Friday, July 10, 2009

A language without pronouns

Every language has some unique features that strikes to you odd at first, but then once you get used to it, makes lot of sense. Take Spanish, for instance. It is took me a while to get used to almost complete absence of the pronouns: I, you and we. Since the verb form changes with the personal pronoun, one can easily understand who the text is referring to.

For example,

tengo - (I) have
tiene - (you) have
tenemos - (we) have

Efficient, isn't it?

I wonder why German that has similar verb form did not go the same way. Is it because Germans prefer order? Perhaps. It is definitely worth exploring the relation between general characteristics of a nation and the language.

Well, I guess that's the way a language evolves. It grows naturally. No wonder why artificial language like Esperanto could not grow into a world language despite numerous attempts in the past.

You can thrust a language on anyone.

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Bill Chapman said...

No, you cannot thrust a language on anyone. You have been rather unfair to Esperanto.It has always been the language of a voluntary speech community. You can choose to learn it - or not - as you wish.

Personally,I recommend Esperanto as a practical way to overcome language barriers.

Amitabh Mukherjee said...

Thanks for your comments Bill. Yes, you are right. One can choose not to learn Esperanto, so in that sense no one can thrust a language on you. Perhaps I have been unwise in using the word 'thrust'. That said, Esperanto is not a natural language that has evolved; rather an "invented" language. I do not see how it can ever be accepted as a 'world' language. I would rather learn native tongue.
I am on the path to learn a few new languages. Each language is so beautiful, just like music. I wish I could speak German, Spanish, Italian and French like a native. And also some day Kannada - the local language of (Bangalore) Karnataka, India.

Michael said...

the idea of the link between language and nation or culture is called the sapir whorf hypothesis, and its generally rejected by linguists today.

Anonymous said...

Duh, maybe because German is the root of a whole OTHER language family than Romance instead of a simple and racist explanation such as yours?

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