Author Topic: Language Learners  (Read 22661 times)

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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2010, 07:31:32 AM »
   The indiginous languages of the Caucasus are among the weirdest on the planet. They fall into three families,the southern Caucasian or Kartvelian languiages,Goergian,Mingrelian,Laz,and Svan,
the northwest or Circassian branch,and the northeast branch,which include,Chechen,Ingush,Avar,Lezgi, and others. The northeastern may actually be three separate language families.
   The Georgian language has virtually no limits on the most tongue-twisting consonant clusters. There is a town called Mtskheta.(the kh is pronounced as in chutzpah). The alphabet is called Mkhedruli (kh pronounced the same as before), and one of the numbers beyond 10 is called Tskhridi. And those are some of the easier ones!
   The northwest or Circassian languages have a staggering number of different consonant phomemes,between sixty and 80! 
   And they tend to have only two vowels! 
    The northeastern languages also have very large numbers of consonants, and have staggeringly complex grammatical systems,with in some cases up to 30 or more cases. 
    I heard circassian at the website globalrecordings.net,where you can hear lines from the Bible in literally thousands of languages,and it sounded so guttural and back of the mouth as if the speaker were talking with his mouth full of food!
   Chechen might as well be Klingon!  It sounded like some one speaking a language on a tape running backwards, and is full of strange hiccoughing and coughing sounds.
  The Abkhazian language,related to Circassian, has been descrbed as sounding like the buzzing of insects !

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2010, 09:22:05 AM »
   The indiginous languages of the Caucasus are among the weirdest on the planet.

Ubykh, which went extinct in the 1990s, had 81 consonants and only 3 vowels!
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greg

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2010, 11:26:54 AM »
All words in that sentence are of Latin origin. Hard to believe, eh?  :D
That really is hard to believe. So you could kind of say that Romanian is the black sheep of the Romance language family?  :D


Ubykh, which went extinct in the 1990s, had 81 consonants and only 3 vowels!
I think I read about that before. That is... beyond insane.

I probably found it somewhere on this site:
http://krysstal.com/language.html

which I used to read a lot- had tons of info about language families and stuff.

karlhenning

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2010, 11:34:23 AM »
Three vowels are plenty. I'd like to buy one, Pat.

greg

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2010, 11:50:15 AM »
   The indiginous languages of the Caucasus are among the weirdest on the planet. They fall into three families,the southern Caucasian or Kartvelian languiages,Goergian,Mingrelian,Laz,and Svan,
the northwest or Circassian branch,and the northeast branch,which include,Chechen,Ingush,Avar,Lezgi, and others. The northeastern may actually be three separate language families.
   The Georgian language has virtually no limits on the most tongue-twisting consonant clusters. There is a town called Mtskheta.(the kh is pronounced as in chutzpah). The alphabet is called Mkhedruli (kh pronounced the same as before), and one of the numbers beyond 10 is called Tskhridi. And those are some of the easier ones!
   The northwest or Circassian languages have a staggering number of different consonant phomemes,between sixty and 80! 
   And they tend to have only two vowels! 
    The northeastern languages also have very large numbers of consonants, and have staggeringly complex grammatical systems,with in some cases up to 30 or more cases. 
    I heard circassian at the website globalrecordings.net,where you can hear lines from the Bible in literally thousands of languages,and it sounded so guttural and back of the mouth as if the speaker were talking with his mouth full of food!
   Chechen might as well be Klingon!  It sounded like some one speaking a language on a tape running backwards, and is full of strange hiccoughing and coughing sounds.
  The Abkhazian language,related to Circassian, has been descrbed as sounding like the buzzing of insects !
I looked up some videos on youtube of those languages and definitely see what you mean.

Seems to me you can think of a couple of different types or categories that describe phonology of languages (whether they're related or not):

- Tone-based: basically Chinese (though supposedly not Shanghainese), Thai, etc.
-Consonant-based: Those extreme examples listed above, but also ones with lots of sounds and sound combinations. I'd probably even categorize Germanic and Romance languages under this, although less midly.
-Double-sound based: Finnish, Japanese (my favorites) which used double cosonants and double vowels as a very major phonetic component.

greg

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2010, 11:50:46 AM »
Three vowels are plenty. I'd like to buy one, Pat.
Lol, nice- never would've thought of that.

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2010, 01:07:23 PM »
  Languages such as Turkish,Finnish and Hungarian have a curious phnomenon called vowel harmony,in which words are constructed as chains of roots with numerous suffixes attached.
  For euphony, the vowels of the suffixes must agree with the vowel of the root.
  For example,Turkish has 8 vowels :as well as a,e,i,o,u, there are
  a kind of guttural i spelled without a dot, and o and u with umlauts,pronouced the same as German.
  A,undotted i ,o and u are the back vowels,pronounced further back in the mouth,while, e,i with a dot,o and u with umlauts are the front vowels. o,u, and the ones with umlauts are the rounded vowels,produced by rounding the lips,while a,e,i and undotted i are the unrounded vowels.
  If the vowel of the root has a back vowel,all the suffixes in the word must be back. If there is a front vowel,all the vowels in the suffixes must be front. Rounded vowels go with rounded,and unrounded with unrounded. 
   For example the word horse it At,and the word for house is ev.
   The plural suffix is either lar or ler.  So at takes the plural suffix lar to make atlar,and ev takes the plural suffix ler to make evler.
  It gets much more complicated, and to learn Turkish,you have to learn to match the vowels correctly.
   This language is highly polysyllabic, and tends to combine the various parts of speech into together,to the point where sometimes a lengthy sentence can be one polysyllabic word! 
   There are occaisional exceptions to the vowel harmony,though.
   If a noun which is a root has both front and back vowels, usually foreign words, the suffixed must follow the root of the last vowel.
   Turkish has however, an incredibly regular structure,and there are no irregular verbs!  Conjugating verbs is a matter of chains of roots and suffixes, using the vowel harmony.
   In this sense,words are almost constructed like chords in music.   

karlhenning

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2010, 02:33:08 PM »
  Languages such as Turkish,Finnish and Hungarian have a curious phnomenon called vowel harmony,in which words are constructed as chains of roots with numerous suffixes attached.
  For euphony, the vowels of the suffixes must agree with the vowel of the root.

I don't follow this with respect to Finnish. (Either I don't understand what you mean, or I understand what you mean, and it doesn't actually apply to Finnish.)  Could you furnish Finnish examples? Thanks!

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2010, 02:57:12 PM »
  I don't have specific examples offhand,as I don't know Finhish as well as Turkish. But there is similar system of back and front vowels.
   You can google the Finnish language,and there's plenty of information about it. The closely related Estonian language,however,does not have vowel harmony.

abidoful

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #49 on: November 06, 2010, 03:17:47 AM »
The Finnish Ä is similar to hungarian E?

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #50 on: November 06, 2010, 07:34:26 AM »
   That Finnish A with the umlaut is pronounced as the English hat,not
   the one without it,which is like the English father.
    In Hungarian,what looks like an accent over a vowel indicates a long vowel,not an accent. In Hungarian ,Finnish and most other
Finno-Ugrian languages,the accent is always on the first syllable.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #51 on: November 06, 2010, 09:52:06 AM »
That really is hard to believe. So you could kind of say that Romanian is the black sheep of the Romance language family?  :D
I don't know. Let's find out together.   :)

Doamnelor: in the context, plural vocative case of doamnă (lady, mistress) < Lat. domina; cf. It. donna, Sp. dońa

şi (and < Lat. sic (semantical modifcation)

domnilor: in the context, plural vocative case of domn (gentleman, sir, mister) < Lat. dominus; cf. It. don, Sp. don

[related words: a domni (to reign); domnitor (monarchical ruler); dominaţie (domination); dominion (take a guess! :) ); dominant (take another! :) )]

în (Eng. in) < Lat. in

numele (Eng. the name): definite form of nume < Lat. nomen; cf. It. nome, Sp. nombre, Fr. nom

[related words: nominalizare (nomination); nominativ, nominal (take two guesses! :) ) ]

poporului: singular genitive case of popor (people) < Lat. populus; cf. It. popolo, Sp. pueblo, Fr. peuple

[related words: popular, populism, popularitate (take three quesses! :) )]

[cf. Lat. Senatus populusque romanus, Rom. Senatul şi poporul roman]

român (Romanian) < Lat. romanus (interestingly enough, we are the only people of Latin origin whose name derives not from the geographical area we inhabit, but directly from the name our ancestors identified themselves with: civis romanum sum)

şi: see above

al limbii: singular genitive case of limbă (language) < Lat. lingua; cf. Sardinian limba

[related words: limbut (talkative}; limbariţă (talkativeness, if this is a word); limbaj (language, with the meaning as in musical language, Rom. limbaj muzical); lingvistică (linguistics); lingvist (yes, exactly! :) )

române: feminine form of the adjective român: see above

vă doresc vouă (literally, (I) to you wish you --- in Romanian the pronoun can be ommitted and in certain cases the subject of an action is anticipated) is comprised of: < Lat. vobis + doresc: singular first person conjugation of the verb a dori (to wish; also, to long for), which is the verbal form of the noun dor (desire, longing) < Lat. dolus (pain) + vouă < Lat. vobis; cf. It. vi, voi; Fr. vous

ceea (that) < Lat. ecce illa; cf. It. quella, Sp. cual, Fr. quelle

ce (in the context, which) < Lat. quid; cf. It. che, Sp. que, Fr. que

îmi doresc şi mie (literally, (I) to myself wish and to me) is comprised of îmi < Lat. mihi + doresc (see above) + şi (see above) + mie < Lat. mihi; cf. It. mi, Sp. mi, Fr. me.

So, the sentence above translates thus: Ladies and gentlemen, on behaf of the Romanian people and of the Romanian language, I wish you that which I wish to me too..

And I continue:

Adică sănătate şi fericire! 

Adică (that is) < Lat. adaeque (equally, likewise, in the same manner)

sănătate (health) < Lat. sanitas; cf. It. sanitŕ; Fr. Santé

fericire (happiness): the state of being fericit (happy), modern form of ferice < Lat. felix; cf. It. felice; Sp. feliz.

Some more similarities with other Romance languages:

It. Buona sera --- Rom. Bună seara

Fr. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité --- Rom. Libertate, Egalitate, Fraternitate

Fr. un soldat mort --- Rom. un soldat mort

Catalan: laborator acreditat --- Rom. laborator acreditat

It. La critica della raggione pura --- Rom. Critica raţiunii pure

Fr. Les documents secrets du club Pickwick --- Rom. Documentele secrete ale clubului Pickwick

Back to Latin, we have for instance:

In patria nostra multi montes sunt --- Rom. În patria noastră mulţi munţi sunt.

Anno Domini --- Rom. Anul Domnului

A curiosity: while in all other Romance languages, the word for "church" comes from the Greek "ekklesia" (cf. It. chiesa, Fr. église, Sp. iglesia, the Romanian word, biserică, derives from Latin basilica.

Romanian prononuns: eu, tu, el, ea, noi, voi, ei, ele

Romanian numerals: unu, doi, trei, patru, cinci, şase, şapte, opt, nouă, zece

Days of the week: luni, marţi, miercuri, joi, vineri, sâmbătă, duminică

Months of the year: ianuarie, februarie, martie, aprilie, mai, iunie, iulie, august, septembrie, octombrie, noiembrie, decembrie

I think you'll have no difficulty in recognizing the following musical works:

J. Haydn: Simfonia nr. 22 în mi bemol major "Filosoful", Cvartetul de coarde op. 76 nr. 3 "Imperialul"

Tschaikovsky: Simfonia nr. 6 în si minor op. 74 "Patetica"

I'll rest my case here. Now, you tell me: how black is the sheep actually?  ;D
Regele şi Patria!

greg

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #52 on: November 06, 2010, 06:20:46 PM »
Seems more like the writing or something obscures the relation. I don't know how it sounds, but it's just different enough to where a sentence can seem very different from Spanish-Portuguese-Italian. When you explain it like that, it reminds me how when I've looked at words in Dutch or Danish before, they look alien to me, but when I find out the definition of the English translation, the words actually are similar.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2010, 03:46:04 AM »
Seems more like the writing or something obscures the relation.

The two main "problems" for an English speaker might be that (a) Romanian orthography is not ethymological, but phonetical: the word is written exactly as it sounds and (b) the pronunciation is very different than the English one (some sounds are even absent in English).

Quote
it's just different enough to where a sentence can seem very different from Spanish-Portuguese-Italian.
Sure; OTOH there are sentences that sounds, if not exactly like Sp-Pt-It, at least very close.

The degree of mutual intelligibility between Romanian and other Romance languages is paradoxical: while for an average-educated Romanian understanding (a lot of) Italian or Spanish is relatively easy, the reverse is not true.

The closest to Romanian is Italian and especially the Southern Italian dialects, such as Napolitan and Sardinian. Catalan is also very similar; from personal experience I can testify it is closer than Spanish (Castilian). The furthest way is French.

There are also words of Slavic origin, about 20% of the whole vocabulary, but the grammatical structure is Latin in the minutest details.

Quote
I don't know how it sounds,
Here is a poem by the great poet Ştefan Augustin Doinaş
which you can also hear recited, by clicking the .mp3 link in the left column. Please let me know your thoughts on spoken Romanian.  :)

Quote
When you explain it like that, it reminds me how when I've looked at words in Dutch or Danish before, they look alien to me, but when I find out the definition of the English translation, the words actually are similar.
See? That's the idea. :)

« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 03:48:55 AM by Florestan »
Regele şi Patria!

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #54 on: November 07, 2010, 07:04:42 AM »

There are also words of Slavic origin, about 20% of the whole vocabulary, but the grammatical structure is Latin in the minutest details.

I was sitting on a bus in Munich once, listening to some guys argue in a language that sounded like a mixture of Spanish and Russian. I figured it must be Romanian. I didn't ask them; but I can't think what other language it could have been.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

greg

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #55 on: November 07, 2010, 08:46:46 AM »

The two main "problems" for an English speaker might be that (a) Romanian orthography is not ethymological, but phonetical: the word is written exactly as it sounds and (b) the pronunciation is very different than the English one (some sounds are even absent in English).
Sure; OTOH there are sentences that sounds, if not exactly like Sp-Pt-It, at least very close.

The degree of mutual intelligibility between Romanian and other Romance languages is paradoxical: while for an average-educated Romanian understanding (a lot of) Italian or Spanish is relatively easy, the reverse is not true.

The closest to Romanian is Italian and especially the Southern Italian dialects, such as Napolitan and Sardinian. Catalan is also very similar; from personal experience I can testify it is closer than Spanish (Castilian). The furthest way is French.

There are also words of Slavic origin, about 20% of the whole vocabulary, but the grammatical structure is Latin in the minutest details.
Here is a poem by the great poet Ştefan Augustin Doinaş
which you can also hear recited, by clicking the .mp3 link in the left column. Please let me know your thoughts on spoken Romanian.  :)
See? That's the idea. :)
Very interesting.

Listening to that link and following along with the text, I have to say- I didn't recognize a word!  :o There were probably not more than 4 or 5 words that I could make an educated guess of.

To me, it sounds like French, or a mixture of French and Russian (though I could understand it sounding like a mixture of Italian and Russian, too). I guess that makes some sense geographically, being in the middle.

So you're saying that Romanian spelling is as easy and straightforward as Spanish? (or no)?

Offline Florestan

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #56 on: November 07, 2010, 11:06:35 AM »
I was sitting on a bus in Munich once, listening to some guys argue in a language that sounded like a mixture of Spanish and Russian. I figured it must be Romanian. I didn't ask them; but I can't think what other language it could have been.
Chances are great that they were actually from the Republic of Moldova, part of the historical Principality of Moldavia, annexed by the Russian Empire in 1812, united by plebiscite with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918, annexed by the USSR in 1940 and independent since the latter's break-up in 1991. They speak Romanian with a strong Russian accent, use many words of Russian origin (unknown in Romanian proper) and some archaisms which are long since out of use in standard Romanian.

Now, standard Romanian is based on the vernacular spoken in the Principality of Wallachia, mainly due to political reasons: it is from here that the movement for the political unity of Romanians sprang and gained momentum, especially in the early 19-th century. The vernaculars spoken in Moldavia proper (the principality mentioned above) and Transylvania differ only by accent and pronunciation and, a few regionalisms apart, are the same language.

It's interesting to note that, Romanians being the only people of Latin origin to adopt the Eastern Orthodoxy as their religion and consequently Slavonic being the official Church language, Romanian was written in the Slavonic alphabet up to late 18-th century. The movement towards the adoption of Latin alphabet (naturally more suited to Romanian than its Slavonic counterpart) was initiated mainly by Transylvanian linguists and historians. Thus, during the first half of the 19-th century written Romanian oscillated between full Slavonic and a peculiar (and for us modern Romanians, even laughable) mixture of Slavonic and Latin letters. The transition to full Latin alphabet was completed after 1859.

Also interesting is that in the second half of the 19-th century, a handful of Transylvanian linguists and historians (the so-called Latinist School) advocated and used in their writings an artificially constructed version of the Romanian language, in which all words of Slavic, Turkish, Greek and Hungarian origin were purged and replaced by their Latin counterparts and whose orthography was strictly ethymological. Needless to say, the result was so far-fetched and so remote from the normal speech of Romanians everywhere that they remained a fringe movement, ridculed and opposed by all their colleagues. I can assure you that reading their works is guaranteed fun for a native Romanian.

Listening to that link and following along with the text, I have to say- I didn't recognize a word!  :o There were probably not more than 4 or 5 words that I could make an educated guess of.
I was expecting something like that. Well, blame it partly on the phonetical orthography, which as you have seen in my last post, obscures the origin of the word, and partly on some words being of non-Latin oriign.

Quote
To me, it sounds like French, or a mixture of French and Russian (though I could understand it sounding like a mixture of Italian and Russian, too).
That's a surprise for me, because the French accent (mainly on the last syllable) is very different from the Romanian one (hearing Romanian spoken with French accent is great fun for Romanians).

Quote
So you're saying that Romanian spelling is as easy and straightforward as Spanish? (or no)?
Exactly. What you hear is what you write and the same letter (or group of letters) represents always the same sound.

This article is very informative. Be sure to check the main articles in the text for more in-depth information.
Regele şi Patria!

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #57 on: November 08, 2010, 04:09:38 AM »
Chances are great that they were actually from the Republic of Moldova,

That would make sense.

Venturing even farther afield, last week I met a woman from Yakutia. The Yakut language is sort of like Romanian, in the sense that it's cut off geographically from the rest of its language group. It's actually Turkic in origin - for some reason, the Yakuts went to northern Siberia and settled in some of the coldest territory on earth, while the other Turks went west. My contact said they were probably fleeing Genghis Khan.

About the Yakuts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakuts
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2010, 08:38:42 AM »
  I once had the opportunity to check out a Yakut grammar by an American expert in Turkic languages. It's somewhat divergent from the other Turkic languages,but still very closely related to them,and
shares much common vocabulary with Turkish and has basically the same grammatical structure,with vowel harmony even more complex than in Turkish.
  It's amazing how close it has remained to the other Turkic languages despite centuries of isolation from them.

pjme

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Re: Language Learners
« Reply #59 on: November 08, 2010, 11:43:15 AM »
Don't forget : Dutch =Flemish!

Belgian Dutch ( Belgisch-Nederlands (help·info)), the national variety of the Dutch language as spoken in Belgium,[2][3][4] be it standard (as used in schools, government and the media)[5] or informal (as used in daily speech, "tussentaal ");[6] Nevertheless, the use of Flemish to refer to the official language in Flanders is erroneous. The only official language in Flanders is Dutch.
East Flemish, West Flemish and French Flemish are related southwestern dialects of Dutch.[7]

Check Wiki for more details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemish

Peter- who speaks Dutch, French, English, some German ( writing is difficult).

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