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Native languages?

Postby Nexus Ferocis » Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:37 am

I must first apologize for one of the previous topics; I kind of destroyed the harmony of Textkit. I’m still new to this whole forum thing; this is the first I have joined after all. So once again, I’m sorry. Well, that said, let’s continue.

We seem to have many people from all around so I have some simple questions: what is your native language? How many languages do you know? What does English sound like to non-English speakers?

That last one I have always wanted to know. All that I have ever been told is that English is spoken with such hard Ss that it sounds like the hissing of a snake. Whoa, just repeat that last sentence and listen. But other than that, does it sound harsh, soft, or just... weird?

How is English regarded in difficulty to learn? I know that Japanese relate English to Latin. While we get our technical words from Latin, Japanese do so from English on top of borrowing much of their vocabulary from us. English is a very difficult study and business language for them.

I bet some of this has been asked before, so excuse me if it is so. That pretty much sums it up. And?
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Postby klewlis » Wed Dec 17, 2003 2:18 am

I speak english, and only english. :(

I've had a smattering of spanish and french, but not enough to carry on a conversation.
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Postby mingshey » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:43 am

My mother tongue is Korean.
But my parents are educated during the Japanese ruling and my father speaks japaneses more fluently than the contemporary natives because he kept reading books written in japanese for his life.

I've started studying English since I don't remember how old(or how young) I was then.
But the methods were not very effective and it was slow. In Korea they had been saying that English is easy to start and terribly hard to master. (Korean? hard to start and hard to master. :P)

Anyway, with the advantage of starting earlier than my peer, and doing hard excercise for decades, I managed to score 875 in TOEIC.
But I still feel quite a bit hard to understand the news report in CNN.
Free conversation is easier because the native speakers can slow down for a foreigner. Reading and writing is much more easier because I can control the speed, and can refer to a dictionary.

Ich habe Deutsche gelernt im hochschule, but after I graduated highschool I seldom studied it. Only, have read a few books. And I forgot much of it. Ich habe alles vergessen.

Frances est un langue utilitee when searching info's on the web. But I'm almost illiterate of it.

Ikh mol kent a Amerikaner ver zogt Yiddish un er gebt mikh a Yiddish lerbikh. es iz a -charming- sprakhele, un es iz -similar to German-. Yiddish lidele zint liblikh

Spanish is another charming language though I also forgot most of it since I took a semester's course in the college. Hmm... rummaging thru my memory, Yo no hablo Español. :(

Watashiwa Nihongomo sukoshi benkyoushimashitaga amari wakarimasenne. Mangato Eigato-nadowo mirutokiwa benridesuga...

Zhongguohwa, wo shuo bu hao. Dui buqi.

Elliniki? dhen lego. 8)

Efharisto.
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Postby Nexus Ferocis » Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:50 am

Wow, Mingshey! I am impressed by how much you know and are learning, and I’m surprised at how much I could understand of the western languages you used because of learning Latin. Learning Latin does help alot in many ways. But then you switched to eastern ones, and I got lost…

You have an interesting way of writing Japanese. That’s another thing that makes Japanese difficult, no one over here agrees on how to write it in romaji. But it is spoken so fast it sounds more like
“WatashiwaNihongomosukoshibenkyoushimashitagaamariwakarimasenne.” Heh, that’s how it’s written like in Hirigana anyway. :)
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Postby mingshey » Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:36 am

No matter how congested I write Japanese, you can at least read it(and the suffices are written like that in hiragana anyway) and it wouldn't be totally a jabberwocky to a Japanese. But if I write a Korean sentence in roman characters and let an American read it, few Korean would understand it. :P
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Postby benissimus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:07 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:“WatashiwaNihongomosukoshibenkyoushimashitagaamariwakarimasenne.”


I see jeff has deactivated the swearing censor :o
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:05 am

My first language is English and my second German (I'm bilingual). Otherwise I can understand quite a few other languages and know a bit of modern Greek and French, but only a bit :( , I wish I had more time to learn French...
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:32 pm

Why are you apologising, although you flamed me, like an ashamed little girl? It is always I who argues and disputes vehemently :(
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Postby Kalailan » Wed Dec 17, 2003 2:49 pm

My first language is Hebrew, and english is my second.
i speak english very fluently,
and my accent is so british as to make people think i am originaly from england.

Korean is a beautifull language!
hearing it is like hearing music.
and the accent is so different to anything else i usually hear... all i hear is english, and the terrible hebrew (even i agree on that) and arabic, which are so sharp (hebrew is like the sounds of a barbery, and arabic of a slaughterhouse).

Tehtani kamsahamnida,
Aniong!
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Postby Lex » Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:06 pm

mingshey wrote:Watashiwa Nihongomo sukoshi benkyoushimashitaga amari wakarimasenne. Mangato Eigato-nadowo mirutokiwa benridesuga...


Showoff! Welll, you're not the only one around here who knows Japanese!

Watashi no empitsu wa kiiroi desu.

So there! :wink:
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Postby bingley » Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:10 pm

My native language is English. The second language I'm most comfortable with is Indonesian. If I have to, I can read French and Spanish. If I try to speak them Indonesian gets in the way. I studied Latin and Greek at school up to A level, but they've almost completely rusted away. I'm trying to get them back now.
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Postby Keesa » Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:15 pm

My first language is English. As far as being able to speak a language goes, it's also my only. But I can read French most of the time (I will bump into words I don't recognize more often than I like, but that's why they invented dictionaries) and I can understand simple spoken sentences in Spanish. (How's that for Ss?) Because I learned French from textbooks, I can read it but not understand it spoken; because I learned the little Spanish I know from hearing it spoken, I can understand it spoken but not read it, not well anyway. And I wouldn't call myself fluent in it, either. No comprende. (I can't spell, either.)

I've started carrying on short (and one-sided) conversations in Gaelic with my mother's Irish hydrangea, Erin. I am also learning to spell Gaelic, which has been a very interesting experience.

I would be doing beautifully in Latin if I were to take the time to sit down and study it (but that won't happen until after Christmas), and even though I have been studying my Greek, it remains elusive.

So, there you have the extent of my real-world language fluency.

Namarie! :wink:
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Postby Nexus Ferocis » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:06 pm

Episcopus wrote:Why are you apologising, although you flamed me, like an ashamed little girl? It is always I who argues and disputes vehemently :(


1. It takes two to tango.

2. I instigated it.

But why the part about "like a ashamed little girl?" Can't adults apologize? :?
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Postby benissimus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 4:12 pm

He calls that "debate".
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Postby Clemens » Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:31 pm

My first language is German. I've been studying English for 8 years, French for 4 years and Spanish for 3 years.
Well, English doesn't sound better than German...in fact I think it sounds sometimes really weird. ;-)
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:53 pm

Thank you Kal! At least you agree that Hebrew is not a nice language!
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Postby benissimus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:14 pm

Thank you Kal! At least you agree that Hebrew is not a nice language!

I think this is the kind of stuff that alienates newcomers.
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Postby Kalailan » Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:25 pm

i am an israeli.
if i say that i think hebrew doesn't sound nice it isn't as bad.

Episcope, i only said it sounds bad. but i think not it sounds worse then arabic, persian, or georgian.

<kalailan hopes he didn't alienate anyone. he only means that his ears aren't used to those sounds.>
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Postby benissimus » Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:32 pm

I think that if that were the first post a person read when visiting this site in search of a language resource, that person would be utterly turned off. I already know of at least one woman who left awhile ago because of incessant Welsh-bashing (she PMed me). Discussion is great, even if negative, but it would be nice if it were a bit more tasteful.

Anyways, I don't like playing disciplinarian. Kailan, I didn't think your post was too offensive, since you did say why, but Episcopus tends to just insult. O Episcope, cur non tibi imperas? :evil:
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Postby Kalailan » Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:51 pm

oh, ok then.
i think you are right, about saying why.

anyway, i personaly wouldn't be turned off because of things like that.

<kalailan is reassured.>
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Postby 1%homeless » Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:38 pm

Although he could be more explanatory with his distate with Welsh, I think it is interesting to see a negative view point of people living in the UK.

Really, not many people do esthetic studies in Language. I am interested to know how people view English as well. How does one mock English in Korean or other languages? I know how English and Spanish speakers mock Chinese. It's interesting that they sound the same. It's funny, at first I thought Welsh sounded very beautiful but then I changed my mind when I listened to it again and took notice of their l's (well it's not really an L sound, but it was represented by L or was it a double L? :) ) But I'll give it another listen and see if I change my mind again. Yes, it is hurtful to have a someone mock your language or a language that you love, but it gives a lot of great insight into linguistic esthetic perception. Greek was another interesting phenemenon. I had no idea that ancient greek pronunciation sounded unpleasant to modern greeks. Why? And around here, I keep hearing people say German is a harsh and ugly language. It hurts and pisses me off that people so misunderstand German because of it's association to hitler speech films. And why are you interested in German, do you love Nazis? Language beauty also depends on the speaker too. But I guess I am kind of a hypocrite, because I just judged Welsh by a single sound like these people judge German by the "ach" sound of German. Also something harsh isn't ugly to some people. A good analogy is grunge and heavy metal music...

Don't get me wrong, but positive reactions to language is just as important as negative. It is interesting to hear that someone with a semitic background say Korean is beautiful, but I wish people could elaborate more on why they like a language or hate it. Oh well, not everybody can talk about velars, gutturals, and tones.

Anyways, It's hard to answer what is my native language is, when I could barely speak that anymore. Also, I had two native languages which makes it more confusing. Anyways, I consider English as one of my native languages because I've been speaking it fluently since I was in kindergarten. So it's hard to give an objective view point in English even if it isn't my true native language.

So yes, I have my hands full. It will be difficult to get my native languages back, even though I have a listening comprehension of them. There are barely any materials for my Chinese dialect. I have to learn Mandarin first because that is only what they offer here. Khmer (Cambodian) isn't too bad. I was able to find some stuff on it in English. All this while still trying to learn Latin and Greek at the same time. :shock:

I really have to ask my mom what she thinks of English. haha.
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Postby Keesa » Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:04 am

I can't really talk about gutterals and tones, but one of the things I like about French is the way they roll the "r". I also like the way they pronounce "-tion". Again, I don't know enough about it to go into detail, but I think it has something to do with the play of the i and the o together.

The double "l" in welsh is pronounced, as I understand it, on the sides of the tongue, almost like a "tl" sound. (Admittedly, I don't speak Welsh and I don't listen to it on a regular basis, but I have heard it a couple of times and loved the sound of it.)

One of the things I like about the sound of Gaelic are the "sh" sounds running through it. It makes the whole language sound soft and gentle, to my ears, and I love that.

And, I've never heard Latin or Greek spoken, so I can't tell you what I like about the sounds of the languages, or even if I like them. :D

Does this help?
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Postby Nexus Ferocis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:01 am

I have never heard Welsh but I have a good idea of what it sounds like. Tolkien made his elvish languages with the sound of Welsh and the grammar of Latin to make an interesting combo. But the funny thing is, is that Welsh say that Tolkien's languages, despite that most other people find them beautiful, sound like a bunch of gurgling noises. To them it sounds like a twisted form of their native language, but to us it is soft and gentle. Just shows how other people view other languages.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:07 am

Kalailan wrote:Korean is a beautifull language!
hearing it is like hearing music.
and the accent is so different to anything else i usually hear... all i hear is english, and the terrible hebrew (even i agree on that) and arabic, which are so sharp (hebrew is like the sounds of a barbery, and arabic of a slaughterhouse).

Tehtani kamsahamnida,
Aniong!


I never thought Korean was musical. But if a musical term is to be applied to Korean, it will be "staccato". But some of the foreigners speak it in smooth musical tone, indeed. ;)

By the way, it was a nice surprise to see someone who has learned Korean. :o :)
Last edited by mingshey on Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Keesa » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:08 am

It makes sense, though; the languages were based on Welsh, but they weren't the same thing as Welsh. Any changes that Tolkien made (and, again, I don't speak Welsh [yet], so I couldn't tell you the differences) would have made it less like Welsh. But if the language was still based on Welsh, then the result would probably sound like a very strange version of Welsh, if it even sounded remotely like Welsh, to a Welsh-speaker.
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Postby Nexus Ferocis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:17 am

Yeah, Welsh and Latin would make quite a pair. Think of how many syllables Latin has with the declensions and verb endings. And then you add the sound of Welsh. Welsh was Tolkien’s favorite language, after all.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:25 am

1%homeless wrote:How does one mock English in Korean or other languages?


There are many jokes about Konglish(Korean-English, the English spoken by a Korean who's bad at English). But I seldom heard about a "mocking" joke about English. Only one mockery about english, which is seldom known to many Koreans, is something from an anonymous, that says "Latin is the speach of God, French of Men, English of dogs, and German is of pigs." I agree about Latin and French, but not about English and German.
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:19 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:Yeah, Welsh and Latin would make quite a pair. Think of how many syllables Latin has with the declensions and verb endings. And then you add the sound of Welsh. Welsh was Tolkien’s favorite language, after all.


Let us not forget his fondness for Gothic ("Gothic" as in Germanic tribes of the sort that caused the Romans troubles, not people wearing black and smoking clove cigarettes).

Keesa, you can make the Welsh 'll' sound by locking your mouth in position for a simple 'l' then trying to make the sound 'th' in 'three.' Once you've got that down, it turns out that most speakers of languages that have this sound send the air out only one side (usually matching their handedness, which is interesting).
Last edited by annis on Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kasper » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:23 am

My first language is Dutch, then english, german and mouthful of french.

Regarding the aesthetic value of a language i'm sure that as always the beauty lies in the ears of the beholder. Apart from that: de gustibus non disputandem.
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Re: Native languages?

Postby annis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:24 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:We seem to have many people from all around so I have some simple questions: what is your native language? How many languages do you know?


English is my native language, and unfortunately the only one I can speak with any proficiency at all. Most of my time has been spent with languages no one speaks any longer, though I've had a lot of French, Mandarin and Japanese. But without practice these wither.

That last one I have always wanted to know. All that I have ever been told is that English is spoken with such hard Ss that it sounds like the hissing of a snake. Whoa, just repeat that last sentence and listen. But other than that, does it sound harsh, soft, or just... weird?


That's interesting. A Korean friend years ago always complained when I tried to get him to teach me some Korean. He said my esses were too harsh. I could never figure out what that meant, though I have some suspicions about that now.

How is English regarded in difficulty to learn? I know that Japanese relate English to Latin. While we get our technical words from Latin, Japanese do so from English on top of borrowing much of their vocabulary from us. English is a very difficult study and business language for them.


Ah. I've done ESL tutoring. There are plenty of very odd corners in English that make non-native speakers grouchy, but I suspect that's true for most people learning a new language, especially one from a different family (say, Arabic to French; Spanish to Italian is probably not quite so much work),
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Postby Bert » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:44 am

My first language is Dutch and my second is English.
I had two years of French and three years of German.
I forgot most of the french. I can still read German a little bit (better than I can read Greek, and I am trying Greek a whole lot harder than I ever tried German)
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Postby Nexus Ferocis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:44 am

mingshey wrote:Only one mockery about english, which is seldom known to many Koreans, is something from an anonymous, that says "Latin is the speach of God, French of Men, English of dogs, and German is of pigs." I agree about Latin and French, but not about English and German.


Language of dogs!? :shock: Who could think that? I think English is the language of poets. 8)

Really, I feel blessed to have English as my native language. There are so many irregular words that I couldn't imagine. But I love English for the reason that it is the most expressive language. It has a larger vocabulary than any other, and it borrows so many words from other European tongues.

I guess my ideal language is one that is soft in casual speech, but also commanding in orations and demands. Latin does that, I suppose, but other romance languages don’t, especially Spanish. I, honestly, don’t like the sound of Spanish. It was OK when I was learning it in class, but it sounds different when spoken fluently. Perhaps this because of so much I have heard it. Colorado has many Mexican immigrants, and before I started home schooling half of the students at my school were Mexican. When I was sitting in class, having three Mexican girls that were talking at the same time so fast that they were not pausing between sentences, I was about to snap. But I guess three talkative English girls would be as annoying, particularly with a valley-girl accent.

I wonder if there is an accent difference between Mexico and Spain? Like America and England. I always have to say that I don't speak English, I speak American. :)
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:55 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:I wonder if there is an accent difference between Mexico and Spain? Like America and England. I always have to say that I don't speak English, I speak American. :)


Oh my gosh, yes. I had a friend from Spain in college (UT-Austin) say Mexican Spanish sounded effeminate! (We asked him to refrain from asserting this too loudly at clubs.)

Even in Spain, there are strong dialect differences.

The Cubans have a special way of pronouncing p, t, k that seems explosive to me, though this is from a sample size of n=1 person, and I base this on his pronunciation of Esperanto, not Spanish.
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Postby Keesa » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:12 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:I wonder if there is an accent difference between Mexico and Spain? Like America and England. I always have to say that I don't speak English, I speak American. :)


Reminds me of a quote from My Fair Lady;

Why can't the English learn
To set a good example to people whose English is painful to your ears,
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English completely disappears.
Why, in America they haven't spoken it in years.

:lol:

How true it is.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:09 am

Nexus Ferocis wrote:Language of dogs!? :shock: Who could think that? I think English is the language of poets. 8)


Dunno what latino-maniac thought of such a twisted idea. I think German is poetic, and the Old English musical(in a different sense that Korean is musical. :D) English? hmm I haven't read much of English literature, so don't know, but I like many of the English musicals, like Cats and The Sound Of Music, Merry Poppins, etc.
Though it's after I watched the Cats video, I think "Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot is a genius work.
But I don't think BBC or CNN English(or American) is poetic.
I'd better say it depends on how people speak it, for even Korean can be musical when it's spoken by some foreigners. :D
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Postby benissimus » Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:39 am

Only one mockery about english, which is seldom known to many Koreans, is something from an anonymous, that says "Latin is the speach of God, French of Men, English of dogs, and German is of pigs." I agree about Latin and French, but not about English and German.

Ouch! Some of my friends are Latin freaks who hate German and English and French, but this one is just evil :twisted:

I think American English often sounds very twangy in most dialects, or gruff in a few. British dialects seem more "bubbly" or "airy", depending on where they are from, so I think.

Spanish definitely has a huge variety of accents. Spain's Spanish is one of those few languages that actually has a TH sound like in English, whereas Spanish in the Americas has no such thing. Also, if you include word usage with accent, Spain still uses the second person plural (vosotros) instead of just the third person plural (ustedes) as is used instead in the Americas.
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Postby bingley » Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:58 am

Mingshey, I think your quotation from anonymous:

Only one mockery about english, which is seldom known to many Koreans, is something from an anonymous, that says "Latin is the speach of God, French of Men, English of dogs, and German is of pigs." I agree about Latin and French, but not about English and German.

is probably a garbled version of a saying attributed to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles/Carolus/Karl V. "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to horses."

There is an advert on Indonesian TV at the moment for a dandruff shampoo. It's based on a parody of Indian Bollywood musicals, and the people in the ad are speaking Indonesian but with a strong Indian accent. It does sound very like the stereotype of an Indian accent you might find in the UK, so presumably Indonesian speakers and English speakers from outside India do have very similar perceptions of what Indian languages sound like.

Indonesians find the intonations of English, the way the voice moves up and down to show politeness or emotion, hilarious.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 18, 2003 7:49 am

bingley wrote:is probably a garbled version of a saying attributed to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles/Carolus/Karl V. "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to horses."


If the German at his time was like that what Beowulf is written in, he was totally unfair. :(
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Postby bingley » Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:57 am

I think Charles's dates were early 16th century, so the German he had in mind was a bit later than Beowulf.
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Postby Episcopus » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:10 pm

Well here in Wales French is seen to be the language of queer people. Je suis d'accord avec cela :wink:
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