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History and Classification of Languages

History and Classification of Languages

Posted by kimyen149 on Oct 09, 2012 - 12:00 AM  (1971 Reads)

This article focuses on history and classification of languages: the Monosyllabic, the Agglutinated and the Inflected. Thanks to this article, you can know about the characteristics of these three classifications and some languages that belong to them."

Today's philologists have made several classifications of the languages of the world based on descent and idiosyncrasies. Classifications are based on the outward differences of form that divides the various languages of the world into three great classes; the Monosyllabic, the Agglutinated and the Inflected.#

I. The Monosyllabic
The first or Monosyllabic class contains those languages which consist only of separate unvaried monosyllables. The words have no organization that adapts them for mutual affiliation and there is in them accordingly an utter absence of all scientific forms and principles of grammar. The Chinese and a few other languages in its closeness originally identical with it are all that belong to this class. The languages of the North American Indians though differs in many respects have the same general grade of character.
II. The Agglutinated
The second class consists of those languages which are formed by agglutination. The words combine only in a mechanical way as they have elective affinity and exhibit toward each other none of the active or sensitive capabilities of living organisms. Prepositions are joined to substantives and pronouns to verbs but never so as to make a new form of the original word as in the inflected languages and words thus placed in juxtaposition retain their personal identity unimpaired.
The agglutinative languages are known also as the Turanian from Turan, a name of Central Asia and the principal varieties of this family are the Tatar Finnish Lappish Hungarian and Caucasian. They are classed together almost exclusively on the ground of correspondence in their grammatical structure but they are bound together by ties of far less strength than those which connect the inflected languages. Spoken by people who had from the first occupied more of the surface of the earth than either of the others stretching westward from the shores of the Japan Sea to the neighborhood of Vienna and southward from the Arctic Ocean to Afghanistan and the southern coast of Asia Minor.
III. The Inflected
The inflected languages form the third great division of the languages. They have all a complete interior organization complicated with many mutual relations and adaptations and are thoroughly systematic in all their parts. The boundaries of this class of languages are the boundaries of cultivated humanity and in their history lies that of the civilized portions of the world. Two great set of people speaking inflected languages, the Semitic and Indo-Europeans have shared between them the peopling of the historic portions of the earth and on this account these two languages have sometimes been called political or state languages in contrast with the region of the Turanian as nomadic.
  1. The Semitic and Indo-Europeans
The term Semitic is applied to that lineage of languages which are indigenous in southwestern Asia and which are supposed to have been spoken by the offspring of Shem the son of Noah. They are the Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, the ancient Egyptian or Coptic, the Chaldean and Phoenician. Interestingly, the only living language of note is the Arabic which has supplanted all the others and wonderfully diffused its elements among the constituents of many of the Asiatic tongues. In Europe, the Arabic has left a deep impression on the Spanish language and is still represented in the Maltese as one of its dialects The Semitic languages differ widely from the Indo-European in reference to their grammar, vocabulary and idioms.##

On account of the great preponderance of the pictorial element in them they may be called the metaphorical languages while the Indo European from the prevailing style of their higher literature may be called the philosophical languages. The Semitic nations also differ from the Indo-European in their national characteristics while they have lived with remarkable uniformity on the vast open plains or wandered over the wide and dreary deserts of their native region. The Indo-Europeans have spread themselves over both hemispheres and carried civilization to its highest development. However, the Semitic mind has not been without influence on human progress. It early recorded its thoughts its wants and achievements in the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. The Phoenicians foremost in their day in commerce and the arts invented alphabetic letters of which all the world has since made use. The Jewish portion of the race long in communication with Egypt, Phoenicia Babylonia and Persia could not fail to impart to these nations some knowledge of their religion and literature and it cannot he doubted that many new ideas and quickening influences were thus set in motion and communicated to the more remote countries both of the East and West. #
    2. History of Sanskrit
The most ancient languages of the Indo-European stock may be grouped in two distinct family pairs; the "Aryan" which comprises two leading families the Indian and Iranian and the "Grseco Italio" or "Pelasgic" which comprises the Greek family and its various dialects and the Italic family the chief sub divisions of which are the "Etruscan" the Latin and the modern languages derived from the Latin. The other Indo European families are the Lettic Slavic Gothic and Celtic with their various sub divisions. The word Aryan Sanskrit "Arya" the oldest known name of the entire Indo-European family signifies well born and was applied by the ancient Hindus to themselves in contradistinction to the rest of the world whom they considered base born and contemptible.
In the country called "Aryavarta" laying between the Himalaya and the Vindhya Mountains, the high table land of Central Asia more than two thousand years before Christ our Hindu ancestors had their early home. From this source there have been historically two great streams of Aryan migration. One towards the south stagnated in the fertile valleys where they were walled in from all danger of invasion by the Himalaya Mountains on the north the Indian Ocean on the south and the deserts of Bactria on the west and where the people sunk into a life of inglorious ease or wasted their powers in the regions of dreamy mysticism. The other migration at first northern and then western includes the great families of nations in northwestern Asia and in Europe. Forced by circumstances into a more objective life and under the stimulus of more favorable influences these nations have been brought into a marvelous state of individual and social progress and to this branch of the human family belongs all the civilization of the present and most of that which distinguishes the past.
The Indo-European family of languages far surpasses the Semitic in variety, flexibility, beauty and strength. It is extraordinary for its vigor and has the power of repeatedly reinforcing itself and bringing forth new linguistic creations. It renders most faithfully the various workings of the human mind. Its wants its aspirations, its passion, imagination and reasoning power and is most in harmony with the ever progressive spirit of man. In its diverse scientific and artistic development, it forms the most perfect family of languages on the world and modern civilization by a chain reaching through thousands of years ascends to this primitive source. 

Source:  http://hubpages.com/hub/History-and-Classification-of-Languages

Author: Rudra