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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 10:40 pm 
Niš
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What are some "quirks" of languages that you know/know of (conlang or natlang)? I'll give a few examples to show you what I mean and also to contribute:

French:

Stress pronouns - Used whenever stress is applied to a word. Ex. Moi, je ne parle pas fran?ais! (Me) I don't speak French!

Special "pronouns" - y (locative + it) and en ((some) of it)

Word order when dealing with object pronouns - Object pronouns are placed between the subject and verb. Ex. Je vois le gar?on vs. Je le vois

German:

Da-compounds - (dar?ber - over it, davon - from/of it)

Word order with auxilaries - The non-conjugated verb is placed at the end of the sentence. Ex. Ich kann nicht kommen. I can't come.

Word order in subordinate clauses - The conjugated verb is placed at the end of the subordinate clause. Ex. Ich kann nicht am Samstag kommen, denn ich arbeite am Samstag (I can't come on Saturday, for I work on Saturday) vs. Ich kann nicht am Samstag kommen, weil ich da arbeite (I can't come on Saturday, because I work then)

English:

The only one I can think of:

Negation - If negating a non-auxiliary, the correct form of the auxiliary do is inserted. (I don't think I need to give an example, but I just did.)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:05 pm 
Lebom
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Basque:

--Prefixes a b- to a 3s absolutive imperative form, but only when speaking to a social superior:

zure familiak urte on asko bitza
May your family have many good years.

--Even though there's almost no gender distinction in the rest of the language (including nouns and personal pronouns), the 2s dative and ergative markers change depending on the gender (in present auxiliary forms):

ez emango diat (male 'you'; for a female it'd be dinat)
I won't give it to you.

ipuina kontako diezaiekek? (but for a female, diezaieken)
Can you tell them the story?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 4:49 am 
Niš
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Quirky use of /s/ in Swedish

/s/ is primarily used as an affix to make verbs passive:

Att se vs att ses; jag ser vs jag ses
'To see' vs 'to be seen'; 'I see' vs 'I am (being) seen'

(It is also possible to say att bli sedd or jag blir sedd, just like in English.)

There are some verbs that use /s/ to become reciprocal:

Vi ses, vi h?rs, vi tr?ffas (i morgon)

lit. 'We'll see, hear, meet each other (tomorrow)', equivalent of 'See you!' Reciprocity is only possible in 1st person plural.

Then there are the deponent verbs, which look passive but are active nevertheless.

Att hoppas vs att hoppa
'To hope' (not 'to be jumped', as you could expect) vs 'to jump'

Finally, /s/ can also be used to indicate habitual aspect.

Bits hunden? vs kommer hunden bita mig?
'Will the dog bite me? (Does it usually bite people?)' vs 'Will the dog bite me? (It looks angry)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 5:29 am 
Smeric
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Cor wrote:
Special "pronouns" - y (locative + it) and en ((some) of it)


also in Catalan: hi "locative", en "some of it".
This pronouns are called pronoms adverbials in Catalan

Quote:
Word order when dealing with object pronouns - Object pronouns are placed between the subject and verb. Ex. Je vois le gar?on vs. Je le vois


also in Catalan: (Jo) pujo la muntanya -> (Jo) la pujo

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Last edited by Izambri on Sat Jun 26, 2004 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 8:54 am 
Avisaru
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I'll think of more for both of these when I get some time:


Russian (sorry, the board wouldn't allow the Cyrillic characters, so its Romanized:

1: Lack of 'to be' in present tense, but it exists in the past and future: Kniga novaya. "The book is new"

2: What *would* be the regular conjugations in the present tense for 'to be' are actually for the future.

<table border=0>
<tr>
<td colspan=2>Byt' "To Be"</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><b>Regular Present Tense Endings |</b><br>-u<br>-yesh'<br>-yet<br>-yem<br>-yetye<br>-ut</td>
<td><b> Future Tense of 'To Be'</b><br>budu<br>budyesh'<br>budyet<br>budyem<br>budyetye<br>budut</td>
</tr>
</table>
(with only a stem change)

3: The past tense is inflected by gender and number, not person:

govorit' = to speak

govoril = he spoke
govorila = she spoke
govorilo = it spoke
govorili = they spoke

So, for example, if you were male and were talking about yourself, you would say "Ya govoril" (because you are masculine), but females would say "Ya govorila". The plural form, govorili, applies for 'we', 'y'all', and 'they', regardless of gender.


Romanian:

1: Pronouns, the word "nu" (no), and "e" (3rd person singular 'to be) try to cliticize to everything around them whenever possible. The accusitive, dative, and reflexive pronouns each have these reduced forms.


N-am m?ncat. "I didn't eat". no-have[1st,sg] eat[past-participle]. "Nu" contracts to n-.

Ce-i? "What is it?" what-be[3rd,sg]. "e" contracts to "-i". Ce-i is pronounced [tSej].

Vrea s?-l aib?! "He wants to have it!" want[3rd,sg] {subjuntive-marker}-it[masc, sing] have[3rd,sg,subjunctive]. Here, the accusative pronoun "?l" [1l] shortens to -l- [it can attach to the beginning or end of a word], and attaches to s?, the subjunctive marker.

Okay, enough examples of that... There are other places where this can be used, though.


2: For some reason, the accusative 3rd person singular feminine pronoun "o" (her) doesn't cliticize to the auxilary verbs, but after the whole phrase! "Am scris-o" ("I wrote it[fem]"), not *Am-o scris or *O-am scris.

3: In addition to the regular and cliticized pronouns, Romanian also has stressed ones: Iubesc pe ea! "I love her!"

4: Romanian has three ways of indicating the plain 'ol future tense (why I have no idea), and they're all used:

Method 1: o + s? + subjunctive: o s? dorm "I will sleep"
Method 2: a avea (to have) + s? + subjunctive: am s? dorm.
Method 3: voi, vei, va, vom, veti, vor + infintive: Voi dormi "I will sleep", Va dormi "He will sleep", etc.

Whew! I'll add more if I can think of them.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 1:55 pm 
N'guny
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The Algonquian person hierarchy is an interesting quirk. In Cheyenne, it manifests thus:

2nd
1st
3rd
4th
Inanimate person

Whether a verb prefix marks subject or object depends on which person is higher up on the ladder; 2nd person prefixes are always subjects; inanimate person prefixes are always objects. The same set of prefixes is always used; when an action is direct (from a higher person subject to a lower person object), the object is marked with one set of suffixes, and when the action is inverse (from a lower person subject to a higher person object), another set of suffixes is used.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 10:43 pm 
Sanci
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I notice them in English all the time. Usually when I am in the shower early in the morning, believe it or not... Because, well, I don't do a lot of talking in there. But I do think.

There is no contraction that includes the negation in "I am not". You could say "I'm not". You can't say "I amn't", though you can say "she isn't", "they/you aren't", etc.

Also, in the contracted, negated, first person, interrogative form of "to be" (the most complicated way to put it, perhaps?) "are" is used as opposed to "am". You would say "Aren't I?", as opposed to "Amn't I?", though you could never say "Are I not?" and uncontracted would be back to "am", "Am I not?".

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:12 pm 
Lebom
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jsburke wrote:
The Algonquian person hierarchy is an interesting quirk. In Cheyenne, it manifests thus:

2nd
1st
3rd
4th
Inanimate person

Whether a verb prefix marks subject or object depends on which person is higher up on the ladder; 2nd person prefixes are always subjects; inanimate person prefixes are always objects. The same set of prefixes is always used; when an action is direct (from a higher person subject to a lower person object), the object is marked with one set of suffixes, and when the action is inverse (from a lower person subject to a higher person object), another set of suffixes is used.


Know where I can read about this in more depth?

And what's this "inanimate person"? A corpse? :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 3:47 pm 
N'guny
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Space Dracula wrote:
jsburke wrote:
The Algonquian person hierarchy is an interesting quirk. In Cheyenne, it manifests thus:

2nd
1st
3rd
4th
Inanimate person

Whether a verb prefix marks subject or object depends on which person is higher up on the ladder; 2nd person prefixes are always subjects; inanimate person prefixes are always objects. The same set of prefixes is always used; when an action is direct (from a higher person subject to a lower person object), the object is marked with one set of suffixes, and when the action is inverse (from a lower person subject to a higher person object), another set of suffixes is used.


Know where I can read about this in more depth?

And what's this "inanimate person"? A corpse? :D


The hierarchy is found in every Algonquian daughter in one form or another; any grammar will detail it. Leman's Cheyenne reference grammar describes it.

All 3rd and 4th persons are assumed animate unless otherwise specified as inanimate; animacy is a grammatical (and cultural) category that's hard to describe in English/Western terms. It doesn't mean simply "living" and "non-living." Read the description of animacy in Noyahtowa for details:

http://www.geocities.com/rtoennis/Pronominals.htm

(Ignore the old name...haven't uploaded the changed grammar yet.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:22 pm 
Niš
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Location: UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
Old English:

Past participles used with h?bban sometimes show what may be object marking: "ic h?bbe ?one mann geseonne".

Some really cool Verner's Law forms were analogized out: "findan - fand - fundon - (ge)funden" instead of "fi:?an - fo:? - fundon - (ge)funden" (which would have led to "fithe - footh - found(en)" in Modern English!) -- it's not a quirk really, just something I wish hadn't happened.

German:

Certain prepositions cannot be used with da-compounds: e.g. "ohne das" instead of "*darohne" (I have said that though...).

Adjectives on the other side of the copula are not inflected at all: "die Frau ist sch?n" (instead of "die Frau ist sch?ne").

German uses forms from "b-" in the 1st and 2nd person singular of "sein", but not in the equivalent plurals like in earlier stages of the language. Furthermore, "sind" is used in the 1st person plural, even though it is historically only the third person plural form. Also, while on the topic of ideosyncrasies of "sein", the past participle "gewesen", has an 's', where Verner's Law would demand an 'r' (this is really weird since the 'r' form was actually extended in the preterite: "ich/er war" instead of "ich/er was").

The future with "werden" takes an infinitive rather than a participle as was historically the case.

The 2nd class of strong verbs. The whole thing is just crazy. There is no umlaut in the 2nd and 3rd person singular present. Instead of "*du/er scheu?t", we have "du/er schie?t". The preterite vowel doesn't seem to reflect any of the old vowels. And finally, for some reason Verner's Law had to be erased in many cases: "frieren" instead of "friesen" (I mean, German didn't have a problem holding on to Verner's Law forms in other classes and verbs, e.g. "schneiden - schnitt"/"ziehen - zog").

Numerous exceptions to the 2nd High German sound shift that irritate me to no end (actually, mainly just the fact that it wasn't another Grimm's Law type operation).

Gender was removed in the plural even though the plural articles were still distinct wrt gender during previous stages of the language.

I will not accept the plural "M?nner".[/i]


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:31 am 
Sanci
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Cor wrote:
What are some "quirks" of languages that you know/know of (conlang or natlang)?


In Finnish some verbs do not distinguish between past tense and present. Example: uida, to swim

uin; I swim, I swam
uit; you swim, you swam
...

This is because -i- is the marker for the past tense and it exists in the stem already. Contrast: tehd?, to do/to make

teen; I do <-> tein; I did
teet; you do <-> teit; you did
...

In Finnish plural marking vanishes in the nominative case when a possessive suffix is added. I'll use these morphemes:

talo : a house
-mme : 1P possessive suffix (our, ours)

All cases come in two forms separated by a slash thus: singular/plural

without a possessive suffix

nominative case: talo/talot
genitive case: talon/talojen
partitive case: taloa/taloja

with a possessive suffix:

nom. talomme/talomme (these still take different verb concord)
gen. talomme/talojemme (n disappears in the singular)
par. taloamme/talojamme

the six locative cases are all similar to the illative pattern:

illat. taloon/taloihin
illat+ps. taloomme/taloihimme

then some others:

without ps
translative: taloksi/taloiksi
essive: talona/taloina
abessive: talotta/taloitta

with ps
trans. taloksemme/taloiksemme
ess. talonamme/taloinamme
abess. talottamme/taloittamme

Comitative and instructive do not have separate singular and plural, and they would be very rarely used with a noun like 'talo' in the modern language in any case. Prepositions are usual substitutes.

The accusative is either similar to the genitive or the nominative depending on its use. Thus it too may lose the plural marking.

Poltin talon. I burned a house. (accusative looks like genitive)
Poltin talot. I burned the houses. (accusative looks like nominative)
Poltin taloja. I burned some houses. (partitive object)
Poltin talomme. I burned our house(s). (ambiguous wrt to plurality)
Poltin talojamme. I burned some of our houses.

(You could also use a singular partitive if only a part of the house was burned...)

But:

Talomme palaa. Our house burns.
Talomme palavat. Our houses burn. (3rd person plural)

That's enough burning for today.

You will note that the quirk is actually that the plural marking for nominative is done with a -t while in other cases there is an -i- that takes the form of -j- between vowels.

Further, the possessive suffix for 3rd person does not distinguish number.
It is -nsA for 3s. and 3p. (vowel harmony, thus A for a or ?)

Tsumunne (Your Tsumu)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:36 pm 
Niš
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French also tends to use the abstract word for in 'En' as an object pronoun.

julianallees

3rd April, 2008 1:36pm

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:03 pm 
Avisaru
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julianallees wrote:
French also tends to use the abstract word for in 'En' as an object pronoun.


The pronoun en has a different origin from the preposition en, and is generally regarded as a separate, homophonous word.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:18 am 
Lebom
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Ducane wrote:
I notice them in English all the time. Usually when I am in the shower early in the morning, believe it or not... Because, well, I don't do a lot of talking in there. But I do think.

There is no contraction that includes the negation in "I am not". You could say "I'm not". You can't say "I amn't", though you can say "she isn't", "they/you aren't", etc.

Also, in the contracted, negated, first person, interrogative form of "to be" (the most complicated way to put it, perhaps?) "are" is used as opposed to "am". You would say "Aren't I?", as opposed to "Amn't I?", though you could never say "Are I not?" and uncontracted would be back to "am", "Am I not?".



The "I''m'nt" / "am'nt I" forms DO exist -- in the very-non-standard form "ain't" Reference

But yeah, not in standard English.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:30 pm 
Avisaru
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Cor wrote:
What are some "quirks" of languages that you know/know of (conlang or natlang)?


Could add two Finnish ones that are pretty neat:

purely morphology:
the marker -t, which marks plural nominative/accusative, turns up in the personal pronouns to mark accusative for all persons and numbers.

purely morphology:
place names ending in -nen are morphologically plural in all cases but the nominative.

morphosyntax:
a huge load of idioms (even semi-productive, since newly coined ones fail to cause people to think they've heard something wrong), where the head is in the partitive or instructive cases, take another case for the adjective:
suurissa määrin
big-plur-inessive amount-plur-instructive
'in considerable numbers'

hyvissä ajoin
good-plur-inessive time-plur-instructive
in good time (ie, ahead of the time schedule)

tällä tapaa
this-adessive manner.partitive
'this way/like this'

There's a few dozen of them

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:33 pm 
Lebom
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In German, the present tense (at least of regular verbs) and the imperfect/narrative/whatever-else-it's-called past are only contrasted in the third person singular by a final /@/ (or maybe it's just [@] and really /E/ or something).

Er spielt (present) :> Er spielte (imperfect)
Sie renoviert (present) :> Sie renovierte (imperfect)

Of course, the hilarity is that final [@] frequently deletes, merging these.

--------------

French has so much weirdness surrounding /@ 9/ or rather [@ 9] that I'm not going to touch it with a ten-foot poll.

Québecois French dedoubles these efforts with phonemic length distinctions being present for only one vowel, /E/.

Then, whilst meaning essentially the same thing, C'est and Il/Elle est differ in whether they allow the nominal predicate to mark for definitiveness.

C'est un coiffeur. :> He's a haircutter.
Il est coiffeur. :> He's (a/the) haircutter.

There's at the least four ways of marking possession.

Le chien, c'est le mien. :> The dog, it's mine. :> It's my dog.
C'est mon chien. :> It's my dog.
C'est le chien à moi. :> It's the dog to me. :> It's my dog.
C'est le chien de moi. :> It's the dog of me. :> It's my dog.

Of course these can be humourously combined.

C'est mon chien à moi qui est le mien et il est de moi.

Some adjectives have to follow the noun. Some have to proceed the noun. Some change meaning dependent on whether they proceed or follow.

Ma chemise propre. :> My clean shirt.
Ma propre chemise. :> My own shirt.
Ma propre chemise propre. :> My own clean shirt.
Mon prof ancien. :> My former teacher.
Mon ancien prof. :> My old teacher.
Mon ancien prof ancien. :> My old, former teacher.

In more conservative registers, de is used in the place of des when a noun is modified by one of the BAGS (ie: fronted) adjectives and is a predicate nominative (or is it simply when not the object? Or even when the object?).

Des bonnes chaussures sont en solde. :> Some good shoes are on sale.
Elles sont de bonnes chaussures. :> They're (a few) good shoes.

Gender marking up the wahzoo in the writing system, which all lenited/never existed in the first place.

---------------

Japanese has so much linguistic crack in it.

Firstly, there's so many bloody counter systems.

Ippon, nihon, sambon, yonhon, gohon, roppon, etc. ---> 1 slender thing, 2 slender things, 3 slender things, 4 slender things, 5 slender things, 6 slender things, etc.

Ichimai, nimai, sanmai, etc. ---> one sheet, two sheets, three sheets, etc.

Hitori, futari, sanin, yonin, gonin, etc. ---> one person, two people, three people, four people, five people, etc.

Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yotsu, itsutsu, etc. ---> one thing, two things, three things, four things, five things, etc.

And there's a million more. One for animals. One for appliances. And so on. Forever.

/N\/ only occurs syllable finally. /w/ only occurs before /a/. High vowels devoice between any of /p h t s ts\) s\ k/. And what the hell are the flap and the "/u/" really?

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^ WHS. Except for the log thing and the Andean panpipers.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:29 pm 
Lebom
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More on Japanese:

It distinguishes based on animacy as to whether a given subject will take arimas(u) (sorry, only romaji on this computer. :cry: ) or imas(u) analogous to the English verb "to be located/exist at/in".

It distinguishes based on person/non-person as to whether a given subject will take dare-ga or naniga, analogous to English who and what respectively.

So, we have the following matrix:

Code:
...........|...ANIMATE...|...INANIMATE
HUMAN......|.imasu+dare..|............
NON-HUMAN..|.imasu+nani..|arimasu+nani.

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Jar Jar Binks wrote:
Now, by making just a few small changes, we prettify the orthography for happier socialist tomorrow!
Xonen wrote:
^ WHS. Except for the log thing and the Andean panpipers.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:08 pm 
Sanci
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"Amn't I" exists: it's just really rare. I've said it myself a couple times, and no-one seems to notice. It sounds (in Essex English, my dialect) like ["{m.tVI]/["{n.tVI]
EDIT: When speaking quickly, both "Amn't I" and "Ain't I" are corrupted to ["{n.VI].

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:21 pm 
Niš
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The use of reduplication for a range of purposes in Tagalog, typical in Austronesian languages. Such as:

maaga (adj.) - early
Note: ma- is an adjectival prefix.

Example: Ikaw ay maaga. - You're early.

aga-aga (adj.) - early (emphasis)

Example: Ang aga-aga mo! - You're early!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:49 am 
Smeric
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Spanish:

You don't like things. Things like you.
Things don't hurt (in intransitive), things hurt you (transitive).

So to say "I like apples", you say "apples like me": Me gustan las manzanas.

And to say "my arms hurt", you say "my arms hurt me": Me duelen los brazos


Last edited by Ser on Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:54 am 
Avisaru
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Neqitan wrote:
Spanish:

You don't like things. Things like you.

Are you sure the verb isn't better translated as "appeals" or "pleases" or somesuch?
If so, this is v. similar to what basically all languages from Spain to Russia do.

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< Cev> My people we use cars. I come from a very proud car culture-- every part of the car is used, nothing goes to waste. When my people first saw the car, generations ago, we called it šuŋka wakaŋ-- meaning "automated mobile".


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:00 am 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:55 am
Posts: 1542
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada
^ I never thought about it that way. Thanks.


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