Category Archives: Portuguese

Western Europe: What Native Languages Are Spoken in Spain?

Montleek:  Robert, is it possible that in Western Europe, the regional lects have been preserved better, while in eastern Europe are preserved worse? There was communism/socialism in Eastern Europe, therefore more tendency not to continue speaking with regional lect. Robert, is it possible that in western Europe, the regional lects have been preserved better, while in eastern Europe are preserved worse? There was communism/socialism in eastern Europe, therefore more tendency not to continue speaking with regional lect .

In Spain, there is are several major languages such as Asturian-Leonese, Extremaduran-Cantabrian, Eonavian/Berciano, Basque, Catalan, Aragonese, Benasquesque, Galician and some odd forms of Portuguese. Murcian, Andalucian, Churro and Manchengo are very marginal cases, but are probably better seen as divergent dialects of Castillian.

With Catalan and Asturian-Leonese, you are absolutely in a situation of a different lect in every town or even village.

Eonavian is absolutely a separate language though it is not recognized. Berciano is the southern part of the Eonavian language.

There is definitely more than one language in Galician.

Cantabrian is actually a language and not a Spanish dialect. In fact, it is a part of the recognized language called Extremaduran.

There may be 3-4 languages inside Basque; surely there are at least two.

Benasquesque is actually a separate language between Catalan and Aragonese.

Occitan is only spoken as Aranese, but is probably a separate language.

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Latin American Whites: A Mirror of the Future of America

RL: Keep in mind that some of the most vicious White priders and White supremacists of all say that if you are 75-85% White, you are White? So you disagree with these Latin American Nazis I guess?

Gay State Girl: Isn’t that because South America was a Nazi haven?

The only association with Latin America and Nazism is because of some German immigrant communities in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay who were Nazi sympathizers. They didn’t treat the local Indians very well, and there were notable attempts at genocide especially in the Bolivian Chaco. However, there is no evidence that Latin American Nazis were Nordicists or that they had anything against non-Nordic Whites.

Your average Latin American White, while surely a White prider, is usually not a Nazi by any stretch of the imagination. This is because White pride in Latin America takes a very different and more subtle form in Latin America than it does here. Yes, Latin Whites are racist, but this is diluted by the fact that most of them are not pure White anyway, as the vast majority have non trivial amounts of Indian or even Black in them.

So “Whiteness” is more of a question of degree than purity. The fact that Latin Whites are not pure themselves tends to leaven their racism. Mestizos are often tolerated or even regarded as White although Peruvian and especially Argentine Whites have always been racist towards what they call mestizos. However, half of Argentine Whites have Indian blood in them themselves.

Latin American White White pride goes all the way down to Mexican Harnizos. I know a Mexican Harnizo who is 60-70% White, and he loves to claim White. He’s basically a Latin American White prider. Although there are some Latin Americans on Stormfront, most Latin American Whites find European White nationalism highly distasteful. Almost no Whites down there talk about splitting off to form their own White country. There is some talk of that in the South of Brazil, but even there, they would just split off the south which is already full of non-Whites as it is. The movement to split off the south of Brazil as its own nation appears doomed and has very little support.

All Latin American White countries like Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica and the south of Brazil are rapidly darkening. Costa Rica is full of 1-2 million illegal aliens, mostly from Nicaragua. The government doesn’t care, and they will probably be legalized as is the case with almost all illegal alien waves in Latin America.

Argentina is rapidly filling up with illegals, mostly mestizos from Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay. There are forming an underclass gang-type subculture in the cities, and there are complaints that Argentine girls are running off with the thuggish mestizos. However, the government seems to want to legalize the illegals there also. The problem in Latin America is that the illegal aliens are generally the same race as the natives, so there does not seem to be any logic to not legalizing them. They are just more of “our people.”

Most Latin Americans are not big environmentalists and much of the continent is underpopulated anyway.

White men running off to marry mestizos is a problem in White communities all over Latin America. The racial purists wring their hands, but there seems to be nothing they can do. White Mexican men continue to marry light skinned mestizas, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop them.

A similar phenomenon is occurring in Argentina. There does not seem to be anything stopping the darkening process down there either as much as the purists throw up their hands. If you ask a White Argentine what he feels about the mestisization of his country, they will tell you that they don’t like it, but then they will throw up their hands and say, “What can you do?” They act like the situation is hopeless, not to mention inevitable.

A gradual darkening of the White race appears to be an inevitability not only in Latin America where it has been an ongoing process for centuries but also in the US. The mestizization of the US, which is really all that the darkening process or decline of the White majority is, is simply the same mestizization process that has been going on forever in the rest of the Americas.

So what is happening is that at long last North America, the eternal aberration and odd man out, White and English speaking, is beginning to join the rest of the continent to become just another country in the what I would call “the Americas.”

Race in the Americas is typically mestizo or in some cases mulatto and mass mixing has characterized Mesoamerica, Central America and South America from the start.

Language in the region has tended to be Spanish, though there is a large Portuguese component (really just another Iberian Romance language) and some smaller outposts of English and French, often creolized. The English and French speaking regions tend to be mulatto or even Black and most are in the Caribbean.

The US curiously has avoided these dual phenomena of mestizization and Hispanophonization.

In addition to a mestizization process, the US is also becoming a significantly Spanish-speaking land, once again in tandem with the rest of the continent which overwhelmingly speaks an Iberian Romance language.

Canada is a holdout, but possibly the mestizization process and development of the Spanish language is not long for that land either. Canada has a large Indian population, but they have not married in much with the Whites for some odd reason, unlike in Latin America. Settlers to North America tended to bring women with them while Iberian settlers did not, hence the Iberians took native wives, so this may explain the lack of much mestizization there. French is present in Canada as it is in the Caribbean.

Nordicism is generally absent in Latin America probably because most Latin Whites are Meds. There are some Nordicists in the south of Brazil, but they are not very popular.

The bizarre socially transmitted disease (STD) called Nordicism is mostly only found in the US and Northern Europe. There are hints of it in the north of Spain and Italy, but there is little hatred towards Southern Spaniards from the northerners, who often think of themselves as Celts. Italy is another story. Other than that, Nordicism has no support anywhere.

Nordicism has permanently alienated all East Europeans and Slavs because of its association with Hitler. There are Nazis in Eastern Europe and Russia, but they are not Nordicists. In some parts of the globe such as Eastern Europe and Russia, Nazi symbols and identification have instead been co-opted as general White pride symbols, and there is often an attempt to distance themselves from the actual Nazi regime. There are Nazi types in Mongolia where it simply represents some Mongolian racial purism in the form of a racist fascist (national socialist) politics.

The case of the Whites of Latin America seems to show that not only is the notion of forming racially pure states of Whites or any other race seemingly hopeless, but further, the general darkening trend of Whites (in the US a mestizization process) appears to be an unstoppable force.

White separatists and White nationalists are a premature anachronism. They are fighting a race against time. Wars against time, as with wars against nature, have a tendency to be lost by men.

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A Look at the Incredible Pirahã Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the amazing Pirahã language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Muran

Pirahã is a language isolate spoken in the Brazilian Amazon. Recent writings by Daniel Everett indicate that not only is this one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn, but it is also one of the weirdest languages on Earth. It is monumentally complex in nearly every way imaginable. It is commonly listed on the rogue’s gallery of craziest languages and phonologies.

It has the smallest phonemic inventory of any language with only seven consonants, three vowels and either two or three tones. Everett recently wrote a paper about it after spending many years with them. Previous missionaries who had spent time with the Pirahã generally failed to learn the language because it was too hard to learn. It took Everett a very long time, but he finally learned it well.

Many of Everett’s claims about Pirahã are astounding: whistled speech, no system for counting, very few Portuguese loans (they deliberately refuse to use Portuguese loans) and evidence for both the much-maligned the Sapir-Whorf linguistic relativity hypothesis, and violation some of Noam Chomsky’s purported language universals such as embedding. It also has the t͡ʙ̥ sound – a bilabially trilled postdental affricate which is only found in two other languages, both in the Brazilian Amazon – Oro Win and Wari’.

Initially, Everett never heard the sound, but they got to know him better, they started to make it more often. Everett believes that they were ridiculed by other groups when they made the odd sound.

Pirahã has the simplest kinship system in any language – there is only word for both mother and father, and the Pirahã do not have any words for anyone other than direct biological relatives.

Pirahã may have only two numerals, or it may lack a numeral system altogether.

Pirahã does not distinguish between singular and plural person. This is highly unusual. The language may have borrowed its entire pronoun set from the Tupian languages Nheengatu and Tenarim, groups the Pirahã had formerly been in contact with. This may be one of the only attested case of the borrowing of a complete pronoun set.

There are mandatory evidentiality markers that must be used in Pirahã discourse. Speakers must say how they know something – whether they saw it themselves, it was hearsay or they inferred it circumstantially.

There are various strange moods – the desiderative (desire to perform an action) and two types of frustrative – frustration in starting an action (inchoative/incompletive) and frustration in completing an action (causative/incompletive). There are others: immediate/intentive (you are going to do something now/you intend to do it in the future)

There are many verbal aspects: perfect/imperfect (completed/incomplete) telic/atelic (reaching a goal/not reaching a goal), continuative (continuing), repetitive (iterative), and beginning an action (inchoative).

Each Pirahã verb has 262,144 possible forms, or possibly in the many millions, depending on which analysis you use.

The future tense is divided into future/somewhere and future/elsewhere. The past tense is divided into plain past and immediate past.

Pirahã has a closed class of only 90 verb roots, an incredibly small number. But these roots can be combined together to form compound verbs, a much larger category. Here is one example of three verbs strung together to form a compound verb:

xig ab op = “take turn go” or “bring back.” This refers to when you take something away, you turn around and you bring it back to where you got it to return it.

There are no abstract color terms in Pirahã. There are only two words for colors, one for “light” and one for “dark.” The only other languages with this restricted of a color sense are in Papua New Guinea. The other color terms are not really color terms, but are more descriptive – “red” is translated as “like blood.”

Pirahã can be whistled, hummed or encoded into music. Consonants and vowels can be omitted altogether and meaning conveyed instead via variations in stress, pitch and rhythm. Mothers teach the language to children by repeating musical patterns.

Pirahã may well be one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn.

Pirahã gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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Filed under Americas, Applied, Brazil, Language Families, Language Learning, Latin America, Linguistics, Portuguese, Regional, South America

Answers to the Languages of Spain Post

Map of the languages of Spain.

Map of the languages of Spain.

There are nine languages in the map above.

You folks were not able to answer all nine of them correctly, so I will give you the answers.

Pink – Catalan

Light green – Aranese or Occitan (no one got this one)

Purple – Aragonese (no one got this one)

Aquamarine – Basque

Red – Castillian

Green – Asturian-Leonese

Yellow – Galician

Dark green – Extremaduran (no one got this one)

Brown – Fala (no one got this one)

Aranese is the Aranese dialect of Occitan which is either a separate language or a dialect of Occitan depending on how you look at it. Fala is actually a dialect of Galician but it is considered a language for sociopolitical reasons. There is another part of the dark green Extremaduran language which is typically not recognized. This is Cantabrian, spoken to the east of the green Asturian-Leonese area and to the west of the aquamarine  Basque area.

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Judith Mirville on Language

I really enjoyed this piece. Those idiots at Badlinguistics are going to hate this post so much, but nevertheless, I think she is mostly correct here. This post is definitely Beyond Highbrow! Something to strive for, commenters! Reach for the skies!

Judith Mirville writes:

English has on one hand grown easier by shedding most of the heavy declension and conjugation-based Germanic grammar of old Anglo-Saxon and old Norman French it also derives fully from, but on the other hand it has grown into one of the most difficult languages of the earth due to the fact that to master it in a workable way, you have to work with roots coming from just too many linguistic horizons, each one having its own rules of combination.

You have more words of French origin in English than remain in French proper. For instance jeopardy and legerdemain are no longer understood in French, and poisonous is no longer correct. More words of Latin and Greek origin than allowed for in real Latin and Greek, apart from the simpler one-syllable, quite often more purely Saxon words that form more numerous prepositional idioms in the popular language than there are words formed likewise in German or Dutch, not counting a larger array than in other languages of purely exotic words having no common roots with any of the main ingredients of English.

The only other one language I know to be quite difficult for foreigners wanting to go beyond the cafeteria level for that very same reason is Hindi. Its grammar has retained only very few of the original complex Indo-European forms, and you cannot master its vocabulary without understanding that even though a few words of daily usage were originally Sanskrit or Pali, they have now undergone much transformation not necessarily for the simplest.

Yet most of the everyday vocabulary used in polite conversations is deformed Arabic imported through Persian, itself a compound language from Old Iranian and Semitic languages.

There is also a whole array of more recently learned terms artificially derived from Classical Sanskrit when it comes to science or Hinduism.

There is also quite a wide array of even more recently learned terms artificially derived from Classical Arabic when it comes to political science, economics, politics or Islam of course, which is an obligatory subject of conversation for all even those who combat it.

This is not counting an even wider array of words imported from English since the British era which is now widening with the advent of globalization. Each of those variegated language sources imposes its own ways of lexical derivation and quite often its grammatical forms.

Hindi, like English, seems somewhat easier than Sanskrit or Tamil as you begin, though it is never as easy as broken or basic English. But like higher-level English, you never, ever come close as a foreigner to master a working knowledge of it for universities or big enterprises.

In German (as well as in many Indian languages other than Hindi), by contrast, you have a much harder time mastering the grammatical machinery as you start, quite like a Mercedes engine, but once you do and you also master the root word combination system, you access very rapidly the highest realms of German philosophical thought.

I perfectly agree with you in stating that the idea put forth by many linguists that all languages are equal in terms of difficulty and ease of learning is a piece of utter fallacy and mendacity.

This is somewhat true only in the very specific context of automated learning of everyday language reflexes to be used without thinking in various situations, as if one were a spy working among a very distant people, and having learned to pronounce with the right accent most automated answers to daily practical situations like ordering toasts and coffee, paying a traffic ticket… one has also to pass more unnoticed in that environment than another person speaking a neighboring and similar dialect with less ease but more ability to express his thought.

This linguistic egalitarianism only works with people who will never bother to express anything they love to say but rather conceal what they know and camouflage it under nonsensical conversation of the kind that will never elicit any suspicion of unorthodoxy, as was the case in early Soviet Union.

And it comes to no surprise that such a linguistic theory came along together with Marxism. This theory can also work quite well in the context of enforced intellectual limitation by a ruling empire over all cultures to be stultified in the same way. But as soon as you are bothering to excel in a language and say everything you would love to say in your own or want to make serious intellectual research, this is simply untrue.

Some languages are really hard to learn, and some others quite easy, though the reasons may vary. Some languages are more difficult due to their lack of relationship with your native one, and some are quite difficult even to their own native speakers.

This PC view about languages just tells us about the limitation of all language they want to impose on us: prohibiting real self-expression and allowing only for a narrow range of practical commands. As they do when they say all races are equal and should mix with each other: what they tell is not the truth, but their aim instead is for the creation of a general stultified world citizen where all possible ancestral talents cancel out each other in favour of sheer mediocrity except for the cunning to make money by fraud and accepting bribes from the higher strata.

Anyway it won’t work: the most mongrelized White-African-Arabic new underclass they wanted to promote as model to be followed by all in France turned out to have lost all personal qualities and prejudices by race and culture mixing … except conspiracy-finding antisemitism as a natural federating factor as epitomized by Dieudonné. The result is that the new-fashioned intellectual Jewish elite of Paris are panicking, developing their own local version of neoconservative thought and telling the White Frenchmen to preserve their heritage from Africanization and mongrelization.

What I cannot stand though is the contrary point of view manifested by race realists such as Gedalia Braun that Negro languages are always more simple and primitive in structure and lacking in the power to express many concepts making civilization possible like metric graduation in the expression of distance in space and time and the notion of appointment and faithfulness as well as a vocabulary needing a dictionary to be relied upon and maintained.

I happen to be a passionate speaker of Haitian Creole of the most purely hillbilly kind as the language of my main love in life, and what Gedalia Braun says is 100% dead wrong even though Creole is supposed to be the zero ground in terms of general linguistics and mental development.

First of all, there is an elaborate tense system in Creole. It seems non-existent only relative to French verbs. Actually it works quite in the same way as English in terms of  morphology and auxiliaries though the shades of tense and aspect meaning are as elaborate as in Classical Spanish. It is much more refined and detailed in expression than the tense system of German or of Hebrew which is without any refinement in its modern form. And we are not even talking about the East Asian languages which are said to devoid of the notion of taste and actually more like what one caricatures as a Negro language.

Like English, and for the same reasons, Creole vocabulary is actually huge and of complex derivation, even though it seems easy to catch it when you begin as a traveling salesman, before long, you realize you will never be over with it.

You’ve got three main levels of language.

One that outwardly looks like simplified French but is combined very differently according to syntactic rules more like Semitic languages, possibly Aramaic, and of semantic rules more like Germanic languages. It is also very detailed, accurate and flexible as regards the expression of movement in space and time. A few engineers I know say it is seducing as an instrument for expressing equations.

The second level is the voodoo one, which works according to a different syntax copied from the Gbe language where the determinant comes before the determined as in German, not afterwards as in the first level, and is used for psychic manipulation purposes and power politics.

A third level of language is used for reasons of communication and compatibility with the surrounding modern sophisticated world and comprises all terms of Latin and Greek etymology present in either French, English and Spanish, generally with a rather French pronunciation but the same meaning as in English, and also a greater freedom in forming new terms by Pseudo-Latin derivation.

I don’t know anything about the Piraha language of Amazonia, but after having read a book by a pastor (Everett) who said he had witnessed the marvel of nonthinking people using it, and it had only three vowels, ten consonants, and no structured sentences, I can assure you this guy has been played with by those “primitives.” After all, as an American Evangelist missionary, he deserved to be shot by a poisoned arrow, but they defended themselves in a grander way by neutering his brain, maybe by the use of other less poisonous botanicals.

What that missionary says in a frantic, ecstatic mood is pure delusion.

First of all, there is a consecrated non-wordy, non-analytic, non-recursive way of expression most delicious to use whenever feasible in many languages closer to ours.

Portuguese is one of the best known examples of it.

Even though Portuguese is a very intricate and rich, complex language as regards its literary form proper, it possesses a register of expression that is very difficult to pick up. You have to develop extrasensory modes of communication to do it.

In this register, you exchange only one-word whispered sentences (like so pode) conveying each one a world of implications, making the conversation more like birds’ concert so to speak. Maybe the Portuguese Catholic Inquisition made that a matter of survival at some time, but its reputation for mortal totalitarian control has been grossly exaggerated compared to other control-freaks like the Judaeo-Anglo-Saxon PC crowd.

Everett has remained in the same kind of racist outlook with direction only reversed. Actually, the Pirahas he has met with have always known much more about his culture and his world, together with many other ones that have been threatening them into extinction for centuries, and which they have circumvented through manipulation so far, than he has about theirs, even after all he thinks he has discovered. I suspect the Pirahas to be a very cunning and not so charming and benevolent crowd, though capable of huge good practical jokes: not at all the last castaways from Eden that Everett still imagines as a former Evangelical.

There is certainly a huge higher initiation level of language the Pirahas are dead intent on reserving to themselves, which as high in left brain content as KGB Russian, the same level as in Portuguese, and my beloved Creole. Haitians even used to have computer-like programming languages long before computers, except that they were used to program humans made into zombies, and the purpose of them was always evil.

Arabic, among the languages of worldwide use, is one of the most difficult technically, not only because of its non-relationship with any roots we know in our own languages or its very heavy and irregular morphology as regards plurals, conjugations, declensions and its convoluted syntax, but also because very simple notions in most other languages even in supposedly closely-related Hebrew never can be said in clear simple terms in Arabic and need a cumbersome grammatical apparatus to be conveyed.

To express the concept of doing again or re-doing something, you have to fully conjugate the two verbs re- and do (prepositions are conjugated too, with as many special rules as with verbs), you cannot add something like un- or de- to express the undoing of something.

Instead you have to use a full clause like I am undoing the attachment of my shirt instead of I am untying it. You cannot say I have done it already, instead you have to say something like It is already overtaken by my doing it. You generally don’t say I must do it (even though you could in theory), instead you more commonly say There is no alternative for me apart from doing so.

One thing I like about Arabic though is its closure towards foreign admixture and the difficulty for foreign words to get naturalized, with the result that the semantic universe is simpler than elsewhere and more coherent.

The most difficult aspect though is that you cannot form compound terms and verbs the way you do in English and Romance languages by using suffixes and prefixes, especially when as a stranger or a beginner you are short of the exact term and would use a synonymous compound word instead. Even the negation of adjectives is not guaranteed, and you have to learn the contrary ones which have independent roots.

One thing remarkable about Arabic is the utmost difficulty of expressing in it the idea of excess or of extremism as being an undesirable thing, and conversely, of moderation as being a virtue. The word too or too much simply doesn’t exist. Phrase books and Google translation recommend to use the word very (jiddan) instead, but it has nearly always a laudatory connotation, and if you insist in using it for meaning too much you are spotted as a clumsily-speaking foreigner.

The problem is that practically all comparatives and superlatives that are used to render the idea of relative excess to a situation, like a truck too high for a tunnel to pass through, are also by themselves as elatives having an admirative value. When you say akbar for instance, it is very big or bigger than expected, but it can never really be too big. It is always something like “Wow my Gosh, how it’s big!” Even apart from the worldwide known religious and terroristic use of Allahu Akbar proper, it is just too big eventually for the sum of money it would cost or some other accidental impediment like a ceiling.

In theory, in very Classical (though non-Koranic) Arabic, you could also use a difficult conjugated verb in a serial clause for expressing the simple adverb too much (the verb ifrat:a, meaning overdoing) as is the case with most simple English adverbs, but  that would sound as pedantic, unnatural and unusual as Shakespearean “multitudinously” (except as verbal nouns to form scientific compound terms used in universities only) and make everybody around laugh, even among religious speakers of Classical Arabic only.

The word “moderate” is generally recommended to be translated in journalistic lingo as mutaäddil.

But if you leave the Western-style university class for the university cafeteria and say Ana muslimun mutaäddil (I am a moderate Muslim), your colleague from a non-Western culture-related subject will understand something completely different.

He will know that your appetites are well moderated by your faith in Islam, that you have renounced all alcohol, you no longer smoke, you skip one meal out of two and fast for the whole Ramadan, you never indulge in erotic or profane literature and try live a spartan life in order to spare money for the Hajj, which things are not a promise of tolerant conduct towards non-believers.

All good translators into Arabic will tell you of the challenge to render such an expression as too much or of the general concept that an extremist point of view (mutat:arrif) might be condemnable.

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An Analysis of Romance Language Difficulty by Verb Tense

One way to measure language difficulty in the Romance languages would be to look at verb tenses and compare their difficulty across the family.

Let us take a look:

Most difficult: European Portuguese. There are 8 simple tenses used in speech (5 indicative and 3 subjunctive). In addition, there is the personal infinitive, and the pluperfect can also be a simple tense in writing. In writing, “I had spoken” can become either eu tinha falado or eu falara.

Above average difficulty: Italian and European Spanish (generally 7 endings – 5 indicative and 2 subjunctive, though American Spanish only has 4-5).

Average difficulty: French is  simplified from a morphological point of view compared to European Spanish and Italian. In French, there are are always more written endings then spoken endings because of silent letters at the end of a word. In writing, there are always 5 endings and in speech there are 3-4. In speech, the endings of the first and second person of the plural are always pronounced. It is the ending of the third person plural that is sometimes not pronounced. Here are the present and future of parler, with pronunciation between parenthesis.

1 – parle (parl)……….parlerai (parleré)
2 – parles (parl)……..parleras (parlera)
3 – parle (parl)……….parlera (parlera)
1 – parlons (parlõ)….parlerons (parlerõ)
2 – parlez (parlé)……parlerez (parleré)
3 – parlent (parl)……parleront (parlerõ)

Here are the present and future of finir:

1 – finis (fini)……………finirai (finiré)
2 – finis (fini)……………finiras (finira)
3 – finit (fini)…………….finira (finira)
1 – finissons (finissõ).. finirons (finirõ)
2 – finissez (finissé)…. finirez (finiré)
3 – finissent (finiss)…..finiront (finirõ)

The difficulty not only varies with regard to the number of endings but also with regard to the number of tenses. In French, there are 5 simple tenses in common use (4 indicative and 1 subjunctive).

Easiest: Standard Brazilian Portuguese makes use of just 3-4 different endings for every verb tense.

Look at falar in the present and imperfect:

1 – falo……….falava
2 – fala……….falava
3 – fala……….falava
1 – falamos…falávamos
2 – falam…….falavam
3 – falam…….falavam

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One Day Languages and Two Day Languages

A colleague writes:
Mutual intelligibility is difficult to measure since speakers of two different tongues could meet each other and hardly understand each other at first but after a week of close contact, they can understand each other quite well.
As far as intelligibility goes, it is usually measured blind with only one group at a time. It is uncertain where to split dialect and language, but Ethnologue (SIL) seems to generally split at 90%. Above 90% = dialect. Below 90% = dialect.

With two separate but closely related languages such as Turkish and Azeri, after 3-4 weeks of close contact, they can communicate quite nicely. I would put 3-4 weeks at the barrier of dialect and language.

At the other end, in Africa, speakers of various lects talk of one day languages and two day languages, referring to how long it takes speakers of Lect A to understand speakers of Lect B. These 1 day languages and 2 day languages are best seen as dialects of a single tongue.

Closer to home. it takes one day of close contact for other Spanish speakers who land in San Salvador by plane to completely understand Salvadoran Spanish. It takes Argentines three days to understand Chilean Spanish. So we can call Salvadoran Spanish and Chilean Spanish dialects of the Spanish language. Salvadoran Spanish could be called a 1 day language and Chilean Spanish could be called a 3 day language.

However, with Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish of the Dominican Republic, it takes other Spanish speakers about three weeks to catch onto it. So Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish are like Azeri and Turkish. I honestly think that Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish are separate languages on MI grounds, but it would cause a political firestorm if you tried to split them so no one will.

In Spain, there are various lects such as Asturian, Galician and Andalucian. A Spanish speaker may take two months or so of close contact to learn to understand Asturian and Galician well, and indeed, both are listed as separate languages.

Some Spanish speakers report that Andalucian sounds absolutely insane when they first listen to it and they can hardly understand one word, however, after 2-3 hours of steady close listening, they can understand it quite well. We may call Andalucian a 3 hour language and clearly Andalucian is a dialect of Spanish called Andalucian Spanish.

Once it starts to take as long as 3-4 weeks of close contact for speakers of Lect A to understand Lect B, I think we are looking at two separate languages. Anything less than that, starts to seem a lot more iffy.

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Filed under Africa, Americas, Applied, Argentina, Asturian, Central America, Chile, Dialectology, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Europe, Galician, Language Families, Language Learning, Latin America, Linguistics, Regional, Sociolinguistics, South America, Spain, Spanish, Turkish

Differences Between Spanish and Ladino

Judaeo Spanish or Ladino is the language of the Sephardic Jews of Europe. It is dying out now, but it still has tens of thousands of speakers. It was created when Spanish Jews left Spain around the time of the Inquisition to find refuge in various areas of the Mediterranean, particularly in Turkey.

It is 1492 Spanish mixed with 4% Hebrew, about 20% Turkish and Arabic, 60% Old Spanish and Portuguese and 7% other. Spanish has 60% intelligibility of Ladino and 95% when written. This is a language frozen in time, the Spanish spoken when they were expelled from Spain in the 1400’s.

Ladino:

Shalom (or Bonjur ) Komo estash vozotros? Yo esto muy bien, gracias. Esto es lo ke me paso oy: Primeiro, yo me levanto i entonses desayuno. Me visto i pongo mi chapeo i salgo de la kaza. Yo vo al trabasho i kuando regreso, dayaneo. Despues ke yo me levanto miro de la bentana i veo ke mis amigos van a Bet Knesset . Esto tarde, tyengo menester de darme prisa porke tyengo la avtaha de avlar kon el rabi. Despues ya es ora de acostarme. Shalom!

Spanish:

¡Hola! ¿Como estais (estan)? Estoy muy bien gracias. Esto es lo que me paso hoy: Primero, me levanto y entonces desayuno. Pongo la ropa  (Me visto , only in Spain) y pongo mi sombrero y salgo de la casa. Voy al trabajo y cuando regreso, descanso. Despues que me levanto, miro de la ventana y veo que mis amigos van a la sinagoga. Estoy tarde, necesito de darme prisa proque tengo la esperanza de hablar con el rabi. Despues, ya es hora de acostarme.

English:

Hello! How are you (all)? I am very well thanks. This is what happened to me today: First, I get up and then I eat breakfast. I get dressed and I put on my hat and I leave the house. I go to work and when I return, I rest. After I get up I look out of the window and I see that my friends are going to the synagogue. I am late, I need to hurry because I have the hope to speak with the rabbi. Afterward, it is already time to go to bed.

List of languages from which each Ladino word is:

Shalom– Hebrew (hello, goodbye)
Bonjur – French (hello)
estash – Old Spanish (you pl. are)
chapeo – Old Portuguese
vo – old form of voy in Old Spanish (I go)
trabasho – Spanish (modern= trabajo)
dayaneo – Turkish – (I rest). It is conjugated like all Spanish verbs. It is slightly adapted from Turkish so you can conjugate it like Spanish.
Bet Knesset – Hebrew – synagogue
menester – Old Spanish and Portuguese (to need)
avtaha – Turkish (hope)

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Filed under Afroasiatic, Altaic, Arabic, European, Europeans, Hebrew, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Jews, Language Families, Linguistics, Oghuz, Portuguese, Race/Ethnicity, Romance, Semitic, Spanish, Turkic, Turkish

Romance Languages and Latin

A linguist named Mario Pei undertook a study of Romance languages to determine how far they had deviated from Latin. This is what he came up with. Lower scores means closer to Latin and higher scores means further from Latin:

Sardinian  8% 
Italian    12% 
Spanish    20% 
Romanian   23.5% 
Occitan    25% 
Portuguese 31% 
French     44%

I had always heard that Sardo was like Latin frozen in time. Italian is also said to be quite close to Latin still. In fact, it is from this land that Latin emerged in the first place. Spanish has deviated quite a bit, but I am not certain why that is. For one thing, quite a bit of Arabic has gone into Spanish. As far as other influences, I am not sure. There are influences from pre-Latin languages, but I am not sure how significant they are. The impact of Basque (which would be included under pre-Latin influences, is also not known, but it has effected Aragonese and Aranese.

Romanian has obviously been flooded with Slavic words.

Occitan is also different, but this is probably due to the French influence as Occitan is sort of a Spanish-French hybrid language like Catalan.

Portuguese is also very different, but I am not sure why that is. Clearly the Portuguese vowels have gone crazy, but why is that? Brazilian Portuguese had influence from Indian languages, but that did not affect European Portuguese.

French is the most different of all. The odd vowels appear to originate from a Celtic base (Gaulish). In addition, quite a bit of Germanic has gone in via the Franks and there was a strong Norse influence in the far north. Basque and Breton influences are not known. It is due to this strong differentiation that other Romance language speakers say that no one can understand the French.

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Filed under Arabic, Aragonese, Basque, Catalan, French, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Isolates, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Occitan, Portuguese, Romance, Slavic, Spanish

Intelligibility Figures for Romance Languages

Here is some new work I did on mutual intelligibility in the Romance family. If you speak any of these languages, feel free to chime in. The one figure I am worried about is 0% of Italian understanding of Romanian. One informant said that, but I have a feeling it is higher than that.

Intelligibility Figures for Romance Languages

Intelligibility for Spanish speakers, oral: 80% of Asturian, Aragonese and and Extremaduran, 78% of Galician, 62% of Catalan, 50% of Portuguese, 25% of Italian, 6% of Romanian, 1% of French, and 0% of Sicilian.

Spanish has 95% written intelligibility of Ladino, 93% of Galician, 87% of Catalan, 78% of Portuguese, 50% of Italian and Romanian, and 16% of French.

Catalan has 94% oral intelligibility of Valencian, 63% intelligibility of Belearic, 27% of Italian, 5% of French.

Catalan has 27% written intelligibility of Italian.

Asturian has 82% oral intelligibility of Mirandese and 71% of Portuguese.

Mirandese has 82% oral intelligibility of Asturian and 71% of Portuguese.

Portuguese has 95% oral intelligibility of Almedilha dialect, 86% of Galician, 71% of Mirandese and Asturian, 58% of Spanish, 40% of Hermisende dialect, 55% of Catalan, 25% of Leonese and Italian, 17% of French, and 5% of Romanian.

Portuguese has 90% written intelligibility of Italian.

Galician has 58% intelligibility of Catalan, and 0% of Extremaduran and Andalucian Spanish.

French has 30% oral intelligibility of Catalan, 27% of Portuguese, 16% of Italian, 13% of Spanish, 7% intelligibility of Romanian, and 0% of Sicilian.

French has 90% written intelligibility of Catalan and 70% of Portuguese.

Romanian has 70% oral intelligibility of Istroromanian, 40% of Italian, 25% of Spanish, and 15% of French and Portuguese.

Romanian has 60% written intelligibility of French, 45% of Galician and Piedmontese and 33% of Italian.

Italian has 40% oral intelligibility of Catalan, 16% of Portuguese, 11% of French, and 0% of Romanian, Arpitan and Sicilian.

Italian has 75% written intelligibility of French and Spanish, 25% of Portuguese, and 20% of Catalan.

Piedmontese has 0% intelligibility of Arpitan.

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Filed under Andalucian, Applied, Aragonese, Asturian, Catalan, French, Galician, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Leonese, Linguistics, Multilingualism, Portuguese, Romance, Spanish