What Language Is This?

Here you go, folks. This language is actually quite well known and it is even famous, though the number of speakers is probably not extremely large. I believe there are ~2 million speakers of this very odd language. Ok, give it your best shot!

La lingvoj konvencie nomataj “uralaj” estas grupo de lingvoj disvastigitaj tra Norda Eŭropo, Orienta Eŭropo kaj norda Azio. Laŭ T. Salminen, ne ekzistas konsento pri la efektiva nombro de uralaj lingvoj. La ekstrema minimuma kalkulo, ankoraŭ subtenata de la plej konservativaj spektantoj, donus ne pli ol dek ok lingvojn. Kontraŭe, la plej ampleksa listo de uralaj lingvoj, en la senco, ke ĉiu el ili postulas apartan lingvan priskribon, inkluzivus kvardek ses lingvojn.

La plej demografie grava uralaj lingvoj estas la hungara, sekvata de la finna kaj la estona. Ĉi tiuj lingvoj estas tre malsamaj laŭ morfologia kaj gramatika vidpunkto, ĉar estas multe pli da diferencoj ol similecoj. La ideo, ke ili genetike rilatas, baziĝas sur malmulto de oftaj vortoj. La supozata “granda nombro” de vortprovizaj kongruoj estas nur pro dezira pensado. La uralaj lingvoj dividas bazan vortprovizon de malpli ol 200 vortoj laŭ Janhunen, kaj 472 laŭ UEW3, inkluzive de korpopartoj, parencecaj terminoj, nomoj de bestoj, naturaj objektoj (ekzemple ŝtono, akvo, arbo), iuj verboj, bazaj pronomoj kaj numeraloj.

La tuta nombro de konkordancoj de la uralaj vortoj varias laŭ la diversaj fakuloj, kiuj “interpretis” ilin. La tiel nomataj konkordancoj ofte limiĝas al la unua silabo, kaj en iuj kazoj ili estis establitaj nur surbaze de la signifoj kaj iom da malforta simileco. La tre malmultaj gramatikaj konkordancoj ŝuldiĝas aŭ al pruntado de aliaj lingvoj, simpla konverĝo aŭ novigoj enkondukitaj aparte de ĉiu unuopa lingvo. La resto de la vortprovizo – laŭ la uralaj erudiciuloj – konsistas el pruntoj de aliaj lingvoj aŭ vortoj de “nekonata” origino. Sed eĉ la ducent vortoj supre menciitaj estis plejparte pruntitaj de aliaj lingvaj familioj. La ĉeno de hipotezoj formulita por subteni la tiel nomatan “uralan” teorion superas la limojn de science allaseblaj supozoj.

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9 thoughts on “What Language Is This?”

  1. As a member of KEA, Kanada Esperanta Asocio, I am 100% sure that this language is Esperanto. It is a language that should have 2 billion speakers.

    All criticisms made of Esperanto are invalid, and all arguments made in favor of it are valid. The great weakness of Esperanto is not linguistic, but numerical. The power of numbers is not on Esperanto’s side.

    Unfortunately, the numerical power of Esperanto is decreasing, not increasing. I’m a subscriber to Kontato, a monthly published in Esperanto by the Flemish Esperanto Association. It seems that all its contributors are old. Among young people, Esperanto doesn’t seem to be very cool.

    Zamenhof was certainly not the first to create a serious artificial language meant to be a neutral language of international communication. He was preceded by Martin Schleyer, a German Catholic priest and polyglot, who created Volapük. Like Esperanto, Volapük was very logical, but it was too complex. As a result, it was supplanted by Esperanto.

    Say what you want about Esperanto, but it was the only artificial language that didn’t remain totally marginal. Its demise has been predicted many times, but it keeps surviving. Alas, it should be growing, not merely surviving.

  2. This text is either (possibly) in a West Slavic (Czech or Slovak, but definitely not Polish) or (probably) Baltic language. While the letters ĉ and ŝ suggest Slavic origin, the j ending (read as y) points to Baltic. The final conclusion is quite difficult since Slav and Baltic language families are close relatives, in fact considered closest among all European language families. Although not being sure at all, I would rather opt for the second family and specifically Lithaunian, taking into account the frequent “is/as” ending. Well, 2 million speakers fit the bill.

    1. Many East European languages have the háček. It is a little v, as in š, ř, ň, č, but Esperanto is unique in that it has the circumflex on 5 consonants: ĉ, ŝ, ĵ, ĝ and ĥ. The ĉ is like the English ch, the ŝ like the English sh, the ĵ like the si in decision and vision, the ĝ like the English g as in gin, and the ĥ like the ch in Bach or Loch Ness.

      1. the ĵ like the si in decision and vision,

        zh sound in English. Voiced version of the English sh sound.

        the ĝ like the English g as in gin,

        j sound in English or ĵ in IPA.

        and the ĥ like the ch in Bach or Loch Ness

        We don’t have that sound in English but it is x in IPA.

        1. Strictly speaking, j and ch are not single sounds, but consonant clusters. Ch is t + sh, and j = d + zh.

          The c in Esperanto, as in nearly all East European languages, is t + s, just like the z in German and Italian, although the z in Italian is sometimes d + z, not t + s.

          1. Strictly speaking, j and ch are not single sounds, but consonant clusters. Ch is t + sh, and j = d + zh.

            Those two sounds are alveopalatal affricates. The ch is voiceless and the zh is voiced.

            Yes, the c is ts in IPA too.

        2. voiced: b d dh g v z zh l m n ng r –
          unvoiced: p t th k f s sh – – – – – h

          It is amazing that hardly anyone learns about voiced and unvoiced consonants since they play a big role in English pronunciation. The final s is pronounced as a z unless it is preceded by one or more unvoiced consonants. Then it becomes an s, dogs versus cats. The final ed is pronounced as a d unless it is preceded by one or more unvoiced consonants. Then it becomes a t, shared versus barked.

          English vowels and diphthongs are shortened a bit when they are followed by one or more unvoiced consonants or a voiced plus unvoiced consonants.

          Long: bead, been, beam, beard, breeze, feel, prestige, teethe, word, bard, side, made, bode

          Short: beet, beak, leash, lease, beep, teeth, beef, hurt, cart, site, mate, boat

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