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Early Native American languages

By |2018-04-07T17:05:42+00:00August 10th, 2017|Literature, Native American|

Inuit carving of a fish The languages Native American people spoke (and still speak) in North America fall into several groups. The Cherokee and the Iroquois, on the East Coast, spoke Iroquoian languages. In the midwest, the Sioux, the Crow, and the Mandan spoke related languages. In the Pacific Northwest, the Chinook and the Nez Perce shared a language group. In the Southwest, the Shoshone, [...]

Listening to foreign languages project

By |2018-04-23T09:15:12+00:00July 11th, 2017|Greeks, People|

A Greek image of a Persian "barbarian" (now in Berlin) To get an idea of why the Greeks thought foreigners were all barbarians speaking nonsense, try listening to some videos of people speaking languages you don't understand. Here, for example, is someone speaking Greek. Speaking modern Greek On the other hand, here is [...]

Barbarians in ancient Greece

By |2018-09-20T06:04:02+00:00July 11th, 2017|Greeks, People|

A Greek image of a Persian "barbarian" woman Where does the word 'barbarian' come from? People in ancient Greece called everyone who didn't speak Greek a barbarian (barbaros). They said that people speaking other languages sounded like they were just going "bar, bar, bar, bar...." So that is why they called those people [...]

Central Asian stories

By |2018-04-16T13:41:29+00:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Literature, Medieval|

Central Asian stories and languages: People speaking Mongolian Central Asian languages Around 3000 BC, most people in Central Asia spoke one of three different kinds of languages. Some people spoke Indo-European languages like Sogdian or Tocharian. Other people spoke East Iranian languages like Pashto. And some people, especially in the eastern part of Central Asia, [...]

African Language Projects

By |2018-04-11T23:50:11+00:00May 22nd, 2017|Africa, Crafts, Literature|

Learn to speak a little like a person from Africa - try to learn how to make Xhosa clicks yourself - can you do it? How to make the click sounds in Xhosa Another thing to try - can you write an Anansi story to explain how something happens? Think of something that is hard [...]

Epic of Sundiata – African literature

By |2018-04-11T23:49:33+00:00May 19th, 2017|Africa, History, Literature|

Mosque at Djenne, Mali, built about 1200 AD (around the time of the Epic of Sundiata) Was Sundiata a real person? Nobody knows exactly how long the storytellers of West Africa have been telling stories about Sundiata, the prince of Mali. We can be pretty sure that Sundiata was a real person, and [...]

!Kung – African Language

By |2017-05-23T16:28:23+00:00May 18th, 2017|Africa, History, Literature|

Khoisan people from South Africa spoke the !Kung language. It is probably the closest we can come to what the earliest languages sounded like. !Kung is a click language. The ! in the name of the language represents a clicking sound that !Kung speakers make with their tongue. Of all the languages in the world, [...]

African languages and literature

By |2018-04-21T12:09:37+00:00May 18th, 2017|Africa, History, Literature|

Funeral inscription for King Massinissa, at Dougga , dated 138 BC. (Now in the Bardo Museum in Tunis). The inscription's in two African languages: Punic (Phoenician) and Berber. Because Africa is such a big place, people who lived in different parts of Africa spoke different languages. There are hundreds of different African languages. In [...]