Random language thread 5

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Dormouse559
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-09-18, 5:43

eskandar wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:"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].

French goes in another direction. It calls the city simply "Mexico". The country gets the naturalized "Mexique".
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 5:45

Dormouse559 wrote:French goes in another direction. It calls the city simply "Mexico". The country gets the naturalized "Mexique".

Yeah, some languages do this, too (among them Russian and I think probably all of the languages of the former Soviet Union).

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby eskandar » 2017-09-18, 5:55

vijayjohn wrote: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).

I knew it! Yes, پینا is still used for smoking in Hindi/Urdu, though I've never heard دھواں پیتا ہوں - only سگریٹ پیتا ہوں (or replace 'cigarette' with huqqa or whatever).
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 6:00

eskandar wrote:
vijayjohn wrote: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).

I knew it! Yes, پینا is still used for smoking in Hindi/Urdu, though I've never heard دھواں پیتا ہوں - only سگریٹ پیتا ہوں (or replace 'cigarette' with huqqa or whatever).

That's what I meant; I didn't know whether people actually use دھواں in that context these days, but I wanted to use it anyway to show how obvious the similarities were (between that and thuv and between پینا and pi-, as well as the use of 'to drink smoke' to mean 'to smoke' in both languages). :)

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby eskandar » 2017-09-18, 6:14

Ohh, sorry, I didn't even notice thuv, another cognate! Incidentally, the only other language I know of that uses the verb 'to drink' as a helping verb with smoking tobacco is Turkish. :hmm:
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 6:23

No worries! :) It's pretty common. Albanian, Telugu, and the Hakka and Min varieties of Chinese also use this 'drink smoke' expression. Apparently, the word for 'to drink' in Burmese also means 'to smoke'.

Persian and Malayalam both use 'to pull' instead (as do a whole bunch of other languages), but I mean...to drink smoke in with your mouth, to pull smoke in with your mouth...pretty much the same thing, right?

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby eskandar » 2017-09-18, 6:32

It seems intuitive enough, yet at the same time pretty rare. (Though I guess my sample size is too small. For all I know there are a hundred unrelated Papuan languages that 'drink smoke'!) Albanian I'd probably chalk up to Turkish influence, but it's curious that Telugu uses this expression but not the other Dravidian languages. (Urdu influence?) I wonder how it was expressed in Sanskrit - there was no tobacco in the subcontinent when Sanskrit was used, but "ganja" is native there, after all.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 6:49

Well, I know Malayalam doesn't use 'drink'. I don't know what they say in Tamil or Kannada, though...

Okay, it looks like neither of them have either of these expressions. Apparently, in Kannada, you do one of the following: release smoke, carry away smoke, or spit smoke! In Tamil, you apparently grab smoke. (My source for all of this is shabdkosh.com, though, so maybe some of those Kannada expressions are used for translating other senses of the English verb 'smoke'. It does seem like Tamil really uses 'grab smoke' for smoking tobacco, though).

This says that in Sanskrit, ācāradhūmagrahaṇam means 'inhaling smoke as a customary rite (as of the sacrificial ceremony)'. Ācāraḥ means 'customary rite' here, dhūma of course means 'smoke', and grahaṇam can mean 'seizing, catching' but also 'drawing up'.

Idk, I doubt it's that rare of an expression. :hmm: I think there are more examples than the ones I just pulled up from a quick search. Maybe I'll try to look harder...and slower. :para:

EDIT: Ah-HA! Even in English, the expression used to be drinking smoke, not smoking. Smoking was coined in the late 18th century.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Saim » 2017-09-18, 8:13

Vlürch wrote: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?


Which varieties of Spanish have both /x/ and /h/? Certainly not Castilian!

the perception of the sounds as distinct?


I mean, that's almost just a layman's description of what phonemes are. :P

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1. Relative pronouns that are far too complex.
2. Bloated vocabulary.
3. The prepositions.
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.
[this quote has been cut in several places for the sake of brevity]


I totally agree. 1, 2, 3 and 5 are all things I have difficulty with while trying to write Esperanto.

I also thing that the solution to 2, which is part of Esperanto PR ("Esperanto is easy to learn because the roots are limited!"), totally contradicts one of their other claims ("Esperanto words are easy to recognise for speakers of other European languages"). You either choose words like malsameco and sacrifice mutual intelligibility with Romance languages and English, or you choose diferenco and sacrifice ease of learning for people who don't know many Romance roots (and I imagine there's at least a billion of them). Given Esperanto's stated goals the latter makes more sense, but in practice they've ended up with a chaotic mix of both. Which is, according to Esperantists, "great because it allows for more options in poetry"... except unlike with natural languages no-one can see any slight shades of meaning that differentiate these synonyms because there are no native speakers to consult.

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


Esperanto grammar isn't defined by the usage of so-called native speakers (denaskuloj, more accurately "from-birth" or "heritage" speakers), anymore than Serbian is defined by the way I speak, Urdu by the way my dad speaks or Malayalam by the way you speak. One of my close friends in Poland is a denaskulo (part of the reason I bothered to start learning this language, it was the first time I came into any real contact with it[*]) who has a bachelor's degree in Serbian Philology, and her command of Esperanto is much weaker than her Serbo-Croatian (which is doubtless better than mine at this point).

The Esperanto of denaskuloj tends to show massive influence from the main community language they learn (i.e. the language they become true native speakers of) at all levels. In this way, Esperanto functions as a sort of partially acquired immigrant language, with the major difference that there's no homeland to go back to and get near-native competence (as I did with Serbian). When I tried some broken Esperanto on my friend one of her comments was actually, we don't really use the definite article that much which a passing look at Esperanto texts shows to be false, but how else would you expect a Slavic denaskulo to speak?

I'm obviously not against children speaking Esperanto at home, if you have two Esperantist parents there's no reason for them to actively hide Esperanto from you. I just think that the Esperanto PR claim that "Esperanto has native speakers, therefore it's a real language!" as a reason to learn it is ridiculous and contradicts the stated goals of the language ("we're all learners, and hence equal, no-one has an unfair linguistic advantage").

[*] This is actually kind of a funny story. Me and a Catalan friend (the only other guy in my Polish class in Barcelona) went to visit her in Toruń. At the same time they had some pasaporta servo tourists over (two Americans and two Brazilians; the Americans lived in Poland teaching English and knew no Polish, which makes me doubt Esperanto's utility as a tool to resist language imperialism), and they spoke to us in Esperanto and we responded with broken Esperanto/Esperantised Romance/just plain old Spanish as one of the Brazilians spoke it.

It more or less worked, which lead my friend's grandmother to emphatically declare "tio estas la sagxeco de Zamenhof!" (this is the wisdom of Zamenhof). I wasn't necessarily as impressed because, well, that's just what Romance languages do. The Catalan friend I'm talking about tried the same thing with Catalan and Lombard not once but twice, and it worked pretty much just as well both times: this is also part of the reason why I've always been bothered by the utterly ludicrous, exaggerated claim I've heard from many Italians that neighbouring villages can't communicate with each other at all between related, adjacent vernaculars or even within the same dialect bloc :roll: .

vijayjohn wrote: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.


Stop tempting me. :lol:
Last edited by Saim on 2017-09-18, 9:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 9:21

Thanks for explaining all of that as usual, Saim Bhai! :)

Denaskuloj don't have a lot of opportunities to meet each other, right? In that case, that would seem to make it impossible for the language to develop like a natural language does. I also didn't realize until now that denaskuloj/native Esperanto speakers are "people who have acquired Esperanto as one of their native languages." I remember reading and/or hearing somewhere that apparently, China at least used to be really big on Esperanto. I'm not quite sure what happened with that. (I'm pretty sure I learned in one of my college courses that there was initially a proposal to make it the national language of China and then this was quickly replaced with Simplified Chinese :P).

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Mutusen » 2017-09-18, 9:29

Saim wrote:The Esperanto of denaskuloj tends to show massive influence from the main community language they learn (i.e. the language they become true native speakers of) at all levels.


IMO not more than other speakers. In my experience it's pretty much impossible to tell if a fluent adult Esperanto speaker is a native or not.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Saim » 2017-09-18, 9:31

vijayjohn wrote:Denaskuloj don't have a lot of opportunities to meet each other, right? In that case, that would seem to make it impossible for the language to develop like a natural language does. I also didn't realize until now that denaskuloj/native Esperanto speakers are "people who have acquired Esperanto as one of their native languages." I remember reading and/or hearing somewhere that apparently, China at least used to be really big on Esperanto. I'm not quite sure what happened with that. (I'm pretty sure I learned in one of my college courses that there was initially a proposal to make it the national language of China and then this was quickly replaced with Simplified Chinese :P).


Esperantists always use its relative popularity in China and Japan as proof that the language isn't eurocentric and is simple for everyone to learn, regardless of mother tongue. Then again, this summer I met Chinese girls who spoke upper B1 Hungarian after nine months of study, so...

By the way, regarding Romani, I do have this book. :whistle:

Mutusen wrote:IMO not more than other speakers. In my experience it's pretty much impossible to tell if a fluent adult Esperanto speaker is a native or not.


I guess it depends on how much they participate in the community, if they grow up and keep using Esperanto regularly by participating in congresses and such they will of course be indistinguishable from any other advanced speaker. I mean my level of interference from English in Serbian is hardly massive but that's because I've continued studying it into adutlhood after the partial acquisition I experienced at home.

In any case, my main contention was that there are no native speakers of Esperanto in the sense that is useful for descriptive linguistics.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Vlürch » 2017-09-18, 10:34

Saim wrote:
Vlürch wrote: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?


Which varieties of Spanish have both /x/ and /h/? Certainly not Castilian!

Apparently I was wrong, but I can't help it that every time I hear Spanish, especially Mexican Spanish, it sounds like it has both. According to Wikipedia, though, /h/ is just an allophone of a bunch of sounds, so maybe that's the reason I have trouble differentiating them in Spanish but not in Persian, where they really are phonemes... :hmm:

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby voron » 2017-09-18, 12:55

eskandar wrote: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


Lol I heard this song several years ago in Serbian (or Bosnian, rather). It was a hit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dQdKouGLoM

Lyrics: http://www.tekstovipjesamalyrics.com/te ... -koka-kola

Just based on the original, I'd guess the Romani version is from ex-Yugo.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-18, 15:22

Saim wrote:Esperantists always use its relative popularity in China and Japan as proof that the language isn't eurocentric and is simple for everyone to learn, regardless of mother tongue. Then again, this summer I met Chinese girls who spoke upper B1 Hungarian after nine months of study, so...

Oh, it's popular in Japan, too?
By the way, regarding Romani, I do have this book. :whistle:

Huh, I wonder who wrote that. And it's kind of cute to see that 'garage' is "wagon's house." :)
Vlürch wrote:/[h/] is just an allophone

voron wrote:Just based on the original, I'd guess the Romani version is from ex-Yugo.

I'm pretty sure it's from Kosovo.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby Karavinka » 2017-09-19, 14:55

vijayjohn wrote:No worries! :) It's pretty common. Albanian, Telugu, and the Hakka and Min varieties of Chinese also use this 'drink smoke' expression. Apparently, the word for 'to drink' in Burmese also means 'to smoke'.

Persian and Malayalam both use 'to pull' instead (as do a whole bunch of other languages), but I mean...to drink smoke in with your mouth, to pull smoke in with your mouth...pretty much the same thing, right?


Can the shared logic behind it be "put something though the throat without chewing"? i.e. Japanese usually "eat" rice, but they "drink" rice when they swallow without chewing to get rid of small fish bone that got stuck in the throat. They also "drink" medicine, even if it's a pill.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-19, 16:12

And in Chinese, they eat medicine.

I don't think it's that complicated, though. I really don't see the conceptual difference between pulling in smoke and drinking in smoke. To me, that's like trying to distinguish between pulling a liquid into your mouth through a straw and drinking it through a straw.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby linguoboy » 2017-09-19, 20:40

At the suburban hospital where I spent some quality time over the weekend, the handouts were available in English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Nepali, and Burmese.

The last two surprised me. I know that the two Indian restaurants downtown are staffed by Nepalis (one features Nepali dishes on its menu alongside the usual North Indian ones), but I didn't think there was enough of a Nepali-speaking community in town to justify producing translations into it. And Burmese? I didn't realise we had any Burmese-speakers here at all. There was one Burmese restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown and it closed two decades ago.
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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-19, 21:17

We have people who speak all of those languages even down here, it seems. My brother was just telling me a few days ago about the Nepali restaurants here that I'd never even heard of. They also have Nepali cuisine alongside some of the usual North Indian offerings, but the only specifically Nepali (i.e. not typically North Indian) thing he could actually name off the top of his head was momo. I've been told that some of the Burmese-speakers here are really Karen who speak it as a second language.

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Re: Random language thread 5

Postby linguoboy » 2017-09-19, 21:32

vijayjohn wrote:I've been told that some of the Burmese-speakers here are really Karen who speak it as a second language.

Since only about two thirds of the population are native Burmese-speakers and refugees are probably disproportionately from minority groups, I wouldn't be surprised to find a similar situation here. This is just the first I've heard that we had any significant immigration from Burma, let alone so close to where I live and work.

ETA: According to the Burmese Buddhist Association, there are Chin and Karens as well as Burmans and Rohingya. There can't be too many of the last of these since resettlement states show that only 4% of the roughly 8,000 refugees from Burma settled in Illinois since 2002 are Muslim.

The reason they aren't conspicuous at all is that there's no heavy concentration of them anywhere. They seem to be spread out across the North Side of Chicago into the North and Northwest suburbs. The largest Burmese population in the USA is in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where they are 1.4% of the population. That's even more random than Hmong in St Paul, Minnesota!
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