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Re: "Useful languages"

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Thursday, February 14, 2002, 8:44
To answer several posts at once:

Czech also has some frightening consonants, especially the r-caron, which is
considered by Guinness to be the most difficult sound to master. (The folks at
Guinness obviously never heard of Ubykh or !Xu~.)

And Serbo-Croatian also has those unwritten tonal accents. Lithuanian in regular
usage has this same challenge.

So other than English, Irish and French, which languages have the most complex
rules of orthography and phonetics? I'm thinking Korean offhand because certain
consonants in clusters are omitted through assimilation, and Modern Greek uses
some really strange diagraphs. Persian also comes to mind, mainly because the
language is usually not written with vowels, but does have quite a few minimal
pairs or triples (a~e~o, and also i~ay and u~aw) -- and spoken Farsi is quite
often pronounced different than what is written. Pashto is even more anomylous.
Tamil has lenition of intervocalic and postnasal consonants, where t(t)~ D~(n)d,
which is not indicated in writing.

And I guess Chinese and Japanese (in the case of Kanji), and older Korean
(Hanja) could be included, for what it's worth....


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