Random language thread 6

This is our main forum. Here, anything related to languages and linguistics can be discussed.

Moderator: Forum Administrators

User avatar
Johanna
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 6537
Joined: 2006-09-17, 18:05
Real Name: Johanna
Gender: female
Location: Lidköping, Westrogothia
Country: SE Sweden (Sverige)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Johanna » 2019-06-06, 11:50

Lur wrote:Is this person calling "Swedish" only to some sort of standard? If they're all the same language wouldn't Swedish just be the dialect or wherever this name comes from?

I've become against the idea of nation states but I don't see how that would have to be with this.

Traditionally, they form a dialect continuum without any clear-cut borders, and the dialectal differences within the countries are larger than between the four standards (Norwegian has two), and of course, if you look at the dialects on different ends on this continuum, they're not very mutually intelligible... So if you want to make yourself understood to a speaker of another national variety, if you do speak a genuine dialect, you need to tone that down a bit and talk more like you write. This is generally not a problem for Sweden Swedes and Danes, the majority of those have abandoned their dialects and now speak a regional variety of the standard language instead, but in Norway the attitude is that you may write either Bokmål or Nynorsk, but you always speak your dialect. In Finland, genuine dialects are also doing well, but their speakers can usually switch to Standard Finland Swedish at the drop of a hat.

That's another thing, these days there are sharp borders following the ones on the map. Not only are Swedes and Danes abandoning their dialects, the dialects themselves have slowly crept closer and closer to each country's respective standards since at least the introduction of radio, but it may very well have started in the mid-19th century when elementary school became universal and compulsory. Even in Norway this has at the very least influenced vocabulary.

If you want to narrow the definition of "Swedish" down to just the most normative version of the standard language, it still very much exists as its own thing, there is nowhere in the entire country where it's historically been the everyday speech, so you can't argue that it's really Uppsalamål or something. It came into existence as a sort of mix, and then gained a bunch of artificial traits, and yet, it's nowadays the mother tongue of at least a few hundred thousand. And yeah, if we add all the regional versions, we're talking a majority of the inhabitants of Sweden.

Uppsala = Sweden's fourth largest city and situated 65 km or so north of Stockholm. It houses Sweden's oldest university, and the way they speak Standard Swedish is as close to the norm as you're ever going to get with a living language. I'm actually not sure if anyone there still speaks the traditional dialect or if it's completely dead.

Edit: typos.
Last edited by Johanna on 2019-06-06, 12:10, edited 4 times in total.
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.

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-06, 11:59

I have had difficulty parsing that in my mind, like this difference between "colloquial Finnish" and "dialectal Finnish" that kind of took me by surprise.

In Basque it seems dialects are well regarded except if you start speaking something from the Eastern group, which will make others ask you what language is that :roll: Being depleted of speakers despite covering the largest territory and the intrusion of a certain French sound (which kind of sounds weird for Basque) doesn't help matters.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-06, 12:46

Ciarán12 wrote:I just looked up "doudo" (a word I didin't know existed, but speculated that it might do on account of the word "doido" existing meaning "crazy", and sure enough Wiktionary lists "doudo" as an archaic version of "doido".
It seems the versions with <ou> in most cases seem to be the more archaic ones. I also saw that Galician shares the word "cousa" for "thing" but not "coisa", which would make me think "cousa" was the earlier form as well.

The ou are the earlier ones, and this changed in the south.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23027
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-06, 16:28

My next roleplaying game is going to be urban fantasy set in Mexico City and I'm really having fun preparing for it. Even though the playbook is in English, there's a surprising amount of chilango slang ("changarro", "chalán", "garra"). Googling around turned up this article in La Vanguardia (of all places) with lots of fun sayings I haven't come across before. Only half the group is Spanish-speaking so two of the other players turned on auto-translate, but that can only do so much with expressions like "¿qué Honduras con las verduras?" or "¡este muñeco cambia de aparador!".
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
Johanna
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 6537
Joined: 2006-09-17, 18:05
Real Name: Johanna
Gender: female
Location: Lidköping, Westrogothia
Country: SE Sweden (Sverige)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Johanna » 2019-06-07, 1:30

Lur wrote:I have had difficulty parsing that in my mind, like this difference between "colloquial Finnish" and "dialectal Finnish" that kind of took me by surprise.

And to me, it's just how things are.
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.

User avatar
md0
Posts: 7506
Joined: 2010-08-08, 19:56
Country: CY Cyprus (Κύπρος / Kıbrıs)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2019-06-09, 7:16

It seems like Youtube English has completely replaced the word "(the) public" with "populace".
"If you like your clause structure, you can keep your clause structure"
Stable: Cypriot Greek (el-cy)Standard Modern Greek (el)English (en) Current: Standard German (de)Elementary Finnish (fi)
For fun: Legacy: France French (fr)Japanese (ja)Standard Turkish (tr)

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-09, 9:01

*Lur opens useless can of worms* I wonder which Slavic language/dialect seems to be the most and the least conservative!
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

User avatar
Vlürch
Posts: 802
Joined: 2014-05-06, 8:42
Gender: male
Location: Roihuvuori, Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-09, 10:57

I know I've posted about various languages' words for "butterfly" before because they're weird and interesting, but I just got a really strange feeling because I looked up the etymology of the English word butterfly and it turns out it's not from butter (the verb) + fly (the insect)...

I mean, apparently the verb to butter doesn't even exist with one of the obvious meanings I always "knew" it had: as a synonym for flutter, possibly with a detail that there's a longer interval between the flappings than with fluttering and/or that it makes a louder sound, or something like that. You know, fluttering but somehow "bigger".

Does it really not exist? I could've sworn it exists, and there are a few results on Google for "buttering its wings" clearly with that meaning... so is it obscure and/or dialectal or something? If so, isn't it still possible that that actually is the etymology? Or do its cognates in other languages rule that out?

But the question that really makes me wonder: where did I learn it from? :?

Also, random thing but still about butterflies: apparently in Malay and Indonesian the word for butterfly is kupu-kupu, which means the pural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu. Quadruplication!? :o There aren't any results on Google for that that seem like actual usage (at a quick glance), though... so I don't know if there's an alternative plural for it or if it's uncountable or something?

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-09, 12:32

Basque: Pinpilinpauxa, tximeleta/mitxeleta, mitxirrika and many more :D

I also like ladybug: marigorringo
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 5885
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Milan
Country: IT Italy (Italia)
Contact:

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby OldBoring » 2019-06-09, 15:25

marigorringo looks like a Spanish word, not Basque

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 5885
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Milan
Country: IT Italy (Italia)
Contact:

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby OldBoring » 2019-06-09, 15:27

Vlürch wrote:I know I've posted about various languages' words for "butterfly" before because they're weird and interesting, but I just got a really strange feeling because I looked up the etymology of the English word butterfly and it turns out it's not from butter (the verb) + fly (the insect)...

I mean, apparently the verb to butter doesn't even exist with one of the obvious meanings I always "knew" it had: as a synonym for flutter, possibly with a detail that there's a longer interval between the flappings than with fluttering and/or that it makes a louder sound, or something like that. You know, fluttering but somehow "bigger".

Does it really not exist? I could've sworn it exists, and there are a few results on Google for "buttering its wings" clearly with that meaning... so is it obscure and/or dialectal or something? If so, isn't it still possible that that actually is the etymology? Or do its cognates in other languages rule that out?

But the question that really makes me wonder: where did I learn it from? :?

Also, random thing but still about butterflies: apparently in Malay and Indonesian the word for butterfly is kupu-kupu, which means the pural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu. Quadruplication!? :o There aren't any results on Google for that that seem like actual usage (at a quick glance), though... so I don't know if there's an alternative plural for it or if it's uncountable or something?

To butter as a verb exists, but in simply means to put butter on sth, eg I buttered the toast.

User avatar
Vlürch
Posts: 802
Joined: 2014-05-06, 8:42
Gender: male
Location: Roihuvuori, Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-09, 17:56

Lur wrote:Basque: Pinpilinpauxa, tximeleta/mitxeleta, mitxirrika and many more :D

Yeah, they're really cool. Actually, tximeleta is one of the only Basque words I would've probably remembered the meaning of if I saw it randomly. Butterflies are interesting insects and the words for them in all kinds of languages have interesting similarities/equivalences/whatever, like labial sounds and/or reduplication, etc.

I know "universal sound symbolism" and "natural/inspired etymologies" are generally considered pseudoscience and even worse than Sapir-Whorfism, but I personally do believe in the possibility that all humans regardless of culture and language have a collective "programming" when it comes to what things are called, even if it's heavily influenced by their culture and language what the exact details are, making it practically impossible to pinpoint the "underlying connections" beyond what "intuitively feels connected".

...of course, since most linguists won't "feel" the connections (anymore) and instead have conditioned themselves to think of any similarities as coincidences (especially if the words are etymologically unrelated), it's seen as crackpottery on the level of Time Cube to suggest that a deeper connection independent of direct etymology could exist. :para:

But like, for example, most Finnish-speakers won't think about why they call butterflies perhonen and most Persian-speakers won't think about why they call butterflies پروانه (parvâne), let alone that the words sound pretty similar; the likelihood of them sharing an etymology is very slim, but why should that mean the similarity itself is coincidental? There could be a "natural inclination" to explain why the Finnish and Persian words have become similar in sound and meaning, even if they were originally not as similar and even the meanings were different.

According to this Q&A thing in Finnish about the etymology of perhonen, which cites a Finnish etymological dictionary, sound symbolism could've played a part in the word's formation. Even though pure sound symbolism is demonstrably not universal as a whole, maybe there's a deeper level of symbolism that's "ancestral" to sound symbolism, morphological symbolism and probably other categories. You know, a universal "pull" to associate certain types of words with certain things, happening in cycles.

...or maybe I'm really spouting Time Cube level shit again. I realise that the way I worded this post is definitely really awkward and probably hard to follow, but hopefully at least someone understands what I mean. :oops:
OldBoring wrote:To butter as a verb exists, but in simply means to put butter on sth, eg I buttered the toast.

Yeah, I know that's obviously always been the primary meaning, but I could've sworn it also had the secondary meaning (likely with a different etymology) that was something like "to flap wings repeatedly". Which, like I already said in the previous post, judging by Google it can be used for, but evidently it's rare and presumably very far from standard usage.

No word I can find on Wiktionary that's anything close to butter in any language has that meaning, either, so maybe it's a "ghost meaning" in English that some people for some reason use (maybe instinctively through some kind of sound symbolism?) or something... but even in that case, it could in theory be the etymology of butterfly, maybe originating as a synonym of *flutterfly.

Being me, I googled "flutterfly etymology" and found this: https://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postst25669_etymology--butterfly.aspx where someone (also a Finn lol) mentioned that Wiktionary mentions an alternative etymology to do with "beat", which I saw but I'm still too confused by the fact that to butter supposedly doesn't (standardly) mean "to flap wings repeatedly" or anything like that to forget the instinctional "obvious" etymology I always thought it had...

Linguaphile
Posts: 1918
Joined: 2016-09-17, 5:06

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-06-09, 19:01

Vlürch wrote:Does it really not exist? I could've sworn it exists, and there are a few results on Google for "buttering its wings" clearly with that meaning... so is it obscure and/or dialectal or something?

My guess is that you came up with that understanding of the word "butter" from hearing the word "butterfly" itself.
"Butter" really does not have that meaning in English. I tried searching for "buttering its wings" since you said you found some hits where it had that meaning, but, the ones I found either do not have that meaning* or seem to be poor OCR conversions (i.e. they are scans from old documents and they say "Buttering its wings" with a capital B). My guess is that for those the original was actually "fluttering", printed in a way that didn't leave sufficient space between the "f' and the "l", and the OCR scan picked it up as a capital "B" erroneously instead of the combination of letters "fl". There were other conversion errors in those same documents too.

*(one was about eating bat wings with butter :eww: )

User avatar
Naava
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 1026
Joined: 2012-01-17, 20:24
Gender: female
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Naava » 2019-06-09, 20:26

Linguaphile wrote:*(one was about eating bat wings with butter :eww: )

...what? Is there anything people haven't tried to eat??

User avatar
Vlürch
Posts: 802
Joined: 2014-05-06, 8:42
Gender: male
Location: Roihuvuori, Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-10, 14:54

Linguaphile wrote:My guess is that you came up with that understanding of the word "butter" from hearing the word "butterfly" itself.

I guess that's possible... but it's like a familiar word is suddenly just gone. I mean, I'd never used *butter with that meaning AFAICR because I hadn't had to, but I could've sworn it exists... and now I have a huge urge to use it just because. :lol:

However, I did just find out (or rather confirmed) that bat exists with the exact meaning I thought *butter had, except apparently it's only used for birds and according to Wiktionary it's supposedly "obsolete" and only ever used in British English, with bate being more common? I'd never heard bate before (except as a clipping of masturbate) but am 100% certain I'd seen/heard bat with that meaning more than once, and there are a lot of results for "batting its wings" on Google. Those literally can't all have some other meaning, and they definitely say batting rather than *flatting or something... so how is it obsolete? And how is it only British if it's used by Americans, too?

I'm confused as hell right now. :para:
Linguaphile wrote:My guess is that for those the original was actually "fluttering", printed in a way that didn't leave sufficient space between the "f' and the "l", and the OCR scan picked it up as a capital "B" erroneously instead of the combination of letters "fl". There were other conversion errors in those same documents too.

Ugh, I was going to argue that this one had it, but you're right that it's actually <fl>. :oops:

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-12, 7:15

Vlürch wrote:
Lur wrote:Basque: Pinpilinpauxa, tximeleta/mitxeleta, mitxirrika and many more :D

Yeah, they're really cool. Actually, tximeleta is one of the only Basque words I would've probably remembered the meaning of if I saw it randomly. Butterflies are interesting insects and the words for them in all kinds of languages have interesting similarities/equivalences/whatever, like labial sounds and/or reduplication, etc.

I know "universal sound symbolism" and "natural/inspired etymologies" are generally considered pseudoscience and even worse than Sapir-Whorfism, but I personally do believe in the possibility that all humans regardless of culture and language have a collective "programming" when it comes to what things are called, even if it's heavily influenced by their culture and language what the exact details are, making it practically impossible to pinpoint the "underlying connections" beyond what "intuitively feels connected".

...of course, since most linguists won't "feel" the connections (anymore) and instead have conditioned themselves to think of any similarities as coincidences (especially if the words are etymologically unrelated), it's seen as crackpottery on the level of Time Cube to suggest that a deeper connection independent of direct etymology could exist. :para:


I think a sort of general (maybe not universal) sound symbolism exists (according to available sounds), which is why we have onomatopoeia and onomatopoeic words. And then combine that with typical semantic drifts of meanings...

Doesn't Finnic have other words of Iranian origin? Like "sininen"?

Yesterday I was thinking of Finnish varis and Russian voron, and how they've reconstructed roots in PIE and Uralic that are similar.

And here's an analog to that: Basque bele "raven", from a root "black, dark", which I think was somthing like *beletz/belez contracted to current beltz (otherwise it would have given *beretz). (See "Aquitanian" belex and "Iberian" beles to make it more intriguing).
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

Linguaphile
Posts: 1918
Joined: 2016-09-17, 5:06

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-06-12, 15:00

Lur wrote:Doesn't Finnic have other words of Iranian origin? Like "sininen"?

Finnish jumala, Estonian jumal , "God," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *diyumna
Finnish maksaa, Estonian maksma, "to cost," from Proto-Iranian *ma(n)dza-
Finnish repo, Estonian rebane, "fox," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *reupōśo-
Finnish sarvi, Estonian sarv, "horn," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *śr̥va-
Finnish suoja "shelter", Estonian sooja "warm," from Proto-Iranian *(s)tsāyā
Finnish vasara, Estonian vasar, "hammar," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *wáȷ́ras

On the other hand, since this came up in this thread because of the similarities between the Finnish word perhonen and Persian پروانه parvâne, it's worth pointing out that -nen is a diminutive suffix in Finnish and that neither perho nor perhonen have cognates in any other Finnic languages, or at least none that I could find. Most Finnic languages have a word for "butterfly" that either comes from Proto-Uralic *lüppe (Estonian liblikas, Karelian liipukkaine, Livvi-Karelian liipukku, Ludic liipak, Veps lipkaine, Võro liblik, Finnish south island dialect liplikko) which comes from a root meaning "flakes, small leaves", or they use a descriptive compound for "butterfly" based on the word for "bird" (Livonian liepālind "alder-bird", Votic lehtilintu "leaf-bird", Votic and Ingrian unilintu "dream-bird"). Livonian also has additional words for "butterfly" that seem to be reduplicative or onomatopoeic forms derived from *lüppe: libālabā and liblabbiņ.

User avatar
Yasna
Posts: 2150
Joined: 2011-09-12, 1:17
Gender: male
Location: Boston
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Yasna » 2019-06-12, 17:26

Here's a language combination you don't often see. A Korean newscaster is interviewing a Hungarian dive team captain involved with searching for victims of the Hableány, a tourist boat that sunk on the Danube in Budapest. The passengers were all from South Korea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3rotKL2PdM
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

User avatar
Lur
Posts: 3050
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Location: Madrid
Country: ES Spain (España)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-13, 13:12

Linguaphile wrote:
Lur wrote:Doesn't Finnic have other words of Iranian origin? Like "sininen"?

Finnish jumala, Estonian jumal , "God," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *diyumna
Finnish maksaa, Estonian maksma, "to cost," from Proto-Iranian *ma(n)dza-
Finnish repo, Estonian rebane, "fox," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *reupōśo-
Finnish sarvi, Estonian sarv, "horn," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *śr̥va-
Finnish suoja "shelter", Estonian sooja "warm," from Proto-Iranian *(s)tsāyā
Finnish vasara, Estonian vasar, "hammar," from Proto-Indo-Iranian *wáȷ́ras

On the other hand, since this came up in this thread because of the similarities between the Finnish word perhonen and Persian پروانه parvâne, it's worth pointing out that -nen is a diminutive suffix in Finnish and that neither perho nor perhonen have cognates in any other Finnic languages, or at least none that I could find. Most Finnic languages have a word for "butterfly" that either comes from Proto-Uralic *lüppe (Estonian liblikas, Karelian liipukkaine, Livvi-Karelian liipukku, Ludic liipak, Veps lipkaine, Võro liblik, Finnish south island dialect liplikko) which comes from a root meaning "flakes, small leaves", or they use a descriptive compound for "butterfly" based on the word for "bird" (Livonian liepālind "alder-bird", Votic lehtilintu "leaf-bird", Votic and Ingrian unilintu "dream-bird"). Livonian also has additional words for "butterfly" that seem to be reduplicative or onomatopoeic forms derived from *lüppe: libālabā and liblabbiņ.


Unilintu is kind of awesome
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23027
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-13, 15:39

Sometimes German simply exhausts me. I just confirmed that--as I feared--the German equivalent of "stress shift" is Betonungsverschiebung. No wonder anglicisms are making such inroads.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


Return to “General Language Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest