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-   -   On Linguistics (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=115372)

Pox Voldius August 12th, 2008 3:10 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheInvisibleF (Post 5110153)
I thought babies said dad/dada/daddy before mam/mum/mom/mummy etc?

The word is mathair in Irish, mother in English, Mutter in German, madre in Spanish, mre in French. Just messing around with google language tools I've gotten майка (Bulgarian), majka (Croatian), matka (Czech and Polish), мать (Russian), mor (Danish and Norwegian), moeder (Dutch), moder (Swedish), madre (Italian), me (Portuguese), mamă (Romanian) (but iti in Finish). The words don't just start with the same sound, many of them are similar. That's because they came from the same proto-indoeuropean word which I don't know because I threw out my notes on the topic when moving back home for the summer. But yeah so as far as I know they are similar because they started out as the same word but transformed differently as people migrated and became isolated.

Here's an interesting discussion about words for mother & father --> http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=113508

Sifting through that discussion, here are some that are not Indo-European:

Chinese: māma / mŭ / ning (mother), bba / f / diē (father)
Basque: ama (mother), aita (father)
Turkish: ana / anne (mother), ata / baba (father)
Quechua: mama (mother), tata (father)
Malay: emak / mak / ibu(formal) (mother), bapa / papa / abah(formal) (father)
Tagalog: inay / nay / nanay (mother), itay / tay / tatay (father)
Tamil: amma (mother), appa (father)
Hungarian: Anya / Mama / Anyu (mother), Atya / Apu / Pter (father)
Korean: Omma (mother), Appa (father)
Hebrew: Em (mother), Av (father)
Modern Hebrew: Ima (mother), Aba (father) [apparently borrowing from Aramaic]
Arabic: Omm / Mama (mother), Ab / Baba (father)
Thai: Mae / Marda (mother), Po / Bida (father)

drummer August 12th, 2008 4:15 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Excellent site Pox Voldius!
I wonder what would be some other words that babies would learn other than mom and dad that would be something not tied to present day. (Thinking historically) Does that make sense?

Olme August 13th, 2008 4:01 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
originally quoted by drummer-Linguistics is fascinating to me because it all boils down to people agreeing that certain sounds represent certain objects or ideas.

Not necessarily. And mostly, hardly ever. It can be apart of linguistics (check out "Sound Symbolism"); but modern linguistics is descriptive, and more or less divided into synchronic explanations and diachronic explanations. Synchronic explanations detail a snapshot of language at anytime, whereas diachronic studies explain the state of language from a historical point of view. The Neogrammarian veiw view would say that all change is regular always. And actually, many linguists believe that the relation between sound and meaning is entirely arbitrary.

Having said that, I actually do believe in, to an extent, sound symbolism. For it all to have been completely arbitrary seems unlikely to me, but like I said, a lot of linguists do not believe this.

drummer August 13th, 2008 4:49 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
I just meant that words are made of sounds that are arranged in such a way that someone I don't even know can tell what I'm thinking by just looking at the letters I place together. Nothing that deep.
I've never heard of sound symbolism. How does that work?

Olme August 13th, 2008 2:27 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
It's pretty much what you were saying regarding sounds and what they represent. It's the idea that a sound (like a /b/) carries essential meaning. It's a pretty fascinating idea, but is not really taught.

drummer August 13th, 2008 4:01 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
I also wondered why even though there are so many sounds that is common to almost every culture, there are still some that are difficult for some people (myself included).

Quickquill October 25th, 2008 9:50 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
Husband"BareShevaRabbit" says:- Linguistic Studies person might be of help in building linguistic bridges-tunnels, et.al.. between various parties seeking a conflict resolution. Such a person could help construct a synthetic intermediate structure such as IND0EURO or Euronglish for a company with a B-o-Dir comprising German, French, Italian, Russian and, Hungarian speakers who need to talk to their factory sites in China.
"Quarm"? "Pweh"?

0n MAM-M0M, etc.:
Then, too, there is the root of {M-M} in that gland -mammary and mammal. I would like to know, too, of the Egyptian, Phoenecian & Summarian and, perhaps, even Accadian terms.
Consider how the 0ld Arabic Narnje came as a nornge and the {N} moved to indefinite article. Ha-narnje - a-narnje - a-nornje - a noranje - a-norange - an-orange even !
Pita{PEe-Tah} = Bread to {PEe TsaH} <Not all pita has a pocket>

canismajoris December 14th, 2008 12:53 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by drummer (Post 5111921)
I also wondered why even though there are so many sounds that is common to almost every culture, there are still some that are difficult for some people (myself included).

While it is often claimed that people lose the ability to distinguish sounds, I don't really think that's a rule, just a coincidence. And with a practical understanding of how sounds are produced it's not hard to learn them. Putting them together meaningfully and with any fluency is not as easy, of course, but people acquire phonetically disparate languages all the time. A good place to start is with the International Phonetic Alphabet, which has been developed with the express purpose of mapping each unique phoneme to a unique grapheme. It gets fairly complicated in a hurry (there are lots and lots of unique sounds), but the basic vowel and consonant charts can be pretty instructive.

Melaszka December 14th, 2008 8:49 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5201019)
While it is often claimed that people lose the ability to distinguish sounds, I don't really think that's a rule, just a coincidence.

Really? I thought it had been scientifically proved that children under two have some ability to distinguish sounds that the rest of us don't...or is that just one of those linguistic urban myths, like Eskimos having 50 words for snow or people from Newcastle being able to understand Norwegian?

Quote:

And with a practical understanding of how sounds are produced it's not hard to learn them.
That may be true. I can't hear the difference between sz and ś in Polish, but after reading where you have to put your tongue to make them, it's making some kind of sense.

I've always been much better at reading/writing languages than speaking/listening (I know most people are stronger in oral than written language or vice versa, but in my case the discrepancy seems particularly extreme) and I really, really struggle with pronunciation (not at all helped, in rhotic languages, by the fact that I can't roll my 'r's.)

canismajoris December 15th, 2008 1:01 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5201361)
(not at all helped, in rhotic languages, by the fact that I can't roll my 'r's.)

As for that, just remember the air is doing the work, and your tongue just happens to be in the way.

Melaszka December 18th, 2008 1:22 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5201685)
As for that, just remember the air is doing the work, and your tongue just happens to be in the way.

Thanks for the tip. I think that may help.

I have a friend who has the oppposite problem. He speaks English to near-native standard in a near perfect British RP accent, but the one thing that gives him away as a foreigner is that he pronounces his "r"s too much - it would be fine in Scots or standard US, but not in British RP.

Quickquill March 3rd, 2009 11:46 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pox Voldius (Post 5110491)
Here's an interesting discussion about words for mother & father --> http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=113508

Sifting through that discussion, here are some that are not Indo-European:

Chinese: māma / mŭ / ning (mother), bba / f / diē (father)
Basque: ama (mother), aita (father)
Turkish: ana / anne (mother), ata / baba (father)
Quechua: mama (mother), tata (father)
Malay: emak / mak / ibu(formal) (mother), bapa / papa / abah(formal) (father)
Tagalog: inay / nay / nanay (mother), itay / tay / tatay (father)
Tamil: amma (mother), appa (father)
Hungarian: Anya / Mama / Anyu (mother), Atya / Apu / Pter (father)
Korean: Omma (mother), Appa (father)
Hebrew: Em (mother), Av (father)
Modern Hebrew: Ima (mother), Aba (father) [apparently borrowing from Aramaic]
Arabic: Omm / Mama (mother), Ab / Baba (father)
Thai: Mae / Marda (mother), Po / Bida (father)

I have heard a theory that the reason the word for mother almost always has an "m"sound in it is because babies universally associate mothers with milk and suckling. Therefore they use a mm mm kind of sound for mother, giving rise to terms like "mama". What I find less explicable is the grouping of consonants associated with fathers : f, p, b, t.

Pox Voldius March 4th, 2009 1:02 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Quickquill (Post 5246117)
I have heard a theory that the reason the word for mother almost always has an "m"sound in it is because babies universally associate mothers with milk and suckling. Therefore they use a mm mm kind of sound for mother, giving rise to terms like "mama". What I find less explicable is the grouping of consonants associated with fathers : f, p, b, t.

But if that's the case, then you have to wonder what happened in Georgian to flop it around so that "mama" is the word for father & "deda" the word for mother.

Melaszka March 5th, 2009 3:31 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
I find this really fascinating. Is there any possibility that it's not just onomatopoeic, and that there might have been a universal Ur-Language, further back than Indo-European, or is that just too fanciful?

Pox Voldius March 5th, 2009 6:19 pm

Re: On Linguistics
 
It's possible.

They've found that Homo neanderthalensis had the same version of FOXP2 as Homo sapiens (FOXP2 = gene associated with language skills), and the most recent common ancestor there is some 600,000-800,000 years back, IIRC. So language could be hundreds of thousands of years old, which is long enough for one language (or maybe some almost-languages) to have evolved into several language families that bear little resemblance to each other, I think.

shaylee_ann March 10th, 2009 5:48 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Quickquill (Post 5246117)
I have heard a theory that the reason the word for mother almost always has an "m"sound in it is because babies universally associate mothers with milk and suckling. Therefore they use a mm mm kind of sound for mother, giving rise to terms like "mama". What I find less explicable is the grouping of consonants associated with fathers : f, p, b, t.

Oh, that is so interesting! It sounds right to me. In addition, "M" is a relatively easy consonant to form, which would make sense, too.

That's interesting about the grouping of consonants for father. Hmmm. :hmm:

canismajoris March 10th, 2009 7:30 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
I'm not sure if I buy that. Is one bilabial consonant that different from another that is has some sort of evolutionary significance? I mean, m is nasal, p is invoiced, but they're not articulated too differently. I just don't know if I buy it.

LyraLovegood February 11th, 2011 4:30 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
May I bump this thread? I looked for a sesquipedalia thread first, but my Search yielded no results.

I love Linguistics, and etymology has always fascinated me. I also love big words, and my favorite class in my 2.5 year college course has been the Medical Terminology I took first term.

My new favorite huge word that I just learned tonight, studying Cardiology, is plethysmography.

:love:

ajna February 11th, 2011 5:05 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
So, is it kind of a word of the day thing? And tell me about plethysmography.

LyraLovegood February 11th, 2011 5:07 am

Re: On Linguistics
 
It could become a word of the day sort of thread if no-one objects, though I would hope for it to be much more as it looks to me like it was an interesting conversation when it was active.

Plethysmography records the change in organ size when blood passes through said organ, and its purpose is to detect vascular abnormalities in the circulatory system.

Lyra likes life science and linguistics. :love:


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