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jsteel
373821.  Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:21 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Does Mr Soros speak Hungarian with an American accent, or is it an Esperanto accent (whatever one of those might be)?

You know suze, you are right, he speaks Hungarian with an accent (the consonants are softer and the vowels are shorter than the Budapest standard), but I thought it was a result of not being in the language-environment (strangely, at least in the case of Hungarian, it is the vowels that seem to acquire the accent first - at least this is what I'm accused with when I visit Hungary :-(). So it's quite possible that he speaks Hungarian with an Esperanto accent.

Speaking of Esperanto, in the 1920s, when belonging to the Communist Party was a criminal act in Hungary, some of the communist (and leftwing circles left of the Social Democratic Party) organised their meetings under the cover of Esperanto courses.

 
jsteel
373825.  Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:

sure it always gives us a conversation topic, no? ;-) i don't know how many times since i came here i've been asked where i'm from, and people ALWAYS get it wrong. bang, conversation started. ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

It's quite funny, because I speak both English and French with a pretty strong Hungarian accent (my excuse is that I loose a lot of things, umbrellas, gloves, scarf, but at least not my accent) and over 20 years there has been only one occasion when somebody guessed my accent correctly for the first attempt (I suppose Hungarian is still not widely heard in Western Europe) - it was in a restaurant in Bordeaux by the waiter. He refused to tell me how he could get it (first he heard me in English, then when another waiter asked about my mother tongue, in French). But I can be sure that he was not Hungarian. So I'm still left in the dark about it.

 
AlmondFacialBar
374218.  Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:53 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
True enough, AFB!

So let's see. I reckon you're accused of speaking English with an American accent, and German with an Irish accent. I dread to think what accent you speak Irish in ...


nope, i speak german with a somewhat generic ex-pat accent with northern overtones, easy enough for the trained ear. but i speak english with a mid-atlantic american accent blended with south dublin vowels and a soupcon of whoever i'm talking to at the time. i was once asked if i'm south african... usually, the americans take me for irish and the irish take me for a yank. the english, for whichever reason, tend to take me for swedish. if i don't watch my pronounciations, i tend to slip into purebred mid-atlantic, if i do i sound strangely english. i am, in short, a mess.

and if i spoke irish i'd probably do so with a cork accent...

but what i really meant to post - anyone ever seen written maltese? holy fuck! maltese is according to my knowledge the only semitic language written in latin script, and right now i have a couple of maltese tobacco packs next to me. the health warnings on them look like this:

smoking kills - it-tipjip joqtol
smoking causes fatal lung cancers - it-tipjip jagħmel kanċer fil-pulmun

so, it-tipjip is obviously "smoking". does anyone know how the struck h is pronounced? i'm just absolutely fascinated by seeing a semitic language written like that, in a way i should be able to read but can't really because it's so utterly exotic to my indoeuropean mind. just thought i'd post this, no good reason except it's blowing my mind...

and talking about non-indoeuropean languages, i find a hungarian accent quite easy to recognise, it's in the vowels...

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Sadurian Mike
374237.  Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:08 pm Reply with quote

Stalin spoke Russian with a strong Georgian accent, not having learned Russian until later in life.

 
suze
374261.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:08 am Reply with quote

AFB, I'm short of time right now so must be brief, but Maltese does indeed look rather odd. It's scarcely more than a dialect of Arabic in truth, but it's normal to regard it as a distinct language.

The salient points of the orthography: <q> is a glottal stop; <j> is /j/ as in German and Polish; <għ> is usually mute but lengthens the preceding vowel, at the end of a word it's in /h/ and /x/ territory; and <ċ> is /tʃ/.

 
AlmondFacialBar
374441.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:17 pm Reply with quote

ah, thanks! i'll spend the rest of my evening reading maltese tobacco health warnings out loud now i fear. anyone feel like expressing their sympathy for the man in my life? ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Sadurian Mike
374503.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:21 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
ah, thanks! i'll spend the rest of my evening reading maltese tobacco health warnings out loud now i fear. anyone feel like expressing their sympathy for the man in my life? ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

Not whilst he has you, no.

 
AlmondFacialBar
374510.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:45 pm Reply with quote

it's so obvious you've never met me in 3d... ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Sadurian Mike
374608.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:59 pm Reply with quote

The terms of that restraining order are particularly harsh.

 
AlmondFacialBar
374614.  Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:04 pm Reply with quote

well, that's what happens if you sue yourself... ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Erasmus Cunk
463829.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:31 pm Reply with quote

What an absolutely fascinating topic!

I find myself becoming more and more interested in linguistics since I started visiting these boards, thanks largely to the extremely eloquent and informative posts written by suze and AlmondFacialBar, among others.

An area I find particularly interesting is the concept of 'mutual intelligibility', and how it relates to the difference between what are regarded as different dialects, and what are regarded as different languages.

If, for example, some time in the 18th century, someone from rural Somerset met someone from Newcastle, would they be able to understand each other? Obviously I'm making certain assumptions here, namely that neither of them had ever encountered anyone who spoke with an accent different to their own, and that each accent would probably be stronger than those of their respective regions today (reasonable assumptions given the time?).

If Wurzel and Geordie were unable to understand each other, even when speaking slowly and clearly, is there any linguistic reason why they couldn't be regarded as speaking different languages, rather than dialects?

I understand the difference between what is considered a language and a dialect is primarily political, but from a purely linguistic standpoint, where is the line drawn? Assuming there is a line, rather than a big fuzzy blob, that is.

 
suze
463946.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:11 pm Reply with quote

The person of Somerset and the person of Newcastle would, I think, have been able to understand each other, but with some difficulty.

While it is indeed likely that the accents would have been stronger than today, that's not usually insurmountable - consider that we actually can generally understand those people from call centres in India, much as we sometimes find it convenient to pretend otherwise.

Even in the nineteenth century, a number of science texts have noted that Michael Faraday from London and Humphry Davy from Penzance had some difficulties in understanding one another. But they worked together for fifteen years or so, so clearly the language issue wasn't insurmountable.

The dialect words would have been the biggest difficulty that the Wurzel and the Geordie would encounter - but in the majority of cases, either speaker would be able to use a different word for anything that wasn't understood, or to provide a definition.

The difference between a language and a dialect really is exceptionally blurred - even if we discount the politicians' take on the matter, linguists just don't agree.

Is the poetry of Burns in English? A significant proportion of linguists (especially Scottish and American ones) answer "no" here, but we don't really struggle too much with it. Conversely, most linguists would argue that SchwyzertŁtsch (Swiss German) is but a dialect of German; but a person from rural Switzerland and a person from rural Schleswig-Holstein would need to converse in a schoolbook German that is neither's usual way of speaking (or indeed, they might just find it easier to converse in English).

Once we arrive at a situation where speakers cannot effectively communicate, then it seems reasonable to say that they are speaking different languages. And I'd not argue too much if that were how you chose to decide on the matter, but in by no means all cases is it the conventional understanding.

 
bobwilson
464135.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:57 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
consider that we actually can generally understand those people from call centres in India, much as we sometimes find it convenient to pretend otherwise.


I fully understand the words that they're uttering - but I can't make sense of what they're saying. If, in response to a direct question, somebody tells me that there is nobody to whom they report that means they own the company. It isn't their accents, or their lack of English, that I object to. It's the blatant dishonesty. Either they have a supervisor or they do not have a supervisor. If I ask to speak to a supervisor and they tell me there is no supervisor then that means they own the company.

Quote:
Once we arrive at a situation where speakers cannot effectively communicate, then it seems reasonable to say that they are speaking different languages.


I don't speak politicianese. I don't recognise terms such as "Extraordinary Rendition" - I call that kidnapping (with extreme menace). I don't recognise "Collateral Damage" - I call that bombing civilians. I don't recognise "economical with the truth" - I call that lying. If I need a dictionary to translate from English to English; if effective communication is prevented by the use of metaphors and similes; is that a different language? BlairScottian?

 
zomgmouse
464137.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:05 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Quote:
consider that we actually can generally understand those people from call centres in India, much as we sometimes find it convenient to pretend otherwise.


I fully understand the words that they're uttering - but I can't make sense of what they're saying. If, in response to a direct question, somebody tells me that there is nobody to whom they report that means they own the company. It isn't their accents, or their lack of English, that I object to. It's the blatant dishonesty. Either they have a supervisor or they do not have a supervisor. If I ask to speak to a supervisor and they tell me there is no supervisor then that means they own the company.


Here you are bob; I think this supports what you're saying.

 
Zebra57
654344.  Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:17 am Reply with quote

Qi to look through the entries. As far as language spoken in the UK until recent time Norn was spoken in the Shetlands.

I read a list of UK languages from a UN source which lists Romany, Traveller Scots and Traveller Irish.

It also lists Polari - a language spoken in theatrical circles.

Three Qi facts:

When the King of the Scots visited the King of the Picts he needed a translator according to Bede.

When William the Conqueror invaded England the dialect of Yorkshire had a strong Danish influence. Some academics claim that a person from London would find it difficult to understand someone from York.

Henry viii refused to allow Cornwall to have its own cathedral (I read somewhere that the long demolished Bodmin Abbey was a candidate) as he feared Cornish nationalism.

 

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