Indogermanic languages.
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
Jul 2, 2006

Whenever I come across a language I don't understand, I try to find the common (ancestral) root and similar structures: e.g.: Russian: oe minja baleed galava has the same structure as " a mi me duele la cabeza" (I have a headache).
In Russian there are a lot of "international words" and words of Dutch origin : stoel, (chair) dver (door), machina (car), but in Dutch and other languages: machine) wanna (old Germanic word for "bath"), Buchhalter (German for accountant), Busthalter (German for "bra"), cauchemar (French for nightmare), ...
If you take a closer look at the three major subfamilies of the I.G.languages, Germanic, Romanic and Slavonic languages, then some languages are so closely related that if you have one of them as your mother-tongue or studied the language at university and used it actively, you can understand the other:
for example: The standard language of the region where I come from, Flanders, is Dutch or Niederdeutsch. Hochdeutsch is a language I studied and used as a tool (translator) in the past. But Danish, Norwegian and Swedish aren't. Nevertheless if you give me a Swedish, Danish or Norwegian text, I can tell you what that text is about broadly speaking. I can even translate it with the help of a dictionary.
I grew up with French as "the language next door". 8 mi/15 km from my parental door French is the official language. I studied Spanish and made a lot of papers for a fellow student of Italian at a T&I school. The odd thing is that I can understand Portuguese, Italian, and Catalan without ever having studied those languages. Unfortunately, I will have to answer people who speak those languages in Spanish. When Rumanian appeared on this site, to my surprise and can read and understand in broad terms what is written in Rumanian.
I don't want to stir the native language only debate again. But according to the partisans (I am not one of them) of "native language only" translation consists of the written consistent and coherent transposition of a source language into a native target language (not the other way around), then I wonder why shouldn't I add Italian (and Portuguese) to my profile. I am perfectly capable of reading a quality newspaper (the Corrierre della Sera) in these languages, grasp the meaning with all the shades of meaning and translate texts in these languages into my mother-tongue using a dictionary. Or do I become "threadbare" in that case?


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:47
English to Polish
Very true :) Jul 2, 2006

Williamson wrote:

if you have one of them as your mother-tongue or studied the language at university and used it actively, you can understand the other:

I am Polish native, studied Russian and Ukrainian and learned a little Czech too... today I have no problems with understanding Belarussian, or Slovak, and with some dictionary/slow speaking I could understand other Slavonic languages.

Although some words could make some confusion:
Polish "czaszka" means skull, while Russian "chashka - чашка" means cup (eg. of tea)

Anni


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indogermanic root Jul 3, 2006

That is a coincidence: "tas" in Dutch means "cup". Isn't a "skull" round? One word, same meaning.

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
dver, door, dwar, dar Jul 4, 2006

'dver', you said was 'door'. Interesting, for in Sanskrit/Hindi the word for door is 'dwar'. In Urdu, it is 'dar'.

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xxxOlaf
Local time: 18:47
English to German
Do you know "The Loom of Language"? Jul 4, 2006

If you're interested in learning more about similarities and differences of indoeuropean and romance languages, I'd recommend the classic "The Loom of Language"
by Frederick Bodmer and Lancelot Thomas Hogben
ISBN: 039330034X.

Regarding your language skills in languages that you haven't formally studied, I don't doubt that you'll often be able to understand the gist of it, but I don't think that you'll understand idiomatic expressions and subtleties just by using a dictionary.

Olaf


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Portuguese: a dialect of Spanish or the other way around. Jul 4, 2006

Olaf wrote:

If you're interested in learning more about similarities and differences of indoeuropean and romance languages, I'd recommend the classic "The Loom of Language"
by Frederick Bodmer and Lancelot Thomas Hogben
ISBN: 039330034X.

Regarding your language skills in languages that you haven't formally studied, I don't doubt that you'll often be able to understand the gist of it, but I don't think that you'll understand idiomatic expressions and subtleties just by using a dictionary.

Olaf


Thanks for the tips.

No, you won't. Languages I studied formally are Dutch, English,French, German, Spanish. However, Portuguese is a dialect of Spanish. Spanish spoken in Galacia, the region bordering Portugal has many Portuguese influences.
Portuguese can be considered as an evolution of Spanish. The two relate like say Pfälsisch and Standard German.
Unfortunately, don't we all understand other language, but isn't finding time to enhance our knowledge of that language a problem ?
No time to study Portuguese or Italian formally. Enhancing my skills in these languages would not require so much time, because the common root (Spanish) is already there. Normally, if a speaker of Spanish answers in Portuguese the two will understand each other perfectly.



[Edited at 2006-07-04 07:10]


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xxxdelicious
Portuguese to English
SAY WHAT? Sep 19, 2006

I'm so sorry, but I couldn't prevent myself to laugh as I read the nonsense you've writen. Portuguese derives from Latin, as Spanish and Italian do, and to say that Portuguese derives from Spanish is extremely wrong!!! You can't say that just because "Normally, if a speaker of Spanish answers in Portuguese the two will understand each other perfectly.", because that way I could also understand Romanian, which is very very close to Portuguese and any other latin languages (Romanian derives from Roma, the italian, portuguese and spanish name for Rome). In fact, try to find the portuguese word SAUDADE translated to spanish...you know what happens? You won't, since saudade is a word that exists ONLY in Portuguese language (Portugal, Brasil and some african countries that are ex-colonies). In fact, we even have a dialect called MIRANDÊS, which is exclusively Portuguese and not spanish influenced. As for translating any language into Portuguese because you understand Italian, that's ridiculous, since it would be a mess with lots of misspellings, figurative errors and so on. because I can turn on and manouver a computer, it doesn't mean that I'm Bill Gates. Hope I enlightened a little bit.

[Edited at 2006-09-19 17:45]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Read what I wrote and evolution of Romance languages Sep 19, 2006

I am sorry, but I could not prevent raising my eyebrows reading your reaction If you intend to translate INTO English, you really should try harder to write in better English. At least at par with the level of a translator. Perhaps reading the Economist and its style guide might help you to raise your standard.
---
Sino hay que limitarse a traducir en portugués (de Brasil).
Si hablo o escribo castellano, un portugués de Portugal será capaz de comprenderme y de contestarme en portugués.
And if you can not translate SAUDADE in Spanish, you can't translate it in English either.

Second, I never wrote what you wrote.
If you ever studied diachronic grammar, you would have learnt that Portuguese is a further step in the evolution from the language from its parent, Latin.
Latin evolved into Vulgar. From Vulgar came the Italo-Dalmation group with amongst other languages: Italian. A further evolution is the Gallo-Iberian group with Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino, Catalan, French and several other languages of France. As you are probably well aware, Portuguese is the farthest evolution of the Western Group of Romance languages.
I never said that I intended to translate into Portuguese or Italian. However, if the native language only dogma is upheld, I am able to read and understand a newspaper like the Corriere della Sera and translate articles from it with the help of a dictionary. "I am able to" does not mean that I am going to do it.
Because Romanian is an Eastern evolution of Latin, I am able to read a newspaper and I come from a village that fraternizes with a Romanian village. So, enhancing my knowledge of that language would not be too difficult. However, I do not intend to use it as a working language.
Cheers.


[Edited at 2006-09-19 21:28]


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Hmm, Williamson should read some of the lines he wrote Oct 8, 2006

Williamson wrote:

Thanks for the tips.

However, Portuguese is a dialect of Spanish. Spanish spoken in Galacia, the region bordering Portugal has many Portuguese influences.
Portuguese can be considered as an evolution of Spanish.



[Edited at 2006-07-04 07:10]


Some blatant misconceptions about the development of several Romance languages just happened to go unnoticed by the author. Never ever has any sane linguist pronounced Portuguese (European) to be a dialect from Castilian Spanish. True, there is a Comunidad in Spain where a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese is spoken that over time developed into Gallego, Galician.

Castilian and Portuguese do however have common roots (if I were to take a shortcut through diachronic linguistics classes): both these languages stem from Romance, a language spoken in medieval times, of which some writings have been found. Catalan has more ties to Provençal than with later Castilian Spanish.

The fact that most Europeans are able to understand and recognize words or phrases in foreign languages (to some extent) has more to do with historic ties between these languages. Most of them stem from Greek/Latin (Mediterranean and Slavic languages), while most Northwestern European languages share common ties in Germanic, Scandic or Anglo-saxon history.

There's more to it than meets the eye.


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