Random language thread 6

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Linguaphile
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-06-13, 21:39

Lur wrote:Unilintu is kind of awesome
linguoboy wrote:as I feared--the German equivalent of "stress shift" is Betonungsverschiebung.
"As I feared?" :roll: But - but - but.... Betonungsverschiebung is kind of awesome too. :whistle: The relative ease of forming/understanding words like this is part of what makes languages like German fun.

linguoboy wrote:Sometimes German simply exhausts me.
linguoboy wrote:No wonder anglicisms are making such inroads.
You knew Betonungsverschiebung would be the German equivalent before you looked it up, didn't you? So it's really not all that bad! :wink:

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-06-14, 1:02

[ʋəjd̪jʊd̪əgəməˈnaːgəmənən̪ijən̪d̪rəɳejən̪d̪rəm] :whistle:
Ciarán12 wrote:I've noticed a few word pairs in Portuguese where there's an alternation between <oi> and <ou> in words that have the same or almost the same meaning:
loiro / louro - blond
baloiçar / balouçar (/ balançar) - to move up and down, to swing
coisa / cousa (archaic) - thing

I wonder where this comes from. Presumably this was a sound shift which didn't affect all dialects, and then the alternative forms were both adopted into the mainstream separately...?

When I saw this, I immediately thought of word-initial f vs. v in native English words, like vat (cf. German Fass 'barrel, keg'), which is a borrowing from one of the southwestern English dialects if I remember correctly. (For example, Devonshire English also has varm 'farm', vield 'field', and zow 'sow').
Yasna wrote:There's a remarkable number of abugidas. Is there any reason for this other than convention in the Indosphere? ("other languages in the region are creating their own writing system, so we should too!")

A professor of mine once suggested that the Indic writing systems are really just alphabets and it's just that the symbols for the consonants happen to be pronounced with the inherent vowel.
Johanna wrote: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

Maybe the dialects kind of help in the case of Danish, though. :P I remember I had two Danish co-workers; one was from Copenhagen, and the other was from a more rural area (I forget where). My Swedish co-worker could understand the co-worker from rural Denmark a lot better than she could understand the one from Copenhagen.
Lur wrote: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.

These are the ones spoken in France?
linguoboy wrote:"¡este muñeco cambia de aparador!".

I don't think I knew what an aparador was even after looking up the English translation. :o
Lur wrote:*Lur opens useless can of worms* I wonder which Slavic language/dialect seems to be the most and the least conservative!

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads ... c.2948747/
Vlürch wrote:apparently in Malay and Indonesian the word for butterfly is kupu-kupu, which means the pural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu. Quadruplication!? :o

Wrong, that's not how reduplication works in Malay/Indonesian. It's just banyak kupu-kupu.

In spoken Malayalam, for 'butterfly', the term that I'm most familiar with at least is [puːmˈbaːta], literally 'flower beetle'. I'm pretty sure other varieties of Malayalam have their own terms for it, though. Literary Malayalam uses the Sanskrit-derived term [t͡ʃiˈt̪rəɕələbʱəm], literally something like 'picturesque insect'.
Naava wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:*(one was about eating bat wings with butter :eww: )

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

A stinger?
Vlürch wrote: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:

Maybe Wiktionary is just wrong? It does happen, you know. :P

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-14, 17:36

vijayjohn wrote:These are the ones spoken in France?

Basically
-On the Northern side: Lapurdian (to an extent), Low Navarran, Souletin,
-On the Southern side: both High Navarran dialects, Aezkoan, Zaraitz and Roncalese. I don't know where Baztanese fits.

I've seen people group some of these, like Zaraitz and Erronkari or Erronkari and Soule.

I think the Western block (Biscay, Alaba, bits of Gipuzkoa) and the Eastern block (above) have the biggest tendency to retain archaisms that might make speech sound more different or difficult to understand to everybody else.

Then there's the undocumented ones: the Basque to the east and north of Soule, and to the east and south of Erronkari. Basque dissappeared from the Valley of Echo in the 18th century. The valleys there go (west-to-east): Aezkoa, Zaraitz, Erronkari, Anso, Echo. Very pretty zone, by the way. The further distance east would have been as far as Andorra and Aran at the least. It does seem to me that from near Burgos to Andorra is quite a large distance :para:

Modern Basque dialectal divisions are from the late Middle Ages, more or less. Before that, reconstruction only leads you to a rather apparently homogeneous stage from the High Middle ages, potentially uncomprehensible to modern Basque speakers. There used to be this idea that Basque was like super conservative but hahaha no.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Johanna » 2019-06-15, 1:27

vijayjohn wrote:
Johanna wrote: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

Maybe the dialects kind of help in the case of Danish, though. :P I remember I had two Danish co-workers; one was from Copenhagen, and the other was from a more rural area (I forget where). My Swedish co-worker could understand the co-worker from rural Denmark a lot better than she could understand the one from Copenhagen.

Standard Danish with a Copenhagen accent works, as long as they slow down and enunciate things very carefully. If they don't, that's when we resort to English.

Danish is a bit of a two-edged sword in that way. The standard is usually OK vocabulary-wise, but pronunciation-wise, there are definitely accents that are easier to get compered to Copenhagen.

When you add genuine dialects into the mix, you run the gamut from "I understand pretty much everything" to "You're sure this is Danish and not some sort of German?"
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2019-06-15, 2:58

Johanna wrote:When you add genuine dialects into the mix, you run the gamut from "I understand pretty much everything" to "You're sure this is Danish and not some sort of German?"

Does that mean that German falls decisively out of the ineligibility continuum for speakers of Scandinavian varieties?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Johanna » 2019-06-15, 20:31

md0 wrote:
Johanna wrote:When you add genuine dialects into the mix, you run the gamut from "I understand pretty much everything" to "You're sure this is Danish and not some sort of German?"

Does that mean that German falls decisively out of the ineligibility continuum for speakers of Scandinavian varieties?

Yeah. We have quite a lot of vocabulary in common since Low German to us is pretty much what Norman French is to English, but the truly important words are too different. I can understand quite a bit of written Low German and Dutch thanks to having studied Standard German and English, but if I were completely monolingual, they wouldn't make much sense, and of course even less so in their spoken forms.

High and Central German dialects, including Standard German, we only get the odd word of here and there, the High German consonant shift really did a number on those.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-16, 22:16

Lur wrote: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...

I remember someone once told me that only crackpots believe in universal (or regional or whatever) sound symbolism, no idea who or if it was on this forum or somewhere else, though. But yeah, it seems pretty obvious that something like it exists, and I'd assume it has some kind of "higher implications" on human nature or whatever if it was dug into deeply enough. The problems of racism and whatnot that can easily start popping up with Sapir-Whorfism and bouba-kikism when it comes to languages that "deviate" from the "norm" can be eliminated by extending it from pure sound symbolism to include other kinds of commonalities, eg. morphological or syllabic symbolism.
Lur wrote:Doesn't Finnic have other words of Iranian origin? Like "sininen"?

Yeah, but like Linguaphile said, perhonen isn't one of them for several reasons. The similarity between it and the Persian word for butterfly is "pure coincidence", which I think could point to some kind of shared "phonosemantic inclination" or whatever; the Persian word didn't originally mean butterfly, so maybe one of the reasons its meaning shifted is that it just sounds like the word for butterfly.

Maybe it's that Indo-Uralic (to the exclusion of all other languages of Eurasia) is actually a valid macrofamily and thus certain similarities between the languages are bound to pop up once in a while out with no implications whatsoever, which I personally don't believe but admit is possible... or maybe it's a wider thing, which I think is the case, with a combination of sound symbolism, morphological symbolism and/or even just some kind of a "force" drawing the words to become similar. You know, something like a "serendipitous alignment" maybe as a result of "human nature" or even the "nature of reality" or whatever.

...and then I wonder why everyone thinks I spout Time Cube level bullshit. :lol:
Lur wrote:Yesterday I was thinking of Finnish varis and Russian voron, and how they've reconstructed roots in PIE and Uralic that are similar.

Mmh. A lot of animal names are really interesting etymologically since they're practically always ultimately of unknown origin and generally just presumed to be onomatopoietic or something.
Lur wrote: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).

Interesting. If only there was a huge list of all the etymologies (and theories of those that are uncertain) for animal names in as many languages as possible... but eh, the information is already out there so it'd literally just be everything in one place. It would be convenient, though... :P
vijayjohn wrote:Wrong, that's not how reduplication works in Malay/Indonesian. It's just banyak kupu-kupu.

Huh... so that means Wiktionary (which says the plural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu) and Wikipedia (which says plurals are formed by reduplication) are wrong? And all the results for other reduplicated words in Malay/Indonesian on Google are something else, not plurals? :?
vijayjohn wrote:In spoken Malayalam, for 'butterfly', the term that I'm most familiar with at least is [puːmˈbaːta], literally 'flower beetle'. I'm pretty sure other varieties of Malayalam have their own terms for it, though. Literary Malayalam uses the Sanskrit-derived term [t͡ʃiˈt̪rəɕələbʱəm], literally something like 'picturesque insect'.

[puːmˈbaːta] sounds cute, and exactly like a word for butterfly. "Picturesque insect" is a really cool way to form the word for butterfly, too. Also labial sounds in both, and the latter starts with [t͡ʃi] like the Basque word. I'm not saying they're etymologically related or anything, because obviously they're not, but... it's still nice.

I wonder if labial sounds invoke the flapping of butterfly wings or something? Apparently the word for butterfly in some Polynesian languages is literally just pepe, which in a way sounds like the ultimate butterfly word.
vijayjohn wrote:Maybe Wiktionary is just wrong? It does happen, you know. :P

Well, yeah, that's possible. I wonder why anyone would've added it there as a super obscure obsolete British term if it's neither super obscure, obsolete or exclusively British and no one would've corrected it, though.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-17, 6:14

Vlürch wrote:
Lur wrote: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...

I remember someone once told me that only crackpots believe in universal (or regional or whatever) sound symbolism, no idea who or if it was on this forum or somewhere else, though. But yeah, it seems pretty obvious that something like it exists, and I'd assume it has some kind of "higher implications" on human nature or whatever if it was dug into deeply enough. The problems of racism and whatnot that can easily start popping up with Sapir-Whorfism and bouba-kikism when it comes to languages that "deviate" from the "norm" can be eliminated by extending it from pure sound symbolism to include other kinds of commonalities, eg. morphological or syllabic symbolism.

The one thing I can think of is the sounds that tend to pop up in personal pronouns in the first and second person (in languages that have them and that have those possible sounds) and the mama/papa thing.


Fun thing: someone awoke me earlier this morning and I was thinking something about learning Polish. I have no idea what was I dreaming about.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2019-06-17, 6:37

Johanna wrote:
md0 wrote:
Johanna wrote:When you add genuine dialects into the mix, you run the gamut from "I understand pretty much everything" to "You're sure this is Danish and not some sort of German?"

Does that mean that German falls decisively out of the ineligibility continuum for speakers of Scandinavian varieties?

Yeah. We have quite a lot of vocabulary in common since Low German to us is pretty much what Norman French is to English, but the truly important words are too different. I can understand quite a bit of written Low German and Dutch thanks to having studied Standard German and English, but if I were completely monolingual, they wouldn't make much sense, and of course even less so in their spoken forms.

High and Central German dialects, including Standard German, we only get the odd word of here and there, the High German consonant shift really did a number on those.


I see. I went on Youtube to finding examples of spoken Swedish and indeed I can't understand anything. (Written) Swedish news headlines is slightly more accessible if I use my A1 knowledge of German and some imagination :)
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-06-17, 7:47

Lur wrote:Very pretty zone, by the way.

I guess by "zone" you mean "region"?
Vlürch wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Wrong, that's not how reduplication works in Malay/Indonesian. It's just banyak kupu-kupu.

Huh... so that means Wiktionary (which says the plural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu)

Where are you seeing that? Wiktionary says the plural is banyak kupu-kupu.
and Wikipedia (which says plurals are formed by reduplication) are wrong? And all the results for other reduplicated words in Malay/Indonesian on Google are something else, not plurals? :?

Some words in Indonesian and Malay are pluralized via reduplication, but reduplication is neither exclusively used for pluralization (kupu-kupu and rama-rama are both examples of reduplication but not of pluralization) nor the only strategy Indonesian/Malay has for pluralization. Most words cannot be pluralized via reduplication FWIR.
I wonder why anyone would've added it there as a super obscure obsolete British term if it's neither super obscure, obsolete or exclusively British and no one would've corrected it, though.

Because they've never heard it and no one else cares enough to correct it? :P

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Naava » 2019-06-17, 9:30

vijayjohn wrote:Where are you seeing that? Wiktionary says the plural is banyak kupu-kupu.

I tried to google it and the preview says kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu but the actual page has banyak kupu-kupu. :hmm:
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-17, 9:31

vijayjohn wrote:I guess by "zone" you mean "region"?

Yes! Herrialde ederrena duk.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-17, 14:51

Lur wrote:The one thing I can think of is the sounds that tend to pop up in personal pronouns in the first and second person (in languages that have them and that have those possible sounds)

If you mean the /m/ and /t/ thing, that's why the proposition of a "Mitian" macrofamily exists. It's a really cool theory and I personally think it's the most likely and prefer it to simple Indo-Uralic and Altaic both in terms of plausibility and for political/emotional reasons, the latter of which I know shouldn't matter at all but does, since it's better than Ural-Altaic due to the inclusion of Eskimo-Aleut and whatnot and also better than Indo-Uralic and Altaic as mutually exclusive families.

Anyway, I think all languages are ultimately related to each other, but Mitian and Austric could form a loosely connected branch (with Dravido-Korean being a "hybrid" branch between the two) within an even bigger Eurasiatic language family that also includes Sino-Caucasian and whatnot. It'd all fit neatly and make sense, even if the relations can't be proven and sometimes seem impossible; maybe that's because there used to be even more languages, both ones that formed additional branches of Eurasiatic that kind of "bridged the gaps" and ones that weren't part of Eurasiatic at all and are now lost, but which had significant substratum influence on certain branches of it and later individual languages.

...or maybe I'm in Time Cube land again. But eh, I like to think all of that is true, and unless there'll be conclusive definite proof that it's not like that, I'll continue to believe it.
Lur wrote:and the mama/papa thing

After seeing this video, it's the first thing I think of whenever I see words like "mama" or "papa". :lol: (There's even a comment about that part, which makes it even more hilarious.)
Naava wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Where are you seeing that? Wiktionary says the plural is banyak kupu-kupu.

I tried to google it and the preview says kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu but the actual page has banyak kupu-kupu. :hmm:

Yeah, same, I saw that when I googled the quadruple "kupu" after seeing on Wiktionary's translations for butterfly that it's kupu-kupu in Malay/Indonesian; I could've sworn I also clicked on it afterwards and that it said exactly that, but looking at the entry's history reveals it supposedly never said that. :para:
vijayjohn wrote:Some words in Indonesian and Malay are pluralized via reduplication, but reduplication is neither exclusively used for pluralization (kupu-kupu and rama-rama are both examples of reduplication but not of pluralization) nor the only strategy Indonesian/Malay has for pluralization. Most words cannot be pluralized via reduplication FWIR.

Huh, interesting and kinda disappointing tbh. Is there any language that uses only reduplication for plurals?
vijayjohn wrote:Because they've never heard it and no one else cares enough to correct it? :P

I guess that's the obvious explanation, but still... :P

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-06-17, 17:59

Vlürch wrote:
Lur wrote:The one thing I can think of is the sounds that tend to pop up in personal pronouns in the first and second person (in languages that have them and that have those possible sounds)

If you mean the /m/ and /t/ thing, that's why the proposition of a "Mitian" macrofamily exists. It's a really cool theory and I personally think it's the most likely and prefer it to simple Indo-Uralic and Altaic both in terms of plausibility and for political/emotional reasons, the latter of which I know shouldn't matter at all but does, since it's better than Ural-Altaic due to the inclusion of Eskimo-Aleut and whatnot and also better than Indo-Uralic and Altaic as mutually exclusive families.

Anyway, I think all languages are ultimately related to each other, but Mitian and Austric could form a loosely connected branch (with Dravido-Korean being a "hybrid" branch between the two) within an even bigger Eurasiatic language family that also includes Sino-Caucasian and whatnot. It'd all fit neatly and make sense, even if the relations can't be proven and sometimes seem impossible; maybe that's because there used to be even more languages, both ones that formed additional branches of Eurasiatic that kind of "bridged the gaps" and ones that weren't part of Eurasiatic at all and are now lost, but which had significant substratum influence on certain branches of it and later individual languages.

I haven't checked but it seems to me that the "nasals - dentals - bilabials- sibilants(?)" thing also happens in the Americas.

My favourite of all those elaborations is Dené-Yeniseian, I guess because it makes sense. And the stuff about ancient loanwords between paleo-Siberian and Tungusic and Eskimo-Aleut and maybe paleo-Siberian coming from North America instead of the other way around.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-06-18, 10:42

Lur wrote:I haven't checked but it seems to me that the "nasals - dentals - bilabials- sibilants(?)" thing also happens in the Americas.

IIRC it does in some other languages (although I've never really been that into the languages of America except the occasional wanderlust and my crackpot quests to attempt out-Starostining Starostin :lol: ), and there are some other similarities between them and the languages of Eurasia as well... which of course makes sense if the native Americans came from Asia like is generally agreed (except by white supremacists, who think the first Americans came from Europe thanks to the Solutrean hypothesis :roll: ).

One thing I still find really cool is that the Haida word for language is similar to the Finnish, Mongolian, etc. words for language. Of course it could be a coincidence (in which case I think there's some of that "mysterious inclination"), but if Haida is as ancient as it seems (although IIRC there was some new "evidence" like last year that it may in fact have only entered the new world much later than previously thought?), maybe there was some ancient connection.
Lur wrote:My favourite of all those elaborations is Dené-Yeniseian, I guess because it makes sense. And the stuff about ancient loanwords between paleo-Siberian and Tungusic

Yeah, Dené-Yeniseian makes sense and of course it's infinitely more likely than Dené-Caucasian, especially considering it's literally considered real by most... but still, I like Dené-Caucasian; maybe the internal categorisation is off and it's instead so that the major branches are Dené-Yeniseian, Sino-Tibetan, Burushaski and Vasconic? And then Dené-Caucasian is a branch of an even larger family that Eurasiatic forms another branch of... or... hmm... at this rate, Proto-World is two posts away!

I also read somewhere that there's some unknown Palaeo-Siberian substratum in the Tungusic and Siberian Turkic languages, but I don't remember where (probably academia.edu?) or if it included proof with the actual words it referred to or if it only mentioned that they exist, in which case it could've been bullshit.
Lur wrote:Eskimo-Aleut and maybe paleo-Siberian coming from North America instead of the other way around.

I've never heard or thought of that possibility before, but I suppose it could explain some things. :o Personally I don't buy it, though, just because it'd probably contradict Eurasiatic unless it happened in the inconceivably ancient past and some weird muddled back-and-forth migrations and stuff happened.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-21, 20:27

I've been trying to learn the lyrics to the Porter song "Pájaros" and I have to say that the line "Para arreglarme el alma" is a real ballbuster.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-06-22, 1:57

Why?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-06-23, 1:47

linguoboy wrote:I've been trying to learn the lyrics to the Porter song "Pájaros" and I have to say that the line "Para arreglarme el alma" is a real ballbuster.

Osias wrote:Why?

I listened to the song and I wonder if Lingoboy's comment might be because of the way Porter uses synaleph (sinalefa) in that line: par'arreglarm'el alma. :?:

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-06-23, 2:27

:hmm:
2017 est l'année du (fr) et de l'(de) pour moi. Parle avec moi en eux, s'il te plait.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-06-23, 3:01

Osias wrote: :hmm:

:noclue:


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