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Major Languages

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Kingbarney
140124.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:37 pm Reply with quote

Im sure many countries around world have more than one major lanuage. Didnt i hear somewhere that Spain has 4 major language, none of which completely dominant over the others. So countries which have more than major language, not necessarily an official lanuage but one that a sizable amount of speaker in that country?

 
Jenny
140127.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:50 pm Reply with quote

I know there are speakers of Basque, Catalan and Castilian Spanish in Spain, but what's the fourth one?

 
96aelw
140128.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Galician?

 
Hans Mof
140130.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:53 pm Reply with quote

As for Spain:
Spanish (or better Castilian (Castillano)) is the official language throughout Spain. Nevertheless, there are regional languages.

- Catalan (Català)
- Galician (Galego)
- Basque (Euskara)

During the Franco dictatorship these languages were banned as he tried to 'unite' Spain. Today Spain's constitution recognizes historical nationalities and the regional languages are regarded as co-official.

 
Hans Mof
140132.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:02 pm Reply with quote

In Germany the official language is German (what a surprise!).
Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany and Frisian are officialy recognized and protected as minority languages.

Frisian is also an official language in the Netherlands.

Belgium is lingually split into French and Dutch.

Don't even get me started on Scandinavian languages...

 
Kingbarney
140137.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:20 pm Reply with quote

I guess we're kind of not qi in terms of languages in Britain:(

 
suze
140142.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:39 pm Reply with quote

The countries with the greatest number of official languages are Russia (39), India (38), Philippines (16), Italy (13) and China and South Africa (each 11). In most cases many of these have official status in only part of the country, but South Africa's 11 are all recognised nationwide.

In answer to the original question, well it depends what one considers "sizeable". For instance, in India there are said to be 1652 languages which are someone's first language, and twenty four of those have over a million native speakers. Countries such as China and Indonesia also have vast numbers of languages spoken by significant numbers of people.

Since most people here find Europe easier to get their head around, back to the continent where most of us live. Switzerland has four official languages, and French, German and Italian are all dominant in certain parts of the country. The fourth, Rumansh, is very much a minority language and its speakers tend to use German as well.

Belgium is very much split in two linguistically. The larger part of the country speaks Dutch (which they call Flemish) and the lesser part French. There's also a small corner where German is spoken, mainly around the town of Eupen.

Many of the countries of central and eastern Europe have little pockets where a language other than the main one of the country is spoken. Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Slovenian and Swiss German all have their corners of Austria, Poland has Czech, German and Lithuanian speaking corners, and so on. And don't get me started on Albanian or Norwegian just now - neither of those is actually a single language!

 
Hans Mof
140151.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:14 pm Reply with quote

Kingbarney wrote:
I guess we're kind of not qi in terms of languages in Britain:(


Britain is linguistically interesting.

First of all, there is no official language (even though English de facto holds this position). Then there are Welsh, Scots and Gaelic languages, and British Sign Language.
Immigrants from the Commonwealth add to this mix of languages. Outside of Asia Great Britain has the most speakers of Hindi and Punjabi.

Worldwide English is more often taught as a second language than any other language. The amount of loanwords exported into other languages and its linguistic influences in Creole languages are unequalled.


Last edited by Hans Mof on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total

 
legspin
140154.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:22 pm Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:
Kingbarney wrote:
I guess we're kind of not qi in terms of languages in Britain:(


Britain is linguistically interesting.

First of all, there is no official language (even though English de facto holds this position). Then there are Welsh, Scots and Gaelic languages, and British Sign Language.
Immigrants from the Commonwealth add to this mix of languages. Outside of Asia Great Britain has the most speakers of Hindi and Punjabi.

Worldwide English is the more often taught as a second language than any other language. The amount of loanwords exported into other languages and its linguistic influences in Creole languages are unequalled.


Ummm. Sorry for the pedantry but Scots Gallic is a gaelic language. The other one is Manx. If you are refering to Cornish, it is celtic but not gaelic.

 
Hans Mof
140164.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:40 pm Reply with quote

Sorry, for pedanting back but Scots is an Anglic language.
here is it's family tree:

Indo-European
Germanic
West Germanic
Anglo-Frisian
Anglic
Scots

Of course it should be differenciated from Scottish Gaelic.
Scottish Gaelic is a Q-Celtic language (like Irish Gaelic) while Welsh and Cornish are P-Celtic languages.


Last edited by Hans Mof on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:48 am; edited 2 times in total

 
legspin
140174.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:50 pm Reply with quote

Apologies, I should have rembered that <oops>

 
suze
140182.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:57 pm Reply with quote

Whether Scots is a language at all is a question over which linguists have been known to come to high words. Scots and Americans tend to say so, others that it's a dialect of English.

If one does count it as a language, then Ulster Scots could also be included (the Northern Ireland bodies consider it an official language of the province, alongside English and Irish).

No-one actually speaks Cornish or Manx as their first language anymore, but there are still some who speak Jèrriais (Jersey French) as their first language, and a smaller number who speak Dgèrnésiais (Guernsey French, not fully mutually intelligible with the Jersey variety). Whether anyone actually speaks the Sark variety as their first language any more I'm not certain.

As Hans has already noted, there are many speakers of Hindi and Punjabi in Britain, and a fair number of Bengali and Gujarati speakers as well. And it won't surprise British based readers to learn that the number of Polish speakers in Britain has increased dramatically in the last few years.

 
legspin
140192.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:27 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Whether Scots is a language at all is a question over which linguists have been known to come to high words. Scots and Americans tend to say so, others that it's a dialect of English.

If one does count it as a language, then Ulster Scots could also be included (the Northern Ireland bodies consider it an official language of the province, alongside English and Irish).

No-one actually speaks Cornish or Manx as their first language anymore, but there are still some who speak Jèrriais (Jersey French) as their first language, and a smaller number who speak Dgèrnésiais (Guernsey French, not fully mutually intelligible with the Jersey variety). Whether anyone actually speaks the Sark variety as their first language any more I'm not certain.

As Hans has already noted, there are many speakers of Hindi and Punjabi in Britain, and a fair number of Bengali and Gujarati speakers as well. And it won't surprise British based readers to learn that the number of Polish speakers in Britain has increased dramatically in the last few years.


We've just had the publication of our first local Polish language daily

 
legspin
140194.  Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:29 pm Reply with quote

Font size seems to be all over the place at the mo' for me

 
Gaazy
140209.  Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:20 am Reply with quote

Professor David Crystal, an authority on linguistics, says that - in terms of numbers of speakers - Welsh is in the top 8% of the world's languages.

Which surprised even me.

 

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