Ainu

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Re: Romaji -> Ainu Katakana Converter

Postby Licyo » 2012-05-11, 2:35

All the special Katakana can be type in my computer, just set up the Japanese type software. You can type all the アイウエオ can be type!

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Re: Romaji -> Ainu Katakana Converter

Postby Eginhard » 2012-05-13, 14:39

You might have a different IME than me that supports all special Katakana needed for Ainu, but that would surprise me. On my computer it's not possible.
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Re: an ainuitak beginner asks for help

Postby Ciarán12 » 2012-07-08, 20:59

Hi imrenjie,

I'm not an Ainu speaker. Like you. I am just learning. But here is a link to a basic word list for Ainu. Hope this helps!

http://www.raccoonbend.com/languages/ainuenglish.html

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Re: Ainu and Inuit (Yupik/Aleut) comparison

Postby nailgun » 2012-08-19, 21:10

A general question for you: what is it that the ancestors of language-isolate speakers spoke before that isolate existed?

If you look at the development of a relatively well-documented language family (e.g. the I-E family), you will see that many changes have taken place, most of them only to parts of the family. Without knowledge of the somewhat obscure sound changes etc. that various branches went through, it would not be at all obvious, e.g., that Armenian was related to French (especially without the somewhat antiquated orthography that modern French has). Also, the common I-E ancestor is, I think, not pitched that long ago in time - maybe 10,000 years max. What is it that its speakers spoke before I-E came along?

The general state of culture and organisation of prehistoric societies tends to suggest that they have had some form of communication that we would accept as a language for at least 100,000 years. And once there is such communication, it is hard to conceive of a circumstance where it would die out and be re-invented. So far as I am aware, every group of modern humans ever "discovered" by literate societies has had language. And yes, isolation lasting, in some cases, several millennia is bound to lead to substantial divergence in language between two such isolated groups - to such an extent that, when they do meet again, not only can they not understand each other, but the differences have become so vast that even the existence of a one-time common ancestor is not at all obvious.

Now, considering how far various branches of I-E have diverged over the past 10,000 years, just think what non-I-E languages could be related if you go back 20,000, 40,000 or even longer years ago.

So, in my view, those who reckon that such languages as Ainu, Korean, Basque, Japanese and so forth are "language isolates" are probably mistaken. It is undoubtedly true that whatever common ancestor they may have had with other languages was so long ago that the links are no longer readily visible. It is also likely that searching for items of common vocabulary is largely futile, as world conditions have changed dramatically if you go back more than 10,000 years (ice ages etc.), so the "common core vocabulary relating to a particular region" (as one finds with I-E, and which tends to place its origin in the southern steppe) is likely no longer to be "common", as one group of speakers find themselves coping with an icy wilderness while another group might drift southwards to warm and wet areas, or may be in an arid environment.

Do not, therefore, expect any "proof" that Ainu is related to the Khoisan languages or whatever: both have probably developed so far from their originals (which, going back far enough, may indeed have been the same) that such a search will always be, at best, inconclusive - and pretty pointless anyway.

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Kana, Latin or other?

Postby VacalleroRealV » 2012-09-02, 7:18

I've been wondering about the political nature of writing systems, and seeing some challenging ideas here. What do you all think using Kana or Latin for Ainu and if neither suits the people do you think they should get another system or make their own from whole cloth?

Why not modify the Kana system to bend it to Ainu? Or maybe just adopt Latin like everyone-else? Or go the Sequoya-Sejong route?

What d'yall think?
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Re: Kana, Latin or other?

Postby md0 » 2012-09-02, 12:22

Afaik, the Ainu language is already written in modified Katakana, Latin and Cyrillic. And it is glaringly obvious that Katakana is barely suitable.
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Re: Kana, Latin or other?

Postby VacalleroRealV » 2012-09-02, 17:28

Sorry, it's just when I see it written here, it's often not written with the smaller Kana for isolated consonants. But I wonder, are the Latin and Cyrillic orthographies tied at all to Christianity? It's usually how these systems spread.
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Re: Kana, Latin or other?

Postby Eginhard » 2012-10-15, 0:11

The problem is that there is no proper way to easily type the small katakana yet.

Ainu being written in Cyrillic is only due to geographic proximity and I don't think it's still done at all. Using the Latin alphabet probably is mainly because of general convenience, but might also be somewhat linked to Christianity (there exists a translation of the New Testament into Ainu written in the Latin alphabet).
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Re: Kana, Latin or other?

Postby Remis » 2012-10-20, 11:49

The problem is that there is no proper way to easily type the small katakana yet.
OS X has had a pretty good IME for typing Ainu with since... At least three OS versions ago.
アイヌ イタㇰ
ウパㇱ
コマㇺ
Typed all of those with said IME. So there's that. Well, if you have a Mac, that is. If you have Windows or Linux you might be out of luck.
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How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby johnklepac » 2013-02-03, 23:55

Is there really that much interest in it? It has, what, a few hundred speakers? Maybe? There are a lot of languages in India with millions of speakers that don't even have their own forums.

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Lauren » 2013-02-03, 23:57

There used to be some interest in it, but it died, but now there's too many threads to get rid of it.
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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-02-04, 15:19

Having recently gotten back into Ainu, I certainly hope the forum stays around. There really isn't that much out there in English about Ainu (for learners anyway), so this forum actually represents a big chunk of the English-speaking Ainu learners' resources online.

Secondly, the forums here are no based on how many native speakers a language has, but on how many users here actually want to learn a language (which usually ends up meaning the opposite criterion - the fewer the speakers, the more likely Unilangers will want to learn it, thus the more likely it is to have a forum).

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Eginhard » 2013-02-04, 22:59

Yes, there once used to be quite a lot of interest in Ainu here on this forum. I'm also still very interested in it and would like to study it again, but currently don't have the time for it.

And although it's not really actively used at the moment, it would be a pity to delete or merge this forum now as it really contains a wealth of information on Ainu in English which can't be allowed to disappear. I also really hope that we could find some group of interested people again in the future to revive the forum. Ainu might be spoken only by extremely few people, but there seems to be ongoing interest and support for it and Sapporo TV for example is still producing weekly language lessons (http://www.stv.ne.jp/radio/ainugo/index.html).
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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby johnklepac » 2013-02-04, 23:14

Ciarán12 wrote:Having recently gotten back into Ainu, I certainly hope the forum stays around. There really isn't that much out there in English about Ainu (for learners anyway), so this forum actually represents a big chunk of the English-speaking Ainu learners' resources online.

True. I don't think it should be removed; I'm just surprised that it's ever attracted enough interest to get its own forum.

Ciarán12 wrote:Secondly, the forums here are no based on how many native speakers a language has, but on how many users here actually want to learn a language

I know how they're created; that's why I'm surprised. I wouldn't expect the moderators or developers to be ignorant enough to think Ainu had more speakers than something like Gujarati.

Ciarán12 wrote:(which usually ends up meaning the opposite criterion - the fewer the speakers, the more likely Unilangers will want to learn it, thus the more likely it is to have a forum).

There does seem to be more than a bit of disproportionality among languages learned here: after all, Welsh, Irish, and Finnish seem to be among the most popular. But I'd say there's probably an overall positive correlation between number of speakers and popularity on UL. The most popular languages, I think, include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese, and they're all much more popular than any of those isolated languages spoken in central Russia, southern Africa, or Brazil, for example. This seems even to be true within the field of constructed languages: Esperanto is much more popular than Ithkuil or Toki Pona. It's just the big exceptions that throw me; Ainu is a prominent one of them. Ones like Latin or Ancient Greek are more understandable considering how popular they are for academic study, even without sizable bases of real speakers. Ainu doesn't seem to boast any of that, though, yet popular it remains (or has remained, anyway).

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-02-05, 1:24

johnklepac wrote:There does seem to be more than a bit of disproportionality among languages learned here: after all, Welsh, Irish, and Finnish seem to be among the most popular. But I'd say there's probably an overall positive correlation between number of speakers and popularity on UL. The most popular languages, I think, include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese, and they're all much more popular than any of those isolated languages spoken in central Russia, southern Africa, or Brazil, for example. This seems even to be true within the field of constructed languages: Esperanto is much more popular than Ithkuil or Toki Pona. It's just the big exceptions that throw me; Ainu is a prominent one of them. Ones like Latin or Ancient Greek are more understandable considering how popular they are for academic study, even without sizable bases of real speakers. Ainu doesn't seem to boast any of that, though, yet popular it remains (or has remained, anyway).


I agree, the presence of an Ainu forum even on Unilang is odd. But the relative popularity most of these minor languages here generally can be explained. Most people here are pretty Euro-centric when it comes to languages (because they are either from Europe or from America with European connections/ancestors). Irish is a big heritage language for a lot of people in the States, and as far as Indo-European languages go, Celtic languages are exotic, so there's an appeal there. Finnish is, within Europe, not that obscure (given that it is the national language of a European nation). It's also non-Indo-European, which gives it the exotic factor, and there are at least one or two native speakers around on the forum. I think Ainu is benefiting from the popularity of Japanese combined with a curiosity felt by most of us for minority, endangered and obscure languages.

Incidentally, although many people have Irish on their wishlist there are very few people active on the forum. I think linguoboy and I are the only two that really post, for everyone else I think it's a fleeting wonderlust.

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Eginhard » 2013-02-06, 22:07

It's mainly because there were much less forums at that time and not very strict criteria to open new ones I think.

Ciarán12 wrote:Incidentally, although many people have Irish on their wishlist there are very few people active on the forum. I think linguoboy and I are the only two that really post, for everyone else I think it's a fleeting wonderlust.


Yeah, I'm guilty of that myself. But I just realised yesterday that I should put more effort into learning Irish instead of getting distracted by other languages. There are more than enough resources in the library here and also many opportunities to speak it. My comprehension skills have actually improved a lot since I moved here, but I'm so bad at forming sentences…
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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-02-06, 22:19

Eginhard wrote:
Ciarán12 wrote:Incidentally, although many people have Irish on their wishlist there are very few people active on the forum. I think linguoboy and I are the only two that really post, for everyone else I think it's a fleeting wonderlust.


Yeah, I'm guilty of that myself. But I just realised yesterday that I should put more effort into learning Irish instead of getting distracted by other languages. There are more than enough resources in the library here and also many opportunities to speak it. My comprehension skills have actually improved a lot since I moved here, but I'm so bad at forming sentences…


Well, you (and anyone else) are welcome on the Celtic languages forum. I miss living there, because just before I came to Barcelona I had just finished college and could finally dive into Irish full-time and I had started going to the Conradh na Gaeilge pub in Harcourt Street, which really helped improve my spoken Irish. Now I don't have anyone to talk to :( .

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby johnklepac » 2013-03-06, 2:26

Ciarán12 wrote:Incidentally, although many people have Irish on their wishlist there are very few people active on the forum. I think linguoboy and I are the only two that really post, for everyone else I think it's a fleeting wonderlust.

I think HoItalosPhilellen's getting into it lately.

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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Meneghis » 2013-03-29, 17:22

Well, I've discovered Ainu thanks to its forum and the many threads it contains, so I think that keeping it could help mantaining it alive, at least inside our community :D
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Re: How is Ainu popular enough to need its own forum?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-03-29, 21:23

I really, really wish there were better resources available for Ainu. It's such a great language (from what little I've studied of it). I would absolutely take it on in a serious way if I had the materials. :(


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