Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: language paper

From:Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Date:Saturday, January 3, 2004, 2:46
--- Robert Jung <RobertMJung@...> wrote:
> Would anyone like to review my language paper?
Sure! Has this been turned in yet?
> We were assigned a thing at school where you > have to write a 5-? essay about what one thinks > is "the greatest gift one could give or > receive". I thought of language, of course! :)
But of course!
> THE GREATEST GIFT > > > > Language is the greatest gift. I believe this > because then there would be no communication > and no technology etc.
Teachers, at least when I was at school, hated "etc". They always wanted us to either state some of the things there would be none of or else leave the "etc" off altogether. "Etc" is a throwaway word - it says to your teacher 'I know there's stuff there, but I can't be bothered in listing them out for you'. It seems like there might be a "...without language." missing at the end of this sentence. As it stands, it looks like you believe language is a great gift because there is no communication or technology. I'm sure this is unintended!! In view of your conclusion, I'd say the beginning is a little weak. See comments at end.
> We use it every day; > without it we couldn't express some things. And > without its diversity, there would be one less > thing to study, and life wouldn't be so > interesting. If we all spoke logically, we > wouldn't have anything to laugh about like > "That's driving me bananas" to non-English > speakers, misinterpreting of French "demander" > ("to ask"), or even "grammatically" from > "grammar" or "interpretation" from "to > interpret" (shouldn't they be "grammarically" > and "interpretion"?!).
Ho, yes! There's ALWAYS laffing at forners! ;)
> Language is nice to > listen to, too (choices differ though, of > course). But now many languages are dying (or > have already died), and we are losing a lot of > diversity.
Perhaps "as well" in stead of "too"? Just to avoid the repetition. You might look at Ethnologue to get an idea of how many languages there are and give your teacher some idea of what's being lost! Teachers always appreciate students who go an extra length in doing their assignments.
> Without language, no thoughts or feelings could > be expressed or shared and no real, advanced > learning (or teaching) could take place. > Without speech, we would not be where we are > today. Nothing of such magnitude could be told > of to others, too. We would be merely a bunch > of robots, unable to communicate, stuck in our > own world. So it is very important!
Perhaps some examples? What things of such magnitude would be left unsaid? What special documents or speeches might never have existed without language?
> Without its diversity, language would not be > interesting or worth studying; this is what > makes it so fascinating. English has 26 letters > (and over forty sounds), while Hawaiian has > merely thirteen (a, e, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, > u, w, ? - where ? represents a glottal stop), > Rotokas merely eleven (a e i k o p r s t u v), > and Pirahã ­erely ten (
> ). Finnish uses vowel length to distinguish > words (tuli "fire", tuuli "breeze", tulli > "customs/duties/tariffs"); Mandarin uses tone > (pitch) to distinguish words (ma "mother",
má ¦gt; "hemp", mâ ¦#34;horse", mà ¦#34;curse"); and French
> uses nasalisation ("bon") etc...
There's that damned "etc" again! Since you're on French, perhaps bon/bonne, tan/tanne.
> English has > "he/she", French has "il/elle" and "ils/elles", > and Arabic has anta ("you-singular/masculine") > and anti ("you-singular/feminine"); Hawaiian > has kᵡ "you and I", mᵡ "he/she and I", > k᫯u "you, he/she/they, and I", m᫯u "they > and I", ?oe "you-singular", ?olua "you-dual", > ?oukou "you-trial/plural". English uses > adjectives ("good"), Japanese uses stative > verbs ("be-good") etc.
If you can, and it's not too much trouble, you might write the native forms in parentheses.
> English relies upon word > order to express some elementary grammatical > functions ("British left waffles on the > Falkland Islands"), Hungarian has many suffixes > (hạ魢an "in my houses"), Japanese uses most > of its affixes on verbs > (tabesaseraretakunakatta "I did not want to be > made to eat", tabesaseraretagaranakatta to > omotte orimasen deshita "I did not think he did > not want to be made to eat"), and West > Greenlandic has ininnukalaarniarlungaana "The > thing is, I'm going to my room for a bit".
> The beauty of language -- the sounds, the > words, the differences -- is really incredible. > From Japanese's vowel-plentiful syllables (in > fact, English "club" became kurabu), to the > Slavic consonant clusters,
> to the long Finnish > and native American (and even Japanese!) words > one can create, to the Vietnamese tones... The > list goes on and on, of all the differences and > of all the "strange" or > challenging-to-understand features. This is why > we need to preserve these languages for future > generations to learn/study and enjoy! They are > valuable, and we must not continue to lose > them! > > > > In conclusion, I would like to remind you once > again that languages are really quite > important, and should be protected. They are > not irrelevent because, for example, they are > "not useful in this age of globalization and > technology". They are (or were) modes of speech > for some people, and can teach us lessons about > how people think (or thought). Language is a > jewel of mankind that should not be lost. The > minority languages should not have to suffer > because of globalization and the usefulness of > English, of French, or of Spanish etc. - they > do not deserve to die. We must not continue to > lose their fascinating ways of expressing > things; languages are things to be celebrated. > So we must work to document and preserve our > languages!
Some good ideas in there. I note that you start out with the thesis that "language is just generally cool", but end up pro language preservation. You might straighten that out. Either stick with the language is cool angle, or start out with the thesis that language is a great gift and should be preserved for the future. Let us know how it turns out! Padraic. ===== la cieurgeourea provoer mal trasfu ast meiyoer ke 'l andrext ben trasfu. -- Ill Bethisad -- <> Come visit The World! -- <> .