been revived to become a living spoken language.
Language with the greatest number of native speakers: Mandarin (Sino Tibetan, Chinese). Language with maximum number of Alphabet: Chinese. A well-educated Chinese reader today recognizes approximately 5,0007,000 characters; approximately 3,000 characters are required to read a Mainland newspaper Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of Suriname. Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This AustroAsiatic language is the official language of Cambodia. Consisting of 67 letters.(Guinness Book of World Records, 1995). It consists of 33 consonants, 23
vowels and 12 independent vowels.

Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea. Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants) The language with the fewest sounds (phonemes): Rotokas (11 phonemes) The language with the most sounds (phonemes): !X (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !X, the vast majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.

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Language with the most consonant sounds: Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul, has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages, !X has the most consonants (77). Language with the fewest vowel sounds: Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2 vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers living primarily inGeorgia. Language with the most vowel sounds: !X (31 vowels) The most widely published language: English Language with the fewest irregular verbs: Esperanto (none) Foreign Language which has won Most of Academy Awards (OSCARS): Italian (with 10 awards won and 27 nominations).
The most Oscar-successful British film to date is Richard Attenborough's epic bio-pic GANDHI, which achieved 8 awards for 1982,

including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor The most translated document: Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, written by the United Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects. The most common consonant sounds in the world's languages: /p/, /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/ Longest word in the English language: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters) mean lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust. The most difficult language to learn is Basque, which is spoken in northwestern Spain and southwestern France. It is not related to any other language in the world. It has an extremely complicated word structure and vocabulary. The population of Europe is about 740 million; of the whole world, but Europeans speak only 234 languages. Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world. It has been described as "the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past" and having "one of the richest

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literatures in the world". About 94% of all languages are regularly spoken by just 6% of the population of the world. Most languages are constantly used by less than one thousand native speakers. K. David Harrison, a linguist from the Swarthmore College, predicts that by 2050 about 90% of spoken languages will be dead. In Papua New Guinea there are less than 5.5 million citizens and about 830 languages spoken by them. The United Nation has six official languages, used in meetings: Arabic, Mandarin (Chinese), French, English, Spanish, and Russian. The Charter of the United Nations, its 1945 constituent document, did not expressly provide for official languages of the UN. The Charter was enacted in five languages (Chinese, French, Russian, English, and Spanish) and provided (in Article 111) that the five texts are equally authentic. Esperanto is the most popular artificial language. The number of speakers of English in China is larger than in the USA. Its estimated that up to 7,000 different languages are spoken around the world. 90% of these languages are used by less than 100,000 people. Over a million people converse in 150-200 languages and 46 languages have just a single speaker! 2,200 of the worlds languages can be found in Asia, while Europe has a mere 260. Most of the Endangered/Extinct languages are in United States of America and Australia. Endangered languages are Native American languages and Australian Aboriginal Languages Sacred Languages are Old Church Slavonic, Avestan, Coptic (ancient Engyptian), Biblical Hebrew, Ge'ez, Sanskrit and Latin . Except Latin (Vatican City or Holy See) and Sanskrit(India) and Coptic (Coptic Christian Church), other sacred languages are dead languages.

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The Hawaiian language has only about 1,000 speakers but it has stabilized at this number

Study of language
Linguistics: The study of language, linguistics, has been developing into a science since the first grammatical descriptions of particular languages in India more than 2000 years ago. Phonetics (from the Greek: , phn, "sound, voice") is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, orin the case of sign languagesthe equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs (phones): their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory perception, and neurophysiologic status. Phonology, on the other hand, is concerned with the abstract, grammatical characterization of systems of sounds or signs. In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are [p], pronounced with the lips;[t], pronounced with the front of the tongue; [k], pronounced with the back of the tongue; [h], pronounced in the throat; [f] and [s], pronounced by forcing air through a narrow channel (fricatives); and [m] and [n], which have air flowing through the nose (nasals). An Alphabet is a standard set of letters (basic written symbols or graphemes) which is used to write one or more languages based on the general principle that the letters represent phonemes (basic significant sounds) of the spoken language. A true alphabet has letters for the vowels of a language as well as the consonants. Glottochronology (from Att.-Greek tongue, language and time) is that part of lexicostatistics dealing with the chronological relationship between languages. Glottochronology was found to work in the case of Indo-European, accounting for 87% of the variance. It is also postulated to work for Hamito-Semitic (Fleming 1973), Chinese (Munro 1978) and Amerind (Stark 1973; Baumhoff and Olmsted 1963). Ethnologue (Languages of the world):

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Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization, which studies lesser-known languages, to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language and support their efforts in language development. In 1984, the Ethnologue released a three-letter coding system, called a SIL code, to identify each language that it describes The Ethnologue contains statistics for 7,358 languages in the 16th edition, released in 2009 Ethnologue lists 1,300 languages with 100,000 speakers or more, 750 with 300,000 or more, some 400 with a million or more, 200 with at least 3 million, 80 with 10 million, and 40 with 30 million.

Languages used to Control Ships and Airplanes

International treaties have designated English as the official language for airplane communication, though airports may use another language if both the pilot and the controller can speak it. The controllers must speak in English if the flight crew is not comfortable speaking the native language. Most of the words used by pilots areA=Alpha,B=Bravo,C=Charlie,D=Delta,E=Echo,F=Foxtrot,G=Golf,H=Hotel, I=India,J=Juliet,K=Kilo,L=Lima,M=Mike,N=November, O=Oscar,P=Papa,Q=Quebec,R=Romeo,S=Sierra,T=Tango,U=Uniform,V=Vi ctor,X=X-Ray,Y=Yankee,Z=Zulu According to International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities ( ISPS) , The records shall be kept in the working language or languages of the ship. If the language or languages used are not English, French or Spanish, a translation into one of these languages shall be included.

Language used by Disability People

Research in Sign languages started in 1960s in United States and Netherlands.70 million deaf people uses sign language as their first language or mother tongue. It is also the first language and mother tongue to many hearing people and some deaf blind people (tactile sign languages). Each country has one or sometimes two or more sign languages, although different sign languages can share the same linguistic roots in the same way as

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spoken languages do. Any forcible purification or unification of sign languages, conducted by governments, professionals working with Deaf people, and organizations for or of the Deaf, is a violation of the UN and UNESCO treaties In 1989 a group of American Deaf artists created the term DeVIA meaning art with a Deaf view. It is to entertain, share and educate in ways that express Deaf experience through their eyes.

Greek Alphabet

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Proto-Indo European Language. The language is classified into following groups or branches. Many historians have rejected the existence of this language



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Interesting Facts on Languages- 2012 Gupta Bhrami script

a i u e o

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English scholar James Prinsep (1799 - 1840) completely deciphering the Brahmi script and result is given below

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Possible derivation of Brhm from the Phoenician

Brahmi Script

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Brahmi stone inscription at Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

Fragment of Asokas 6th Pillar edict

Hindi Alphabet

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Sanskrit Alphabet : ashtangayogabrooklyn.blogspot.com

Tamil Alphabet

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Vatteluthu Chart

Vatteluthu in Tharisapalli Copper Plates.

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Matching letters in English, Devanagiri, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Sinhala


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TRANSCRIPTS OF ROCK EDICT - 2 OF THE EMPEROR ASOKA AT GIRNAR, GUJARAT, DATED 257 BC SANSKRITIZED TRANSCRIPT OF ORIGINAL TEXT : svR ivijte devana<iySy iydizRn> ra}a> @vmip TyNte;u ywa caela> pa<f(a> sitypu> kerpu> Aatapi[R AiNtyk> yaenraj> ye va Aip tSy AiNtkSysamIpa> rajan> svR devana<iySy iydizRn> ra}a>e icikTse kte manu:y icikTsa c pzu icikTsa c , AaE;xain c yain manu:ypaegain c pzUpgain c y y n siNt svR hairtain c raeiptain c , mUlain c )lain c y y n siNt svR hirtain c raeiptain , piw;u kpa> c oainta> v&]a c raeipta> pir-aehay pzumnu:ya[am! ,

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ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL TEXT : Everywhere in the domain of King Priyadarshin, beloved of the gods, and of his neighbours the Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputra, Keralaputra up to Tamraparni, of the Greek King Antiyoka and his neigbouring kingdoms, everywhere has provision been made for medical treatment of two kinds, for men and for animals. And where no medicinal herbs suitable for men and animals are grown, such herbs have been caused to be planted. And along the roads wells have been dug and trees planted for the use of men and animals.

Note: Facts are mostly taken wikipedia and other websites. Charts and language alpabet
images are taken from other websites

Courtesy: Wikipedia, WikiAnswer http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855611.html http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis #m_en_gb0642240 http://www.vistawide.com/languages/language_statistics.htm http://translation-blog.trustedtranslations.com/language-statistics-2009-08-21.html http://www.ssus.ac.in/ http://www.wfdeaf.org/human-rights/crpd/sign-language http://srhabay.wikispaces.com/12+MAIN+WORLD+LANGUAGES

http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/teachers/curriculum/m5/activity5.php http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00maplinks/overview/languages/languages. html http://asiancorrespondent.com/76351/how-many-languages-are-spoken-in-india/ http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/LAO.html http://www.ancientscripts.com http://www.ethnologue.com/ http://www.hinduwebsite.com/general/sanskrit.asp

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