Flashcards for Language and Culture
Topic 1:  Introduction
(9 cards)

Select the "Next Card" button to see a card. Select it again to view the answer.
"Delete Card" allows you to eliminate a card from the stack during this session.
Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

The study of the function, structure, and history of languages and the communication process in general.


The language that is spoken by the most people in the world today as a native, or first, language.

Mandarin Chinese

The language that is the most world wide in its distribution. It is an official language in 52 countries as well as many small colonies and territories. In addition, 1/4 to 1/3 of the people in the world understand and speak it to some degree. However, it is only the third most common language in terms of the number of native speakers.


Regions of the world that have unusually high densities of different native languages today.

New Guinea and the Caucasus Mountains north of Turkey and Iran (also Native California in the past)

The fraction of all languages in the world that are no longer spoken by children.

about half

The percent of languages in the world that are primitive in the sense of not having a system of sounds, words, and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.


The number of languages that have added words to modern English.

at least 240

The percent of all living languages that change over time.


The kinds of cultures that have languages with extremely large vocabularies.

cultures with complex, diverse economies and advanced technologies