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Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

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Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Keesa » Mon Aug 11, 2003 1:58 pm

Quote from: bingley on August 10, 2003, 10:42:37 PM <br />We can say things in English we can't easily say in Latin, so English is limited? <br /><br />Could you explain how you reach this conclusion? Surely the limitation (if there is one) would be on Latin's side. <br /> <br /><br /><br />If you think about it - and here we're getting more into "Academy" subject matter.... every language has limitations in some way or another. Word order is everything in English, which results in some limitations. (Ambiguous statements, if one isn't really careful about how one orders one's words, for instance.) Words have extremely flexible meanings in English, too, to the point that colloquial meanings take over original meanings in a very few years, and then you have to find another word for the original..... English has no simple future tense - you have to work something out with other verbs to make one. My guess is that the original English speakers just weren't much interested in the future, so didn't see a need for one.<br /><br />Latin's limited, too, in different ways. The rigid grammar can in some ways be as much of a difficulty as the word order, and some of the inflection rules make for monsterous mouthfuls of words to get one's teeth around. <br /><br />I've always wondered if you can't tell a whole lot about the basic culture/beliefs/environment of the originators of a language by the grammar and words they use - some languages have multiple words for a concept that only rates one in other languages. (I'm thinking particularly of "snow" at the moment.... I am given to understand that at least one Inuit dialect has over 30 words for "snow", whereas English only has one, and adds adjectives to get more descriptive.)<br /><br />Kilmeny <br /><br />I agree that every language has its limitations, but I'm still not sure how you draw the conclusion, "Because we can say things in English that we can't say in Latin, English is limited." Perhaps you could elucidate this part of your argument? <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby benissimus » Mon Aug 11, 2003 2:54 pm

The Romans certainly were fond of large words... Vulgar Latin, the "simplified" language of the peasants, rather than make words shorter, actually made them longer! The third conjugation verb sedere - "to sit" was, in Vulgar Latin, sedificare (sedis+facere to make a seat). I wonder if this was because the first conjugation was considered simpler or if it was a colloquialism that took over or what!
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby bingley » Mon Aug 11, 2003 2:56 pm

To be fair, it wasn't milito/kilmeny who said that English was limited because there were things that didn't translate easily into Latin. That was lumen_et_umbra.
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Milito » Mon Aug 11, 2003 4:31 pm

[quote author=bingley link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3526 date=1060613803]<br />To be fair, it wasn't milito/kilmeny who said that English was limited because there were things that didn't translate easily into Latin. That was lumen_et_umbra.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Thanks.... 'cause I personally don't see English as limited in comparison with Latin.... just different and showing different priorities in its speakers....<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby benissimus » Mon Aug 11, 2003 4:39 pm

I see English as somewhat less effective than Latin, but not "inferior." The reason for this is simply that when you read Latin, you can perceive an immense amount of information, meaning, and feeling from just a few words. I think we can all agree, at least, that Latin is more compact, and by that, it is more word-efficient.
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby annis » Mon Aug 11, 2003 8:44 pm

[quote author=benissimus link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3557 date=1060619966]<br />I see English as somewhat less effective than Latin, but not "inferior." The reason for this is simply that when you read Latin, you can perceive an immense amount of information, meaning, and feeling from just a few words. I think we can all agree, at least, that Latin is more compact, and by that, it is more word-efficient.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />But high efficiency of word use isn't necessarily a good thing in a language. A certain amount of redundancy is good. It lets you be understood in a noisy room.
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Keesa » Mon Aug 11, 2003 10:09 pm

[quote author=bingley link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3526 date=1060613803]<br />To be fair, it wasn't milito/kilmeny who said that English was limited because there were things that didn't translate easily into Latin. That was lumen_et_umbra.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I'm sorry, milito! I guess I just read it wrong...I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby benissimus » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:53 am

[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3577 date=1060634687]<br /><br />But high efficiency of word use isn't necessarily a good thing in a language. A certain amount of redundancy is good. It lets you be understood in a noisy room.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I agree that they each have their strengths, but I see Latin as more practical in many situations. Latin seems more "complete" in that for almost every grammatical facet, there exist completely predictable patterns and rules of regularity. I guess Latin appeals to my sense of logic.
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Keesa » Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:10 am

[quote author=benissimus link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3629 date=1060649582]<br /><br />I agree that they each have their strengths, but I see Latin as more practical in many situations. Latin seems more "complete" in that for almost every grammatical facet, there exist completely predictable patterns and rules of regularity. I guess Latin appeals to my sense of logic.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />"For every rule in English, there is at least one exception..." including that one! <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Keesa » Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:36 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3577 date=1060634687]<br />But high efficiency of word use isn't necessarily a good thing in a language. A certain amount of redundancy is good. It lets you be understood in a noisy room.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />And one of the things I like best about English is the variety of words to pick and chose from. I like to roll the words around on my tongue, testing and tasting them until I find just the perfect word, the one that expresses exactly what I want to say...English may not be a very practical language, but it's a very beautiful one. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Milito » Tue Aug 12, 2003 2:24 pm

[quote author=Keesa link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3584 date=1060639768]<br />I'm sorry, milito! I guess I just read it wrong...I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. <br /><br />Keesa<br />[/quote]<br /><br />No sweat - look, we've just demonstrated a limitation of the WRITTEN language!<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Milito » Tue Aug 12, 2003 2:32 pm

[quote author=Keesa link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3668 date=1060695372]<br />And one of the things I like best about English is the variety of words to pick and chose from. I like to roll the words around on my tongue, testing and tasting them until I find just the perfect word, the one that expresses exactly what I want to say...English may not be a very practical language, but it's a very beautiful one. <br /><br />Keesa<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I suspect, as well, that everyone comes at languages with a somewhat biased point of view. You can't help but be 'attached' to your own first language. Given the mess that English has made of itself, through its tendency of swallowing whole any other convenient word/phrase/idiom it happens to encounter from another language, it is apparently a bit of a nightmare to learn as a second language. I could see that making someone feel less than thrilled by it. I'm also willing to bet that a German-as-a-First-Language-Speaker would consider German beautiful, and I know it's the case for French-as-a-First-Language-Speakers (at least some of them). I would hazard a guess that the same goes for pretty well anyone's opinion of their own first language.<br /><br />It seems to come down to what one is comfortable and familiar with. I grew up in a narrow mountain valley, and found my first experience with the prairies terrifying. I've since met prairie people who found areas with mountains on several horizons 'claustrophobic', while I was finding the same area 'wide open'. I no longer want to run screaming indoors while on a prairie (which is a good thing, in Winnipeg.....) but I really, really miss my mountains and will go back as soon as possible. Many of the 'prairie people' still think I'm nuts. Languages and grammar rules and other linguistic conventions seem to be the same way - we prefer what we know best.<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Keesa » Wed Aug 13, 2003 12:51 am

[quote author=Milito link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3678 date=1060698722]<br />I suspect, as well, that everyone comes at languages with a somewhat biased point of view. You can't help but be 'attached' to your own first language. Given the mess that English has made of itself, through its tendency of swallowing whole any other convenient word/phrase/idiom it happens to encounter from another language, it is apparently a bit of a nightmare to learn as a second language. I could see that making someone feel less than thrilled by it. I'm also willing to bet that a German-as-a-First-Language-Speaker would consider German beautiful, and I know it's the case for French-as-a-First-Language-Speakers (at least some of them). I would hazard a guess that the same goes for pretty well anyone's opinion of their own first language.<br /><br />Kilmeny<br />[/quote]<br /><br />It's funny-Maman and I have argued this point many times before. I'm inclined to agree with you about one's own language being easy and beautiful, and all the others being slightly grotesque and certainly ridiculously confusing. (my words, not yours.) When I was first learning French, I insisted that English was the easier language, while she declared that French was easier and more beautiful and made far more sense. Of course, French was her native language, and English was mine. <br /><br />It's not completely true, though, that we find our own language more beautiful than any other all the time. For example, the more I learned of French, the more I found to love and admire, and the same with Latin. And I'm still a beginner at both of them! (Although, I would call myself an advanced beginner in French.) Just think of how much more there is to discover and admire and love! <br /><br />Perhaps, then, we find our own language most beautiful because we're most familiar with it, and it's the familiarity, more than just the sense of "my language" that makes it beautiful? <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby benissimus » Wed Aug 13, 2003 5:42 am

[quote author=Milito link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3678 date=1060698722]<br /><br />I suspect, as well, that everyone comes at languages with a somewhat biased point of view. You can't help but be 'attached' to your own first language. Given the mess that English has made of itself, through its tendency of swallowing whole any other convenient word/phrase/idiom it happens to encounter from another language, it is apparently a bit of a nightmare to learn as a second language. I could see that making someone feel less than thrilled by it. I'm also willing to bet that a German-as-a-First-Language-Speaker would consider German beautiful, and I know it's the case for French-as-a-First-Language-Speakers (at least some of them). I would hazard a guess that the same goes for pretty well anyone's opinion of their own first language.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I certainly appreciate English as my first language, though I do not find it particularly beautiful. Oddly, though, I know several people who have learned other languages and find English to be grotesque and barbaric. I just find it humorous that they would take an arbitrary stance towards something so subjective.
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Milito » Wed Aug 13, 2003 8:23 pm

[quote author=benissimus link=board=13;threadid=437;start=0#3769 date=1060753352]<br />I just find it humorous that they would take an arbitrary stance towards something so subjective.<br />[/quote]<br />A lot of arbitrary stances seem to be taken on very subjective matters.... For instance - there are a whole lot of people who think I'm utterly nuts for liking Latin at all. Any time likes and dislikes come up in conversation, it's by nature subjective, and yet people can be so opinionated on the matter! (Says the person so opinionated on the colour pink...... ;D)<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Episcopus » Mon Aug 18, 2003 3:19 pm

Was "sedere" not "sedère" (2nd conjugation).<br /><br />Sorry I be listening to Michael Jackson "ludus anticus"
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Episcopus » Mon Aug 18, 2003 3:23 pm

Oh, and English: I feel guilty whenever I may write or speak it; for I can not speak any language as well as I can English, <br />of which I do be ashamed.<br /><br />I do love conversing in french with my french teacher, it is a great language in which to insult; be funny, ambigiuous (what exactly is "un évêque"), slick. Furthermore when pronounced correctly French does sound beautiful. HOWEVER I detest those french people who speak insanely quickly. I mean not quickly I mean insanely quickly to such an extent that their words sound nothing but a low pitched droan with a few occasional "hoh hoh"'s. <br /><br />
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby ASim » Tue Aug 19, 2003 12:51 pm

French, as spoken in Paris, appears indiscernible from gargling.<br /><br />Melodically, American English whines. Apropos melody: I have read in Herrn Professor Kaegi's grammar that Greek accents initially used to indicate tones of the spoken language, as nowadays present in, e.g., Chinese or Vietnamese or Tibetan. The gravis and lenis, it further said, were about a five-tone interval apart. Is this view still shared?<br /><br />
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby annis » Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:00 pm

[quote author=ASim link=board=13;threadid=437;start=15#4409 date=1061297473]<br />Melodically, American English whines.<br />
<br /><br />Er. Which American English? There are many to choose from.<br /><br />
Apropos melody: I have read in Herrn Professor Kaegi's grammar that Greek accents initially used to indicate tones of the spoken language, as nowadays present in, e.g., Chinese or Vietnamese or Tibetan. The gravis and lenis, it further said, were about a five-tone interval apart. Is this view still shared?<br />
<br /><br />The tones are not like Chinese in that the tones move around within a word. In Chinese, once a first tone (high flat) syllable, always a first tone syllable. <br /><br />However the Greek accents do represent change in a word. Eventually the pitch tone became stress (volume) accent like English, German, etc.<br /><br />I don't know if the difference was really a 5th apart. I've always suspected that that 5th difference represented an exaggeration for public speaking. I know no tonal language with that much swing in pitch on a single syllable in normal speech.<br /><br />Finally, the grave accent is usually said to indicate no pitch change at all. There is some reason to doubt this, but the matter remains controversial.<br /><br />Without a native speaker to record, there's always going to be doubt.
[/quote]
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby ASim » Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:53 pm

Thanks!<br /><br />[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=437;start=15#4412 date=1061298016]<br /><br />Er. Which American English? There are many to choose from.<br /><br />[/quote] <br /><br />Any I know of, and that's many, from the Hamptons to Lihue.<br /><br />[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=437;start=15#4412 date=1061298016]<br /><br />However the Greek accents do represent change in a word.<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />Could you elaborate? The aim of my analogy to Chinese was that pitch is indicated, not whether it's fixed or variable. But you are saying (aren't you?) that it is CHANGE in pitch. I was originally under the impression that it was rather something like "high" "middle" "low".<br /><br />In any case, is this view, in some form or another, of accents as indicators of pitch more or less mainstream? Would you know whether the accent was still a pitch-marker during the 5th century? <br /><br />Thanks again. -- Ansgar
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Re:Limited Latin (from "About To Latine")

Postby Episcopus » Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:23 pm

The best American English is that of black people. I love it. It is funny.<br /><br />So many words for money...
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