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Re: [sig] Age of languages

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  • Patricia Hefner
    ... I ve been wondering the same thing. Why haven t these languages changed? A related question: some linguist once told me that the hardest language he d ever
    Message 1 of 10 , May 16 1:51 PM
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      >
      > I was asked a question today that I didn't know the answer to. Why is it
      > that many Eastern European and Slavic languages have not changed much in
      > the past, say 800 years, whereas Western European languages have?
      >
      > French and English certainly aren't the same, so why is Polish?
      >
      >
      > Parsla
      >
      >
      I've been wondering the same thing. Why haven't these languages changed? A
      related question: some linguist once told me that the hardest language he'd
      ever studied was Lithuanian. He said it was harder than Russian, which he'd
      had a heck of a time with. He said it had something to do with the
      difference in their Cyrillic alphabets. Anyone care to comment on this? I'm
      not worth a purple ruble as a linguist. I stumbled badly on freshman-level
      French, which is a thousand times easier for an English-speaker since 60% of
      our vocabulary comes from Norman French! I didin't have any trouble with the
      vocabulary, it was the blasted tenses that got me.

      Isabelle
      patricia.hefner@...
    • vespirus@socrates.berkeley.edu
      ... Lithuanian doesn t use a Cyrillic alphabet, and from what I know about Lithuanian vowels I can t imagine that Cyrillic script would work very well with
      Message 2 of 10 , May 16 2:11 PM
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        On Tue, 16 May 2000, Patricia Hefner wrote:
        > A related question: some linguist once told me that the hardest
        > language he'd ever studied was Lithuanian. He said it was harder than
        > Russian, which he'd had a heck of a time with. He said it had
        > something to do with the difference in their Cyrillic alphabets.
        > Anyone care to comment on this?

        Lithuanian doesn't use a Cyrillic alphabet, and from what I know about
        Lithuanian vowels I can't imagine that Cyrillic script would work very
        well with that language. Lithuanian is probably the most "primitive" of
        all Eastern European languages, and retains many complicated features that
        have been lost or simplified in most other languages. The first grammar I
        found (in English) was practically impenetrable!

        > I'm not worth a purple ruble as a linguist. I stumbled badly on
        > freshman-level French, which is a thousand times easier for an
        > English-speaker since 60% of our vocabulary comes from Norman French!
        > I didin't have any trouble with the vocabulary, it was the blasted
        > tenses that got me.

        Hungarian's first big stumbling block for me is all the additional vowel
        and consonant sounds. I still don't understand the verbs.

        --Walraven
      • Patricia Hefner
        ... OK, I m getting my references screwed up here. I know that modern Lithuanian uses the Latin rather than the Cyrillic alphabet but I thought in former times
        Message 3 of 10 , May 16 2:51 PM
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          > Lithuanian doesn't use a Cyrillic alphabet, and from what I know about
          > Lithuanian vowels I can't imagine that Cyrillic script would work very
          > well with that language. Lithuanian is probably the most "primitive" of
          > all Eastern European languages, and retains many complicated features that
          > have been lost or simplified in most other languages. The first grammar I
          > found (in English) was practically impenetrable!
          >
          >
          > --Walraven
          >

          OK, I'm getting my references screwed up here. I know that modern Lithuanian
          uses the Latin rather than the Cyrillic alphabet but I thought in former
          times this had perhaps not been the case. The linguist was indeed referring
          to the "primitive" nature of the language rather than the alphabet. I do
          remember some Slavic linguist complaining about Language X's Cyrillic
          alphabet being a pain to learn but I don't even remember which language that
          was--could it have been Old Church Slavonic? I am particularly clueless with
          the South Slavic languages. :-)
          I'd imagine that Hungarian would be rather tricky especially as it's a
          Finno-Ugraic rather than a Slavic language.


          Isabelle the linguistically impaired
          patricia.hefner@...
        • Lisa Lovell
          ... Old Church Slavonic uses the pre-revolutionary orthography and has a few more letters (IIRC) than the current form. In addition, the letters themselves are
          Message 4 of 10 , May 16 3:04 PM
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            Patricia Hefner wrote:

            > > Lithuanian doesn't use a Cyrillic alphabet, and from what I know about
            > > Lithuanian vowels I can't imagine that Cyrillic script would work very
            > > well with that language. Lithuanian is probably the most "primitive" of
            > > all Eastern European languages, and retains many complicated features that
            > > have been lost or simplified in most other languages. The first grammar I
            > > found (in English) was practically impenetrable!
            > >
            > >
            > > --Walraven
            > >
            >
            > OK, I'm getting my references screwed up here. I know that modern Lithuanian
            > uses the Latin rather than the Cyrillic alphabet but I thought in former
            > times this had perhaps not been the case. The linguist was indeed referring
            > to the "primitive" nature of the language rather than the alphabet. I do
            > remember some Slavic linguist complaining about Language X's Cyrillic
            > alphabet being a pain to learn but I don't even remember which language that
            > was--could it have been Old Church Slavonic? I am particularly clueless with
            > the South Slavic languages. :-)

            Old Church Slavonic uses the pre-revolutionary orthography and has a few more
            letters (IIRC) than the current form. In addition, the letters themselves are
            formed a bit differently. This can make for challenging reading :)

            Check out this article on the Czech language --
            http://meltingpot.fortunecity.com/barnsbury/841/tree/czech.html

            Elisaveta Selevkova
          • Amanda Lewanski
            Well, in the past three hundred years or so (rough count), since the partition, Polish as a language was actively discouraged (a euphemism, that). It was
            Message 5 of 10 , May 16 8:15 PM
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              Well, in the past three hundred years or so (rough count), since the partition,
              Polish as a language was actively discouraged (a euphemism, that). It was taught
              underground, out of books, as much as it was passed naturally from generation to
              generation. That sort of slows down the natural processes of linguistic change, as
              so-called native speakers learn their grammar and vocabulary from a static source,
              rather than a dynamic one.

              --Alisandre

              Parsla Liepa wrote:

              > I was asked a question today that I didn't know the answer to. Why is it
              > that many Eastern European and Slavic languages have not changed much in
              > the past, say 800 years, whereas Western European languages have?
              >
              > French and English certainly aren't the same, so why is Polish?
              >
              > Parsla
              >
              > ******************************************************************************
              >
              > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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              >
              > Slavic Interest Group homepage:
              > http://www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html
            • Vaclav von Pressburg
              On Tue, May 16, 2000 at 03:51:50PM -0500, Patricia Hefner wrote: . . . ... But Lithuanian uses the Latin alphabet. Lithuanian also _has_ changed since its
              Message 6 of 10 , May 17 3:45 AM
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                On Tue, May 16, 2000 at 03:51:50PM -0500, Patricia Hefner wrote:
                . . .
                > I've been wondering the same thing. Why haven't these languages changed? A
                > related question: some linguist once told me that the hardest language he'd
                > ever studied was Lithuanian. He said it was harder than Russian, which he'd
                > had a heck of a time with. He said it had something to do with the
                > difference in their Cyrillic alphabets. Anyone care to comment on this? I'm

                But Lithuanian uses the Latin alphabet. Lithuanian also _has_ changed
                since its earliest records.

                --
                Waclaw von Pressburg Veritas liberabit uos
                vaclav@...
              • Patricia Hefner
                ... This was a screw-up. I was getting Lithuanian mixed up with Old Church Slavonic! Egads, I must have brain damage. :-) When does the earliest written
                Message 7 of 10 , May 17 8:04 AM
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                  > But Lithuanian uses the Latin alphabet. Lithuanian also _has_ changed
                  > since its earliest records.
                  >
                  > --
                  > Waclaw von Pressburg Veritas liberabit uos
                  > vaclav@...
                  >

                  This was a screw-up. I was getting Lithuanian mixed up with Old Church
                  Slavonic! Egads, I must have brain damage. :-) When does the earliest
                  written Lithuanian date from?

                  Isabelle
                  patricia.hefner@...
                • Barcsi Janos
                  ... How many times does a line like that come up in conversation!?! This is a great list! Janos _____________________________________________________________
                  Message 8 of 10 , May 17 9:08 AM
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                    --- "Patricia Hefner" <patricia.hefner@...> wrote:

                    >I was getting Lithuanian mixed up with Old Church
                    >Slavonic!

                    How many times does a line like that come up in conversation!?!

                    This is a great list!

                    Janos

                    _____________________________________________________________
                    Get Paid to Surf http://all.frodo.com
                  • Vaclav von Pressburg
                    On Wed, May 17, 2000 at 10:04:28AM -0500, Patricia Hefner wrote: . . . ... The first book in Lithuanian was published in 1547. -- Waclaw von Pressburg Veritas
                    Message 9 of 10 , May 18 3:28 AM
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                      On Wed, May 17, 2000 at 10:04:28AM -0500, Patricia Hefner wrote:
                      . . .
                      > This was a screw-up. I was getting Lithuanian mixed up with Old Church
                      > Slavonic! Egads, I must have brain damage. :-) When does the earliest
                      > written Lithuanian date from?

                      The first book in Lithuanian was published in 1547.

                      --
                      Waclaw von Pressburg Veritas liberabit uos
                      vaclav@...
                    • Susan Carroll-Clark
                      Greetings! I am descending from lurker-dom with a challenge: I am the newly-appointed Dean of History for the Royal University of the Midrealm. That means
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 7, 2000
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                        Greetings!

                        I am descending from lurker-dom with a challenge:

                        I am the newly-appointed Dean of History for the Royal University of the
                        Midrealm. That means it's my job to find people to teach history-related
                        classes for RUM. The next one is to be held in Chicago on October 7, and I
                        would love to have something Slavic on our slate. If anyone is interested
                        in teaching (and the definition of "history" is pretty wide--it could be
                        standard history, persona development, something along the lines of the
                        "researching things Slavic" classes we've done at War, language, etc.) I'd
                        love to hear from you.

                        Thanks!
                        Nicolaa de Bracton
                        (part-time Slav)
                        nicolaa@...
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