Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Chit Chat

Subject: Origins of Languages rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ove Hillep
Estonia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Long time ago I stumbled upon a article where one guy discussed Estonian language. Recently I realized that maybe BGG-people would have some interest in our linguistics. It goes like this:

"Douglas Wells The Origins of the Estonian Language

I just celebrated my fifth year in Estonia and my fifth fruitless year trying to figure out how to correctly speak Estonian. I mean really, it wouldn't be so bad if Estonians weren't so smug about it. Oh, they will congratulate you on your good Estonian even if you can speak a few words, but deep inside they really don't want you to learn it!
They are so happy with their secret code and you can see it every time someone asks you "Oh, are you learning to speak Estonian?". Then comes the sly grin, the "You've got a snowball's chance in hell of learning OUR language" grin. This is quickly replaced by a faked look of concern as they say "Oh, its a very difficult language isn't it?". I think after this, they go off and laugh uncontrollably and give high-fives to other Estonians, but I haven't actually seen it happen.
I have decided to write an expose on the Estonian language. One time I sent my brother a tape of Estonian language and he asked me if Estonians have an obsession with sex. There is terviseks and ostmiseks and kasutamiseks, teadmiseks, parandamiseks and armastamiseks. All kinds of "seks". That, plus the fact that after five years, little kids still laugh when I speak Estonian has made me decide to tell all.
The real story behind why Estonian is the way it is.
A long time ago, about 1000 or 1100 A.D. there three Estonian guys sitting around the campfire. Their names were Billy, Ray and Duke (bet you didn't know that these are real ancient Estonian names). It was winter time and they were bored. Billy spoke first. "Ya know Ray, what we need is a new language".
"Damn stright!" said Ray, "Talkin' this way is gettin' boring and besides everybody almost understands us. We need a language that's sooo crazy, soooooo complicated that nobody will ever understands what's going on!".
As the idea picked up steam, Duke piped up. "Lets do it this way, that you can't say he or she. That way you won't know if your talkin' about a man or woman. Also, we gotta think up names for people that give no clue to foreigners about their gender, names that change with the grammar so you never know what to call somebody".
Ray nodded in approval "Yeah," he said thoughtfully "that's it. Then we can eliminate the future tense. Think of trying to ask someone out on date when you can't say the right name, whether it's a boy or girl or when it is going to happen!"
Billy, the smart one, was thinking in more technical terms already. "OK, let's make it this way, that when you learn a noun, you don't have to learn just one word but FOURTEEN.
Yeah and instead of just saying that you are going to or from something, you have to change the noun in some weird way".
Now Ray was excited and spilled his beer. "Yeah Yeah! And ... and ... the nouns can't change the same way, let's make like, a hundred different spelling groups that all change in different ways!".
This appealed to Duke who added slyly, "Ya wanna make it real hard, a real nut-buster? Let's make it so all adjectives change, too. In boring old English, you say 'five small, red houses', 'small, red houses' and 'many small, red houses'. Small and red always stay the same but in our new language? Whoaaaa Nellie!".
They exchange high fives all around and cracked a few beers. After that they started practicing how to say 'Oh, you're learning Estonian' without busting up laughing.
That's how Estonian came to be, honest!"
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tuuli Mustasydän
Finland
Espoo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think one of those guys developed a disagreement later on and split off to invent Finnish
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Is Estonian similar to Lithuanian? I had a friend (East German originally) who moved to Lithuania right after it split off of the USSR. He said Lithuanian was a ridiculously hard language to learn, that it had 17 tenses for nouns or something like that. He could get by but hadn't really mastered it...lucky for him, all the Lithuanians could speak Russian so he could just use that (although then everybody would assume he was Russian and hate him, but at least they would understand him).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tuuli Mustasydän
Finland
Espoo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wmshub wrote:
Is Estonian similar to Lithuanian?


Short answer is no; Lithuanian is Baltic and related to Latvian, while Estonian is Finno-Ugric and related to, uh, mostly just Finnish (and a handful of lesser-known ones).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah, so they are probably complicated in different ways. Nice.

If Estonian is Finno-Ugric, then wouldn't it also be related to Ugric?

Edit: Just looked up Ugric. Language roots are neat.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bradley Hendricks
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ugric is Hungarian, so yes. It's a more distant relationship. This language group was larger, but most of the speakers were replaced by Russian as most of the speakers were conquered by Russia.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tuuli Mustasydän
Finland
Espoo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bjhendricks wrote:
Ugric is Hungarian, so yes. It's a more distant relationship. This language group was larger, but most of the speakers were replaced by Russian as most of the speakers were conquered by Russia.


Not to mention that Hungarian seems to be at least ten times more complicated than Finnish. It's a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery distant relationship.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Society of Watchers
United States
Killbuck
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lithuanian is part of the Indo-European family of languages which includes l00s of languages and is the largest language family in the world. Estonian is very close to Finnish and is part of the Finno-Ugric family of languages.

There are like only 3 extant languages for this family - Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian. It is not the smallest family though. Some families have but 1 language such as Basque. These languages would have been part of much larger families at one time, but Indo-European languages supplanted most of those language families through migration, conquest and assimilation.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ove Hillep
Estonia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kyrasantae wrote:
I think one of those guys developed a disagreement later on and split off to invent Finnish


Probably true. These two are very much alike - most of the words are same but have different meaning: Cat in Estonian means Bag in Finnish - but the spelling is the bloody same.

With Hungarian we only share common ancestors. The language don't sound the same but ancient runes are the same. When I was working in a museum as blacksmith one Hungarian guy came to me and said that they have exactly the same runes in Hungary as I had in the calendar in the smithy.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tuuli Mustasydän
Finland
Espoo
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hillep wrote:
Probably true. These two are very much alike - most of the words are same but have different meaning: Cat in Estonian means Bag in Finnish - but the spelling is the bloody same.

What word is that? "Pussi"? [That might be more of a borrowing from English.]

One of my friends pointed out another hilarious, um, pair: "hallitus" is "Government" in Finnish but "Mould" in Estonian
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ove Hillep
Estonia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nope, that's "kassi."

This "mould" is well known here
But there are lots of words similar that has different meaning. It's pretty fun
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.