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#411924 - 02/09/10 11:11 PM Re: Unwords [Re: NapalmNick]
reprobate Offline

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English was a V2 language (like German and Dutch) in its earliest phase, and morphed into an SVO syntax by the 14th century at the latest.

I could go on at great length about this.

And don't even get me started on "-est, -eth" verb endings.
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#411926 - 02/09/10 11:25 PM Re: Unwords [Re: reprobate]
NapalmNick Offline
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Hm. I'd definitely like to hear more from you concerning language. While it is an interest of mine, it is clear you actually know more than I.

But I'm not so sure this is the thread for that. grin
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#411943 - 02/10/10 08:06 AM Re: Unwords [Re: reprobate]
Machismo Offline
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Originally Posted By: reprobate
English was a V2 language (like German and Dutch) in its earliest phase, and morphed into an SVO syntax by the 14th century at the latest.

I could go on at great length about this.

And don't even get me started on "-est, -eth" verb endings.


I'd like to hear you on this, at length. Easy for me to say, of course. You're the one who'll be doing the work!
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#411962 - 02/10/10 10:54 AM Re: Unwords [Re: Machismo]
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#411963 - 02/10/10 11:06 AM Re: Unwords [Re: Machismo]
reprobate Offline

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What part of it do you want to hear about?
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#411972 - 02/10/10 12:29 PM Re: Unwords [Re: reprobate]
Machismo Offline
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Originally Posted By: reprobate
What part of it do you want to hear about?


V2 to SVO, and -est, -eth.

Or anything that interests you about what I as a layman would call Elizabethan English, where it came from, where it went, how it worked.

It interests me for the silliest of reasons. I used to read the Thor comic and I loved how Thor talked.

Plus I have a layman's interest in the basic principles of linguistics, in particular the evolution of syntax, its mutations and selection pressures.
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#411976 - 02/10/10 01:17 PM Re: Unwords [Re: reprobate]
NapalmNick Offline
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So is your specialty in Germanic languages or do you also knows stuff about Latin, Slavic, Celtic, etc?

A few things that have been bugging me: is Romanian still considered a Romance language? Because to my ears it sounds very Slavic. Also, what the hell is Finnish? I've heard from some people that it is a dense mix of Germanic and Slavic roots, namely Swedish and Russian, but something tells me that might be bullshit.
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"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." --George Carlin, Playin' With Your Head

"[There is] no contradiction between saying 'evolution has no purpose' and 'organisms have purposes'; just different vocabularies for different levels of description." --Sean Carroll

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#411980 - 02/10/10 01:42 PM Re: Unwords [Re: NapalmNick]
reprobate Offline

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I have a degree in English lit and took courses on the history of the English language, but I also have a personal interest in language change.

Romanian is definitely counted as a Romance language. The basic vocabulary and grammar are Romance. But because it's had close contact with Slavic languages for hundreds of years (closer than the contact it's had with any other Romance language), some of the Slavic features have "rubbed off". Mostly this has affected how sounds are pronounced, but also some words were borrowed, and little details of grammar. For example, the definite article goes at the end of the word, like in its Slavic neighbors, rather than at the beginning as in the other Romance tongues; but the sound that's used as the definite article is evolved from Latin "ille", not from any Slavic word.

Finnish is actually something of an anomaly. All languages differ from one another, but Finnish differs from the other European languages in ways that they don't differ from one another. Most of the languages of Europe are in a set of related families (Germanic, Romance, Celtic, Slavic, Baltic, as well as a few sui generis languages like Greek and Albanian). These families make up a kind of superfamily called the Indo-European languages, which also includes Persian and the languages of northern India. These languages are demonstrably related in their basic vocabulary (eg. "mother"/"mater"/"matar", "father"/"pater"/"patar", etc.) and grammatical structure, but have been in the process of diverging for something like six thousand years.

Finnish is not in that family. It's part of a different family, called Uralic. Most of the languages of this family are tribal languages spoken in the Russian interior, near the Urals, but during the Middle Ages some of these tribes settled in Europe, and today there are three countries in Europe that have Uralic tongues as their national language: Finnish is related to Estonian and to Magyar (what they speak in Hungary). There are also some speakers of related languages in other parts of Russia, and also the Saami in Norway.
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#411983 - 02/10/10 02:26 PM Re: Unwords [Re: reprobate]
NapalmNick Offline
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So is Magyar what people are referring to when they say "Hungarian" or is it a minority language?

Knew about the Indo-European group, had no clue the Ural languages weren't included in it. Another thing that interests me is how languages geographically migrate. Turkish is the most widely spoken Turkic language, in Turkey of all places, and yet from what I understand they started in Mongolia. I just looked it up and apparently Turkic languages are part of the "Altaic" family, which most linguists completely reject. Interesting.

Sorry for all the inane questions, this stuff is interesting to me.
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"Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris; not the end." --Leonard Nimoy as Captain Spock in The Undiscovered Country

"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." --George Carlin, Playin' With Your Head

"[There is] no contradiction between saying 'evolution has no purpose' and 'organisms have purposes'; just different vocabularies for different levels of description." --Sean Carroll

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#411989 - 02/10/10 03:11 PM A primer of fake Elizabethan [Re: Machismo]
reprobate Offline

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Well, without getting too deep into the history behind all of this (you can research that yourself, starting with wikipedia, or even take courses on it at your nearest university if you like, "History of the English Language" or what have you)....

From around 500 AD to 1066 AD, the people in England spoke a language they called English. Well, they would have written it "englisc", but it's pronounced the same. However, other than a few words, this language is completely incomprehensible to anyone without special training. Try reading Beowulf in the original language.

In 1066, England is invaded by the Normans, and the English language starts to take on some influence from their language (actually various dialects of what was called "la langue d'Ol", ancestor of the modern French language). This is when we begin to see traces of English as we know it; it's the phase scholars call "Middle English".

The process was slow. Take a look at Gawain and the Green Knight, an Arthurian legend told in poetry some time in the 1200s. If you were to hear this sung by a native speaker of Middle English, it would sound very strange, but you'd be able to pick out much of it; it would sound like someone speaking in a very strange, very very thick foreign accent, and making strange mistakes. "If 3e wyl lysten is laye bot on littel quile" = "If ye will listen (to) this lay but a(n) little while", etc.

This is also the language in which Chaucer wrote. These authors are trying to write their language phonetically, but they have no standardized methods, no "correct" spellings, no dictionaries, none of that. So they kind of have to eyeball it, and expect their reader will understand what they're writing. At the very worst, you could read the letters out loud and hear the words for yourself. If you understand the phonetic conventions of the time, you can actually still do that. But it sounds very weird.

The important thing to realize is that this isn't just a jumble. This is a language with its own grammar; but its grammar happens to be different from ours. Not VERY different. But when it comes to grammar, even a little different is enough to make things sound like a jumble.

Over time, the grammar was streamlined a bit, and also differences in dialect were smoothed over. By the year 1600, people are speaking something recognizable as "Modern English", even if it's old-fashioned. When King James commissioned a modern English translation of the Bible, his commissioners used some features of English that were already considered "old-fashioned" by that time. People didn't tend to refer to one another as "thou" anymore, for example. But they still recognized it as part of their language, and understood how you should speak if that's how you wanted to speak.

Which brings me to my main topic. How to speak fake Elizabethan. Already, if you are calling it by that name, you're doing it wrong. People didn't really talk this way during Elizabeth's reign. Nor during that of James (I tend to call it "fake Jacobian" because at least it's the way they wrote the King James Version of the Bible). Maybe something like "Fake Middle English"?

"-eth" and "-est" are verb endings that depend on the subject. In this language, you have eight personal pronouns:
I
Thou
He/She/It
We
Ye
They

All of them except "thou", "ye", and "he/she/it" work the same as they do in contemporary English. You never say "I hath" or "I goest", you say "I have" or "I go".

"Thou" is second person singular. You only use it when you are talking about one person. It's also an intimate term, so you never use it when addressing someone of higher station, or a stranger; you only use it for friends and family, and God. When it's the object, you say "thee" ("I love thee"). The possessive form is "thy" or "thine" (corresponding roughly with "my" and "mine", though it was typical to use the form that ends in -ine before a word that started with a vowel; eg. "my love", "thy coat", but "mine enemy", "thine orbital weapons platform.")

"-est" is the ending for present tense indicative verbs that have "thou" as their subject. If the verb is "to X", then you say, "thou X-est". Thou knowest, thou lovest, thou laughest, etc. (This is closely related to the German conjugation for "du"; eg. "gehen" becomes "du gehst", just as "go" becomes "thou goest".)

Two exceptions. If the verb is "to be", you say "thou art". (You never say "I art" or "he art" or "they art". ONLY "thou art".) If the verb is "to have", you say "thou hast". (You never say "I hast" or "he hast".)

You can use this for questions, too. "Goest thou?" But never for the imperative. The imperative is the bare verbal root, which comes first in the clause. Sometimes the pronoun is included: "Go thou to the store". Never "Goest thou to the store". (That would be valid if you were asking a question: "Goest thou to the store?") Also, never for the infinitive, nor the subjunctive. Only when you are saying something that is true, or asking whether it's true, in the present.

"-eth" is the verbal ending for present tense indicative verbs that have third person singular ("he/she/it") as their subject. He knoweth, she loveth, God laugheth, etc. (You never say "I hath" or "thou goeth". Again, this is related to the German form; "es geht" = "it goeth".) Exceptions: if the verb is "to be", you say "is", just like you would nowadays. If the verb is "have", you say "hath". (Much as you would in German; you don't say "er habt", you say "er hat".)

"Ye" is the second person plural. You also use it for politeness, to speak to a single person who is entitled to some respect, a stranger or a lord or what have you. "Ye" is when it is the subject. "Ye know", "ye go", etc. (You never say "ye goeth", "ye hast", etc.) "You" is the object form, so you could say "I know you", not "I know ye". The possessive form is "your" or "yours" (you use "your" before a vowel just as you normally would in today's English).

Whew! I think that covereth all the bases. Have thou any questions, feel free to ask them!


Edited by reprobate (02/10/10 03:20 PM)
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#411991 - 02/10/10 03:15 PM Re: Unwords [Re: NapalmNick]
Spelled Moon Offline
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Registered: 12/25/08
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Originally Posted By: NapalmNick
So is Magyar what people are referring to when they say "Hungarian" or is it a minority language?


Magyar is Hungarian. smile The term "Magyar" is how Hungarian people refer to it.

And yes, it is very different from rest of languages, often compared to Finnish.

I also find their way of speaking funny. smile Their intonation is very strange.

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#411992 - 02/10/10 03:18 PM Re: Unwords [Re: NapalmNick]
reprobate Offline

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Quote:
So is Magyar what people are referring to when they say "Hungarian" or is it a minority language?

Spelled Moon is right, it's the main event, the national language.

It's also spoken by an ethnic group in Romania called the szekely. In Dracula, the man himself claims to be a szekely, which means he or his ancestors would have spoken Hungarian. (The real Vlad Tepeş was a Wlach, meaning a Romanian speaker and a descendent of Roman settlers, predating the Hungarian invasion.)


Edited by reprobate (02/10/10 03:33 PM)
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#411993 - 02/10/10 03:36 PM Re: Unwords [Re: Spelled Moon]
NapalmNick Offline
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Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 2153
Ah OK! Usually my ears can at the very least spot the family of any given language. It seems quite natural. I'm actually perplexed by people who don't notice the obvious similarities between say, Spanish and Italian.

But, there is this one kid who speaks nothing but Hungarian when he wants to annoy me, and it sounds like he's an alien. Like, a space alien. Now I know why. smile
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"Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris; not the end." --Leonard Nimoy as Captain Spock in The Undiscovered Country

"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." --George Carlin, Playin' With Your Head

"[There is] no contradiction between saying 'evolution has no purpose' and 'organisms have purposes'; just different vocabularies for different levels of description." --Sean Carroll

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#412062 - 02/11/10 07:31 AM Re: A primer of fake Elizabethan [Re: reprobate]
Machismo Offline
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Registered: 02/05/10
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Originally Posted By: reprobate
In 1066, England is invaded by the Normans...


First, thank you for the lengthy bit of teaching.

As for 1066, I just want to say, yes, I'm hokey enough to get a kick out of anything big happening on a -66 year. jack

Quote:
...and the English language starts to take on some influence from their language (actually various dialects of what was called "la langue d'Ol", ancestor of the modern French language). This is when we begin to see traces of English as we know it; it's the phase scholars call "Middle English".


Cool. Middle English got its push from the Normans. Learned something already.

Quote:
Over time, the grammar was streamlined a bit, and also differences in dialect were smoothed over. By the year 1600, people are speaking something recognizable as "Modern English", even if it's old-fashioned. When King James commissioned a modern English translation of the Bible, his commissioners used some features of English that were already considered "old-fashioned" by that time. People didn't tend to refer to one another as "thou" anymore, for example. But they still recognized it as part of their language, and understood how you should speak if that's how you wanted to speak.


I've heard that Luther's New Testament was a very big influence on the German language. Was the King James Bible as big an influence on English?

Quote:

Which brings me to my main topic. How to speak fake Elizabethan.


Hurray! Thor! jack

Quote:
All of them except "thou", "ye", and "he/she/it" work the same as they do in contemporary English. You never say "I hath" or "I goest", you say "I have" or "I go".


Whither goest thou? Whither goeth yon prattling oaf? Whither go I now on this mournful morn?

Too bad Thor doesn't talk like that any more. I could apply for a writing job! smile


Quote:

"Thou" is second person singular. You only use it when you are talking about one person. It's also an intimate term, so you never use it when addressing someone of higher station, or a stranger; you only use it for friends and family, and God.


Intimacy with God. What a concept!

Quote:

When it's the object, you say "thee" ("I love thee"). The possessive form is "thy" or "thine" (corresponding roughly with "my" and "mine", though it was typical to use the form that ends in -ine before a word that started with a vowel; eg. "my love", "thy coat", but "mine enemy", "thine orbital weapons platform.")


You know, Stan Lee got most of this right!

Quote:
You can use this for questions, too. "Goest thou?" But never for the imperative. The imperative is the bare verbal root, which comes first in the clause. Sometimes the pronoun is included: "Go thou to the store". Never "Goest thou to the store". (That would be valid if you were asking a question: "Goest thou to the store?") Also, never for the infinitive, nor the subjunctive. Only when you are saying something that is true, or asking whether it's true, in the present.


Stan Lee even did imperatives right!

Quote:
"Ye" is the second person plural. You also use it for politeness, to speak to a single person who is entitled to some respect, a stranger or a lord or what have you. "Ye" is when it is the subject. "Ye know", "ye go", etc. (You never say "ye goeth", "ye hast", etc.) "You" is the object form, so you could say "I know you", not "I know ye". The possessive form is "your" or "yours" (you use "your" before a vowel just as you normally would in today's English).


Here is where Stan Lee fell down, I think. I don't remember Thor saying "ye" or "you" much at all.

Quote:

Whew! I think that covereth all the bases. Have thou any questions, feel free to ask them!


Thanks again!
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#412071 - 02/11/10 08:55 AM Re: A primer of fake Elizabethan [Re: Machismo]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
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Quote:
I've heard that Luther's New Testament was a very big influence on the German language. Was the King James Bible as big an influence on English?

Yes, though not as dramatically. It standardized a lot of grammatical uses, introduced new vocabulary, and fixed a common point of reference for many figures of speech and poetic allusions.

It also played a role in standardizing divergent dialects across political boundaries. The German language was spread throughout the Holy Roman Empire, in dozens of countries, with thick dialects that were often not mutually comprehensible. English was much less spread out, and in England it was already being standardized as the language of the King's court. In the time period we're talking about, the lowland Scots, then comprising an independent kingdom of their own, spoke what is variously described as a divergent dialect of English, or a separate language closely related to English. This was the last major community of English-speakers to be unified with the rest. Politically, this was effected by James I himself; his Bible became the focal point of the Protestant revolution in Scotland that ensued.

Quote:
Whither goest thou? Whither goeth yon prattling oaf? Whither go I now on this mournful morn?

i herd u liek demonstrative, relative, and interrogative pronouns.

Here's another factoid about Middle English that's fun because it's actually way more expressive than modern English, and because there's a pattern.

Today, we have two "demonstrative" pronouns: THIS and THAT. These are words we can use to refer to something directly in the world; with the words "this" and "that", I can hold up or point to a thing and show it to you. We have a similar pair that refer to places: HERE and THERE. HERE/THIS are for anything near me; THERE/THAT are for anything that isn't near me.

The Middle English system was richer. Instead of a near/far contrast, it had a three-way contrast: near me, not near me but within sight, and not near me and not in sight. The words were THIS, YON, and THAT. The corresponding words for places were HERE, YONDER, and THERE.

"Yon oaf" is that oaf over there, that we can see. If we couldn't see him, he would be "that oaf".

These words, along with the interrogative pronoun (WHICH/WHERE), formed a regular system. There was a form of all of them that meant "from x" (origin) and one that meant "to x" (destination).

The origin words end in -ence: WHENCE ("from where"), HENCE ("from here"), THENCE ("from there"). (There was no corresponding form for "yon.")

In Middle English, for example, you wouldn't say, "Where are you coming from?", or "I came from there." You would say, "Whence are you coming?" (or "Whence come you?"), and "I came thence." When you draw a conclusion in an argument, you say "Hence", as in, "From these premises [we get to the conclusion]".

The destination words end in -ither: WHITHER ("to where"), HITHER ("to here"), THITHER ("to there"). You can also use YONDER in this way.

A "come-hither look" is a look that tells you "come to here". Someone moving "hither and thither" is going here, then there. In the Song of Solomon, the poet asks, "Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women?" as in, where did she go to?


Edited by reprobate (02/11/10 09:26 AM)
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