English is ever adopting new words from other languages (350 languages, according to David Crystal in “English as a Global Language”). About three-quarters of its words come from Greek and Latin, but, as Ammon Shea points out in “Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation,” “it is certainly not a Romance language, it is a Germanic one. Evidence of this may be found in the fact that it is quite easy to create a sentence without words of Latin origin, but pretty much impossible to make one that has no words from Old English.”
With so many sources behind its evolution, English is malleable, with words also being invented regularly as well. Robert Burchfield, in “The English Language” calls the language “a fleet of juggernaut trucks that goes on regardless. No form of linguistic engineering and no amount of linguistic legislation will prevent the myriads of change that lie ahead.”
Additions to the Dictionary
After a certain amount of usage, dictionary editors decide whether a new word has enough staying power to add it to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster notes that its editors spend an hour or two daily reading a cross-section of material looking for new words, new meanings to old words, new forms, new spellings, and the like. The words are logged into a database with their context for documentation and further analysis. Before being added to the dictionary a new word or change to an existing word must have a considerable amount of use over time in a variety of types of publications and/or media (widespread use, not just in jargon). The Oxford English Dictionary has a similar process for its 250 lexicographers and editors who are continually researching and updating language information.
Korean language, language spoken by more than 75 million people, of whom 48 million live in South Korea and 24 million in North Korea. There are more than 2 million speakers in China, approximately 1 million in the United States, and about 500,000 in Japan. Korean is the official language of both South Korea (Republic of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). The two Koreas differ in minor matters of spelling, alphabetization, and vocabulary choice (including the names of the letters), but both essentially endorse the unified standards proposed by the Korean Language Society in 1933.
While much is known about Middle Korean, the language spoken in the 15th century (when the script was invented), information about the language before that time is limited. Several hundred words of early Middle Korean were written with phonograms in the vocabularies compiled by the Chinese as far back as 1103. A still earlier form of the language, sometimes called Old Korean, has been inferred from place-names and from the 25 poems (called hyangga) that were composed as early as the 10th century and reflect the language of the Silla kingdom. Written with Chinese characters used in various ways to stand for Korean meanings and sounds, the poems are difficult to decipher, and there is no consensus on the interpretation of the content.
Nor is there general agreement on the relationship of Korean to other languages. The most likely relationships proposed are to Japanese and to the languages of the Altaic group: Turkic, Mongolian, and especially Tungus (-Manchu-Jurchen).
Much about the roots of the Japanese language is unclear. Some link it to the Altaic language family, which includes Turkish, Mongolian and other languages, but it also shows similarities to Austronesian languages like Polynesian.
The Japanese writing system consists of three different character sets: Kanji(several thousands of Chinese characters) and Hiragana and Katakana (two syllabaries of 46 characters each; together called Kana). Japanese texts can be written in two ways: In Western style, i.e. in horizontal rows from the top to the bottom of the page, or in traditional Japanese style, i.e. in vertical columns from the right to the left side of the page. Both writing styles exist side by side today.
Basic Japanese grammar is relatively simple. Complicating factors such as gender articles and distinctions between plural and singular are missing almost completely. Conjugation rules for verbs and adjectives are simple and almost free of exceptions. Nouns are not declinated at all, but appear always in the same form.
In comparison with other languages, Japanese knows relatively few sounds, and pronunciation poses little problems to most learners. The biggest difficulty are accents, which do exist, but to a much lower extent than in the Chinese language. In addition, there are relatively many homonyms, i.e. words that are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings.
Levels of speech
Different words and expressions are used when talking to an unknown person or a superior, as opposed to when talking to a child, family member or a close friend. For instance, there are more than five different words for the English word “I”, which are used depending on the context. For formal situations, a honorific language level (keigo) is still in common use.
German language, German Deutsch, official language of both Germanyand Austria and one of the three official languages of Switzerland. German belongs to the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family, along with English, Frisian, and Dutch (Netherlandic, Flemish)
The recorded history of Germanic languages begins with their speakers’ first contact with the Romans, in the 1st century BC. At that time and for several centuries thereafter, there was only a single “Germanic” language, with little more than minor dialect differences. Only after about the 6th century AD can one speak of a “German” (i.e., High German) language.
German is an inflected language with four cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), and strong and weak verbs. Altogether German is the native language of more than 90 million speakers and thus probably ranks sixth in number of native speakers among the languages of the world (after Chinese, English, Hindi-Urdu, Spanish, and Russian). German is widely studied as a foreign language and is one of the main cultural languages of the Western world.
As a written language German is quite uniform; it differs in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland no more than written English does in the United States and the British Commonwealth. As a spoken language, however, German exists in many dialects, most of which belong to either the High German or Low German dialectal groups. The main difference between High and Low German is in the sound system, especially in the consonants. High German, the language of the southern highlands of Germany, is the official written language.