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Evolution of Language

Language allows us to share our thoughts, ideas, emotions, and intention with others. Over thousands of years, humans have developed a wide variety of systems to assign specific meaning to sounds, forming words and systems of grammar to create languages. Many languages developed written forms using symbols to visually record their meaning. Some languages, like American Sign Language (ASL), are an entirely visual language without the need for vocalizations. Although languages are defined by rules, they are by no means static, and evolve over time. Some languages are incredibly old and have changed very little over time, such as modern Icelandic, which strongly resembles its parent, Old Norse. Other languages evolve rapidly by incorporating elements of other languages. Still other languages die out due to political oppression or social assimilation, though many dying languages live on in the vocabularies and dialects of prominent languages around the world.

Teach your students how the languages of the world have evolved over time, and how their own languages continue to evolve today with this curated collection of resources.

grades

5, 6, 7, 8

subjects

Anthropology, English Language Arts, Social Studies

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