Re: I may not be a bearded, left-handed, gay Lithuanian, but...
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 3:01|
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On 5/30/06, Thomas Leigh <thomas@...> wrote:
>> veritosproject wrote:
>> > And..._why_, oh _why_, are you trying to learn Latvian?
>> Why _wouldn't_ anybody want to learn Latvian?! :-)
> Indeed. But I'd take that further - why wouldn't anybody want to
> learn *any* given language? Languages are awesome. You should
> collect lots of them. Which doesn't mean that you should strive for
> conversational fluency in Etruscan (good luck with that!), but
> studying the basic structure and some core vocabulary of as many
> languages for which you can get your "grubby little hands" on
> materials is amazingly edifying. Will prompt all sorts of ideas for
> your artlang, if nothing else. Even if you don't actually remember
> enough of what you've studied to say "hi" to the next ancient Etruscan
> you meet...
I know the feeling. I still remember reading R.M.W. Dixon's grammars of
Dyirbal and Yidiny back in the 80's, and finding out about the
ergative/absolutive case system. It's something that had never occurred
to me, and yet it seemed so natural that I started using ergativity in a
couple of my languages. Yasaro's pitch accent system is based on what
I've read about Serbo-Croatian. I can't remember specifically what other
features of my languages have been inspired by reading about natlangs
(besides the early ones that were clearly based on what I knew at the
time, Spanish and French), but I'm sure the influences must be there.
My problem is that I can't stick with one language and try to learn it
in any depth. I started out trying to actually read the books and learn
a little about each language, but it got to the point where I was buying
language books just to add to my collection. So for instance, I have a
Routledge "Colloquial Latvian" book, but I've probably spent no more
than a couple hours reading through it, and I don't remember much....