Languages and language families

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Def. "[a] set of languages which have evolved from a common ancestor"[1] is called a language family.

Major geographical language families[edit]

In the following, each "bulleted" item is a known language family. The geographic headings over them are meant solely as a tool for grouping families into collections more comprehensible than an unstructured list of the dozen or two of independent families. Geographic relationship is convenient for that purpose, but these headings are not a suggestion of any "super-families" phylogenetically relating the families named.

Families of Africa and Southwest Asia[edit]

Families of Europe, and North Asia, West Asia, and South Asia[edit]

Families of East Asia and Southeast Asia and the Pacific[edit]

Families of the Americas[edit]

Proposed Language Super-Families[edit]

Creoles, Pidgins, and Trade languages[edit]

Isolate languages[edit]

Def. "[a] natural language with no proven relationship with another living language"[2] is called a language isolate.

Isolate languages share no apparent traits with any known language family.

  • Basque (The language of the Basques, people of unknown origin inhabiting the western Pyrenees and the Bay of Biscay in France and Spain.)
  • Burushaski
  • Ainu
  • Vascan

Sign languages[edit]

Other Natural Languages of Special Interest[edit]

Artificial Languages[edit]

Besides the above languages that have arisen spontaneously out of the capability for vocal communication, there are also languages that share many of their important properties.

See also[edit]


  1. "language family". Wiktionary (San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc). June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  2. "language isolate". Wiktionary (San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc). August 31, 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-11. 

External links[edit]

{{Linguistics resources}}{{Universal translator}}

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