Meanderings of an Amateur Linguist

Just me and my languages – a dangerous combonation

Archive for the ‘Linguistics’ Category

Language Awards!

Posted by ILuvEire on March 12, 2009

Thanks Diogenes!

Okay, so since I believe in Internet plagiarism, I’m stealing Diogenes’ idea (click the link above and check her post out. I’ll wait…)

Best Pronunciation: Arabic, baby!
Most interesting script, non-Latin: Hebrew
Most interesting use of the Latin script: Vietnamese
Script best suited to the language: Hebrew/Arabic (even tie).
Script worst suited to the language: Japanese’s kanji
Prettiest non-Latin script: Georgian
Prettiest use of the Latin script: Finnish

Most interesting phonology: Klingon
Least interesting phonology: Hawaiian
Most interesting use of loans: Vietnamese
Least interesting use of loans: English

Happiest language: Toki Pona
Angriest language: Russian
Hardest language: Georgian
Easiest language: Somish

Coolest IAL: Volapük
Dumbest IAL: Interlingua
Coolest conlang: Láadan
Dumbest conlang: I can’t award this one! Even the most boring Romlang takes work on the part of the creator.
Coolest conscript: Blissymbol
Dumbest conscript: Tengwar (it sukz!)

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Posted in general, Languages, Linguistics | 3 Comments »

Language Family Moods

Posted by ILuvEire on November 23, 2008

I for some reason seem to get into “language family moods.” For some reason, I’m just randomly attracted to a particular language family for a few months. It doesn’t even have to be a language family! It can just be an “area.” Like right now, I’m studying Vietnamese, and am very interested in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.  Right before this I was in the mood for “Mediterranean” languages, you know Greek, Italian, French, Turkish etc. Before that I was interested in Baltic(ish) area languages, like Finnish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, and Saami.

I think that’s the main reason I have so many languages of differing families on my list. Just watch, in a couple of days I’ll be switching to Scandinavia, learning Norwegian and Icelandic (and trying in vain to learn Faroese). Then I’ll switch to the Bantu languages – Swahili, Zulu, and Xhosa.

Does anyone else do this? Leave me a comment! I’m pretty sure I have anonymous commenting allowed on here.

Posted in Linguistics, Personal | 2 Comments »

What does it mean to be a linguist?

Posted by ILuvEire on November 23, 2008

I call myself an amateur linguist, but I’m not too sure that I use the same definition as everyone else. I take it to mean the study of the inner workings of language. I’m most interested in Psycholinguistics – the relationship between the mind and language. I believe it’s very important and that there’s a lot more to be discovered.

Wikipedia defines linguistics as

Linguistics is the scientific study of language

The Webster’s dictionary defines linguistics as

–noun (used with a singular verb) the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics.

Now that’s a definition I can work with! That supports my definition. The definition everyone seems to attack me with is similar to this:

…individual speaker who uses two or more languages,

AKA the definition of Multilingualism from Wikipedia.

That’s quite interesting. 🙂

Posted in Linguistics | 1 Comment »

Languages to be…

Posted by ILuvEire on November 23, 2008

Ciao a tutti!

I have been thinking about languages and which ones I want to learn, and I have compiled a 10 step list.

1 Vietnamese tiéng Việt
2 Hebrew* עברית
3 Icelandic íslenska
4 Portuguese* Português
5 Welsh Cymraeg
6 Cherokee* Tsa-la-gi
7 Italian l’Italiano
8 Greek* Ελληνικα
9 Norwegian Norsk (Bokmål)
10 Japanese 日本語

* Hebrew, Cherokee, and Portuguese are my “sub-foci.” You’ll find that I divide all my language choices into sub-foci and main-foci. The main-foci languages I have already set up books and notes and CDs etc. The sub-foci are ones I’m very interested in, and I will study, but most likely not to the extent of the other languages.

I have purchased at least on course for each one of these languages, and have started my progression through the list at Vietnamese.

I have also purchased a course for Mandarin Chinese, but I’m not totally sure that I want to use. Plus, I like having a nice round number like 10. 11 is so…odd!

I structured the list so that I can study two languages at a time and they will be still from different families (or in the case of IE different branches. :þ) I’m somewhat ADD so I can’t just study one language at a time. Besides who would want to do that anyway?!

Later on down the line, I am interested in many more languages. The top of this list would probably be Cantonese, followed by Korean. Is it clear to you yet that I love Asia? I’m not sure what is so appealing about it…I think it is because I can identify with Confucius’ teachings as well as Buddha. Plus I love the morphology (and phonology!) of all the languages. Tones are beutiful. Also I’m interested in Thai, I’m devinitly going to study it to “go with” Vietnamese.

Does anyone else do this? I package languages (because I for some reason feel that I need to justify my want to learn them or something…) For this very reason, I’m interested in Turkish (to go with Greek), and Arabic (to go with Hebrew).

I’m also very interested in the languages of North America. I’m learning Cherokee now (it’s spoken by the largest number of people near me). Beyond that, I’m interested in Navajo – it’s got the largest amount of speakers of any native American language. Nahuatl interests me, because I am so interested in the Aztec culture. I like Lakota for it’s awesome grammar. The phonology is quite nice too, but the grammar is so alien to me.

So, that’s a brief look into my future languages.

Posted in general, Linguistics, Personal | 2 Comments »