Emoji and ideographs

Ideographics scripts, such as hieroglyphics, use complex characters to represent ideas. Another well known ideographic script is Chinese, which uses thousands upon thousands of characters to represent all the different ideas and concepts in the Chinese languages.

Emoji aren’t an ideographic script. While they contain some information of their own, they are not systematic, which means they don’t form part of a language, and don’t provide information beyond what their form (their picture) shows. A word in Chinese or English, or any other language, can have multiple meanings that will be understood in a given context.

“book” can mean “a series of pages with words written on them in a specific language” or “reserve a seat for a play, movie, or transportation”. The problem with emoji is that there is no commonly accepted system for determining what an emoticon would mean in a given sentence.

You could write with emoji “eye heart (finger pointing to the right)” to mean “I love you”. But here you would be relying on someone to connect the pronunciation of “eye” with the word “I”. This would not work in other languages. Not all cultures would connect the heart to love. And the finger pointing would be ambiguous. However, in Chinese you can write “I love you” with ideographs.

Emoji have come a long way, but until we have a proper system for using them the way Ancient Egyptian or Chinese does, they will remain simply funny pictures to send to family and friends.

“Adele – Skyfall” in Atlaans

Atlaans is a constructed language I made a while ago that mixes various Germanic languages together. I love constructed languages because they allow you to play with language and to see what a language would look like if history was different. What would English look like if it weren’t for the Norman invasion? What would English look like if the Normans hadn’t lost to the French and French influence had continued?

These are the kinds of things you can mess around with by making constructed languages. Atlaans is mainly a mix of Dutch and German. I always liked the sound of Dutch and I was wondering what simplified German with Dutch pronunciation would sound like. Atlaans it the result.

To give a fun example of the language, I translated “Skyfall” by Adele into Atlaans

This is the end
Dies ar de eend

Hold your breath and count to nine
Halt deen atma en saal su neen

Feel the earth move and then
Ful de aard beveech en dan

Hear my heart burst again
Hoor meen haart ful sho jadan

For this is the end
For dies ar de eend

I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment
Ig ertrinkd en troumd dies moment

So overdue I owe them
Sho soumich ig shuld essech

Swept away, I’m stolen
Swepd vech, ig ar steeled

Let the sky fall
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles
As es krumel

We will stand tall
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
Begeen es al shuzamen

Let the sky fall
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles
As es krumel

We will stand tall
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
Begeen es al shuzamen

At skyfall
Bee himfal

That skyfall
Das himfal

Skyfall is where we start
Himfal ar wo we anfang

The distance to you is very long
De distans su dich ar gans lang

Where worlds collide and days are unclear
Wo velden slaak en dagen ar unklart

You may have my number, you can take my name
Du miech hab meen noma, du kan neem meen naam

But you’ll never have my heart
Men du wou niemal hab meen haart

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
As es krumel

We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
Begeen es al shuzamen

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
As es krumel

We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
En begeen es al shuzamen

At skyfall
Bee himfal

[x2:]
(Let the sky fall
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles
As es krumel

We will stand tall)
We wou hoch staan

Where you go I go
Wo du gaan ig gaan

What you see I see
Was du sien ig sien

I know I’d never be me
Ig vees ig wou niemal mich zeen

Without the security
Oone de zicherheet

Of your loving embrace
Fon deen liebend’ klaad

Keeping me from harm
Das halt mich fon shaad

Put your hand in my hand
Zet deen hand in meen hand

And we’ll stand
En we wou staan

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
As es krumel

We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
Begeen es al shuzamen

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
Las de him’ fal

When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
As es krumel

We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
We wou hoch staan

Face it all together
Begeen es al shuzamen

At skyfall
Bee himfal

Let the sky fall
Las de him’ fal

We will stand tall
We wou staan hoch

At skyfall
Bee himfal

Mama Mia in Ancient Greek

Language can be intimidating sometimes. You look at all the weird words and symbols, and you think you will never be able to learn it. I love videos like this because it shows you can have fun with language and still learn something. Also, but translating a modern song into Ancient Greek it makes the language interesting even to those who don’t anything about Ancient Greek. They have also done videos about Let it Go. I commend their efforts!

A fun song in Danish

Oh boy, a video about a grandmother drinking beer 😀 And in Danish too, the language of the Vikings! What’s not to like! 😀 I have always liked Danish. It has such an interesting sound to it. I know some people make fun of it though. Some have called it “Norwegian spoken with a potato in your mouth”.

I don’t think that is fair. It is obviously “Swedish spoken with a potato in your mouth” 😀 I kid! It is a very cool language. It is descended from Old Norse as are all the modern North Germanic languages. It is closely related to Swedish, which are both descended from an eastern dialect of Old Norse, whereas Norwegian and Icelandic are descended from a western dialect of Old Norse.

Emulating Accents

A funny discussion about accents. This guy moved from Gambia to the UK and he says that immigrants try to emulate the British accent, but they always end up with some weird hybrid. Accents have a large affect on someone’s impression of you. Some accents are thought of as more cultured and educated, whereas others are seen as lower class, and the people who speak with them are seen as rough.

Obviously, these judgements are just silly. The way someone speaks can only really tell you something about where they were born, and even that is not a very reliable way of telling what kind of person they are. Accents, at the end of the day, are just interesting differences in the way people speak, and diversity of language is always interesting.

An overview of languages that have at one time or another served as a lingua franca

A lingua franca is a language that may not be someone’s native language, but it is a language that they know well enough to get by in. A language becomes a lingua franca due to economic and political forces, and has nothing to do with how good the language sounds to someone or the grammar of the language.

Some said that Latin was a lingua franca because of the preciseness of the language, but the Roman empire was probably more responsible. This video explains some of the forces that contribute to a language becoming a lingua franca.

If you ever wanted to learn the quirks of South African English, now you can :D

All languages have dialects. And English is no exception. I live in South Africa, and as such, I speak South African English. It is not wildly divergent from other types of English but some of the differences can be a bit confusing for some visitors. For instance “just now” means “later” (sometimes “much later”), but in America it means “immediately”, or “a very short time ago”. These and other differences are discussed in this video.

Istoriesmearkoudes (Greek) – 20 Exotic Words That Don’t Exist in English

 

Istoriesmearkoudes (Greek) – 20 Exotic Words That Don’t Exist in English

Literally “stories with bears,” it refers to narrated events so wild and crazy it seems they can’t possibly be true.Share this on Facebook?

Source: www.purpleclover.com/entertainment/3258-20-exotic-words-dont-exist-english/item/slide_348793_3717805_free/

Of course, all languages are capable of sharing the thoughts of its speakers. I mean, so we don’t have a word for something, then we just describe the situation. Just take the first item: “a series of events so wild and crazy it seems that they can’t possibly be true”. Well, we just described the meaning of the word. We just don’t have a unique word for it.

These unique words are pretty cool. Cultures come up with words for things that are just either not needed in other societies or are never thought up and that culture just explains the concept in full each time. But these words are not, as some places exclaim, “untranslatable”. They are very much translatable. If they weren’t, this very article and the linked article would not be possible. They are just not translatable to a single word.

Chinese language and dialects

The Chinese language is made up of 11 “dialects”. They are not so much as dialects, as they are pretty much stand alone languages. Even those so called dialects have subdivisions in themselves which can be hard for speakers of that dialect to understand others of that dialect.

The subdivisions of Chinese are Gan, Mandarin, Hui, Jin, Hakka, Min, Wu, Xiang, Yue, Pinghua and Ba-Shu. There is a lot of variation amongst these subdivisions. Many Chinese people speak a larger dialect for use in a major city, and a smaller dialect which they speak at home with friends and family.

This video is about a project to preserve Chinese dialects since many have not been studied a lot and need more recordings. The group in the video has setup a system whereby people can submit recordings of themselves and family telling stories which will help preserve the multitude of dialects and languages that exist in China.

Paul Frommer created the Na’Vi language for the film Avatar

If you follow this blog, you will know that I love conlangs! I love hearing people talking about conlang and how they created them. Paul Frommer is a linguist who was hired to created a language for the movie Avatar. The language would be spoken by the tall blue skinned people of the planet Pandora.

The language now has a large following online with many people learning it, teaching it and speaking it. It has some consonant which are unusual to those who have only heard European languages. These unusual sounds are called ejectives. They are small puffs of sound that are made before the sound of the consonant. English doesn’t have ejectives, but some Native American, Caucasian and North African languages do. Na’Vi has 4 ejectives, (p’, t’ and k’).

Na’Vi has a free word order, which means words that have a strict position in the sentence and can be placed whereever the writer wants because prefixes or suffixes define the role the word has in the sentence. It also has a special feature called a dual which is not found in many world languages. It is a special form used when referring to just two of something. For something that is three or more, the plural marker is used.