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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....


Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>