Ugliest language

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-06-17, 15:27

Vlürch wrote:Some languages have definitely been more influenced by other languages than Finnish has been by IE languages, but I don't know of any other cases where at least a third of Swadesh list words have been gradually replaced

I think this may be true of Malayalam, for example (but I'd have to check to make sure. Also, which Swadesh list? There's more than one. Incidentally, this is the sort of thing that's so problematic about the Swadesh list).
(and potentially many more, since many have unknown etymologies) and sentence structures have become more or less identical to English, a pronoun that's vaguely similar to the English definite article has been extended to be practically used as a definite article as well (at least informally, increasingly formally as well), and on top of that some likely native words with unclear etymology have come to be interpreted as certain loanwords simply for prestige.

Nevahööd of any of this. :P

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Lur » 2018-06-17, 16:41

Wait, wait. I don't get it. Finnish nationalists want the language to be more like other languages? What?

Also what is that "definite article"?

(The syntax doesn't seem "English" to me from the outside, but maybe I don't know enough)

I just keep thinking how something like Japanese can have like two thirds of vocabulary and certains sounds of foreign origin (a situation that may be typical of small languages bordering on big, prestigious empires/languages?) but we don't think of it that way because the language has a prestige the way it is...
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Vlürch » 2018-06-17, 18:18

vijayjohn wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Some languages have definitely been more influenced by other languages than Finnish has been by IE languages, but I don't know of any other cases where at least a third of Swadesh list words have been gradually replaced

I think this may be true of Malayalam, for example (but I'd have to check to make sure. Also, which Swadesh list? There's more than one. Incidentally, this is the sort of thing that's so problematic about the Swadesh list).

Presumably all of them. Also, remember how you once told me there's only the Swadesh list when I mentioned "a Swadesh list"? I'm still not sure why they can't each be a Swdaesh list. :P
vijayjohn wrote:Nevahööd of any of this. :P

:P

All these tongue emoticons...
Lur wrote:Wait, wait. I don't get it. Finnish nationalists want the language to be more like other languages? What?

Yeah, because a lot of "Finnish nationalists" are actually ethnic Swedes or Russians, or Finns who took Swedish (or rarely Russian) names and started identifying as "Nordic". Most Finns don't really care about nationalism, so the ones that do are often heavily influenced by Swedish and/or Russian nationalism; there are actual Finnish nationalists who don't want Finland to become more like Sweden or Russia, too, of course, but most of them are idiots as well.

Anyway, the early Finnish nationalists basically concultured modern Finland into existence. Unsurprisingly, they were mostly Swedish, German and Russian rather than Finnish... I'm fine with the fact that Finland was basically a concountry and a big part of its culture was invented by non-Finns with influences from Swedish and Russian culture, but it pisses me off that the next generation of nationalists didn't keep making shit up or looking into Turanism and instead started building a "Nordic narrative" influenced by white supremacy.
Lur wrote:Also what is that "definite article"?

The third-person inanimate pronoun se, literally "it". It's often used like the English definite article "the", although there are subtle differences and it's obviously not the only thing it's used for (eg. it's also equivalent to "that"); I'm pretty sure it'll never be transformed into an exclusive definite article because it's informally used to refer to humans as well, so no matter how much Finnish ends up being influenced by English, it won't go that far. Still, for example "se peruna" could mean both "that potato" and "the potato" depending on the context; it couldn't mean "this potato", though. Anyway, it could be used in advertising as a tag or whatever, "se peruna", with the implication "the potato" (as in the best potato), etc.
Lur wrote:(The syntax doesn't seem "English" to me from the outside, but maybe I don't know enough)

Well, technically it's possible to have completely "un-English" or even "anti-Indo-European" sentences, especially in formal writing, but informally those would sound unnatural.
Lur wrote:I just keep thinking how something like Japanese can have like two thirds of vocabulary and certains sounds of foreign origin (a situation that may be typical of small languages bordering on big, prestigious empires/languages?) but we don't think of it that way because the language has a prestige the way it is...

Mmm, true...

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Saim » 2018-06-17, 19:21

Vlürch wrote:The third-person inanimate pronoun se, literally "it". It's often used like the English definite article "the", although there are subtle differences and it's obviously not the only thing it's used for (eg. it's also equivalent to "that"); I'm pretty sure it'll never be transformed into an exclusive definite article because it's informally used to refer to humans as well, so no matter how much Finnish ends up being influenced by English, it won't go that far. Still, for example "se peruna" could mean both "that potato" and "the potato" depending on the context; it couldn't mean "this potato", though. Anyway, it could be used in advertising as a tag or whatever, "se peruna", with the implication "the potato" (as in the best potato), etc.


Hungarian went through essentially the same development hundreds of years ago and the way they resolved this ambiguity was to use reduplication:

az iskola - the school
az az iskola - that school

a tény - the fact
az a tény - that fact

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-06-17, 20:17

Vlürch wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Some languages have definitely been more influenced by other languages than Finnish has been by IE languages, but I don't know of any other cases where at least a third of Swadesh list words have been gradually replaced

I think this may be true of Malayalam, for example (but I'd have to check to make sure. Also, which Swadesh list? There's more than one. Incidentally, this is the sort of thing that's so problematic about the Swadesh list).

Presumably all of them. Also, remember how you once told me there's only the Swadesh list when I mentioned "a Swadesh list"? I'm still not sure why they can't each be a Swdaesh list. :P

Oh, well...there are lists of different sizes. Not a whole lot of them, but there are a few different versions.

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Lur » 2018-06-18, 8:50

I wonder what the etymologies for those lists look like for Basque (which is a much less conservative language than Finnish I think)

I once read someone say that the negative structure in Basque is a IE loan and that it used to retain the SOV order in negative sentences using a negative prefix in the verb (possibly the root in the verb ken)

One thing to think about those list: just because you have an outside innovation (like, I dunno, aurinko, maybe?), it doesn't mean the other word no longer exists in one of its various meanings... Then you have stuff like prepositions in the list which might correspond to unused or shifted cases or apositions...
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Re: Ugliest language

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-06-18, 19:41

I wonder whether there are any Swadesh list threads. If not, maybe I should make one?

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Lur » 2018-06-19, 8:07

I like those if only to learn basic words.

The stuff said about Finnish nationalists is reminding me of the rather weird way they assembled the Kalevala, like a sort of made up pro-Christian thing divorced often in themes and connections from the source materials.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Moritz » 2019-11-07, 16:41

I also have to say that I disagree with those that say Arabic, just because of some commonly considered "harsh" sounds

Again, intonation often is underrated when it comes to rating a language, and Arabic sounds quite "alive" IMO. I like the rhythm, and I like even the instances of "harsh" sounds (the real uvular ones do not appear that excessively, compared to pharyngeal and uvularized ones), they make it typical. It's a "no bullshit" language, like Russian, which is why I like both
I'm talking about standard/mediatic Arabic, I don't know enough about local variants.

And BTW I think many are influenced by stereotypes and similar, which is why sometimes people see Levantine Arabic as inherently better than let's say, Gulf Arabic, even if sometimes the difference is not so giant

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Re: Ugliest language

Postby Clearlanguage » 2020-01-11, 4:27

Moritz wrote:In a European context, many Slavic languages (aside from Russian and Bulgarian) have always this "Slavic" flat intonation to them, which sounds a bit cold and a bit boring: and the addition of "strange" consonant clusters doesn't help

While there are some exceptions among the Romance and (even) the Germanic languages, these sound more varied, there's something that makes these languages more alive in their intonation (intonation is often a factor understated when it comes to categorising a language)
I despise when people categorise the likes of the Germanic languages as ugly, for instance, just because of the likes of "flat" German: you get lively Swedish and Norwegian, "cool" English, heck, I even like Dutch, which except for the high frequency of uvular sounds doesn't sound that bad

Anyways, that's only my opinion: each language has its pro and cons


I see not even you likes german though :mrgreen:


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