The language thread

Pladio

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English is a pot (Old Germanic) of many (Germanic) languages (Latin/Old French), including Saxon languages, Old French, Modern French, Latin, ...

The grammar (Greek) is more (Germanic) Germanic in nature (Latin), very (Latin - which comes from truth - verité) close (Latin/Old French) to modern-Dutch but the vocabulary is a real mix.
 

HiddenX

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If you are interested in the history of the English language - watch Simon Roper:
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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The letters y and j are pronounced the same in German language.
 

Redglyph

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In French, it's 'y' and 'i'. Poor 'y' letter, it must feel redundant ;)

In French, 'y' is named "i grec" ('i' sounds like 'e' in "bit"), or "Greek i" if translated. I think you have a more accurate name for it in German: "upsilon", from the Greek original letter.
 

pibbuR

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One funny thing about 'y': In English it seems like 'y' is considered a consonant (according to a TV show I accidently (and partly) watched). In Norwegian it's a vowel.

an incarnation of pybbyr who may remember things incorrectly.

PS. 'y' is pronounced 'y' and not like other vowels. DS

EDIT: Apparently it can be a vowel OR a consonant depending on … things (https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/why-y-is-sometimes-a-vowel-usage).
 

fragonard

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One funny thing about 'y': In English it seems like 'y' is considered a consonant (according to a TV show I accidently (and partly) watched). In Norwegian it's a vowel.

an incarnation of pybbyr who may remember things incorrectly.

PS. 'y' is pronounced 'y' and not like other vowels. DS

EDIT: Apparently it can be a vowel OR a consonant depending on … things (https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/why-y-is-sometimes-a-vowel-usage).
Yes, the elementary school saying for vowels was e, a, i, o, u, and sometimes y.
 

SleepingDog

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In English English (as opposed to American English or any other variant) there are only 5 vowels in the alphabet. They are a, e, i, o and u. However there is another definition of vowels which is based on how the sound is made. This definition includes Y and sometimes other letters.

Crudely put one definition is the written version and the other is the spoken one. When I was young we only had the written version but I may of been unaware of the spoken version.
 

HiddenX

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Y can be an i, ü and j in German (vocal, umlaut, consonant):

Mythos, Sylt are spoken like Müthos, Sült (ü)

Sylvia is spoken like Silvia (i)

Yacht, Yak are spoken like Jacht, Jak (j)
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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Sylvia is spoken like Silvia (i)

I have also come across Sülvia.

Zylinder is pronounced like Tsilinder. (Remember : German z is pronounced like ts.)

With an i like in Distance.
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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… somebody … anybody …

In Mark Twain's satirical play (Meisterschaft or : Even German is preferrable to death", which is about lerning the German language in then-America via the now considered not good system called "Meisterschaft" ("Championship"), he uses a variation of that which tells me where this originally came from.

The system called "Meisterschaft" apparingly consisted of letting people learn German-language phrases, and letting have them conversations with them.

The play itself is about 4 young people learning this way : 2 female, 2 male, and the try of them to get together this way.

Just an example from this play :

"She tells me that every time there's a moonlight night she coaxes them out for a walk; and if a body can believe her, she actually bullies them off to church three times every sunday !"

This "a body" is there a few times,. I haven't seen that before, but I've come to believe that nowadays there would stand "somebody" or "anybody", but "a body" is an even more neutral form.

Essentially, it means "a person", but to my ears it sounds strange to literally translate that as "body". We don't have that in German language.
"Body" means in German language "Körper" and exclusively means a physical thing.

Instead, we say "jemand". In that word, there you can faintly see the word "man" or "men". It basically means "somebody" or "someone" like in modern English, but is a bit more vague in my ears.
Of course we also have the word "person" in our language.


A similar thing is true with "someone" ("some-one") : We normally don't have a word with a numeral like that ("one").
It was first introduced as, for example, "meinereiner" (literally : "me-one") in a translation-dubbing of Bugs Bunny movies in the 70s or 80s. It still is not normal, proper modern German.

A similar word is is "no-one". Again, a numeral in it.
I had encountered it in the lyrics of a few songs my musician Mike Oldfield from the early 80s, written like "no-one", which I had adopted.
Modern English, though, seems to tend more to write it this way : "noone"., which i have read a lot of times, too.
German meaning : "Niemand". Again, there's that "man" or "men" in it.
Odysseus is (in)famous for using it.



Jemand : https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jemand
Niemand : https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/niemand
Somebody : https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/somebody
Anybody : https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/anybody
No-one : https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/no_one

And finally : Body : https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/body
 

Redglyph

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In French, 'someone' translates to "quelqu'un", "un" being the numeral 'one' so the translation is quite literal.

But 'nobody' or 'no-one' translates to negation + "personne" which directly comes from the Latin 'persona' so there is no similarity here. Not even a direct word to note the absence of a person, we need this negation.
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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The German word "Niemand" also contains the word "nie", which literally means "never".
Like in "… There was never one …" "… Da war niemand .."

The English language also have this ... like ... "He never saw the arrow coming", which might be translated as "er sah nie den Pfeil kommen", but "nie" is an universal, ultimative term, meaning kind of "never before and never after", which kind of implies that after this event, even if the person was shot to death, he or she still never saw that arrow coming ... So, it sounds to German ears as if that person had an afterlife ...

I had encountered this curious translation in the very first movie novel of "Star Wars".
"He never saw it coming", meant is a shot trooper, doesn't tell the reader whether he saw ANY shots coming BEFORE that actual event, or after that.
The innocent German reader gets the impression as if that trooper was IN GENERAL incapable of seeing ANY shots coming ... Because the word "nie" is so universal and usually stretches over time ANd space !

That must have been a bad trooper if he wasn't capable of seeing any shots coming ...
 

HiddenX

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Hallo Alrik,
niemand kommt aus dem Althochdeutschen:

althochdeutsch nioman; im Althochdeutschen zusammengesetzt aus ni "nicht", eo "irgend" und man "Mensch", belegt seit dem 8. Jahrhundert

ni = nicht = not
eo = irgendein = any
man = Mensch = man

niemand (German) = nicht irgendein Mensch (German) = not any man (English) = noone (English)
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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Peter Stauffenberg

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I never saw it coming isn't always interpreted in a literal sense where the eyes failed to see something. It can also mean that you failed to anticipate a certain action.

E. g. A surprised man after his wife telling him that she wanted a divorce. "I never saw it coming". That means he thought everything was fine, but obviously it wasn't.

How do you say that in German when you failed to anticipate that the wife wanted a divorce? Can you use the word nie in such a setting?
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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We simply say "Ich sah das nicht kommen". "I didn't see it coming".
There's no "never" in it.
 

HiddenX

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How do you say that in German when you failed to anticipate that the wife wanted a divorce? Can you use the word nie in such a setting?

Das hätte ich nie gedacht. / I never thought about that.
Das habe ich nicht erwartet. / I did not expect that.
Das habe ich nicht mitbekommen. / I didn't notice that.
Das habe ich nicht vorhergesehen. / I didn't see that coming.
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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Myrthos

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There should be a comma between Jesus and people or an exclamation mark, otherwise it means people of Jezus and what is meant here is: Jesus! People are thin skinned.
Jesus is not meant as the biblical person Jesus here.
 

Redglyph

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Same for the 1st sentence, what's a skin snowflake? A new disease?
That's a good catch, @Alrik Fassbauer;! Commas and apostrophes are not fashionable anymore :D
 
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