Question about Asian languages

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by TheGoodTexan, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    In my neighborhood alone, we have families from different parts of China, and a family from Cambodia. (We also have families from Central and South America, and from India).

    I have classmates at school from all over the world. I'll sit next to people from China, S. Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

    And I see on government officials on TV from different Asian countries meeting with one another.

    Here's my question: How related are the various Asian languages?

    The Chinese and Cambodian families in our neighborhood speak English to one another, because their native languages do not correlate. I specifically asked them, and that was the answer they gave. (Interestingly, the grandfather in the Cambodian family actually does speak the same Chinese dialect that the Chinese family speaks.)

    There was a lady from China that sat next to me in a Greek class last semester, and she spoke Mandarin. But there were other Chinese people in the class that she could only speak with in English, because they spoke a different Chinese dialect.

    I guess I'm wondering if the Asian languages have a common ancestor... sort of like the Romance languages are derivatives of Latin. If so, is that common derivative language dead or still going?

    I'm just curious.
     
  2. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    我不知道
     
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  3. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    ども ありがと ミスター ロボット
     
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  4. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    Uh oh...
     
  5. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I’ll wait for BDLH to arrive.
     
  6. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have found that no matter what language the person you're speaking to speaks, it is essential that you speak to them in a very loud stage voice to assure that they understand you while you are speaking English.
     
  7. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Famous quote among my friends... one of my friend's dad's was walking the neighborhood (in Texas, in the 80s) inviting people to the local church revival. When a Hispanic family showed up, my friend's old man introduced them and started showing them around... speaking to them really loudly.

    My friend looked at his dad and said, "Dad, they're Mexican, not deaf."
     
  8. Owenmoney

    Owenmoney Tele-Afflicted

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    I can only tell you my former boss who was so hung up on political correctness insulted a Vietnamese co worker by asking if she spoke any Chinese, she flipped out on him telling him in no uncertain terms she was Vietnamese, not Chinese.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    He should have said:

     
  10. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    They relate, but only loosely. Even within Chinese, you have mainline Mandarin and Cantonese, which use the same characters but have wildly different pronunciations (Mandarin hs 4 tones, Cantonese has 9 or 12 depending on who you ask). To muddy this further, regional dialects are closer to new languages than our dialects would be... Someone from Shanghai may not understand someone from Beijing at all.

    Japanese Kanji borrows from Chinese as well, but Korean is a phonetic language with an alphabet.

    So yeah... Pretty different, though common roots show through in places.
     
  11. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    If you take the three maps that are presented in those Wiki pages and super-impose them onto one another, you'll have a TON of overlap... which I guess is part of my question.

    This probably a uniquely Western problem, if not completely US American.

    When I was in central/east Africa, there were several tribal languages in the area and I was always amazed that the unifying language was generally French. Even after centuries of tribal languages living on top of one another, they had not assimilated their own tongues... but rather, relied on an imported language from thousands of miles away.
     
  12. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you take a map of the US, in some places you'll have English overlap Spanish and Native languages, also a bit of French.
     
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  13. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Good point.

    But you'll find very, very few families that grow up not speaking English. They may also speak Spanish (even as the primary language in the home), and to a much lesser extent French... but you'll not find many people who were raised in the States who do not know English.
     
  14. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  15. Area51

    Area51 Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I've traveled heavily in APAC. I have a good ear for language. I can tell, for instance in Shanghai, the different dialects (pidgin languages). Loosely related but unique in their own way.

    The key is the written language. The Kanji characters have actual meanings. For example, a character can mean a fish, supplements added to that character describe what kind of fish it is. The good is you see it and you know they're talking about a fish. The bad is you can't say the new fish name if you don't know it. The Japanese have two (or three) alphabets, at least one, what's on a lot of keyboards, is phonetic.

    Another beauty of this, which I saw first hand many times working with Japanese and Chinese, when they're having problems communicating they start writing Kanji characters on the board. They pronounce the words different, but the symbol means the same thing.

    Going back to how you mention they can communicate, realize more people in the world speak Mandarin than any other language. It seems a lot of folks in the APAC region know some Mandarin. Further, unlike here in the US, a lot of people in the rest of the world speak multiple languages. I sometimes feel embarrassed when traveling that I don't. However, in a lot of countries, like the Europeans, not only do you learn a second language in school, because of the mobility and proximity of people you actually get to keep using it. Add that they'll often watch American TV shows and tv has shows playing from many different countries. Though, I find the further from a big metropolis you get, like getting out of a train station in a small remote village, the people's English isn't as good. They do tend to understand OK, but not so good at speaking back.
     
  16. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    When I lived in Greece in the 60's, I use to speak German when I wanted to talk to someone since many more Greeks spoke it than English. The nice thing about 2 people speaking in a language that isn't t native to either is that they are more forgiving about gammer misuse and especially accent.
     
  17. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Or sometimes people speaking really slow in English, not expecting the other person to understand.

    There's some news on the BBC in slow English, some guy I knew was listening to it, I found it completely annoying.

    There's also news in simplified French on French radio, that's not annoying to listen to because it's not that slow, I think they just avoid more complicated words or explain them.
     
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  18. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There's a bunch of golf instruction from England on YouTube, I just wish the pros over there spoke English, then I might get some use out of it!:D:D:D
     
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  19. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    It's interesting that Japanese and Italian have the same vowel sounds sometimes. Midori sounds like Italian, Tiramisu Japanese.
     
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