History UsefulNotes / GrammarInForeignLanguages

1st Jul '17 3:34:35 PM nombretomado
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* Have wildly different syntax (word order). English generally places the subject of a sentence first, the verb second, and the object last, a very common word order. However, in just as many languages, the subject is placed first, the object second, and the verb last. A minority of languages even do things like place the verb or the object first, the subject last, or any other possible combination. Some languages, usually those that are highly inflected, don't even have a hard and fast word order at all. Latin, for instance, generally prefers SOV outside of poetry, but is so inflected that the word order can be changed without changing the meaning of the sentence. The old forms of Semitic languages (like Classical Arabic and Biblical Hebrew) historically preferred VSO, but left SVO as an option because of their inflection--the latter of which became dominant in the contemporary colloquial forms. German can be a word order cluster fuck. On paper, it's SVO. That is true, but questions are VSO. The rest typically go SOV with a split predicate, part of the action, with the main verb turned into an infinitive and then crammed in at the end, with any auxiliary verbs being put into the first person singular form and placed after that. It's also considered a V2 language, which means that if a sentence begins with an adverbial (or even an object, for stylistic effect), the verb must go second, even when that means the subject comes after. And Japanese... Japanese word order has its own PAGE on TheOtherWiki.

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* Have wildly different syntax (word order). English generally places the subject of a sentence first, the verb second, and the object last, a very common word order. However, in just as many languages, the subject is placed first, the object second, and the verb last. A minority of languages even do things like place the verb or the object first, the subject last, or any other possible combination. Some languages, usually those that are highly inflected, don't even have a hard and fast word order at all. Latin, for instance, generally prefers SOV outside of poetry, but is so inflected that the word order can be changed without changing the meaning of the sentence. The old forms of Semitic languages (like Classical Arabic and Biblical Hebrew) historically preferred VSO, but left SVO as an option because of their inflection--the latter of which became dominant in the contemporary colloquial forms. German can be a word order cluster fuck. On paper, it's SVO. That is true, but questions are VSO. The rest typically go SOV with a split predicate, part of the action, with the main verb turned into an infinitive and then crammed in at the end, with any auxiliary verbs being put into the first person singular form and placed after that. It's also considered a V2 language, which means that if a sentence begins with an adverbial (or even an object, for stylistic effect), the verb must go second, even when that means the subject comes after. And Japanese... Japanese word order has its own PAGE on TheOtherWiki.Wiki/TheOtherWiki.
25th Jun '17 1:16:38 PM Malady
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* Lack relative constructions ("the one that does X" etc.), and have to substitute adjective phrases ("the X-doing one"), or have correlatives: "This is the man who my wife has been sleeping with him!" Or on the other hand, lack adjectival phrases and have to use relative constructions instead. English was way more adjectival phrases than the Romance languages, as many of them can only be translated with relative constructions.

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* Lack relative constructions ("the one that does X" etc.), and have to substitute adjective phrases ("the X-doing one"), or have correlatives: "This is the man who my wife has been sleeping with him!" Or on the other hand, lack adjectival phrases and have to use relative constructions instead. English was has way more adjectival phrases than the Romance languages, as many of them can only be translated with relative constructions.
25th Jun '17 9:42:01 AM Malady
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* A language might not have a general term for a group of objects or actions that English takes for granted. For example,an Australian aboriginal cannot say "twenty birds" referring to a group of ten sparrows and ten ostriches. For him it would be like adding rocks and dogs together. In Russian, there are no words meaning "bring" and "put" - you can only say that you ''carried'' or ''rolled'' something in, or that you ''laid'' or ''stood'' something in front of a person.

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* A language might not have a general term for a group of objects or actions that English takes for granted. For example,an example, an Australian aboriginal cannot say "twenty birds" referring to a group of ten sparrows and ten ostriches. For him it would be like adding rocks and dogs together. In Russian, there are no words meaning "bring" and "put" - you can only say that you ''carried'' or ''rolled'' something in, or that you ''laid'' or ''stood'' something in front of a person.
24th Apr '17 11:08:20 PM Wuz
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* Is written using logograms (Chinese)[[note]]Each symbol stands for a word or a morpheme, as in mean-ing-ful[[/note]], abjads (Arabic, Hebrew)[[note]]Vowels are not written[[/note]], syllabaries (Inuktitut)[[note]]Each symbol represents a syllable[[/note]], alphabets constructed into little syllable blocks (Korean), abugida (the languages of India and Ethiopia)[[note]]Vowels are written as attachments to consonants[[/note]], or a hodgepodge of everything (ancient Egyptian and modern Japanese), instead of an alphabetic writing system. And not all writing systems include the concepts of upper and lower case[[note]]Most languages.[[/note]], cursive writing[[note]]For instance, all Arabic writing is cursive, while in Hebrew the "cursive" script is non-connecting[[/note]] and/or punctuation, and if they have them, they may not use them the same way.

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* Is written using logograms (Chinese)[[note]]Each symbol stands for a word or a morpheme, as in mean-ing-ful[[/note]], abjads (Arabic, Hebrew)[[note]]Vowels are not written[[/note]], syllabaries (Inuktitut)[[note]]Each symbol represents a syllable[[/note]], alphabets constructed into little syllable blocks (Korean), abugida (the languages of India and Ethiopia)[[note]]Vowels are written as attachments to consonants[[/note]], or a hodgepodge of everything (ancient Egyptian and modern Japanese), instead of an alphabetic writing system. And not all writing systems include the concepts of upper and lower case[[note]]Most languages.[[/note]], cursive writing[[note]]For instance, all Arabic writing is cursive, while in Hebrew the "cursive" script is non-connecting[[/note]] and/or punctuation, and if they have them, they may not use them the same way.
24th Apr '17 11:07:47 PM Wuz
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* Is written using logograms (Chinese)[[note]]Each symbol stands for a word or a morpheme, as in mean-ing-ful[[/note]], abjads (Arabic, Hebrew)[[note]]Vowels are not written[[/note]], syllabaries (Inuktitut)[[note]]Each symbol represents a syllable[[/note]], abugida (the languages of India and Ethiopia)[[note]]Vowels are written as attachments to consonants[[/note]], or a hodgepodge of everything (ancient Egyptian and modern Japanese), instead of an alphabetic writing system. And not all writing systems include the concepts of upper and lower case[[note]]Most languages.[[/note]], cursive writing[[note]]For instance, all Arabic writing is cursive, while in Hebrew the "cursive" script is non-connecting[[/note]] and/or punctuation, and if they have them, they may not use them the same way.

to:

* Is written using logograms (Chinese)[[note]]Each symbol stands for a word or a morpheme, as in mean-ing-ful[[/note]], abjads (Arabic, Hebrew)[[note]]Vowels are not written[[/note]], syllabaries (Inuktitut)[[note]]Each symbol represents a syllable[[/note]], alphabets constructed into little syllable blocks (Korean), abugida (the languages of India and Ethiopia)[[note]]Vowels are written as attachments to consonants[[/note]], or a hodgepodge of everything (ancient Egyptian and modern Japanese), instead of an alphabetic writing system. And not all writing systems include the concepts of upper and lower case[[note]]Most languages.[[/note]], cursive writing[[note]]For instance, all Arabic writing is cursive, while in Hebrew the "cursive" script is non-connecting[[/note]] and/or punctuation, and if they have them, they may not use them the same way.
24th Apr '17 11:03:35 PM Wuz
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** Similarly, many non-English languages divide up ''colors'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity_and_the_color_naming_debate differently from the Western standard "ROY G. BIV"]], with some having as few as just ''two'' basic colors (black and white)[[note]]Or rather black/dark/cold and white/bright/warm[[/note]]. Quite a few make [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguishing_blue_from_green_in_language no distinction at all between blue and green]]. On the other hand, some Asian languages have dozens if not hundreds of distinct color names. An author writing a race with a different visual range from humans (such as demihumans from ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragon'', who frequently possess vision in the infrared range) may forget to create terms for [[FictionalColour colors humans can't see at all]], not even "[[http://www.negativland.com/archives/015squant/story.html squant]]" or "[[Discworld/TheColourOfMagic octarine]]".

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** Similarly, many non-English languages divide up ''colors'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity_and_the_color_naming_debate differently from the Western standard "ROY G. BIV"]], with some having as few as just ''two'' basic colors (black and white)[[note]]Or rather black/dark/cold and white/bright/warm[[/note]]. Quite a few make [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguishing_blue_from_green_in_language no distinction at all between blue and green]]. On the other hand, some Asian languages have dozens if not hundreds of distinct color names. An author writing a race with a different visual range from humans (such as demihumans from ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragon'', ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', who frequently possess vision in the infrared range) may forget to create terms for [[FictionalColour colors humans can't see at all]], not even "[[http://www.negativland.com/archives/015squant/story.html squant]]" or "[[Discworld/TheColourOfMagic octarine]]".
12th Apr '17 8:50:14 PM xForTehWeskerzx
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Added DiffLines:

** Spanish, in particular (Sorry, this troper isn't well versed in other Romance languages) also has an auxiliary verb in ''haber'', which is sort of a mixture of "to be", "to have", and "to exist". It's used in almost all 'perfect' verb forms (indicating an action happened right before another action) by conjugating it to whatever tense and placing the past participle of the action afterwards, taking the 'to have' meaning ("Ella había comido antes de ir al cine." ("She had eaten before going to the movies.")). However, it's not usable as "to be" as in "I am from Texas.", but only as qualifying existence ("Hay una granja en la colina." ("There is a farm on the hill.")) Basically, it's a weirdo verb.
12th Apr '17 8:39:44 PM xForTehWeskerzx
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** Somewhat related as well is being finicky about whether definite articles or possessives should be used in describing a noun. For example, in Spanish, body parts are never referred to with possessives: you would never hear anybody worth their salt say "Me duele mi brazo." [[note]]"My arm hurts."[[/note]], but instead "Me duele el brazo." [[note]]also "My arm hurts."[[/note]]. The only real exception to this rule is when the body part being talked about is figurative: there's a sharp difference between "Me duele mi corazón." ("My heart hurts." like the speaker just broke up with their boyfriend) and "Me duele el corazón." (in which case you might want to call an ambulance).
** Place articles after the word modified instead of before (Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and the Scandinavian languages have an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclitic#Classification enclitic]] definite article, while the Romanian indefinite article follows rules closer to English).

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** Somewhat related as well is being finicky about whether definite articles or possessives should be used in describing a noun. For example, in Spanish, body parts are never referred to with possessives: any verb phrase that is constructed where what one would perceive as the 'object' in English is actually the subject and vice versa (e.g. "me duele el corazón" ("My heart hurts") or "se me perdió la bolsa" ("I left my purse behind")), you would never hear anybody anyone worth their salt say "Me duele mi brazo." [[note]]"My arm hurts."[[/note]], but instead "Me duele el brazo." [[note]]also "My arm hurts."[[/note]]. The only real exception to this rule use a possessive, because it is when already implied by the body part being talked about is figurative: there's a sharp difference between "Me duele mi corazón." ("My heart hurts." indirect object pronoun. And of course, there are ''many'' common constructions like the speaker just broke up with their boyfriend) these, like saying "se me olvidó" ("I forgot"), "se me cayó" ("It fell" in an unexpected way), "se me derramó" ("It spilled"), and "Me duele el corazón." (in which case you might want to call an ambulance).
** Place articles after the word modified instead of before (Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and the Scandinavian languages have an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclitic#Classification enclitic]] definite article, while the Romanian indefinite article follows rules closer to English).
so on.
7th Mar '17 9:51:45 PM xForTehWeskerzx
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Added DiffLines:

** Somewhat related as well is being finicky about whether definite articles or possessives should be used in describing a noun. For example, in Spanish, body parts are never referred to with possessives: you would never hear anybody worth their salt say "Me duele mi brazo." [[note]]"My arm hurts."[[/note]], but instead "Me duele el brazo." [[note]]also "My arm hurts."[[/note]]. The only real exception to this rule is when the body part being talked about is figurative: there's a sharp difference between "Me duele mi corazón." ("My heart hurts." like the speaker just broke up with their boyfriend) and "Me duele el corazón." (in which case you might want to call an ambulance).
16th Nov '16 9:36:23 AM unokkun
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** The ConLang [[http://mw.lojban.org Lojban]], which is built on logic, only has three main parts of speech: particles, pronouns and verbs. No nouns, adjectives or adverbs. A noun is built with a construction equivalent to "someone/something that [verb]s" (like the English suffix "-er"), and adjectives/adverbs with a construction like "do [main verb] in a [secondary verb]-like manner". Also, although they're mostly optional, Lojban has the so-called "vocalized parentheses": particles that mark where a clause/phrase/something starts and ends, thus preventing most kinds of AmbiguousSyntax.

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** The ConLang [[http://mw.lojban.org Lojban]], which is built on logic, only has three main parts of speech: particles, pronouns and verbs. No nouns, adjectives or adverbs. A noun is built with a construction equivalent to "someone/something that [verb]s" (like the English suffix "-er"), and adjectives/adverbs with a construction like "do [main verb] in a [secondary verb]-like manner". (Of course, many verbs do correspond exactly to English nouns or adjectives: "is a house", "is large"...) Also, although in many cases they're mostly optional, Lojban has the so-called "vocalized parentheses": particles that mark where a clause/phrase/something starts and ends, thus preventing most kinds of AmbiguousSyntax.
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