Old Languages, New Countries

austen27

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#62
I'm never sure what the difference between a language and a dialect is - it seems to be more political than linguistic. Norwegian (NyNorsk & Bokmal) seem to be dialects of Swedish to me. If the English regions declared independence I wonder if Brummy and Geordie would suddenly become languages?
 

Melf

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#63
i would hope so.!
ecept that london would try to retake the areas by millirty force :mad:
 

Vitrius

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#64
Alexius said:
Tov arbach! I enjoy Yiddish too much...

But they did schlep it up some. A few of the words are straight from German and are only incidentally shared by Yiddish because of the common linguistic descent.
And come on, I was disappointed when I got the end with no "zaftig." One of my all time favorite words; have never met a b'khura who didn't smile at the thought of being called zaftig instead of fat.

And who the hell uses a few of them? Maybe it's completely confined to Jewish English in small communities.
 

Vitrius

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#65
Alexius,

The anacronym origin of "gay" is a language myth. They're a whole category for this strangely, as such attempts to derive words from phrases is common in folk etymology.

Gay, from French gai "bright, flashy." Tentatively from a lost Germanic word represented by Old High German "g/a/h" meaning "brightly colored." Possible further link to OHG "w/a/h" - "beautiful, resplendant." Some have toyed with a relationship to Latin "Gaius," famous as Caesar's middle name. The root has to be Indo-Euro, and I'm looking for other cognates.

In the meantime, we have the element "jay" in "jaybird." A jaybird is brightly colored one notes, and thus the probable link to "gay."
 

Melf

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#66
the word "gay" (elizabethian meaning. correct me if im wrong) originaly ment "happy, carefree etc?
 

Alexius4

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#67
Well, yes, it existed before the Gay rights movement and was derived as you said. However, the tale goes that it was adopted for its acronymic potential & positive connotations.

As I'm not aware of its use as a euthemism for same-sexuality before that time, it strikes me as plausible.
 

Vitrius

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#68
Steering slightly back toward the unusual, I want to revive my long defunct "Fortean etymology" thread, God rest its soul.

Not exactly on par with ultraterrestrial reptoid Bigfoot abduction, but these are a few word origins that typically leave intro ling kids' incredulous:

Ketchup/catsup - Looks very German/Yiddish, but is in fact Malay. Originally a fish sauce from herbs and then a mushroom liquid(yum) sauce in Europe.

Compound - Two origins, one pre-existing the other and "swollowing" it morphologically. A composite thing, compound, derives from Latin "compundus" > a allomorph of co(m/n) before the /p/ and the root {pon-} as in "ponere" - to link together. The second meaning, a enclosed place or a bunker, is again from Malay, "kampung", a village.

From my attempt to catalog all Celtic words in Eng, "boisterous" has some arguable links to Welsh "bwyst", wild, untamed. More expected, yet less convincing, is from Old French "boistre" meaning lame, limping, > OF "boiste" a kneecap.

It's vaguely possible that American pronunciations of negatives, "N'n/ uhn-uh," derive from American Indian particles. Does this pronunciation exist commonly in England?

There are a zillion others which escape me at present. One interesting thing is that students sometimes get quite upset when folk etymologies are put down. Like its part of some cherished and important cultural reality. Another is that impolite words somehow magically become fun to say when translated into another language, yet the sayers will sometimes refuse to offer the native, contemporary word in public. Bizarre linguistic psychology.

Ed. Oh! Forgot a new one on me that's kinda neat, as I just started Farsi: "Checkmate" > Persian, Shah-k-mate, "The king is dead." Seems so obvious, yet clearly not.
 

Vitrius

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#69
Alexius said:
Well, yes, it existed before the Gay rights movement and was derived as you said. However, the tale goes that it was adopted for its acronymic potential & positive connotations.

As I'm not aware of its use as a euthemism for same-sexuality before that time, it strikes me as plausible.
Rethinking it, yes, that is possible. I still think it's more likely to have been taken from the "happy" meaning, though right-on as a PR manoevre.

See my "compound" derivation above. Shows you that, as languages get older and more amalgamated, finding etymologies from definitive roots becomes harder. English has lists of root morphemes that derive from differing languages but are ultimately from the same *ancient* source. "Right" and "(co)rect" share an Indo-Euro root from two languages, Germanic-English and Latin. Words from an IE root for "king" come into English from at least four(tech. five) related languages (regal > Latin, rex/reg- ; rich , cog. to Anglo-Sax, rice "kingdom" cf. Ger "reich"; rajj/rajja > Sanskrit/Hindi "prince"; rook, a chess piece > Persian, ruk, a king's fortress; royal > Old Fr., roi, "king" separate and indirect entry of Latin root {reg-}.) See?! Treacherous passage, etymology.
 

Alexius4

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#70
But then as Wittgenstein assures us, the meaning of signs is defined by their employment in the game; the major shift in the meaning of 'gay' against the grain of its etymology in the space of a generation being a case in point.

;)
 

Alexius4

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#71
(whoah, I hope that didn't kill Melf's thread...he'll kill me...perhaps we should bring it back on topic...)

:)
 

TheQuixote

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#72
Maybe someone could expand on this for me?

I recall seeing a TV programme a while ago- some history gubbins, and they mentioned that the Danelaw and the divide in rule between the North and South of England had a great influence on the inclusion of different words in english that basically mean the same thing.

Such as sick and ill being used to mean the same thing. Sick deriving from Scandinavian etc. and ill from [?].
 

Vitrius

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#73
Quixote said:
Maybe someone could expand on this for me?

I recall seeing a TV programme a while ago- some history gubbins, and they mentioned that the Danelaw and the divide in rule between the North and South of England had a great influence on the inclusion of different words in english that basically mean the same thing.

Such as sick and ill being used to mean the same thing. Sick deriving from Scandinavian etc. and ill from [?].
Yep:

Sick: > Mid English > Anglo-Sax, sec, sic, seoc, cog. to a whole slaugh of Germanic words from a single root.

Ill: > A Scand. word represented by Old Norse, illr, being the basic word for "bad." Hence the comparative/superlative of ill(up till the Beastie Boys' first album that is
:D ) is worse/worst, from Anglo-Sax waerse/waerst.

But those are rare. The nasty double cognates come from Latin/Germanic interactions, and the illest of the ill, boyee, come from double borrowings; one from Old French and one from the Latin word from which the Old French word derived. Yeesh. See noise/nausea for one such occurrence.
 

Vitrius

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#74
Oooo, I got one that's vaguely Fortean, and one of my forgotten favorites:

"Transmogrify." - To change or cause to change completely in form, especially to a bizarre or horrific visitude.

And to sweeten the deal: Origin unknown...mysteriousness.

I usually refuse to accept such things though, being something like a linguistics James Randi. I managed to rate the erratic pluralization system of modern Arabic with a probability to morphology ratio chart, to my professor's befuddlement and the derision of my less studious fellows. So, gang, whistle up Scoobie and we'll try and kill yet another minor mystery.

Trans - prep/prefix, "across/into" Latin, duh.

-(i)fy - Latin again, > -ficare, causative verbal suffix, "to make be done" from root {fac-} as in "facere" - to do/make.

So, (trans) - mogr - (ify). We still have a root pseduo-morpheme, a weird one actually.

Mog(e/i/o/u/a)r.

Mog - Colloq Eng. "To move away" Unlikely, and besdies, etymology still unknown.

Macer - Latin, thin, wasted, possibly even "made monsters by deficiency." Root in "(e)mac(iat/ed)" from Indo-Euro root *Mak-. See modern Eng. "meager" from Mid Eng. "magere" > Old French > forementioned Latin.

So, poss. "Cause to go into or across a shrivling or deprivation (of original form) + nuance of frightfulness or unpleasantry (from semantic impact of *Mak-).

Lazy Webster's compilation crew :D

Sorry I love this so much, guys. Here's something back on topic.

So far as I recall, no one's mentioned Anglo-Romany as a long standing British language. Or Channel French. There are also strange English Pidgins/Creoles(search Google) in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. England was probably full of local Pidgins by the Viking Age. Obviously, English survived not as a Creole, but a borrowing language. But I'd love to have heard and seen some of the early Celto-/Scando-Saxon franca tongues.
 

Vitrius

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#75
Why "Irish hell" is redundant or When a Welshman Falls in the Forest....

For our dear Scots/Welsh members,

Just remembered that the word "Celt" is related obliquely to the English word "Hell." Mostly, it gets passed off as coming from Latin celtis, a chisel and a word for a type of celtic(or otherwise) weapon. But it turns out to be adopted from a native word by the Greeks as Keltoi. A number of words from Welsh show a meaning such as "inhabitant of the woods" from a basic root for "hide, cover up." "Celu" means "to hide," correct? Celare is the Latin, the Frenchified element of which exists in English as (con)ceal. Anglo-Sax "hel(l)an" means "to cover or hide." Hel was the word for the underworld across several Germanic languages and referred to burial, the earth concealing the dead.

And so the rest of you aren't left out, Saxon derives from the tribes use of distinctive short swords or knives known as saks, sahs, or saxas. The word is ancient, as it apparently existed when tools such as knives were made from stone (Latin cognate "seaxum" meaning stone). The French get their name from the Franks, who were similarly named for a type of war shaft(a franka in Frankish, franca in AS). It's debatable, but maybe the word "German" itself derives from Ger, a spear + Man(n), man or men. Anyone familiar with Beowulf may remember the Gar-Denas, or Spear-Danes.
 

TheQuixote

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#76
Not exactly an Old Language but-


Tehran street slang is bestseller
A slim volume chronicling the slang used on the streets of Tehran has become an unlikely bestseller.


The Persian Dictionary of Argot began as an academic study of new vernacular words in Farsi.

But its unravelling of code words used by Tehran's youth to circumvent social strictures has gripped parents, Iranian literary circles and the young alike.

It is now in its sixth edition, yet remains almost impossible to find in Tehran bookshops, visitors report

Red-blooded
Many code words devised by the street-savvy youth in Tehran relate, unsurprisingly, to the opposite sex.

Public contact between Iranian girls and boys is forbidden, so phone numbers are often furtively exchanged as youths drive around in single-sex vehicles.

And young Iranian men compare notes on the women they encounter using - rather chauvinistic - car metaphors, the dictionary reveals.

A "zero-kilometre" is a virgin, while an "overturned car" is a non-virgin.

A person's rear is alluded to with the word "hubcap", while legs are referred to as the "axle", reports the London Times.

A measure of ridicule is also reserved for some makes of cars, with an Iranian-made Peugeot 405 referred to as a "peasant bride".

'Want to be different'

Analysts have expressed surprise that the book got past censors at Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance virtually unchanged.

One suggested the book's approval could have been a last defiant act by the reformist government of Mohammad Khatami before a conservative regime takes over.

But another Iran watcher told BBC News Online the book was not highly subversive, but simply testified that - like youths all over the world - Tehran's teenagers want to create their own subcultures.

"They don't use slang because they're not allowed to be different, but because they want to be different," she said.

Iranian street slang
"Zero kilometre": virgin
"Overturned car": non-virgin
"Been in an accident": girl who is pregnant
"Hubcaps": Bottom
"Axle": Legs
"Headlights": Breasts

BBCi 01/06/04
 
A

Anonymous

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#77
A couple of answers to the original question that kicked off this thread:

1. English communities living in other countries always speak English as a first language and the official state language either as a second language or not at all. There are large English communities in Spain and France.

2. Several hundreds of years ago many Germans emigrated to Russia. These Wolgadeutsche still speak German today. Many of them emigrated to Germany after the reunification. I went out with a Russian girl who hardly spoke any German at all, but her mother was absolutely fluent although her family had not set foot in Germany for more than 200 years.
 

James_H

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#78
apparently orcadian dialects still have bits of norse in them. apart from kids being called Olaf and Magnus and suchlike, I heard someone on North Ronaldsay saying that the time was "clocken nine"
 

berengaria1

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#79
Norn

For almost 1,000 years the language of the Orcadians was a variant of Old Norse known as "Norrœna" or "Norn".
Originally carried to Orkney by Norwegian settlers in the eighth and ninth centuries AD, the language they spoke, Old Norse, gradually developed into the distinctive language we now refer to as Norn.
The scale of settlement soon saw the new language practically obliterated whatever indigenous language was spoken in Orkney and Norn became the dominant form of speech.
But unfortunately Norn was a language of the people – the common people of Orkney – and as such it was never written down. Although official documents do exist from this period, they were generally written in Norwegian.
Norn remained the language of Orkney until the early fifteenth century, but contrary to popular belief, its decline began well before 1468, when the islands were annexed to Scotland .

If you hear an Orcadian speak they have a distinct "Scandinavian" twang - rather like listening to a Scandinavian speaking English. I'm originally from Caithness which was also a Viking settlement - loads of the place names and surnames (Gunn, Swanson) are of Scandinavian origin. There are innumerable place names ending in "ster" which apparently is a contraction of "seter" which means pasture or farmstead (can't quite remember).
Another word we use a lot is pronounced "meyt" which I recently found out was either Anglo Saxon or Old English for food. We'll say to someone "Are you at yer meyt?" which means "Are you eating your dinner?"
Loads of other examples of weird dialect - often Caithness folk are mistaken for being from a part of Northern Ireland - and this is by other Irish people.
Very interesting thread BTW - ideal for a wee skive while I should be working.
 

Alexius4

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#80
A friend from the Shetlands assured me of the existence of a Shetlandish dialect as well - the same kind of Norse influences.
 

Breakfastologist

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#81
The Hebrides have a strong gaelic tradition, although many of the place names are nordic in origin. I think someone asked about that a page or so back, otherwise that was something of a random bit of information.

I have been wondering about accents and languages- the way accents work in areas that have their own language seems quite close in pronounciation and often i the manner of phrasing, to their language. It seems to me that welsh person will often speak in a way that is quite similar to the form of welsh language even if they are not a welsh speaker, if that makes sense.

This leads me to wonder whether other regional accents are partly throwbacks to the original language of the area- so a brummy accent perhaps derives some of it's sound and form from the language of the Coritani, for example.

I don't actually think it's very likely, but it is a nice idea.

Does anyone know where accents actually do derive from?
 
A

Anonymous

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#82
Actually breakfast you've hit the nail on the head as far as accents are concerned. You're a natural born linguist.

Whenever it becomes important for people in a given region to adopt a new language then they will tend to retain certain characteristics of their original language when speaking the new language. There are loads of Norwegian influences in the way Geordies speak for example.

This underlying influence is called a substrat or something like that. The same mechanism is responsible for the emergence of new languages. For example the Romans went to Spain speaking Latin and the Iberians who were living there had to bite the bullet and adopt this new language. They would have spoken it with their own accent and would have retained some of their own words. When the Romans finally left, the new Latin dialect of the Iberian peninsula would have had no steadying influence from the classical Latin and so would have started to drift off in its own direction. This would carry on until the new dialect had become unintelligible to the Romans at which point it would be a new language.

This can be observed all over the Roman empire.

You'll probably find that if you examine any of the Romance languages, the greatest similarities will be found between the nouns because these are most easily assimilated. The parts of each language that differ most will be those words and phrases related to domestic affairs and those that are most similar will be related to external affairs such as politics and military matters etc.
 

Melf

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#83
Breakfast said:
I have been wondering about accents and languages- the way accents work in areas that have their own language seems quite close in pronounciation and often i the manner of phrasing, to their language. It seems to me that welsh person will often speak in a way that is quite similar to the form of welsh language even if they are not a welsh speaker, if that makes sense.

Does anyone know where accents actually do derive from?

yep the welsh do speak in a way that reflects the way welsh is spoken (arse backwards :D)
 
A

Anonymous

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#84
This is evdient in Ireland too. There are certain syntax cobinations which have more to do with the construction of irish than English, and yet are used in English. The classic, though hackneyed "top of the morning" is an example.

Joyce went on at length about this I beleive.

LD
 

Bad Bungle

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#85
is it true that some dutch dialect, namely friesian, is similar and/or intelliglible to some english dialects?
I'm contemplating re-reading The Adventure of English by (the) Melvyn Bragg. He contends that if you listen to the local Weather Forecaster in Friesland (source of England invaders from Netherlands), you'll get some idea of how English was spoken 1500 years ago. This is despite English being 'contaminated' by Latin and French (and many others) and Frisian 'contaminated' by Dutch.

Frisian: Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk.
English: Butter, bread, and green cheese is good English and good Fries

This is not to say that English and Frisians can understand each other, but I thought I'd try local radio after finding this useful site:

http://radio.garden/

just as soon as I find where Friesland is.
 
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kamalktk

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#86
[QUOTE="Bad Bungle, post: 1814577, member: 56751]
just as soon as I find where Friesland is.[/QUOTE]
It's next to Hamburg.
 

Ermintruder

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#87
Nice web app (the 'Radio Garden' idea)

But I recommend you cheat, and use Youtube

Edit- seen's haw wir haen a bit bla aboot this kinna hing agan, mebbs ah'll pit ma peece in aincemair tha gies Shetlandic a braw wee rakk-ower:
Thi Peerie Cat
Peerie cat, peerie cat, whaar’s du been?
A'm been athin Lerook fae aer da streen.
Peerie cat, peerie cat, whaat saa du dere?
Mair dugs dan I lippened sae A’m gjaan nae mair
 
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Bad Bungle

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#88
Nice web app (the 'Radio Garden' idea)

But I recommend you cheat, and use Youtube
Best Youtube comment was 'It's like English, but without the words'. Maybe I should treat Frisian as EVP and try to catch English words amongst the tape hiss. I occasionally enjoy Radio Garden (90% of all local staions inc Pacific islands were playing Bieber a few years back) as I don't listen to the radio in 'normal' life.
 

Jepra Peld

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#89
Are you sure about the Faroes? oh well..

I believe their is a Shetlandish dialect that, like Scots, has a fair cliam to being more than a hybrid...but a linguist will have to sort that one out.

I thought Scots & Irish Gaelic were distinct enough to qualify as two branchs of a common root...or that the two had simply diverged sufficiently to render them distinct (like Norwegian, Danish & Swedish).

And isn't Manx (if it still lives) distinctly Scandinavian?

huh? huh? :D

(seriously, though, does anybody have a definitive answer?)
I know I'm responding to an old message here. I'm a Manx learner, the language is alive and doing reasonably well. It's the healthiest it's been in nearly a century, whether the Manx being taught now would be recognizable to Ned Maddrell et al. is another matter of course.
It's a Celtic language though the Norse influence can be seen in a lot of place names. When I was in Scotland a few years ago I did understand a bit of written Scottish Gaelic, not sure how I would have managed with the spoken word though.
 
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