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Consonant Languages

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9787.  Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:58 pm Reply with quote

There is a language which when wriitng consists of only consonants - Cherokee, admittedly the written language uses a latin alphabet but the sylables are all consonants.

The nearest European Language is Basque which is not related to any other language living or dead in the Indo-European Language family. Interestingly the Basques are the only people in the world where the word for mother is not "ma" or some derivative but "Da" Basque children apparently use this instinctively as one their first words

9790.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:25 am Reply with quote

I thought Modern Hebrew, when written, only has consonants.

Frederick The Monk
9791.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:07 am Reply with quote

Ancient Egyptian only uses consonants as do all Proto-Sinaitic languages including Phoenician and Old Canaanite.

It must have been bldy cnfsng.

9796.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:03 am Reply with quote

h dnt knw - mgn y cld gt sd t t

9799.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 10:08 am Reply with quote

Hvn't w lrdy hd ths jk?

9803.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:33 pm Reply with quote

t sms fmlr

9807.  Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:39 pm Reply with quote

all Proto-Sinaitic languages including Phoenician and Old Canaanite

or prt-sntc lnggs ncldng phncn nd ld cnnt

So how on earth do we know that when they said phncn they meant Phoenician?

Sorry, Fred, just riding the laugh - no answer required.

9838.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:30 am Reply with quote

Doesn't Arabic only use consonants?

dsnt rbc nl s cnsnnts.

Cor, gives me a headache trying to work these out...

The Basque Da/Ma factoid is quite interesting if true.

Do you have a source for that, Qiuncey?

9839.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:35 am Reply with quote

According to this online Basque (Euskara) dictionary:

...the Basque word for 'father' is aita.

The search engine doesn't recognise the word 'da'.


9840.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:36 am Reply with quote

Ma is Basque for 'kiss'.

9841.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:39 am Reply with quote

'Mother' is ama.

'Mummy' is amatxo.

'Daddy' is aitatxo.

9842.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:40 am Reply with quote

Any comments, thus far, Qiuncey?

9843.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:44 am Reply with quote

Incidentally, the Basque for 'Cherokee' is Tzalagi, which is quite interesting, because that's what the so-called Cherokee call their own language.

The word Cherokee is unpronounceable in Tzalagi, which has no “ch” or “r” sound.

Cherokee is a Creek indian word meaning “people with another language”.

The preferred 'Cherokee' word for themselves is “Aniyounwiya” which means “the principal people’.

9856.  Sun Oct 31, 2004 7:49 am Reply with quote

Basque children apparently use (Da) instinctively as one their first words

I'll definitely need some strong evidence before I believe that Basque babies are born with different linguistic wiring to everybody else's.

9894.  Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:23 am Reply with quote

Here in Wales we're always being accused of having unpronounceable place-names without vowels in them - Llwchwr, for example, or Ynysybwl (both genuine names). Of course it all depends on the definition of "vowel"; a language's orthography (consider the way the letter "j" is pronounced in, say, German, Spanish, French and English); and the ability of non-native speakers to get their tongues around the sounds of a language. A speaker of one of the languages of India recently said on a radio programme that no non-Indian could pronounce the "r" sound found in the word curry (you need to curl your tongue back to do it) - though that seems to be an exaggerated claim.

Some sounds are truly tricky, though; as a musician I'd love to be able to pronounce Dvorak's name as he would have done, but that middle "r" (with a diacritic I haven't been able to include here) calls for a trilled "r" and a voiced "sh" to be made simultaneously, and is not something to be practised on a bus.


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