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Linguistics thread

in Meatspace
Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
spun off from the videos thread


  • edited 2022-02-23 04:27:07
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
  • edited 2022-02-23 04:30:59
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    holy crap the noun declensions and conjugations are like Latin on steroids

    Latin only has five cases (okay, to be fair, it also has vocative and locative but those are so rarely different that they're not really worth mentioning separately) (and okay, fine, Latin does have five declensions, though three of them are kinda smashed together to become semi-standardized feminine and masculine genders, especially for adjectives) for nouns, and doesn't conjugate based on gender (but does still have four conjugations).
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    The following comment was found on a video about US vs. UK English:
    Jeffrey Wang
    1 year ago

    British : Where is the toilet?
    American : In the bathroom.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    >this week
    >video on Russian and Ukrainian

    I see what you did there.

    Fun fact: all Slavic languages are mutually intelligible with high enough BAC.

    Also, I feel like I'm supposed to watch these videos if I want to (potentially) comment on them.

    As for Latin I can hardly speak about it. I mean, I don't speak the language, but also I know pretty much nothing about the language apart from a bit of trivia, so I doubt I could meaningfully contribute to a discussion above some rudimentary level.
  • edited 2022-02-23 19:14:13
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    I watched a bunch of videos from this same guy, and I had to resist the temptation to post every single video of his.

    I'll probably post a couple videos about Chinese later on, one comparing Chinese with Japanese and the other comparing Cantonese and Mandarin.

    As for Ukrainian and Russian, one thing that prompted me to look this up is that the capital is currently romanized as Kyiv, but I'd also seen it romanized as Kiev, particularly when I first learned of it when learning Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, where the last movement, "The Bogatyr Gates in the Capital at Kiev", was inspired by drawings his friend made for plans for a ceremonial gate to be erected in the city, plans which were later cancelled. From this I gathered that it had been used as a capital city in the Russian Empire at one point, and so I gathered that the city's name was being romanized differently depending on the language.

    Of course, the political situation was part of what prompted my curiosity, though I've been somewhat curious about the linguistic histories in the region for a while now too.

    As for Latin, I've studied that and can talk more about it later.
  • edited 2022-02-23 21:08:24
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    There's a crazy story that I've heard about Croatian. Namely, at the time when these languages became codified, the Serbs were seen as pioneers of South Slavic independence, so the codified Croatian was based on carefully selected dialects that were close to Serbian. You know, for these patriotic national brotherhood points. Thing is, they weren't the most common varieties of broader Croatian. Weren't even the dialect in use around Zagreb. End result was that Croats were taught to speak some frontier dialect because of 19th Century politics, and nowadays, because of 20th Century politics, folks in charge of the language desperately try to shift the language back towards the less Serbianlike dialects. How much they succeeded so far, I do not know, though I know a nice Croat-Serb couple who deny it's ever been a single Serbo-Croat language, but kinda-sorta admit it used to be closer to that in the past.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    I had guessed that Japanese was not a tonal language, but I didn't realize until watching this video that it was a Subject Object Verb language. This whole time.

    To be fair, I have learned Latin before, and Latin does often have SOV order (as a vaguely "standard" way of writing), but it's not at all required, and in Latin word order is extremely variable because meaning is determined by word endings. I don't know to what extent SOV is required in Japanese.

    Also, one thing the above video doesn't cover is that there are some simplified Chinese and simplified kanji are sometimes different. Some characters are only simplified in one language but not the other, while some are actually simplified differently in both languages.

    Also, what he says about how some Japanese pronunciations seem to be more like Cantonese jives with my observations.

    The one thing I wanna add to this is that that thing about how comparisons are formed is actually something that works either way in Cantonese. It's basically dependent on which word you use for comparisons, kinda like how in English you can say "X and Y are the same" and "X is the same as Y".

    Also, there are some general trends regarding how sounds from Cantonese and Mandarin correlate, but it's generally safer to assume first that they don't.

    As for the writing systems and the languages, here's a rundown of why Chinese is weird. It's basically one writing system with multiple pronunciation systems attached, and each of those probably has their own unique spoken-only vocabulary attached to them as well.

    There's standard written Chinese, which is kinda like written Mandarin. Then there are alternative words that are usually only spoken in Cantonese, but you can write them down if you need to write them down. They're not used in typical writing, so you won't see them in newspapers. You'll see standard written Chinese.

    You'll hear standard written Chinese pronounced in Cantonese, in Hong Kong news reports, but this will be somewhat confusing to you if you only know spoken Cantonese but not the Cantonese pronunciations of standard written Chinese -- though you'll be able to pick up the meaning gradually. It's probably a little like listening to Scots when you know English.

    Essentially, Cantonese speakers usually talk in one way and write in a different way. It's basically like two languages, or a language and a half, though it can probably be analogized in an English context to learning to speak one's local variety of English while learning to write in a more formal way. The grammar is essentially identical, as are most words with specialized meanings. The main difference from English is that while you can easily learn words that are normally only spoken just by using their sounds, you can't do that in Cantonese because Chinese is ideographic.

    With Mandarin, if you learn written Chinese and its accompanying set of Mandarin pronunciations, you essentially have one language that you can both speak and write. People might be able to tell you're not from their area, but at least they can understand you and you can probably understand them.

    Mandarin is essentially a northern spoken dialect that was basically standardized as "official" Chinese, first for government use, then later for the general population. My guess as to why it's so different from Cantonese is that it's from northern China while Cantonese is from southern China. Considering how the tall mountains dotting the topography of China basically semi-isolated different groups of people over the course of history, leading to the rise of different dialects, it'd make sense that two dialects from faraway corners of the country would be quite different.

    Mandarin is also different because, probably as part of standardization, it dropped a lot of older words, which are still in use in Cantonese. What seems to have happened is that Mandarin usage came to dominate written and printed Chinese, while a lot of Cantonese words were rarely written down or taught as a written language because they weren't seen as "formal", but the mutual intelligibility through writing probably allowed Cantonese to be viable alongside Mandarin.

    Those words do have written forms; I'm not sure whether they're recent developments, or old words still in use, or old written forms reused anew. But at least they exist now. However, it does mean that, if you just know spoken Cantonese, learning Chinese isn't as simple as learning to write what you know how to say. (People who grow up in places like Hong Kong are generally taught both spoken Cantonese and written Chinese at the same time, so they don't have this problem.)

    Also, these older words probably explain why some Japanese pronunciations seem more similar to Cantonese than Chinese, since the parts of Chinese that the Japanese forked were forked from an earlier version of Chinese, basically.

    Anyhow, I'd presume that similar comments apply to the various other spoken languages/"dialects" of Chinese.
  • edited 2022-02-24 10:23:07
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    This video is a conga line of "oh no" moments.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    This video introduced me to the concept of "diglossia".

    In it, Paul presents the example where people don't learn classical Arabic as a first language but it is the standard used for things like reading and writing, while people learn their local dialect for daily conversational use.

    This is pretty much exactly how spoken Cantonese and written Chinese are related.
  • edited 2022-02-25 08:14:51
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    I'm gonna stop embedding these vids but I do want to still point out neat things in them.

    Speaking about Chinese, here's a video about Chinese:


    I didn't know that Mandarin was standardized that early or that it actually has multiple primary influences (and even forms).

    Meanwhile, this one's about Hawai'ian.


    Three notably curious features:
    * Separate plural forms between 2 and 3+ things. I'd known of such a thing before so it wasn't a total surprise to me.
    * Differentiating between "our (including you)" and "our (not including you)".
    * Differentiating possessives between (roughly speaking) whether you can choose a thing. This seems vaaaaguely similar to Spanish differentiating between state and essence (roughly) in having two "be" verbs for these purposes.

    These last two features are entirely new to me.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    This is partially belonging to the Cookclub thread, but I just realized "pancake" means "pan" + "cake". And this explains so much, because the supposed "pancakes" (recipe was in English) I tried to cook looked nothing like what I recognized as pancakes.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    I like these sorts of maps. Take note how such a commonplace word is derived from a Slavic root in Romanian, despite the language being Romance. Story's as far as I know that the Romanians were a mixed population of Slavs and Vlachs, and Slavic element to their language was even stronger before they undertook a project to "re-Romanify" it in the 19th Century.

    Also, it's amusing how apparently Albanian is the only language that derives its word for war from Latin.
  • edited 2022-03-20 19:19:42
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Also: @glennmagusharvey - having finally met the Ukrainian family hosted by my parents, I can say that to my ear Ukrainian sounds kind of like Russian running on Polish vocabulary. I don't know if they had any prior exposure to Polish, but I wager not (or at least not to the point of partial bilinguality), and yet we understood each other.

    (Update: I have met a member of the family who was absent before, and I couldn't understand, like, a thing. Turned out that who I previously talked to actually had had some contact with Polish, so, sorry for disappointing you.)
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    Apparently, it was intended to be "guys, you're unbelievable!", but false friends struck.


  • Now I can post this video whenever someone brings up the equivalent of expecting "long" to be a long word.
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