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Re: NATLANGS: Difthongization across Europa

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 12:10
On 20/02/08 20:17:02, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
> 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...
Ahh ... seriously? I'm probably in a better position to pick up French than any indigenous languages. Pick your favorite European country and there's probably more of them in Melbourne than there are people who speak an aboriginal language. Things produced by local councils will have numbers to call for a translation listing any number of languages from Europe, the Middle East, the Subcontinent, Asia and Africa, even languages I've never heard of like "Nuää"[1], but none of them are ever aboriginal languages. When the government wants to name something after a local aboriginal word, they get the local aboriginal history organisation to research it. You might've seen in the papers recently that our new government has apologised to the Aborigines (I gather it was covered in American news): This was an apology for one of the earliest policies of the Commonwealth government, which was to assimilate aborigines into Australian culture. Of course, in some areas it wasn't very hard because they'd already been essentially whiped out by previous generations, both deliberately and accidentally. (This isn't entirely our fault tho; I gather that a lot of surviving aboriginal communities aren't very keen on outsiders using their language. Aboriginal taboos are quite strict and numerous. Which is funny, because there was a letter in today's _Age_ pleading us to keep "c---" as a swear word because it's about the only one mainstream Australian culture has left.) [1] Anyone with any idea where that comes from? I've tried putting it into google, but apparently NUAA is a much more common acronym. -- Tristan.


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>