Daily Archives: June 26, 2017

How I Determined Intelligibility For Turkic Lects

Steve: This is amazing. Well done. But how can you possibly know the degree of mutual intelligibility between two languages you don’t speak or know if something is a language or dialect when you don’t speak it? That seems strange. How is it worked out?

Linguists don’t speak all these languages we study. We just study languages, we don’t necessarily speak them. This is confused with the archaic use of the word linguist to mean polyglot. Honestly, many linguists do in fact speak more than one language, and quite a few of them have a pretty good knowledge of at least some of the languages that they study. But my mentor speaks only Turkish and English though he studies all Turkic languages. I don’t believe he has ever learned to speak any Turkic lect other than Turkish.

In reference to my paper here.

We are not looking for raw numbers. We just want to know if they can understand each other or not.

A lot of it is from talking to native speakers and also there was a lot of reading papers by other linguists. I also talked to other linguists a lot. Linguists typically simply state if two lects are intelligible or not. Also there is a basic idea among linguists of what the boundary is between a language and a dialect, and I used this knowledge a lot.

Can they understand each other? Yes or no. That’s pretty much about it. Also at some degree of structural difference, we can see the difference between a language and a dialect. It’s a judgement call, but linguists are pretty good at this.

There is a subsection of very loud linguists, mostly on the Internet, who like to screech a lot about this question cannot be answered by answered because of this or that red herring or some odd conundrums that work their way in. The thing is if you ask around enough, you will be able to get around all of the conundrums and you should be able to eventually reconcile all of the divergent responses to get some sort of a holistic or “big picture.” You finally “figure it out.” The answer to the question comes to you in a sort of a “seeing the answer as part of a larger picture” sort of thing.

The worst red herring is this notion that speakers from Group A will lie and say they do not understand speakers of Group B simply because they hate them so much. If this was such a concern, you would have think I would have run into it at some point. A much worse problem were ethnic nationalists who lie and say that they can understand neighboring tongues when they can’t.

The toxin called Pan-Turkism or Turkish ultranationalism comes into play here. It is almost normal for Turks to believe that there is only one Turkic languages, and it is called Turkish. All of the rest of the languages simply do not exist and are dialects of Turkish. I had to deal with regular attacks by extremely aggressive Ataturkists who insisted that any Turk could easily understand any other Turkic language. Actually my adviser told me that my piece would not be popular with the Pan-Turkics at all. I don’t really care as I consider them to be pond scum.

Granted, some of it was quite controversial and I got variable reports on intelligibility for some lects like Siberian Tatar vs. Tatar, the Altai languages, Kazakh vs. Kirghiz, Crimean Tatar vs. Turkish.

Where native speakers differ on such questions, often vociferously, you simply ask enough of them, talk to some experts and try to get a feel for that what best answer to the question is.

Some cases like Gagauz vs. Turkish probably need raw intelligibility testing. That’s the only one that is up in the air right now, but it is up in the air because the lects are so close. Intelligibility between Gagauz and Turkish is somewhere between  70-100%. In other words, they have marginal intelligibility at worst. My Gagauz expert who knows this language better than anyone though feels that Turkish intelligibility of Gagauz is less than 90%, which is where I drew the line at language and dialect.

It is also starting to look like Nogay is a simply a dialect of Kazakh instead of a separate language, but that might be a hard sell.

Some of these are seen as separate languages simply because they are spoken by different ethnies who do not want to be seen as part of the same group. Also they have different literary norms. Karapalkak is just a Kazakh dialect, but the speakers want to say they speak a separate language. Same with Bashkir, which is simply a dialect of Tatar. The case of Kazakh and Kirghiz is more controversial, but even here, we seem to be dealing with one language, yet the two dialects are spoken by different ethnies that have actually differentiated into two separate states, each with their own literary norm. Kazakhs wish to say they speak a language c called Kazakh and Kirghiz wish to say they speak a language called Kirghiz although they are probably really just one language.

We see a similar thing with Czech and Slovak. My recent research has proven that Czech and Slovak are actually a single language. But the dialects are spoken by different ethnic groups who claim different cultures and histories and they have actually divided into two different states, and each has its own literary norm.

It is here, where dialects become languages not via science by via politics, culture, history and sociology, that Weinrich’s famous dictum that “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy” comes into play.

Scientifically, these are all simply dialects of a single tongue but we call them languages for sociological, cultural and political reasons.

2 Comments

Filed under Altaic, Balto-Slavic, Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Bashkir, Comparitive, Crimean Tatar, Czech, Dialectology, Gagauz, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Kazakh, Kipchak, Kyrgyz, Language Classification, Linguistics, Nationalism, Political Science, Slavic, Slovak, Sociolinguistics, Tatar, Turkic, Turkish, Ultranationalism

Long Past Time to Destroy the Middle Eastern Plagues in Our Midst

It’s a (((tumorous growth))) at the heart of our very existence as a state. The only things you can do with a tumor are cut it out with a knife, radiate it or poison it. However you do it, you have to kill it one way or another.

While we are at it, it is long past time to excise the Saudi and Gulf cancer in our midst. That’s almost worse than the Israeli one. And this notion that the Sick Man of Europe for many centuries, one of the worst countries on Earth, the resurgent Ottoman Empire formerly known as Turkey, is one of the US’ closest allies is going to drag us down like an anchor of death. You lie down with nations of dogs, you get up with an infestation of political bubonic plague on your shores, replaying the fated landings in Sicily of those deadly ships 3/4 of a millenia ago.

It was 770 years ago, or it was next year. The plague came at night from Genoa, on ships of death, to the shores of Messina. It was dark as the sky above. The people waited but did not know. It was over before they knew what hit them.

The people gathered to the shore that warm October night, cheering as the death ships slowly moved into port. The cheers were stopped dead in their throats when they soon realized that most of the sailors on board the ships were already dead. The rest were deathly ill and could not keep any food down. Worst of all, they were covered with pustulating wounds of oozing sores. The panicked authorities ordered the death ships back to sea, but it was too late.

The sickness came from the South, the Mediterranean. Really it came from the East, where just a few years before it had blasted a trail from China to Palestine.

Their Plague came from East, and so does ours. From the East, where life is cheap, blood is hot. and mercy is scarce and weak with the exile of the Church from its native soil.

Within only seven years, the Dark Night had spread across all of Europe. It would not be before long 20 million humans, fully one third of Europe, lay dead.

The plague-carrying ships of today carry our Middle Eastern allies and their noxious citizenry infected with blackened political death. The dark Middle Eastern buboes and their fellow travelers move slowly inwards to the heartland draped of black robes and carrying scythes. In the Flyover States, the reapers of the Near East are welcomed with cheering crowds. Little to they know that they raise and roar for their very own doom.

Lie down with dogs, wake up with deadly fleas. Famous last words of ‘Murrica.

United States of America 1776-2017. RIP.

We cannot allow our friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf to play our hand for us, for it is all too often in their interests to have us come fight their wars, which are not necessarily our wars.

The Israeli cancer, in the body of the United States, has spread so much that there are only two outcomes;

1. The patient will eventually become so corrupt that it will die a moral death, or

2. The cancer will be surgically removed. That means all ties to the cancerous state of Israel must be severed.

We are fast approaching the first one and if we want to avoid this outcome, we the people, must rise and demand our gutless representatives to think of America first.

Our leaders need to take care of the Americans first. We must stop our expansionist policies in the world. They need to ask questions of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department, such as; why are we in Africa? what national interests do we have in that far away land. (49 of the 63 countries have American forces present). Why are we in the Middle East? Before the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, Arabs, Jews, and Christians lived in harmony. Since its creation, the British, the French, and now the United States has caused mayhem in those countries. Now, Muslims are fighting Muslims while Israel enjoys the freedom every individual must have.

The Pentagon and the weapons industry have gone amok. The industry makes new weapons and the Pentagon is eager to try them out at the expense of innocent people. The Golden Rule that, “do unto others, what you want them do unto you” has been turned upside down. Now we “do unto others (Muslims) what we don’t want them do unto us.”

If we don’t come to our senses, there is going to be a big payback someday. Mark my words.

We either kill this cancer or it kills us all. Doesn’t seem like much of a choice, does it?

61 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Arabs, Asia, Christianity, Eurasia, Europe, Geopolitics, Government, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jews, Middle East, Military Doctrine, Race/Ethnicity, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Asia, Syria, Terrorism, Turkey, USA, War, Zionism