One Man's French is Another's Hacking up a Furball (was: Thought and Language)
|From:||Douglas Koller <laokou@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, December 17, 1998, 10:00|
Tom Wier wrote:
> Anyways, I now think that after many years of study, I have a much
> greater appreciation of German, and in some sense consider it
> a much richer and fuller language than others I've studied,
> For some reason, I like languages that have a "crisp" sound to
> them, like Latin and Greek, ones that have definitive beginnings and
> ends, as it were. I don't really know how to explain it. Hmmm. :)
> I've babbled enough. What do y'all think?
German gets a bad rap IMHO. The umlauts, the gutterals -- enchanting
(and the influence on Ge'arthnuns phonology glaringly obvious). Another
one everyone likes to dis is Cantonese -- even Chinese speakers make fun
of it ("It is more pleasant to listen to two beggars haggle over a piece
of fish in Suzhou dialect than it is to listen to two lovers bill and
coo in Cantonese."). But all those tones, and I'm a sucker for [Y], [y],
and [YI] anyway...
The one that gets me is Taiwanese. You want unpleasant nasals, I'll give
you unpleasant nasals. But keeping in mind Jerry's comment that:
> So much depends on whether the speaker is a poet or a drill sergeant.
it's because everyone uses it to carp and rag all over one another. It
also carries a rube-ishness stigma for me, so it's clearly more what the
dialect connotes than how it actually sounds - the Chinese answer to
"Hee Haw". If only people would turn down the volume and the histrionics
when they spoke it. Almost the only variety I find pleasant to listen to
is newscaster Taiwanese, which, of course, the natives find cold and
distant and lacking in that nostalgic, folksy, downhome flavor.
At first blush, Korean doesn't sound all that nice to my ear --
Mongolian sounds like someone is playing a record backwards. I've