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Sa'ar Chasm 07-06-2010 03:25 AM

New thread!
In the spirit of re-establishing the forum community, a new thread discussion:

If you could have any 5 languages installed in your brain, which would they be and why?

For myself,
1. French, to increase my employability in an officially bilingual country.
2. Irish Gaelic. I have an Irish last name, but nobody in my family has spoken any form of Irish in about 500 years.
3. Latin: geek cred
4. Klingon: see above.
5. Mandarin. I, for one, welcome our new economic overlords in their native tongue.

Derek 07-06-2010 10:40 AM

Let's see,... Python, C#, Lisp, -- oh wait, that's not what you meant. (and who wants to speak lisp anyway?)

1. Ancient Greek: I've learned some of this already through study on my own, but I'd love to be able to read fluently.
2. Latin: Like Sa'ar said, Geek cred.
3. Hebrew: So I can read in both directions!
4. Elvish: Just to be different from Sa'ar's pick of Klingon.
5. Mandarin: Just to be the same as Sa'ar.

MmeBlueberry 07-06-2010 10:47 AM

1. Hebrew. I've studied Koine Greek and would love to be able to read the Old Testament in its original language as well as the New. (Koine Greek displaces choice #5 if we are including languages we know somewhat but would like to know more fully.)
2. Klingon. Why not?
3. Spanish. My students take it, and it would be nice to be able to know it myself. Plus, I live in Florida.
4. Latin. Etymology is fun, and Latin would help there. Also, some of the historical documents that I find interesting were written in Latin.
5. I'm having trouble deciding here...could be Italian, or German, or Arabic, or Russian, or American Sign Language, or lots of other possibilities. Once I learn the other four I'll narrow it down. ;)

Ginga 07-06-2010 10:50 AM

1. Italian, since I've got Italian blood in me and am in touch with almost none of it, save for my excessive love of the food.
2. Japanese. I've got the accent down, now I just need to... not speak gibberish.
3. Latin for the geek cred as well.
4. Spanish. Again with the love of the food, I don't know.
5. and hell, I'll take Klingon, too.

Nate the Great 07-06-2010 12:08 PM

Klingon, Latin, French, Esperanto, and (kinda cheating) whatever that pronunciation guide gobbledegook is that you find in dictionaries.

Andy Taylor 07-06-2010 12:32 PM

English is the obvious one.


I'd like to speak sign language actually, I think that would be a useful, possibly helpful skill. Something like Manderin would be interesting too. I'd learn Irish only if I could have a sexy Irish voice to go with it. And I'll throw Latin in, it'd be cool learning where a lot of our language came from.

evay 07-06-2010 12:59 PM

1. Italian: I speak mostly my family's dialect of Sicilian, which means in our little hometown in Sicily I can get around, but the farther north I go, the less I'm understood.

2. Latin: to get a jump on all the other Romance languages, and to read all the cool old stuff in the original.

3. Greek: ditto for the cool old stuff.

Can I just rotate 4 and 5 depending on where I'm traveling?

NAHTMMM 07-06-2010 06:04 PM

1. English -- have that already
2. Spanish -- it's fun to speak and I should have a rudimentary grasp of it already, aside from the rolled R
3. Python -- then I can finish my game good and proper

Past this point my brain would probably suffer catastrophic failure in some horrific manner.

Katy Jane 07-06-2010 06:51 PM

1. American Sign Language, I've always wanted to learn it and just never got around to it.

2. German, because most of my ancestors are German.

3. Spanish, because there's an awful lot of it in the US and so I won't have to ask "What's that mean" when ever NAH says something in Spanish.

4: Japanese, mostly to be able to write it, because I like the way it looks.

5. Eh, I'll throw in either Elven, Klingon or Vulcan for the geek cred.

PointyHairedJedi 07-06-2010 09:25 PM

1. Scottish Gaelic. For one thing, I live in just about the only place where it's still spoken (even though the Scottish Parliament has insisted on putting up bilingual signs that almost no-one can read throughout the whole country) so there are times when it would be handy. For another thing, Sa'ar and I could confuse the hell out of each other, probably quite amusingly - there's some overlap between the two, but they are distinct languages.

2. Dutch. Well, the reason why is kinda obvious, for that one - I do know two Dutchies.

3. Umm... I've always thought Persian has a particularly nice script, which may be a spurious reason, but why not?

4. French would probably be useful, even if none of it ever stuck at school.

5. And now for the humourous choice; Right-Wing American. It would be nice to know what the hell they're on about, sometimes. Maybe I am better not understanding though...

MaverickZer0 07-08-2010 09:30 AM


whatever that pronunciation guide gobbledegook is that you find in dictionaries
That's not a language. It's the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), which is a really dumb name since there's about five of them. It also doesn't help anyone but trained linguists and people who actually read the pronunciation guides at the front of the dictionary. [/linguistics nerd]


1. Latin: Same reason as everyone else, plus it sounds cool.
2. Japanese: I like the language. What can I say?
3. Welsh: Because I have heredity there, and feel really guilty about knowing none. Despite it being a horrible language, in my opinion.
4. Russian: I have an interest in Cyrillic languages, too.
5. Ancient: Yes, from Stargate...leave me alone, I like it.

Nate the Great 07-08-2010 11:13 AM

Yeah, but I just get bugged when I see a pronounciation guide that is ostensibly for the average person, when there's no such thing as an average person that can decipher it.

Katy Jane 07-09-2010 12:27 AM

I can't decipher those pronunciations either. <_<

NAHTMMM 07-09-2010 12:38 AM


Originally Posted by MaverickZer0 (Post 77811)
people who actually read the pronunciation guides at the front of the dictionary

*waves hand* If I care enough about getting the pronunciation right, sure I'll go look at what the characters are supposed to mean.

Nate the Great 07-09-2010 01:49 AM

I am seriously not joking. Pronounciation guides are meaningless to include in mass consumption dictionaries if the common man can't read them.

Looking up an appropriate word...

# IPA: /pɹəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən/, SAMPA: /pr@%nVnsi"eIS@n/

Is that supposed to mean anything to me? Why is "prun-ounce-e-hay-shun" so taboo and impossible to use?

Zeke 07-09-2010 02:08 AM

I'm mostly with Nate on this one, actually. Dictionaries are one thing -- as long as the pronunciation chart is right at the start (preferably the inside cover), I don't mind the funny symbols, since they're more precise. But the way Wikipedia does it has been bugging me for some time. Not only do most articles not have pronunciation guides, even for foreign names, but the ones that do use IPA and usually don't link to the chart! How hard would it be to do that? The IPA symbols are not remotely intuitive to an English-speaker; using them without linking to their meanings is worse than useless.

When I want to convey a pronunciation to someone quickly, I use Nate's method. If I say that the mathematician Cauchy often gets his name mispronounced -- that people say "COE-shee" when they should say "coe-SHEE" (he was French) -- you know right away what I mean. But I understand why a dictionary would want to be more formal.

(Btw, Cauchy is reputedly the mathematician whose name is on the most things, so this is a real problem.)

NAHTMMM 07-09-2010 02:21 AM

Oh, ew. I was thinking in terms of using actual alphabetic symbols with fiddly bits and schwas. (I remembered that word just in time to type it. Yay me.)

MaverickZer0 07-09-2010 04:08 AM

I agree. I've had three of the (main) five phonetic alphabets hammered into my head by coursework, but 99% of the people who look at those guides haven't. It's useless, since not enough people know it. It's nice to have a guide like that, but it just isn't taught widely enough for the usage it gets.

IF they could agree on one international standard and agree to teach it widely, then it would be a wonderful thing. But they haven't, so it isn't.

catalina_marina 07-20-2010 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 77827)
Why is "prun-ounce-e-hay-shun" so taboo and impossible to use?

Because that would defeat the international part. It's fine when you're trying to tell an English-speaking person how to pronounce it, but it's pretty useless in, say, an English - Italian dictionary (meant for Italians), as they'd have no idea how the English pronunciation rules work. After all, that's why they're looking it up. Of course, when telling a Dutchie how to pronounce this (I don't know how Italian brains work), you could tell him "prun-auns-i-hee-sjun" but what if you don't know who is reading it?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not defending IPA or any of those others, but if you want international, it's the closest thing we've got. I agree with Maverick though, that we should pick one and stick with it.

Practically though, I know just how that would turn out. As we have too many choices, every great country would want the right to pick one for itself, and then we, in the EU, are taught one, and told that we should learn another as well, as it's used in the US. (Of course, Canada would follow the US, as would most of Asia, but after a while they switch to the Euro - I mean the European system, since they think the US isn't so stable anymore. Meanwhile, Africa doesn't care.) It's happened before, it will happen again.

Sa'ar Chasm 07-20-2010 02:49 PM

My, you've gotten cynical.

Also, is it too late to change Klingon to Elven? I have more in common with pansy archers than burly warriors.

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