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English Communication: Change in the World’s 7000 Languages and What Happens When Languages Die

English Communication: Change in the World’s 7000 Languages and What Happens When Languages Die

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Here’s some more information about the world’s current 7000 languages – information all communicating human beings should know.

English is the lingua franca of our digital age.  Those who use it as a second language may outnumber its native speakers by hundreds of millions.

Heterogeneity of dialects and language isolates arises from geographic isolation of small groups.  In other words, dialects and languages develop when small groups of people live in areas without exposure to other groups. That was probably true of Paleolithic hunters,

Nowadays, the most concentrated cluster of 800 languages exists in Papua New Guinea with its isolated small groups living in highlands and rain forests.

Linguists estimate that by the end of this century, as many as fifty percent of the world’s 7,000 languages will, at best, exist only on recordings and in archives.

Why the death of so many languages? Throughout the world, people are turning from their ancestral languages to the dominant language of their region’s majority. In other words, people, especially young people, are stopping speaking in the language of their grandparents and parents and talking only in the language taught in school and used in business—the dominant language.  In South America, the dominant language is Spanish, but Portuguese in Brazil.  In the U.S., that is English.  In Africa, that could be English or French.   Assimilation into or taking on the dominant language often gives big economic benefits, especially as Internet spreads and rural young people move to cities.  Ah, big economic benefits means that a person could make more money using and mastering the dominant language.

Linguists recite the many losses brought about when languages die.

One loss has to do with ethnobotany.  That is the study of the use of plants, including hallucinogens, by indigenous peoples in the rain forest.

Relatedly, ethnobotanical approach to drug discovery is, in essence, fieldwork guided by shamans and healers

What does ethnobotany and the ethnobotanical approach to drug discovery have to do with language, including spoken language — living languages and those that die?

The taxonomies and the vocabularies of indigenous people and their endangered languages often distinguish hundreds more types of flora and fauna than known to Western or Eastern science and knowledge. For example, the Haunoo, a tribe of swidden farmers on Mindoro, an island in the Philippines, have forty expressions for types of soil.

Other examples: In Southeast Asia, forest-dwelling healers have identified the medicinal properties of some 6500 species.  In the 1940s Richard Schultes, professor of biology at Harvard did fieldwork in the Amazon.  He identified the source of curare, a derivative is used to treat muscle disorders like those associated with Parkinson’s disease. In the 1950’s, researchers for Eli Lilly and Company worked on several continents to study old remedies for diabetes based on the rosy periwinkles.  They isolated an active ingredient – vinblastine—used in chemotherapy for Hodgkins’ disease.

Quinine, aspirin, codeine, ipecac and pseudoephedrine are among the common remedies we owe to ethnobotanists guided and informed by indigenous peoples.

To put it bluntly, deaths of languages mean also death of the cultural knowledge embedded in those languages.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 

 

Rerun from March 23, 2016

Special Tips for Using Quotes to Communicate the Judgment of Experts

Special Tips for Using Quotes to Communicate the Judgment of Experts

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For best results for using  the judgment of experts as evidence to support your viewpoint or recommendation:

  • Explain expert’s credential if not known to listeners (Example: renown physicist)
  • Use short quotes
  • Putting quotes on projected slides increases their power

 

 

 

Rerun from April 11, 2016

Accent Reduction: The Twenty Most Predominantly Spoken Languages

Accent Reduction: The Twenty Most Predominantly Spoken Languages

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We are all part of this vast globe.  We are approximately seven billion people.  We conduct our lives in one or several of about seven thousand languages.

The mother tongue of more than three billion people is one of twenty.  In order of their predominance:

  1. Mandarin Chinese
  2. Spanish
  3. English
  4. Hindi
  5. Arabic
  6. Portuguese
  7. Bengali
  8. Russian
  9. Japanese
  10. Javanese
  11. German
  12. Wu Chinese
  13. Korean
  14. French
  15. Telugu
  16. Marathi
  17. Turkish
  18. Tamil
  19. Vietnamese
  20. Urdu

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 

 

Rerun from March 16, 2016

Use the Power of Analogy as Evidence In Presentations

Use the Power of Analogy as Evidence In Presentations

Whenever you can, use analogies to support the points you are making.  People remember vivid mental images longer than they remember words.

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Rerun from April 4, 2016

Accent Reduction- Get Inspired to Master These English Speech Sounds

Accent Reduction- Get Inspired to Master These English Speech Sounds

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Here is some information about the English language which will give you inspiration for mastering particular sounds:

  1. The most frequently spoken consonant is “n.”
  2. The “e” is the most commonly used letter in the English language. Furthermore, as many as one in eight of all the letters written in English is “e.”   Why are there so many letter “e”s.  Remember, we have words with silent “e”s  (cake, wade), digraphs (beat, meet), and many prefixes and suffixes are spelled with an “e” (delightful, planted, basement).
  3. More English words begin with the letter “s” than any other letter of the alphabet.
  4. The following sentence contains seven different spellings of the speech sound, the American long vowel “e”: He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas.
  5. “Pronunciation” is one of the words most frequently mispronounced in the English language. That’s because the verb is “pronounce” and people use that  “ou” as in “ow” instead of the American short vowel “u.”

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 

 

Rerun from March 9, 2016