Hear the languages of Europe!

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Athelwulf, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    The BBC has a great page with links to audio samples of basic phrases in the different languages of Europe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/european_languages/languages/index.shtml

    I like most of the ones I've listened to. Some of them are really funny. The Norwegian clips remind me of the Yooper accent. And Basque is just crazy fast! A lot of them say "hey" for "hello", and I wonder why that is. The real difference between Dutch and Flemish only seems to be the choice of words. Luxembourgish sounds like a French guy speaking German, or maybe the other way around. The differences among the Scandinavian languages, to me, seems to be somewhat comparable to the differences among the major standard dialects of English.

    Tell me what you guys think of this.
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Some of the speakers do more than one language, e.g. Czech and Slovak. That means that in some cases you're not hearing a native speaker, so you're not really getting the true sound of the language.
    I'm sure that's just the particular speaker. A couple of them are unrealistically slow.
    A lot of younger Americans do that these days. Greetings are a very ephemeral part of any language and change rather frequently. "How do you do" used to be a standard greeting in English, then as it became out of step with colloquial language and didn't mean anything any more (How do I do what?), it was shortened to "How d'ye do," and finally "Howdy," which is now only said in humor or in imitation of the old Wild West dialect. It started to be eclipsed by "hello" around 150 years ago, which may be a contraction of archaic "Whole be thou," of biblical "Hail thou," or it may have something to do with "hale," the root of "healthy." Wishes of health are common greetings. A couple of the Slavic languages in this example use a cognate of Russian zdravstvuytye, "health be with thee."

    Variants of "hello" are spreading around the planet like "STOP" signs.
    The classification of Flemish as a separate language is purely political. Linguists consider it a dialect of Dutch. The definition of a dialect hinges on intercomprehensibility, which brings into question Czech and Slovak, Spanish and Catalan, and the Yugoslavian languages. Serbo-Croatian is certainly a single language.
    I was surprised to see and hear that, I've never heard of it. It might qualify as a dialect of Low German.
    I would have to agree that a Swede can probably understand a Norwegian more easily than a Texan could understand some of the dialects of England.
     
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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I hope this isn't off topic.
    What is this language?? For some reason I think its French...no idea why I think that.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i0tUY5pftM

    and do they consider body language and hand gestures as linguistics?
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's not French. The phonetics are baffling. It sounds a lot like Turkish, but I don't think Turkish has all those ZH sounds. Hungarian does, but Hungarian doesn't have so many harsh consonant clusters. It's not Finnish, so that takes care of all of Europe's non-Indo-European languages. Except Basque, and it doesn't resemble the sample of Basque we just heard.

    The Slavic languages haven't had much time to diverge so they're all pretty recognizable. It's not Gaelic or Welsh, I don't know what the other Celtic languages sound like. It's not Farsi or any other Indo-Iranian language I've ever heard. I doubt that it's Semitic.

    Maybe it's one of the other Mongolic languages if it's not Turkish, Finnish or Hungarian. But I can't imagine anyone making that video clip in Uzbekistan or Kyrghyzstan and that lady doesn't look like she lives in Mongolia.

    Perhaps it's one of the lesser-known Indo-European languages like Albanian or Armenian. Or maybe it's Georgian, a language with no family, and no sample.

    I must be wrong because I have eliminated too many choices. I hope somebody can identify it!
     
  8. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    English sounds like a bunch of puffs with a cork up their behind.

    American sounds like a nasal infection or a longstanding cocaine habit.
     
  9. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    and the hand gestures and shrugging, which even the toddler does. Are those considered part of language?
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In the abstract, a "language" is a set of symbols and rules for manipulating them. This includes computer instruction code languages, facial expressions and body language. But when linguists use the term they mean "natural language," the communication systems using words devised--consciously or not--by humans. This includes spoken language, which was largely devised unconsciously, written language, which was devised consciously, and the sign languages such as those used by the deaf. Modern sign languages like ASL were crafted, but some of the earlier ones may have started off as unconscious symbology.

    Some gestures such as nodding yes and no, thumbing a ride, shrugging "I don't know/care," making crazy circles around the ear, "screw you" and sieg heil seem to qualify as sign language. Particularly since they're not universal. There are many different ways to salute a military officer. Turks and those who were influenced by the Ottoman culture like the Bulgarians nod yes and no just the opposite of our way.
     
  11. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    so, what language are they speaking Fraggle? Do you know yet?
     
  12. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    could it be Turkish, but with an accent, like a southerner speaking english?
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I don't have any resources to check so I'm not going to be the one to figure this out. I long ago pestered all of my foreign friends about their languages to the point that I can recognize them, so there's nobody left to ask.

    My first guess was Turkish too. The cadence, the specific consonant clusters, even some of the grammatical endings seem familiar. But that ZH sound throws me off. Perhaps it is a dialect as you suggest. Dialects are usually very difficult for foreigners to catch, and I wonder whether a Turk would detect the difference between Oxford English and Oahu English if he was unfamiliar with the language. Spurious can catch the difference but he speaks it.

    On the other hand, the difference between the Portuguese of Lisbon and Rio is phenomenal. Europeans say "set" for sete (seven); Cariocas say "set-chee". Europeans flap their R like Spanish, Cariocas gargle it like French and German, only more harshly.

    Or it could be some affected Turkish baby-talk. I'm sure my foreign neighbors who hear me talking to my dogs don't know that it's English.

    Of course I confound them sometimes (both the neighbors and the dogs) by talking to them in some other language.

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  14. Gustav Banned Banned

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    dont welsh people sing song their shit like the indians?
     
  15. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    Here's an extended clip, with comments indicating that it is Turkish. There's some text that appears at the beginning as well which might help to confirm it.
    Apparently it's a commercial for DigiTurk TV.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Kqxxq29WJY
     
  16. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Turkish, definitely.
     
  17. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    That Latvian lady sounds like she has swallowed a broomstick. Latvians don't talk so slow, besides she has a very weird accent. Doesn't sound like a native speaker at all, or she's an emigrant that has lived all her life in France or something.
     
  18. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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