1Steven Pinker, 1954, USA, the language instinct.
means the skill of using language in a way that has an influence on a group of
people or entertains them.
3 The story is an anecdote.
4 Latin pater;
HAVE NOT MENTIONED ANY INSCRIPTION BEFORE).
As a result, here is an incredibly old and
continuously developing civilization at the heart of Europe which is quite
different from the countries surrounding it, which is called Germany. In my
opinion, the reason that it’s different is because of its language and culture,
which has existed for 3500 years. Many argue that it’s because of the genetic
of the German people that they are quite unique. Research (SOURCE) shows that
the genetics of people who live in Germany today is quite diverse and doesn’t
trace to a definite origin. For further information regarding the genetic of
the German people visit ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179365/
‘Germany has 3500
years of unbroken cultural tradition. The political nation has only existed
since 1871, but not continuously. In other words, Germany itself has barely
existed in the history of Europe but people speaking various versions of
German, Germanic people, have existed for about 3500 years. The language tree
below shows the background and the development of the Germanic language. The language has been developing in an unbroken stream; it’s never been
conquered and never been transformed by an outside force.’ -Wes Cecil (QUOTE).
The important thing to
keep in mind is that the German language resulted from the blending of the dialects
of the three groups of westgermanen. A blending which took place fifth century
The last three groups
are also categorized as westgermanen. During the following centuries
(200-300 AD.) these groups spread around the Europe. This mass migration of
Germanic tribes is known as volkerwanderung.
Elbgermanen were the upper saxon
Weser-Rhine-Germanen lived between Weser
Nordseegermanen lived on the north sea
To the east, between the Oder and
Vistula rivers, were the Ostgermanen sometimes known collectively as Oder-weischel-Germanen.
In Scandinavia were the Nordgermanen.
These are the linguistic ancestors of of the present day Norwegian, Swedes,
Danes, and as the result of later migrations the Icelanders, the Faroe
Islanders, and the Shetland Islanders.
By 100 AD Germanic
people had formed themselves into 5 identifiable groups:
By the year zero romans started to distinguish
between different groups of barbarians.
German literature Nibelungenlied)
100 BC, a group of tribes left Scandinavia and migrated eastward. These are the
tribes known collectively as east Germanic people, the ancestor of later goths,
vandals, and burgundians.
Later on some of these people decided to leave their homeland and
spread across the north German planes during early bronze age (about 1500 BC.).
They most likely reached as far as eastward as Oder, which today forms the
border between Germany and Poland. During the following centuries they spread
by east and west until by late bronze age they had covered area from
Ems(roughly the border between north Germany and Netherland) to Vistula (in
present-day eastern Poland), this the historical territory of low German.
The prehistoric homeland (Urheimat) of the Germanic people was
in the southern part of Sweden. Denmark and the present-day Schleswig were
their homeland. Archaeological evidence of human habitation in the Urheimat
exists which dates back to 10000 BC. Based on the evidence we know that the people
who lived there were hunters and fishers, and archaeologists have found
primitive weapons made of bone and stone, but there’s no evidence to indicate
what kind of language these people spoke. This was the post-glacial age and the
inhabitants of the in Denmark and southern Sweden seemed to have lived there
undisturbed, up to 2500 BC., when another group arrived. Over the next 1000
years 3 distinctive groups of people took up residence in Scandinavia. These
three groups were: 1. Food gatherers: mainly farmers 2. Megalithic: Large stone
builders but also farmers 3. Battle axe people: they had little in common with
the other two groups. They were dominant, and the other groups followed their
culture. They were followed by the urnfield people. The urnfield people and the
battle axe people were the dominant Germanic groups during the bronze age.
Examples in PIE5
Examples in Gmc
Balà (Lithuanian) ‘swamp’
Gumo (old English)
The first concept to focus on is the
comparison the German language and other Indo-European languages. As we
discussed before this is known as the comparative method. Rasmus
Kristian discovered that the consistent relationship between the sound of words
in Germanic languages and other Indo-European languages. An example can be, where
the Latin words use p Germanic languages use f.4
later on Jakob Grimm published a full account of relations between
consonants in Germanic languages and other Indo-European languages. This was
later known as the Grimm’s law.
The Indo-European language family is made of
11 sub-families. These sub-families are: Celtic languages, Slavic languages,
Baltic languages, Italic languages, Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Anatolian,
Tocharian, Indo-Iranian, and the Germanic languages. Our focus is going to be
on the Germanic languages because that’s where the German languages originates
Two languages can be related to one another
by sharing the same ancestor. English and German are related languages and they
share a common ancestor. Their common ancestor is often referred to as
proto-west-Germanic. Linguists have arrived to this conclusion by comparing the
earlier stages of English and German. The method of reconstruction of languages
based on comparison is referred to the comparative method. The
comparative method can tell us three things about two languages: 1. The
languages share a common ancestor 2. One language is the older version of the
other language 3. The languages either aren’t related or if they are related
their relation is remote and can’t be identified. English and German also share
an older ancestor which is the ancestor of most of the languages spoked in
Europe and many of the languages spoken in Asia. This is known as Indo-European
In order to
identify the role of the German language in forming identities and
relationships, it’s essential to analyze its origin. By analyzing the origin of
a language we can have a better understanding of the identity of that language
and its relations with other languages. For further understanding of the role
of the language in forming identities and relationships throughout the history
we can compare and contrast the origin of the language, the use of the language
(literature), and lastly behavior and culture which was or is present in
parallel to that language. In this
chapter I intend to analyze the origin of the German language.
better to analyze the history of the language of a group of people instead of
their political and geographical state in order to understand their identity.
In the previous chapter, I discussed how language plays a great role in forming
identities and relationships. Therefore, by analyzing and evaluating the origin
of German language and culture we’ll find a better insight to the identity of
German people. We’ll also discover how the German language had an influence on
the relationship of the German people with themselves and with other groups of
people throughout the history.
Where does the
German language originate from?
In the next chapter, I’m going to explain the
background of the German language and I can predict that most of the readers
will be shocked to know the role of the language in history. Language is an
important part of every human’s life, one will struggle without it. If we take
a look at history we can see the great influence of the language on creating
identities and relationships.
reason I chose German, to discuss in this in this guide, wasn’t because it’s better
than other languages, it was because I’m a bit familiar with the language and
its history and it has many interesting elements which make it unique. Some of
these elements include: 1. Vocabularies which express deep concepts 2. The
unique history of the German literature 3. Lastly its influence throughout the
history. (AND IT HAS …)( be more precise)
that we know that language plays a great role in forming our identity and
relationships, the question is: why learn a foreign language? Every language
has its advantages and disadvantages (GIVE EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU MEAN), but
there are some languages that help us express our thoughts and emotions in one
or two words. (ANECDOTE?) let’s assume, one day a man saw a woman crying on a
bench in central park, he went forward and asked what’s wrong? the lady replied
weltschmerz (world, sorrow)3,
the man sighed and walked away. If the man and woman only spoke English, the
lady would’ve said it’s personal, or I rather not talk about it, neither of
which would’ve been true. The English person uses these phrases because it’s
too hard for the person to explain his/her real thoughts and emotions, the
language isn’t good enough. Therefore, we must at least learn a few words from
different languages around the world to have a fulfilled life, in which we can
generalize, language gives us an idea of who we are and gives us the
opportunity to nurture ourselves through relationships.
were one of the key factors of forming our society. Language and art have made
it possible for us to connect with each other better than ever. It’s true that
art has done a fascinating job in giving someone the ability to express his/her
thoughts and emotions, but a minority of the population can use art to
communicate their thoughts and emotions (artists).(THE USE OF LANGUAGE –
RETHORIC) Language itself is an medium of art (an example can be the rhetoric2)
but language, unlike the other forms of art, has made it possible for the
majority of the population to be able to convey their thoughts and emotions. Without
language our communications would’ve been meaningless, just like a pet
communicating with his owner. Language enabled humans to record their ideas and
develop them over time. All the books that were written through the centuries
enabled humans to pass knowledge from generation to generation. Without
language, how could anyone share their ideas? Imagine the progress of human
kind in the absence of language.
go a bit more in detail on the last point (identities and relationships); what
is identity? Or in other words who are we? That’s the question that many
philosophers (WHICH PHILOSOPHERS? https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-personal/#pagetopright ) spent a good part of their lives
trying to answer, but no one was able to give a simple straight forward answer.
A recent example can be Behan, D., 1979, ‘Locke on Persons and Personal
Identity’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 9: 53–75. Even today we don’t have a straight
forward answer, but today, thanks to philosophy, sociology, psychoanalysis, and
many other subjects (OTHER SUBJECTS OR BE MORE SPECIFIC) we have a better idea
of what forms identity. There are many things that play a role in forming one’s
identity, such as: school, family, society, culture, and language. All of these
factors are important and play a great role in forming one’s character and
identity. However, language is the factor that makes us aware of our identity,
and also enables us to share our identity with others. Our name, the country we
were born in, the planet that we’re on, we know all that information thanks to
language. We all do have an identity, but in the absence of language we won’t
know who we are as a member of the society. This doesn’t mean that our
consciousness happens by language! Prof. Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard,
explains more about ‘how the mind creates language’ in his book the language
instinct, for anyone who’s interested1.
interests me most about learning a new language is: as much as it helps the
person learning to nurture, it also helps the person to be a useful member of a
community. This enables one to connect to the society and share his/her ideas.
therefore, it benefits both the person who is learning the language and the
society that the person lives in. Simply said, language forms identities and establishes relationships.
YOU PROVIDE SOME EXAMPLES?)
Foreign Language study creates
more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are
Analytical skills improve when
students study a foreign languages. For example, there are certain words
in German, such as shadenfreude(harm;hapiness), which give better
insight to learners about certain issues.
Business skills plus foreign
language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace. Apple,
one of the world’s biggest corporate, in each of its job descriptions it
considers multilingual ability as a plus.
Dealing with another culture
enables people to gain a more profound understanding of their own culture.
I started learning more about my culture when I learned about the arabic
culture. I started comparing and contrasting between my culture and the
arabic culture without being fully aware of it. This led me learning more
about my culture and the arabic culture.
Creativity is increased with
the study of foreign languages. A mechanician is able to do more with more
tools. Learning a new language will provide the learner with a new
vocabulary bank and the learner will be able to express some ideas and
feelings better than before.
Graduates often cite foreign
language courses as some of the most valuable courses in college because
of the communication skills developed in the process.
International travel is made
easier and more pleasant through knowing a foreign language. When I
traveled to France last summer, I felt confidant that I could speak a bit French.
Skills like problem solving,
dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study a foreign
language. The learner will have different and new perspective on certain
subjects because the language will provide them with new phrases and words
on different topics. For example the act of being sad in general, about
everything, is referred to as weltzschmerze (world; sorrow) in
German. In other languages a clumsy paragraph must be written to convey
this feeling. By learning these sort of words which specify complex ideas
and feelings one can deal with the problems of day to day life easier than
Foreign language study enhances
one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology,
military, industry, marketing, etc.
A second language improves your
skills and grades in math and English and on the SAT and GRE.
Four out of five new jobs in
the US are created as a result of foreign trade.
Foreign languages provide a
competitive edge in career choices: one is able to communicate in a second
Foreign language study enhances
listening skills and memory.
One participates more
effectively and responsibly in a multi-cultural world if one knows another
Your marketable skills in the
global economy are improved if you master another language.
Foreign language study offers a
sense of the past: culturally and linguistically.
The study of a foreign tongue
improves the knowledge of one’s own language: English vocabulary skills
The study of foreign languages
teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an
understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.
Foreign languages expand one’s
view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more
flexible and tolerant.
Foreign languages expand one’s
world view and limit the barriers between people: barriers cause distrust
Foreign language study leads to
an appreciation of cultural diversity.
As immigration increases we
need to prepare for changes in the American society.
One is at a distinct advantage
in the global market if one is as bilingual as possible.
Foreign languages open the door
to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, science…
Foreign language study is
simply part of a very basic liberal education: to “educate” is to lead
out, to lead out of confinement and narrowness and darkness.
are many reasons to learn a new language, so much that I can spend the next ten
pages listing them. But in this guide I am not going to do that, instead I’m
going to focus on some particular ones that I find important. However, here’s a
list of some of the general reasons to learn a new language from Renate Latimer, Associate Professor Emerita
of German, NOTE for whoever’s interested.
Why learn a new language?