The smallest language you've ever studied

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-30, 2:52

I just realized that I forgot all about Vilamovian with only 70 speakers. It's an endangered language spoken in western Poland and apparently descended from 12th-century Middle High German. I posted a song in it once and remember most of the words off the top of my head.

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-03-30, 3:44

vijayjohn wrote:
Dormouse559 wrote:I can give you links if you're interested.

Please do! :)
Well, let's see. I've put the links below. The first website in each spoiler is the one I like most. I've mainly looked at these languages as a conlanger instead of a serious learner, so if you ever do add any of them to your cycle, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how helpful these resources are.

Arpitan
► Show Spoiler

Occitan
► Show Spoiler

Ligurian
► Show Spoiler

Piedmontese
► Show Spoiler
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby razlem » 2017-03-30, 6:38

Choctaw (10,000 speakers). Maybe Houma if there's one or two speakers left alive.
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby eskandar » 2017-03-30, 6:54

Yasna wrote:
eskandar wrote:Now this has me wondering what language has the greatest discrepancy between (low) number of native speakers and (high) amount of status, learning resources, and literature.

Irish perhaps?

Oh, good one. I think Irish has Maltese beat.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-03-30, 9:10

Dormouse559 wrote:Piedmontese
► Show Spoiler


There's also this one

Yasna wrote:
eskandar wrote:Now this has me wondering what language has the greatest discrepancy between (low) number of native speakers and (high) amount of status, learning resources, and literature.

Irish perhaps?


Icelandic?

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-30, 12:20

IpseDixit wrote:
Yasna wrote:
eskandar wrote:Now this has me wondering what language has the greatest discrepancy between (low) number of native speakers and (high) amount of status, learning resources, and literature.

Irish perhaps?


Icelandic?

Klingon? Esperanto?

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Michael » 2017-03-30, 16:40

Out of any languages I've ever studied? That would be Manx Gaelic hands-down, with only a couple thousand neo-native speakers, but I no longer study it or any other Celtic languages. Out of the languages I'm actively studying? That would be Albanian, with between 5-7 million native speakers.
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby linguoboy » 2017-03-30, 18:06

Definitely Osage. No native speakers left, fewer than 20 L2 speakers as of last decade. I've heard that the Osage Nation is putting a lot of effort into language classes right now, but I'm not sure with what success.
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-31, 6:18

Btw (late, I know, but) thanks for those links, Dormouse! :)

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-04-01, 5:09

IpseDixit wrote:There's also this one
Ah, cool. Thanks. :)

vijayjohn wrote:Btw (late, I know, but) thanks for those links, Dormouse! :)
You're welcome.
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Johanna » 2017-04-01, 22:57

vijayjohn wrote:Out of the living languages you're learning right now or have been learning lately, which one(s?) has the smallest number of native (or total) speakers?

Faroese. It's got about 70,000 speakers and is pretty much useless outside the Faroe Islands, but is nevertheless in no danger of going extinct since these islands for all intents and purposes make up a nation state.

Still, as a Swedish speaker I wouldn't even have to know how to speak it if I lived there, understanding it would be enough as the Faroese are very well equipped to understand their mainland siblings.

vijayjohn wrote:What about out of all the living languages you've ever studied, have dabbled in, know one or two words of, etc.?

The same I guess.

I tried to learn a bit of Meänkieli from my grandmother but I only learned like five words, most of which I have since forgotten, instead she ended up talking about her life as a child and teenager.

It's got about the same number of speakers as Faroese though, or at least used to. It's very much endangered, people in my generation (born in the 1980's) only use it with their parents and not among each other, and they definitely don't pass it on to their children.

vijayjohn wrote:Have you ever studied any extinct languages? Which one(s)?

Nope.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby mōdgethanc » 2017-04-11, 2:27

I picked up a few words of Yiddish, but I wouldn't say I studied it. The smallest one I made at least a half-hearted attempt to learn is Swedish.

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Trapy » 2017-04-12, 1:38

Ainu was loads of fun for a while :)
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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby melski » 2017-05-29, 17:17

The one I studied very seriously is Wallisian (Polynesian language, approx 30,000 speakers, spoken in Wallis island and New Caledonia). It helped me tremendously when I visited Wallis island a few years ago. I even got to speak a little bit on local TV :lol: Therefore although it's a small languages, I got to speak it quite a bit.
Then I can say some words in Futunan, which has even fewer speakers (I'd say between 5,000 and 15,000) and I've dabbled into many Polynesian languages. The one with the fewest speakers must be Moriori, a deceased language that is currently being revived.
As for European languages, I've learned some Luxemburgish (400,000 speakers) and Ladin (detelpai IpseDixit ^^) and dabbled into Gallo, the (almost extinct) oil language of my region. I know some words in Breton too (~200,000 speakers).
So yeah, I'm a big fan of minority/local languages, I'm good with the international ones (English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German...)
................Native: French (fr) French
................Fluent: English (en) English , Italian (it) Italian
.........Intermediate: German (de) German, Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br) Portuguese
.........Conversational: Catalan (ca) Catalan, Spanish (es) Spanish
....................Learning: [flag=Wallisian (East Uvean / faka'uvea)]wls[/flag] Wallisian (topic here)

IpseDixit

Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-05-29, 20:19

melski wrote:(detelpai IpseDixit ^^)


De nia! :)

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Saim » 2017-05-29, 22:55

[flag=]hsb[/flag] The smallest language I've studied is Upper Sorbian. I met a native speaker from Budyšin in an intensive Polish course, and I'm still in contact with her and have seen her a number of times in different cities. For that reason I jumped at the chance to take Upper Sorbian when I was on Erasmus in Poznań, but the teacher's methods were insanely antiquated (he would basically read through the textbook and get us to repeat individual words). I tried to do some self-study online but I came to the conclusion that without some understanding of German there's not much you can do... Patryk from this forum (who I met in person in Poznań) was going to lend me some comprehensive monolingual textbook but we kept forgetting I think.

[flag=]ast[/flag] The second-smallest is Asturian. However, Asturian has a surprisingly large internet presence (as well as decent online materials) and many dedicated activists. I spend a lot of time in the facebook groups "Friquillingüismu" and "Aldericando", where people talk about subjects that interest me like languages and politics. I don't think you could learn it without knowing Spanish or Portuguese (or Galician), though.

[flag=]oc[/flag] The third-smallest is Occitan when it comes to native speakers, although it's definitely more endangered than Asturian. I looked through Parli Occitan and a bit of Assimil Occitan sans Peine (although I was turned off by some random dialogue about rooves) a great Occitan grammar (compared the Aranese standard, the "referential" Lengadocian standard and Catalan, with ocasional references to some of the major dialects) and read Jornalet. Because of this self-study I managed to skip the first level taught at the CAOC in Barcelona (after a lot of strife from the secretary; it took several emails to convince them to let me take a placement exam because, and I quote, "it's good to learn the grammar"), going straight to B1.1. Now I don't use the language much, although sometimes I read Jornalet and watch the ocasional program on OcTele.

[flag=]eu[/flag] The fourth largest is Basque. I audited a semester of Introduction to Basque at the University of Barcelona (funnily enough half of the students were there on exchange and successfuly petitioned to have the language of instruction changed from Catalan to Spanish), then was lucky enough to be able to continue for a semester in Poznań. Since then the only good resource I've found is Ikasten (free online course). It's a bit grammar-heavy for me, although maybe that's just me making excuses. I do have a paper copy of Assimil le Basque sans peine sitting in Serbia, so maybe I should go back to that as it's the most comprehensive audio-based course I know of.

[flag=]nap[/flag] I've also dabbled in Neapolitan, which is a minority language but actually has many milions of native speakers; IIRC it's almost universal among working-class people in Campania and among everyone over 40 or so. There aren't really many resources, and my Italian was much worse then than it is now so it was kind of tough. There's lots of rap music I enjoy (I first got interested after listening to a La Famiglia album), and which I understand a bit better now. I think if I ever went back to it I would try to shadow dialogues from the show Gomorra after watching it with Italian or English subtitles. I might actually go back to it when I'm a bit better at Italian.

Vlürch wrote:IIRC, there are lots of different dialects of Occitan divided into some kind of groupings based on which other language they have more in common with (French, Catalan and "pure" Occitan, I think?) or something, with some dialects being more or less literally Catalan spelled differently while on the other end some are Frenchified to the point of being more French than French. I could be wrong, though.


I'm not sure what you're talking about exactly, but here's what I know about Occitan dialectology and the way it transitions to Catalan and French:

Lengadocian (especially southern Lengadocian) is a bit closer to Catalan than the other varieties are, but not by that much.
Aranese has been heavily influenced by Catalan and Spanish, as the Aran Valley has been a part of Southern Catalonia since 1067.
The referential standard is based primarily on Lengadocian (excised of some of the features that are uncommon in the rest of Occitania) and has been purposefully brought closer to Catalan by Occitan language planners.

The northern varieties of Occitan (Auvernhat, Lemosin and Vivaroalpenc) are a bit closer to French than the others are. There are also the cressent dialects of northern Occitania where Lemosin and Auvernhat transition towards French, and the Oïl dialects of of Poitou and Saintonge which Sumien claims was historically Occitan speaking (thus the dialects would have a sort of Occitan substrate).

Gascon is probably the most "unique" of all Occitan dialects, and can be difficult to understand for even other Occitan speakers, but it has some commonalities with Aragonese (especially Benasquese) and is often weirdly reminiscent of Spanish (basically the dipthong /we/ and the aspiration of /f/).

Other than that there is no such thing as "French Occitan", "Catalan Occitan" or "pure Occitan". There is a Western Romance language continuum and varying H-language influences and interferences.

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby OldBoring » 2017-05-30, 6:58

Esperanto

If only natural languages count, Italian is the language with the least speakers I've ever studied, lol

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-05-30, 7:48

Don't Qingtianese and Wenzhounese have fewer speakers than Italian? :P

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby Car » 2017-05-30, 8:11

Saim wrote:I think if I ever went back to it I would try to shadow dialogues from the show Gomorra after watching it with Italian or English subtitles. I might actually go back to it when I'm a bit better at Italian.

I read somewhere that the Neapolitan was watered down - by an Italian who said he still needed subs for that, though. I had a Sky Italia prepaid subscription back then and they really stressed that you could switch on subs (much more than they usually did) and hardsubbed some parts in Italian anyway...
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: The smallest language you've ever studied

Postby OldBoring » 2017-05-30, 9:00

vijayjohn wrote:Don't Qingtianese and Wenzhounese have fewer speakers than Italian? :P

But I didn't study those languages.


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