Class 1, Question 5

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Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:43 pm

What language is the closest relative of English?
Where is it spoken?
How many people speak it?
How does it relate to English?
Find an original text in this language.
Can you read it ?
What are some of the characteristics of this language ?


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Re: Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:10 pm

see next post


Last edited by Marc on Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:20 pm

Long Story p.14 - In north-western Europe the Germanic subgroup of the Indo-European
family took up residence many years ago and still dominates the linguistic
scene. Of the original Germanic languages, only a few have become extinct in
relatively recent times. One of them is Gothic, a language that was once
spoken in the eastern regions of Europe, but which no longer exists as a
living language today. In the northernmost reaches of Europe is found the
Scandinavian branch of the Germanic family. Here people speak Norwegian,
Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic. Further to the south one comes across
German, spoken in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Dutch, spoken in the
Netherlands (Holland), Flemish, a language very similar to Dutch which is
spoken in Belgium, and a little-known language called Frisian, spoken by
about 20 000 people in the northern part of the Netherlands.


Long Story p15 - Frisian is of particular interest to speakers of English because it is
said to be English's closest living relative. If, however, English speakers were
given a Frisian newspaper to read or a Frisian radio programme to listen to,
they would be very surprised to learn that English has no closer relative
because they would probably not understand anything at all.
While
speakers of French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese can readily identify
many words in another Romance language and can even read another
Romance language with relative ease, speakers of English recognise very
little in the other Germanic languages and would be hard-pressed indeed to
read a text in German, Dutch or Norwegian without any special training. In
contrast, speakers of German can generally puzzle out a Dutch or Danish
text, and speakers of Norwegian can converse with speakers of Danish
without studying Danish at length. This means that English is somehow
quite distinct from the other Germanic languages.


Long Story p 15 - It (English) is quite clearly a member in good standing of the
Germanic subgroup of the Indo-European family of languages, but it is very
distinct from any of the other Germanic languages, even from Frisian, its
closest relative.


Long Story p 18 - Here is an example of a Frisian text. You can judge how close it is to English.
You might also want to take a stab at translating it!

Wolkom op de side fan de Fryske lintsjeskampanje. De Fryske
lintsjeskampanje dy't as doel hat it brûken fan it Frysk op it ynternet te
befoarderjen. Wy wolle mei dizze aksje sjen litte dat der op it ynternet in plak
is foar de lytse talen. Just it ynternet is tige geskikt om de lytse talen by de
minsken te krijen dy't dêr niget oan hawwe. It is in relatyf goedkeap medium
dat oeral oer de wrâld te riedplachtsjen is. At jo sjen litte wolle dat jo it mei
dizze aksje iens binne dan is it mooglik om ek op jo side in Frysk lintsje te
pleatsen.

Welcome, side, fan, Just, it, ynternet, medium... they share many words

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Re: Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:31 am

oxford p26 - One feature of Old Saxon which it shares with Old English and Old Frisian, but
in which it stands in contrast to Old High German as well as to East Germanic, is
that an original n or m is lost between a vowel and f, þ, or s:
Old Saxon Old English Old High German Gothic
‘Wve’ fı¯f fı¯f fı¯mf Wmf
‘journey’ sı¯ð sı¯þ sind sinþs (‘time’)
‘us’ u¯s u¯s unsih unsis
Old Frisian, even more than Old Saxon, is a language of which we have no
direct knowledge at the period relevant to the Anglo-Saxon migrations to.

oxford p 27 - Britain. The surviving Old Frisian texts, which are mostly legal in nature, may
in some cases have their origins in the eleventh century although the earliest
manuscript copies are from the late thirteenth century. The territory in which
these texts came into being was the coastal region of what is now the Netherlands,
together with neighbouring areas in modern Belgium and Germany. The
former acceptance by scholars of the probability that Frisians were involved in
the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Britain is now questioned, but at any rate the
Old Frisian language, although known only from a much later date, appears to
have some deep-rooted resemblances to Old English. For some earlier scholars
these resemblances were suYciently strong to justify the postulating of an
‘Anglo-Frisian’ language as an intermediate stage between West Germanic
and the separate Old English and Old Frisian languages, but that view is not
favoured these days.
The traditional picture of a language undergoing successive
splits into discrete parts may well be inadequate, and the similarities
between Old English, Old Frisian, and Old Saxon are perhaps better seen as
the result of parallel developments in a complex and changing social and
linguistic situation.
Old English, finally, is the Germanic language that developed in Britain out of
the dialects brought from the continent by the Anglo-Saxons during the period of
invasions and settlements (principally the Wfth and sixth centuries ad). Historical
sources name the Angles and Saxons as two of the peoples who took part in those
movements, and archaeological evidence has played a major part in the reconstruction
of events (sometimes archaeology yields results not easily reconcilable
with all the claims of written historical accounts). There is general agreement on
the important role of the Angles and Saxons (the former from a homeland in the
southern part of the Jutland peninsula), and also that other peoples involved are
likely to have included, for example, Franks. But many details are unclear,
including the varieties of language which were spoken by the invaders and
settlers. Direct evidence for the continental Germanic languages becomes available
only some time after the period of the settlements—for a language like Old
Frisian, as we have seen, a long time after—which seriously limits the possibility
for reconstructing the earlier linguistic situation. Comparison of the historically
attested languages can nevertheless shed some light on the broader issues.
Some of the similarities between Old Frisian and Old English, or between
those two languages and Old Saxon, are matters of phonology (the sound
system), as in the case of the losses of n mentioned above.
For example, Old
Frisian and Old English have a vowel e¯ or æ¯ (the latter representing a vowel
similar to that in modern English there) where Old Saxon (usually), Old High
German, and Old Norse have a¯ and Gothic has e¯ :

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Re: Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:24 pm

website on frisian : http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/frisian.html if you look at the link it gives also descriptions of other indoeuropean languages.

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Re: Class 1, Question 5

Post  Marc on Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:40 pm

Frisian is especially rich in vowels and diphthongs: at all there are about 25 diphthongs and 6 triphthongs in the language. Diphthongs, as well as single vowels, vary in the root ablaut mutation (doar [do:ar] 'door' - doarren [dwaren] 'doors'). Together with Afrikaans Frisian is unique among Germanic languages for its nasal vowels. The sound [r] looks more like English, unlike Dutch and German - it is alveolar, not uvular. Unvoiced p, t, k are aspirated before a stressed vowel.

Frisian morphology is considerably richer than that of its closest relative English. The noun here has two genders, two numbers and two cases. Old Frisian had also the feminine gender, but later it coincided with masculine. The plural is formed by -s and -en endings (heit 'father' - heiten). Old Frisian kept the remains of four cases, while today's language preserved only genitive. Moreover, genitive as well is used less and less frequently, replaced by complex constructions (mem har stoel 'mother's chair'). There are definite (de, it) and indefinite (in) articles.

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