Random language thread 5

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-09-17, 17:15

Saim wrote:Its origin and varying influences are kind of interesting in themselves, and I'm going to keep learning it (or at least keep exposing myself to it, mainly texts and stuff I guess), but I don't buy the argument that it's the easiest language in the world!!! because... why exactly? It shares lots of cognates with languages I already know... so why would that be easier for me than Romanian, or Slovak, or German? It has less morphology than many European languages, but still much more than Malay? OK, great...


I think people who claim that Esperanto is the easiest language in the world are for the most part eurocentric normies whose familiarity with world languages doesn't go much beyond FIGS.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby voron » 2017-09-17, 17:35

Saim wrote:or maybe it's the lack of rap songs and dubbed Disney films

Maybe you'll like this? :)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=mWbyXVSiCxw

It's the first and only thing that made Esperanto feel alive for me.
(If you don't know this cartoon, its original is in English and it is intended to teach English to kids).

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Saim » 2017-09-17, 17:46

voron wrote:
Saim wrote:or maybe it's the lack of rap songs and dubbed Disney films

Maybe you'll like this? :)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=mWbyXVSiCxw

It's the first and only thing that made Esperanto feel alive for me.
(If you don't know this cartoon, its original is in English and it is intended to teach English to kids).


It's no Frozen but it'll do for now. :lol: Its retro VHS feel is charming in a weird way.

Here's a fandub in Turkish. Is it weird that I immediately checked what other languages it's dubbed in? :lol:

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-17, 17:54

Saim wrote: I don't buy the argument that it's the easiest language in the world!!! because... why exactly?


Regularity.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-17, 17:57

Saim wrote:Speaking of yeah, I was shocked (around a year ago I think) when I found out that it's related to the ja that's so common in other Germanic languages (and has been adopted in Hungarian and some Slavic languages), and that yes is related to Slavic jeste/jest/есть/etc.

I didn't know any of that, but I'm so glad it is because that makes so much more sense to me now.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Luís » 2017-09-17, 18:09

Saim wrote:Going back to Esperanto, ja would've been a more logical choice than jes given where the rest of the vocabulary comes from, and it has the added benefit that it's coincidentally similar to Romance già/xa/yá/ya/ja/whatever (lit. "already"), which is also used to mean "yes" in some contexts (not sure if French, Portuguese, Occitan or Romanian do this as well; Spanish, Catalan and Italian definitely do).


Portuguese doesn't.

But we do use /ja/ to mean "yeah". It's kinda slangish and mostly used by young people. No idea what the origin is, though.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Saim » 2017-09-17, 18:25

Luís wrote:But we do use /ja/ to mean "yeah". It's kinda slangish and mostly used by young people. No idea what the origin is, though.


Could it possibly come from Spanish ya?

EDIT: This dictionary says it comes from... Afrikaans. :shock:
EDIT2: Ah, from Afrikaans through Ronga which is a language spoken in Mozambique. OK, that makes more sense.

Osias wrote:Regularity.


So... morphology?

IpseDixit wrote:I think people who claim that Esperanto is the easiest language in the world are for the most part eurocentric normies whose familiarity with world languages doesn't go much beyond FIGS.


True. It seems like lots of English-speakers on Duolingo like it just because its verbs don't conjugate for person or number. Then again these same people tend to avoid or overuse the accusative...

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Luís » 2017-09-17, 19:15

Saim wrote:
EDIT: This dictionary says it comes from... Afrikaans. :shock:
EDIT2: Ah, from Afrikaans through Ronga which is a language spoken in Mozambique. OK, that makes more sense.


Before becoming widespread the word was mostly used by the African community here, so I suspected something like that. But yeah, not the etymology most people would expect... :)
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-17, 20:44

Luís's question on my TAC made me start thinking that maybe I need to do a better job explaining what my personal motivation for learning languages has been. Pretty much since I was born, my dad started exposing me (as he had done with my brother) to all kinds of (mostly intellectual) things in the hopes that something would eventually catch our interest and stick with us. He tried getting me interested in math (he's a mathematician) and various kinds of scientific fields, and my mom, the geneticist, really wanted my brother and me to go for medicine, but nothing really stuck for me except languages.

I think the reason for this is that with all these other topics, if my parents ever felt I was doing anything wrong, they would try to tell me so and make me take whatever approach they thought would work better. I hated being constantly told how to do everything. However, although lots of people in my family were interested in learning languages, they have only ever really spoken two, and those are Malayalam and English, so they couldn't tell me how to go about learning a language. I had to figure it out on my own, which I really appreciated because then I had the freedom of discovery and that made learning languages a lot more fun for me than learning anything else. Language-learning is something I've almost always associated with relaxation because it's the only thing I always knew no one in my family would ever criticize. Besides, grown-up immigrants loved it so much when I said anything in their native languages that they would offer to find me a girlfriend or wife from their respective countries.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-17, 23:28

Saim wrote:
Osias wrote:Regularity.


So... morphology?

I don't know much about Esperanto, but I what I read was it's was easy because of being 100% regular with no exceptions to rules in every aspect/level, no only morphology, but also syntax, spelling, etc. And that was kind of the point: why to design a language with irregular forms/rules on purpose?
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-17, 23:43

Isn't that what people also say about Turkish and Quechua, though? :P (Insomuch as it even makes sense to talk about Quechua as one language in the first place...).

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Vlürch » 2017-09-17, 23:58

Saim wrote:Am I the only one who actually finds Esperanto kind of... well, hard?

Never really tried to learn it or anything, but it seemed pretty simple. That doesn't necessarily mean easy, though, and the verb tables on Wiktionary made me dizzy because, although consistent and thus quickly memorisable with just a little bit of motivation without much effort needed, I still haven't really grasped what participles are or how they work in practice... :oops:
Saim wrote:Also what kind of "easy language" allows the cluster /sts/ and differentiates /d͡ʒ/ and /ʒ/, /x/ and /h/? It's not hard for me because I've learned these distinctions studying all the other languages I have experience with but it would be for speakers of a great number of the world's languages.

Yeah, although the difference between /x/ and /h/ is easy to hear in most cases, the former being just an allophone of the latter in Finnish makes it always sound like a "H-sound" at least to me as a Finn, which I imagine would become a problem in Esperanto since it does in Spanish. On the other hand, though, in Persian for example they're clearly different, so I don't know if there's some kind of subtle difference in how the /x/ and /h/ of Spanish and the /x/ and /h/ of Persian are pronounced or if it's just a matter of mental preparation for the perception of the sounds as distinct?
vijayjohn wrote:'yes' in Esperanto is jes

pls no

...because in Finnish, "jes" is like an exclamation, you can say "jes!" when you succeed at something or whatever, but as a general affirmative thing (whatever the correct term is), it sounds ridiculous; some people do use it that way, but it's not common and sounds really Englishy.
IpseDixit wrote:I've always found it sad that the most successful conlang in the world seems to be such a noobish creation (and also quite aesthetically jarring to be honest, but YMMV).

I agree.
Saim wrote:Of course this is subjective, but when it comes to the orthography there is a practical consideration: what was the need to make up letters for this language? And who thought of using "x" of all letters (mi sxatas, sagxeco) as a replacement for this rare diacritic?

I personally like <Ĉĉ>, <Ŝŝ>, <Ĝĝ> and <Ĥ>, but <ĥ> is ugly because it's asymmetric in the most annoying way; same with <Ȟ> being ok but <ȟ> being ugly. <Ĵĵ> is alright, it looks nice next to any vowel except <Ii>. <Ŭŭ> looks nice after other vowels but awful before them in most cases.
Saim wrote:Speaking of yeah, I was shocked (around a year ago I think) when I found out that it's related to the ja that's so common in other Germanic languages (and has been adopted in Hungarian and some Slavic languages)

Finnish "jaa" is probably derived from that as well, but it's really formal and archaic. "Ai jaa" or "aijaa" is common, though, being something like "oh really?" but not exactly, probably from some Swedish way of saying "oh yeah" or something.
vijayjohn wrote:Besides, grown-up immigrants loved it so much when I said anything in their native languages that they would offer to find me a girlfriend or wife from their respective countries.

I rarely feel the feel of being forever alone anymore, but reading this made me feel it because that's one of the things I'll never experience. It's not like I'd actually want to be in a romantic or sexual relationship with anyone to begin with, but still. :roll:

Random things:
I was going through random stuff in the Greek dictionary I have and noticed that Bulgaria is Βουλγαρία, transliterated as Vulgaría. It made me laugh due to the thought of it as Vulgar+ia, like a place of vulgar people or vulgarity or whatever; googling it, there have been tons of people presumably making that same association because a children's film where a fictional country called Vulgaria exists, and a film called Vulgaria has been made, among other things. :P

This, then, reminded me of how I used to think that garden gnomes had something to do with Bulgaria. I'm not sure if I thought they were invented there, but at least I thought that Bulgarians wore red hats that made them look like garden gnomes. :lol:

Also, Swabia sounds like the name of an African country. I know it's a region of Germany and the reason it sounds African is that there are Swaziland, Zambia, etc. but it still sounds like one to me and I find it funny (and at least one person on Reddit that actually thought it was).

For months, one of my goals in life has been to write a novel set in a fictional African country called Swabia in which the plot centers around the interaction between its native people and Esperanto-speaking colonists that begins as trade but eventually escalates to the latter genociding the former as uncivilised violent barbarians. Decades later, archaeologists and linguists study the monuments and other things made by the indigenous people and discover that their language was really unique and that their culture was actually one of the most advanced in the world, and that they had somehow managed to survive as peaceful people even though their neighbours had wars and raided each other, etc.

Something like that, anyway, but the reason I haven't started writing it is that I don't know where the begin and that I'd actually want it to be good. The important bit is that I just really like the idea of Esperanto-speaking colonists. I mean, it's the most European language imaginable and European colonialism was like taking a huge shit on the entire world, and the little exposure I've had to the Esperanto community has given me the impression that they'd never do anything to ever hurt another person intentionally... but that's sometimes the kind of people that do the most damage if they get to a position of power, as proven over and over again by communism and religions. :P

Of course, the problem with the story would be that it simply wouldn't be historically plausible no matter what kind of alternative history twists could be made up, since Esperanto is a conlang invented in the late 19th century... oh well, maybe it wouldn't be a conlang in the story, or it would've been invented much earlier or whatever. Still, one day, I'm going to write something like that. It'll probably end up being just a short story because I'm a shitty writer with very little motivation (and most of my motivation goes into music rather than writing, so...) among other problems like having no clue on how to get into Esperanto enough to write anything in it and making the dialogue in it trivial enough to not need to be understood but still meaningful enough for those that understood it, but well...

Why do I have so many ideas for stories when I can't write shit.
Osias wrote:why to design a language with irregular forms/rules on purpose?

Because it's more naturalistic, and conlanging is all about coming up with languages that have whatever you want in them, often including naturalism?

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-18, 0:25

Well, if you're conlanging for a tv show or something like that, yes.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 0:38

I would think irregularity of some sort would be inevitable at some point, though. If the entire language was regular, it would be basically a programming language, right? And you know those are nothing like natural languages.

There are people who speak Esperanto as their native language. To what extent can their Esperanto be claimed to be regular?

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Osias » 2017-09-18, 1:17

I don't claim Esperanto is regular. I claim one of the original aims and marketed reasons to learn it is "it's easier because is more regular". If those native speakers speak a less "pure" version or not, it's immaterial. I was expecting Saim saying "they claim it's because is more regular but I didn't find it easier because of that" OR "they claim it's because is more regular but I didn't find it all that regular" .
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Karavinka » 2017-09-18, 3:20

Is this Esperanto bashing time again? I do have a few gripes.

1. Relative pronouns that are far too complex. Zamenhof was a Jew, and being a polyglot, I assume he had some familiarity in Hebrew at least... I wonder why he didn't take the wonderful example of Biblical Hebrew asher, the all-purpose general relative pronoun? Esperanto's relative pronouns are far more complex than it needs to be.

2. Bloated vocabulary. This isn't technically Zamenhof's fault, but that of the community. One of the reasons that Esperanto was supposedly "easy" was that its vocabulary is made of a small number of primitive roots that build upon each other to create complex meanings. The community has imported far too many loanwords even when a "native" Esperanto solution can be found; "difference" has diferenco and malsameco, and do we really need to distinguish persono and homo? Can't landscape be landvido rather than peyzagxo? My favorite example is "prison": malliberejo, prizono, karcero, pundomo. Learning Esperanto can take just as much time thanks to the unnecessarily expanded vocabulary.

3. The prepositions. Here I cannot blame Zamenhof for not having known this unlike Hebrew asher, but it's remarkably possible for a language to have a single, all-purpose preposition, as Tok Pisin proves with long. After all, the prepositions express that there is some kind of relationship between one thing and another; if Zamenhof had to go so low to produce something like je, which is said to be an all-purpose preposition to be used when others just don't fit, then he could have just as well eliminated all prepositions but je.

4. The two first person pronouns could have different starting sounds; mi and ni are asking for confusion.

5. OK. This is strictly my personal preference and one may argue against it, but I don't think preterite was necessary. What was needed was, not preterite, but perfect. Instead of this thoughtless past-present-future, Esperanto could have adopted perfect-imperfect-subjunctive, and be less rigid while having less verb conjugations.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby eskandar » 2017-09-18, 4:40

vijayjohn wrote:
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.

Yeah, it's super bizarre to me that in so many languages the English name is used, rather than "Ciudad de México" or "Mexico" + [native word for city]. Also it's not just Iranian minority languages - it's مکزیکو سیتی mekziko siti in Persian, and therefore all the regional languages use the same name as is used in standard Persian.

vijayjohn wrote: 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.

Vijay, you might be the only person I can ask this: in the below (amazing) video, does the chorus say something like "pii luuN whiskey nem Coca Cola" !? At least this variety of Romani sounds like Balkan Hindi to me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvJB4kb6Hsc
If anyone is curious as to what cocaine is all about, see above.

vijayjohn wrote:That sounds like a calque from English because it's literally "well-coming"! Or at least "good-coming." :D

It's kind of crazy how many languages' word for 'welcome' means something like "well/good-coming", though, isn't it? Seems to be the case for most of the Germanic, Romance, and Turkic languages, plus Persian, Armenian, and maybe others?
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 5:06

eskandar wrote:Also it's not just Iranian minority languages - it's مکزیکو سیتی mekziko siti in Persian, and therefore all the regional languages use the same name as is used in standard Persian.

How did I miss that? I could've sworn I checked. :shock: It's the same in Iranian Azeri, too...huh, I must've mixed up Urdu with Persian or something.
Vijay, you might be the only person I can ask this: in the below (amazing) video, does the chorus say something like "pii luuN whiskey nem Coca Cola" !? At least this variety of Romani sounds like Balkan Hindi to me.

That's what Romani in general sounds like. :lol: I think he's saying piljom viski hem Koka-Kola 'I drank whiskey and Coca-Cola' and that probably hem in this variety of Romani ultimately comes from Persian هم via Turkish hem. It might be a relatively recent loanword, though. I don't recall ever seeing it in Romani before.
It's kind of crazy how many languages' word for 'welcome' means something like "well/good-coming", though, isn't it? Seems to be the case for most of the Germanic, Romance, and Turkic languages, plus Persian, Armenian, and maybe others?

Basically the Indo-European language family and anything that was influenced by it (like Turkic, due to Persian). Even [ˈsʋagət̪] in Hindi, which obviously comes from Sanskrit, is (in Sanskrit) literally su- 'good' + āgata 'coming/arrival'. Malayalam has the same expression: [ˈsʋaːgəd̪əm].

I'm skeptical as to whether anyone ever actually says that word that dEhiN saw at the bank, though.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby eskandar » 2017-09-18, 5:13

vijayjohn wrote:I think he's saying piljom viski hem Koka-Kola 'I drank whiskey and Coca-Cola' and that probably hem in this variety of Romani ultimately comes from Persian هم via Turkish hem. It might be a relatively recent loanword, though. I don't recall ever seeing it in Romani before.

Wow, the hem part is cool, I didn't catch that. My question is, is Romani piljom cognate to something like Hindi piiuuN?
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 5:19

Yes. The verb stem for 'to drink' in Romani is pi-, just like in Hindi. 'I smoke' in Romani is pijav thuv (compare دھواں پیتا ہوں even though I'm not sure whether people say that in Hindi or Urdu now). They use the same words (give or take a few sound changes; the variation in these examples is no greater than between Indian languages, e.g. between Hindi and Gujarati) and the same metaphor.

Saim knows Urdu and Serbian. I think he could learn to speak fluent Romani in like a week. :lol: Romani is a piece of cake if you know Urdu.


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