Linguasphere Observatory

The Linguasphere Observatory (or "Observatoire", based upon its original French and legal title: Observatoire Linguistique) is a transnational linguistic research network.


It was created in Quebec in 1983 and was subsequently established and registered in Normandy as a non-profit association under the honorary presidency of the late Léopold Sédar Senghor, a French-language poet and the first president of Senegal. Its founding director is David Dalby, former director of the International African Institute and emeritus reader in the University of London, and its first research secretary was Philippe Blanchet, a Provençal-language poet currently serving as Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Rennes. Since 2010, the deputy director and webmaster of the Observatoire has been Pierrick le Feuvre,with the chairman of its research council being Roland Breton, emeritus professor at the University of Paris VIII. The Observatoire's research hub is currently based in the European Union, in Carmarthenshire, Wales (UK) and in Paris. Its title in Welsh is Wylfa Ieithoedd, literally the "Observatory (of) languages", and its publishing associate (also in Wales) is the Gwasg y Byd Iaith, i.e., "Linguasphere Press" or literally "Press (of) the world (of) language".

The Observatoire has developed an innovative scheme of philological classification, coding all living and recorded languages within a global referential framework or "linguascale". This Linguascale Framework uses a decimal structure (see below) to record both genetic and geographic categories of relationship (termed phylozones and geozones, respectively).

In 1999/2000, the Observatoire published David Dalby's 2-volume Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities.[1] Reviews were published by Edward J. Vajda in Language and by Anthony P. Grant in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society.[2]

The Observatoire has now prepared a revised edition of the Linguasphere Register from 2010, the first of a projected series of regular updates at 10-year intervals. The current edition (LS-2010), comprising substantial materials from the foundation edition of 2000, is published online from 2011 as a freely available public resource and an online data-base, compiled and co-ordinated by David Dalby and Pierrick le Feuvre. Provision is made for the online gathering of additional and improved data, and for the open discussion of proposals and criticisms.

From 2001 until December 2005, the Linguasphere Observatory was actively involved in collaboration with the British Standards Institution BSI Group and with ISO/TC 37in the design and development of a four-letter (alpha-4) code covering—potentially—every recorded language variety in the world. The Observatoire was not, however, associated with or responsible for the final ISO 639-6 standard which was a partial result of this collaboration, and which was approved and published by ISO in 2009. It is the policy of the Observatoire that its on-going independent work on language coding should be complementary to and supportive of the ISO 639 international standards.

The Linguasphere Register and Linguascale referential framework

The Linguascale framework is a referential system covering all languages, as published in the Linguasphere Register in 2000 and subsequently refined in 2010. It comprises a flexible coding formula or which seeks to situate each language and dialect within the totality of the world's living and recorded languages, having regard to ongoing linguistic research.

The first part of this linguascale is the decimal classification referred to above, consisting of a linguasphere key of two numerals denoting the relevant phylozone or geozone: from 00. to 99. This provides a systematic numerical key for the initial classification of any of the world's languages, following the principles set out in the Linguasphere Register. The first numeral of the key represents one of the ten referential sectors into which the world's languages are initially divided. The sector can either be a phylosector, in which the constituent languages are considered to be in a diachronic relationship one with another, or a geosector, in which languages are grouped geographically rather than historically.

The second numeral is used to represent the ten zones into which each geosector is divided for referential purposes. The component zones, like the sectors, are described as either phylozones or geozones, based on the nature of the relationship among their constituent languages: either historical or geographical.

The second part of the linguascale consists of three capital letters (majuscules): from -AAA- to -ZZZ-. Each zone is divided into one or more sets, with each set being represented by the first majuscule of this three-letter (alpha-3) component. Each set is divided into one or more chains (represented by the second majuscule) and each chain is into one or more nets (represented by the third majuscule). The division of the languages of a zone into sets, chains and nets is based on relative degrees of linguistic proximity, as measured in principle by approximate proportions of shared basic vocabulary. Geozones are on average divided into more sets than phylozones because relationships among languages within the latter are by definition more obvious and much closer.

The third and final part of the linguascale consists of up to three lowercase letters (minuscules), used to identify a language or dialect with precision: from aaa to zzz. The first letter of this sequence represents an outer unit (preferred from 2010 to the original term of "outer language", to avoid the shifting and often emotive applications of the terms "language" and "dialect"). The inner units and language varieties that may comprise any outer language are coded using a second, and wherever necessary a third minuscule letter.


The application of the linguascale may be illustrated with the concrete examples below, chosen from within the English language.

For example,

  • The code covering all forms of English is 52-ABA, where 5= represents the Indo-European phylosector, 52= represents the Germanic phylozone, 52-A represents the Norsk+ Frysk set (a compound-name chosen to cover the contents of the Germanic phylozone), 52-AB represents the English+ Anglo-Creole chain, and 52-ABA is the English net. Within this net, the outer units are:
    • 52-ABA-aScots+ Northumbrian.
    • 52-ABA-b – "Anglo-English" (the traditional localised varieties of southern Great Britain & also Ireland).
    • 52-ABA-c – Global English (varieties of modern English as spoken and written around the world).
  • Some more specific examples of English varieties are:
    • 52-ABA-abb is the Geordie traditional variety: belonging to 52-ABA-a Scots+ Northumbrian outer language, and 52-ABA-ab Northumbrian.
    • 52-ABA-bco is the Norfolk traditional variety: belonging to 52-ABA-b "Anglo-English" outer unit, and specifically to 52-ABA-bc Southern (British) traditional English.
    • 52-ABA-cof covers the range of (non-creolised) Nigerian English : belonging to 52-ABA-c Global English outer unit, and 52-ABA-co West-African English. Nigerian English is thus distinguished from the often overlapping 52-ABB-bf Enpi (or "NP", from the abbreviation of so-called "Nigerian Pijin"): belonging to 52-ABB Anglo-Creole net, and 52-ABB-b Wes-kos (West Coast Anglo-Creole).

Languages of London

A practical application of the Linguasphere Register and its linguascale in the study of a complex urban linguistic environment has been as the referential framework for successive surveys of over 200 languages other than English spoken by plurilingual children at state schools in London (representing just under 40% of the total number of children attending), as edited in 2000 by Baker & Eversley & in 2010 by Eversley et al.[3]

See also

  • Language code with tabulated example of coding systems (for English and Spanish), including ISO 639 and Linguasphere.

"Langues de la Liberté/Languages of Liberty"

In Paris, from 1987, the Observatoire linguistique created a bilingual exhibition Langues de la Liberté / Languages of Liberty, tracing the transnational development of certain basic concepts of personal freedom through the interaction of English and French, rather than by the action of any one nation. At the outset of a series of 34 illustrated tryptychs, attention was drawn to the historical role of other transnational languages in the development of such concepts, including Greek and German.[4]

The exhibition was sponsored by the government of a bilingual nation, Canada, by the international francophone Agence (ACCT) & by the region of Haute-Normandie. It was inaugurated in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou on 6 June 1989, & presented there throughout the summer of 1989 as the official Canadian contribution to the bicentenary celebrations of the French Revolution.

At the subsequent presentation of this bilingual exhibition at the Hôtel de Région in Rouen (Haute-Normandie), from 23 September to 21 October 1989, the Observatoire linguistique organised the first public display of the only surviving contemporary copy of the vernacular (& arguably pre-Latin) text of England's Magna Carta, written in 13th century French.

Thanks to continued support from Canada, the exhibition was subsequently presented by the Observatoire in Belgium & England, at the Palais des Congrès in Liège & at the Commonwealth Institute in London in 1990, and finally in Australia, at Old Parliament House, Canberra in May 1991.

In the context of the need to design a plurilingual framework of ethics for a future planetary society, the Observatoire has announced its intention to return to the transnational theme of the Magna Carta in 2015, on the occasion of the 8th centenary of the signing of its formal Latin version at Runnymede in 1215.

"In the galaxy of languages, each person's voice is a star"

The motto of the Observatoire linguistique dates from 1990—in French: Dans la galaxie des langues, la voix de chaque personne est une étoile (translated into English as above).

The Observatoire adopted these words as its guiding philosophy on the occasion of the first series of debates organised by the Observatoire linguistique in 1990-1991, at Fleury-sur-Andelle in Haute-Normandie, at Maillane in Provence and at Huy in Wallonie, sponsored by each of the relevant regions, on the subject of Nos langues et l'unité de l'Europe ("Our languages and the unity of Europe"). The guest of honour at the first of these debates was André Martinet (1908–1999), doyen of trans-Atlantic linguistics.

From the year 2000 UNESCO adopted and adapted the Observatoire's motto in the form: "In the galaxy of languages, each word is a star".

See also


  1. ^ David Dalby, Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities, Gwasg y Byd Iaith for Observatoire linguistique: Hebron, Wales, 1999–2000 (vol.1) ISBN 0-9532919-1-X & (vol. 2) ISBN 0-9532919-2-8
  2. ^ See reviews of the Linguasphere Register by Edward J. Vajda in Language (Linguistic Society of America), Vol.77, 3 (Sept. 2001) pp. 606–608, and by Anthony P.Grant in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society (June 1, 2003).
  3. ^ P.Baker & Eversley, J., Multilingual Capital: the languages of London's schoolchildren and their relevance to economic, social & educational policies, Battlebridge for Corporation of London: London 2000 ISBN 1-903292-00-X (also P.Baker & J.Kim, Global London, Battlebridge: London 2003 ISBN 1-903292-09-3) and in J.Eversley, D. Mehmedbegović, A.Sanderson, T.Tinsley, M. vonAhn & R.D.Wiggins, Language Capital: Mapping the languages of London's schoolchildren, CILT National Centre for Languages: London 2010 ISBN 978-1-904243-96-0
  4. ^ The bilingual texts of the exhibition's tryptychs are presented in: David Dalby, Le français et l'anglais : Langues de la Liberté, Observatoire linguistique: Cressenville 1989 ISBN 2-9502097-4-2.

External links

  • From May 2011, provides free online access to the current research & reference materials of the Observatoire linguistique /Linguasphere Observatory, including the complete Linguascale coding of the world's languages (LS-2010, totalling over 32,800 coded entries & over 70,900 linguistic names) and the contents of the original Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages & Speech Communities (LS-2000).
Azerbaijani language

Azerbaijani () or Azeri (), sometimes also Azeri Turkic or Azeri Turkish, is a term referring to two Turkic lects (North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani) that are spoken primarily by the Azerbaijanis, who live mainly in Transcaucasia and Iran. North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani have significant differences in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, and sources of loanwords. ISO 639-3 groups the two lects as a "macrolanguage".North Azerbaijani has official status in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Dagestan (a federal subject of Russia) but South Azerbaijani does not have official status in Iran, where the majority of Azerbaijanis live. It is also spoken to lesser varying degrees in Azerbaijani communities of Georgia and Turkey and by diaspora communities, primarily in Europe and North America.

Both Azerbaijani lects are members of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages. The standardized form of North Azerbaijani (spoken in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Russia) is based on the Shirvani dialect, while South Azerbaijani uses the Tabrizi dialect as its prestige variety. Azerbaijani is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Gagauz, Turkmen, Iraqi Turkmen and Crimean Tatar, sharing varying degrees of mutual intelligibility with each of those languages.

Berber languages

The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages (Berber name: Tamaziɣt, Tamazight; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, pronounced [tæmæˈzɪɣt], [θæmæˈzɪɣθ]), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.Berber is spoken by large populations of Morocco, Algeria and Libya, by smaller populations of Tunisia, northern Mali, western and northern Niger, northern Burkina Faso and Mauritania and in the Siwa Oasis of Egypt. Large Berber-speaking migrant communities, today numbering about 4 million, have been living in Western Europe, spanning over three generations, since the 1950s. The number of Berber people is much higher than the number of Berber speakers. The bulk of the populations of the Maghreb countries are considered to have Berber ancestors.Around 90% of the Berber-speaking population speak one of seven major varieties of Berber, each with at least 2 million speakers. They are, in order of number of speakers: Shilha (Tacelḥiyt), Kabyle (Taqbaylit), Central Atlas Tamazight (Tamaziɣt), Riffian (internal: Tmaziɣt, external: Tarifiyt), Shawiya (Tacawit) and Tuareg (Tamaceq/Tamajeq/Tamaheq). The now extinct Guanche language spoken on the Canary Islands by the Guanches as well as the languages of the ancient C-Group culture in today's southern Egypt and northern Sudan are believed to have belonged to the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family.

The Berber languages and dialects have had a written tradition, on and off, for about 2,500 years, although the tradition has been frequently disrupted by cultural shifts and invasions. They were first written in the Libyco-Berber abjad, which is still used today by the Tuareg in the form of Tifinagh. The oldest dated inscription is from 3rd century BCE. Later, between about 1000 CE and 1500 CE, they were written in the Arabic script, and since the 20th century they have been written in the Berber Latin alphabet, especially among the Kabyle and Riffian communities of Morocco and Algeria. The Berber Latin alphabet was also used by most European and Berber linguists during the 19th and 20th centuries.A modernised form of the Tifinagh alphabet, called Neo-Tifinagh, was adopted in Morocco in 2003 for writing Berber, but many Moroccan Berber publications still use the Berber Latin alphabet. Algerians mostly use the Berber Latin alphabet in Berber-language education at public schools, while Tifinagh is mostly used for artistic symbolism. Mali and Niger recognise a Tuareg Berber Latin alphabet customised to the Tuareg phonological system. However, traditional Tifinagh is still used in those countries.

There is a cultural and political movement among speakers of the closely related varieties of Northern Berber to promote and unify them under a written standard language called Tamaziɣt (or Tamazight). The name Tamaziɣt is the current native name of the Berber language in the Moroccan Middle Atlas and Rif regions and the Libyan Zuwarah region. In other Berber-speaking areas, this name was lost. There is historical evidence from medieval Berber manuscripts that all indigenous North Africans from Libya to Morocco have at some point called their language Tamaziɣt. The name Tamaziɣt is currently being used increasingly by educated Berbers to refer to the written Berber language, and even to Berber as a whole, including Tuareg.

In 2001, Berber became a constitutional national language of Algeria, and in 2011 Berber became a constitutionally official language of Morocco. In 2016, Berber became a constitutionally official language of Algeria alongside Arabic.

Bosnian language

The Bosnian language ( (listen); bosanski / босански [bɔ̌sanskiː]) is the standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian mainly used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of three such varieties considered official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian, and also an officially recognized minority or regional language in Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Kosovo.Bosnian uses both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, with Latin in everyday use. It is notable among the varieties of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian for a number of Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian loanwords, largely due to the language's interaction with those cultures through Islamic ties.Bosnian is based on the most widespread dialect of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin. Until the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, they were treated as a unitary Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian language, and that term is still used in English to subsume the common base (vocabulary, grammar and syntax) of what are today officially four national standards, although this term is controversial for native speakers, and paraphrases such as "Serbo-Croato-Bosnian" (SCB) or "Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian" (BCS) are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.

Croatian language

Croatian ( (listen); hrvatski [xř̩ʋaːtskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. In the mid-18th century, the first attempts to provide a Croatian literary standard began on the basis of the Neo-Shtokavian dialect that served as a supraregional lingua franca pushing back regional Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian vernaculars. The decisive role was played by Croatian Vukovians, who cemented the usage of Ijekavian Neo-Shtokavian as the literary standard in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, in addition to designing a phonological orthography. Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet.Besides the Shtokavian dialect, on which Standard Croatian is based, there are two other main dialects spoken on the territory of Croatia, Chakavian and Kajkavian. These dialects, and the four national standards, are usually subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers, and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.

Dalby (surname)

Dalby is a Scandinavian place name meaning "valley settlement", during the Viking Age, the name was brought to England and it later also became an English surname. It can be a locational surname for those from Dalby, Lincolnshire, near Spilsby; in Dalby, Leicestershire near Melton Mowbray, and in Dalby, North Yorkshire near Terrington. Notable people with the surname include:

Amy Dalby, British actress

Andrew Dalby, Culinary writer

Andy Dalby, guitarist

Claire Dalby, British artist

Dave Dalby, former NFL football player

David Dalby, British linguist, founder of Linguasphere Observatory

Greg Dalby, American soccer player

Håkan Dahlby, Swedish double trap shooter

Irene Dalby, Norwegian swimmer

John Dalby (1929–2017), English singer and composer

John Dalby (painter) (1810–1865), English painter

Liza Dalby, American anthropologist and writer

Matthew Dalby, British scientist

Mark Dalby (1938–2013), British Anglican Archdeacon

Martin Dalby (1942–2018), Scottish composer

Nicolas Dalby, Danish mixed martial artist

Robert Dalby, English martyr

William Bartlett Dalby (1840–1918), British aural surgeon and otologisthe

Egyptian Arabic

Egyptian Arabic, locally known as the Egyptian colloquial language or Masri, meaning simply "Egyptian", is spoken by most contemporary Egyptians.

Egyptian is a North African dialect of the Arabic language which is a Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It originated in the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt around the capital Cairo. Egyptian Arabic evolved from the Quranic Arabic which was brought to Egypt during the seventh-century AD Muslim conquest that aimed to spread the Islamic faith among the Egyptians. Egyptian Arabic is highly influenced by the Egyptian Coptic language which was the native language of Egypt prior to the Islamic conquest, and later it had influences from other languages such as English, French, Italian, Greek and Turkish. The 94 million Egyptians speak a continuum of dialects, among which Cairene is the most prominent. It is also understood across most of the Arabic-speaking countries due to the predominance of Egyptian influence on the region as well as Egyptian media including Egyptian cinema which has had a big influence in the MENA region for more than a century along with the Egyptian music industry, making it the most widely spoken and one of the most widely studied varieties of Arabic.While it is essentially a spoken language, it is encountered in written form in novels, plays and poems (vernacular literature), as well as in comics, advertising, some newspapers and transcriptions of popular songs.

In most other written media and in television news reporting, Literary Arabic is used. Literary Arabic is a standardized language based on the language of the Quran, that is, Classical Arabic. The Egyptian vernacular is almost universally written in the Arabic alphabet for local consumption, although it is commonly transcribed into Latin letters or in the International Phonetic Alphabet in linguistics text and textbooks aimed at teaching non-native learners. Also, it is written in ASCII Latin alphabet mainly online and in SMSs.

As a result of Egypt's prominent Cinema and Music industry in the region, Egyptian dialect is the most popular and commonly taught variety of Arabic to L2 speakers.

Emilian dialect

Emilian is a group of dialects of the Emilian-Romagnol language spoken in the area historically called Emilia, the western portion of today's Emilia-Romagna region in Italy.

There is no standardised version of Emilian.

The default word order is subject–verb–object. There are two genders as well as a distinction between plural and singular. Emilian has a strong T–V distinction to distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity or insult. Its alphabet uses a considerable number of diacritics.


Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It was first issued in 1951, and is now published annually by SIL International, a U.S.-based, worldwide, Christian non-profit organization. SIL's main purpose is to study, develop and document languages to promote literacy and for religious purposes.

As of 2019, Ethnologue contains web-based information on 7,111 languages in its 22nd edition, including the number of speakers, locations, dialects, linguistic affiliations, autonyms, availability of the Bible in each language and dialect described, a cursory description of revitalization efforts where reported, and an estimate of language viability using the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS).

Frainc-Comtou dialect

Franc-Comtois (Frainc-Comtou), or Jurassien, is an Oïl language spoken in the Franche-Comté region of France and in the Canton of Jura and Bernese Jura in Switzerland.

Franco-Provençal language

Franco-Provençal (also Francoprovençal or Arpitan) is a dialect group within Gallo-Romance spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland, northwestern Italy, and in enclaves in the Province of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

Franco-Provençal has several distinct dialects and is separate from but closely related to neighboring Romance dialects (the langues d'oïl and Occitan, Rhaeto-Romance, Lombard, Piedmontese).The designation Franco-Provençal (Franco-Provençal: francoprovençâl; French: francoprovençal; Italian: francoprovenzale) dates to the 19th century. Traditionally, the dialect group is also referred to as patois

(patouès), and since the late 20th century as Arpitan (Franco-Provençal: arpetan; Italian: arpitano), and its areal as Arpitania.Formerly spoken throughout the territory of Savoy, Franco-Provençal speakers are now found in the Aosta Valley, an autonomous administrative division of Italy.

The language is also spoken in alpine valleys in the Metropolitan City of Turin, two isolated towns (Faeto and Celle di San Vito) in the Province of Foggia, and rural areas of the Swiss Romandie.

It is one of the three Gallo-Romance language families of France and is officially recognized as a regional language of France, but its use is marginal. Organizations are attempting to preserve it through cultural events, education, scholarly research, and publishing.

Aside from regional French dialects (the Langues d'oïl), it is the most closely related language to French. The number of speakers of Franco-Provençal has been declining significantly. According to UNESCO (1995), Franco-Provençal is a "potentially endangered language" in Italy and an "endangered language" in Switzerland and France.

Index of language articles

This is a partial index of 772 Wikipedia articles treating natural languages, arranged alphabetically.

For a published list of languages, see ISO 639-1 (list of ISO 639-1 codes for 136 major languages), or for a more inclusive list, see ISO 639-3 (list of ISO 639-3 codes, 7,874 in total as of June 2013). The enumeration of languages and dialects can easily be taken into the five-digit range; the Linguasphere Observatory has a database (LS-2010) with more than 32,800 coded entries and more than 70,900 linguistic names.

Language code

A language code is a code that assigns letters or numbers as identifiers or classifiers for languages. These codes may be used to organize library collections or presentations of data, to choose the correct localizations and translations in computing, and as a shorthand designation for longer forms of language-name.

Languages of North Macedonia

The main two languages of North Macedonia are Macedonian and Albanian. Apart from Macedonian and Albanian, North Macedonia officially recognises five national minority languages: Turkish, Romani, Serbian, Bosnian, and Aromanian. The Macedonian Sign Language is the country's official sign language.

Lists of languages

This page lists published lists of languages.

Maltese language

Maltese (Maltese: Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century.Maltese has evolved independently of Classical Arabic and its varieties into a standardized language over the past 800 years in a gradual process of Latinisation. Maltese is therefore considered an exceptional descendant of Arabic that has no diglossic relationship with Classical or Modern Standard Arabic, and is classified separately from the Arabic macrolanguage. Maltese is also unique among Semitic languages since its morphology has been deeply influenced by Romance languages, namely Italian and Sicilian.The original Semitic base, Siculo-Arabic, comprises around one-third of the Maltese vocabulary, especially words that denote basic ideas and the function words, but about half of the vocabulary is derived from standard Italian and Sicilian; and English words make up between 6% and 20% of the vocabulary. A recent study shows that, in terms of basic everyday language, speakers of Maltese are able to understand less than a third of what is said to them in Tunisian Arabic, which is related to Siculo-Arabic, whereas speakers of Tunisian are able to understand about 40% of what is said to them in Maltese. This reported level of asymmetric intelligibility is considerably lower than the mutual intelligibility found between Arabic dialects.Maltese has always been written in the Latin script, the earliest surviving example dating from the late Middle Ages. It continues to be the only standardized Semitic language written exclusively in the Latin script.

Serbian language

Serbian (српски / srpski, pronounced [sr̩̂pskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, co-official in the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian (more specifically on the dialects of Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovina), which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. The other dialect spoken by Serbs is Torlakian in southeastern Serbia, which is transitional to Macedonian and Bulgarian.

Serbian is practically the only European standard language whose speakers are fully functionally digraphic, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created it based on phonemic principles. The Serbian Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.


Sursilvan ([sursilˈvaːn] or romontsch sursilvan [roˈmɔntʃ sursilˈvaːn]) is a group of dialects of the Romansh language spoken in the Swiss district of Surselva. It is the most widely spoken variety of Romansh with 17,897 people within the Surselva District (54.8%) naming Romansh as a habitually spoken language in the Swiss census of 2000. The most closely related variety is Sutsilvan, which is spoken in the area located to the east of the district.

The name of the dialect and the Surselva District is derived from sur 'above' and selva 'forest', with the forest in question being the Uaul Grond in the area affected by the Flims Rockslide. The word selva itself has fallen out of use in modern Sursilvan, with the most common word for forest being uaul , an Old High German loanword. Selva is only used for in a few more recent terms such as selvicultura 'forestry', selvicultur 'forest officer', or cavrer selvadi 'Long-eared owl'.

Ukrainian language

Ukrainian (listen) (українська мова ukrajinśka mova) is an East Slavic language. It is the official state language of Ukraine, one of the three official languages in the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the other two being Romanian and Russian. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script (see Ukrainian alphabet).

Historical linguists trace the origin of the Ukrainian language to the Old East Slavic of the early medieval state of Kievan Rus'. After the fall of the Kievan Rus' as well as the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, the language developed into a form called the Ruthenian language. The Modern Ukrainian language has been in common use since the late 17th century, associated with the establishment of the Cossack Hetmanate. From 1804 until the Russian Revolution, the Ukrainian language was banned from schools in the Russian Empire, of which the biggest part of Ukraine (Central, Eastern and Southern) was a part at the time. It has always maintained a sufficient base in Western Ukraine, where the language was never banned, in its folklore songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors.The standard Ukrainian language is regulated by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU), particularly by its Institute for the Ukrainian Language, Ukrainian language-information fund, and Potebnya Institute of Language Studies. The Ukrainian language retains a degree of mutual intelligibility with Belarusian and Russian.

Zürich German

Zürich German (German: Zürichdeutsch, natively Züritüütsch [ˈtsyrityːtʃ]) is the High Alemannic dialect spoken in the Canton of Zürich, Switzerland.

Its area covers most of the canton, with the exception of the parts north of the Thur and the Rhine, which belong to the areal of the northeastern (Schaffhausen and Thurgau) Swiss dialects.

Zürich German was traditionally divided into six sub-dialects, now increasingly homogenised due to larger commuting distances:

The dialect of the town of Zürich (Stadt-Mundart)

The dialect spoken around Lake Zürich (See-Mundart)

The dialect of the Knonauer Amt west of the Albis (Ämtler Mundart)

The dialect of the area of Winterthur

The dialect of the Zürcher Oberland around Lake Pfäffikon and the upper Tösstal valley

The dialect of the Zürcher Unterland around Bülach and DielsdorfLike all Swiss German dialects, it is essentially a spoken language, whereas the written language is standard German. Likewise, there is no official orthography of the Zürich dialect. When it is written, it rarely follows the guidelines published by Eugen Dieth in his book Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift; in fact, only language experts know about these guidelines. Furthermore, Dieth's spelling uses a lot of diacritical marks not found on a normal keyboard. Young people often use Swiss German for personal messages, such as when texting with their mobile phones. As they do not have a standard way of writing they tend to blend Standard German spelling with Swiss German phrasing.

The Zurich dialect is generally perceived as fast spoken, less melodic than, for example, the Bernese. In the northern parts of the canton, the "r" is pronounced as a uvular trill, whereas in the city around the lake and in the southern parts, it is pronounced as an alveolar trill.

Characteristic of the city dialect is that it most easily adopts external influences; in particular, the second generation Italians (secondi) have had a crucial influence, as has the English language through the media. The wave of Turkish and ex-Yugoslavian immigration of the 1990s is leaving its imprint on the dialect of the city in particular.

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