Home » Education and Reference » K-12

The Science of Language - What's Yours?

Oct 9, 2007
Here is a great idea for a science fair project. All you have to do is to research the various languages in the world and memorize just a few words from each one of them.

Shouldn't be too hard! In Italian it is "Buon Giorno". In French "Bon Jour". In Israel "Bokar Tov". In Spain it is "Buenos Dias". Don't lose heart. There are only a few more to go. According to the best and latest count, there are about 6,800 different languages in the world. Only 6,796 more to go. In Turkish, say "Merhaba" or "Gunaydin".

If you live in the good old U.S.A. chances are you speak only one language unless you are a college grad where you may speak a smattering of some second language that you studied in school. More often than not, you have seldom used your second language and really aren't very good with it. Language is like a muscle. If you do not use it, it will atrophy and become essentially useless. You may know the word or the form of the verb, buried deep down in your subconscious from all the drills they gave you while you were in school, but in a normal conversation, by the time you are able to recall the proper word, the conversation has passed you by and your language skills are virtually worthless.

Another problem with language is trying to understand a native while they are talking. People in every language tend to run one word into another or gobble up parts of words as they speak. If English is your native tongue, you are so used to it, so you are able to understand what the other guy is saying. But in Spanish, Italian or some other international tongue, you are not able to ascertain exactly what the words are. Here again, if you live in the country for a while it will come to you. And this is where the Europeans have it all over us Americans.

Europeans live so close to one another and travel back and forth across borders so frequently, that they can get by in as many as five or six different languages. It is not unusual for a European to understand and speak Spanish, French, English, Italian, and one or two other languages like German.

Since the advent of the common market, where borders practically do not exist any more, Europeans are getting even more exposure to different languages. Once you know one new language, a second is often very easy. Take Spanish and Italian for example. In Spanish, the numbers are "uno, dos, tres". In Italian it is "uno, due, tre". In Spanish, the phrase for "please" is "por favor". In Italian it is "per favore". You get a real bargain when you learn Spanish. If you do, you are half way on your way to understanding Italian.

The number of different languages in the world varies depending on who you talk to. But it is somewhere around 6800. 885 million people speak Mandarin Chinese, the most spoken language in the world. But only one or two speak "Coos", an almost extinct language in Southern Oregon. And yes, there is a place in Southern Oregon called "Coos Bay". There are over 2100 different languages in Asia, and over 2000 in Africa. There are only 225 in all of Europe.

One of the reasons why it is so difficult to exactly number the different languages in the world, is because at times, the speakers of a given language will die out. Here is a good example. The two Coos dialects, Hanis and Miluk, were once spoken on the coast of Oregon. The last native Coosan speaker died in 1972, but the language appears to have been related to Siuslaw and Alsea, and some linguists consider all these languages part of a broader Penutian language family. Miluk Coosan is sometimes referred to as "Lower Coquille" by anthropologists, because the traditional homeland of the Miluk includes the lower part of the Coquille River.

There are many unique peoples and regions of the world, many with a unique language. Different languages developed and remained intact due to isolation and geographic barriers. If another language is never heard the spoken language is more likely to be used and remain as the primary language. As time passed, people were more and more able to travel farther and farther. Entering unknown areas and discovering other people introduced new languages. Over time the people and the their languages mingled sometimes resulting in new versions of existing languages.

Another language phenomenon is slang. Slang is the practice of bending words by modifying the proper use of words or using words for a different meaning. Slang almost always happens among the people who use it; a cultural phenomenon that occurs seemingly without influence of other people or languages.

Great science fair projects can be developed from the study of different people and languages. If the study of languages is interesting to you, you can devise a great science project. How about tracing the origins of a slang term and how slang develops? Perhaps, a project on how native languages are lost once an isolated group mingles with others? The science of language is as interesting as the many different peoples who speak them. Many great projects can be found in the interesting facts of languages.
About the Author
Mort Barish is co-founder of Terimore Institute, Inc. Terimore provides hundreds of science fair projects with step-by-step guides for children in grades K-12 to help them learn more about science. Find fun, easy and award-winning science fair project at www.terimore.com!
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 226
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources