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Re: NATLANGS: Difthongization across Europa

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 9:17
On 20.2.2008 T. A. McLeay wrote:
 >  Possibly it's hard for Europeans to realise how hard it
 >  is to effectively learn a language when the only exposure
 >  to foreign languages people teach are about forty minutes
 >  twice a week in classes conducted mostly in English;

Oh I do. However I tend to assume that English is so shot
through with French vocabulary that an English speaker can
get the gist of written French more or less automagically. I
had French for three years in the _gymnasium_ but still
basically read it on the "shared vocabulary with English and
general knowledge of Latin and Romance" principle.
Apparently I picked up more of a reading knowledge than I
was aware of in spite of having my weekly 3 hrs of
wheelchair basket practice on Wednesday evenings and my
weekly 80 min of French on Thursday mornings for the first
two of those three years. That was extremely bad timing I
can tell you! My speaking and writing skills in French are
still practically nil. OTOH I picked up Latin pretty well
and easily acquired a reading and writing skill in Italian
more or less on my own -- and Esperanto, although that has
largely fallen off since. 2 1/2 hrs of English a week also
paid off, obviously.

And OTOH you're in a much better position to pick up some of
those cool Native Australian languages than I am...

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
   "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
   à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
   ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
   c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)

It is in vain that our literary Joshuas cry for language
to stop moving; neither the languages nor the sun
can stop themselves.  The day they become *fixed*
(*fix* themselves) is when they die.

Clearly a reference to the episode in the Bible when
Joshua causes God to let the sun stand still.


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>