Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Yellow Card Question, Episode 4

Three two one roll it!
♫It's Howdy Doody time, it's Howdy Doody time♫--
Cut! That's not right. Try that again.
♫Em Eye See! Kay Ee Why! Em Oh You Es Ee! Mick♫--
Cut cut cut! That's not right either! Where did our theme song go? Oh, we didn't have a theme song? How did that happen? How did we already get to our 4th episode without a theme song?! Well, we don't have time to put anything together now. How about we just adopt one. Okay, here it is:
Skullcrusher Mountain from the crazed mind of Jonathan Coulton.

Let the show begin! Doopity doo! Bring forth the cards of golden hue! Voila! Exclaim some more! Woohoo!

And the one and only card of the day!

"If you could speak any other language that you don't speak already, which language would you like to speak?"

Ooooh! This is a good one. Well, if Standard Chinese counts as a language I already speak, the next ones on my list would be:

- One or more Wu dialects. There are a bewildering number of mutually unintelligible Chinese languages spoken in this province and in the area just north of it. These Wu dialects maintain some interesting features of Classical Chinese, and of course do all kinds of interesting things different from each other and from the other Chinese languages, while the vocabulary is apparently mostly cognate with the other Chinese languages. I would at minimum like to understand better how the phonology of a couple dialects work, and it would be cool to actually be able to communicate in one.

- An Amerindian language. Mostly because they are morphologically and syntactically so different from the languages I know now, and I need some balance.

- Arabic. I took a semester of Arabic, but it wasn't really enough to get much beyond the phonology and spelling. Arabic has really cool morphology, and it offers an interesting language & power comparison with Chinese, in the coexistence of colloquial and standard languages.

- An African tone and/or click language. An African language to add to the typological balance, clicks because they are just awesome, and tones so I can understand comparisons with Chinese.

- All the other ones too.


Anonymous said...

wow,sofa! for the first time
i know chinese and english and cantonese and Wu dialect,if the last two can be counted as a formal language. certainly i have to proclaim that some of them(well ,the middle two i think) is far less to be as good as the rest. after today i will pick up my courage and confidence to set off again.and my story will be continued again, it has been abandoned for a long time by me.

serapio said...

In high school I had an English teacher (this was Mr. Meehan, for those who know him) who would substitute some bizarre words in place of curse words when he was reading out loud from a story that had a lot of colorful language. If I remember right (and I probably don't remember right. Caedmonstia probably remembers better than I do), he started off with the fairly usual "fiddlesticks!" or "jeepers!" but progressed on to things like "tables and chairs and other furniture!" Which is actually the only bizarre one I still remember.

I'm not sure where the best place is to draw the line between languages and dialects here, but I think Hangzhouhua, Putonghua, and Cantonese pretty clearly represent distinct languages. A formal language on the other hand, is something different.

slowlane said...

I thought the challenge behind this yellow card question was to choose just one. =)

serapio said...

Hmm. That would make it a difficult question indeed. If I could only choose one... Then I'll have to settle for "structural knowledge" of the other languages, and speak jive.

serapio said...

- speak jive[part 1][part 2]
- the click song. Xhosa is the best example I know of a language with tones and clicks. In the song of course, the tones don't stand out. But the clicks do.