19

This is an answer not to the part about whether it is easier to learn German after Sanskrit (I don't know), but rather, a few more assorted points re. "What similarities exist between the two languages", or even more generally, "Why would people make such a claim?" As Cerberus noted, most of these claims come from people whose familiarity,...


16

"Reading" means a number of different things, a problem that needs to be be addressed before questions of Hangul vs. English can be addressed. At the most basic level, it refers to the ability to perceive written material and articulate its content. To even talk about a "rate", you have to settle on comparable units. There are no ...


15

Is there a name for this phenomenon? There are several in fact, but there doesn't seem to be a single unified term, which is quite a problem because it makes looking it up a real pain in the neck. Amazingly of languages that have this feature I have yet to see one have a specific native name for it. I myself as a Turkish speaker describe this to people ...


14

Well Papua New Guinea famously has a lot of languages - 830 languages at the last count (and that's languages, not dialects!) However, I'm not sure about how different these languages are, but the numbers are huge and do come from a few different backgrounds. For example, English and Hiri Motu are pretty different languages. If you take the land mass of ...


13

Yes, a few: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Ancient_Greek_terms_derived_from_Sumerian They were mostly borrowed via Akkadian, and into other major classical languages of the Eastern Mediterranean beside Ancient Greek - Aramaic, Armenian, Persian, Hebrew... English cane would seem to share such an etymology. Another wave of ultimately Sumerian ...


12

The WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures) provides an account. The five values of the parameter in their analysis are: Locational (possessor marked by locative case/adposition; 48/240 languages) Genitive (possessor modifies possessed; 22/240 languages) Topic (possessor appears as the topic; 48/240 languages) Conjunctional (possessed modified by adverb/...


12

Not even African languages in general: clicks seem to have originated only in the Khoisan language "family" (*), and spread from there into neighboring languages. In other words, clicks don't seem to be an African feature so much as a Khoisan feature. As for why they're only a Khoisan feature—it really seems to be pure random luck! Clicks appear ...


11

Actually the word crocodilo is listed in some Spanish dictionaries, but one thing is what dictionaries say and another thing is what real users of language do. Anyway, it seems that this is a case of metathesis, which is a process that reorders the segments of a given string. Thus, perhaps crocodilo became cocodrilo after the /r/ was reordered in the word. ...


11

This is an example of metathesis, the rearranging of sounds or syllables in a word. It occurred in a number of words in the evolution from Latin to Spanish: Latin parabola > Old Spanish parabla > Spanish palabra 'word' Latin mīrāculum > Old Spanish miráclo > miraglo > Spanish milagro 'miracle' Latin pericŭlum > Old Spanish pericolo > periglo > Spanish ...


11

They both come from Greek συμφωνία.This was used in ancient and mediaeval times as a name for various musical instruments, including a type of drum.


10

As Colin Fine says, the words are somewhat similar in Proto-Indo-European: 'nine' is PIE *h1neun, 'new' is PIE *neuo-. The latter word seems clearly derived from *nu 'now': 'new' is 'that of now'. Phonologically it seems difficult to relate *h1neun to *nu/*neuo-, both because of the initial laryngeal and the final n, neither of which could be added by any ...


10

This was too long for a comment, and I think it starts to go towards an answer, so I've posted it as such. Assumptions are, as I'm sure you're aware, often problematic. Modern Japanese, and to a lesser extent, Late Middle Japanese, are the odd men out when it comes to pronouns in Japonic languages. Old Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages have pronominal ...


10

Portuguese uses ordinal numbers to number five of the seven days of the week. Feira coincides with the term for fair, not the fair of fairy tales, but the fair that is an open-air market. But this is a distortion of the féria word, which means holiday. English name — Portuguese name — Portuguese name using ordinal digits — Literal English meaning — ...


10

This is indeed a cross-linguistic phenomenon! Stephen Pinker named it the "Euphemism Treadmill" in his book The Blank Slate; the more general linguistic term is "pejoration", when a certain word or phrase becomes less polite over time. And it happens in pretty much every situation where a euphemism is used. The classic (SFW) example in English is the name ...


9

The seven-day week is first attested in about the first century BC, in two different forms: the planetary week (where each day is associated with one of the seven visible planets) and the numbered week (where most of the days have the names of numbers, beginning with 1 = Sunday). The planetary week is first attested in Rome, while the numbered week appears ...


9

As always, 'why' questions are a really bad idea in linguistics. You can reasonably ask these three types of questions: Historical developments within a language Areal / contact impact between languages Hypothesized semantic motivations Googling these three will actually give you plenty of results. A quick search will reveal the following: A: Historical ...


9

A transliteration system is usually either designed to be lossless, or not. To know whether it is or not, you have to know the target language. Lossless transliteration systems generally have to use one of four methods to stay unambiguous: Don't use digraphs at all. Write every phoneme with a single character: ŋ instead of ng, x instead of kh, þ instead of ...


8

According to 'A history of the Korean language' (p 271) the Korean subject particle ka is a recent development in that language, not being attested at all until the sixteenth century, and probably not in common use until the 18th century and thereafter. This means we can rule out the possibility that it is cognate with the Japanese ga (ie they are not ...


8

This is a long-standing discussion. The idea is that the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans counted on the four fingers (not including the thumb) of one hand. *oktō is a dual meaning “two spans”. The word for “nine” introduces a “new” set of four. The mentioned phonological objections are not insurmountable. The initial laryngeal has been posited mainly to ...


8

Although anecdotally the answer to the question is a confident "yes", there is a big complication: the many concepts of economic value that are bundled into the Western European concept of "money". This of course is a question for historical economics and anthropology, more than linguistics. A related question would be the question of the origins of the ...


7

The OP is making a very common mistake when it comes to comparing languages. If you can find a copy of Language Myths by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill, I suggest you read Myth #2: Some Languages Just aren't Good Enough. If you can't find a copy then this blog should give you the rough idea. Let's examine the example given in the question: differentiate, ...


7

Onomatopoeia is non-arbitrary, but that doesn't mean it's immune to the normal processes that happen to any arbitrary word—including: arbitrary historical choices of onomatopoeia (like @acattle commented about "ribbit" above; copy-pasting): Incidentally, frogs make a wide array of sounds. Only a single species actually goes "ribbit", the Pacific Treefrog ...


7

Ian Maddieson's UPSID database will take you some of the way.


7

Is there a common origin? No. Is there some theory to explain this? I propose one: common need. In Is “Huh?” a Universal Word? Conversational Infrastructure and the Convergent Evolution of Linguistic Items, Dingemanse et. al. have found that in 10 languages, (and less carefully studied, 30 languages) Huh? is universal, and that it is a word. ...the ...


7

There doesn't seem to be an accepted name for this type of bilingual punning. "Bilingual sentence" might seem appropriate, but it would ambiguously describe both the phenomenon of sentences that have the same meaning in two languages, and the phenomenon of two sequences of sound (or graphemes) coincidentally being two unrelated valid sentences in different ...


7

This is an example of areal phonetics, where certain phonetic properties are relatively widely exploited in one area, but is rare (or nonexistent) elsewhere. Another example is labiovelars such as [kp], which are almost all in the "Central Sudanic belt" of subsaharan Africa. They are universal and numerous in the "Khoisan" languages of southern Africa, also ...


6

The similarity of Finnish hän and Scandinavian hann / English he / etc. is coincidental, or a case of later convergence. Germanic *h goes back to earlier *k (thus hann / he / etc. may be related to the -c seen in Latin hic "this"). By contrast, Finnish h usually reflects earlier *š, or sometimes another coronal consonant: a cognate of hän is North Sami son. ...


6

The Japanese case marker =ga (a post-clitic), was not originally a subject marker. We can easily see this in the Ryūkyūan languages, related to Japanese, as well as historically attested forms. It's important to keep in mind that standard Japanese is actually fairly innovative when compared to other Japonic languages, both historical and modern. Originally, ...


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