(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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loglorn
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by loglorn » 27 Feb 2017 06:35

As for your one and a half question, Portuguese uses singular with that. But it makes a distinction "one and a half bread" "um pão e meio" agrees with the singular, while "one point five (1.5) bread" "um virgula cinco (1,5) pães" is plural.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » 27 Feb 2017 06:43

loglorn wrote:As for your one and a half question, Portuguese uses singular with that. But it makes a distinction "one and a half bread" "um pão e meio" agrees with the singular, while "one point five (1.5) bread" "um virgula cinco (1,5) pães" is plural.
Interesting. Intuitively I expected the singular agreement pattern to be more common in languages where the numeral "one" precedes the noun, as in here. Looking up "one and a half *" on Google Ngram Viewer shows that the most common following words in English are abstract measure words like "years", "hours", "miles". These would be able to take singular agreement even though they are morphologically plural.

It's also interesting that the decimal "1.5" is followed by a plural in Portuguese. Would "0.5" be followed by a singular noun?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Isfendil » 27 Feb 2017 23:57

I have a bit of an unusual question. What would the Germanic cognate to the Latin word "Imperator" or "Dictator" be? "Imperator" meant something along the lines of commander, yes? I'm trying to understand how titles for rulers are eventually derived.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by All4Ɇn » 28 Feb 2017 00:00

Isfendil wrote:I have a bit of an unusual question. What would the Germanic cognate to the Latin word "Imperator" or "Dictator" be? "Imperator" meant something along the lines of commander, yes? I'm trying to understand how titles for rulers are eventually derived.
For Imperator, it and German's Führer are both descended from PIE *per-

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 28 Feb 2017 01:12

All4Ɇn wrote:
Isfendil wrote:I have a bit of an unusual question. What would the Germanic cognate to the Latin word "Imperator" or "Dictator" be? "Imperator" meant something along the lines of commander, yes? I'm trying to understand how titles for rulers are eventually derived.
For Imperator, it and German's Führer are both descended from PIE *per-
Though from different forms - the German is from the causative, from which English gets "ferry", whereas the Latin is from the basic verb, from which English gets "fare".


Similarly, from different forms of the verb that gives Latin 'dictator', German gets 'zeihen' (to accuse), and English gets "teach".

["Imperator" is directly "commander", yes. However, the verb for "command" there is composed of a preposition "in" and a verb meaning "arrange". (from which we get English "prepare"). "Dictator" is "sayer", though the verb there originates in something meaning "point", iirc.]

Unfortunately, I don't think there are Germanic cognates for Latin -tor. Germanic lost the distinctiveness of its agent suffixes, and largely replaced them with Latin -arius.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Isfendil » 28 Feb 2017 06:42

Thank you All4En and Salmoneus, that answered my question nicely.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine » 03 Mar 2017 23:36

Is there any English dialectal features specific to Alaska?

I am quite surprised that Alaskans have more or less a typical General American "accent." I would think that the location's relative isolation and small community of 600,000 (like Iceland) would have not developed any distinct features, whilst places like the Southern US and even California are now remodeling the English language. Of course, you could argue that 60 or so years of being apart of the US isn't enough time for a unique dialect to emerge, but I think we'd've noticed something.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » 03 Mar 2017 23:42

Ælfwine wrote:Is there any English dialectal features specific to Alaska?

I am quite surprised that Alaskans have more or less a typical General American "accent." I would think that the location's relative isolation and small community of 600,000 (like Iceland) would have not developed any distinct features, whilst places like the Southern US and even California are now remodeling the English language. Of course, you could argue that 60 or so years of being apart of the US isn't enough time for a unique dialect to emerge, but I think we'd've noticed something.
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_ ... _have.html

TL;DR: most of the West Coast does not have "distinctive" features. It's mostly newcomers from the Yukon Gold Rush. They have pre-Yukonian accents. A unique accent hasn't developed due to 1) diversity 2)lack of time 3)educational systems existing during colonization 4)lack of contact.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 04 Mar 2017 01:22

Ælfwine wrote:Is there any English dialectal features specific to Alaska?

I am quite surprised that Alaskans have more or less a typical General American "accent." I would think that the location's relative isolation and small community of 600,000 (like Iceland) would have not developed any distinct features, whilst places like the Southern US and even California are now remodeling the English language. Of course, you could argue that 60 or so years of being apart of the US isn't enough time for a unique dialect to emerge, but I think we'd've noticed something.
To reinforce qwed's post...

- any time you have a migration from a large, disparate area, mixing chaotically, you have levelling of dialectical features. This is true of Western American in general. Sometimes you get little pockets that reflect a particularly strong migration pulse - there are parts of the West that have some Southern features, iirc - but when these are small and randomly scattered it only adds to the lack of a generally distinctive dialect in the area as a whole. I don't know the population history of Alaska in great detail, but I strongly suspect that, except perhaps in the far south, it would have been by random migrants from all over the place (with pulses associated with the fur rush and the gold rush (was there an oil rush too?)), rather than by a simple mass migration from one particular area.

- the small population size makes rapid change unlikely - Icelandic is in many ways very conservative. But, meanwhile, General American hasn't changed very much yet, so Alaskan doesn't have much to conserve.

- and if there were anything to conserve, the fact that Alaska is culturally dependent upon the rest of the US means it's neither linguistically isolated nor linguistically prestigious, so it won't completely escape any GA changes.

- sound changes take time!

- and then of course Alaska is at the end of a chain of these events. American English (outside of AAVE) is already remarkably homogenous, as a result of dialect levelling and conservativism in the historically small immigrant population (which only really exploded in size in the last 150 years). There's more dialect variety in 200 miles in England than there is in the whole of the US - and 70 years ago there'd have been more dialect variety in 20 or 30 miles in some parts of the country than there was in the whole of the US! And then within the US, you've got Western American, which is again remarkably homogenous compared to the rest of the US, due to dialect levelling etc from the westward expansion. And then you've got Alaska, which I suspect took most of its population from the West, leading to a third round of boringifisation.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » 04 Mar 2017 01:44

Salmoneus wrote:
Ælfwine wrote: ...
To reinforce qwed's post...

...

leading to a third round of boringifisation.
It's interesting to see someone use an s there. Shouldn't it be a c?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine » 04 Mar 2017 01:52

Salmoneus wrote:
Ælfwine wrote:Is there any English dialectal features specific to Alaska?

I am quite surprised that Alaskans have more or less a typical General American "accent." I would think that the location's relative isolation and small community of 600,000 (like Iceland) would have not developed any distinct features, whilst places like the Southern US and even California are now remodeling the English language. Of course, you could argue that 60 or so years of being apart of the US isn't enough time for a unique dialect to emerge, but I think we'd've noticed something.
To reinforce qwed's post...

- any time you have a migration from a large, disparate area, mixing chaotically, you have levelling of dialectical features. This is true of Western American in general. Sometimes you get little pockets that reflect a particularly strong migration pulse - there are parts of the West that have some Southern features, iirc - but when these are small and randomly scattered it only adds to the lack of a generally distinctive dialect in the area as a whole. I don't know the population history of Alaska in great detail, but I strongly suspect that, except perhaps in the far south, it would have been by random migrants from all over the place (with pulses associated with the fur rush and the gold rush (was there an oil rush too?)), rather than by a simple mass migration from one particular area.

- the small population size makes rapid change unlikely - Icelandic is in many ways very conservative. But, meanwhile, General American hasn't changed very much yet, so Alaskan doesn't have much to conserve.

- and if there were anything to conserve, the fact that Alaska is culturally dependent upon the rest of the US means it's neither linguistically isolated nor linguistically prestigious, so it won't completely escape any GA changes.

- sound changes take time!

- and then of course Alaska is at the end of a chain of these events. American English (outside of AAVE) is already remarkably homogenous, as a result of dialect levelling and conservativism in the historically small immigrant population (which only really exploded in size in the last 150 years). There's more dialect variety in 200 miles in England than there is in the whole of the US - and 70 years ago there'd have been more dialect variety in 20 or 30 miles in some parts of the country than there was in the whole of the US! And then within the US, you've got Western American, which is again remarkably homogenous compared to the rest of the US, due to dialect levelling etc from the westward expansion. And then you've got Alaska, which I suspect took most of its population from the West, leading to a third round of boringifisation.
Ah, dialect leveling was something I know but it hadn't occurred to me in this situation. Thank you.

Also, "boringsification." Haw, haw.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by GrandPiano » 04 Mar 2017 04:39

As I understand it, there is a fair amount of intelligibility between most major Romance languages; however, as a native English speaker, I'm lucky if I can understand two words of a German sentence, written or spoken. Are the West Germanic languages more divergent than the Romance languages, or does it just seem that way because English has so many more loanwords than the other West Germanic languages?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by All4Ɇn » 04 Mar 2017 06:17

GrandPiano wrote:As I understand it, there is a fair amount of intelligibility between most major Romance languages; however, as a native English speaker, I'm lucky if I can understand two words of a German sentence, written or spoken. Are the West Germanic languages more divergent than the Romance languages, or does it just seem that way because English has so many more loanwords than the other West Germanic languages?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cENbkHS3mnY
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 04 Mar 2017 13:43

GrandPiano wrote:As I understand it, there is a fair amount of intelligibility between most major Romance languages; however, as a native English speaker, I'm lucky if I can understand two words of a German sentence, written or spoken. Are the West Germanic languages more divergent than the Romance languages, or does it just seem that way because English has so many more loanwords than the other West Germanic languages?
Probably both.
In particular, English-to-German is a really "bad" example, because English is highly aberrant:
- the Ingvaeonic Nasal Spirant Law is only one small change, but it transforms the appearance of many words
- Old English, presumably due to its isolation, seems to have made quite different vocabulary 'choices' from the continental languages, preferring one word where most others choose another, or changing a meaning in one way rather than another
- Old English also underwent some pretty weird changes, particularly diphthong levelling, which makes it harder to spot cognates
- the Great Vowel Shift has transformed the spoken form of the language
- meanwhile, the cultural influence of German has led to the other continental languages changing their own lexicons to match, both through borrowing and through calquing
- German itself has the High German Consonant Shift, which has a largely predictable but superficially transformative effect

In short, English has been isolated, and as a result has undergone or not undergone a very small number of really important sound changes, while remaining outside of a sprachbund that has influenced the lexicon and probably the phonology.

If you compare English to Frisian, the relationship is much clearer, if you account for the vowel shift and the romance vocabulary. Dutch is a bit harder, and then German is effectively at "the other end" of the scale. So you can't compare it to Spanish/Italian - you have to compare it to Portuguese/Romanian.

And if you take weirdo English out of the equation and compare Dutch, Frisian, Low German and High German, you get something that may not exactly be mutually intelligible to the layman, but that is at least pretty recognisable for the practiced.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by GrandPiano » 04 Mar 2017 18:08

All4Ɇn wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:As I understand it, there is a fair amount of intelligibility between most major Romance languages; however, as a native English speaker, I'm lucky if I can understand two words of a German sentence, written or spoken. Are the West Germanic languages more divergent than the Romance languages, or does it just seem that way because English has so many more loanwords than the other West Germanic languages?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cENbkHS3mnY
Have you ever checked out Scots before?
Since I'm asking about the entire West Germanic family, I don't think a language as close to English as Scots is a good comparative example.
Salmoneus wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:As I understand it, there is a fair amount of intelligibility between most major Romance languages; however, as a native English speaker, I'm lucky if I can understand two words of a German sentence, written or spoken. Are the West Germanic languages more divergent than the Romance languages, or does it just seem that way because English has so many more loanwords than the other West Germanic languages?
Probably both.
In particular, English-to-German is a really "bad" example, because English is highly aberrant:
- the Ingvaeonic Nasal Spirant Law is only one small change, but it transforms the appearance of many words
- Old English, presumably due to its isolation, seems to have made quite different vocabulary 'choices' from the continental languages, preferring one word where most others choose another, or changing a meaning in one way rather than another
- Old English also underwent some pretty weird changes, particularly diphthong levelling, which makes it harder to spot cognates
- the Great Vowel Shift has transformed the spoken form of the language
- meanwhile, the cultural influence of German has led to the other continental languages changing their own lexicons to match, both through borrowing and through calquing
- German itself has the High German Consonant Shift, which has a largely predictable but superficially transformative effect

In short, English has been isolated, and as a result has undergone or not undergone a very small number of really important sound changes, while remaining outside of a sprachbund that has influenced the lexicon and probably the phonology.

If you compare English to Frisian, the relationship is much clearer, if you account for the vowel shift and the romance vocabulary. Dutch is a bit harder, and then German is effectively at "the other end" of the scale. So you can't compare it to Spanish/Italian - you have to compare it to Portuguese/Romanian.

And if you take weirdo English out of the equation and compare Dutch, Frisian, Low German and High German, you get something that may not exactly be mutually intelligible to the layman, but that is at least pretty recognisable for the practiced.
So could you say that English (spoken English, at least) is like the French of West Germanic?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Mar 2017 04:25

GrandPiano wrote:
All4Ɇn wrote:...
...
I didn't need subtitles to understand one version of the film "Nosferatu". I think they were using a different-than-usual dialect that happens to be closer to English.
Edit: (I mean "A different dialect of German".)
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 06 Mar 2017 05:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » 05 Mar 2017 04:44

eldin raigmore wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:
All4Ɇn wrote:...
...
I didn't need subtitles to understand one version of the film "Nosferatu". I think they were using a different-than-usual dialect that happens to be closer to English.
Nosferatu weirds me out every time (I love this film) (Wagner, c'mon) because there's an English and German (don't know if there's a French) version.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » 05 Mar 2017 04:49

Isabelle Adjani says "Ich habe eine totende Angst." What can compare?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Avo » 05 Mar 2017 22:42

GrandPiano wrote:So could you say that English (spoken English, at least) is like the French of West Germanic?
Agreeing with Salmoneus' post, I think that's a fair comparison. I'm a native speaker of both German and Italian and from my perspective I would say that Continental West Germanic languages are similar to Romance languages in terms of mutual intelligibility and accidental cognate spotting.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » 06 Mar 2017 15:54

qwed117 wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
Ælfwine wrote: ...
To reinforce qwed's post...

...

leading to a third round of boringifisation.
It's interesting to see someone use an s there. Shouldn't it be a c?
I think that
a) he's too bored about it to be arsed
b) It's so mind-numbingly boring {linguistically speaking}, that it renders things such as orthography, spelling, morphology, syntax, to erode like so much sand.


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