Random language thread 5

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-08, 18:25

Luís wrote:So, in Hebrew Mexico City is מקסיקו סיטי. Seriously? They could have used the Spanish word or translated the first part into Hebrew (as many other languages do).

"Mexico City" is a valid term in Swedish. In a bunch of Iranian minority languages, apparently, it's Mekzeeko Seetee. :P Some Indian languages and some other languages spoken in the former British Empire also use "Mexico City," including Malayalam.
Karavinka wrote:An A2-B1 course, once completely and flawlessly internalized, could make one speak "fluently" in the literal sense i.e. speaking at a natural pace without unnatural pauses like "flowing".

But for that matter, you could even speak gibberish in a way that sounds like it's flowing.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Yasna » 2017-09-08, 19:11

Karavinka wrote:Maybe it is just me, but I don't really mind when some course claims you will get fluent at the end of it. An A2-B1 course, once completely and flawlessly internalized, could make one speak "fluently" in the literal sense i.e. speaking at a natural pace without unnatural pauses like "flowing".

Language nerds, maybe because we value and respect languagea a little too much, seem often too harsh on these kinds of things.

I don't know. I think even non-language enthusiasts who saw a "rosetta stone fluent" speaker struggling to have a basic conversation would judge that speaker not fluent.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-09, 4:26

I forgot to mention Korean and Japanese as languages where the term for Mexico City is just "Mexico City."

I've only been on Reddit for about two weeks, but I've already met someone who learned some Wenzhounese and a Qingtianese heritage speaker.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Yasna » 2017-09-09, 17:01

Spanish is my language for reading news about Caribbean hurricanes.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-10, 18:41

It's pretty common in Kerala for people of different religions to adopt each other's traditions, but a few days ago, I remembered an old Malayalam movie song that combines a reference to a very well-known and ancient set of folktales (associated to some extent with Hinduism due to their antiquity) with references to Christianity that seem relatively obscure. It's basically a woman singing about her love for a man but disguising it as a children's folktale:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNmXX0zP3EU
There are a number of things in this song that I find linguistically interesting. One is this part from 1:21 to 1:29:

[oːˈɾoː kiˈnaːʋilum maːˈlaːkʰəmaːr ʋən̪ˈn̪u
ˈɕoːɕənnəpuʃpəŋəɭ t͡ʃuːˈɖiːt͡ʃu]

[maːˈlaːkʰa] is a loanword from Syriac IIRC and means 'angel'; [maːˈlaːkʰəmaːr] means 'angels'. [ˈɕoːɕənnəpuʃpəŋəɭ] is a tricky word. [puʃˈpəŋəɭ] is the easy part; it's a formal word for 'flowers'. (It's actually a Sanskrit loanword, though interestingly, this tentatively suggests that it might be a Dravidian loanword into Sanskrit. I've always had similar doubts about this word). [ˈɕoːɕənna], however, is not a common noun at all but rather a name for Christian (and perhaps Jewish and maybe even Muslim?) women: Susan. So these lines mean:

Angels came into each of her dreams
And put Susan flowers in her hair.

But what on Earth are "Susan flowers"? Well, Susan (and, of course, [ˈɕoːɕənna]) comes from the Hebrew word שושנה shoshana meaning a 'lily' (though apparently, it's since been generalized to mean 'rose' as well). So I think maybe "Susan flowers" are supposed to be lilies.

Then there's this part I've never really managed to figure out from 2:12 to 2:30:

[əˈgəle məˈɳəlpurət̪ əˈʋɛn ˈpaːɖi].
[əˈʋəɭʊɖe ˈməwnəm əˈd̪eːtɯ ˈpaːɖi],
[oˈɾu d̪iˈʋja ˈgaːnət̪il ənuɾəkt̪eˈjaːj ˈt̪iːrn̪a
jeruɕəˈleːm put̪rijeˈpoːle].

This has got to be the hardest part of the whole song to translate into English, but my attempt to do that is:

He sang on a sandy island far away,
And, like a daughter of Jerusalem (literally 'Jerusalem daughter')
Who ended up falling in love with a divine song,
Her silence registered that and sang.

There must be some sort of Biblical reference I'm missing here because I have no idea what any part of this has to do with a "daughter of Jerusalem." To make things even more complicated, I'm not entirely sure who or what is being compared to said daughter anyway. I wonder: Is it her silence, as my translation would seem to suggest? Is it her? Could it even be him?

Here's my attempt at a translation of the whole song:
► Show Spoiler

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Hent » 2017-09-12, 14:56

Do Bengals use the Sanskrit word ( naraka) for hell rather than jahannam?

I also noticed their word manush is a cognate with the Romani term. Now I'm curious which Indo-Aryan language is the closest to Romani.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Ser » 2017-09-12, 17:11

Dr. House wrote:Do Bengals use the Sanskrit word ( naraka) for hell rather than jahannam?

The entry for "hell" in Wiktionary suggests they use both, but I'm gonna ask my Bengali friend for more detail on this.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Ser » 2017-09-12, 17:45

Serafín wrote:
Dr. House wrote:Do Bengals use the Sanskrit word ( naraka) for hell rather than jahannam?

The entry for "hell" in Wiktionary suggests they use both, but I'm gonna ask my Bengali friend for more detail on this.

He said people do use both. He said jahannam is used more commonly by muslims while people of other religions use norok more often, but there are certainly Muslims who use norok.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby dEhiN » 2017-09-12, 18:09

Dr. House wrote:Now I'm curious which Indo-Aryan language is the closest to Romani.

I don't know, but I'm sure Vijay could tell you. If I remember correctly, he did his Masters on Romani.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby linguoboy » 2017-09-12, 18:24

Romani expert Yaron Matras has described the ancestor of the modern varieties as "a kind of Indian hybrid: a central Indic dialect that had undergone partial convergence with northern Indic languages".
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-12, 18:52

Is there a thing like 'multiple etymologies'? Like, there are several theories for where a word came from, but maybe it came from all of the theorized sources at the same time, each one used by a social group and every one of them helped the word to hit mainstream?
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 19:18

dEhiN wrote:
Dr. House wrote:Now I'm curious which Indo-Aryan language is the closest to Romani.

I don't know, but I'm sure Vijay could tell you. If I remember correctly, he did his Masters on Romani.

Yes, I did, and the answer is: not only do we not know, but also there is no way we could possibly know without a much more complete account of Romani dialectology than we currently have. In my opinion, it would also be useful to try and reconstruct various stages in the evolution of Romani (which no one has ever done to any extent as far as I know and remember) than to simply compare what we know of the modern varieties to what we know of Indic languages (which is pretty much all that's ever been done).
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby linguoboy » 2017-09-12, 19:29

Osias wrote:Is there a thing like 'multiple etymologies'? Like, there are several theories for where a word came from, but maybe it came from all of the theorized sources at the same time, each one used by a social group and every one of them helped the word to hit mainstream?

In the jargon of the trade, the terminology is "influenced by". That is, one etymology is usually made primary and others are held to have "influenced" the form and meaning of the word (as well as perhaps contributing to its spread).
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby dEhiN » 2017-09-12, 20:16

linguoboy wrote:
Osias wrote:Is there a thing like 'multiple etymologies'? Like, there are several theories for where a word came from, but maybe it came from all of the theorized sources at the same time, each one used by a social group and every one of them helped the word to hit mainstream?

In the jargon of the trade, the terminology is "influenced by". That is, one etymology is usually made primary and others are held to have "influenced" the form and meaning of the word (as well as perhaps contributing to its spread).

How do they determine which etymology becomes primary? I imagine in some cases, it's probably obvious, but what about in cases where it's not? Where perhaps the word arose roughly at the same time across two or more different groups of speakers?
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby dEhiN » 2017-09-12, 20:22

This might be a silly question, but do you guys ever experience learning fatigue, particularly when it comes to vocabulary? There have been so many times in the past where I've skipped out on or opted not to look up a word and instead just use Google Translate to get the gist, or I've looked up a word just for that moment to understand something but then decided not to write it down. And this has almost always been because I hit a point where I was tired of constantly writing out new words. The downside to this though is that now, there are many words which I have encountered in the past but I have no recollection of them at all.

I'm also experiencing this in the present, as I try to primarily improve my Spanish and Tamil while at the same time traversing the long road from intermediate to advanced in French. I want to write down every single new word I encounter but after a while it just gets too much!
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-09-12, 20:44

I try to make some effort to look up new words, but if I understand the context, I don't bother if I don't feel like it. I also only ever write down new words in class (and I haven't had language classes in two years).

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 21:34

I find it impossible to write down every single new word I've learned or look up each one I come across. If I have time, I try to understand what I'm reading; if not, I save that for later (or even just ignore it if I don't think it's that important). Sometimes, I have to look up a bunch of words to understand what's being said, so I do that, figure it out, and then move on without necessarily making any sort of record of what I just looked up. I don't care if I have to learn 5,000 words of each language I know several times over; I'm learning at my own pace, and that's what matters. Besides, that's not really what language-learning is all about anyway. I never, ever, ever use Google Translate unless I'm interested in testing its performance or something.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-13, 0:10

linguoboy wrote:
Osias wrote:Is there a thing like 'multiple etymologies'? Like, there are several theories for where a word came from, but maybe it came from all of the theorized sources at the same time, each one used by a social group and every one of them helped the word to hit mainstream?

In the jargon of the trade, the terminology is "influenced by". That is, one etymology is usually made primary and others are held to have "influenced" the form and meaning of the word (as well as perhaps contributing to its spread).

:) legal!
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Hent » 2017-09-13, 2:49

Thanks Serafín and others. Well Romani has probably departed as far as Chuvash (Turkic analogy).

Plus it has collected different words from other languages and the dialects of Romania, Northern Greece or Slovakia may be very different if you leave out the same core (numbers, more, khamoro).

But they kept the code switching. Just as Indians code switch between English and their languages (mai taxi driver hum) Gypsies switch (at least here) between Romani and Czech (Slovak) - More já nemám love, džanes?

I wonder what they sound like in the USA?

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-13, 4:42

Dr. House wrote:Well Romani has probably departed as far as Chuvash (Turkic analogy).

No, the Indic component generally does look a lot like Hindi, for example. The grammar is largely Indic, too, but has been heavily influenced by Byzantine Greek.
Plus it has collected different words from other languages and the dialects of Romania, Northern Greece or Slovakia may be very different if you leave out the same core (numbers, more, khamoro).

The dialects everywhere are very different if you leave out the core. This is why when Roma from different countries meet, they try to stick to that as much as possible.

Also, I know khamoro is literally 'little sun', but what's more? I don't recognize that word.
But they kept the code switching. Just as Indians code switch between English and their languages (mai taxi driver hum) Gypsies switch (at least here) between Romani and Czech (Slovak) - More já nemám love, džanes?

It's definitely not the case that all Roma code-switch or ever did. I doubt that's universally true even in the Czech Republic or Slovakia (but I'm not all that familiar with those varieties, so maybe I'm wrong). They do borrow a lot, though.
I wonder what they sound like in the USA?

It really depends because at this point, all over the Americas and Europe, there are at least two completely different groups of Roma in each country where they clearly exist. There are Vlax Roma basically all over the world. Here in Austin, there are three: English Romanies, Vlax Roma, and the Bašalde/Romungro/whatever (basically, people from your part of the world and some of the neighboring countries, especially Slovakia and Hungary). The vast majority of people here have no idea that any of them exist.


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