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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

406                The Loom of Language
can 120 million people who speak cognate languages (German, Dutch
and Flemish,, Scandinavian), we get the enormous total of about 320
millions for the Teutonic group Nest come the Aryan tongues of
India, spoken by some 230 millions, and the Romance languages,
spoken by a total of 200 millions Then follows the Slavonic-speaking
people, of whom there are some 190 millions
The preceding figure for German does not include Yiddish. Yiddish
was originally a west German dialect taken to Poland and Baltic countries
by Jewish refugees from persecutions of the late Middle Ages Its
phonetic pattern preserves many characteristics of Middle High German
Its vocabulary is still predominantly German with a considerable admix-
ture of Hebrew words, of Polish words, and of words of languages spoken
in countries to which emigrants have taken it Yiddish can boast of a rich
international literature, printed in Hebrew characters
With the exception of the splinter-speech communities which use
Basque, Turkish, and Caucasian dialects, all European languages belong
to two great families, the Aryan or Indo-European, and the Fmno-
Ugrian (p 197) European representatives of the latter are confined to
Hungary, Esthoma, Finland, and Lapland Major contributions to
modern science are due to the efforts of men and women who speak
languages belonging to the Romance and Teutonic languages, including
Anglo-American, which is the hybrid offspring of both. These have
been dealt with in Part II The most ancient literature of the Indo-
European family belongs to the Indo-Iraman group., which includes
Sanskrit and Old Persian Of languages spoken in modern Europe, the
Baltic group which includes Lettish and Lithuanian stands nearest to
primitive Aryan, and the Slavonic^ headed by Russian, stands nearest
to the Baltic group Classical Greek with its parochial descendant,
modern Greek, occupies an isolated position as a language clearly
related to other Indo-European languages without being more dearly
related to any particular group than to another. At the extreme Western
geographical limits of the present distribution of the family, we find
remains of the once widespread Celtic group with peculiar structural
characteristics which separate it from all others Albanian and Armenian
are also Indo-European languages, but because both have assimilated
many loan-words from Semitic, Caucasian, or Turkish neighbours,
linguists did not generally recognize their relation to other members of
the family till the latter half of the nineteenth century
THE INDIC GROUP
Widely separated branches of the Indo-European family have a long