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Could anyone expand on the aforsaid or how language dominance is conventionally defined in the linguistic field?

Secondly, how does one go about creating a primordial alphabet and morpheme or grammar distinct from the attested ones?
 
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Could anyone expand on the aforsaid or how language dominance is conventionally defined in the linguistic field?

I would assume that language dominance has to do with a situation where a conqueror or colonizer culture imposed its language on a subjugated people. Cf. Latin during the Roman empire, or Arabic during the spread of Islam. You might want to check out this article.

Secondly, how does one go about creating a primordial alphabet and morpheme or grammar distinct from the attested ones?

I'm not quite sure what your question here is. Are you trying to create an artificial language that does not share so-called universal traits of other extant languages? It's the word primordial which threw me. Most writing systems known to us are descendants from two or three anicent writing systems: Chinese characters, Anicent Semitic alphabet, etc.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I'm wondering, to what extent can an artificial language be an authentic original creation. In its morphology phonemics + semantics. One that developed, primoridaly, and not from an existing language?
 
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There are two kinds of artifical languages (aka conlangs, i.e., constructed languages): a priori, where the grammar and vocabulary are created, and a posteriori, where the vocabulary and grammar are based on existing natural languages. You might look at two of the more famous and popular conlangs, Esperanto and Lojban. The former looks familiar to speakers of most IE languages, but the latter is rather different, though the vocabulary is derived from the world's top 5 languages by a specific method. Another conlang that is popular but really quite strange is Klingon. It was invented by a linguist for the Star Trek motion pictures and TV series. The grammar and the dictionary (one book) of Klingon is considered the IP of Paramount Pictures.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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In Shipley's dictionary, when he places for eg. pel I, pel II, pel III, etc... are these roots cognates or roots that sound alike? Should pel I, II, and III be counted as one root or several?
 
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Should pel I, II, and III be counted as one root or several?

If he's following conventional practice, they're homonyms.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Thus far, I've counted, with a slight margin of error, at least, 334 of Shipley's IE-English roots have Irano-Aryan forms. I gather, there are approximately 535 in total. Does his dictionary include the PIE forms of all IE. languages or just English. Anotherwords, there are PIE forms of other IE. languages apart from English, that were not included in the text?

$ = has Irano-Aryan cognates

abel
ag
agh
agher $
agu(e)si
aguhno
ai I
ai II
aidh
aier $
aig
aios $
aiu $
ak $
aks $
akua $
al I
al II $
al III
albh
ambhi $
amer
amma $
an $
andh $
andho
ane $
angh $
anghui $
ank $
ano
ant $
ap, apo $
apsa
ar I $
ar II $
are
arek
arg $
ari $
?arkh
arq
?asinus
at
atos
atr
au I
au II
au III
au IV
aud
aue $
auei $
aues $
aug $
akua
au(s) $
baba
?baca
bak
bamb
bat
bel
beu; bhel; bhleu $
bha I $
bha II
bhad $
bhag $
bhaghu
bhago
bhar $
bhareku
bhares $
bhasko
bhau(t)
bhe
bhedh
bheg $
bhegu
bhei
bheid $
bheigu
bhel I $
bhel II
bheld
bhelk
bhendh $
bhengh
bher I
bher II $
bher(e)gh $
bherem
bhereu
bhes I $
bhes II
bheu $
bheudh
bheug I
bheug II
bheug II
bhili
bhlag
bhoso
bhrag
bhrater $
bhreg, bhrei
bhreus $
bhru $
bhrud $
bhudh
bhugo
bhugo
bhuko
bhurig
?bibli
?bomb
?border
braghu, mreghu $
buff
?burd
?burs
ca
caca
cal
caput $
?char
coc
?cruc
cub, qeb
cucu
?cura, coir
da I
da II $
dakru $
dam
dau
de, do $
dei $
deik $
dek I $
dek II $
dekm $
del I $
del II
del II I$
dem $
denk $
dens
deph
der $
derb
d(e)re
derk
deru $
deu
deuk $
dhabh
dhal
dhar $
dhe $
dhe II $
dheie
dheigh $
dheigh N $
dhe(I) I
dhel II, dheub
dhem
dhembh
dh(e)r $
dh(e)ragh
dhers $
dheu I $
dheu II
dheubh
dheugh
dhregh
dhreibh
dhren
dhreu $
dhrigh
dhugeter $
dhun
dhur $
dinghu $
dlku
do $
duei
duo $
?ebri
ed $
eg I $
eg II
eg III
eghs
egni
ei I $
ei II
eik $
eir, ir $
eis $
eku $
el
?elaia
(e)lei
em
en $
endher $
enek $
engu $
enos
er $
ere
ergh, rei, res $
ert
es $
esu
eti
etman
eu $
eudh
euoi
eus
?fin $
?frons
fur
ga
gal, gar $
gar $
garg
gel I, ghel
gel II $
gembh
geme(e) $
gen
geph
ger I $
ger II
ger III
ger IV $
ger V, gren $
?ger VI
gerbh $
?ges
geu
ghaido
ghais
ghaiso
ghans $
ghau $
ghdhem $
ghdhies $
ghdhu
ghe
ghebh
ghedh
ghel I
ghel II
g(h)enu $
gher I
gher II $
gher III
gher IV
gher V
ghers
gheslo
gheu
ghi$
ghou(e)
ghre
ghrebh I
ghrebh II $
ghredk(????)
ghreib
ghrem
ghren
ghuer
gib
gieu $
?gigas
?glact
gleubh
glokh
?glor
gn, gen $
?grand
gras
gru
gua, gue(n) $
guadh
gue $
guebh
guei $
guel I
guel II $
guel III
guelbh $
guen $
guer
guet $
guhdhei
guhdher
guhen
guher $
guhisl $
guhren
gultur $
guretso
?gutta
ha
?haifst
?honos $
?hule
hum, hmmm, ahem
I
ia
iag I
ie
ieg $
iegua
?ieiun
iek
ieku-rt $
iem $
ies $
ieu $
ieug, ius $
ieuos $
?im
Ios $
?iso
iu $
?jing
ka $
kad $
kadh
kagh
kaghlo
kai
kaiko????
kailo $
kait
kaito
kak
kal
kam $
kan $
kand $
kann $
kanth
kap $
kaph $
kapr $
kar, krak $
kars
kas $
kas(tr)
kat
kau I
kau II
kau III
kaul
ke
keg
kei I $
ke II
keiro, koiro
keku
kel I
kel II, kla $
kel III
kel IV $
kel V
kel VI $
kel VII
kel VIII, (s)kel
kel I $
kelb
keleuo
kelp, (s)kelp
kem I
kem II
kem III
kem IV
ken I
ken II
ken III
ken IV
keneko
kenk I
kenk II $
kenk III $
kens $
kent
ker I, (s)ker(b) $
ker II
ker IV, kr $
keru
ker VI
ker VII $
kerd $
kerdh $
kere $
ker(s) I
kers II $
kert
keu
keu II $
keuero
keup $
?khalk
kista
kla
kleg $
klei $
kleng
klep
kleu I $
kleu II
kleu III
klou
kn, ken, kneu $
kneiguh
knid
ko $
kob
kogkhos
kokhlos
kokila $
kolem
kollei
kom
konemo
konk
?konops
?kophin
kormo $
koro $
kosel
kost
krapo
kred $
kred II
(k)rek
krep $
kreu $
kreup
kreut
krup
krut
ksei $
ksero $
ksun
?kuberna?????
kue
kuei I $
kuei II
kuei III $
kueis
kueit $
keul $
keulp
kuenth
kuep
kuer $
?kuere
kuerp
kues $
kuet
kuetuer $
kuknos
kuno $
kuo $
kurmi
kus $
lab
labh, rabh
ladh
?laed
laiuo
laks
laku
lal
?laos
lap
?lapid
las
lat
lau
leb, (s)lab $
leg I $
leg II
legh $
leguh $
lei I
lei II
leib
leid I
leid II
leig I
leig II $
leigh
leiku
leip II
leis $
leit
leith
leizd
lek I
lek II
lem $
lendh I
lendh II
lento
?leo
lep I
lep II
letro
leu I $
leu II
leu III
leubh $
leud
leudh
leug $
leugh $
leuk $
leup
lino
lthra
lou $
lus
ma I
ma II $
mad $
mag
magh $
maghos $
mai I
mai II
mak $
maken
man??? $
mano
man???? $
?map
?margar
mari
marko
?mas
mat
math $
mavor
mazdos $
me I $
me II $
me III $
me IV $
med $
medhi $
medhu $
mei I
mei II $
mei III
mei IV $
mei V
meigh
meik $
meino
mel I, (s)mel
mel II
mel III
mel IV
mel V
melg
melit
melo
mems
men I $
men II $
men II
men IV $
mend
menegh $
menth
mer I
mer II $
merbh
?merc
mek $
meu I, meud, (s)meug $
meu II $
mezg I
mezg II
?miles
?mimo
mlub
mo
mod
modhro
mok
mom, mum
momo
mori$
mormur
moro
morui
mozzo
mregh-m(n)o
mu
mus $
mut
?muth
nabh, ombh $
nana
nas $
nau I
nau II $
ndher $
ne $
nebh $
ned
nei $
nekut $
nem $
nepot $
ner
nert
nes
netr $
neu I
neu II
neud $
?neuh $
neun, eneuen $
neuos, nu $
ni $
?niger
?nitron
nogu $
not
?nous
?o
Od
odi $
oino $
oito
(o)iua $
okto $
oku $
ol I
ol II
oma, am
ombher
om(s)
oner
onogh $
onomen $
op I $
op II
?opak
or, os $
orbh
orghi $
ors
os
ost, oss $
?oti
oui
ous, au $
ozd
pa $
paen $
pag, pak $
pal, pol
pan $
?pare
past
ped $
peg
pei
peig, peik
peik, peig $
peisk
pek I
pek II $
peku
pel I
pel II
pel III
pel IV
pel V
pel V, ple $
pel Vi
pel VII
pela, plak, plat $
pele
pen
pend $
penkue $
pent $
per $
per N $
perd $
perk $
?pers
pes, pet I $
pet II $
peter $
?peti
peu I
peu II $
peue
p(e)ug
peuor $
phol
?phula$
p(i)lo
pip
?pippa
piss
?pius
plab
plak
?plaud
pleik
ple$
pleu
pleus
plor
plou
?plumbum
pneu
po(I)
poieo
pol
?popul
porko $
porko II
porpu $
poti $
pou $
prai $
?pres
preu $
preus
?prika
prokto
(p)ster
pu $
puk
rad I, red
rad II
rap
?re, ned???
rebh
reg I $
reg II
reg III
rei I
rei II
reidh $
reig I
reig II
rendh
rep I
rep II
rep III
ret
reth $
reu
r(e)udh $
reu(g)
reuos
reup, reub
?ride
rkthos $
?rud
sa $
sab $
sag
sai
sak
sakkara $
sal I $
sal II
?sang
sano
sap
sauel, suen $
saus $
se I $
se II $
sed $
segh $
sei
seiku $
sek $
seks, seuks $
seku I $
seku II
sel I $
sel II
sel III
sel IV
selk
selp
sem I $
sem II $
semi $
sen $
sengu
senguh $
seni $
senk
sent $
sep
septem $
ser I $
ser II $
ser III
serk
serp
seu I
seu II
seu III $
seug
?silva
s(i)u
skai
(s)kamb
skand
(s)kel $
skelo
(s)keng
skren
sketh
(s)keu $
skeub
(s)keud
(s)keup
(s)khal
skot $
(s)krei
(s)kualo
skut
(s)lagu
slak
(s)leidh
slenk
(s)leu
(s)leubh
(s)li
smarakt
(s)me
smegh
(s)mei I
smei II
(s)meit $
?(s)meld
(s)mer $
smerd
smeru
(s)meugh
(s)na $
(s)ne
sneg
(s)neiguh $
sneit
(s)ner I
(s)ner II
(s) neubh $
solo $
so(s), se $
speik, (s)pik
(s)peis
spek $
spel
?spelug$
spend I
(s)pend II
sper I
sper II $
sper III
sp(h)ei I $
sp(h)ei II
sp(h)el I
sp(h)el II
sp(h)er I
sp(*h)er II
(s)p(h)er(e)g $
(s)p(h)ieu
(s)pingo
(s)pleid
(s)poim
?(s)pong
srebh
srep
sreu $
(s)rig
sta $
stag
stak $
stebh????
(s)teg $
steg(h)
stei
steibh, steip
steig $
steigh
stel
sten
(s)tene
ster I, stel, (s)tera???? $
(s)ter II
ster III
ster IV
(s)teu $
(s)teue
stoman $
strebh
streig, streng
stre(p)
(s)trid, strig
suad $
suard
sue, se $
suei I
suei II
sueid I
sueid II $
(s)uekuos
suel
suem
suen $
suep I $
suep II
(s)uer I???? $
(s)uer II, sur $
(s)uer III, (s)qet(p) $
suesor $
sui, sei
suombh
suord
sus $
t, th $
ta, ti
tag I
tag II
tak
?taka
?tara
taur $
tekh(s) $
tekhu(s) $
tel, tal
tem
teme $
temp $
ten, ton $
teng $
tep
t(e)r I $
t(e)r II, ter
t(e)r III, tar??? $
Ter(eq), torq $
terp
ters $
t(e)u
t(e)u(e) $
teuta
tit, tik $
to, tu $
toe
tol, tel, tal, (t)la
tolku
tong $
top
tragh
tre, tri $
treb
trep
treud
trozdos
tuegh
tueis
tuer I
tuer II
tuerk $
ua I
ua II
uab
uad
uadh
uag I, uag $
uag II
uagh, (s)uagh
uai
uak
ual $
ual(s)
uat
ud $
udero
ue, aue, uen $
uebh(s)??? $
Ued
uedh $
ueg I
ueg II $
uegh $
ueguh
uei $
ueid $
u(e)idh $
ueik I $
ueik II
ueik III
ueip, ueib
ueis
uek(s) $
uel I
uel II $
uel II $
uelk
uelt
uelu
uem $
uen $
uendh $
uer I
uer II $
uer III
uer IV
uer V
uer VI $
uer VII $
u(e)rad
(u)er(e)dh
uerg $
uero
uers $
ues I $
ues II $
ue(s)h
uesper
ue(s)r $
uet
ugu, ud $
uid
uidhu
?uio
uiro $
ul
ulkuo $
ulp $
upo $
ureg $
?urod $
?x
?xenos
?yack
yap
?zip
zoilism

Feel free to fill in the blanks with Irano-Aryan forms ancient or new. Thanks.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by mojobadshah:
Could anyone expand on the aforsaid or how language dominance is conventionally defined in the linguistic field?

Secondly, how does one go about creating a primordial alphabet and morpheme or grammar distinct from the attested ones?


On language dominance I want to refer you to my response to zmjezd's response to your's on your second question.
On "primordial alphabet and morpheme...you would benefit consulting chap. 9 of Daniel Tammet's book BORN ON A BLUE DAY. I have found his experience real fascinating.
 
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I don't think that anyone who has taken the slightest interest in the English language can have any doubt at all of its mongrel nature. English has absorbed words, phrases and expressions from hundreds - maybe thousands - of languages. This is, I suggest, one of the reasons for its pre-eminence.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I don't think that anyone who has taken the slightest interest in the English language can have any doubt at all of its mongrel nature. English has absorbed words, phrases and expressions from hundreds - maybe thousands - of languages. This is, I suggest, one of the reasons for its pre-eminence.


I don't see why. English isn't the only language that borrows a lot of foreign words. Japanese and spoken Hindi contain a large number of English borrowings. I think it's more likely that English is so popular because of political and social factors - it's perceived as a prestigious and useful language to learn.
 
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quote:
English isn't the only language that borrows a lot of foreign words.

Of course not. But I'll bet it borrows more than any other language. By most of the estimates I've seen (and discussed on this very board) English has more words than any other language as well - many of them borrowed.

It's not the only reason for the pre-eminence of English, of course, but it is surely one. I believe that languages that try to "preserve their purity" are likely to weaken - just as can happen with over-inbred dogs.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
It's not the only reason for the pre-eminence of English, of course, but it is surely one. I believe that languages that try to "preserve their purity" are likely to weaken - just as can happen with over-inbred dogs.


But I still don't see the connection between borrowing a lot of words and being a pre-eminent language.

By pre-eminent do you mean "popular"?
 
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It's a question of vigour and strength. English is a scrappy mongrel of a language that will take on any other and probably win.

Compare French - once the equal of English - and now relatively unimportant in the eyes of that part of the world that doesn't happen to be French-speaking. And also a language that is hugely concerned with maintaining its purity.

And by pre-eminent I mean popular - and important - and widely understood - and widely used. All the things that mean it is overall the most important language.


Richard English
 
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OK but you still haven't explained how borrowing a lot of words makes a language popular.
 
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It's not a simple cause and solution equation - 10% borrowed words equals 25% more popularity - that would be silly. But it's just part of the overall mix. More words, more flexibility or expression. More new words, more up to date. More foreign imports, greater recognition by the exporting country.

Imported words, like imported people, add to the cultural and knowledge mix of the language and the nation respectively. My theory is that both will usually lead to stronger languages and stronger nations.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
More foreign imports, greater recognition by the exporting country.

Imported words, like imported people, add to the cultural and knowledge mix of the language and the nation respectively. My theory is that both will usually lead to stronger languages and stronger nations.


I don't believe that a larger vocabulary means more flexibility of expression, since that implies that speakers of languages with smaller vocabularies than English are less able to express themselves, and there's no evidence for this afaik.

I don't see how a larger vocabulary makes a language more up to date either. I guess you mean the language has new words to describe new technology, but we don't necessarily need to create new lexical items to describe new technology, and this brings up the difficult question of exactly what a word is anyway.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
More foreign imports, greater recognition by the exporting country.


I suppose that's possible.
 
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speakers of languages with smaller vocabularies than English are less able to express themselves, and there's no evidence for this afaik.

Obviously every speaker of any language is able to express him or herself. But the greater the choice of vocabulary the greater the choice of ways of verbal expression.

quote:
but we don't necessarily need to create new lexical items to describe new technology
Really? And how would you describe satisfactorily the various aspects of modern technology that have become parts of our lives over the last century - or even the last decade. Try to describe the functions and component parts of, say, your motor car without using 20th century words.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
quote:
speakers of languages with smaller vocabularies than English are less able to express themselves, and there's no evidence for this afaik.

Obviously every speaker of any language is able to express him or herself. But the greater the choice of vocabulary the greater the choice of ways of verbal expression.


Maybe, but I'm not sure why that should make English popular. You'd think that a good lingua franca would be one with a small vocabulary that's easy to learn.

quote:
Really? And how would you describe satisfactorily the various aspects of modern technology that have become parts of our lives over the last century - or even the last decade. Try to describe the functions and component parts of, say, your motor car without using 20th century words.


For instance, television in German is Fernsehen. I admit this argument is weak since Fernsehen is a separate lexical item and the whole problem of how to define a word. But it seems to me that you wouldn't necessarily need to increase your vocabulary to describe new technology, since languages are always adding and losing words, and they could add them and lose them at the same rate.
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Richard English:
Compare French - once the equal of English - and now relatively unimportant in the eyes of that part of the world that doesn't happen to be French-speaking. And also a language that is hugely concerned with maintaining its purity.
/QUOTE]

Hey there, RE, not so fast! Take a gander at any French blog these days to assure yourself that mainstream French has departed from the days of Académie rigueur and continues to do so, much to the chagrin of the old guard I expect.

For an exploration of the meaning of "language dominance", you can't do better than George Weber's "Ten Most Influential Languages", an article which is still often quoted. His method considers many different factors and is worth a look. By the way, French actually scored No.2 (behind English, and just ahead of Spanish)!

Some of the figures quoted at La Francophonie dans le Mondeclarify why French is still right up there in influence. To me, the most telling is that it was still as recently as 10 yrs ago the second (again, to English) most frequently taught language in the world. Maybe the next time they count, the American classroom trend toward Spanish will nudge them to third, who knows.

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and they could add them and lose them at the same rate.

But they might not. And I suggest that the number of words in English is growing overall. Certainly the number of OED entries increases significantly every edition (although I am aware that OED do not usually remove words, even if they become obsolete).


Richard English
 
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By the way, French actually scored No.2 (behind English, and just ahead of Spanish)!

It did indeed - but it was a whole 14 points below English and a mere 3 above Spanish. And Spanish influence is growing, unlike that of French.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
quote:
and they could add them and lose them at the same rate.

But they might not. And I suggest that the number of words in English is growing overall. Certainly the number of OED entries increases significantly every edition (although I am aware that OED do not usually remove words, even if they become obsolete).


AFAIK it is true that the number of words in English is growing. But I'm skeptical about a connection between vocabulary size and being popular, important, and widely used.
 
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We may need a "split" but I leave decision to the moderator.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I have no evidence to support it but I suspect the English probably uses more loan words than any other language. I believe, too, that this is one of the reasons why English is now the world's most important and successful language.

I mean no rudeness but you can't find an evidence because it's irrelevant.

I have heard it several times in different forums that Anglophones think their language "is now the world's most important and successful language" because of it's openness to loanwords, having easy grammar / being an easy language, etc. (In short, for the features of their language). Well, it has actually nothing to do with the features of English but with the countries where it's spoken and mainly USA. As an American said in another forum, if were speaking Swahili then Swahili was now the international language (instead of English). Be that as it may,

(I'm quoting -» )
it's because America has been the largest economy in the world since the nineteenth century. Plus, the technological and cultural advancements made in England and America have changed the world, and are indespensible in the modern world. America still challenges the world.

it's the main language of the current Anglo-American world power.

The aspects of the language absolutely don't matter. Russian is a difficult language, but when the Soviet Union was a world power, many people learned to speak it.
(<- I'm quoting)

As for loanwords, English is not an exception. There are many lnaguages having notebale loanwords. A good example is Persian.

As a side note, we don't have something as an easy language / grammar. Learning any of human languages is hard (of course some are harder but anyway difficulty starts from hard).


----------------------
Hamdeli az hamzabâni behtar ast
To be one in heart is better than to be one in tongue

- Rumi (Persian poet)
 
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I mean no rudeness but you can't find an evidence because it's irrelevant

The relevance of the findings would have nothing to do with the availability of the evidence. It would be straightforward enough (although very time-consuming) to check the etymology of all the words of the world's major languages and thus discover which has the most loan words.

Whether, should it be found that English has more loan words than any other language, this is a factor in the importance of English, is a matter for a different kind of study.


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Alijsh:
...I have heard it several times in different forums that Anglophones think their language "is now the world's most important and successful language" because of it's openness to loanwords, having easy grammar / being an easy language, etc. (In short, for the features of their language)... As an American said in another forum...(I'm quoting -» )
it's because America has been the largest economy in the world since the nineteenth century. Plus, the technological and cultural advancements made in England and America have changed the world...it's the main language of the current Anglo-American world power... The aspects of the language absolutely don't matter. Russian is a difficult language, but when the Soviet Union was a world power, many people learned to speak it.(<- I'm quoting)...As for loanwords, English is not an exception. There are many lnaguages having notebale loanwords. A good example is Persian)...


Hello, alijsh, I wonder if you had a chance to look at this analysis of the "10 Most Influential Languages" I posted earlier in the thread. I like it because it spells out in great detail the 'scoring' method. I would agree with you that features of the language and its relative 'ease' (depending on which is your native tongue) would seem to have nothing to do with it. The top three positions (English, French, Spanish) would seem to have most to do with econo-political primacy in the 19thc.; those civilizations got a head-start on everyone else, one could say. Points are given for present day econo-political influence, as well as number of native speakers, number of people who learn it as a 2nd tongue etc etc. For example, Arabic is right up there at #5 on a couple different rankings because of pol. power, cultural influence, & no. of people learning to speak it, despite its relatively lower no. of native speakers compared to some of the other "top" languages.
 
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Bethree, you beat me to it! Yes, I agree that the scoring method makes it nice as it provides more objective evidence.
 
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I'd say offhand that English (or Chinese whatever) is important today not because of its structure or the ease with which it absorbs words from other languages, but for the same kinds of reasons that once French and earlier on Latin were dominant languages: political power and economic might. And, like those languages it will fade from importance in the future and at some point will cease to exist as a spoken language replaced by the next candidates. Imagining that English will always be the most important and will not change is foolhardy at best ...


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
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I mean no rudeness but you can't find an evidence because it's irrelevant

... It would be straightforward enough (although very time-consuming) to check the etymology of all the words of the world's major languages and thus discover which has the most loan words.


Actually, I don't think it would. Etymology and loan words aren't the simple subject that this sentence suggests. Words, as we know, follow some very devious routes when migrating from one language to anoher and there are plenty of cases where it isn't at all clear how, why or when words came into the language.

quote:

Whether, should it be found that English has more loan words than any other language, this is a factor in the importance of English, is a matter for a different kind of study.


And this is the point I believe Alijsh was making. Even if we could count the number of loan words, then so what. It's not relevent to the importance of the language in the world. Sure, you can postulate this as a theory but very likely an unproveable one. I could equally suggest that the number of distinct symbols in a language's orthography is related to its world importance. It's a theory and I could probably make up some convincing arguments if I tried but it would remain unproveable as there is no way to test it.

Forestalling your possible answer:

You could in principle find the number of loan wods in a language. (Though it's doubtful in practice.)

You could use an arbitrary set of criteria to decide on a ranking for language importance. (Perhaps number of native speakers, perhaps number of non-native speakers, perhaps number of countries using it as an official language.)

You could put the lists side by side and compare them and say either "see there's a correlation" or "see there's no correlation" but what would that prove? I suggest nothing because the "importance" criteria are necessarilly arbitrary and there are so many other factors, especially geopolitical ones, that such an exercise would be essentially meaningless. There is no possible way that you could approach it that would exclude the other features and unless you could the results would have no validity.
 
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Whether, should it be found that English has more loan words than any other language, this is a factor in the importance of English, is a matter for a different kind of study.

That's what I wrote and I stand by what I wrote. It needs more study.

My suggestion (and it is not yet even a hypothesis, let alone a theory) is that the importance of English has something to do with its willingness to absorb loan words. It will be the work of others to decide whether there is any validity in my suggestion.


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You could in principle find the number of loan words in a language.

Highly unlikely since nobody can even agree the number of words in English. Numbers, please?

My suggestion (and it is not yet even a hypothesis, let alone a theory) is that the importance of English has something to do with its willingness to absorb loan words.

Latin was quite important and pretty resistant to borrowing words, except when they were Greek, and it was rather important in its day. Mandarin Chinese is rather hesitant to borrow words, relying more on coining and calquing. It doesn't seem to have affected its importance one iota.


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Highly unlikely since nobody can even agree the number of words in English. Numbers, please?

We are not talking about mathematical precision here. People whose job it is to work out statistics and trends can do so quite effectively, even though the data are rarely, if ever, 100% complete or 100% accurate.


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It will be the work of others to decide whether there is any validity in my suggestion.

Highly unlikely unless you were to pay for the research yourself.


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Neither Latin nor Classical Greek has anywhere near the vocabulary that present-day English does. Is anybody prepared to say that they were less expressive languages? The number of words that a language has borrowed—be it from an earlier form of the language or from a wholly different one—has little or nothing to do with its expressiveness. What does a language's expressiveness mean? That texts in one language will contain fewer words to convey the same idea? (That seems to be what this sentiment usually boils down to.) That's like saying a Hummer is a good car because it gets less miles to the gallon, or that it's not a very good car because it doesn't get many miles to the gallon. It's more complicated than that. The Hummer may or may not be "good" depending on a lot of characteristics and criteria. I've always considered that languages can equally express ideas. The resulting text may be wordy or not, but there's really nothing one can think or say in English that cannot be translated into another language. A good example is the Navajo, or Na-Dené, code talkers in the Second World War. They had to make up a bunch of neologisms in Na-Dené for the expedience that using English loanwords would allow Japanese military intelligence to understand parts of their coded messages. But they were able to translate messages on the fly for their commanding officers during the heat of battle. Seems expressive to me.


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First off, I think, that, English may have absorbed a multitude of loanwords, but, I doubt the greater portion of them are utilized by the average person. The most frequently utilized parts of speech, the core the the language is English or Germanic and IE. loans.

Secondly, the IE. family of words is well-defined. Not, to sound alienating, but language, by dejure as far as I am concerned, is not "God given." We call the framers of these linguistic works, authors, that are, generally, agreed upon as human creators, and some of them have living descendants, and I figure, that any enterprising person or party, humankind, kingdoms, nations, in their right mind, that could, most justly, claim a for one a vocabulary or wordmarks for example, would regulate them. These wordmarks, these symbols, these syllables bear similar resemblance.

I don't know whether this makes any sense, but, would it be fair to Zoroastrian IE. human nature, conscientious of the fact that the eg. Mohammadian in an IE. speaking zone is utilizing cognates, wordmarks, symbolism, akin to Zoroastrian enterprise to center his antagonizing enterprise around, or vice versa. I think its a language of God, or language of Yahweh deal.

Thirdly, I think one benefit from speaking a language with loanwords is the easy conversion from one language to another. For example, the core parts of speech of Irano-Aryan speakers are Irano-Aryan... there are a multitude of Arabic loans utilized by them... all they would have to do to convert to Arabic is substitute, these less portant, but frequent Irano-Aryan core words with Arabic ones... and, thus we have the conversion of the Irano-Aryan (Zoroastrian) to the Mohammadian...

English, does appear to be widespread. I think it might have more to do with this idea of free enterprise, maybe, a bit freedom dementedness, especially, given it is not the dejure language in America, Australia, heavily populated, that were separated from English establishment, before aviation, and the language was then deregulated. It was more of dreams of Flounderers, rather than founders, patriotic myths built these flounderers to be innovators, while, I'm under the impression, that there is more truth to the expression "there is nothing new under the sun." Literary works are on the large part variations on themes.



I think that it is worth mentioning that the vocabulary of the IE. superfamily as a whole is the most widespread speech, and this idea can be a unifying enterprise... maybe, even, what I like to call "The Sleeping Supermantis" It would be easy for these superfamily members to convert to one common IE. language, make it the international language of institution. I figure to institute English as the language of institution for IE. and the rest of the world would be going with the flow of the mainstream. I don't think that there's anything wrong with a simple vocabulary or with a small world. I, personally, choose my English words that I know have Avestan ancestors, throwing in an English word I haven't traced in as part of my phrasology, here and there, but not that often, really. I like to think that it is the wisest choice of IE. cognates.

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Highly unlikely unless you were to pay for the research yourself.


Someone will do it - it may already have been done! Far less important topics have been researched.


Richard English
 
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I don't think that there's anything wrong with a simple vocabulary

I have never suggested that there is. Indeed, in these very columns I have spoken in defence of basic English. To do a workmanlike job, simplicity is usually best.

As Henry Ford said, "Simlificate and add lightness" and his Model T was a masterpiece of simplicity that would do most things perfectly well. Indeed, it was the second most popular car of all time (to date, anyway).

However, a more complex car, like a more complex language, can (not does) give more options. Basic English, a language with a mere 1000 words, can do its job of effective communication perfectly well in most instances. But a language with more words offers its users more choices and thus has the potential to do a better job. Of course, it also has the potential to do a worse job, since choice can be abused as well as used.


Richard English
 
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What is the conventional definition of "mother tongue"? Is there a definition for "father tongue"? And, how do these tongues differ from a sister tongue? Is there a definition for "brother tongue," etc....
 
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What is the conventional definition of "mother tongue"?

It's the language one learns on one's mother's lap. English has no father's, sister's, or brother's tongue. Neither cousin's, aunt's, nor uncle's either. What about mother-in-law's, father-in-law's, god-parent's. etc.?


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I suppose the child of (say) a French woman and an English man might learn French as his mother tongue and English as his father tongue ... But that's not the conventional meaning.


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There are 6000 different languages, today. How many of these 6000 languages are Euro-Indic languages?
 
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According to the Ethnologue database, there are 449 Indo-European languages that are still living.


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Linguist, William [Oriental] Jones noticed a relationship between the Irano-Indic and European languages in 1786. Alexander Hamilton put forward the U.S. Patent Act in 1790 and made reforms to it in 1793. Is there any telling whether, Hamilton, was aware of Jones' notions?
 
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You'd have to read the respective biographies of the two men to answer that question. (Jones was a British judge in Calcutta, and Hamilton was born in the Virgin Islands (although he, too, was interested in languages, having studied Hebrew with a rabbi as a young man).) Anglo-American patent law goes back further than the US Patent Act of 1790. The term patent comes from a medieval legal Latin term literae patentes 'open letters' vs literae clausae 'closed letters', which indicated whether the document they occurred on was for public or private consumption (see link, link).


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What is the likelihood that ancient translators had recognized what Oriental Jones did, of the relationship between the Iranic, Indic, and Greek for example?

Does academics make any mention of a relationship between the Iranic words to the Sumerian, and the story of Jam-sheed to Gilgamesh, and the similarity in the two characters names? Jamsheed builds a var "enclosure"... Gilgamesh builds a wall...
 
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Leibniz noticed the relationship of the Romance languages to one another and the same with the Germanic languages. I read somewhere that another European scholar had noticed some similarities between European languages. Sanskrit and Old Persian / Avestan weren't known in detail to European before the late 18th century. The problem with a lot of pre-19th century etymologies is that the rather systematic correspondences between sounds in different, related languages was not known, and so people made haphazard guess at best based on similarities in how words were written or pronounced.

I wouldn't be surprised if texts from Sumer or Babylonia showed up in Persian or other languages nearby, after all the history of the Buddha shows up in Arabic (in Kitab Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf) and Latin (the life of Barlaam and Josaphat in the Golden Legend) (link). And the tale of a huge flood is told in Sumerian (in the so-called Eridu Genesis) and Babylonian (in the tale of Gilgamesh) both of which predate its mention in the Tanakh (or Old Testament).


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Are there names of Grecan, Italic, or Celtic deities that resemble the names Sumerian deities? What did the ancient Greeks, Italic, or Celtic speakers call Gilgamesh and Akshak, which does appear to be akin to Jamsheed and Azi Zahak of the Iranic? Does anyone have notions

Sum. Inanna Av. Anahita
Sum. Nammu Av. Apam Napat
Sum. Ki Av. Gaya
Sum. Akshak Av. Azi Zahak
Sum. Ereshguna Av. Irish
Sum. Ishtaran Av. Tishtriya
Sum. Giligamesh Av. Yima/Jamsheed

I reviewed some other parts of speech and noticed some other resemblances. The following article Sumerian and PIE discusses some of the rules for conversion....

Exactly, how far apart in their resemblance does one language have to be from another language in order for it to be deemed a separate super-family of the morpheme?

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I've been told that Easter comes from Ishtar.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Seanahan:
I've been told that Easter comes from Ishtar.


It's more likely that Ishtar is of Semitic origin and Easter is from PIE *aus- "to shine".
 
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The semantics behind Ishtaran that I got was

"warrior and justice deity; tutelary deity of Der cf. Tir "Turan"

...I gather as much, that Turan is equivalent to present day Turkmenistan. That Ishtaran was a warrior and justice deity reminds me of Tishtriya the luminary deity that is said to be at war with another galaxy. Ishtar, and this anomaly's association with Easter, and the east, a luminary attribute, makes me think of Av. ushastara "east".
 
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Avestan ušas-tara is from the same root as "Easter".
 
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