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The older language.

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The older language.

Postby Hatori » Tue 01.02.2007 5:48 pm

Hello. I was wondering, is Japanese or English an older language? This has been on my mind for a while, and I was wondering if anybody knew. :)

Thanks!!
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
lol
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RE: The older language.

Postby richvh » Tue 01.02.2007 6:02 pm

The oldest written form of Japanese (c. 4th century AD) is older than the oldest written form of English (c. 8th century AD). However, both have changed considerably since then, both from internal change and outside influence. The modern written form of English dates from the introduction of printing, which stabilized spelling (though not pronunciation), c. 16th century. The modern written form of Japanese dates from 1948.
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RE: The older language.

Postby angstycoder » Tue 01.02.2007 9:35 pm

If I'm not mistaken, when the emporer got on the radio to announce the end of WWII to his people, most of them couldn't understand him because his Japanese was courtly, old, and archaeic. It would be like your average monolinguistic English speaker trying to understand Chaucer or Gower.

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is often sold with the middle English and modern English on opposite pages. If you know some French or German, you'll have a much better time of it. Point being -before my tanget- languages have changed so much over time it's hard to say what a language really was. You could say that English arose within the years that the normans, saxons, and angles were having wars. Those norman soldiers needed to hit on the saxon barmaids and so English was born! OK, not really, but it is funny.


-- edit to add: My German friend understood Elizabethan and middle English so much better because it still had a lot of German words, pronouns, and pronounciations. The grammar also made more sense to her. She loved Chaucer.
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RE: The older language.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 01.07.2007 12:18 pm

This is pretty much an impossible question to answer -- first off because there's no way of telling how old a language is since speech predates writing by many thousands (and possibly tens of thousands) of years, and also because there's no clear definition of when a language changes so much that it becomes another language. i.e. is Middle English a separate language from Modern English, and if so, when does Modern English start? etc.

IMO, the Japanese of 1000 years ago is closer to today's Japanese than 1000-year-old English is to modern English, but this is not scientific.
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Re: The older language.

Postby Stone_Cold » Thu 01.01.2009 12:55 am

Japanese would be the older language according to known history, right? However, Japan has adapted many foreign spoken words into modern Japanese including the use of the Chinese ideograms. I agree that the languages have changed much over time. A speaker of modern English wouldn’t be able to communicate using modern conversational English or read Old English (Anglo-Saxon). Anglo-Saxon was later influenced by Latin later creating the modern English alphabet. Biblical Hebrew’s luckily still known, but differs from Modern Hebrew. If you want to learn more about language in General then visit Wikipedia and type [Name of Language] Language (Ex. English Language). History’s an open book and there’s no telling what’s to be reveled, but one should always start with what’s known. There’s no real timeline considering language since it has developed over time from other languages and etc...

Middle English 1066-1470
(Note the letters þ and ð are equivalent to modern "th")
Syððan wæs geworden þæt he ferde þurh þa ceastre and þæt castel: godes rice prediciende and bodiende. and hi twelfe mid. And sume wif þe wæron gehælede of awyrgdum gastum: and untrumnessum: seo magdalenisce maria ofþære seofan deoflu uteodon: and iohanna chuzan wif herodes gerefan: and susanna and manega oðre þe him of hyra spedum þenedon.

A literal translation, using descendents of the original words where possible (bold words are explanations), might be "Sith (since) [it] was worthen (had come to happen) that he fared through the towns: God's rich (kingdom) predicating and boding, and he [had] twelve (disciples) [along with him], and some wives (women), that were healed of suffocating ghosts and un-upright-nesses: Mary [called] Magdalene, out of whom seven devils out-went, and Johanna, Chuza (Herod's steward)'s wife, and Suzanna, and many others that (gave) him of their speeds (things thought of as "fast") "




Resource: Wikipedia
Would you believe this is English?
<-.-> The past is like a ghost’s voice, quite and withered away, unknown and unheard, loneliness like pale streams. <-.->
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Re: The older language.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 01.01.2009 9:32 am

A 2 year necropost? Really?
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Re: The older language.

Postby hyperconjugated » Thu 01.01.2009 10:41 am

Carefull now Chris

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Re: The older language.

Postby JaySee » Thu 01.01.2009 11:28 am

Stone_Cold wrote:Syððan wæs geworden þæt he ferde þurh þa ceastre and þæt castel: godes rice prediciende and bodiende. and hi twelfe mid. And sume wif þe wæron gehælede of awyrgdum gastum: and untrumnessum: seo magdalenisce maria ofþære seofan deoflu uteodon: and iohanna chuzan wif herodes gerefan: and susanna and manega oðre þe him of hyra spedum þenedon.


And that's actually Old English, not Middle English.
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Re: The older language.

Postby Stone_Cold » Sun 01.04.2009 4:57 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Eng ... characters
That's where the information came from. Quote, "Archaic Characters... The following characters, which may be unfamiliar to modern readers, are found in Middle English texts."
<-.-> The past is like a ghost’s voice, quite and withered away, unknown and unheard, loneliness like pale streams. <-.->
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Re: The older language.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 01.04.2009 5:02 pm

I think the wikipedia page is a bit misleading; that is Old English; I think it's provided as an example of old english to contrast with the middle English examples given later.
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Re: The older language.

Postby Stone_Cold » Sun 01.04.2009 5:39 pm

I'm basing the information from Wikipedia. I'm using that text as an example of how a language will change over time. Though, it does say these words were found and used in Middle English. Read carefully, “These were direct holdovers from the Old English alphabet…” I’m not saying that exact sentence’s* Middle English, but there’re similar writings that look much the same.

Syððan wæs geworden þæt he ferde þurh þa ceastre and þæt castel: godes rice prediciende and bodiende. and hi twelfe mid. And sume wif þe wæron gehælede of awyrgdum gastum: and untrumnessum: seo magdalenisce maria ofþære seofan deoflu uteodon: and iohanna chuzan wif herodes gerefan: and susanna and manega oðre þe him of hyra spedum þenedon.

Note. Copied Directly From Wikipedia

Archaic characters
The following characters, which may be unfamiliar to modern readers, are found in Middle English texts.
letter name pronunciation
Æ æ Ash [æ]
Ð ðEth [ð]
Ȝ ȝ Yogh [g], [ɣ], [j] or [dʒ]
Þ þ Thorn [θ]
Ƿ ƿ Wynn [w]

These were direct hold-overs from the Old English alphabet (a Roman alphabet variant, which drew some additional letters from Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) Runes).
<-.-> The past is like a ghost’s voice, quite and withered away, unknown and unheard, loneliness like pale streams. <-.->
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Re: The older language.

Postby richvh » Sun 01.04.2009 6:00 pm

The characters continued to be used in Middle English (I think it was when printing caught on that they fell out of use), but the example sentence you gave was Old English.

The use of the thorn and its resemblance to "Y" is what gave rise to the perception that "the" used to be pronounced "ye" (as in "Ye Olde Watering Hole" etc.)
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Re: The older language.

Postby Stone_Cold » Sun 01.04.2009 6:19 pm

The characters continued to be used in Middle English (I think it was when printing caught on that they fell out of use), but the example sentence you gave was Old English.

The use of the thorn and its resemblance to "Y" is what gave rise to the perception that "the" used to be pronounced "ye" (as in "Ye Olde Watering Hole" etc.)


I’m not saying that exact sentence’s* Middle English, but there’re similar writings that look much the same.


Exactly :mrgreen:
<-.-> The past is like a ghost’s voice, quite and withered away, unknown and unheard, loneliness like pale streams. <-.->
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Re: The older language.

Postby JaySee » Sun 01.04.2009 7:58 pm

But you kind of make it seem as if language change can be shown by looking at the way the writing system of a language changes. It is important to remember that changes in the spoken language and changes in spelling more often than not don't run parallel to each other, and that changes in spoken language and changes in the writing system itself are even less related to each other.
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Re: The older language.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 01.04.2009 8:13 pm

JaySee wrote:But you kind of make it seem as if language change can be shown by looking at the way the writing system of a language changes.


Which is a very widespread misconception; there are a number of people who believe that Chinese is the "oldest language" because of age of the writing system.
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