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Sep 13

Writing about mythology

Posted on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in Writing links

Aug 11

How India changed the English language

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 in Links

For hundreds of years, words have flowed along the routes of trade and empire. Rahul Verma follows some of their remarkable journeys.

Read more here.

Jul 24

Italian, Latin, Interlingua

Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2008 in Humanities

Italian has to be the most beautiful language in the world – at least some dialacts. Lots of people are in agreement about that, so it’s not just my personal opinion. It’s about as easy (or difficult, if you see it that way) as Spanish. The languages are closely related. Just like Spanish, Italian comes from Latin, which was spoken in Ancient Rom. Italy was the homeland of the Romans.

Since I’m interested in history and subjects related to it, it’s especially nice to know Italian. In Italy many books are written about history, archaeology, art history and so on.

Italian is spoken mainly in Italy and in parts of Switzerland. I also happen to know that the people of Malta speak Italian, along with their native language Maltese and their ‘adopted’ language English. Also, there are people who have emigrated from Italy and who still speak their old language. They might be found anywhere in the world, but I think mostly in the US, Canada and Australia. In all, about 60 million people speak Italian, most of them in Europe.

And even if it’s got nothing to do with the language, I love Italian food. The various pastas and pizzas have such incredibly appetizing names. Don’t words like fettucine, lasagna, cannelloni och tagliatelle seem to taste just as well as the pasta by those names?

I’ve also studied Latin, but it’s really difficult. It’s a language that is at the same time unsophisticated and hard to learn. The grammar is tough. Though I have heard that ancient Greek, Russian and Serbo-Croatian are more difficult. A bit of Latin is good to know, if you want to study other modern languages. (Well, maybe not Chinese or Japanese, but many different European languages).

There’s a modern version of Latin – Interlingua. It’s a language that has been created. Basically, it’s simplified but more expressive than Latin. Mainly, it’s based on Spanish and Italian (with a bit of French, English and a number of other languages). The best thing about this language, is that you don’t need to learn it to understand it. If you’ve studied Spanish or Italian you’ll have no trouble understanding Interlingua. Of course, it’s more difficult to learn to write and speak, but then the same goes for every other language.

Since Interlingua has been created without any complicated grammar, it should be easier to learn than other languages. I haven’t studied it myself, but I can assure you that it’s very easy to understand text written in Interlingua.

You sometimes hear proposals about turning Latin into the EU’s official language. Whoever is suggesting that, can’t possibly have tried to study Latin himself – or it’s some professor of Latin who’s forgotten how difficult the language really is. However, now that there’s Interlingua (and a few similar languages), we could use that instead. Since it’s so easy to understand, most people would be able to read all the documents and articles written in it, without any further studies. Only the people who write those documents (or translate them) would have to learn Interlingua. Even if you did have to learn it, it doesn’t seem to be difficult.

I suspect that the reason proposals are made about making Latin the offical language of the EU, is because it would be awkward using a modern language that is still being used by one or several countries. That might give that country (or countries) an unfair advantage over the other member countries. Latin, on the other hand, isn’t officially spoken anywhere except for in the Vatican. Even better, Interlingua is spoken nowhere and everywhere, depending on wherever the students of the language live. It seems to me that it couldn’t get any fairer than that.

Jun 22


Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2008 in Humanities

I’m doing a complete reconstruction of an old site, and I decided to use some of the stuff from my ‘language’ site here instead. The content is more suitable for a blog anyway.

So here goes. If you’re interested in language study, you might find this interesting.

I thought I’d tell you a little about the languages I’ve studied and others that I find interesting. To me, learning languages has turned out to be habit forming. I like to, in a way, collect languages. Two or three isn’t enough. I want to know many. Of course I realize that I’m lucky not to find it too difficult, up to a point. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to become fluent in any language, other than my own – Swedish, and English, (or as I prefer to call it – Anglo).

It’s not just the language in itself that I think is fun. When you study a language, you learn a lot about the country or countries where the language is spoken. The literature, the art, the music, the history – all kinds of things are a part of the language studies.

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