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Subject: language families
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 02:04:27 GMT
References: 1

> So could someone put these languages into similar grammar and sentence structure categories:
> Chinese, English, Japanse, Korean, French, German, Indian, Thai

"The Indian language" doesn't exist. Indians have hundreds of languages. The biggest Indian language is Hindi. "Chinese" usually means Mandarin, which is different from Wu Chinese (呉語), Cantonese (粤語), and other Chinese languages.

If you are interested in language families, visit Ethnologue, the best site on languages of the world.

Mandarin: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese
Japanese: Japanese, Japanese
Korean: Korean
English: Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English
German: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High
French: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance, North
Hindi: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Western Hindi, Hindustani
Thai: Daic, Tai, Southwestern, East Central, Chiang Saeng

Almost all European languages belong to the Indo-European language family.

Geography is very important to understand linguistic similarity. Mandarin and Cantonese are both Chinese languages, but the former is similar to Altaic languages such as Manchu and Mongolian, and the latter is similar to Daic languages such as Zhuang and Thai.

No one has proven that Korean and Japanese have the same root, but they are grammatically similar to Altaic languages. Many linguists suggest similarities between Japanese and Austronesian languages, which include Indonesian, Hawaiian, etc.

In addition, linguists don't count loanwords, which help us study foreign languages. Korean and Vietnamese have more Chinese-origin words than Japanese because of thier proximity to China, but all of them have lots of Japanese-made Chinese words such as 経済 (けいざい), 科学 (かがく), and 民主主義 (みんしゅしゅぎ).

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