Readers' Feedback

Language Families

Page 2 of 9

Generated : 17th June 2024


Nico de Lange


I really enjoy your language website, and think that it is extremely informative - however, I did notice some minor mistakes...

...the Germanic family

- Afrikaans is a derivative of Old High Dutch (17th century), just as Modern Dutch is. The two languages are sister languages, mutually intelligible but with major differences in both grammar, word order and pronunciation. Afrikaans is one of three linguae franca in South Africa (the other two being English and Zulu) and the lingua franca of Namibia.

...the Niger-Congo family, Southern African (Bantu) sub-family -

- Ndebele is the language spoken by the Matabele people of Zimbabwe, and also by about 500 000 people in South Africa's Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces. It is NOT spoken in Botswana. It is closely related to the Nguni languages of South Africa (Zulu, Swazi and Xhosa)

- Tswana is the dominant language of Botswana, but it is also spoken by about three million people in South Africa and a few thousand in Namibia. Tswana and the two variations of Sotho (Pedi and Sesotho) are virtually the same language - historical influences had more to do with their distinction than actual linguistic differences.

- The same is true of Zulu and Xhosa - the distinction between the two languages is based more on history than actual differences between them. They are for about 90% the same language and therefore one of only a handful of Niger-Congo languages spoken by more than ten million people. Ndebele and Swazi, and Ngoni that is spoken in Zambia and Malawi, are other languages that are closely related to Zulu-Xhosa (Nguni).

I do not want to sound patronizing, but I'm a South African (Afrikaans-speaking) with a great interest in the Bantu languages of my country and her neighbours.

Greetings, and keep up the excellent work...

KryssTal Reply: Thank you for your corrections and kind comments.

Hallo, me again...

...your English language page claims that English is the majority language of South Africa. This is quite incorrect - it is spoken by about four million people as first language, and by another sixteen million or so as second/third language. All in all, only half of South Africa's population can speak or understand English.

Compared to this, Zulu and Xhosa (two closely-related languages called Nguni) are spoken as first language by sixteen million people and a further ten million or so use Nguni as second/third language. Afrikaans is spoken by some seven million people as mother tongue and another fifteen million as second/third language.

All in all, Nguni (Zulu/Xhosa) is the most widely understood language of South Africa, followed by Afrikaans and only then by English. Typically, South Africans are fluent in at least three or four languages - normally, their own language plus two (or all three) of the linguae franca.


Michael Deguara


You claim:

The other languages in the Semitic Branch of this family are Maltese which is written in the Latin script because the Maltese are Catholic.

While the predominant religion here is Catholic, it is not, I feel, the main driving force behind the fact that Maltese is written in Latin script. The main issue here was that Maltese, for a long time an oral language, began to be transcribed at a time when the culture on the islands was thoroughly Italianised.

KryssTal Reply: Thank you - a good point.


Samvid Dwivedi

I am happy to see the detail with which the presentation on languages is given on your web site. It is very informative and thought provoking.

I have a couple comments to make:

1) On the chart depicting existing and dead languages, Sanskrit has been shown to be a "dead language". This is incorrect. millions in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Ceylon and surrounding countries use Sanskrit in prayers, sayings, names of medicines, plants and animals etc. Sanskrit is taught in many schools. Many journals, magazines and papers are published in this language. I have personally watched TV newscasts in India done in Sanskrit. Many historical texts can not be properly understood without a good knowledge of Sanskrit. For these reasons, I suggest that you make further inquiries and correct the simple mistake.

2) Underneath the box that depicts Sanskrit as a dead language, there are languages shown which have arisen from Sanskrit and are alive, spoken in Northern India/Pakistan. In that, the language Gujarati is spelled incorrectly as "Gujerati". I hope this will also be modified.

These are just slight items I happened to notice. I am sure that all the information on the site is thoroughly researched and confirmed. Keep up the good work.


Abhinav Dwivedi

Dear WebMaster

It is an interesting and informative web site (www. I am still exploring it.

I saw the "tree of writing evolution" chart. In the chart Sanskrit and Pali are designated as extinct languages. This is not correct. You may please verify your source and make amedments.

Sanskrit is taught in India in thousands of scools and colleges; it is used in millions of homes in daily prayers/worships, it is the principal language used in most of the temple etc.; magazines and books are published regularly and so on. Not only in India, but in many other countries one can find study of Sanskrit literature quite wide spread.

The same is true for Pali, though to little lesser extant than Sanskrit.

I hope you will take pain to correct the information so that your readers can get the correct information.


KryssTal Reply: Thank you for your comments.

As far as I am aware, Sanskrit is studied as a written and liturgical language but is not used for conversation in the street. In this respect it is like Latin and Ancient Greek.


David Johnson

Dear Sirs,

You write, "The Carib Family is found scattered in the rain forests and coasts of northern South America. The languages include Carib (once spoken in the Caribbean islands)..." This language is still used by a native people-group in Belize, as well, who consider the word "Carib" derogatory, because it has long been used that way by Spanish and English speakers in the region. The preferred name for both the language and the people is their own word, "Garķfuna."

KryssTal Reply: I came across Garifuna in Honduras as well. I'll take your comments on board. Thanks.


Premton Gervalla

Hello, I'm Albanian. I've studied Albanian and German Language.

I've read about the The Indo-European Family of Languages at your site. It is very interesting and I must congratulate you in your efforts.

Regarding Albanian language, you wrote:

"There are two dialects so different that they could be considered separate languages. Geg is spoken in the north of Albania and Kosovo. Tosk is spoken in southern Albania and north west Greece."

I cannot agree with the first sentence. There are no big differences between the two dialects. The major difference is that the Geg dialect uses Infinitive for verbs, whereas Tosk dialect uses a kind of participe. Everything else is very minor difference.

For ex.
Geg = me punu (to work)
Tosk= pėr tė punuar (to work - but in particip form)

My objection doesn't mean that I don't appriciate your work. I just wanted to explain something which I thought was wrong.

Best regards.

KryssTal Reply: Thank you for your kind comments and your corrections.


Tomislav Petrusic

Dear Madam / Sir

In the text it is describet how Croatian and Serbian are same language.You have forget how in Yugoslavia (serbs)everything that is Croatian together with language was suppresed and Croatian language was changed.For Serbians there was always dream to make great Serbia and under the name of Yugoslavia there where sistematicaly supression on all differences .Last war in Croatia and republic of former Yu was Serbian atempt to make great Serbia and suppress and kill everything what is not in Milosevic concept.If you have ever bean in Croatia and Serbia you will see that this two nationalities doesnt have anythig in common.There culture are different.You can find in some part in Croatia still old dialects which will link Croats with far east.(Iran,India)Serbian are Slavs but not Croatians.Now in Croatia expert are slowely introducing old Croatian words and language so in some time things will be different.At last Croatia is breathing with there own lungs.Some people doesnt like that there will prefer to see great serbia and all other nationalities serbs, speaking serbian language.

One more corections.Bosnian language doesnt exist.In Bosnia live three nationalities(Croats,Muslims,Serbs) and they speak there own language maybe today they can understand each other but there difference is great.I like Croat can understand better Slovak people than Serbs from south Serbia.Maybe because of that Croatian and Slovac are virtualy same.I can even speak with Bulgarian.Again about virtualy same language(Croatian and Serbian).Today virtualy with PC technology everything can be same which sometimes is NOT in reality.Once again Serbs in Ex-Yugoslavia was supressing everything what is coming from other nationalities.It is not hard if you have power since 1918 to make history and language.About Serbian politics I dont want discus because there result are seen today in Hag,and charging Serbian president Milosevic for genocide which we can compare only to Hitler tactics.Today maybe this two languages are in same slavic groups of languages but not virtualy same.Future will show real difference between this two languages.I think it will be nice of you to correct this in your text.

Thank you.


Justin Samuels

All educated Hausa study classicla Arabic ,and you once again have books, poetry, and newspapers published in Hausa. So it is accurate to say Hausa is written in two scripts, Arabic and Latin. You make this correction on your site.


Edis J. Anderson

Dear friends:

A number of years ago, I read of a story which related to the delayed cultural development of verbal language in New Guinea. The article related to the fact that in the recent past, natives were using non-verbal communication and had not yet developed verbal skills. I would like to refer to this information, and will greatly appreciate knowing the details and source of the information.

Thank you so very much.

KryssTal Reply: I've not heard this one - in fact some of their languages, being isolated are actually quite complex grammatically.


Billy Shahinian

Could you help me out please...I am looking to translate my initials into Armenian however I cannot seem to find the letter..."W" my initials are..."W.E.S."

any help would be appreciated. Thank You.

KryssTal Reply: Hello Billy,

Not every language has the same sounds as English.

Armenian does not have a "w" sound; English has no sound like the Greek gamma (it's in the back of the throat), English also has nothing like the Urdu r sound, the click sounds of Xhosa does not exist outside Africa, etc.

So, try using something similar (say v).

Good luck,

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