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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:56 pm 
Smeric
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Zumir wrote:
[xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]. Nothing more needs to be said.


But that doesn't come close to some of the crazier words in NW Caucasian or Ubykh, et al.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:10 am 
Smeric
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Yeah, it kinda does. I think Salishan is the only language family that allows words without sonorants, but I could be wrong


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:11 am 
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No, there are others, but the only ones I can think of have epenthetic vowels.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:23 am 
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Just rereading the thing I linked earlier, I saw this:
Aymara morphophonology paper wrote:
Another potential source of vowel elision, which still exists marginally as part of
the synchronic phonology of Aymara, is metrically conditioned vowel deletion. There are
a few suffixes which seem to be neither dominant nor recessive. If they attach to a twosyllable
sequence, the sequence-final vowel is kept, but if the base is three syllables, the
vowel is lost (p. 199)

so a) there are suffixes that baleet vowels on their stems, b) there are suffixes that leave the stem vowels alone, and c) there are suffixes that delete or leave alone vowels depending on the number of vowels in the root.

really, Aymara, what the everloving fuck?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:31 am 
Smeric
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Zumir wrote:
[xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]. Nothing more needs to be said.

Is there a native recording of that? I've seen it before...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:13 am 
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The wikipedia article refers to a certain Nader from 1984. It can either mean "he had had a bunchberry plant", or "Abandon all hope, ye who try to learn this language".

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:43 am 
Smeric
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Zumir wrote:
The wikipedia article refers to a certain Nader from 1984. It can either mean "he had had a bunchberry plant", or "Abandon all hope, ye who try to learn this language".


Nuxálk isn't any more difficult to learn than Lushootseed or Montana Salish... I have been studying Lushootseed, I'm sure it isn't too difficult...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:48 am 
Avisaru
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Bristel wrote:
Zumir wrote:
[xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]. Nothing more needs to be said.

But that doesn't come close to some of the crazier words in NW Caucasian or Ubykh, et al.
And even though it's all obstruents...it's still a pretty decodeable, regular form grammatically.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:28 am 
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I read a little about Wyandot, and couldn't understand a thing. Does this language have as complicated grammar as it seems? But I don't know anything about its phonology though.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:31 am 
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Qwynegold wrote:
Does this language have as complicated grammar as it seems? But I don't know anything about its phonology though.

Iroquoian languages are pretty intense, yes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:36 am 
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Bristel wrote:
Zumir wrote:
[xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]. Nothing more needs to be said.


But that doesn't come close to some of the crazier words in NW Caucasian or Ubykh, et al.


No. Most syllables in NWC languages are CV or CCV. There are a few roots with CCC(V). Just because a language has a lot of consonant phonemes and very few vowel phonemes doesn't mean it has to have very liberal phonotactics.

As for xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ, this is a very very very unrepresentative example of Núxalk. I can't imagine this word was ever said by any speakers spontaneously—rather, I'd guess it was formulated by a linguist who noticed a bunch of obstruent morphemes that you just happen to be able to string together without any vowel morphemes. I haven't read very much about Salish languages, but I'm positive that not every word (or even a terribly noticeable fraction of words) are only consonants.


Last edited by ná'oolkiłí on Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:56 am 
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:
As for xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ, this is a very very very unrepresentative example of Núxalk. I can't imagine this word was ever said by any speakers spontaneously—rather, I'd guess it was formulated by a linguist who noticed a bunch of obstruent morphemes that you just happen to be able to string together without any vowel morphemes. I haven't read very much about Salish languages, but I'm positive that not every word (or even a terribly noticeable fraction of words) are only consonants.


I have heard the language described as whispering while chewing on a granola bar.

Wichita also has some strange phonological traits.

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Last edited by Aurora Rossa on Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:17 am 
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Described by whom? Listen to it yourself—recordings aren't very hard to find. It sounds very interesting, kind of it's being played backwards. Certainly there are quite a few clusters, and words every now and then that are just consonants, but it's not the tongue-torturer people seem to think it is (or the wikipedia article might make it out to be).

...and what is that video?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:02 pm 
Smeric
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:
...and what is that video?


I have no idea. I accidentally pasted it into the link instead of the link to the wiki article.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:48 pm 
Smeric
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roninbodhisattva wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
Does this language have as complicated grammar as it seems? But I don't know anything about its phonology though.

Iroquoian languages are pretty intense, yes.

Aha. I'm looking at Mohawk now. It has some scary clusters, including initial /kk/. Now what the hell is that? Is it like [kː], or is it like released twice, but then it would make two syllables, wouldn't it? Does anyone know if the grammar is as "intense" as in the other Iroquoian languages?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:55 pm 
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@Wyandot
That is now my favorite sentence ever created by the hands of man.

te-wati-ʔtǫhts-ahs dĕ yu-hšatę-ʔ.
 
irr-nonmasc.pl.agt-hatch-hab art fem.indef.sg.pat-ride-stat
 
'Horses don't hatch.'

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:18 pm 
Lebom
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+1 for English. Or at least the western Germanic languages.

1. Northwestern European languages are weird: perfect tense with "have", inverting word order to form polar questions, relative pronouns.
http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs ... 219098.411
http://web.mac.com/cysouw/publications/ ... FS2005.pdf

2. Weird phonology: voiced dental fricative, alveolar approximant. English is a stress-timed language with unpredictable lexical stress and secondary stress. This seems to be a pretty unusual way of doing things.

3. The orthography is a nightmare. It's not more complex than Japanese, and Tibetan seems to also be bad to judge from romanizations, but really.

EDIT
And there's all kinds of weird stuff in various English dialects, too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:01 pm 
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No mention of Lithuanian?

I'd definitely vote Lithuanian, especially for non-IE speakers. Stress has to be learned word by word and the morphology is insane. There are 16 participle forms for every verb which are further conjugated into gender, number, and six cases. Not to mention that the language has an active vocative and a headache of consonant changes resulting from palatalisation.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:36 pm 
Smeric
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Gojera wrote:

3. The orthography is a nightmare. It's not more complex than Japanese, and Tibetan seems to also be bad to judge from romanizations, but really.

EDIT
And there's all kinds of weird stuff in various English dialects, too.


Literally everything weird in English orthography can be explained by simple sound changes and historical preservation of spelling


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:53 pm 
Smeric
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Theta wrote:
Gojera wrote:

3. The orthography is a nightmare. It's not more complex than Japanese, and Tibetan seems to also be bad to judge from romanizations, but really.

EDIT
And there's all kinds of weird stuff in various English dialects, too.


Literally everything weird in English orthography can be explained by simple sound changes and historical preservation of spelling
Well not only that but introduction of letters that were never there e.g. island.

You can explain how English orthography got the way it is but can you really find a worse orthography? Can you even find ten than are in the same league?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:32 pm 
Sumerul
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jmcd wrote:
Theta wrote:
Gojera wrote:

3. The orthography is a nightmare. It's not more complex than Japanese, and Tibetan seems to also be bad to judge from romanizations, but really.

EDIT
And there's all kinds of weird stuff in various English dialects, too.


Literally everything weird in English orthography can be explained by simple sound changes and historical preservation of spelling
Well not only that but introduction of letters that were never there e.g. island.

You can explain how English orthography got the way it is but can you really find a worse orthography? Can you even find ten than are in the same league?

I still don't think English is that bad as far as orthographies go, although one of the main problems is that it often uses different letters for sounds compared to other orthographies, and yeeeah, it's maybe one of the worst regularity-wise.

But from my limited experience of all of them, these all at least seem to be in the same "league":
Japanese, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Tibetan, French, Gaelic in all its flavours (Irish, Scottish, maybe Manx), Swedish, Danish, Norwegian

Maybe Chinese/Japanese are in a slightly different league, since it's all about logography and memorisation, but don't try telling me that's less complicated than the English system. Burmese and Tibetan have very irregular spelling and about 1000 years of not changing the orthography much, which is more than English has had. Thai has about a million different glyphs for each phoneme and seems to have a very complex way of indicating tone, although may be fairly regular once you know it (although that goes for English too). Again, it has many centuries of not changing the orthography much. French has rampant silent letters and hasn't changed its orthography in at least as long as English, which goes for the Gaelics, Swedish and Danish. Swedish and Danish have silly vowels and consonants as well as silent letters. AFAIK this goes for Norwegian, too, but then that's further got the whole multiple-orthography/myriad-dialectal thing going. Maybe that gives it points towards this matter too. Irish Gaelic changed its spelling recently and makes a bit more sense than Scottish Gaelic, although they use a system of indicating palatalisation and such that no other system uses. Manx Gaelic has that unfortunate inbetweeny situation of Gaelic phonology and English-based spelling and I get the sense that it's quite difficult.

I reckon you could probably through Icelandic and Faroese into the mix too; either way, that's more than 10. And there's always dialectal Arabic. And maybe Greek.

Notice how they seem to have two different epicentres, NW Europe and SE Asia.........

All subjective, of course. But there's no other way to do this sort of thing. I've essentially named all the languages that I think it'll be impossible for me to learn the orthography for unless I have a decent grasp of the language already (cf the only one I already know is French... which I've had a decent enough grasp of for a very long time). And throwing dialects into the mix always helps make orthographies more complex, because suddenly the standard orthography doesn't match the sounds that are being said (except for Chinese, where it doesn't really change much).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:54 pm 
Smeric
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Yeah I wasn't counting Chinese or Japanese because it's not just a matter of difficulty but one of phoneme/grapheme correspondence. But I didn't really make that clear. Basically, I mean if you do this with the vast majority of orthographies, you'll get a better than 85%. I was thinking myself of French and Gaelic as competitors. But Swedish isn't too bad AFAICT. They don't have a schwa phoneme, which causes a sgnificant amount of confusion in English. And where schwa appears allophonically, it appears to be basically predictable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:00 pm 
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Burmese, Thai and Tibetan still stand. :wink:

There are also some others from the region, although I think Lao recently-ish had a spelling reform and I'm not sure about Khmer. There must be some Indian languages with relatively wacky scripts. I mean, it's difficult to tell with all of them strictly speaking since they've all got different structures. I think what does it for Burmese, Thai and Tibetan is the fact that they have had the script for 1000 years without changing it much and they're tonal, and the marking of tone is rarely ever simple.

I mean I think Thai is regular, but it's far more complex than English, which I guess is a different question. It seems to have multiple ways of spelling the same consonants all the time, but sometimes they differ on what tone adjacent vowels will adopt. But even then there are multiple ways of spelling some consonants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lao_alphabet - here you have multiple letters for quite a lot of consonants and at least half the vowels, and even more of them merge together for the coda (which I guess must be morphophonemic – Korean does this too incidentally). I think Lao is tonal, which would explain it... except WP hasn't explained that. Thai is a lot more complicated than this.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:11 pm 
Sumerul
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jmcd wrote:
Yeah I wasn't counting Chinese or Japanese because it's not just a matter of difficulty but one of phoneme/grapheme correspondence. But I didn't really make that clear. Basically, I mean if you do this with the vast majority of orthographies, you'll get a better than 85%. I was thinking myself of French and Gaelic as competitors. But Swedish isn't too bad AFAICT. They don't have a schwa phoneme, which causes a sgnificant amount of confusion in English. And where schwa appears allophonically, it appears to be basically predictable.

Swedish's consonants seem very complex to me, particularly that sj-sound which has a lot of different ways of spelling it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:16 pm 
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You know what, fuck it, I'm too lazy to count :). Let's scrap the 50th vote thing.

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