The concept of language families is based on the historical observation that languages develop dialects, which over time may diverge into distinct languages. However, linguistic ancestry is less clear-cut than familiar biological ancestry, in which species do not crossbreed. It is more like the evolution of microbes, with extensive lateral gene transfer: Quite distantly related languages may affect each other through language contact, which in extreme cases may lead to languages with no single ancestor, whether they be creoles or mixed languages. In addition, a number of sign languages have developed in isolation and appear to have no relatives at all. Nonetheless, such cases are relatively rare and most well-attested languages can be unambiguously classified as belonging to one language family or another.
Other articles related to "contact languages, language, languages":
... Cree is also a component language in two contact languages, Michif and Bungi ... Both languages were spoken by members of the Métis, the Voyageurs, and European settlers of Western Canada and parts of the Northern United States ... Michif is a mixed language which combines Cree with French ...
Famous quotes containing the words languages and/or contact:
“I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations.”
—Samuel Johnson (17091784)
“There is an eternal vital correspondence between our blood and the sun: there is an eternal vital correspondence between our nerves and the moon. If we get out of contact and harmony with the sun and moon, then both turn into great dragons of destruction against us.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)