Tea Time Ruminations: Languages

Tea: Scottish Breakfast

Food: Blackened garlic, and spring onions

Edit: It was pointed out to me that the numerals were off. I apologise for the eye-sore. I hope that this new format will be easier to read. Thank you to those who pointed it out to me.

First off, April is almost here, so watch for a series of posts. I am anxious to see how they are received.

I have been asked a few times recently: why do I want to learn certain languages? I have touched on it before (Nynorsk, and Scottish Gaelic); however, I have not discussed my full many tongued list.

I want to give that list to you, ruminants. It may introduce one to a few new languages, or even a few new aspects to well-known languages. My end goal is 22 languages as it is my favourite number, and I do realise that I will probably never be fluent in all of these, or, at least, I will not be as fluent as I want to be:

 

I) English

Old English

This would greatly improve my Anglish on which I have been lax.

Middle English

especially Northern dialects: I will always love my yogh, eth, and thorn.

Early Modern English

Richard Barnfield has my soul

Modern English accents/dialects

This would help me create my own accent. This is a separate issue as some see it as affectation whilst others see it as an identity issue. I, personally, feel that everyone does this. I am just training myself to do it thoroughly. We all select words which we want to remove, or to add (typically this would be new slang) into our respective speeches.

II) French

Old French

By this I mean the precursor to the modern French language, and not the indigenous languages eradicated by the Romans. Side note: Fuck Rome. Fuck Charlemagne — or, as I call him, Ol’ Charlie —. I love though Queen Eleanor, and King Richard. Arguably though, they spoke Occitan, and Norman French, so it evens out.

Middle French

Classical French

This is a subset of Modern French, but it bears separate mentioning. This is the height of French literature by some. It would just heighten my French to a literary style.

Modern French accents/dialects

I adore Quebecois specifically.

III) German

Old High German

Old Low German

Middle High German

Middle Low German

Modern Standard German

Highest Alemannic

Okay. I may never use this. I still want to learn it, at least, to a level of cursory knowledge: there are dialects that until the early 20th century still had distinctions between the three classes of weak verbs in Old High German! That is awesome. I want to learn this before cultural imperialism from Abrahamic cultures destory indigenous ones even more so than they have.

A few dialects that I crave (Saxon, Low Fraconian, and a few others)

Low Fraconian would probably be the language of Ile-de-France if the Romans had not destroyed the native cultures there.

4) Latin (I really do not want to learn this, but I must for linguistic opportunities. It gets the Arabic numeral, though.)

My least favourite language, how I have not missed you. That is harsh: I am really harsh on Latin. I adore aspects of native Roman culture; however, Emperor Constantine ruined it. His religious reformation — whether one agrees with it, or not — put forth major players into the downfall of Rome. Not that Rome was perfect, or even good, but she did have beautiful aspects. Latin is also the basis for a lot of lingusitic discussions — it be almost impossible to discuss grammar without Latinate-based understanding, or words — since there used to be a thought that all languages needed to be like Latin.

V) Greek

Ancient Doric Greek

Tsakonian Language will be easier then, but is not a priority unfortunately as it is a beautiful language

Koine Greek

religious studies for my linguistic research desires

VI) Hebrew (same as Koine Greek, and Latin)

VII) Scots (from 7-19, these will help with my linguistic research desires)

VIII) Scots Gaelic

IX) Irish

I especially want to learn the subjunctive which was not added into the reforms placed in by the Republic of Ireland, but some dialects still retain. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore the subjunctive mood — or the optative mood as is appropriate —.

X) Manx

XI) Welsh

XII) Cornish

XIII) Normand

XIV) Northumbrian

Some may not consider this a language, but I do. If one does not, move this to Modern English dialects, and select Tsakonian as this slot.

XV) Norwegian (15-19 are also for my interests, but from a research point-of-view. Save Icelandic, I will be aiming for literacy, and then speaking. With Icelandic, I will be aiming for near-native fluency.

Nynorsk

I know. It is a surprise to me as well.

XVI) Swedish

XVII) Icelandic

XVIII) Faroese

XIX) Old Norse

XX) Proto-Germanic

This will be purely for religious purposes, but may play into my research desires. Though by the time I learn a few Germanic languages, this may be redundant

XXI) Japanese

I adored my Japanese class, and need a language just for the fun.

Old Japanese

Modern Japanese

I love the traditional Shinto aspects of the culture, and I love that there are multiple words for ‘I’ to relay personal aspects to a listener. My preferred ‘I’ is 吾輩 (わがはい , wagahai ), for it reminds me of a Dungeons and Dragons god, Obadhai. Seriously, I am not joking. I like it purely for the nerd aspect.

XXII) Classical Chinese

This would just be fun. I mean there are practical reasons for it, but I really just owe it to Mulan. She was the first example of ancestor worship that I ever saw, and that helped me — along with the classical mythology basis of the West with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies — discover my religion.

Honourable mentions (for various reasons):

i) Danish

I need to round out my Scandinavian languages. There was also a Dane in college who told me that I could never learn. He was drunk, so he may have been exaggerating, but it would be nice to spring it on him randomly.

ii) Elfdalian

I have a thing for minority languages.

iii) Saami

iv) Finnish

There is a book which I have mentioned many times, The Rabbit Back Literature Society, that I want to read in its original language. There is a passage where on character comments on another’s usage of the subjunctive — of which I approve —, but Finnish lacks a subjunctive; therefore, I assume that is a rare case. I love cases. Finnish has many from which to choose.

v) Norn

This would be rather useful in my endeavours to learn about British national identities throughout the islands histories. Side note: I again, as always, beg forgiveness from the Irish. I do not know how to refer to all the islands without saying British, and apparently neither does Google, nor my friends know.

vi) Arabic

My boyfriend speaks Arabic. He is half-Arab. He sure as hell is not going to learn my heritage languages: he is not linguistically leaning, so I should learn his. It also would make Proto-Semitic easier. I also already love playing with the forms of words…which annoys my boyfriend. He will say, ‘Yes. That is grammatically correct, but weird’ quite often to me. Forms XI, and XV are my favourites.

vii) Sumerian

Why not learn one of the oldest recorded languages? It would also be great to curse at me in Sumerian.

viii) Ancient Egyptian

Why not learn the oldest recorded language? It would also be great to curse at me in Egyptian.

ix) Dutch

It would be nice to learn this as Dutch gives me a headache right now. This is not good because Dutch history is amazing: Nehalennia is an amazing goddess. My brain hears English, but tries to understand it as German. This is confusing as it is neither of those languages.

There one has it: my life’s aim for the next 85-ish years — if I want to beat the longest lived man ever recorded. We shall see how far I get.

I updated the Western Canon a little. I also will be adding a section soon with resources for the aforementioned languages. I may — okay, probably will — add other languages as they become known to me. It is weird to think about that. There are peoples with long histories neither which I have never (ever? This feels like a double negative, but that could be hyper-correction) encountered, nor of which I have ever (I am switching, so I should be right one of the times) known.

If there be any questions, e-post me. Come back in a few days for the start of April challenge.

Be safe. Be loved.

-J.A. Victor Wilson

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