February 9th, 2014


Which languages would give you an understanding of what languages can do

To the experts/ multilinguals out there:

Here´s a tough question. Which languages - modern or ancient and let´s say a set of 10-15 - would you study to get a complete understanding of what human langues can be and can do? To get an overview over the inner workings of and possibilities of human languages? My interest here is purely in understanding what LANGUAGE is and can be - not in numbers of speakers (major/minor languages), in difficulties of studying or pronouncing etc.

my list would at least start with these:
- sanskrit (for its mathematical precision)
- turkish (for a highly logical grammar in a modern language)
- english (for immense productivity of its lexis)
- italian (for its musicality)
- thai (as a tonal language)

  • tabouli

Year of the Wooden Horse

Hi Linguaphiles. Is there a helpful native Mandarin speaker out there who can confirm that "Year of the Wooden Horse" would be "木马年"? This is going to go up on an PowerPoint slide in front of a lot of Chinese speakers, so I want to make sure! I'm also thinking I'll use the traditional form 馬 for horse, as most of the Chinese speakers will be older Chinese-Australians who immigrated to Australia decades ago from SE Asia (and I prefer the look of it besides).

Also, I will be introducing the Chinese Consul-General. Should I be using any special title for him, or is his name followed by 先生 appropriate? If there *is* a special title I should be using, can someone give me the pinyin reading for it? Also, what is the correct way to say "Thank you for your speech" in Mandarin at a formal occasion? (again, pinyin is fine - I need to say it, not read it!)