Esperanto's Evil Twin (or, Languages within Languages)
|From:||Danny Wier <dawier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, September 15, 1999, 17:35|
Lately I've been doing pretty much nothing but brainstorming and researching
natlangs. I have lately taken up an interest in Dravidian languages, and
Malayalam in particular. (My second cousin lived in Kerala State, India --
a.k.a. Paradise -- for a year, and I wanna do the same. Really bad.
Anybody got a few thousand dollars US?)
My preliminary research on Malayalam shows that it's closest to Tamil, but
unlike the latter which has undergone a "purification" movement in Tamil
Nadu, Malayalam is rich with loanwords from Sanskrit/Prakrit/Pali/Hindi (of
course), Syriac and Greek (Christianity), Arabic/Persian/Urdu (Islam),
Portuguese and English. This results in layers of languages upon languages,
with languages bundled together according to the related culture. (Other
excellent examples of mixed languages of this ilk are English, Hungarian,
Romany, Swahili, Japanese...)
This led me to Tech, and how it too has layers upon layers of loanwords --
in fact, especially in the case of Semitic, it borrowed entire languages!
Not only root words, but grammatical features as well.
The most recent influence on Techian society came with exodus to the New
World. Many were slaves of masters who spoke English, French, Portuguese,
Spanish, Dutch and so on. The organization of tribal elders (which were
often able to accumulate enough money to buy freedom for Techian and other
slaves) kept the language alive in secret. But after emancipation of slaves
in the 19th century, gains made in civil rights in the 20th, and settlement
of their homeland in the 21st, most Techians ended up speaking some sort of
creole or pidgin, like Papiamentu.
So the elders and chieftains worked on how to standardize (and elaborate on)
this colonial element in the language. They decided to create a form of
Germano-Latin -- but not an IAL like Esperanto; rather they attempted to
preserve the grammatical complexity of German and Latin while employing the
lexical modernity of international English and French terms.
This "language within a language" is called _maghrebi_ (from the Arabic word
for "west", of course). Incidentally, Techians had much contact with Indian
emigres in places like Trinidad, Suriname and Texas; Techia also had
extensive interrelations with India in trade and knowledge. So a _mashreqi_
sub-language developed based on Sanskrit, but with massive Arabo-Persian and
Dravidian inroads. (So Arabic had an impact on Tech three times, if you
count Spanish/Portuguese and its Arabic affinities!)
Or maybe I'm just relexing Arabic with mad intentions. More later.
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