Re: [tied] Re: Franco-Provençal

From: Petr Hrubis
Message: 63197
Date: 2009-02-19

2009/2/19 Arnaud Fournet <fournet.arnaud@...>:
>> Yes, but they are language-specific. They are not universal, are they?
>> They are "objective" within the language or dialect continuum.
>> You complain about "relativistic approaches", but you're using one as
>> well, aren't you?
> ===========
> You may classify Uralic languages with them if you want.
> A.
> ==========

I don't understand. Please, explain and exemplify.

>> I totally agree they're practically the same language, but would all
>> the Croatians/Serbs? While Czechs wouldn't mind if you called their
>> language a dialect of "Czechoslovak", many Slovaks would be quite
>> angry, I guess. Yes, silly nationalism, but that's irrelevant. Those
>> languages have certain status, different phonologies, literary
>> traditions etc. Easternmost Slovak, by the way, wouldn't be understood
>> in westernmost Bohemia, or with serious difficulties.
> ===========
> It depends what one calls "serious"

Well, if you need something urgently and don't have the few necessary
days to get used to it, you won't understand it.

> Anyway it seems these people are not very interested in understanding each
> other.

How have you come to that conclusion???

> And I'm not sure all English speakers understand each other easily.
> A.
> =========
>>> It's written above :
>>>>> A dialect is a particular variety of a language that displays a certain
>>>>> number of specific features, but nevertheless shares most other
>>>>> features
>>>>> with other dialects.
>>> Arnaud
>> "CERTAIN" number is what number exactly?
> ========
> Significantly fewer than those shared.
> A.
> ========

Define significantly.

>> "SPECIFIC" features are which features precisely?
> =====
> It depends what languages you compare.

Again. That's language-specific, hence relativistic.

> Moksha Mordvin does not have vowel harmony but Erzia Mordvin does.
> This criterion is irrelevant when you compare Sicilian with Std Italian or
> Mandarin with Cantonese.
> A.
> =====

Of course. Hence, this criterion clearly cannot be a part of the
universal definition.

>> Some have proposed that dialect intelligibility should be above 90%,
>> for instance.
>> Others have proposed that dialects should have 81-100% on the swadesh
>> list.
>> So, what are your universal criteria? What do you propose to use? Is
>> Chinese a single language?
> =======
> The cultural tradition is to consider the "dialects" (in Chinese the word
> means : local languages) as "dialects", but in my opinion, they must be
> considered separate "languages".

And now you seem to have observed the same phenomenon as me: cultural
tradition, dialects = languages. Yes, I agree, but still, where's the

> Mandarin has dialects and Cantonese and Mandarin are not dialects of the
> same variety of language.
> The level of abstraction of Chinese is comparable to that of Semitic or
> Germanic.
> Germanic is not a "language".
> It's probable that the last common ancestor of all Chinese "dialects"
> existed more than 5000 years ago in my opinion, and it may be much more.
> This datation is the mininum to account for the fact Min dialects do not fit
> in the matrix of the phonetic components of the Chinese writing, which is
> based on proto-Mandarin dialects, which were already more simple than the
> conservative Min dialects, at the time the Chinese writing was created.
> A.
> ========

Yes, of course, some of us are well aware of those facts, but where's
the definition, again?

>> Are Czech, Slovak and Polish dialects of the same language?
> ======
> My knowledge of them is about zero
> so I cannot answer.
> I suppose that the different places of demarcative stress,

Bohemian Czech - initial stress
Moravian Czech dialects (northern) - penultimate stress

> plus the absence
> or presence of long vowels

Bohemian Czech, southern Moravian Czech - long vowels present
northern Moravian Czech - long vowels absent

> plus different consonantal systems, all this must
> make intercomprehension fairly uneasy.

I understand Polish quite well. There's an interesting dialect near my
hometown which renders standard Czech /st/ and /st^/ as /s^c^/.
Together with the typical penultimate stress, it sounds much like
Polish to the Czech ear. The problem is that there have been
transitional dialects between Czech and Polish, Czech and Slovak and
Slovak and Polish.

Piotr, what's your opinion concerning these issues?

> They say here that Kashubian is not Polish, so I suppose it's worse with
> Czech.
> but here
> Czech is similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak and, to a lesser
> extent, to Polish and Sorbian.

Yes, we who come from the north of Moravia understand Polish fairly well.

> I cannot judge by myself.
> I noticed :
> "Smrz pln skvrn zvlhl z mlh." meaning "Morel full of spots dampened from
> fogs".

That's too literal. It says that a "morel", which is a species of
mushroom, with its spotty top grew damp due to the ever-lasting foggy
weather. ;-)

> Does it mean the same as "Colorless green dreams sleep furiously" ?
> A.
> ======

I doubt that. The sentence should exemplify the syllabic liquids, I
suppose. Try "strč prst skrz krk, plk' vlk, zhlt trs vrb, grg', prd',
zmlk'" ("put your finger through your throat, utter'd the wolf,
swallow'd the willow clump, gurked, farted and shut up") [str*c^ pr*st
skr*s kr*k pl*k vl*k, zHl*t tr*s vr*p, gr*k, pr*t, zml*k] (* =
syllabicity marker, H = voiced h). :-)