Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.



O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Hitherby
Eve Tushnet
Natalie Solent
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library
Catholic Encyclopedia
Eurekalert!

Nine Scorpions
Siris
The Blithe Kitchen
Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
Wuxiapedia
About Last Night

Peculiarities:

Photoblogging

Inspirations
Querencia
Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Cronaca
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
Strange Maps
Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

References
SummitPost
The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

web metrics
Thursday, September 04, 2008
 
Top Ten Endangered Languages, selected by a linguist. Yes, top ten lists for this sort of thing are silly, but there are some wonderful tidbits in here which it's going to be a damn shame for humanity to lose. For instance:
[Jeru] is generally believed that Andamanese languages might be the last surviving languages whose history goes back to pre-Neolithic times in Southeast Asia and possibly the first settlement of the region by modern humans moving out of Africa.

The closest relative of Nu is !Xóõ (also called Ta'a and spoken by about 4,000 people) which has the most sounds of any language on earth: 74 consonants, 31 vowels, and four tones (voice pitches).

Yuchi nouns have 10 genders, indicated by word endings: six for Yuchi people (depending on kinship relations to the person speaking), one for non-Yuchis and animals, and three for inanimate objects (horizontal, vertical, and round).

Guugu Yimidhirr (like some other Aboriginal languages) is remarkable for having a special way of speaking to certain family members (like a man's father-in-law or brother-in-law) in which everyday words are replaced by completely different special vocabulary.

Oro Win is one of only five languages known to make regular use of a sound that linguists call "a voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate". In rather plainer language, this means it's produced with the tip of the tongue placed between the lips which are then vibrated (in a similar way to the brrr sound we make in English to signal that the weather is cold).

Of course, who are we to judge? Maybe there are reasons these folks prefer to speak to their children in relatively sane and reasonable Indo-European languages. Perhaps the Oro Win found that blowing raspberries was just not as desirable a means of communication as Portuguese.

Via Languagehat.

Labels:



Comments: Post a Comment