The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

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Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Courtenay » Oct 18, 2019 4:55 am

King_Erlian wrote:The mention of New Testament Greek reminded me of a friend at university who did a course in New Testament Greek and tried to use it on holiday in Greece. He wanted to hire a boat, and his request to the boatman made the latter collapse with laughter. It came out as something like: "Hail, mariner! Would that we could hire thy quinquireme, for to fly across the ocean!"


=)) =)) =))
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed." (Prince Caspian)
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Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 18, 2019 3:40 pm

Because we have a large migrant population, many of the most recent arrivals were struggling with English, especially the Australian version of English. Therefore English for Speakers of Other Languages was a well attended course of study for the Technical College where I worked. Also, we did courses at work to help us cope with day to day customer service & to encourage us to be empathetic & culturally sensitive. Like most government-funded establishments here, we have multilingual signs around the college for the benefit of those speaking the more usual migrant languages like Vietnamese, Chinese (hopeless :( ), Arabic & Russian ( both also hopeless), Greek (not so bad due to algebra, statistics etc), Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. French, which I did study up to University level, is almost always absent, & the nearest other language to French is Portuguese, rather than Spanish. Whilst there, one fun activity while U wait, & wait... ;) was to try to match up the foreign language versions with what they are trying to say in English. A teacher suggested we look at the languages & see which ones we found easiest to figure out what is said without an English version being available to us. Eg, Courtenay's Cornish example:

An Lew, an Wragh ha'n Dhilasva
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, I expect. :)
Pennsevik Caspian
Pennsevik there has to mean Prince. By the way Pen in place names, like Penrith or Penshurst is something to do with head, so does Pen or Penn in Pennsevik mean something like Head lord, perhaps? Just like a Duke comes from the Latin word Dux, Ducis, meaning leader. Penrith, by the way, actually means Red Head. Cornish, Welsh, Breton & probably the original Celtic language of the tribes of Strathclyde must have been Brythonic rather than Gaelic, like in Gaul, Scotland & Ireland.
Viaj ??? an Bora (still not sure which word to use for "Treader"!!)
Viaj then means Voyage doesn't it? Whilst Bora is the Dawn?

An Gador Arghansek

The Silver Chair, I expect. But in Cornish, do you put the adjective first, like in English or do you put it following as in French? "Arghansek", because of its similarity to Argentum in Latin, L'Argent in French & Ag in the Periodical table in Chemistry, must surely mean silver in Cornish as well, whilst Gador must mean chair. C'était La Chaise Argent en Français. By the way, where you have other metals to mine such as tin & lead, it sometimes happens that Silver is also mined there. Would that also be the case in Cornwall?

An Margh ha'y Vaw
I guess that Margh means horse whilst Vaw means boy?

Noy an Huder
Noy must mean "nephew" whilst "Huder" means Magician. Or is it the other way around?

An Diwettha Batel
Now this is tricky. I take it that Diwettha is last, whilst Batel could be battle? Or, again, it could be the other way around as in the Silver Chair.
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Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Courtenay » Oct 18, 2019 5:11 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Whilst there, one fun activity while U wait, & wait... ;) was to try to match up the foreign language versions with what they are trying to say in English. A teacher suggested we look at the languages & see which ones we found easiest to figure out what is said without an English version being available to us.


I love doing that with signs in other languages everywhere I go too! ;)

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
An Lew, an Wragh ha'n Dhilasva
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, I expect. :)


Yep.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
Pennsevik Caspian
Pennsevik there has to mean Prince. By the way Pen in place names, like Penrith or Penshurst is something to do with head, so does Pen or Penn in Pennsevik mean something like Head lord, perhaps?


It does mean head-something, but my dictionary is not forthcoming with the exact meaning of the "sevik" part!!

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
Viaj ??? an Bora (still not sure which word to use for "Treader"!!)
Viaj then means Voyage doesn't it? Whilst Bora is the Dawn?


Yes on both counts. That's a typical quirk of grammar in Celtic languages (at least in the Brythonic ones), which use "the" and "of" a lot less than English would in a chain of nouns — where we say "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", the logical phrasing in Cornish would be literally "Voyage Treader the Dawn". It sounds funny from an English-speaking perspective, but if you turn that wording around and make it "The Dawn Treader's Voyage", that's more like what the Cornish actually means and why it doesn't need the extra "the" and "of" that the English title has.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
An Gador Arghansek

The Silver Chair, I expect. But in Cornish, do you put the adjective first, like in English or do you put it following as in French? "Arghansek", because of its similarity to Argentum in Latin, L'Argent in French & Ag in the Periodical table in Chemistry, must surely mean silver in Cornish as well, whilst Gador must mean chair.


Yes, usually the adjective comes after the noun (there are a few adjectives that go before it, rather like French). "Chair" is actually "kador" — it mutates to "gador" after "an" (the) because it's a feminine singular noun. Mutations are fun. :D (They're something that happens in all the Celtic languages.)

"Arghans" is silver (same root as the Latin, you're right). I made it "arghansek" as an adjective — "silvery" — although it might be more correct to say An Gador Arghans for a chair that is literally made of silver. I'll need to follow that up with a more expert linguist. The main reason I'm hesitating is that "arghans" can also mean money — presumably from the time when coins were made out of real silver — and so An Gador Arghans could also mean The Money Chair. :-o

waggawerewolf27 wrote:By the way, where you have other metals to mine such as tin & lead, it sometimes happens that Silver is also mined there. Would that also be the case in Cornwall?


It is, actually! I don't think Cornwall has huge deposits of silver (more tin and copper), but it does have some. I read somewhere that of all the types of mineral on earth, 90% of them are found in the Cornish peninsula, but I don't know how accurate that is...

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
An Margh ha'y Vaw
I guess that Margh means horse whilst Vaw means boy?


Yes. "Boy" is "Maw", actually — the V is another mutation (after "y" for "his").

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
Noy an Huder
Noy must mean "nephew" whilst "Huder" means Magician. Or is it the other way around?


Yes, the first way around. Again, it's that quirk of Cornish word order — literally "Nephew the Magician" = "The Magician's Nephew". (Whereas I expect in French you would have to make it "The Nephew of the Magician".)

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
An Diwettha Batel
Now this is tricky. I take it that Diwettha is last, whilst Batel could be battle?


Yes. Actually, comparatives/superlatives in Cornish can go either before or after the noun and I don't think one way is considered more "correct" than the other. I've phrased it as "An Diwettha Batel" because it's the same as the word order in English, but I believe it would be equally correct to say "An Vatel Dhiwettha" (more mutations there for a feminine singular noun and the adjective following it). I've still got a lot of grammar to learn before I can be absolutely sure on some of these things...

Well parsed! :ymapplause: Now it's late in the UK and I must get to i-)
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