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Archive for category 'grammar'

In Search of the World’s Hardest Language

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Fascinating:

English spelling may be the most idiosyncratic, [...] But spelling is ancillary to a language's real complexity; English is a relatively simple language, absurdly spelled. [...]

For sound complexity, one language stands out. !Xóõ, spoken by just a few thousand, mostly in Botswana, has a blistering array of unusual sounds. Its vowels include plain, pharyngealised, strident and breathy, and they carry four tones. It has five basic clicks and 17 accompanying ones. [...]

Beyond sound comes the problem of grammar. On this score, some European languages are far harder than are, say, Latin or Greek. Latin's six cases cower in comparison with Estonian’s 14, which include inessive, elative, adessive, abessive [...]

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.

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