Language discussion thread

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Nov 26, 2012
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Descender said:
Both language families belonging to the greater Indo-European family of languages, which also comprises the Romance, Slavic, Indo-Aryan, Iranian families, among others. In fact, the Finno-Ugrian languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian and some minor ones) and Basque (which is so badass it's not related to any other language, spoken today or ever known to have existed) are the only European languages spoken today that are not Indo-European.

Again, there are few things I find as fascinating as etymology and Indo-European studies. I still remember when I was learning German grammar and discovered the auxiliary verbs in the past tense worked EXACTLY like in Italian (they even look similar: essere--> sein, avere --> haben) and it's not because of modern borrowings, but because of this common root that dates back five, six millenia.

Mind-boggling, I tell you.
why did you say this???

i think i will forget about my own research, and look this up for the next few days. Already i am losing time for research due to vuelta. now this too.:(:(
 
Descender said:
Both language families belonging to the greater Indo-European family of languages, which also comprises the Romance, Slavic, Indo-Aryan, Iranian families, among others. In fact, the Finno-Ugrian languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian and some minor ones) and Basque (which is so badass it's not related to any other language, spoken today or ever known to have existed) are the only European languages spoken today that are not Indo-European.

Again, there are few things I find as fascinating as etymology and Indo-European studies. I still remember when I was learning German grammar and discovered the auxiliary verbs in the past tense worked EXACTLY like in Italian (they even look similar: essere--> sein, avere --> haben) and it's not because of modern borrowings, but because of this common root that dates back five, six millenia.

Mind-boggling, I tell you.
Oh, avere and haben aren't actually etymologically related, despite how similar they look. The latter is from the PIE root *kap (see Latin capio, "I seize").
 
Eshnar said:
yes I find it fascinating too. As for the German - Italian similarities, they also have much to do with the Longobard occupation of northern Italy in the early middle ages.
Yes, but the legacy of that time is to be found mainly in the vocabulary (loan words). Grammatical phenomena like the one I was talking about are pretty much never borrowed by language contact. This particular one does date back to Proto-Indo-European, I looked it up. ;)
 
hrotha said:
Oh, avere and haben aren't actually etymologically related, despite how similar they look. The latter is from the PIE root *kap (see Latin capio, "I seize").
That's strange, I would have guessed Haben went from the Latin Habeo. Which means have, exactly.
:confused:
 
hrotha said:
Oh, avere and haben aren't actually etymologically related, despite how similar they look. The latter is from the PIE root *kap (see Latin capio, "I seize").
Confused I am. I looked this **** up a while ago, I'll come back to you after the stage.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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nice map.
note though that occitan has gone from a high profile language in the middle ages to an endangered language at present, but the map doesn't reflect that.
the area that says "occitan" is predominantly french-speaking now.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Interesting addition, sniper, thank you! I think they are more than optimistic on the current state of provençal as well. But what this map shows nicely is the geographical evolution of castellano as a wedge, or the "cuña castellana" as they call it
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Christian said:
Interesting addition, sniper, thank you! I think they are more than optimistic on the current state of provençal as well.
there are indeed still hundreds of villages where (varieties of) occitan is spoken, but as far as i've understood the 'problem' is that most of the speakers are bilingual occitan-french with the role of french increasing from one generation to the other.
on the other hand, in recent years occitan/provencal is receiving increasing amounts of scholarly attention and i agree with you that at present the future of the language looks brighter than it has in a long time.

edit: by the way, i see now that the map does actually reflect the intrusion of french in occitan speaking areas.
 
Jan 24, 2012
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Christian said:
Awesome map.

Libertine Seguros said:
My favourite one of those was the German newspaper typo, "Der neue Papst isst Argentinier". The extra s changed "The new Pope is an Argentinian" to "The new Pope eats Argentinians"...
German language was the enjoyable to learn for me. Though Italian comes close due to my professor's angelic voice.

I never studied any one language in depth ('murica) but one thing I've always remembered from German was "um die ecke"
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Christian said:
Here is another interesting map. Enter any two words into the search engine, and it will show you the translation for almost every country in Europe:

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2014/jan/15/interactive-european-language-map
It gives an arguable translation for 'she runs' in Dutch though. It's correct for Flemish, but in northern dialects of Dutch you would say 'ze rent' instead of 'ze loopt'. Lopen = 'to run' in Flemish, but 'to walk' in northern dialects of Dutch and 'rennen' is more like running pretty hard in Flemish, but it's running in general in northern dialects of Dutch. (Flemish = how people speak Dutch in Belgium/Flanders, northern dialects of Dutch is how people speak Dutch in the Netherlands, so Flemish Dutch and Dutch Dutch ;))

/insignificant detail nobody cares about :p
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Maaaaaaaarten said:
It gives an arguable translation for 'she runs' in Dutch though. It's correct for Flemish, but in northern dialects of Dutch you would say 'ze rent' instead of 'ze loopt'. Lopen = 'to run' in Flemish, but 'to walk' in northern dialects of Dutch and 'rennen' is more like running pretty hard in Flemish, but it's running in general in northern dialects of Dutch. (Flemish = how people speak Dutch in Belgium/Flanders, northern dialects of Dutch is how people speak Dutch in the Netherlands, so Flemish Dutch and Dutch Dutch ;))

/insignificant detail nobody cares about :p
note that in some contexts to run may translate as "lopen", e.g. the motor is running > "de motor loopt".
but you're right of course and it's a good spot / interesting error.
then again, it's google translate, packed with such errors (for as brilliant a tool i think it is).
 
Has the literal name translation exercise been done with Portuguese names?

(Tiago) Machado = Axe
(Sérgio) Paulinho = LittlePaul
(Fábio) Silvestre = Wild
(Nelson) Oliveira = Olivetree
(Samuel) Caldeira = Boiler
(Rui) Costa = Shore
(Joaquim) Agostinho = LittleAugust
(Hugo) Sabido = Known
(Ricardo) Mestre = Master
(Édgar) Pinto* = Penor
(Joni) Brandão = VeryMild
(Bruno) Pires = Saucer
(Acácio) da Silva** = of Blackberry
(Ruben) Guerreiro = Warrior
(António) Carvalho = Oak

* slang for pén!s (the name however, is older than it). Closest word is 'pintainho', which means 'chick'.
** Silva, common name for Amora-silvestre.

Dutch translations are funnier, though.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I just read this book:



It really was quite funny and very informative. It talks a lot about languages that are very different to our own (aboriginal languages in Australia and America for example). It also does away with stereotypes such as "simple societies use simple languages" and "all languages are equally complex" alike.

Finally, it is an exciting retelling of the history of very different fields: linguistics, evolution, and anthropology for instance. Even though it deals with complex ideas, it is very easy to understand for anyone, even if you have very few or no previous notions in linguistics. Finally, it's an entertaining read. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
 
It never ceases to amaze me how completely wrong the stereotypes about simple/complex languages are - and how at least in the Indo-European languages the exact opposite is true; the languages that have changed the least over time show by far the most complex structures, and the languages that have changed the most have simplified or simply removed a lot of features (grammatical dual, cases such as locative, instrumental and ablative, formations such as the subjunctive, T-V distinction and so on).
 
Just went through this whole topic since I don't have much to do at work. Digging up some very old posts.

Libertine Seguros said:
the Japanese language is a language isolate. If you or I tried to create a language, you could guarantee it would have mostly the same characteristics as the languages we know; Japanese is unlike any other language on earth (though a fanciful theory suggests it may be distantly related to the Turkic languages).
And yet its phonology is surprisingly similar to the italian's one, with very few exceptions (ɯ, uvular nasal and voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate being the most common).
I've come accross hundreds of languages in my life, but none of them sounds as closer to italian as japanese to my ears. Is there any explanation for that?

hrotha said:
Actually I think dubbing is quite rare in Europe. Other than in Spain and Germany, I don't know where else they do it.
You'd be hard-pressed to find anything not dubbed in Italy, from cartoons, to movies, to soap operas, to TV programmes. Literally everything is dubbed.
 
Dude, not only is that post super old, it was also thoroughly rebutted at the time. :p
SafeBet said:
I've come accross hundreds of languages in my life, but none of them sounds as closer to italian as japanese to my ears. Is there any explanation for that?
Coincidence. There are only so many sounds humans are capable of reproducing and categorizing as distinct phonemes, after all.

Greek and Spanish sound very much alike, even though they've followed separate paths for millennia.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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SafeBet said:
And yet its phonology is surprisingly similar to the italian's one, with very few exceptions (ɯ, uvular nasal and voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate being the most common).
I've come accross hundreds of languages in my life, but none of them sounds as closer to italian as japanese to my ears. Is there any explanation for that
I actually don't think they sound that similar and there is a wealth of phonological differences between them.

Actually, just looking at the phonology, there is a wealth of difference in their phoneme inventory, Italian allows quite complex syllables, whereas Japanese is very restrictive in that regard, Japanese has a pitch-accent, whereas Italian has a lexical stress......
 
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