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LANGUAGE DESCRIPTION
Laal Is a still-unclassified language spoken by 749 people (as of 2000) in three villages in the Moyen-Chari prefecture of Chad on opposite banks of the Chari River, called Gori (lá), Damtar (?ual), and Mailao. It may be a language isolate, in which case it would represent an isolated survival of an earlier language group of central Africa. It is unwritten (except in transcription by linguists). According to SIL-Chad member David Faris, it is in danger of extinction, with most people under 25 shifting to the locally more widespread Baguirmi language.
Ladakhi Is the predominant language in the Ladakh region of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. Ladakhi is closely related to Tibetan, and Ladakh shares many cultural similarities with Tibet, including Tibetan Buddhism. Ladakhi has approximately 100,000 speakers in India, and perhaps 12,000 speakers in the Tibet region of China. Ladahki has three main dialects, Ladakhi proper (also called Leh, after the capital of Ladakh), Shamma, and Nubra. Ladakhi is romanised in a similar way to Hindi, the most important thing to remember being that the "Th" represents a "T" sound with a bit more air.
Ladin (Ladino in Italian, Ladin in Ladin, Ladinisch in German) is a Rhaetian language spoken in the Dolomite mountains in Italy, between the regions of Trentino-South Tyrol and Veneto. It presents connections with the Swiss Romansh and Friulian. It is officially recognized in Italy and has some official rights in the region of Trentino-South Tyrol, while it does not have official status in the province of Belluno (Veneto region).
Ladino Is a Romance language, derived mainly from Old Castilian (Spanish) and Hebrew. The relationship of Ladino to Castilian Spanish is comparable to that of Yiddish to German. Speakers are currently almost exclusively Sephardic Jews, for example, in (or from) Thessaloniki and Istanbul. (Note that the Ladino speakers are almost exclusively elderly and few in numbers, and it is in danger of extinction as it is not passed down to younger generations anymore).
Lakota (Also Lakhota, Teton, Teton Sioux) is the largest of the three languages of the Sioux, of the Siouan family. While generally taught and considered by speakers as a separate language, Lakota is mutually understandable with the other two languages, and is considered by most linguists one of the three major varieties of the Sioux language. The Lakota language represents one of the largest Native American language speech communities left in the United States, with approximately 8,000-9,000 speakers living mostly in northern plains states of North and South Dakota.
Lao Is the official language of Laos. It is a tonal language of the Tai family, and is so closely related to the Isan language of the northeast region of Thailand that the two are often classed as one language. The writing system of Lao is an abugida (a writing system composed of signs denoting consonants with an inherent following vowel) and is closely related to the writing system used in Thai.
Lappish Is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken in parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently (and erroneously) believed to be a single language. It is the native tongue of the Sami people. There are several terms used for the Lappish languages: Saami, Sámi, Samic, Saamic, Sami and Lappic. The last two are, along with the term Lapp, considered derogatory by some.
Latin Is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. It gained wide usage as the formal language of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. An inflectional and synthetic language, Latin relies little on word order, conveying meaning through a system of affixes attached to word stems. The Latin alphabet, derived from the Greek, remains the most widely used alphabet in the world. Ecclesiastical Latin remains the formal language of the Roman Catholic Church to this day, and thus the official language of the Vatican. The Church used Latin as its primary liturgical language until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Latin is also still used—drawing heavily on Greek roots—to furnish the names used in the scientific classification of living things. The modern study of Latin, along with Greek, is part of the Classics.
Latvian Sometimes referred to as Lettish, is the official state language of the Republic of Latvia. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. Latvian belongs to the Eastern Baltic sub-group of the Baltic language group in the Indo-European language family. Of the Baltic languages, only Latvian and its closest relative Lithuanian remain. However, while related, the Latvian and Lithuanian vocabularies vary greatly from each other and are not mutually intelligible.
Laz Is spoken by an ethnic group of the same name on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea. It is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 500,000 native speakers of Laz in Turkey, in a strip of land extending from Melyat to the Georgian border (officially called Lazistan until 1925), and about 30,000 in Georgia.
Lenape (Also called Delaware) is a language in the Algonquian language family spoken by the Lenape people. It had two main dialects, Munsee and Unami. Sometimes the two are treated as separate languages, for example in the Ethnologue. Lenape is a word in the Unami dialect whose most literal translation into English would be "the people". (The common schoolbook term, Lenni-Lenape is not correct, but translates as, "the original people"). The Lenape names for the area they inhabited were Scheyischbi, which means, "the place bordering the ocean," and Lenapehoking, meaning "place where the people live," although the latter is not universally accepted as historical.
Lepontic Is an extinct Celtic language, the language of the Lepontii, that was spoken in parts of Cisalpine Gaul between 700 BC and 400 BC. Sometimes called Cisalpine Celtic, it is considered a dialect of the Gaulish language and thus a Continental Celtic language (Eska 1998). The language is only known from a few inscriptions discovered that were written in the alphabet of Lugano, one of five main varieties of Northern Italic alphabets, derived from the Etruscan alphabet. These inscriptions were found in an area centered around Lugano, including Lago di Como and Lago Maggiore. Similar scripts were used for writing the Rhaetic and Venetic languages, and the Germanic runic alphabets probably derive from a script belonging to this group.
Lezgi Also called Lezgian, is a language spoken by the Lezgins who live in southern Dagestan (a republic of Russia) and northern Azerbaijan. Lezgi belongs to the Lezgian group of the Northeast Caucasian (Dagestan) language family.
Ligbi Is a Mande language spoken in Ghana in the north-west corner of the Brong-Ahafo region. Ligbi is spoken by approximately 10 000 speakers. It is a geographical outlier to its language family, fairly closely related to Bambara/Jula and to Vai and Kono. A small population of Ligbi speakers (4 000) is reported to live in Cote d'Ivoire (Vanderaa 1991). Ligbi is also known as Wela, Hwela or Numu. The latter of these refers to a subsection of the Ligbi people; Numu is Dyula for 'blacksmith'.
Limburgish Is a group of Franconian varieties, spoken in the Limburg and Rhineland regions, near the common Dutch/Belgian/German border. The area in which it is spoken roughly fits within a wide circle from Venlo to Cologne to Aachen to Maastricht to Hasselt and back to Venlo . In Germany it is common to consider the Limburgish dialects as belonging to the Low Franconian languages; in The Netherlands and Belgium however all these are seen as West Middle German or even simply High German. This difference is caused by a difference in definition: the linguists of the Low Countries define a Low German dialect as one that has not taken part in the first three phases of the High German consonant shift at all.
Lingala Is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and a large part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. It has over 10 million speakers. It is classed C.36D under the Guthrie system for classifying Bantu languages and C.40 under the SIL system.
Lipan Apache Are also known as Nde buffalo hunters, called by anthropologists and historians for many years as Eastern Apache, Apache de los Llanos, Lipan, Ipande, and other names. Today it is known that the Cuelgahen Nde Lipan Apache of Texas comprise the descendents of the Tall Grass People known as Lipan Apache — Apache following Chiefs Cuelga de Castro, John Castro, and Ramon Castro. Lipan Apache is also a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by Meredith Begay, Ted Rodriguez, and others on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The general consensus of the Lipan Apache Committee on the same reservation is that linguistic and anthropological considerations of their cultural extinction are mistaken and incorrect.
Lishana Deni Is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in the town of Zakho and its surrounding villages in northern Iraq, on the border with Turkey. Most speakers now live in and around Jerusalem. The name Lishana Deni means 'our language', and is similar to names used by other Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects (Lishan Didan, Lishanid Noshan). Other popular names for the language are Lishan Hozaye, 'the language of the Jews', and Kurdit, 'Kurdish'. Scholarly sources tend simply to refer to Lishana Deni as Zakho Jewish Neo-Aramaic.
Lishán Didán Is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in Iranian Azerbaijan, in the region of Lake Urmia, from Salmas to Mahabad. Most speakers now live in Israel. The name Lishán Didán means 'our language'; other variations are Lishanán, 'our-language', and Lishanid Nash Didán, 'the language of our selves'. As this causes some confusion with similarly named dialects (Lishana Deni, Lishanid Noshan), scholarly sources tend simply to use a more descriptive name, like Persian Azerbaijani Jewish Neo-Aramaic. To distinguish it from other dialects of Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Lishán Didán is sometimes called Lakhlokhi (literally 'to-you(f)-to-you(m)') or Galihalu ('mine-yours'), demonstrating different use of prepositions and pronominal suffixes.
Lishanid Noshan Is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in southern and eastern Iraqi Kurdistan, in the region of Arbil. Most speakers now live in Israel. Lishanid Noshan means 'the language of our selves'; speakers often also call it Lishana Didan, which means 'our language'. However, as similar names are used by most of the dialects of Jewish Neo-Aramaic, scholarly sources tend to call it Arbil Jewish Neo-Aramaic. Other popular names for the language are Hula'ula, 'Jewish', Galigalu, 'mine-yours' (noting the difference in grammar from other dialects), and Kurdit, 'Kurdish'.
Lithuanian Is the official language of Lithuania, spoken by about 4 million native speakers (Lithuanians). The Lithuanian name for the language is lietuviu kalba. Lithuanian is one of two living Baltic languages (along with Latvian). The Baltic languages form their own distinct branch of the Indo-European languages. The Lithuanian language has two main dialects: Aukštaitian (Aukštaiciu, Highland Lithuanian) and Samogitian (Samogitian, Žemaiciu/Žemaitiu, Lowland Lithuanian).
Livonian Belongs to the Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric languages. It is now spoken by only about 35 people, 10 of them fluently. It is related to Finnish, spoken on the other side of the Gulf of Finland, and Estonian. The native land of the Livonian people is Livonia, located in Latvia, north of the Kurzeme peninsula. It is a highly endangered language. Some of the ethnic Livonians learn or have learnt the language in order to revive it. This is problematic because ethnic Livonians are nowhere in the majority and have little opportunity to use the language. Its orthography is a derivation of both Latvian and Estonian orthography.
Lobedu (Also Lovedu or Selobedu) is a Bantu language regarded as a dialect of Northern Sotho (Sepedi). It exists only in an unwritten form and the standard Northern Sotho language and orthography is usually used for teaching and writing by this language community. The monarch associated with this language community is Queen Modjadji (also known as the Rain Queen). Lobedu is mainly spoken in the area of Duiwelskloof in the Limpopo Province (former Northern Province). Its speakers are known as the Balobedu.
Lotha Is spoken by approximately 80,000 people in the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland. It is centered in the small district of Wokha (capital Wokha). This district has many villages such as Merapani, Englan, Pakti and others, where the language is widely spoken and studied. It belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, which are primarily concentrated in that region. The language resembles its northern neighbor Ao, as well as the Meithei language spoken in the state of Manipur.
Low German Is a name for the regional language varieties of the Low Germanic languages spoken mainly in northern Germany, and eastern Netherlands. Also, there are some speakers in the coastal areas of Poland, and immigrant communities in several places of the world, for instance in Canada. In the Southern Jutland region of Denmark there may still be some Low German speakers in some German minority communities, but the Low German and North Frisian dialects of Denmark ought to be considered moribund, if not extinct, at this time.
Lower Sorbian Is a Slavic minority language spoken in eastern Germany in the historical province of Lower Lusatia, today part of Brandenburg. It is one of the two literary Sorbian languages, the other being Upper Sorbian. Lower Sorbian is spoken in and around the city of Cottbus in Brandenburg. Signs in this region are usually bilingual, and Cottbus has a Gymnasium where the language of instruction is Lower Sorbian.
Lozi Also known as Silozi and Rozi, is a Bantu language (of the Niger-Congo language family) that is spoken by the Lozi people, primarily in southwestern Zambia and in surrounding countries. Lozi and its dialects are spoken and understood by approximately six percent of the population of Zambia. There are many Lozi speakers in the area around the city of Livingstone in Zambia. The Lozi language developed from a mixture of two languages: Luyana and Kololo. The Luyana people originally migrated south from the Luba-Lunda empire in the Katanga area of the Congo River basin, either late in the 17th century or early in the 18th century. The language they spoke, therefore, was closely related to Luba and Lunda. They settled on the floodplains of the Upper Zambezi River in what is now western Zambia and developed a kingdom.
Ludic Or Ludian is a Baltic Finnic language in the Uralic language family. It is spoken by 3 000 people in the Republic of Karelia.
Luganda Also known as Ganda, is a Bantu language and is spoken mainly in the Buganda region of Uganda by a population of over three million people. With 100,000 second language speakers, it is the most widely spoken second language in Uganda next to English. The language is used in some primary schools in Buganda as pupils begin to learn English, the official language of Uganda.
Lummi Is actually a dialect of a language called North Straits Salish.
Lunda Also known as Chilunda, is a Bantu language (of the larger Niger-Congo family) that is spoken in Zambia, Angola and, to a lesser extent, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lunda and its dialects are spoken and understood by perhaps 2.6% of Zambians (1986 estimate), and the language is used overwhelmingly in the northern part of that country.
Luri Is a southwestern Iranian language and is mainly spoken by the Lurs and Bakhtiari people in the Iranian provinces of Lorestan, Ilam, Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari, Kohkiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad and parts of Khuzestan.
Lushootseed Is the language or dialect continuum of several Salish Native American groups of modern-day Washington state. Lushootseed is a member of two main divisions of the Salishan language group, Coast Salish and Interior Salish. Lushootseed, like its neighbour Twana, is in the Southern Coast Salish subgroup of the Salishan family of languages. The language was spoken by many Puget Sound region peoples, including the Duwamish, Suquamish, Squaxin Island Tribe, Nisqually, and Puyallup in the south and the Snohomish, Skagit, and Swinomish in the north.
Lusoga Is a Bantu language spoken in the Busoga region of Uganda by approximately 1 500 000 people.
Luxembourgish Or Luxembourgian (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuergesch, French: Luxembourgeois, German: Luxemburgisch, Walloon: Lussimbordjwès) is a West Germanic language spoken in Luxembourg. It was proclaimed one of the three official languages of Luxembourg in 1984. There are about 300,000 people who speak Luxembourgish worldwide.
Lydian Was an Indo-European language that was spoken in the state of Lydia in Western Anatolia, present-day Turkey. It is now considered definitely to belong to the Anatolian subgroup of Indo-European, but occupies a unique position within this group due to a number of features not shared with the other Anatolian languages. It is not presently known whether these represent unique developments in pre-Lydian or the retention of archaic features lost in the other Anatolian languages. (Melchert 2004)