Tuesday, April 13, 2004

More fun for language geeks
Essential explanations
Or 'let's see how many ethnic/linguistic groups we can piss off' (joke). Here are some pithy and true ones:

English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary.

- Eugene Holman

English is essentially Norse as spoken by a gang of French thugs.

- Benct Philip Jonsson

English is essentially German spoken in the mouth rather than the throat.

- jmallett

English is essentially Dutch but it doesn't want to admit it.

- Danny Wier

English is essentially a West Germanic language that's trying very hard to look like a Romance one.

- Andreas Johansson

American English is essentially a tool to keep a person from ever being able to speak another language.

- jmallett

Swedish is German spoken in English word order with a singsong accent.

- From another source, not this link

French is essentially a language that elides everything that doesn't get out of the way fast enough, and nasalises everything else.

- Peter Bleackley

Italian is Latin that's had a bottle of wine.

- Me (not from the link)

Spanish is essentially Italian spoken by Arabs.

- Benct Philip Jonsson (Yes, all those al- loan words, sibilant sounds - ses and zs - and even expressions like ¡Ojalá! ('Would to Allah!') thanks to 700 years of Moorish rule. El idioma español is like instant gratification for beginners on their way to becoming linguistic boffins. It's beautiful-sounding like Italian and easy to learn. And very useful in the States, almost an official second language in some places. Like Italian, it's Latin lite: half the grammar.)

Portuguese is nothing more than Spanish as spoken by people who wannabe French.

- Javier de la Rosa

Catalan is essentially Spanish and French spoken at the same time.

- Michael Everson (Its French neighbour Provençal is basically the same language and what St Bernadette of Lourdes fame spoke, not French: 'Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou'. Looks more like Spanish, doesn't it?)

Romanian is essentially a Romance language trying really hard to blend in with the Slavic languages around it.

- Jesse S. Bangs (It's like strange Italian with a few Russian words thrown into it.)

Bulgarian is essentially Russian pronounced as it is spelled and using English grammar.

- Eugene Holman (You have a fighting chance at reading it if you know Russian but it has no cases and has articles but they're tacked onto the ends of nouns.)

Slovenian is essentially Russian with an Italian accent.

- Egbert Lenderink

Croatian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in (Roman) Catholic Gospels.

Serbian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in Orthodox Gospels.

Bosnian is essentially Serbo-Croatian curiously not written in the alphabet used in the Koran.


- Marco Cimarosti (Bosnian's written with Roman letters and accent marks just like Slovenian and Croatian and a lot like Czech and Slovak.)

Czech is essentially Slovak as spoken by a German.

- John Cowan

Polish is essentially any other Slavic language with 70% of its consonants randomly shuffled.

- Basilius (Mine: Polish is perfectly good Russian words effed up with redundant sh and zh sounds.)

Written B(y)elorussian is essentially Russian with misspellings one would expect from small Russian children.

- Ivan Derzhanski (based on Terrence Griffin on Dutch) (Yes. It looks just like Russian spelt the way it's pronounced!)

Ukrainian is essentially Russian spoken by people with cleft palates.

- John Cowan (Disclaimer: This one is far crueller than I'd like but I understand - the lack of the hard g sound; Ukrainian turns it into an h sound. Slovak and I imagine Czech do that too.)

Old Church Slavonic is essentially the language that comes out when the basses sing a low C.

- Dan Seriff (Mine: It's to Russian as The Canterbury Tales in its original form is to this. Or: It's Russian with funny archaic words in it that's overpronounced - pronounced as it's spelt.)

Irish is essentially an Indo-European language cunningly disguised as gibberish to perplex the English.

- And Rosta (Pageing Dave McLaughlin, er, Daithí Mac Lochlann... )

Koine Greek is essentially Classical Greek as spoken by people who don't know any Greek.

- Andreas Johannson

Modern Greek is essentially Classical Greek with all vowels and diphthongs changed to "i", and all consonants pronounced as fricatives.

- Egbert Lenderink/Justin Mansfield

Lithuanian is essentially bad Sanskrit.

- John Cowan (That's right - it isn't closely related to Russian AFAIK but is to Sanskrit.)

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