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Doubly landlocked countries

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tetsabb
49686.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:40 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
A landlocked country which is surrounded entirely by other landlocked countries may be called a "doubly landlocked" country. A person in such a country would have to cross at least two borders to reach a coastline.

Wikipedia

This is QI

There are 2 such countries on Planet Earth.

Any guesses?

 
Colonel Krummhorn
49689.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:47 pm Reply with quote

Luxembourg?
Rwanda?

 
djgordy
49690.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:50 pm Reply with quote

Leichtenstein and Uzbekistan.


Last edited by djgordy on Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Colonel Krummhorn
49692.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:04 pm Reply with quote

You said those with so much more certainty than I did.

I forgot about Lichtenstein, in the same way that I always forget Finland. If someone asks me to name the countries in Scandanavia, I always forget Finland, I feel quite sorry for poor ol' Finland.

 
djgordy
49694.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:11 pm Reply with quote

Is Finland Scandanavian?

 
suze
49700.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:38 pm Reply with quote

Geographically yes, ethnically no. (The Finns are of Uralic descent, and there is some evidence to suggest that they and the Hungarians share the same roots.)

Furthermore, Finland was under Russian control until 1917, and even today the Finnish government finds it necessary to ensure that they don't hack the Russians off too much.

The reverse is true of Iceland, whose people came from Denmark and Norway.

 
djgordy
49701.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:57 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
The Finns are of Uralic descent, and there is some evidence to suggest that they and the Hungarians share the same roots.


The Estonians too; which is why the Finns and the Ests vote for each other in the Eurovision Song Contest (allegedly). The Basque language is part of the same group of languages as well.

There was a report in my local paper a few years ago about a plane load of Scandanavian nurses who came to work in the local hospital. Turns out they were Finnish and not Scandanavian at all. I would have written to the paper and pointed out the error but I was too busy trying to learn the Finnish for "do you come here often".

 
samivel
49707.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:53 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
suze wrote:
The Finns are of Uralic descent, and there is some evidence to suggest that they and the Hungarians share the same roots.


The Estonians too; which is why the Finns and the Ests vote for each other in the Eurovision Song Contest (allegedly). The Basque language is part of the same group of languages as well.


How did that happen? I can't think of many strong links betweens Basques, Hungarians and Finns

 
eggshaped
49708.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:57 pm Reply with quote

I always thought (as a non-linguist) that Basque wasn't related to any languages.

 
suze
49710.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:07 pm Reply with quote

Tis true - the Finnish and the Estonians do appear to vote for one another in the same way as do the Greeks and the Cypriots, but not the British and the French.

The Finnish and Estonian languages are quite similar, although Estonian has one unique vowel sound that Finns can't do. (I once heard Lembit Ípik MP demonstrate it on the radio - he is of Estonian extraction). Although these two are not as similar as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish - when speakers of these three meet they each speak their own language and can understand one another.

Finland would probably accept being considered as a part of Scandinavia, but many people in the other Scandinavian lands have a sort of "Anne Robinson and Wales" view of the Finns...

A quick comment on the Uralic languages. Estonian and Finnish are brothers, together with Karelian, spoken around the Finland / Russia border. Finns consider this a dialect of Finnish; Russians don't. Hungarian is a second cousin or thereabouts. Sami (Lapplandish) is in fact a group of ten or so related languages, which together are a first cousin to Finnish. One of the Sami languages, Akkala, is among the few languages whose death can be dated precisely - the last speaker died in 2003.

All of the other Uralic languages are spoken by small numbers in isolated parts of Russia.

OK, now an apology. I'm sorry, but you made a statement with which I cannot agree and which is on one of my academic specialties. That is to say, Basque and its relationship (or lack thereof) to other languages.

Academics have tried to propose relationships between Basque and all kinds of languages, but I've never seen a paper linking it to the Uralic languages. To me, it's more likely that Basque is a survivor of the pre-Roman languages of France and Spain, but that theory too is unconvincing. We may have to accept that Basque is an "isolate" i.e. a language with no demonstrable commonality to any other. Korean is the only major world language which is generally agreed to be an isolate.

There is a rather bizarre theory that Basque shares a common origin with Georgian, and because of the theory Bilbao is twinned with Tbilisi. There are some linguists who go so far as to link these two with Tlingit, a native American language spoken by 500 or so in the Alaskan panhandle. My dissertation for my Masters degree was on Alaskan languages, so I investigated this claim and had a paper published on it. I found no convincing evidence for the theory, and I said so. Imagine my joy when, at the defense of my PhD, the external examiner was a man named Bengtson, who is the chief advocate of the Basque / Georgian / Tlingit theory ...

So did you have any joy with the Finnish nurses? I know the Tlingit for "does my ass look big in this" ...

 
djgordy
49711.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:25 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:


The Estonians too; which is why the Finns and the Ests vote for each other in the Eurovision Song Contest (allegedly). The Basque language is part of the same group of languages as well.


Sorry, I didn't mean the bit about the Basque; I had written a longer bit and then posted by mistake in the middle of an edit the phone rang.

What I meant was that the Finnish group of languages is apparanantly unrelated to the other Indo-European languages spoken in Europe, as is the Basque language.

 
suze
49725.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:04 pm Reply with quote

That's OK - at least I had the chance to air my opinion of Dr Bengtson's theory!

As you rightly say, the vast majority of the languages of Europe are Indo-European. The only extant exceptions are the Uralic languages already discussed, Basque, Maltese (which is essentially a dialect of Arabic with a load of Italian and English loanwords) and Turkish.

 
Gray
49727.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:26 pm Reply with quote

I imagined all languages are related at some point unless some of them - Basque and Korean, for example - are supposed to have evolved completely independently of the rest.

Is it like life - it's all related if you go back far enough? I suppose with life at least you have fossils to track the extinct forms, and DNA to link existing forms. Are there equivalents for language?

 
mckeonj
49729.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:38 pm Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
I imagined all languages are related at some point unless some of them - Basque and Korean, for example - are supposed to have evolved completely independently of the rest.

Is it like life - it's all related if you go back far enough? I suppose with life at least you have fossils to track the extinct forms, and DNA to link existing forms. Are there equivalents for language?

First word ever spoken was probably "Huh?"

 
djgordy
49734.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:03 pm Reply with quote

Going back to the Finnish thing, some people believe that there are links between the Finnish-Ugric group and Turkish (and possibly even Japanese). They form an umbrella group called the Ural-Altaic.

Quote:
The grammatical structures of Uralic and Altaic are quite similar, and about 70 words in each group--such as the Finnish kaly, "sister-in-law," and Uigur kalin, "bride" and "daughter-in-law"--appear to be cognates. But the correspondences between the two groups of languages are unsystematic; they could be the result of borrowing or chance. No precise predictive-productive sound laws, for instance, have been established. Alternatively, it is argued that the parallels between Uralic and Altaic are slight because the two groups split apart a long time ago.

In addition to the Ural-Altaic hypothesis, which is that Uralic and Altaic form a superfamily of languages, there is also an Indo-Uralic hypothesis, in which Uralic is linked with the INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES; a Uralic-Yukagir hypothesis, according to which Uralic and Yukagir, a Paleosiberian language, are related; a Uralic-Chukotko-Kamchatkan (another Paleosiberian language or language family) hypothesis; a Uralic-Eskaleut (Eskimo and Aleut) hypothesis (see INDIAN LANGUAGES, AMERICAN); an Altaic-Korean hypothesis; an Altaic-Japanese hypothesis; and an Altaic-Ainu hypothesis--Ainu being the language of the prehistoric inhabitants of the northern islands of Japan.


http://members.tripod.com/~Yukon_2/language2.html

This suggests that there may be a common origin for most of the languages of Eurasia and possibly the people that emigrated from there to America.

Obviously, this still leaves an awful lot of languages that aren't covered by this hypothesis.

The ability to talk comes with the species so we may guess that there was a proto-language that arose in or near the Rift Valley but there will probably be no way to be sure.

 

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