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What makes you learn a minority language?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
35 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 3 4
Senior Member
Joined 4141 days ago

1020 posts - 1714 votes 
Studies: French

 Message 33 of 35
07 April 2009 at 7:31am | IP Logged 
I once studied the language of the Lagomorphs, Lagomorph language, because I was very curious what the hell a "full binky" actually signified.

Did not progress far as I found some of the production issues too nuanced (especially the ear wobble parts).
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Raчraч Ŋuɲa
Senior Member
New Zealand
Joined 4003 days ago

154 posts - 233 votes 
Speaks: Bikol languages*, Tagalog, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Japanese

 Message 34 of 35
07 April 2009 at 11:26am | IP Logged 
Captain Haddock wrote:
I agree with Linguamor, although I can imagine a rare sort of person who learns a language purely because of intellectual fascination. JRR Tolkien is almost an example of this; he learned Finnish partially for his fascination with its grammar, and partially so he could read Finnish mythology.

Although he made up many of his own languages, Tolkien had this to say about other conlangs (minority languages in every way): "Volapük, Esperanto, Ido, Novial, &c, &c, are dead, far deader than ancient unused languages, because their authors never invented any Esperanto legends".

Your quite right. Mostly, its the people who make conlangs and linguists who will learn another language just for intellectual purposes. If a language has a unique grammar feature, then it would attract quite a lot of attention. Linguists do it to build better linguistic theories and grammar models, conlangers do it to add whatever novel features in it to their constructed language if it would contribute to the over-all desired characteristics of their conlangs. Conlangers normally have great interest in linguistic papers.

I am myself a conlanger, that's why at the moment, I am very interested in Jiwarli, a language previously spoken in Western Australia. Its last speaker died in 1986. This is a radical pro drop language and is also non-configurational. I also believe in the weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, so a language with a truly uncommon grammar is a great opportunity to see if this is true.

Edited by Raчraч Ŋuɲa on 07 April 2009 at 11:30am

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Senior Member
Korea, South
Joined 5262 days ago

681 posts - 724 votes 
3 sounds
Speaks: English*, German, Korean, French

 Message 35 of 35
08 April 2009 at 2:26pm | IP Logged 

Exactly. I'm a linguist to some extent and research is the reason why I've studied Tok Pisin and some Aboriginal languages (like Noongar). And it'll be the reason why I probably study other minority languages to some extent - hopefully other Trans-New Guinea languages.

Most of my language interests outside of pure research could be classed as minority anyway. Korean and Polish most notably.

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