RDP Wednesday: Language

language books

What more can I say, an in which language? The photo shows it all more or less. Some people collect stamps as a hobby, others music and me, I collect languages.

I do have a mother tongue, but sometimes am not quite sure what it is. According to my first original passport it would be english, but cockney, my dialect, does not exactly follow the rules. It had to be polished up at school. And then I moved to Switzerland and discovered the German they spoke was not the German I had learnt at school, another dialect. After 50 years I more or less speak perfect Solothurn German, one of the numerous Swiss dialects. I think every part of Switzerland has its own.

And what about the rest? I always wanted to speak, write and read Russian since my school days, but I had to learn 5 years French at school, also did evening classes for Spanish a year, but have not forgot everything. My other dream language was Italian which I more or less taught myself. I always found that if you did not know the word in Italian, just used the english one and add an “o” or “a” at the end, with the Italian pronunciation and you would be understood. At some time I did eventually get my Russian course, 12 years, and I can still read and write it now. The words are for me entirely different to anything I had in my lantino-anglo language brain, but I discovered that I could even understand the Yugoslavians with their various serbo-croat-Slovenian languages, all with a sort of Russian basis knowledge that I had acquired.

In the meanwhile, with my 72 years I speak a bit of everything, but probably nothing perfect. Even my english suffers. How often do I begin to write my pieces in Internet and suddenly find that the word I want only appears in German in my brain. I have a quick Internet check and it tells me the english word.

Oh and then I decided that Arabic would be something interesting and yes, I could write it when I did my year of learning the language. I then discovered that none of the so-called Arabic speaking countries, actually spoke pure Arabic. The Maghreb states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara, to name just a few all had their own version of Arabic and rarely understood each others language. Egypt spoke a straightforward Arabic and the Emirates were apparently the best. Needless to say i decided Arabic was a little complicated.

Let’s face it, the only way to learn a language is to use it and communicate with it. I am a typical example of how to communicate in a language by not bothering about the silly details like grammar. Just say what you want to say, use your hands, your feet and you will get there eventually. I must have been doing something right somewhere, as although my kids all grew up in Switzerland, they understand and speak English. One is fluent in French as well.

And Switzerland has four basic languages: French, German, Italian, Romansch. This means that almost all food packets in the supermarket are covered with text in these languages to cover all aspects of the population. Perhaps not Romansch, as there are only a small percent speaking it in the mountains of Graubünden and they also have about 4-5 dialects, so they also have to learn German at school to be understood by the rest of the country.

You know what, I could go on for ages about this language thing. Just do not expect a perfect explanation. I was always someone that liked to talk and why bother about rules and regulations, it only slows you down. I däm Fall wurde ig säge genüg gseit. I bi sicher dir wüsset wie Sprache cha dr Fall kompliziere. U das isch e chli wenig Schyzertutsh (the last few words were in Swiss German, not really a written language, because according to where you live and your origins, you speak a different dialect. Just write it as you hear it, but with a German touch).

View of the Bernese Alps from Feldbrunnen

RDP Wednesday: Language

Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders

Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEVEN.

Up the hill and turn to the left.

So let’s talk about Seven. The photo shows the path to the part of the village where I live and in the background is the ever present first chain of the Jura Mountains. There are altogether seven chains, beginning at the northern edge of the middle land in Switzerland. If you climb the first chain you arrive in a valley and then appears the second chain and so on over seven mountain ridges until you arrive in the flat lands again. From my area you would be reach Basel if the Jura was not in between, which is also on the border to France and Germany, so imagine that language mixture which bring us to the subject of the blog.

Naturally, being an ignorant infidel, I had never heard of Khalil Gibran. Not wanting to be left out I had a quick look up. It seems he died somewhere in the middle of the 20th century, being born in the 19th so we never had the chance to meet. I had a glance through his works and discovered it is probably not my sort of thing, although I would not say that his books are not interesting. He seemed to have a few quotes in stock with sense behind them, but reducing language to seven words is rather extreme.

I noticed some of my blogging colleagues mention George Carlin. Basically I do not know this person so well although the name rings a bell. I discovered he is a comedian and even found seven valuable words to use, although more for using when angry, injured or annoyed, so-called swear words. I also have a few in my vocabulary, even in two languages: English and Swiss German. Believe me Swiss German have more than seven and some can be quite colourful.

I am now not going to bore you with my choice of seven words to replace the many others in our language, but I gave this problem a thought and decided to base my research on the process of elimination.

Who needs definite and indefinite articles, they are superfluous (so is that last word). The Russians never even have them in their language. Do we really need adjectives? They can become the words of insult, so let us cancel them. If you happen to be speaking or leaning one of those languages where you have case forms, then adjectives complicate everything. You have to conjugate them. There we can be thankful that the case forms in English have either disappeared or no longer play an important part. Now if you are speaking Latin (no wonder it is a dead language today), German or Russian, you will never get the hang of it. You can learn it, but when speaking time is lost by exploring which word to use in the correct version and I definitely dislike losing time when speaking, it is a waste of time and energy.

You want to speak arabic, then you have a problem. They even have sun and moon letters and slip the word for “and” (wa) in between each word in a list. Yes, they have very long lists – bread and butter and tea and fruit and jam and and and etc. We have now reduced the use of adjectives and articles. Prepositions can also be a means of complication. Some need the dative case, some the accusative and some another case belonging to some other language. One way or the other who needs them, so just eliminate them.

Nouns? Why not, just point at the object you mean. The object is not present? Then do not use it. Do we really want to talk about things we cannot see? Just save it for a time when we are there and can point to it.

We have verbs describing an action. Does it really interest anyone what you are doing, thinking or saying. Your actions are clear to be seen, so why use a verbal description?

Basically I think I have just eliminated language as such. There is not very much left, except for the swear words, so perhaps George Carlin is right.

Personally I think this Khalil whatshisname missed the point somewhere. Reduce my language to seven words? What a boring life. I love talking, having a conversation, I even talk to my cats when no-one else is here. There are times when alone that I have quite an exciting conversation with myself and seven words would never suffice. As far as understanding is concerned, if I want someone to understand I manage. Sometimes having a loud clear voice suits the purpose. And if I something annoys me, I drop a hammer on my foot or shut a finger in the door – then I can always revert to the George Carlin linguistic talents.

Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders

Words of Pingback

  1. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Musical Foodie Love
  2. Seven Words | Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | likereadingontrains
  3. Daily Post: Seven Wonders? | Pen and Pixels
  4. Seven. | Crossroads
  5. My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders – I feel, you feel, becomes we feel
  6. Early Grave – Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | smoke&mirrors
  7. summing it up | bodhisattvaintraining
  8. Nostalgia | Nature Activities
  9. Seven words | James Clegg
  10. Seven Wonders of the Word | MC’s Whispers
  11. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | veryvanessalynn
  12. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | The Fountain
  13. Seven | The Magic Black Book
  14. Who Made The Most Sense Khalil Gibran or George Carlin? | The Jittery Goat
  15. Seven Wonders | Relax
  16. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Under the Monkey Tree
  17. My Seven Words | Life Confusions
  18. The Only Seven Words Left In The World | sayanything
  19. Daily post: Seven words. Or alternatively… | helen meikle’s scribblefest
  20. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders « Mama Bear Musings
  21. Daily Prompt: Seven little words for a blustery Monday | Nicki
  22. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Randomize ME
  23. A Poem: Seven Wonders | I Hope You’re Taking Notes
  24. Seven Leaves (Daily Prompt) | photo potpourri
  25. SEVEN WORDS THAT MAKE US | crookedeyebrows
  26. Reduction of Languange | mutatiomagistra
  27. 7 | Hope* the happy hugger
  28. Super Seven | thinkerscap
  29. My Apologies to George Carlin | Not a Punk Rocker
  30. Seven Stars | alienorajt
  31. How to order coffee with the (un?)necessary complexity of human language | Rob’s Surf Report
  32. You got me | dawnyhosking
  33. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | robbiesdailyplanet
  34. The Seven Words | Flowers and Breezes
  35. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Crow Arrow, Inc.
  36. Communication | Rock it classy
  37. Touched by Seven. | Blue Loft
  38. Seven Words… | Haiku By Ku
  39. Words of Wisdom | meanderedwanderings
  40. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Awl and Scribe
  41. In Seven Words.. | That girl with the spectrespecs
  42. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Of Glass & Paper
  43. Seven Words | Momma Said There’ld Be Days Like This
  44. Daily Prompt: Seven Words | …and she writes
  45. What Is It About The Number Seven? | Just Visiting This Planet
  46. Seven Steps to Successful Pumpkin Carving | It’s a wonderful F’N life
  47. How To Communicate With Your Spouse In Seven Words Or Less! | The Political and Social Chaos Blog
  48. Not enough | Life is great
  50. Just seven words. | ExLibrisMachina
  51. Seven | The Land Slide Photography
  52. Seven sounds of music | Processing the life
  53. RAINBOW | Randomlyabstract’s Blog
  54. Seven | Brianne Writes
  55. I see on this Earth: | The Visionary Hollow
  56. 7 for all Mankind? | The Silver Leaf Journal
  57. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Books and Movies
  58. Seven Things |
  59. I Recognize the Light in Your Soul…..(daily prompt wp) | Daily Observations
  60. Seven. | Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams
  61. Seven Wonders | Taryn Marie Writes
  62. SEVEN WORDS | Emotional Fitness
  63. Seven | Ripples of Truth
  64. Seven words | A mom’s blog
  65. Say it in 7 | Writing Daily
  66. Daily Prompt: 7 Wonders | Life Juxtaposed
  67. Communication In Seven Words or Less | Kansa Muse
  68. eight, wonders | pesrevsanatpesrev
  69. Seven Wonders or the Seven Words of Life | mother of nine9
  70. Expression in Seven — E.I.T.C.A.W.M. | e. e.
  71. Sette parole – A very short post | Neva Samaki
  72. The Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Lucid Gypsy
  73. Seven Heavenly Words. | The life of T
  74. My Secret Seven | Winging it
  75. Seven Wonder(ful) Words | Cheri Speak
  76. My Seven Words | A chain of thoughts…
  77. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Phoenix Flights
  78. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders by Henrietta Maddox | Henrietta Maddox Webloner
  79. The story goes like this . . . | tjbarkerseattle
  80. My Seven Wonder(ful) Words | Mirth365
  81. Seven | The Attic Blogger
  82. The Only Non-Superfluous Speech | On Gorgeousness
  83. 7 words | Life as a country bumpkin…not a city girl
  84. Daily Prompt:Seven Wonders | writer in progress
  85. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | Steve Says….
  86. What if we had but seven words? | Okay, what if ?
  87. Seven wonders. | Evanesco Waffles
  88. Daily Prompt: Seven – The voyage | Ord i Bild i Ord i Bild i Ord i Bild
  89. If music be the food of love | A Wondering Minstrel I
  90. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders | 4cornersteacher
  91. Top Posts — WordPress.com
  92. Daily Prompt: Seven Wonders « The Blogging Path
  93. Daily Prompt | What A View On A Sunday Afternoon | Mac’s Blog
  94. Seven plain and simple | tornin2’s Blog
  95. Daily Prompt: An Expression of Seven Wonders with a Minimum of Words Between Us | theempathyqueen
  96. To Know Khalil | rarasaur
  97. Daily post/seven words | annetteharris42
  98. Seven principles to life | Hotel Goddess
  99. seven words. too few, too many. | memoirs of an unremarkable man
  100. From the Ground Up | Wiley’s Wisdom
  101. 7 photos of 7 ancient ruins: turkey | wise monkeys abroad
  102. Seven Wonders | View From The Third Eye

Daily Prompt: 2100

The language of the future: what will it be like? Write an experimental post using some imagined vocabulary — abbreviations, slang, new terms.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FUTURE.

Close-up Station clock Solothurn

‘old on, I don’t ‘ave to imagine any noo language or vocab, it’s ‘ere already. Just take a walk on the street and open up your ‘earoles. No real kid speaks the queen’s fing anymore. They can’t even rite it. Just stick your nose in this fb fing, it’s all done wiv letters and numbers, words ‘ve kicked it. Oo needs em, just a waste of computer space if you ask me, but don’t ask me cause I’m one of those gruftis, like old and not wiv it.

I’m speakting 2 U all by the way. Where I live, like we ‘av a lot of languages all mixed up. I ‘eard a gal talking once to ‘er mates in a shop about wot to buy. Nah it was all in Schwiizer tütsch, u ig bi sicher das dir das nit verstah. Anyhow she said wot abaht äpfelküche, ‚cos she wanted to know if she fancied like an apple pie. The girl turned round like and said, oh yeah, mi piace äpfelkküche git it. Wot she said was “Yes, I like apple pie”, the trubble being that ‘er mum and dad, ‘er grufties, came from I tie land, like Italy, and so she spoke a bit of everyfing altogether: a real mischmasch. Now we ‘ave a lot of those secondo types in Switzerland, speaking all the languages mixed up, so that’s the way it comes out. A bit of Schwiizertütsch u e bit of italianski, wotever.

I have been cutting me brain in a few bits and pieces since living in this multi culti place. I ain’t ‘ad it eesy, specially cos me own lingo is sort of English, you know, cockney. Get the gist of that, in my brain it was all cockney wiv no aches and I ainn’t got nuffing, like I’ave got somefing, but we do it all wiv two no’s wot make a yes, work that one out. So one way or the ovver fings got a bit complicated. I did a few years Ben Sherman in England, but it weren’t that way when I got to Schwiez, where they all speak a bit ov everyfing. A bit of Itie, a bit of Ben Sherman, a bit of frog (not being nasty, but they call us the roast beef). There I was stuck in the middle of everyfing, but I was in Zürich so it was the old Ben Sherman schwiizer tütsch wot made it a bit easy. Nah if I ‘ad landed somewhere in the middle, like in the röschti graben, it would ‘ave been a real eliot ness wouldn’t it. I would ‘av ben parleying a bit of frog, and a bit of Ben Sherman schwiizer tütsch and that would ‘ave been a right pickle.

Me old man parleys a bit of everyfing, but ‘e likes ‘is old Ben Sherman wiv the gruetzis and mercis and ciaous. A rite old mix-up that is. ‘E can parley a bit of the old anglo as well fank gawd but not like I do. Ain’t everyone a cockney, but this is all abaht wot ‘appens in the future ain’t it. Not that I fink it will all be cockny, it will probably be all that leetspeak or whatever. Nah ‘ow can you replace I luv you with 459. Don’t sound very romantic does it, whispering the magic numbers 459 in the earole of your mate. But then you can always add a ❤ and I ain’t found out wot that means yet either.

I fink I’ve dun enuf damage for today. It might not be the language of the future, but I fink if you fall asleep today and do the wakey wakey in 2100, you ain’t gonna understand ‘alf of wot they are talking abaht, let alone all those text fings going on in the Face bookie side. Someow I ‘ave a feeling that even the youngsters ain’t going to understand each ovver either, specially if they ‘ave forgotten wot a word looks like, with letters and all the trimmings.

I nah ‘ave only one fing to say to you all see ya 2morro

If ya want a translation like normal, then I ain’t doing it – ask Wikipedia or Bill Gates, they seem to know it all.

Daily Prompt: 2100

Newspeak Pingbacks

  1. I am my mother’s wild future | shame
  2. 2100 | Geek Ergo Sum
  3. Thoughts on Blogging | We Live In A Flat
  4. Slang? No, Thank you! | Life Confusions
  5. Daily Prompt: 2100 « Mama Bear Musings
  6. Werd… [Daily Prompt: 2100] | unknowinglee
  7. •• SDMO: Art House •• | mët•aRVhëë•n✪ia
  8. An Interview With William Shakespeare | The Jittery Goat
  9. Daily Prompt: 2100 The language of the future | littlegirlstory
  10. Daily Prompt: 2100 | Life as a country bumpkin…not a city girl
  11. Fandipdopdabulous! | Random Encounters of an Inquisitive Mind
  12. Allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Lol. Jk. | sayanything
  13. Daily Prompt: 2100 Language of the Future | Photos and writings
  14. Bacon Nation | My OCD Diaries
  15. Enter, Eccentrica Gallumbits… | alienorajt
  16. I Have Seen The Future | Just Visiting This Planet
  17. K. Ttyl. | Crossroads
  18. Daily Prompt: 2100 is a # away | Pooja calling
  19. The Life of i | JC Bride ~
  20. Not down with slang | Motherhood and Beyond
  21. S. Thomas Summers | Daily Prompt: Future
  22. Daily Prompt: 2100 | Future Verse | mattsden101
  23. Can I really imagine the language of the future? | Rob’s Surf Report
  24. A future of hairballs | Purple Rosemary
  25. Daily Prompt: 2100 Globish | gabrielleablackwell
  26. Daily Prompt: 2100 | Steve Says….
  27. Daily Prompt : 2100 | Travelandfoodworldwide
  28. “Future” | Relax
  29. Let’s talk, no matter how | Life is great
  30. Hold onto your hats kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride! | Girlie Groove
  31. …and new forms conquered the old, Joshua Tree | The RunningFather Blog
  32. The Future Beyond 2100…(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
  33. Instantané : Future | Icezine
  34. One Starving Activist
  35. Daily Prompt: Twenny Wun Hunnid | My Atheist Blog
  36. 2100 | The Nameless One
  37. Daily Prompt: 2100 | Jasper Smits
  38. ie iou ooa (Life without consonants) | The Otter in my Jotter
  39. Who are you? I’m 143392|||||/\_|||||#6672, of course. | thoughtsofrkh
  40. Uphirst this Pollocks! | Standing Ovation, Seated
  41. Daily Prompt: 2100 | To Breathe is to Write
  42. Y u wanna kno dis | crookedeyebrows
  43. Daily Prompt 2100: Running to the future | The Land Slide Photography
  44. What do prithee and probably have in common? | I Didn’t Just Wake Up This Morning with a Craving
  45. What if the language of the future is unspoken? | Okay, what if ?
  46. Future Glory |
  47. No Change In 2100 | Flowers and Breezes
  48. Daily Prompt: 2100 | Chicomallorca’s Blog
  49. The Future of Arguing with Henry Longfellow, Brought to You by Star Trek | The Arkside of Thought
  50. If I Live To Be 111 | Along Life’s Road
  51. Nah, Me Speeka Da Engrish… | Mrs. All Screwed Up
  52. Daily post: Language 2100? Don’t want to know | helen meikle’s scribblefest
  53. Puffknuckle | Godrick Gnomish
  54. 2010 Peer to Peer Communication | Kansa Muse on Micro Farming and More

Language Barrier

Where is everyone? There I was looking at the carpets in the shop and trying to decide which one to buy when everyone moved on. This is now going to be difficult.

“Hello, Hello, Can you help me? No, I am not asking for this carpet. I want to know how much is the carpet over there. Look I am pointing, that one – price?”

He does not understand a word I am saying. I give up and try to find the others.

“I am going to find my friends. You don’t have to come with me, and please put the carpet down. I have lost interest. Please go away, don’t follow.”

I wonder if I give him a push he realizes he is not wanted.

“I go, you stay” he just does not want to understand. Let’s try a few hand signs.
“Where I am pointing I go. You stay here (pointing with my hand towards the ground).” The man is just nodding and still waving his carpet around. There is only one thing, run.

At last I got away, but this is getting ridiculous. Where is everyone and I don’t understand a word the people here are saying. Perhaps the children over there can help, they might learn English at school.

“Hello, have you seen any English speaking people in a group. No, I do not want to give you money for dollars, I am looking for someone. Look English money – you speak English. No the money is not for you it is mine, but have you seen people using this money?”

This is getting ridiculous – they seem to be calling their colleagues and they are all looking at me with their large brown eyes and calling and touching me; nothing but away from this lot. Help they are following me.

“Can anyone here speak English, or even parlez-vous français?”

They only speak their own language. I am in trouble. Now run down this alley and hope they give up. Ow, now I have lost my shoe. No leave my shoe, it is mine. Or here take the other shoe and now a quick get away. Running without shoes is much quicker.

“Sorry” now I have run into one of the natives, but he is just laughing, not even annoyed and saying something. He is quite good looking, I think I will stay with him and see if he knows my language. Now he is pointing – I think he is leading me to my group. Oh no, he is inviting me for a drink in a roadside restaurant, but he has such a sweet laugh.

“Thank you, thank you, yes I am thirsty” He is still laughing, but he is saying something and all the people in the restaurant start laughing. I start laughing as well, perhaps it is a way of saying hello in this country. He says something and the waiter has come.

Now I will be clever. “Look” I say as I am pointing to a coca cola bottle on another table, I want a cola. There you see I put up one finger and point to the bottle and then to me. The waiter nods, he understands at last. I have found someone who knows what I want. The man that invited me is nodding, he has also understood; success, but on no. The waiter is bringing everyone in the restaurant a bottle of coca cola and I have the bill to pay.

Something must have gone wrong somewhere. Thank goodness I have money but after paying for the cola I won’t have very much more, so let’s drink it and go. My good looking partner is still laughing and nodding his head and clapping with his hands; must be the local custom when someone buys them a drink. The whole restaurant is now clapping and looking at me. I stand up, clap back, drink out my glass and go. I can still hear them clapping in the restaurant as I walk along the road, but at least I am on my own again.

And now to the local railway station, there must be someone there speaking English. I will ask the young lady with the baby in her arms.

“Excuse me, but can you tell me where the railway station is.” And she is laughing. So let’s try something else.

“You (pointing at the lady) show me (pointing to me and away from lady) choo choo (making noises like a train)” she is now laughing more but pointing to the other side of the road and signaling round the corner with her hand.

I bow my head (perhaps she understands a thank you gesture) and walk in that direction. Surprise, she actually understood my question, here is the station. We women always seem to find a way to understand each other, even if we do not speak the language.

“Excuse me sir” (talking to the man at the ticket office) “You speak English?”. He is speaking in his language as if I would understand every word, but it seems no English.

“Can I help you” said someone behind me. At last words that I understand, so I turn round. A teenager is asking me if he can help me.

“Yes, please” I say and he says “please, thank you, can I help you”

“No, please help me”

“Yes please, thank you, can I help you.”

My luck to find someone that has had two lessons in how to speak English. But I have an idea. I tell him “Hotel El Hammadi” and he laughs and he takes my arm and leads me still saying all the time “please, thank you, can I help you and throwing a “yes” in in between for good measure. I am so tired I just let myself be led and what do I see.

Now it is my turn to say “thank you, thank you” he has led me to my hotel and my friends are all waiting outside and are glad to see me. My odyssey is over I have been saved. We all greet each other, but my helper is still standing next to me.

“I think he wants something from you” said my colleague

“I don’t understand him and he does not understand me.” But my colleagues do. “Give him some money and he will definitely go away.”

I did as ordered and he said “please, thank you, can I help you” and smiling all over his face he went on his way.

The facet of the story is if you ever travel to a country for the first time, take an elementary course in the local language, otherwise you will have problems if left on your own and it could become quite expensive.