7 Feb 2013


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

If the whole world would speak the same language it would be much easier to create a peaceful world because we all would understand each other and no translator can do a mistake or translate wrong on purpose !

For instance lots of people don't know that "Allah" means "God" in Arabic and is exactly the same God  as in all other languages. And when men fight they all ask the same God to win the battle ! We ask Dieu, Dio, Gott, in our mother tongues. A language is very important as it is a tool for communication.

The European languages are divided into two origins, Romance and Germanic.

The oldest of all languages is called Proto-Germanic (also known as Common Germanic), which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe.

The most widely spoken Germanic languages are English and German. They belong to the West Germanic family. The West Germanic group also includes other major languages, such as Dutch. The North Germanic languages include Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic.

The Romance languages developed from Latin in the sixth to ninth centuries. The five most widely spoken Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian.

That's why it is so difficult for people with a Germanic language to learn a Romance language. It's much easier for an English to learn German than French for example and of course the other way around. I personally learned English quiet easily, but with French it was another story ! That took me some time ! But then once learned it helped me to learn Italian, because it is of the same "family". German also helped me for Dutch.

For a long time French was the official language for diplomats. It also was the official language when the Common Market was created in 1958, which today is called European Union. With the British joining in 1973 slowly the English language moved in too, and today  has become a sort of "Esperanto",  more and more Europeans speak English and it became the first foreign language to be taught in schools. Meanwhile it also has become the diplomats and politicians tool to communicate.

Amongst all languages English is the easiest one and the most precise one in short phrases.

For example :

Where is the next bus station ?
Où se trouve l'arrêt du bus la plus proche ? (French)
Wo ist die nächste Bushaltestelle ? (German)
Dove si trova la prossima fermata dell' autobus ? (Italian)

You don't need to know the language to see which is the shortest one. That's why more and more English words are moving into the other languages like Weekend, Babysitting and Kidnapping which are just coming into my mind and which are not translated anymore in French, German or Italian.

Today you say "Bon weekend" instead of " Je vous souhaite une bonne fin de la semaine !

I am sure that in the next 100 years there will be more and more English words used in other languages, the Frenchs complain already that their language becomes too English ! When I listen to the modern German, it is a big difference to the German I spoke almost 50 years ago ! There are so many English words !


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gattina .. you're more aware of the difference in languages than I am .. and I (regrettably) don't speak another language - I have a smattering of understanding and that's it!! But I do put derivations of words into my posts - quite often ..

I wonder where we'll go world wide - English v Spanish v Mandarin ...

I was listening to our Radio 4 this a.m. where the concept of having a High English as you do in German and the local dialect being retained ... ie school and business English .. but able to keep our roots ... it's a controversial subject - and I don't think I've explained it here ..

It's to do with a school idea from one school in the north of England ..

Anyway languages fascinate .. and where will language with txt spch?

No don't answer .. I just wanted to add a comment - it's interesting to read ...

... not quite have a good weekend .. but nearly .. Cheers Hilary

Fun60 said...

A really interesting post Gattina. Where will we be in 50 years time with language I wonder? I think Mandarin will be the language that many people will choose to learn.

Cezar and Léia said...

Congratulations dear Gattina, you prepared an amazing article about languages and I'm delighted by your cartoons! :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I am still learning the language I spoke all my life. I hear my son parroting what I say and I am correcting more and more of my grammar.

Gledwood said...

Don't forget those slavs with their funny writing!

Re my television: the English satellite is fine: 100% signal. Turkish is annoyingly loud and clear too. But as for German, French, Polish, Arabic, Italian, Tamil and everything else from that Hotbird satellite ~ nothing! Because the *******s who installed it used Turkish as the default option. Now I've got to have someone go up on the roof and reroute some cable or other, I don't know. I always used to watch ZDF Info, Phoenix, RTL, Arte, M6 Boutique la Chaîne etc via the Astra 1 satellite but the so-&-sos at the council won't allow individual satellite dishes (we will see about that as I'm going to appeal to the EU saying I should be allowed to watch any EU TV I like)... but for now Hotbird (which is basically Polish and Arabic TV with a few German, French, English channels) will do...

Gledwood said...

ps I agree. I think if everyone spoke English it would be much better.

what the hell: or any langauge. better still a perfect language.

English is FAR from perfect eg you add an S it can mean a plural, or a possessive (and you don't seem to need apostrophe's (sic) nowadays, or it can mean something is... not very good.

I would like to speak one of those polysynthetic Native American langauges where one word equals an entire sentance. You could have endless fun with that...

Loree said...

That's very interesting. I love to learn about the origin of languages.

Linens and Royals said...

Love the cartoons. I think the whole world should speak English but that's because I can only speak English.
I think Mandarin or anything else would be too difficult to learn.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Great post! I am a word nerd....

Eden House News and views said...

I loved a book that I read by Bill Bryson that was a quick look at roots of language . It is fascinating how language developed

Susan Anderson said...

The use and evolution of language have always intrigued me. Great post!


Jenny said...

This is quite intriquing Gattina. I love learning about languages and this resonated with me.

Thanks for linking.