Wikijunior:Languages/Print version

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Contents[edit]

  1. Arabic
  2. Bengali
  3. Catalan
  4. Dutch
  5. English
  6. Estonian
  7. French
  8. German
  9. Hebrew
  10. Hindi
  11. Japanese
  12. Korean
  13. Latin
  14. Mandarin Chinese
  15. Marathi
  16. Nahuatl
  17. Norwegian
  18. Polish
  19. Portuguese
  20. Quenya
  21. Russian
  22. Sanskrit
  23. Serbian
  24. Spanish
  25. Swahili
  26. Tamil
  27. Turkish
  28. Urdu

Introduction[edit]

Just what is a language?[edit]

A language is an organised, ordered way of speaking and listening. Reading and writing are a way of representing language in a permanent format, but many languages have no written form. Language is one form of communication. It can be spoken, visual, or signed. We can say that language is a code of symbols used to communicate.

What is not a language?[edit]

There are some things that work like language. For example, when you see a red traffic light, it is just the same as if somebody said to you "You should not cross the street now". The traffic signs work in the same way: drivers know when they have to turn left or right or to go slower. So they are a kind of communication system. Can we speak about "Traffic signs language"? Not really. Traffic signs work very well for some signals, but you can not say "I've eaten pizza today" by using traffic signs. The number of thoughts that you can express with them is limited. This is not the case for real languages. Using English, or Russian, or Japanese, you can express a wide variety of different thoughts. You can also express brand new thoughts, create brand new sentences, and still be understood by your listeners.

Who came up with the languages?[edit]

People didn't just decide one day to start speaking. Languages developed over time. In fact, the English spoken only six hundred years ago would be almost unrecognizable to us today!

(Definition)

language development — the steady growth and change of a language; languages took over a thousand years to get to what we speak today.

Anthropologists (experts on humanity) have many different theories about how human language developed. Some animals have a wide range of calls which they make instinctively when they see food, potential threats, rivals or mates. It is possible that human language began as a refinement of these instinctive calls. It is also possible that early humans made sounds that imitated things that they heard in the natural world around them.

(Definition)

anthropology — the study of humans.

Studies of the fossils of early humans suggest that the shape of the vocal tract — the part of the throat where sounds are made — may have changed about 70,000 years ago in such a way as to enable early humans to make a much wider range of sounds. By the same time, humans had developed brains which were as large as modern humans. These developments would have allowed humans to think complex thoughts and communicate them. Archaeologists note that signs of early human culture such as cave paintings and burial rituals appeared very quickly, suggesting that complex language and culture emerged together over a short period of time. There is no way of knowing exactly what early human language was like as it emerged long before written records.

(Definition)

archaeology — the study of the past by looking for the remains and historical things left by the people who lived long ago.

What is grammar? Why is it important?[edit]

Grammar is a set of rules on how you should use words so that everybody will understand what you really mean. If words are bricks, then grammar is a manual that explains how to make a house with them.

When you think about a language, you'll probably think about its words in the first place. It is logical: you hear words, you can "feel" them, while you don't feel grammar directly. But grammar is at least as important as the words are. You cannot have a language with words only but no grammar. Not convinced yet? Try the following example:

You have the following words: I, mom, my, love. Having only these words but no grammar, you can make a lot of combinations of them, like "I my mom love" or "My love I mom", but nobody will understand what you really mean. If you want everybody to understand exactly what you mean, you have to make the next sentence: "I love my mom". Thus the words have to stand in exact sequence.

Another example from English might be "Susan helped Tony." We can easily see how word order is important if we rearrange it to say "Tony helped Susan." This expresses a quite different idea, but uses the same words. So word order is important in English grammar.

This is not true of every language, though. Russian, for example, has a free word order. Changing the order of the words does not change the meaning of the sentence. How is this possible? Russian relies on markers on the words to show which word is the subject and which is the object.

There are two ways grammar can work: by putting words in a certain sequence, and by changing words. The above examples use only word order. Here's an example that involves changing the words. If you wanted to say that your dad feels about you the same way you just said (in the earlier example) that you feel about him, you couldn't say that just by rearranging the words to "My dad love I" — but by changing "love" to "loves", and "I" to "me", you get a perfectly good sentence that means what you want: "My dad loves me".

Why not just use one language?[edit]

It may seem obvious to just create one language for everybody to use. Luckily, several linguists felt the same way. They made up what we call constructed languages. But, languages are a big part of a people's culture and identity and most of them have long interesting histories. People aren't willing to give them up. It is also very hard to become fluent in a language. It may seem natural to you to speak English, but it is actually very hard for many adults to learn.

(Definition)

linguist — someone who studies languages.

(Definition)

constructed language — a language made up scientifically.

(Definition)

fluency — being able to speak a language without any trouble.

Many linguists believe that there was originally only one language. However, when people are isolated from each other for thousands of years, the language that they speak evolves. Over time, slight changes in how people spoke built up until different tribes could no longer understand each other.

My friends and I would like to have a secret language[edit]

A lot of "secret languages" are actually not real languages, just your usual language with a couple of changes that make it harder to understand. For example, Pig Latin is not a real language and it is not even related to Latin, it's just English with the last letter moved and the added ending -ay. Verlan, the language common among French youths, just inverts the syllables of a word (for example, the English word "teacher" would become "chertea" by its rules). Since there is just one underlying concept in these "languages", they are quite easy to learn and it will only take a little practise until you can have fluent conversations in them. However, because of that, it's quite easy for adults or non-group-members to understand what you're saying, once they figured out the concept.

A method that will protect your secrets better is to use a secret alphabet. Write things down as you would usually, but don't use Latin letters (the letters used by English for example). Use a different alphabet, either one that you invented (be careful not to make letters too similar to Latin letters then, so that they can't easily be guessed) or an existing one — there's a big collection at http://www.omniglot.com/writing/alphabets.htm . Note: learning a new alphabet will probably take you a little more time than learning to speak in Pig Latin for example, but it can still be done in a few hours if you have a good course. Try this course for the Korean alphabet, for example. More than 99% of Americans or Europeans can only read the Latin alphabet, so your secrets will be quite safe even if you use an existing alphabet. However, be aware that it is possible to decipher an English text written in a secret alphabet, given enough study. For some people it's a fun enigma, just like crosswords. The key may be to make the text look like it isn't English at all, so that people don't even try to decipher it — that's why I liked to use Korean.

Secret alphabets have one big disadvantage: they can only be used when you're writing down the message. What about the times when you want to quickly communicate something to your friends during break or when playing outside, or when you want to call somebody names without him being aware of it? In those cases you will still need a secret language that you can speak in. Have you had the idea of learning a foreign language like, for example, Spanish for that purpose? I'm afraid that this is not a very good option because it will take you years until you can speak that language well enough to communicate with your friends. And Latin, French, Chinese, or the like aren't better suited either. The only really easy language that you might succeed learning quickly enough is Esperanto or Ido — but it will still require more effort than learning, for example, Pig Latin or a new alphabet.

Constructed languages[edit]

Constructed languages are special languages. They aren't developed "naturally", but are created by people. People had various reasons to create new languages. Some thought an international language would help people from different countries to understand each other better and to have less conflicts. Esperanto is the best known example of this kind of language, and is the only constructed language to achieve a large number of speakers. Some estimates for the number of speakers of Esperanto are as high as 2 million.

Some constructed languages are a part of imaginary world, like Klingon, which was created specially for the science fiction series Star Trek. Fictional languages for different races in the Lord of the Rings trilogy have also been developed. There are even languages that were created without any purpose beyond being just for fun. Toki Pona is such a language.

Unusual languages[edit]

Some languages do not have any tenses. This means that there is only one way to say a verb. Imagine saying I go to school yesterday. In these languages, words like yesterday and tomorrow are used to say when you did something. Other languages even use pictures!

(Definition)

tense — a form of a verb that describes a time for an action; for example, "I went," "I am going", and "I will go" are in past, present, and future tense. They are different tenses because they describe when I did the action of going.

(Definition)

verb — a word that describes an action.


Arabic[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The standard Arabic greeting As-salaam `alaykum in Arabic script

Arabic is a Semitic language written from right to left. Arabic consists of 28 letters: 25 consonants and 3 "long vowels".

There are also what are called "short vowels" (harakat) which are used to show correct pronunciation, for example, the word deen=religion and dayn=owe are normally written exactly the same way (3 letters D Y N) but to make the pronunciation clear deen can be written with a haraka/accent of a little dash under the D like so /. In dayn it can written as a little dash (horizantal) above the [D].

The Arabic script is used in many other languages such as Urdu and Farsi. In some of these languages there are added letters (or added dots/slightly different shapes) as in Farsi to compensate for sounds that are not found in the Arabic alphabet.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Arabic is spoken as a first language by more than 280 million people, and as a second language by another 250 million.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Green indicates the countries where Arabic is the only official language and blue indicates where Arabic is one of several official languages.

Arabic is spoken across the Middle East, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as in North Africa, and in portions of Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa. Since Muslims believe the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, can only truly be read in Arabic, it is fairly common for people in other predominantly Islamic countries to understand religious words in Arabic.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

In the third century B.C.E., Nabateans, a tribe of people in Asia, settled near the northern part of the Arabic Peninsula. They spoke a language very similar to Arabic, however they still wrote in an early language called Aramaic, which was itself closely related to Hebrew.

Modern Arabic first truly formed when Arabic and Amharic combined in the mid fourth century C.E. It stood out among other new Semitic Languages for its ability to not be overtaken by other, already existent, languages.

Around the sixth century C.E., Arabic "took over" another language found in the Arabic peninsula, Sabaic, because the chief religious text, the Qur'an, was written and spoken only in Arabic. Although Sabaic exists today as a spoken language, only a small number of people use it.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

The Qur'an is the holy book of Islam

The most famous and influential book in Arabic is the holy book of muslims called "Qur'an", which Muslims believe was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) over a period of about 23 years. Muslims hold that he was the last messenger of God. The Qur'an, Islam's holy book is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah). It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.

"One Thousand and One Nights" is a collection of Arabic stories written and adapted over time by many authors. In English this collection is called "Arabian Nights" and includes the stories "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor."

Khalil Gibran was an Arabic writer, poet, and artist that wrote famous poems and books in Arabic and English while living in the United States between 1906–1933.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

The Arabic letters for “Ahlan"
  • Ahlan means “Hello” أﻫﻼ
  • Kayfa 'alok? means "How are you?" but can be used to say "Hello"
  • Ma'a salama is used to say “Good-bye”, but has a literal meaning of "Peace be with you." مع السلامة
  • Ismee means “My name” اسمي
  • Min fadlak means “Please” من فضلك
  • Shukran means “Thank you” شكراً
  • Manzil means “house” منزل Synonym: Addar الدّار
  • Uhibuki means “I love you” أحبكِ when speaking to a girl or woman.
  • Uhibuka means “I love you” أحبكَ when speaking to a boy or man.
  • Walad means “boy” ولد
  • Bint means “girl” بنت
  • Qitar means "train" قطار
  • Ana mina aldjazair means "I am from Algeria." أنا من الجزائر
  • Hal tatakalam aarabi? means "do you speak Arabic ?" هل تتكلّم عربي ؟


To introduce yourself you would say: “Ahlan, ana ismi” (“Hello, my name is”), then your name. ...أهلا ، أنا اسمي

If you are saying hello to your friend you would say: "Ahlan ya" then your friend's name.

To ask someone their name you would say: "Ma ismik?" for a girl ما اسمكِ ؟

or "Ma ismak?" for a boy ما اسمكَ ؟

To apologize you say:

"Asifah" for a girl when she says to other girl or to a boy.أسفه
"Asif" for a boy if he is telling to a boy or to a girl.أسف

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Here are some interesting Arabic expressions that you can learn

Arabic Literal Translation What it means

احفظ قرشك الأبيض ليومك الأسود

"Save your white penny for your black day."

Save your money for when you really need it.

أعط الخبز لخبازه ولو أكل نصفه

"Give the bread dough to the baker even if he eats half of it."

Give the job to a person who knows how to perform it best even if it will cost you more.

"Bend a fish while it is (still) fresh/wet."

Children should be given guidance early in life (before it is too late).

سمن على عسل

"Cooking fat on honey."

To be doing very well.

الصديق وقت الضيق

"The friend in tight times."

A friend is the one that lends a hand during times of need.

القرد فى عين أمه غزال

"To his mother's eye a monkey looks like a deer"

A mother always thinks that their child is beautiful.

References[edit]


Bengali[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Bengali language, locally known as Bangla, uses Bengali script, an Indic script somewhat similar to Devanagari script used to write Hindi.

How many people speak this language[edit]

Bengali is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world with over 200 million speakers. It is the primary language of Bangladesh. 149 million 500 thousand citizens in Bangladesh speak in Bengali. Bengali is also spoken in India and Nepal by minority groups. Besides, emigrant Bangladeshis also speak in this language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Where Bengali originated from.

Bengali is spoken in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, Tripura (states of India), Asham and also some portion of Jharkand. West Bengal and Bangladesh together formed the ancient region of Bengal. There is also a large and growing Bengali speaking population in England.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Bengali evolved from the merging of some derivatives of Sanskrit with local dialects. It also was enriched with the infusion of words from Arabic, Persian and European languages. The oldest specimen of Bengali literature is Charyapada from the 7th century.

Bengali also holds the distinction of being a language for which the speakers had to struggle a lot. In 1952, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. The Pakistani rulers, mostly from the erstwhile Western wing of Pakistan (which forms the current state), were Urdu and Punjabi speaking, and wanted to declare Urdu as the national language. This was against the wishes of the Bengali population, who were the majority in Pakistan. On 21 February, 1952, a bloody crackdown by Police on unarmed students and activists resulted in a massacre. The movement later resulted in Bangla being recognized as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The event is commemorated as Language Movement Day in Bangladesh, and in 1999, UNESCO recognized it as the International Mother Language Day.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Nazrul playing a flute, Chittagong, 1926

Rabindranath Tagore is the most famous Bengali poet. He received the 1913 Nobel Prize in literature for his book of poems, Gitanjali. Two of his songs are the national anthems of Bangladesh and India.

Kazi Nazrul Islam, another famous poet was known as the rebel poet mainly because of his most famous poem called "Bidrohi" or "The Rebel", and also because of his strong sympathy and support for revolutionary activities leading to India's independence from British Rule.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • aami - I - আমি
  • tumi - You - তুমি
  • aapni - You (with respect) - আপনি
  • aamra - We - আমরা
  • bhalobasha - Love - ভালোবাসা
  • khela - Game - খেলা
  • din - Day - দিন
  • raat - Night - রাত
  • bari - house - বাড়ি
  • kukur - Dog - কুকুর
  • beeral - Cat - বেড়াল
  • boi - Book - বই
  • dhonnobad - Thank you - ধন্যবাদ
  • naa - No - না
  • heh - Yes - হ্যাঁ
  • prithibi - Earth - পৃথিবী
  • chaad - Moon - চাঁদ
  • gorom - Heat - গরম
  • thanda - Cold - ঠাণ্ডা
  • hi/ai(ei) - hello;
  • manush - human - মানুষ;
  • bhasha - language - ভাষা;
  • pani/jol - water - পানি/জল;
  • batash - air - বাতাস;
  • akash - sky - আকাশ;
  • maati - soil - মাটি;
  • ekh - one - এক;
  • dui - two - দুই;
  • teen - three - তিন;
  • chaar - four - চার;
  • paach - five - পাঁচ;
  • choy - six - ছয়;
  • shaat - seven - সাত;
  • aat - eight - আট;
  • noy - nine - নয়:
  • dosh - ten - দশ;
  • Aamar naam Rishi - My name is Rishi - আমার নাম ঋষি
  • Tomar Naam Ki? - What is your name? - তোমার নাম কি?
  • Shuprobhat - Good Morning - সুপ্রভাত;
  • Bidaa-ye - Good bye - বিদায়;
  • Pochondo kora- Like - পছন্দ করা।
  • " tumi kemon achho " - how are you - তুমি কেমন আছো ?
  • " ami bhalo achhi " - I'm fine - আমি ভালো আছি

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

A nonsense children's rhyme in Bengali called 'Haattimatimtim'.

Haattimatimtim,
Tara maathe pare dim.
Tader khara duto shing,
Tara Haattimatimtim.
Translation
(Haattimatimtim,
They lay eggs in the field.
They have two straight horns,
They are the Haattimatimtim.)
In Bengali script
হাট্টিমাটিমটিম
তারা মাঠে পাড়ে ডিম
তাদের খাড়া দুটো শিং
তারা হাটিমাটিমটিম

Another nonsense children's rhyme in Bengali called 'Aaikom Baaikom'.

Aaikom baikom taratari,
Jodu master shoshur bari.
Rel gari jhomajhhom ,
Pa pichhle aalur dom.
Translation
(Aaikom baikom Quickly,
Jodu master in-law's house.
Rail car Choo-Choo,
Slip & fall down mashed potato.)
In Bengali Script
আইকম বাইকম তাড়াতাড়ি
যদু মাস্টার শ্বশুরবাড়ি
রেল গাড়ি ঝমাঝম
পা পিছলে আলুর দম

References[edit]

Catalan[edit]

What writing system does this language use?[edit]

Catalan uses the Roman alphabet, which was originally used in Latin. Today, it is used in almost all European languages.

The letters U and J were added to the Roman alphabet in the Middle Ages. Catalan doesn't use K or W, except in foreign words. Catalan only uses Y in the combination NY.

Catalan also uses Ç (which is considered a variant of C), grave accents (À, È and Ò), acute accents (É, Í, Ó and Ú) and dieresis (Ï and Ü). The letter X is usually pronounced like SH in English, but in some words it is pronounced like X in English.

There also exists the combination L·L, using an interpunct between letters; it is pronounced like LL in the world "caller" in English. The combination LL without the interpunct is pronounced like the gli in the word "tagliatelle" (a kind of pasta).

How many people speak this language?[edit]

It is difficult to say how many people speak Catalan because immigration in the last half of the 20th century has doubled the population of the area in which it is spoken. But the estimates are that about 6.5 million people speak it as their native language and roughly another 6.5 million people speak it as a second language, for a total of about 13 million speakers.

Catalan is considered to have more speakers than any other minority language in Europe.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

The Catalan language is spoken in parts of Spain (Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and La Franja), France (Northern Catalonia), Italy (the little city of Alguer) and the small country of Andorra in the Pyrenees, where it is the only official language.

Catalan speaking area

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Catalan is a member of the Romance branch of Indo-European languages, descended largely from Latin. The first documents written in what can be recognized as Catalan rather than vernacular Latin date from about 1000 years ago.

The language was born in Andorra and in the frontier of Spain and France and expanded to the other territories in the Middle Ages.

Except in Andorra, speaking Catalan language has been forbidden three times in history during more than two centuries. Now it can be studied freely in the schools, except in France, where today it is not forbidden but French is the only official language.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Relatively few Catalan authors are well-known among non-Catalan-speaking people. Here are some examples: Ramon Llull was the first in Western Europe to write about science and philosophy in a modern language. Other important writers of the past were Joanot Martorell (Tirant lo Blanc), Ausiàs March and Jacint Verdaguer (poets).

Important authors of the last century include Quim Monzó, Mercè Rodoreda and Manuel de Pedrolo, who have been translated into many languages.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Respostes Responses
Sí. Yes.
No. No.
Potser. Maybe.
Salutacions Greetings
Hola. Hello.
Bon dia. Good morning.
Bona tarda. Good afternoon.
Bona nit. Good night.
Com anem? What's up?
Comiats Good-byes
Adéu. Good-bye.
Fins després. See you later.
Fins demà. See you tomorrow.
A reveure. See you soon.
Frases útils Useful phrases
Quant és? How much does it cost?
Vull llet. I want milk.
M'agrades. I like you.
T'estimo. I love you.
Em dic Pau. My name is Pau.
Ho sento. Excuse me./Sorry.
Salut! Cheers!

Are there words in English of Catalan origin?[edit]

Yes, but very few, and sometimes it can be difficult to know if they come from Catalan or from another Romance language.

Examples: allioli, aubergine, apricot, barracks, groggy, mayonnaise, mizzen, spinach, tilde...

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

References[edit]


Dutch[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Dutch uses the Latin alphabet, just like English, but 'ij' is sometimes treated as a single letter, equivalent to 'Y'. At the beginning of a place name, both letters are capitalized (e.g. IJsselmeer).

How many people speak this language?[edit]

About 24 million people speak Dutch. More, of course, speak it as another language, but it is more common as a first or native language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Dutch is spoken in Europe and in communities around the world.

The majority of Dutch speakers live in the Netherlands (click here to learn about the Netherlands) and the northern part of Belgium (Flanders) (click here to learn about Belgium). Those two countries alone have 21 million Dutch speakers. Dutch in the Netherlands and Flanders is the official language, and is spoken by nearly everyone there. Dutch is also the official language in Suriname where about 60% of the population has it as their mother tongue.

Dutch is also spoken in Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and a tiny corner of northern France called French Flanders. Dutch used to be spoken by many in Indonesia, which was a Dutch colony until 1949, but now only the older generation speak it. Afrikaans, one of the languages of European settlers in Africa, is almost completely based on Dutch. In fact, they are so similar, someone could be speaking Afrikaans and someone else Dutch, and they would both understand each other.

Dutch migrants to the US and Australia, and more recently to Spain, France and Italy, often continue to use Dutch.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Scholars believe that Dutch became an independent language in about 600 AD. Before it was just one of numerous West Germanic dialects.

The best known example of very old Dutch text is "Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan, hinase hic enda tu, wat unbidan we nu" ("All birds have started making nests, except me and you, what are we waiting for"). It was written around 1100. For a long time, scholars thought that it was the oldest Dutch text, but now an older text has been discovered: "Visc flot aftar themo uuatare" ("A fish was swimming in the water") and "Gelobistu in got alamehtigan fadaer" ("Do you believe in God the almighty father"). If you know German, this should be pretty easy to understand. These were written around the year 900.

Modern Dutch developed around 1550.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

  • Gerard Reve
  • Harry Mulisch
  • Willem Frederik Hermans
  • Jan Wolkers
  • Ronald Giphart
  • Annie M.G. Schmidt
  • Max Velthuijs

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Groeten Greetings
Hoi/Hallo. Hi/Hello.
Goededag. Good day.
Goedenavond. Good evening.
Goedenacht. Good night.
Hoe gaat het met je? How are you? (Formal)
Hoe gaat het? How are you? (Informal)
Goed Good
Heel Goed Very Good
Slecht Bad
Ja Yes
Nee No
Wat kan ik voor u doen? What can I do for you?
Dank u wel. Thank you.
Hartelijk bedankt. Thank you very much.
Alstublieft. Please.
Afscheid nemen Good-byes
Tot ziens See you later!
Dag! Bye! (formal)
Doei! Bye! (informal)
Vaarwel! Farewell!

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

In Dutch:

Je bent de zon,
Je bent de zee,
Je bent de liefde,
Ga nu met mij mee

In English:

You are the sun,
You are the sea,
You are love,
Now go along with me

   Altijd is Kortjakje ziek
   Midden in de week maar 's zondags niet
   's Zondags gaat zij naar de kerk
   Met een boek vol zilverwerk
   Altijd is Kortjakje ziek
   Midden in de week maar 's zondags niet

References[edit]

English[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

English uses the Roman alphabet, which was originally used to write Latin. Today, this alphabet is used in almost all European languages. English uses 26 letters and is written left to right.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

For about 380 million people English is a native language, because they learned it when they were young children. However, possibly a billion people have learned the language as adults. Overall, only Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more people as a native language. English is widely considered the lingua franca of the diplomatic, business and scientific worlds.

(Definition)

lingua franca — a common language spoken by people whose native languages are different.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Anglospeak(800px).png


English is spoken as a first language in the United Kingdom (click here to learn about the United Kingdom), Ireland (click here to learn about Ireland), the USA, Canada, South Africa (along with many other languages) Australia, New Zealand and many other countries

What is the history of this language?[edit]

1500 years ago, the English language as we know it today did not exist. Tribes of warriors living in what is now Northern Germany spoke a language called Anglo-Saxon. This language is related to German. While many words in this language are similar to words in modern English, it is not possible to understand the language without intensive study.

After the Romans left Britain in 400 AD, these German warriors crossed the North Sea to pillage the cities that the Romans had abandoned. Finding the country to their liking, they stayed and settled down as farmers. Around 600 AD, the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity. As a result, they adopted many Latin words into their language because Latin was the language used by the Church. Words like ‘bishop’, ‘mass’ and ‘angel’ all entered the language at this time.

Between 800 AD and 1000 AD, England was invaded by the Vikings several times. The Vikings were tradesmen and warriors who came to England on long-ships. They spoke Norse, a language which is closely related to Danish and Norwegian. As the Vikings settled in the north and east of England, they soon began living peacefully with the English rather than fighting with them. Thus the English learnt many Norse words. Many everyday words in English, such as ‘cake’, ‘sister’, ‘skin’, ‘horse’ and ‘knife’ were actually borrowed from the Vikings.

In 1066, England was invaded by William the Conqueror, who came from Normandy and spoke Norman French. William became the King of England but could not speak English. Soon, government and trade in England were being conducted in Norman French. Words such as ‘merchant’, ‘money’ and ‘price’ — which were all borrowed from Norman French — show how much the invaders controlled business; words such as ‘castle’, ‘law’, ‘royal’, ‘prince’, and ‘government’ show how much authority the French speakers had.

In the 15th Century, the printing press was invented. At the same time, people across Europe became more and more interested in the discoveries of ancient philosophers and scientists, and learned Latin and Greek in order to be able to read what these people had written. Soon people were showing off their education by mixing Latin and Greek into their English speech, so that Latin words like ‘manuscript’ and ‘circumference’ were being used, as were Greek words like ‘encyclopedia’ and ‘philosophical’.

Around 1600, William Shakespeare was writing his plays. This was a time when many new words entered the language. Shakespeare alone was the first person to write ‘obscene’, ‘accommodation’, and ‘leap-frog’. He also invented many other words.

In the 1600s and 1700s, England developed an overseas empire. The English language spread to America and Canada in the 17th century when English settlers traveled there to set up farms, and to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries when English prisoners were sent there. In the 19th century, the language also arrived in New Zealand and began to be used in British colonies and territories in the West Indies, Africa, India and the Far East – including Hong Kong. As well as spreading overseas, the English language found itself being enriched by its contacts with other cultures at this time, borrowing many words from other languages such as ‘wigwam’, ‘racoon’, and ‘skunk’ from American Indians, ‘curry’, ‘bungalow’, and ‘pyjamas’, ‘juggernaut’, ‘bandicoot’ from India, and even ‘rickshaw’ and the expression ‘long time no see’ from Cantonese.

With the global dominance of American culture in the 20th century, the influence of English continued to expand and the English vocabulary continued to grow. Words like ‘movie’, ‘hamburger’ and ‘TV dinner’ all reflect the global influence of American popular culture. More recently, the appearance of words like ‘blog’ and ‘cyberspace’, ‘text’ used as a verb, and ‘mobile’ used as a noun shows how technology is influencing the development of the language at the beginning of the 21st century.

The oldest form of English is called Old English, or Anglo-Saxon. Old English sounds and looks very different from the English spoken today and for the most part is not understandable by speakers of Modern English.
Here is an example of Old English from "Beowulf":

Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum

Old English later became Middle English which is much more like Modern English.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Here's an example of the Middle English spoken during the 1300s, from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales:

Bifil that in that seson, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,

  • That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

In the 1500s, William Shakespeare played a large part in the creation of modern English. Both Shakespeare and Chaucer wrote in the English vernacular. Before them, most important works were written in Latin, or sometimes French. Latin was considered a professional language that scholars used. Chaucer and Shakespeare were some of the first to write important stories in English.

(Definition)

vernacular — the native language of a country.

Some famous authors or poets who speak this language[edit]

William Shakespeare was a playwright and poet.

William Shakespeare, who wrote in verse, is the author of dozens of plays and over a hundred sonnets. Many popular English prose authors, such as Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, and Charles Dickens, the author of A Tale of Two Cities, come from the Romantic and Victorian eras, which were during the 1800s.

(Definition)

verse — writing in poetic form; not writing in sentences.

(Definition)

prose — writing in sentence form; the opposite of verse.

One of the most popular writers of English fiction for children was Enid Blyton. She is noted for series of books based on recurring characters. Her most widely known character is thought to be Noddy. Her books have enjoyed popular success in many parts of the world, and have exceeded sales of 400 million. In 2006, Blyton was the fifth most popular author in the world. There have been more than 3300 translations of her works.

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Twinkle, twinkle little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.

References[edit]


Estonian[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Estonian uses the letters in the English alphabet, but includes several letters with diacritics. Here is a list of all the Estonian letters.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, Š, Z, Ž, T, U, V, W, Õ, Ä, Ö, Ü, X, Y

Letters in bold are only used in words that are not actually Estonian; rather, they are from another language.

(Definition)

diacritic — a mark added to a letter to change how it's pronounced.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Estonian is spoken by about 1.1 million people, making it the 243rd highest language in number of speakers.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Estonian is an official language in:

It is a minority language in:

What is the history of this language?[edit]

It is believed that the Baltic-Finnic languages evolved from a proto-Finnic language, from which Sami was separated around 1500–1000 BC. It has been suggested that this proto-Finnic had three dialects: northern, southern and eastern. The Baltic-Finnic languages separated around the first century, but continued influencing each other. You might see southwestern Finnish dialects have many genuine Estonian influences.

Around the 15th century, northern Estonia was under great cultural influence of Germany. Some German monks wanted to bring God closer to the native people, so they invented the Estonian literal language. It was based on the German alphabet and one character "Õ/õ" was added. As time passed, many words that were borrowed from German coalesced. This was the beginning of enlightenment.

When the Estonians declared themselves a nation, at the beginning of the 20th century, the country bloomed. For the first time they could express themselves freely. This was the golden age of Estonia, and the language evolved greatly.

The Second World War ended the golden age. Forces from the east marched in, took power, and Estonian was often deemed unnecessary to speak or teach. At that time many changes were made. For example, the structure of sentences was changed — the verb was put at the beginning of the sentence. Interestingly, this is not the way that it is in German.

When the Estonian people got back to power, the Soviet Union was disunified. They were a democratic nation for a second time; the cultural shield was broken. New information came in. A lot of slang words and phrases were adopted from English and English-speaking countries.

Interesting fact[edit]

Finnish and Estonian are closely-related languages. It's been said that northern Estonians can understand what is being said by Finnish people, even if they haven't learned Finnish.

Strangely, it doesn't seem to work the other way around. The Finnish have to put a lot more effort into learning Estonian, than Estonians have to put in for Finnish.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Anton Hansen Tammsaare

Friedebert Tuglas

Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

Johann Voldemar Jannsen

Jaan Kross

Lennart Meri

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Vastused Responses
Jah Yes
Ei No
Võibolla Maybe
Tervitused Greetings
Tere Hello
Minu nimi on ____ My name is ____
Tere hommikust Good morning
Tere päevast Good afternoon
Head ööd Good night
Mis lahti? What's up?
Mis toimub? What's going on?
Mitte palju. Not much.
Hüvastijätud Good-byes
Head aega. Good-bye.
Hüvasti. Bye.
Näeme homme. See you tomorrow.
Hoiame ühendust. Keep in touch.
Peatse jällenägemiseni. See you soon.
Kasulikud fraasid Useful phrases
Kas te võiksite juhatada mind tualettruumi? (polite)
Kus on tualettruum?
Could you tell me where the bathroom is?
Where is the bathroom?
Kui palju see maksab? How much does it cost?
Ma tahan piima. I want milk.
Sa meeldid mulle. I like you.
Ma armastan sind. I love you.
Mu koer sõi mu kodutöö. My dog ate my homework.
Muuhulgas... Among other things...
Lahe Cool
Öö Night
Jää Ice
Kutt Dude
Naine Woman
Mees Man
Hea Good
Halb Bad

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

At Christmas time, you might like to sing Christmas carols about your tree. The Estonians do, too. This song is originally called "O Tannenbaum", but it's called "Oh kuusepuu" in Estonian. It has also been translated into English. The song was first written by Ernst Anschütz in 1824.

Here is the first verse:

"Oh kuusepuu" "O Christmas Tree"
Oh kuusepuu, oh kuusepuu O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Kui haljad on su oksad! How are thy leaves so verdant!
Ei mitte üksi suisel a’al. Not only in the summertime,
Vaid talvel ka siin külmal maal But even in winter is thy prime.
Oh kuusepuu, oh kuusepuu O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Kui haljad on su oksad! How are thy leaves so verdant!

and so on...

Listen to the melody


French[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

French uses the Latin alphabet just as English does, with the addition of several accent marks that are not used in English: the acute accent or accent aigu (é), the grave accent or accent grave (è), and the circumflex accent or accent circonflexe (ê). There is also a diacritical mark called a cedilla or cédille, which is placed under the letter c (ç) to give it a soft pronunciation (like an "s" sound) in certain situations where it would otherwise be pronounced hard (like a "k").

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are 110 million people who can speak French natively. But there are 300 million French speakers total, which means that 190 million people decided to learn the language as adults! This is because there is a lot of interesting literature in French. French is also a language often used in diplomacy.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

(Definition)

literature — books, like the one you are reading now.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

French is spoken all around the world.

As you probably already figured out, French was first spoken in France. Four of France's neighbors — Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Monaco — also use French as one of their official languages. And because of colonization, French is spoken in Canada (the majority in Québec), Louisiana, Africa, and other places around the world.

(Definition)

colonization — to send people to govern and live in another country that may involve conquering or fighting local inhabitants. Because England colonized North America, people in the United States and Canada speak English.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

French evolved from the Latin language, just like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. It was first used by the Franks, a people who lived in what we now call France. In the 1600s, French people came to Canada and settled in the area we now call Québec. Some French people (who were expelled from Canada) also settled in Louisiana, which was named in honor of King Louis XIV of France. Louisiana is now a state of the United States. In the 1800s, France conquered large parts of northern, western, and central Africa, mostly in the Sahara desert. As France took over ruling these territories and their populations, they established French as the language of instruction in schools, and as the official language of the government. Over time, French became the second native language of many African people, although local languages are still used most often in the home. Although France no longer rules these former colonies, they still use French in daily life.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

  • Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), Les Misérables
  • Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870), Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers)
  • Jules Verne (1828 – 1905), Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea)
  • Francois Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire (1694 – 1778), Zadig ou la Destinée (Zadig, or The Book of Fate)
  • Gaston Leroux (1868 – 1927), Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera)

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Les salutations L'e salutasio Greetings
Salut Saloo Hi/Bye
Bonjour Bonjoor Hello
Bonsoir Bonswahr Good evening
Bonne nuit Bon nwee Good night
Quoi de neuf ? kwa de nehf? What's up?
Pas grand-chose. Pa gron shoz Not much.
Les adieux LeZadiyeuh Good-byes
Au revoir. O rehvwahr Good-bye.
À demain. A deuhma See you tomorrow.
À tout à l'heure. A tu ta lehrr See you!
À bientôt. A biantoe See you soon.
Phrases de base Fraz de bas Basic phrases
Parlez-vous anglais ? parlay-voo Z anglay? Do you speak English?
Où sont les toilettes ? oo sohn ley twalet? Where is the bathroom?
Plus lentement, s'il vous plaît. Ploo lontemon, sil voo play. (Speak) slower please.
J'aime . . . j'em . . . I like . . .
Je n'aime pas . . . Juh n'em pa . . . I don't like . . .
Je m'appelle. . . Juh map'el . . . My name is. . .
Comment t'appelles-tu ? Comon tap'el tu ? What is your name?

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Petit Papa Noël[edit]

Petit Papa Noël Little Santa Claus
Quand tu descendras du ciel When you come down from the sky
Avec des jouets par milliers With toys in the thousands
N'oublie pas mes petits souliers Don't forget my little shoes
Mais avant de partir But before leaving
Il faudra bien te couvrir It will be necessary to cover you
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid Outside you will be so cold
C'est un peu à cause de moi It's a little because of me

Dame Tartine[edit]

Il était une Dame Tartine There once was a Dame Tartine (tartine is a kind of sandwich)
Dans un beau palais de beurre frais. Who lived in a beautiful palace of fresh butter.
La muraille était de praline, The walls were made of praline,
Le parquet était de croquets, The floors were of croquettes,
La chambre à coucher The bedroom
De crème de lait, Of fresh cream,
Le lit de biscuit, The bed, a biscuit,
Les rideaux d'anis. And curtains of aniseed.

Frère Jacques[edit]

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques Brother James, Brother James.
Dormez-vous, Dormez-vous? Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines. Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing.
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

This song can be sung as a 'round', which is when one person or group starts the song, and when they arrive at the end of the first verse, the second person or group begins.

Frère Jacques.png

References[edit]

  • "French language." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 31 Mar 2006, 16:33 UTC. 2 Apr 2006, 06:51 [1].
  • French Wikibook


German[edit]

What writing system(s) does German use?[edit]

German uses the Latin alphabet just like English, French, and Spanish, with one extra (non-Latin) letter, the eszett, which is pronounced "ss". It also has umlauts, which are not used in English.

(Definition)

eszett — A letter which only found in the German alphabet, it looks like this: ß.

(Definition)

umlauts — Dots, which can be placed above three of the vowels in German, and which change the sound of them. They look like this: Ää, Öö, Üü.

When people don't have a German keyboard, or the software required to use extra symbols on your own keyboard, they can write the umlauts by adding the letter "e" after the basic vowel. These umlauts would then look like this: Ae, ae, Oe, oe, Ue, ue. The pronunciation remains the same. The eszett can also be written ss. In Switzerland, the eszett is never used, it is always replaced by ss.

How many people speak German?[edit]

There are roughly 110 million people that speak German as a first language; however, there are around 120 million people who speak it as a secondary language.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

German is spoken widely in Europe and in communities around the world.

German is primarily spoken in the following countries:

German is also spoken by some people in the following countries:

In small communities all over the world, German and variants (Pennsylfaanisch Deitsch) are spoken as the primary or secondary language. German is also the most widely spoken language in Europe, and the tenth most spoken language in the world.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The spread of the German language until ca. 1945 in Central Europe. Orange marks Lower German, blue Middle German and green Upper German dialects.

West Germanic was an ancient language that evolved into many different languages including German, English, Frisian, Low German and Dutch. German evolved from West Germanic between 400AD and 1200AD when people in southern and middle regions of Germany started pronouncing several consonants differently. This language is now called Standard German ("Hochdeutsch", literally "High German").

West Germanic dialects were still spoken in the northern and western regions of Germany and evolved into the regional language now called Low German or Low Saxon ("Plattdeutsch"). For many years the people of these regions of Germany struggled to understand one another. It wasn't until the 1800s that a common language was developed, called Standard German, that allowed the people of the highlands and the lowlands to be able to speak to one another.

(Definition)

dialect — one form of a language; sometimes different regions of a country develop slightly different forms of a language, called dialects.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Ludwig van Beethoven

Some famous authors and poets in this language include the Grimm brothers, Schiller & Goethe.

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), the leader of the Protestant Reformation, translated the Bible into German. He used a version of middle German that could be understood by speakers of both North and South Germany, and thus was important in laying the foundations for Standard German. His translation is vigorous and vivid, he tried to incorporate the ways in which people of his time really talked. It was admired by many writers and poets, and it is the source of many idioms of German even as it is spoken today.

The Brothers Grimm (Jacob, 1785 – 1863; Wilhelm, 1786 – 1859) were Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, German professors who were best known for publishing collections of authentic folk tales and fairy tales. Their fairy tales are very famous, mostly because Disney made animated movies based on three of them: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Many of the other fairy tales are very famous, and untouched by Disney. These include Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, and Rapunzel.

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (November 10, 1759 – May 9, 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist. His childhood and youth were spent in relative poverty, although he attended both village and Latin schools. He eventually studied medicine. At school, he wrote his first play, The Robbers, about a group of naïve revolutionaries and their tragic failure. In 1780, he obtained a post as regimental doctor in Stuttgart. Following the performance of Die Räuber (The Robbers) in Mannheim, in 1781 he was arrested and forbidden to publish any further works. He fled Stuttgart in 1783, coming via Leipzig and Dresden to Weimar in 1787. In 1789, he was appointed professor of History and Philosophy in Jena, where he wrote only historical works. He returned to Weimar in 1799, where Goethe convinced him to return to playwriting. He and Goethe founded the Weimar Theater which became the leading theater in Germany, leading to a dramatic renaissance. He remained in Weimar, Saxe-Weimar until his death at 45 from tuberculosis.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German polymath: he was a painter, novelist, dramatist, poet, humanist, scientist, philosopher, and for ten years chief minister of state at Weimar. Goethe was one of the paramount figures of German literature and the movement of German classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This movement coincides with Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, Sensibility ("Empfindsamkeit"), and Romanticism, in all of which he participated to varying degrees. As the author of Faust and Theory of Colours, Goethe's influence spread across Europe, and for the next century, his works were a primary source of inspiration in music, drama, poetry, and even philosophy.

German is also the language of classical music, as it was the language of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach just to name a few. Read on for more detail on these artists...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) is among the most significant and enduringly popular composers of European classical music. His enormous output includes works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Many of his works are part of the standard concert repertory and are widely recognized as masterpieces of the classical style.

Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a prolific German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments drew together almost all of the strands of the Baroque style and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he introduced no new musical forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust and dazzling contrapuntal technique, a seemingly effortless control of harmonic and motivic organization from the smallest to the largest scales, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France.

Ludwig van Beethoven (December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer of classical music, who lived predominantly in Vienna, Austria. Beethoven is widely regarded as one of history's supreme composers, and he produced notable works even after losing his hearing. He was one of the greatest figures in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in music. His reputation has inspired — and in many cases intimidated — composers, musicians, and audiences who were to come after him.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Greetings (Die) Begrüßungen
Hi / Hello! Hi / Hallo!
Hey! Grüß dich!
Morning! Morgen!
Good morning. Guten Morgen.
Good day. Guten Tag.
Good evening. Guten Abend.
Good night. Gute Nacht.
Good-byes Abschied
Later! Tschüss!/Tschau!
Goodbye! Auf Wiedersehen!
See you soon! Bis bald!
Basic Phrases Einfache Phrasen
Do you speak English / German / Dutch? Sprechen Sie Englisch / Deutsch / Niederländisch?
Where are the restrooms? Wo ist die Toilette, bitte?
Excuse me. Entschuldigen Sie / Verzeihung.
How are you? Wie gehts? / Wie geht es dir? / Wie geht es Ihnen?
[I feel] good / bad / awful / okay. Mir geht es gut / schlecht / schrecklich / okay.
[I feel] ill. Mir ist übel.
[I'm] sick / sad. Ich bin krank / traurig.
[I'm] happy / glad. Ich bin glücklich / froh.
What happened? Was ist passiert?
What's Up? Was ist los?
I like ... Ich mag ...
I don't like ... Ich mag ... nicht.
I love you. Ich liebe dich.
My name is ... Ich heiße.../Mein Name ist...
I am... Ich bin...
I am a... Ich bin (ein/eine)...
That’s good / bad / not bad. Das ist gut / schlecht / nicht schlecht.
That’s big / huge / small / tiny / wonderful / too bad. Das ist groß / riesig / klein / winzig / wunderbar / schade.
That’s enough / too much. Das ist genug / zu viel.
What’s this/that? Was ist das?
(But) of course! (Aber) natürlich!
(That’s) [entirely] out of the question! (Das) kommt [überhaupt] nicht infrage!
I'd like this (one)! Ich möchte diesen / diese / dieses!

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

At Christmas time, you might like to sing Christmas carols about your tree. The Germans do, too. They have a song called "O Tannenbaum" which has also been translated into English. The song was first written by Ernst Anschütz in 1824.

Here is the original German song, O Tannenbaum:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie grün sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich' was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid mich lehren.

It is known as "O Christmas Tree" in English and is a very famous song. Here is the English version of the song:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
How are thy leaves so verdant!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!
Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

References[edit]

Hebrew[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Hebrew uses a right-to-left abjad system. The Hebrew alphabet consists of twenty-two letters and five final letters, and is derived from the Aramaic alphabet, which in its turn came from the Phoenician alphabet, the source of most writing systems known today. In Hebrew (and other Semitic) writing, most vowels are optionally written as diacritics.

(Definition)

diacritic — a mark added to a letter to change the way it is pronounced.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Approximately 10 million people speak Hebrew. About 7 million of them live in Israel.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Modern Hebrew is spoken by many people all over the world and is the main language of Israel where it is the official language. Other countries with significant Hebrew speaking populations include Argentina, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, Panama, United States and Uruguay.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Hebrew is a very old language with ancestral links to Aramaic and Arabic. It was the language used to write most of the Jewish Bible, and was spoken in the Middle East. Hebrew stopped being a spoken everyday language when it was replaced by Aramaic, but continued to be used in the reading of the Jewish Bible texts and prayers. By the modern period, Hebrew had ceased to be the mother tongue of the Jewish people because many Jews had left Israel for other countries in the Middle East and Europe and had adopted the languages of their new countries. In Germany, Yiddish, a language based on German but mixed with many Hebrew, Russian and Polish words, arose and became popular. Judeo-Arabic also arose among some Jewish communities in the Middle East and North Africa, although many Jews in these lands, including those still living in the Land of Israel, used Arabic exclusively. Hebrew remained exclusively the language for religious purposes until it was revived by Eliezer ben-Yehuda at the beginning of the 20th century. Ben-Yehuda began to compile a dictionary which still bears his name today. His children grew up tutored by their father and became the first native speakers of the Hebrew language in the modern period.

Modern Hebrew, like ancient Hebrew, is written without vowels. Written Hebrew vowel symbols were invented by a group of Hebrew scholars named the Massoretes, who lived around Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee during the 10th century CE. The square script, familiar in modern Hebrew, also grew from this 10th century CE period. Hebrew script has evolved through the centuries, from the paleo script to the Qumran distinctive script to cursive script and finally to the modern square script.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

The most famous text in the world, the Bible, was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Many religious believers believe that the Bible was inspired directly by God, so they would say that God is a very famous author in Hebrew. Another famous author in Hebrew is the Nobel Prize laureate S. Y. Agnon (pronounced Shay Agnon). Among the currently popular writers in Hebrew are Amos Oz, Etgar Keret, Zeruya Shalev and also David Grossman, who writes books for adults and for children.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Greetings ברכות
Hi/Hello היי/שלום (Hi/Shalom)
Good morning בוקר טוב (Boker tov)
Good day יום טוב (Yom tov)
Good evening ערב טוב (Erev tov)
Good night לילה טוב (Laila tov)
Good-byes להתראות
Goodbye! להתראות (Lehitraot, sometimes shortened to "להת" — "Lehit")
See you soon! נתראה בקרוב (Nitrae bekarov)
Congratulations מזל טוב (Mazal tov)
Basic Phrases ביטויים בסיסיים
Do you speak English/German/Hebrew? האם אתה מדבר אנגלית/גרמנית/עברית? (Haim ata medaber anglit/germanit/ivrit?)
Where is the bathroom? איפה השירותים? (Eifo hasherutim?)
Excuse me סליחה (Slikha)
How are you? מה שלומך? (to a man: Ma shlomkha? to a woman: Ma shlomekh?)
Everything is fine. הכול בסדר (Hakol beseder)
What's Happening? מה קורה? (Ma Kore?)
What's Up? מה נשמע/מה המצב? (Ma Nishma/Ma Hamatzav?)
I like ... said by a man: אני אוהב... (Ani ohev...) said by a woman: אני אוהבת... (Ani ohevet...)
I don't like ... said by a man: אני לא אוהב... (Ani lo ohev...); said by a woman: אני לא אוהבת... (Ani lo ohevet...)
My name is ... שמי הוא.../קוראים לי... (Shmi Hu/Korim Li)
I am... אני... (Ani...)
Simple Words מילים פשוטות
Yes כן (Ken)
No לא (Lo)
Mother אימא (Ima)
Father אבא (Aba)
Dog כלב (Kelev)
Cat חתול (Khatul)
Car מכונית (Mekhonit)
Hot חם (Kham)
Cold קר (Kar)
  • the sound of 'kh' is like a 'h' coming from the back of your throat

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Little Yonatan[edit]

Hebrew Characters Pronunciation English

יונתן הקטן
רץ בבוקר אל הגן
הוא טיפס על העץ
אפרוחים חיפש

אוי ואבוי לו לשובב
חור גדול במכנסיו
מן העץ התגלגל
ועונשו קיבל

Yonatan hakatan
Rats baboker el hagan
Hu tipes al ha'ets
Efrokhim khipes

Oi va'avoi lo lashovav
Khor gadol bemihnasav
Min ha'ets hitgalgel
Ve'onsho kibel

Little Jonathan
Ran to the park in the morning
He climbed up the tree
Looking for baby birds

Too bad for the rascal
There's a big hole in his pants
From the tree he tumbled
And got his punishment

A song for the Rain[edit]

Hebrew Characters Pronunciation English

גשם, גשם משמיים
כל היום טיפות המים
טיף-טיף-טף
טיף-טיף-טף
מחאו כף אל כף

Geshem, geshem mishamaim
Kol hayom tipot hamaim
Tif-Tif-Taf
Tif-Tif-Taf
Makhau kaf el kaf

Rain drops, Rain drops from the sky
All day long the Rain drops
Tif-Tif-Taf*
Tif-Tif-Taf
Clap your hands together

* Tif-Tif-Taf — the sound of Rain drops in Hebrew.

References[edit]

Hindi[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

An example of the script used for Hindi from the 1750s

Hindi does not use Latin characters like the English you are reading, but instead uses a script called devanagari. Devanagari is a type of writing system, called an abugida, where the base character is a syllable that includes a consonant and a vowel. The first consonant in devanagari is क, which stands for the sound "ka". The character can be changed to use different vowels. For example का कि की कु कू के कै को कौ are the k character with each of the main vowels in Hindi. There is also a different form of the vowels when they appear at the beginning of a word or as the second of a pair of vowels. The basic vowels are अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ए ऐ ओ and औ.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are varying estimates for how many people speak Hindi. It is estimated to be between the second and fourth most commonly spoken language in the world. The number of native speakers varies depending on whether or not very closely related dialects are counted. Estimates range from 340 million to 500 million speakers, and as many as 800 million people can understand the language. Hindi and Urdu are similar in vocabulary but different in script; in everyday conversations, speakers of both languages can usually understand each other. There are 60 to 100 million speakers of Urdu.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

The areas of India where Hindi is most prevalent

Almost all speakers of Hindi live in India or Nepal, though Hindi can be found all over the world where its speakers have moved to. Countries outside of India and Nepal with a significant number of speakers are South Africa, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, the United States, Yemen, and Uganda.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Hindi has its roots in the ancient language of Sanskrit. The spoken language changed over the centuries from the Old Indo-Aryan such as Sanskrit to Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrit languages. During its changes, Middle Indo-Aryan became known as Apabhramshas (according to many researchers), which sometime around 1000 A.D. were developing into the dialects and languages of today's northern India, including Hindi. Hindi contains plenty of words from Persian and Arabic origins, coming from the Persian people that ruled much of northern India for centuries.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Tulsidas wrote twelve books and is considered the greatest and most famous of Hindi poets. He lived from 1532 to 1623. Premchand is one of the greatest literary figures of modern Hindi and Urdu literature. He lived from 1880 to 1936. Most of the early Hindi literature was in verse form, like poetry.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Hindi word — Latin version of the word — English translation

  • नमस्ते — namaste — hello, good morning, afternoon, etc., and goodbye.
  • आप कैसे हैं? — aap kaise hain? — How are you?
  • मैं ठीक हूँ, और आप? — main Theek hoon, aur aap? — I am fine, and you?
  • आपका नाम क्या है? — aapka naam kyaa hai? — What is your name?
  • मेरा नाम सुनील है — meraa naam Sunil hai. — My name is Sunil.
  • मैं विद्यालया जा रहा हूँ-main vidyalaya jaa raha hun.-I am going to School.,

The word order in Hindi sentences is different than in English. In Hindi the verb usually comes last in the sentence. For example in the sentence given above for "What is your name?", the order the words are actually said in Hindi is "your name what is". Aapka means "your", naam means "name", kyaa means "what", and hai means "is". With practice this difference isn't very hard to get used to.

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

मछली जल की रानी है

Fish is the queen of water
[edit]

In Devanagri

मछली जल की रानी है,

जीवन उसका पानी है,

हाथ लगाओ तो ये डर जाएगी,

बाहर निकालो तो ये मर जाएगी।

In Latin

Machhli jal ki raani hai,

jeevan uskaa paani hai,

haath lagaao to ye dar jaayegi,

baahar nikaalo to ye mar jaayegi.

Translation

Fish is the queen of water,

Her life is water,

touch her (with your hand) and she will get scared,

take her out and she will die.



Japanese[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Japanese uses three different writing systems, known as hiragana, katakana, and kanji. In some cases, Japanese people will also use the letters of the English alphabet; this is called rōmaji (literally, "Roman characters").

(Note)

The bar over the "o" in the word rōmaji is called a macron. It indicates that the "o" sound should be held longer than normal when speaking the word. It doesn't change the sound of the vowel, only its length.

Hiragana and katakana are called "syllabaries" because each symbol represents a specific one-syllable sound. Although they function somewhat like an alphabet, since they can be used to "spell out" Japanese words phonetically, most of the symbols in hiragana and katakana represent a consonant-vowel pair, like "ka" or "so". Hiragana is used for native Japanese words, while katakana is used for foreign words that have been integrated into the language, like the English words "rodeo" (from Spanish) and "shampoo" (from Hindi).

Basic hiragana (left) and katakana (right)
(a) (i) (u) (e) (o)
(ka) (ki) (ku) (ke) (ko)
(sa) (shi) (su) (se) (so)
(ta) (chi) (tsu) (te) (to)
(na) (ni) (nu) (ne) (no)
(ha) (hi) (fu) (he) (ho)
(ma) (mi) (mu) (me) (mo)
(ya) * (yu) * (yo)
(ra) (ri) (ru) (re) (ro)
(wa) * * * (wo)
(n)
(Note)

Actually, the characters for "wo" in the table are pronounced more like "o". Entries containing "*" are for sounds that are not used very often in Japanese.

Kanji are associated with particular meanings, like full words in English. Unlike the hiragana and katakana symbols, each kanji can be "read" (that is, spoken) in more than one way. In fact, most kanji have two different pronunciations: one based on spoken Japanese and one based on spoken Chinese, because the kanji characters were originally brought to Japan by Chinese monks starting in the 5th century.

Many Japanese kanji look the same as, or very similar to, the Chinese characters for the same concepts. However, some kanji have changed their appearance over time, as the Japanese and Chinese languages developed separately.

The Japanese government has designated more than 2,100 kanji for standard use; high school students in Japan must know all of the standard characters before they graduate.

Romaji is the system used to write Japanese words using the Roman alphabet, like the words on this page (hiragana, katakana, kanji, romaji), and is used to help English-speaking Japanese learners learn how to read and pronounce Japanese.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

The Japanese language has 127 million native speakers, plus 1 million other speakers that learned Japanese as a second language.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a young child.

(Definition)

second language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Japanese is primarily spoken in Japan, but is also spoken in Hawaii, Guam, and other parts of the United States, mostly along the Pacific Ocean; in South America, mainly in Peru and Brazil; and on many Pacific islands.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

At first glance, it would be easy to think that Japanese is closely related to Chinese. The kanji characters were all adopted from Chinese, and the kana (hiragana and katakana) were developed from the kanji. However, Japanese is actually a very different language from Chinese. Before the 5th century, Japanese had no written form, but because of contact with China, Japan adapted the writing system of Chinese to the Japanese language.

The origins of the Japanese language itself are lost to history. Some people believe that it's related to Korean, but this is uncertain. Perhaps one day more information on the history of this language will be discovered.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Murasaki Shikibu (c.973–c.1014), authored The Tale of Genji, one of the earliest novels in the world.

Miyamoto Musashi (c.1584–1645), a samurai who wrote The Book of Five Rings.

Matsuo Bashō (c.1644–1694), a master of the poetry form of haiku.

Kyokutei Bakin (1767–1848), the author of Nansō satomi hakkenden or The Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors.

Shusaku Endo (1923–1996) was a writer whose inspiration and motivation came from being a Japanese Catholic.

Koji Suzuki (b. 1957) is a writer of horror novels and short stories. Many of these have been translated into other languages, including his most famous work, Ring. Many of his books have been made into films in many languages, including English, Japanese and Korean.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Basic Greetings:

  • おはようございます! - Ohayō gozaimasu! - "Good morning!"
  • こんにちは! - Konnichiwa! - "Good afternoon!"
  • さようなら! - Sayōnara! - "Good bye!"
  • また明日! - Mata ashita! - "See you tomorrow!"

Simple Words:

  • はい - hai - "yes"
  • いいえ - iie - "no"
  • 猫 - neko - "cat"
  • 犬 - inu - "dog"
  • 日本 - Nihon - "Japan"
  • 日本語 - Nihongo - "Japanese language"
  • 月 - tsuki - "moon"
  • 絵 - e - "picture"
  • 愛 - ai - "love"

Numbers:

  1. 一 - ichi
  2. 二 - ni
  3. 三 - san
  4. 四 - yon (shi)
  5. 五 - go
  6. 六 - roku
  7. 七 - nana (shichi)
  8. 八 - hachi
  9. 九 - kyū
  10. 十 - jū

Courtesies:

  • すみません - Sumimasen - "Excuse me."
  • ありがとうございます - Arigatō gozaimasu - "Thank you."
  • ごめんなさい - Gomen nasai - "I'm sorry."
  • 大丈夫ですか? - Daijōbu desu ka - "Are you okay?"

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

桜 桜 さくら さくら Sakura, Sakura Cherry Blossom

桜 桜
野山も里も
見わたすかぎり
かすみか雲か
朝日ににおう
桜 桜
花ざかり

桜 桜
やよいの空は
見わたすかぎり
かすみか雲か
においぞいずる
いざや いざや
見にゆかん

さくら さくら
のやま も さと も
みわたす かぎり
かすみ か くも か
あさひ に におう
さくら さくら
はな ざかり

さくら さくら
やよい の そら は
みわたす かぎり
かすみ か くも か
におい ぞ いずる
いざや いざや
みに ゆ かん

Sakura sakura
Noyama mo sato mo
Miwatasu kagiri
Kasumi ka kumo ka
Asahi ni niou
Sakura sakura
Hana zakari

Sakura sakura
Yayoi no sora wa
Miwatasu kagiri
Kasumi ka kumo ka
Nioi zo izuru
Izaya izaya
Mini yu kan

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
On mountains and in villages,
As far as you can see.
They look like a mist, or clouds,
Fragrant in the morning sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
They’re in full bloom.

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the April skies,
As far as you can see.
They look like a mist, or clouds,
Blooming fragrantly.
Let's go! Let's go!
Let's go see them!

You can hear the tune at http://www.isc.toyama-u.ac.jp/~hamada/song/sakura/sakura_e.html


Korean[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

A statue of King Sejong

One thing unique about the Korean language is the Hangeul ("han-guhl") alphabet. While Chinese uses a complex character for each word, and Japanese mixes two syllabaries (each character of the alphabet representing a syllable rather than a single sound) with complex Chinese characters, the Hangeul alphabet uses actual letters, each one with its own sound. Hangeul letters are arranged to make syllables in Korean words.

Hangeul is the only purposely invented alphabet in popular daily use. The alphabet was invented in 1444 during the reign of King Sejong (1418 – 1450). King Sejong was the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty and is one of the most highly regarded. He originally named the Hangeul alphabet Hunmin Jeongeum, which means "the correct sounds for the instruction of the people".

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are between 67 and 78 million Korean speakers around the world. It is one of the top 20 most spoken languages in the world.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Korean is spoken primarily in North and South Korea, in the northeastern parts of China, Japan, and the western part of the US, However, there are large Korean speaking communities in many major cities around the world.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Korean is a very old language. Unfortunately, researchers are still not sure of how it evolved. Some researchers think that it shared a common history with Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic languages. Other researchers think that it may have evolved with Japanese from Austronesian (Australian and South East Asian) languages. One thing is sure though—it is not a variation of Chinese.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

One famous author is Soon-Won Hwang. He was born in 1915 in Pyoungannam-do, and graduated from Waseda University with a degree in English Literature in 1939. He taught at Seoul Middle High School and also in the College of Liberal Arts and Science of Kyung-Hee University. He was a member and senior member of the Art Institute.

His works include the poems "Singing Loudly" and "Antique"; short stories such as "Swamp", "Dog of Neck Cross Village", "Crane", "Lost People", "Time Only For You and Me", and "Mask"; and the novels "Descendant of Cain", "Grafting of Human", "Trees, Standing on the Slope", "The Sun and the Moon", and "The Die of Gods". 12 volumes of "The Complete Works of Soon Won Hwang" were published in 1985.

Basic Korean[edit]

Language Structure:

There are 14 primitive consonants and 10 vowels in Korean.

Numerals[edit]

  • 1 일 (il)
  • 2 이 (i, like "ee")
  • 3 삼 (sam)
  • 4 사 (sa)
  • 5 오 (o)
  • 6 육 (yuk)
  • 7 칠 (chil)
  • 8 팔 (pal)
  • 9 구 (gu)
  • 10 십 (ship)
  • 11 십 일 (ship il)
  • 20 이 십 (i ("ee") ship)
  • 30 삼 십 (sam ship)
  • 40 사 십 (sa ship)
  • 50 오 십 (o ship)
  • 60 육 십 (yuk ship)
  • 70 칠 십 (chil ship)
  • 80 팔 십 (pal ship)
  • 90 구 십 (gu ship)
  • 100 백 (baek)
  • 1000 천 (cheon)
  • 10000 만 (man)
  • 100000 십만 (ship man)
  • 1000000 백만 (baek man)
  • 10000000 천만 (cheon man)
  • 100000000 일억 (il eok)

Basic Expressions[edit]

  • 안녕하세요? (annyeong-haseyo?, or to a close friend: 안녕? annyeong?) - "Hello?"
  • 안녕히 가세요. (annyeong-hi ("hee") gaseyo, or to a close friend: 안녕, annyeong) - "Good bye"
  • 잘 가세요. (jal gaseyo, or to a close friend 잘 가, jal ga) - "Good bye)
  • 고맙습니다 (go-map-seumnida, or to a close friend: go ma wor) - "Thank you"
  • 천만에요 (cheonmaneyo, or 괜찮습니다, gwaenchan-seumnida) - "You are welcome"
  • 미안합니다 (mi-an-hamnida, or to a close friend: 미안해, mi-an-hae) - "I am sorry"
  • 괜찮습니다 (gwaenchan-seumnida, or to a close friend: 괜찮아, gwaenchan-a) - "That is all right."
  • 안녕히 주무셨어요? [honorific form] (annyeong-hi ("hee") jumusheosseoyo?, or to a close friend, jal ja sir?) - "Good evening" or "Good night"
  • 잘 잤어요? [formal] (jal jass-eoyo?) - "Good morning" or "Did you sleep well?"
  • 사랑해요 (sarang-haeyo, or to a close friend, 사랑해, sarang-hae) - "I love you"

Common words[edit]

  • 사람 (sa-ram) - person
  • 남자 (nam-ja) - man
  • 소년 (so-nyeon) - boy
  • 여자 (yeo-ja) - woman
  • 소녀 (so-nyeo) - girl
  • 사과 (sa-gwa) - apple
  • 닭 (dak) - chicken
  • 말 (mal) - horse
  • 감자 (gam-ja) - potato

Adjectives[edit]

  • 좋아요 (joh-a-yo) - good
  • 나빠요 (nappa-yo) - bad

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Aegugka (The national anthem for both North and South Korea)
Korean English
동해 물과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록

하느님이 보우하사 우리나라 만세

Until the day when the East Sea's waters and Mt. Baekdu are dry and worn away,

Heaven protect and preserve us. Long live our nation!

남산 위에 저 소나무 철갑을 두른 듯

바람서리 불변함은 우리 기상일세

The pinetree atop Namsan stands firmly unchanged under wind and frost as if wrapped in armour,

as is our resilient spirit.

가을 하늘 공활한데 높고 구름 없이

밝은 달은 우리 가슴 일편단심일세

Autumn sky is void and vast, high and cloudless,

the bright moon is our heart, undivided and true.

이 기상과 이 맘으로 충성을 다하여

괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세

With this spirit and this mind, give all loyalty,

in suffering or in joy, love the country.

무궁화 삼천 리 화려 강산

대한 사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세

Three thousand Li of splendid rivers and mountains, filled with Roses of Sharon;

Great Korean People, stay true to the Great Korean way.


Latin[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Where the Latin alphabet is used today

Latin uses what is today called the Latin Alphabet. This alphabet is thought by many historians to have been a modified version of the ancient Greek alphabet, which in turn is also a variation of ancient Phoenician writing.

The Latin alphabet is the basis for most European languages and for many other languages around the world, which is why it may look familiar to you if you are reading this in English.

One important difference is that lowercase letters were not usually used in writing classical Latin. Another difference is that the Romans did not use our letters J, U, and W. These letters developed later, as variants of I and V. Because of this, Julius Caesar's name would have been written IVLIVS CAESAR.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Latin is considered a dead language.

The meaning of "dead language" is unclear in this case, but it is commonly taken to mean that there is no one left speaking it as their mother tongue.

Although it is technically possible for people who have learned Latin to speak it, it is considered an unusual thing to do, and normally two such people will use Latin to understand each other only if they have no other language in common.

Still, Latin is sometimes needed by linguists and scientists. It is still the official language of one country: the Vatican, though the form of the language spoken there may be different from the ancient form. Some people also use Latin to translate writing on Roman or ancient artifacts. There are also Conventiculums [pl. Conventicula](conventions) where people may have Latin conversations.

Linguists may need to know Latin, as it is one of the roots of nearly all modern European languages. Scientists often use Latin, along with Greek, to name new species or chemicals.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

The official language of Vatican City is Latin, even though the language is considered extinct. Two thousand years ago, Latin was spoken throughout the Roman Empire, which extended at its height from Portugal to Iraq and from Britain to North Africa. During the Middle Ages and the early modern era, Latin was the predominant language of the Roman Catholic Church and of universities in western Europe. It still is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. Many Latin words and phrases are still used in the fields of law, science, and medicine. For example, et cetera comes from Latin, meaning "and other things".

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Latin is a member of the family of Italic languages, and its alphabet, the Latin alphabet, is based on the Old Italic alphabet, which is in turn derived from the Greek alphabet. The English alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. Latin was first brought to the Italian peninsula in the 9th or 8th century B.C. by migrants from the north, who settled in the Latium region, specifically around the River Tiber, where the Roman civilization first developed. Latin was influenced by the Celtic dialects and the non-Indo-European Etruscan language in northern Italy, and by Greek in southern Italy.

Although surviving Latin literature consists almost entirely of Classical Latin, a language from the 1st century B.C., this language progressed into Vulgar Latin, which significantly differed from Classical Latin in grammar, vocabulary, and eventually pronunciation. Although Latin remained the main written language of the Roman Empire, Greek came to be the language spoken by the well-educated elite, as most of the literature studied by Romans was written in Greek. In the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which became the Byzantine Empire, Greek eventually supplanted Latin as both the written and spoken language. In the western half, Latin was always the major language.

Some famous people who spoke this language[edit]

  • Julius Caesar — A famous military general who later went on to be the first emperor of Rome. He wrote down accounts of all of his battles in the Gallic Wars.
  • Suetonius — A historian who is probably most famous for his biographies The Twelve Caesars, the first twelve rulers of the Roman Empire.
  • Virgil — A poet who wrote the Aeneid, a book on the founding of the city of Rome (based partly on legend).
  • Cicero — Probably the best Roman orator, well known for his work in politics and law.
  • Livy — An author of Ab Urbe Condita, a history of Rome as a city. His writings are very convoluted — most of his sentences and phrases have some sort of subordination to them.
  • Catullus — A poet who writes about and to his friends, about his girlfriend, to insult others, or to give condolences.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien — A famous author in the 20th century who wrote The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (though not in Latin).

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • Salvē/salvete — Hello [if you are saying hello to more than one person you say salvete]
  • bonum diem - good day
  • bonam vesperum - good evening
  • bonam noctem - goodnight
  • valē/valete — Goodbye [if you are saying goodbye to more than one person you say valete]
  • ut vales ? - how are you ?
  • bene valeo - I am fine, well
  • optime - very well
  • satis bene - quite well
  • non ita bene - not very well
  • pessime - terrible
  • quod nomen tibi est ? what is your name ?
  • mihi nomen est - my name is [then enter your name]
  • quod est nomen amicae meae? - what is my friend's name?
  • nomen meum - my name
  • nomen tuum - your name
  • nomen eius - his/her name
  • nomina eorum - their names
  • amicus meus est - he is my friend
  • amica mea - my (girl)friend
  • carpe diem - seize the day
  • quis? - who?
  • hic puer - this boy
  • haec puella - this girl
  • et tibi? - and you?
  • quis est hic/haec - who is this (boy/girl)?
  • quod ... est? - what is ... ?
  • quae ... sunt? - what are ...?
  • ita est ! - so it is/yes
  • non - not
  • sed - but
  • sunt - (they) are
  • unde venis? - where do you come from ?
  • ubi habitas? - where do you live?
  • habito(in) - I live in
  • loquor - I speak
  • scio - I know (how to)
  • scisne loqui ... ? - can you speak ...?
  • paulum - a little
  • Veni, vidi, vici — I came, I saw, I conquered
  • Per Ardua, ad Astra — Through hardship, to the stars
  • Exempli Gratia (In English today we write "e.g.") — For the sake of an example, an example
  • Id Est (In English today we write "i.e.") — That is
  • Nota Bene (In English today we write "n.b.") — Note well
  • Et — And
  • Tu — You
  • Quid tibi nomen est? — What is your name?
  • Mihi nomen est Paulum. — My name is Paul.
  • Unde venis? — Where do you come from? (lit. From where do you come?)
  • E Britannia venio. — I come from Britain.
  • Gratias (tibi) ago. — Thank you (lit. I give thanks (to you))
  • Et cetera (In English today we write "etc.") — And other things
  • Purgamentum — Rubbish
  • Cave Canem — Beware of Dog
  • Vox Populi — The voice of the people

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

The poet Ovid was banished from Rome in 8 AD by Augustus, Julius Caesar's great-nephew. This is the first 2 lines of the poem Tristia (meaning "Sorrows"), which Ovid wrote to express his sadness about his banishment.

In Latin:

Parue — nec inuideo — sine me, liber, ibis in urbem:
ei mihi, quod domino non licet ire tuo!

In English:

You will go, my little book, without me to the city, but I don't envy you.
Go on — go to the city forbidden to me — forbidden to your master.

This song by an unknown poet from the 16th Century was popular with students some time ago when everybody had to learn Latin at school:


In Latin:

Flevit lepus parvulus
clamans altis vocibus:
Quid feci hominibus,
quod me sequuntur canibus?
Neque in horto fui
neque holus comedi.


In English:

Wept the little rabbit,
shouting with high voice:
What did I do to the humans,
that they chase me with dogs?
I was not in the garden,
and I did not eat the vegetables


Mandarin Chinese[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

All Sinitic languages and dialects, including Mandarin are written with hànzì, a picture-like writing system. However, many English-speaking students learn to pronounce Chinese (or "zhōngwén") using a Romanization system called Pinyin. Read on for some examples.

So how do characters work? Does Chinese have an alphabet? No, Chinese does not have an alphabet. It does use radicals, however. Characters in Chinese are basically the "pictures" Chinese people use to read and write, and are written with strokes, or different lines. There are three main types of characters: pictographic, ideographic, and picto-phonetic. The words "pictographic characters" mean just what they sound like, they are characters that try to represent a thing or action as a picture. For example, the character for sun (日, pronounced like "rurr") was, in ancient times, a circle with a dot in the center, an attempt to draw a sun. However, characters change over time. The modern character is a rectangle divided in half by a horizontal line, and takes 4 stroke to write.

(Definition)

alphabet — all the letters of a language.

(Definition)

character — a letter, number, or punctuation mark.

Ideographic characters are used for things that are a bit more difficult to describe than with just a drawing. Love, hate, anger, happiness, goodness—all of these concepts are very hard to capture in a simple picture. Ideographic characters try to address this problem by combining different pictures to convey meaning. For example, the Chinese character for goodness, 好 (“hǎo”), is depicted using two separate characters, a woman (女) and a child (子), combined into one character.

Picto-phonetic characters combine a meaning radical (which hints at character's meaning) with a sound radical (which hints at the character's pronunciation). "Grass" (草), for example, is written as the character for "early" (早, which sounds like "grass" in Chinese) with a radical meaning "grass" (艹) above. The reader can look at the grass radical and guess or recall the meaning while looking at the sound radical and guess or recall how it is pronounced.

For people who speak Chinese, radicals are like an alphabet. Not all radicals are related to pronunciation, but radicals always show the meaning of a word. Radicals, like an alphabet, allow people to reuse pieces of Chinese. And since the language has some 10,000 plus characters in use, radicals become very useful for fast memorization of characters. Characters will get some of their meaning and/or sound from a radical (like picto-phonetic characters). You can imagine radicals as a foundation, or base, of the Chinese written language.

Radicals are kind of like the different symbols used in street signs. A "no smoking sign" is a cigarette that is crossed out, a "no dogs allowed" sign has a dog that is crossed out. We can reuse the meaning of the crossed out symbol to create new signs and guess at the meaning of new signs we have never seen before. In the same way Chinese characters that have to do with children may have the radical for "child" in them, and characters that have to do with actions or things done with the hand may have the radical for "hand", while the rest of the character hints at pronunciation.

Are there different ways of writing Chinese? Yes, there are two ways of writing Chinese, simplified and traditional. Simplified was invented by the government of mainland China to increase the number of people who can read in China—as you can guess, it's simpler. Traditional is the “old” way of writing Chinese. It is still used in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. It is also used in ancient texts, paintings, genealogical charts, food packaging, and more! If you want to live in China, it is handy to know both simplified and traditional, because you are likely to run across both, but if you know one system, you can, with some effort, read the other.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken mother tongue in the world. In fact, over 800 million people speak dialects of this form of Chinese. That's more than one out of every seven people! The only thing is that most of them live in or near China; Chinese is not very widespread. Still, knowing Chinese will allow you to communicate with many people. There are also many other closely related languages, sometimes called dialects, such as Minnan (including Taiwanese), Wu (including Shanghainese), Hakka and Cantonese.

(Definition)

dialect — one form of a language; usually created when different regions develop slightly different forms of a language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Mandarin Chinese is mostly spoken is the People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and Taiwan. It is also one of the four official languages of Singapore (together with English, Malay, and Tamil), and is also spoken among the people of Chinese ancestry in Malaysia.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

China has a history of five thousand years of continuous civilization, so it is probable that the Chinese language is at least as old as this. Archeologists have found Chinese pictographic writing on pottery, bones and turtle shells from as long ago as the Shang dynasty, over 3000 years ago. By the time of the Qin dynasty, 2000 years ago, Chinese writing had been standardized and it has changed very little since then.

Because Chinese is not an alphabetic language, it is hard to know exactly what the language sounded like in the distant past.

There are now five main spoken dialects of Chinese including Mandarin, Wu dialect, Yue dialect, and Cantonese. These are as different from each other as English and German and could be thought of as separate languages - but speakers of all the dialects use the same writing system.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Poets and Ci authors (in order of fame):

李白Li, Bai

杜甫Du, Fu

蘇軾Su, Shi

李清照Li, Qingzhao

王維Wang, Wei

屈原Qu, Yuan

曹操Cao, Cao

陶淵明Tao, Yuanming

Authors (in chronological order of birth):

孫子Sunzi (author of "The Art of War")

老子Laozi (founder of Taoism)

孔子Confucius (most influential philosopher in Korean, Chinese and Japanese societies)

陸機Lu, Ji (author of "On Literature," a piece of literature criticism)

劉勰Liu, Xie (author of "Carving of a Dragon by a Literary Mind," a piece on literature aesthetics)

陳獨秀Chen, Duxiu (one of the main promoters of modern written Chinese language)

魯迅Lu, Xun (one of the most influential writers of the 20th century)

胡適Hu, Shi (one of the main promoters of modern written Chinese language)

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

The order: traditional characters, then simplified, then the English translation.

Basic Greetings:

  • 你好!- Nǐ hǎo! - "Hello!"
  • 再見!/ 再见!- Zàijiàn! - "Good bye!"
  • 明天見!/ 明天见!- Míngtiān jiàn! - "See you tomorrow!"
  • 我的名字是大卫。/ 我的名字是大卫。- Wǒ de míngzì shì dà wèi. - "My name is David."
  • 我叫大卫。/ 我叫大卫。- Wǒ jiào dà wèi. - "I'm called David."
  • 很高興認識你。/ 很高兴认识你。- Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ. - Nice to meet you.

Courtesies:

  • 我可不可以 - Wǒ kěbù kěyǐ - "Can I..."
  • 請您/请您 - Qǐng nín - "Please..." or "Could you..."
  • 謝謝/谢谢 - Xièxiè - "Thank you."
  • 不客氣/不客气 - Bù kèqi - "You're welcome."
  • 對不起/对不起 - Duìbuqǐ - "Sorry." or "Excuse me."
  • 真對不起/真对不起 - Zhēn duìbuqǐ - "I'm very sorry."
  • 沒關係/没关系 - Méiguānxi - "No problem." or "It doesn't matter." or "Never mind."

Listen to Chinese! Interested in hearing Chinese? Check out xuezhongwen.net; it has great aural coverage of the language along with examples of both Pinyin and simplified/traditional characters.

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Big Head[edit]

Simplified characters Traditional characters Pronunciation English

大头大头
下雨不愁
你有雨伞
我有大头

大頭大頭
下雨不愁
你有雨傘
我有大頭

Dà tóu dà tóu
Xià yǔ bù chóu
Nǐ yǒu yǔ sǎn
Wǒ yǒu dà tóu

Big head, big head
When it rains there is nothing to dread
You have an umbrella
I have a big head

Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den[edit]

Simplified characters Traditional characters Pronunciation English

《施氏吃狮子记》

有一位住在石室里的诗人叫施氏,爱吃狮子,决心要吃十只狮子。
他常常去市场看狮子。
十点钟,刚好有十只狮子到了市场。
那时候,刚好施氏也到了市场。
他看见那十只狮子,便放箭,把那十只狮子杀死了。
他拾起那十只狮子的尸体,带到石室。
石室湿了水,施氏叫侍从把石室擦乾。
石室擦乾了,他才试试吃那十只狮子。
吃的时候,才发现那十只狮子,原来是十只石头的狮子尸体。
试试解释这件事吧。

《施氏吃獅子記》

有一位住在石室裏的詩人叫施氏,愛吃獅子,決心要吃十隻獅子。
他常常去市場看獅子。
十點鐘,剛好有十隻獅子到了市場。
那時候,剛好施氏也到了市場。
他看見那十隻獅子,便放箭,把那十隻獅子殺死了。
他拾起那十隻獅子的屍體,帶到石室。
石室濕了水,施氏叫侍從把石室擦乾。
石室擦乾了,他才試試吃那十隻獅子。
吃的時候,才發現那十隻獅子,原來是十隻石頭的獅子屍體。
試試解釋這件事吧。

« Shī shì chī shī zǐ jì »

Yǒuyī wèi zhù zài shíshì lǐ de shīrén jiào shī shì, ài chī shīzi, juéxīn yào chī shí zhǐ shīzi.
Tā chángcháng qù shìchǎng kàn shīzi.
Shí diǎn zhōng, gānghǎo yǒu shí zhǐ shīzi dàole shìchǎng.
Nà shíhou, gāng hào shī shì yě dàole shìchǎng.
Tā kànjiàn nà shí zhǐ shīzi, biàn fàng jiàn, bǎ nà shí zhǐ shīzi shā sǐle.
Tā shi qǐ nà shí zhǐ shīzi de shītǐ, dài dào shíshì.
Shíshì shīle shuǐ, shī shì jiào shìcóng bǎ shíshì cā gān.
Shíshì cā gānle, tā cái shì shì chī nà shí zhǐ shīzi.
Chī de shíhou, cái fāxiàn nà shí zhǐ shīzi, yuánlái shì shí zhǐ shítou de shīzi shītǐ.
Shì shì jiěshì zhè jiàn shì ba.

« Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den »

In a stone den was a poet called Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions.
He often went to the market to look for lions.
At ten o'clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
Try to explain it.


Marathi[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Marathi uses the devanagri writing system, which is used in other languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit. Traditionally, the Modi script was used, but it was very difficult to use for printing and therefore the devanagri script was adopted and is now the standard writing system for Marathi.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Approximately 90 million people speak Marathi all over the world. Since it is similar to Hindi and other Indian languages in general, it is possible for many non-Marathi speaking Indians to understand some basic phrases and sentences in Marathi, especially speakers of Gujarati and Konkani.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Marathi is spoken in the Maharashtra state of India. Marathi is also the official language of the state and is considered as one of the eighteen official languages of India. Now, Marathi is also spoken in Maharashtrian communities all over the world.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The prelude to Marathi Language is 'Maharashtri Prakrit' Language. Maharashtri was the most popular amongst all Prakrit languages. It was spoken from Malwa and Rajputana (north) to the Krishna and Tungabhadra River region (south) including Modern Maharashtra in India. Maharashtri was spoken for 1000 years (500 BC to 500 AD). It was used in numerous works of literature, and its literary use was made famous by the Sanskrit playwright Kālidāsa. The Gāhā Sattasaī, Setubandh and Karpuraman̄jarī (कर्पुरमंजरी) are attributed to King Hāla Satavahana (r. 20-24 CE). Gāhā Sattasaī, an anthology of over 700 love poems, has been established as the most famous work of literature in Maharashtri. Maharashtri Prakrit was commonly spoken until AD 875. Maharashtri apabhraṃśas remained in use until the 13th century and was used widely in Jain literature and formed an important link in the evolution of Marathi. This form of Apabhraṃśa was re-Sanskritised and eventually became Marathi. The early Marathi literature written during the Yadava (850-1312 CE) was mostly religious and philosophical in nature. The earliest known Marathi inscription found at the foot of the statue at Shravanabelgola in Karnataka is dated c. 983. Mukundraj's Vivek Sindhu (around 1188 CE), with its 18 chapters and 1671 verses, is considered as the first major book in the Marathi language. It is clear that Marathi became extensively used in the thirteenth century onwards with patronage from Yadava Kings of Devgiri. Some of the earliest works like Bhavarth-dipika (Dyaneshwari) were written during this period. Bhavarth Deepika is a 9000-couplets long commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. With advent of Muslim rulers, Persian and Arabic words also became part of language. The celebrated Maratha king Shivaji Bhonsale greatly encouraged the spread and use of Marathi, which was the language of his people. It was during Shivaji's time that some of the greatest Marathi works were written, and Marathi literature advanced and developed since his reign.

After the British colonized India, many English words and phrases entered Marathi usage. Even though there are Sanskrit and Marathi replacements, many Marathi-speakers prefer to use English words sometimes, such as "police", "T.V.", "computer", "radio", "fridge (or refrigerator)", etc. This use of English words, however, is significantly lesser in rural dialects and in scholarly contexts.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Many books have been written in Marathi, on various topics. Tukaram, a Maharashtrian Saint, wrote abhangas, or small poems that discouraged evil practices. Other famous authors include B.B.Borkar, Pralhad Keshav Atre, Hari Apte, Vishnu Khandekar, Balchandra Nemade, P.L. Deshpande, Tarabai Shinde, V.V. Shirwadkar, and Narendra Jadhav.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Marathi word - Latin version of the word - English translation

  • नमस्कार - namaskaar - hello, good morning, afternoon, etc., and goodbye.
  • तुम्ही कशे आहात? - tumhi kashe aahaat? - How are you?
  • मी ठीक आहे, आणि तुम्ही? - mee theek aahe, aani tumhi? - I am fine, and you?
  • तुमच नाव काय आहे? - tumcha naav kaay aahe? - What is your name?
  • माझ नाव राहुल आहे. - maazha naav Rahul aahe. - My name is Rahul.

The word order in Marathi sentences is different from those in English. In Marathi the verb usually comes last in the sentence. For example in the sentence given above for "What is your name?", the order the words are actually said in Marathi is "your name what is". "tumcha" means your, "naav" means name, "kaay" means what, and "aahe" means is.

Colours[edit]

Marathi Word - Latin Version - English Translation

  • पांढरा - paandhraa - White
  • काळा - kaalaa - Black
  • पिवळा - pivlaa - Yellow
  • हिरवा - hirvaa - Green
  • निळा - nilaa - Blue
  • लाल - laal - Red
  • जांभळा - jaambhlaa - Violet/Purple

Numbers[edit]

English Number. Marathi Number (Latin Version), Representation

  • 0. शून्य (shoonya) ०
  • 1. एक (ek) १
  • 2. दोन (don) २
  • 3. तीन (teen) ३
  • 4. चार (chaar) ४
  • 5. पाच (paach) ५
  • 6. सहा (sahaa) ६
  • 7. सात (saat) ७
  • 8. आठ (aatth) ८
  • 9. नऊ (nau) ९
  • 10. दहा (dahaa) १०

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

येरे येरे पावसा[edit]

In Devanagri Script

येरे येरे पावसा, तुला देतो पैसा
पैसा झाला खोटा, पाऊस आला मोठा
ये ग ये ग सरी, माझे मडके भरी
सर आली धाउन,
मडके गेले वाहुन!

In Latin Script

Yere yere pavsa, tula deto paisa
paisa zhala khota, paoos ala motha
ye ga ye ga saree, majhe madke bhari
sar ali dhaoon
madke gele wahoon

Translation

Rain rain, come here, i'll give you a coin
the coin turned out to be fake, and the rain came down heavily,
Shower (of rain), come here, fill my pots for me
the shower came running,
and my pots were washed away!


Nahuatl[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Before the Spanish colonization of Mexico, Nahuatl was not actually written. When a text needed to be written, a special style of drawing that followed specific rules was used. Those drawings often served more as reminders than actual written stories.

After the arrival of the Spaniards, Nahuatl was written in a variant of the Spanish script that is still usually used today.

  • cu is pronounced like qu in queen.It is written uc at the end of words or before a consonant.
  • qu, c, s, z
  • hu is pronounced like w. It is written uh at the end of words or before a consonant.
  • h
  • '
  • tl
  • x
  • ch
  • tz

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Approximatively 1.7 million speak Nahuatl as a native language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Distribution of Nahuatl speakers in Mexico in 2010.

Nahuatl is spoken in Mexico. Its speakers are found in a large part of the country, but are mostly concentrated West and Southwest of Mexico City, in the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, and Hidalgo.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Nahuatl is known to have been spoken for nearly a millennium. Classical Nahuatl was a language of administration and culture. After the arrival of the Spanish, Nahuatl, unlike several Native American languages, was frequently written for communication, and literate Aztecs and Spaniards transcribed legends,songs and poetry, as well as letters to lords. Since the classical Nahuatl era, the dialects of Nahuatl have become quite different, and many are now considered languages separate from each others, although the term "Nahuatl" is still used to describe the group.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

A painting of Nezahualpilli

Nezahualpilli was not only ruler of the city state Texcoco from 1473 to 1515 but was also a poet. Unfortunately only one of his poems still exist. It is called "Icuic Nezahualpilli yc tlamato huexotzinco" ("Song of Nezahualpilli during the war with Huexotzinco").

There are other poems and poets who wrote in Nahuatl but unfortunately no one is sure who the poets were that wrote the poems that are still in existence.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • calli: house
  • cihuātl: woman
  • cochi: to sleep
  • cualli: good, something good
  • cuīcatl: song
  • ehēcatl: wind
  • itta: to see
  • miqui: to die
  • oquichtli: man
  • tlahtoa: to speak
  • ce: one
  • ome: two
  • yei: three
  • nahui: four
  • macuilli: five
  • chicuace: six
  • chicome: seven
  • chicueyi: eight
  • chiconahui: nine
  • ma'tlactli: ten
  • ni mits neki: i love you
  • ahuacatl: avocado
  • xipotli: a dried (red) jalapeño

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Quititi, quititi, quiti tocoto, tocoti tocoto tocoti zan ic mocueptiuh.

1. Ma xochicuicoya ma ichtoa nichuana ayyahue teyhuinti xochitl ao ya noyehcoc ye nica poyoma xahuallan timaliuhtihuitz ay yo.

2. Ma xochitl oyecoc ye nican ayyahuc can tlaahuixochitla moyahuaya motzetzeloa ancazo yehuatl in nepapaxochitl ayyo. Zan commoni huchuetl ma ya netotilo.

3. Yn quetzal poyomatl ayc ihcuilihuic noyol nicuicanitl in xochitl ayan tzetzelihui ya ancuel ni cuiya ma xonahuacan ayio zan noyolitic ontlapanion cuicaxochitl nicyamoyahuaya yxoochitla.

4. Cuicatl ya ninoquinilotehuaz in quemmanian xochineneliuhtiaz noyollo yehuan tepilhuan oonteteuctin in ca yio.

5. Zan ye ic nichoca in quemanian zan nicaya ihtoa noxochiteyo nocuicatoca nictlalitehuaz in quemanian xochineneliuhtiaz, etc.


Quititi, quititi, quiti tocoto, tocoti, tocoto, tocoti, then it is to turn back again.

1. Let me pluck flowers, let me see them, let me gather the really intoxicating flowers; the flowers are ready, many colored, varied in hue, for our enjoyment.

2. The flowers are ready here in this retired spot, this spot of fragrant flowers, many sorts of flowers are poured down and scattered about; let the drum be ready for the dance.

3. I the singer take and pour down before you from my soul the beautiful poyomatl, not to be painted, and other flowers; let us rejoice, while I alone within my soul disclose the songs of flowers, and scatter them abroad in the place of flowers.

4. I shall leave my songs in order that sometime I may mingle the flowers of my heart with the children and the nobles.

5. I weep sometimes as I see that I must leave the earth and my flowers and songs, that sometime these flowers will be vain and useless.

References[edit]


Norwegian[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Norwegian uses all 26 letters in English, along with the letters Æ, Ø, and Å. However, the letters c, q, w, x, and z are only used in loanwords.

There are two types of written Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk. In 2005, about 86.3% of native Norwegians use Bokmål, 5.5% use both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and 7.5% only use Nynorsk. This means that about 91.8% of Norwegians use Bokmål, while only 15% use Nynorsk.

(Definition)

loanword — a word in a language that comes from a word that is not from that language. For English, café is a loanword, since it was originally from French.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

About 4.7 million, or 4,700,700, people speak Norwegian, making it the 144th highest language in number of speakers.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Norwegian is an official language of Norway and the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council is a group of countries from Northern Europe. It is similar to the European Union.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Norwegian comes from an ancient language called Old Norse. In 782, King Harald Fairhair united Norway. Christianity came to Norway around 1030. Christianity brought with it the Latin alphabet, which is the one used today. Before then, a runic alphabet was used. In the 800s, Old Norse began to separate into Eastern and Western dialects. Eventually, Western Norse changed and changed until it became Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian around the year 1300. From 1350 to 1525, Old Norwegian changed more until it turned into Middle and then Modern Norwegian, the kind used today.

(Definition)

runic — having to do with runes. Some runic letters that still exist today are the Icelandic letters Þ and Ð. These letters are not used in Norwegian, however.

(Definition)

dialect — a variety of a language. Standard Østnorsk is the kind of Norwegian taught to people who are learning it as a second language.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Some famous Norwegian writers are Henrik Wergeland, Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, and Sigrid Unset. Hamsun and Unset even got Nobel Prizes for their works!

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Hilsener Greetings
Hallo Hello
Hei Hi
God dag Good day
God kveld Good night
God morgen Good morning
Hvordan har du det? How are you?
Ha det bra Good-bye
Vi snakkes i morgen See you tomorrow
Grunnfraser Basic phrases
Takk skal du ha Thank you
Ingen årsak You are welcome
Beklager Sorry
Unnskyld Excuse me
Snakker du engelsk/norsk? Do you speak English/Norwegian?
Hvor er toalettet? Where is the bathroom?
Jeg liker... I like...
Jeg liker ikke... I don't like...
Jeg heter... My name is...

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Kongesangen (The Norwegian royal anthem)
Norwegian English
Gud sign vår konge god!

Sign ham med kraft og mot sign hjem og slott! Lys for ham ved din Ånd, knytt med din sterke hånd hellige troskapsbånd om folk og drott!

God bless our good king!

Bless him with strength and courage, bless home and palace! Guide him with Your Spirit, tie with Your strong Hand holy bands of allegiance around people and sovereign!

Høyt sverger Norges mann

hver i sitt kall, sin stand, troskap sin drott. Trofast i liv og død, tapper i krig og nød, alltid vårt Norge lød Gud og sin drott.

Loudly swear men of Norway

each in his calling, his station, loyalty to the sovereign. Loyal in life and death, courageous in war and need, always our Norway obeyed God and its sovereign.

References[edit]

  1. Norwegian language on the English Wikipedia.
  2. Nordic Council on the English Wikipedia.
  3. Norwegian literature on the English Wikipedia.
  4. Kongesangen on the English Wikipedia.


Polish[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Polish language is written in its own version of the Latin alphabet, like English. Unlike English, however, Polish does not have the letters Q, V, and X. The Polish alphabet also uses four diacritics. These are the kreska ("dash"), the ogonek ("tail"), the kropka ("dot"), and the stroke.

Letters having a kreska in Polish include:

  • Ć or ć (like the "ch" sound in "chocolate"),
  • Ń or ń (like the "ny" sound in "canyon"),
  • Ó or ó (like the "oo" sound in "proof", just like Polish u),
  • Ś or ś (like the "sh" in "ship"),
  • Ź or ź (a unique "zh" sound, like the "s" in "vision").

The letters with an ogonek are both nasal vowels:

  • Ą or ą (like the "ome" sound in "home"),
  • Ę or ę (like the "en" sound in "lend"

The letter Ż or ż (like "zh" but different from the Ź sound above) has a dot, and the letter Ł or ł (pronounced like "w" as in "wind") has a stroke.

Because of these differences, Polish has 32 letters. That's six more than in English! The Polish alphabet is:

Upper case A Ą B C Ć D E Ę F G H I J K L Ł M N Ń O Ó P R S Ś T U W Y Z Ź Ż
Lower case a ą b c ć d e ę f g h i j k l ł m n ń o ó p r s ś t u w y z ź ż

Polish has also digraphs:

  • Ch or ch (like the "ch" in "loch", just like Polish H)
  • Cz or cz (like the "ch" in "chocolate" but different from the Ć sound above)
  • Rz or rz (read just like Ż)
  • Sz or sz (like the "sh" in "ship" but different from the Ś sound above)
(Definition)

diacritic — a mark added to a letter to change the way it is pronounced. For example, when a "kreska" is added to the Polish letter "C", its pronunciation changes from a "ts" sound (as in "boots") to a "ch" sound as in "chocolate".

(Definition)

nasal vowel — a vowel which is so called because it sounds like it is being said while the nose is blocked (hence "nasal").

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Polish has 46 million speakers. Of these, 38 million live in Poland, while the rest live in countries all over the world. Around 10% of the EU population speak Polish. Over half a million Polish speakers live in the UK - most of these people are recent immigrants but many are Polish-British people who've lived there since the 1940s.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

As the place where it was first spoken, Polish is mainly spoken in Poland. There are also large numbers of Polish speakers in neighbouring countries such as Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine, as well as important Polish-speaking communities in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Polish is an official language of the European Union.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The history of Polish is closely linked to Mieszko I, the first Duke of Poland.

Like most languages in the countries around Poland, the Polish language comes from the very old Proto-Slavic language, a dead language once spoken around central and eastern Europe. The Polish language as we know it today began to take shape around the 10th century, when Poland started to become a distinct state. In particular, the history of the language is tied in with that of Mieszko I, the first Polish Duke, who united various Slavic tribes in the region that shared a similar culture and language. After Poland became Christian in 966, the new country adopted the Latin alphabet for its language. Before then, the language had no writing system, and only existed through people speaking it.

The earliest examples of written Polish are religious texts written by members of the Catholic Church. Non-religious examples of written Polish emerged in the Middle Ages, and the language kept changing and adding new words from other languages, such as German, Russian and Czech. Today, Polish borrows many words for English for new items that have never existed before, such as computer, which is called komputer in Polish!

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Adam Mickiewicz, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Stanisław Lem, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Polish listen English
ja
I
ty
you
cześć
hello
do widzenia
goodbye
dobranoc
good night
słoń
elephant
kot
cat
Polska
Poland
imię
name

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Christmas is a very special time in Poland. One of the most popular carols sung there is the Jesus Lullaby.

In Polish:

Lulajże Jezuniu, moja perełko!
Lulaj ulubione me pieścidełko.
Lulajże, Jezuniu, lulajże, lulaj!
A Ty Go, Matulu, w płaczu utulaj.

In English:

Sleep, little Jesus, my little pearl!
Sleep, my favourite darling.
Sleep, little Jesus, in loving arms lying,
And you, Mummy, hug him while he is crying.

References[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Portuguese language uses the Latin (Western) alphabet now with the letters k, w, and y. They use six different diacritics to change the sounds that the letters make in words. Here are the different letters that are changed by diacritics: á, â, ã, à, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, ú, .

(Definition)

diacritic — a mark added to a letter to change the way it is pronounced.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

About two hundred and fifty million people speak Portuguese as their native language. It is the 5th most spoken language of the world. It is one of the official languages of the European Union and Mercosul.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Lusophoneworld.png

Portuguese is spoken all over the world. Most people in Portugal and Brazil speak Portuguese as their first language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, East Timor, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mozambique and Equatorial Guinea. A few hundred years ago Portugal discovered, colonized and laid claim to many regions around the world.

(Definition)

colonize — to claim, populate and govern new land.


Portuguese colonization was distinct from other colonizing nations due to the small size of the nation (territory/population). The colonization process was a direct result of nautical exploration for commerce and trade routes and the goal to establish claims (see Padrão), more than a pressure to expand population. A significative part of the population necessary to maintain the new territorial claims were in fact not even of Portuguese origin, Galegos (from Galicia - Spain) and Flemengos (Flemish people) were, especially in the earlier stages of expansion, of great importance to the crown. For similar reasons there was also a great level of interbreeding with locals and population movement from colony to colony, more than any other European nation.

The Portuguese Empire.png

As can be seen above the Portuguese Império Ultramarino (overseas empire) included Brazil, countries in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. It was the longest-lived modern European colonial empire and the first global empire in history. Portuguese settlers (and settlers from other nations under license from Portugal) went to the new colonies, established the government and business, ruling over any existing indigenous populations. The new colonies continued to speak Portuguese and indigenous were required to learn the language in order to interact with the state representatives. Portuguese was often established as a common language on ethnically distinct regions that have several local dialects (i.e.: Angola and Guinea-Bissau) and this practice continues after their independence or as a way to preserve Historico-cultural distinction like in East Timor. Although Portuguese is not the official language in Goa (India) and Macao (China) it is still spoken by minorities on those regions and the language also had a deep influence in nations that it entered in contact, for instance Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Japan and one of the many legacies was the adoption of some Portuguese language into Japanese.

The spoken language of Galiza, an autonomous community in northwest Spain, is Galego, closely related to Portuguese. (In medieval times, Galego and Portuguese were a single language.)

Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) formed by Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea, part of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) an the intergovernmental organization for friendship among lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) nations where Portuguese is an official language.

There are also large communities of Portuguese speaking people in other parts of the world such as the United States, Andorra, France, Luxembourg, Jersey, Namibia, Venezuela, and South Africa. Portuguese is becoming one of the main languages in Southern Africa, where it is also taught in Namibia and South Africa.

Portuguese-based Creole is also spoken in different parts of the world. These include India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

It is one of many descendants of Latin (Ibero-Roman group). All of these languages split from Latin long ago. During the Middle Ages the Latin in North Portugal and Galicia (northwestern Spain) slowly became a language called Galician-Portuguese. Galician-Portuguese was a mix of Latin and some of the local pré-Roman languages: Celt, Lusitanian. It also contains influences from the invaders of the Roman Empire: Vandals, Visigoths and later Arabic invaders from northern Africa (the Moors), even French due to cultural relations and English due to economical relations have enriched the language. The discoveries age enriched Portuguese language by giving lots of words from Africa, Asia and America.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

  • Luís de Camões (Portuguese, 1524 – 1580): considered by some the greatest poet of the Portuguese language.
  • Machado de Assis (Brazilian, 1839 – 1908): widely regarded as the most important writer of Brazilian literature.
  • Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese, 1888 – 1935): another great Portuguese poet.
  • Cecília Meireles (Brazilian, 1901 – 1964): Modernist poet.
  • José Saramago (Portuguese, 1922 – 2010): Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.
  • Jose Cardoso Pires (Portuguese, 1925 – 1998): author of short stories, novels, plays, and political satire.
  • Nélida Piñon (Brazilian, 1937 – present): First woman to win the prestigious Juan Rulfo literary prize, awarded annually to a leading Latin American, Caribbean, or Iberian writer.
  • Paulo Coelho (Brazilian, 1947 – present)

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Português (Portuguese) English (Inglês)
Sim Yes
Não No
Talvez Maybe
Sempre Always
Olá Hello
Oi Hi
Oi! Como vai?/Como estás? Hi! How are you?
Bom dia Good morning
Boa tarde Good afternoon
Boa noite Good night
(Que há?) or (O que foi?) or (Qual é?) What's up?
Não muito. Not much.
Agora não Not now
Tchau or Adeus Good-bye.
Até amanhã. See you tomorrow.
Poderia dizer-me onde posso encontrar um banheiro (ou casa-de-banho)? Could you tell me where I can find a bathroom?
Onde posso apanhar um táxi? Where can I take a taxi?
Quanto custa isso? How much does it cost?
Quero um copo de leite. I want a glass of milk.
Gosto de você (de ti). I like you.
Te amo (Amo-te). I love you.
Obrigado (speaker is male) or Obrigada/o (speaker is female) Thank you.
Tenho saudades tuas I miss you.
De nada or Não há de quê You are welcome.
Que horas são? What time is it?.
Por favor Please.
Desculpa (shows familiarity) ou Desculpe (shows deference)/Desculpe-me Sorry/I'm sorry.
Você or Tu You (singular, familiar)
O senhor (male) or a senhora (female) You (singular, formal).
Vocês You (plural).
Nós We.
Eles (male), elas (female) They.
Você fala inglês? Do you speak English?
Eu não falo português I don’t speak Portuguese.
Eu não entendo. I do not understand
Como se diz em português? How do you say it in Portuguese?
Fale mais devagar, por favor. Speak slower, please
Repita, por favor. Say it again, please
Você tem ......? Do you have ......?
Eu quero I want .....
Eu não quero ..... I don’t want .....
Eu gostaria ..... I would like .....
Onde é ....? Where is .....?
Onde posso trocar dinheiro? Where can I change money?
Qual é a cotação do dólar? What is the exchange rate for the dollar?
Eu gostaria de trocar cem dólares. I would like to change $100.00.
Meu nome é ..... or Chamo-me ..... My name is .......
Como você se chama? What is your name?
Prazer em conhecê-lo (male). Prazer em conhecê-la (female) Nice to meet you.
Hoje Today.
Ontem Yesterday.
Amanhã Tomorrow.

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

"Cai,Cai, Balão"[edit]

Cai,Cai, Balão;
Cai,Cai, Balão;
Aqui na minha mão.;
Não cai, não;
Não cai, não;
Não cai, não;
Cai na rua do João.

in English....
"Fall, Fall, Balloon"
Fall, Fall, Balloon;
Right here in my hand.
Please don't fall;
Please don't fall;
Please don't fall;
Fall on John's street.


Quenya[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Word Arda (world) written in Tengwar script

Quenya is a constructed language invented by British author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. His most well-known books are the Lord of the Rings series and the Hobbit. Tolkien uses Quenya as well as other languages he created in many of his books. This language uses a special kind of a writing system named Tengwar. "Tengwar" in Quenya means "letters". Letters of the Tengwar script are different than those of the Roman alphabet, which is used for writing English. However, it is possible to write Quenya using the letters of the Roman alphabet, too. Quenya uses the following letters:

a, á, b, c, d, e, é, f, g, h, i, í, l, m, n, o, ó, p, q, r, s, t, u, ú, v, w, x, and y.

There are also several combinations of these letters used to represent other tengwar: ny, ty, ly, gw, nw, cw (which is usually spelled as qu), etc.

Since the Roman alphabet is not the original alphabet used for writing Quenya words, some differences may appear when two different persons write the same word using the letters of the Roman alphabet. For example, some would write cirya (ship), while the others would write kirya. You may also find the letter e having two little dots over it: ë. This does not affect the pronunciation, but is used sometimes to mark the letter e when it is final in a word: minë (one).

(Definition)

constructed language — a language that someone invented. This is unlike English and other natural languages whose rules and vocabulary evolved over hundreds or thousands of years.

(Definition)

script — a way of writing a language; a writing system.

(Definition)

alphabet — all the letters of a language.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are many people who study this language for fun. In Tolkien's stories, Quenya is spoken by some Elves and Humans in the lands named Middle-Earth and Valinor. However, very few people actually speak the language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Tolkien has created a world just like ours, named Arda. There are many peoples living in Arda, and Quenya is the language of the Elves. Some Elvish peoples speak other languages such as Sindarin, Telerin, and Nandorin, just like how not all humans speak the same languages. The other Elvish languages are all similar to Quenya because Tolkien created them as related languages. Many human languages are related also, for example Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian are all similar because they are related languages.

People who studied Quenya for fun usually use it for writing poems and songs as it is said to be a pleasant and musical-sounding language.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

In Tolkien's stories, all the Elves at first spoke one single language, usually referred to as Primitive Elvish. Then they started a big journey from Cúvienen, where they lived at first. As the time passed, and they were moving, the language spread, and Elves began to speak it differently. This is why several different Elvish languages appeared, one of which is Quenya.

Tolkien continued to change Quenya for his entire life. He first started to work on it while he was still a young boy, and he kept improving it right up to his death. Because of this, early Quenya words and grammar were very different from the way they would end up at the end of Tolkien's life.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Quenya is usually used for writing poems, stories, and songs.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) is the creator of Quenya and several other Elvish languages. His son, Christopher Tolkien, continued publishing Quenya-related material after his father's death.

Helge K. Fauskanger and Thorsten Renk are considered some of the best researchers of Tolkien's languages today. They wrote textbooks of Quenya and Sindarin languages, and articles about Tolkien's languages.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo - A star shines on the hour of our meeting. (In other words: "Hello.")
  • aran - king
  • tári - queen
  • Elda - Elf
  • Eldar - Elves
  • atto ar mamil - Dad and Mom
  • malta - gold
  • ondo - stone, rock
  • cár - head
  • masta - bread
  • Anar - Sun
  • Isil - Moon
  • lírë - song
  • laire - poem

Numbers[edit]

  • minë 1
  • atta 2
  • neldë 3
  • canta 4
  • lempë 5
  • enquë 6
  • otso 7
  • tolto 8
  • nertë 9
  • cainen 10
  • minquë 11
  • rasta 12

Colours[edit]

  • carnë - red
  • culuina - orange
  • fána or fánë - white (like clouds)
  • helwa - pale blue
  • laiqua - green
  • laurëa - golden
  • lossë - white (like snow)
  • luin - blue
  • malina - yellow
  • morë or morna - black
  • ninquë - white
  • silma - silver, shining white
  • sindë or sinda - grey
  • varnë - dark brown

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Try to learn this little song from "The Lord of the Rings" named Rhyme of Lore:

Hallë ciryar ar hallë arani
neldë lúr neldë,
man tuncet Atalantello
or i úlëa eär?
Otso eleni ar otso ondor
ar minë ninquë alda. *

* - translation to Quenya by David F. Ponessa

It sounds like this:

Halle keeryar ar halle aranee
nelde loor nelde
man toonket atalantello
or ee oolea ear
otso elenee ar otso ondor
ar meene neenkwe alda

And that means:

Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.



Russian[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Russian alphabet is based on the Cyrillic writing system. Legend says that two Byzantine brothers, Cyril and Methodius, created it using letters of the Greek and Hebrew alphabets in the 9th century. Cyrillic script has changed much with time, even more than the Latin script we use. In fact, modern Russians are not able to read a three-hundred-year-old book in Russian. This is not only because the language has changed, but also because they are not able to recognize many letters. The last big change of Russian script happened in 1918, and the alphabet has remained the same since.

There are a total of thirty-three letters in the modern Russian alphabet. Two of these letters do not have an actual sound; they simply change the sound of other letters in words. The Cyrillic alphabet goes as follows:

Cyrillic.russian.script.year.1918.png

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Russian is the native language for about 145 million people. There are also about 110 million who speak it as a secondary language.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Countries of the world where Russian is spoken.

Russian is, of course, spoken in Russia (click here to learn about Russia). It is widely spoken in Belarus (click here to learn about Belarus) and eastern Ukraine. For many years Russia was a part of a larger association called the Soviet Union. In 1991 the Soviet Union separated into several separate countries. Many of these countries, such as Latvia and Estonia, still use Russian for communication between people who speak different languages (like English in other parts of the world). There are also permanent Russian-speaking settlements in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard (Spitsbergen), which was acquired from Russia. Russian is known as what is called Lingua Franca in the countries where it remains in use regardless of whether or not a large ethnic Russian population resides there.

Russian is also spoken by the communities of Russian emigrants in the U.S.A., Israel, Germany, and many other countries.

(Definition)

emigrant — someone who has left the land where she/he was born and moved to another country.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The Russian language belongs to the group of languages that are called Slavic. These languages have many commonalities, some of which are similar word roots and similar grammar. It is for this reason why scientists think that all Slavic languages originated from one Protoslavic language, that people spoke a long time ago (before 1000 A.D.). As time passed, the language spread, and people in different countries began to speak it differently. It is considered that Russian became a separate language in 14th – 15th centuries.

As Russia changed with time, so did the language. Major events in Russian history brought new features to language and literature. Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin is considered the "father" of modern literary language. He chose to write books using the way that people spoke instead of using old fashioned grammar and vocabulary like the other authors of his time. Though the Russian language is very flexible and ever-changing, Pushkin’s language stays the base and the standard of classic style.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin

Russian literature is well known in the West. Possibly you've heard the names of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Brodsky. But not many people know that there are lots of wonderful children’s books in Russia.

Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin (1799 – 1837) is one of the greatest Russian poets. He wrote books both for grown ups and for children. When he was a child, his nanny, Arina Rodionovna, told him many beautiful folk fairy tales. When he grew up, he wrote down these fairy tales in poem form. The plot of The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights is a lot like the Snow White story. In The Tale of Tsar Saltan, when the tsar chooses one of three sisters to be his queen, the others get jealous and tell lies about her. The queen and her son are sent to a faraway island, where a fairy princess helps the young prince to reunite with his father. These books became classics of Russian Children’s literature, and every child in Russia knows them by heart, just like you know Mother Goose rhymes.

Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), the author of War and Peace, is probably the most well-known Russian writer in the West. He wrote books for children too. He was very compassionate towards peasant people, and tried to help them as much as he could. He opened a school for peasant children and wrote the textbooks for it himself. He also wrote three very beautiful books about his own young years: Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth.

A lot of interesting children’s books were written in Russian in the 20th century. Korney Ivanovich Chukovsky wrote fairy tales about Bad Robber Barmaley and Kind Doctor Aibolit, Moidodyr who makes all kids wash up in the morning, and evil Tarakanishe (the Huge Roach) that terrorizes all the animals in the forest. Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak wrote Tale of a Silly Mouseling and Cat’s house. Nikolai Nosov wrote a series of books about the adventures of Neznaika (Dontknow) and his friends, living in the happy Flower city.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • Привет /prʲɪˈvʲet/ — Hello (informal)
  • Здравствуйте /ˈzdrastvʊjtʲə/ — Hello (formal)
  • Как дела? /kɐk dʲɪˈlˠa/ — How are you?
  • Меня зовут... /mʲɪˈnʲa zəˈvut/ — My name is...
  • До свидания! /də svʲɪˈdanʲɪjɐ/ — Goodbye!
  • Я тебя люблю! /jə tʲɪˈbʲa lʲʉbˈlʲu/ — I love you!
  • Спасибо! /spəˈsʲibə/ — Thank you!
  • Пожалуйста! /pəˈʐalˠʊjstə/ — Please; you are welcome!

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Try to learn this little poem by Agnia Barto:

Уронили мишку на пол,
Оторвали мишке лапу.
Всё равно его не брошу —
Потому что он хороший.

It sounds like this:

Ooronili mishkoo na pol,
Otorvali mishke lapoo,
Vsyo ravno evo nye broshoo —
Pahtomoo shto on horoshiy.

And that means:

Teddy bear was dropped on the floor,
Teddy bear's paw got torn off.
But I will never leave him —
Because he is good.


Sanskrit[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Sanskrit is written in the Devanagari script, one of the oldest writing systems in the world. Some other languages such as Hindi and Marathi are also written in Devanagari, but Sanskrit is the first language to use this writing system. Originally Sanskrit was not a written language, and when it started being written, a number of different scripts were used initially, until Devanagari became the standard.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

A little more than two hundred thousand (200,000) people in the world can speak Sanskrit very well. Sanskrit is an old language and is mostly used by priests and scholars of old texts including many religious ones. Many people know at least a little Sanskrit because of the importance it has to other Indian languages and the Hindu religion.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Sanskrit was used widely in ancient times, but nowadays there are very few areas in the world where this language is spoken. It was invented in India, and some communities in India still speak in Sanskrit. Many Asian Buddhists can also speak Sanskrit. It is found in Hindu holy writings and hymns. It is known to be used regularly in some areas in South India, though. In many remote villages in India Sanskrit is spoken even today. Sanskrit is the official language of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

There are many theories to how Sanskrit came into existence. One of them is about an Aryan migration from the west into India who brought their language with them. Sanskrit is an ancient language and is comparable to the Latin language spoken in Europe. The earliest known book in the world was written in Sanskrit. After the compilation of Upanishads, Sanskrit just faded due to hierarchy. Sanskrit is a very complex and rich language, which has served to be the source for many modern Indian languages, just like Latin is the source for European languages like French and Spanish.

Sanskrit was considered a high-level language and was spoken by officials, kings, noblemen, etc. It was difficult for the common man to comprehend Sanskrit. Sanskrit eventually became almost extinct, but it was kept alive by holy men, scholars, and Buddhists.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Many ancient writers such as Vyasa, Valmiki, Kalidasa, Bhasa, Bhartruhari, and Chanakya wrote in Sanskrit. It is a rich language and they became famous for enriching it further. The great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, are written in Sanskrit, as are the Vedas, Upanishads, and Subhashitratnani.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Devanagari Latin Translation
शून्य shoonya zero
एकम् ekam one
द्वी dvi two
त्रीणि trINi three
चत्वारि Catvāri four
पंच pancha five
षट ShaTa six
सप्त sapta seven
अष्ट ashTa eight
नव nava nine
दश dasha ten
एकादश Ēkādaśa eleven

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Sanskrit[edit]

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोस्त्वकर्मणि॥
—श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता (२:४७)

In English letters[edit]

karmany evadhikaras te ma phaleshu kadachana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango 'stv akarmani
—Shri Bhagvatgita (Chapter 2 verse 47)

English Translation[edit]

Your right is to work only,
But never to its fruits;
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
Nor let thy attachment be to inaction.
—Shri Bhagvatgita (2:47)

English meaning[edit]

  • karmani—prescribed duties
  • eva—certainly
  • adhikarah—right
  • te—of you
  • ma—never
  • phaleshu—in the fruits
  • kadachana—at any time
  • ma—never
  • karma-phala—in the result of the work
  • hetuh—cause
  • bhuh—become
  • ma—never
  • te—of you
  • sangah—attachment
  • astu—be there
  • akarmani—in not doing.


Serbian[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Serbian alphabet is based on the Cyrillic writing system. Two brothers named Cyril and Methodius created it using letters of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century. Cyrillic script has changed much with time, even more than the Roman script we use. Actually, modern Serbs are not able to read a three-hundred-year-old book in Serbian! This is not only because the language has changed, but also because they are not able to recognize many letters. The last big change of Serbian script happened in the 19th century, and the alphabet has remained the same since.

(Definition)

alphabet — all the letters of a language.

(Definition)

script — a way of writing a language; a writing system.

There are a total of thirty letters in the modern Serbian alphabet, and they are the following:

Serbian Alphabet

It is also possible to write Serbian using the letters of the Roman alphabet, which are used in English too, and many Serbs do so. Here is the list of Serbian Cyrillic letters compared to the Roman ones (the pronunciation is given in the brackets):

Cyrillic Roman   Cyrillic Roman
А A (a) Н N (n)
Б B (b) Њ Nj (ny)
В V (v) О O (o)
Г G (g as in goat) П P (p)
Д D (d) Р R (r)
Ђ Đ (dy) С S (s)
Е E (e, as in egg) Т T (t)
Ж Ž (zh) Ћ Ć (ty)
З Z (z) У U (oo)
И I (ee) Ф F (f)
Ј J (y) Х H (h, as in Loch or Bach)
К K (k) Ц C (ts)
Л L (l) Ч Č (ch)
Љ Lj (ly) Џ Dž (j)
М M (m) Ш Š (sh)

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Serbian is the native language for about 10 million people. There are also many people who speak it as a secondary language.

(Definition)

native language — first language that one has learned to speak as a child; the language of one's parents. Also known as one's mother tongue.

(Definition)

secondary language — language that one has learned other than his native language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Countries of the world where Serbian is spoken.

Serbian is, of course, spoken in Serbia (click here to learn about Serbia). But besides Serbia, Serbian is understood in Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, because these languages (Croatian, Montenegrin, and Bosnian) are so similar that everybody understands each other's languages. In fact, they are so similar that Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian are often considered just one big language: Serbo-Croatian. There are many Serbian-speaking communities in the USA, Western Europe, Australia, and many other countries where the Serbs have emigrated.

(Definition)

Yugoslavia — a union of present-day Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro that existed from 1918 until the 1990s.

(Definition)

to emigrate — to leave the land where one was born and move to another country.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The Serbian language belongs to the group of languages that are called Slavonic or Slavic. These languages have many commonalities, some of which are similar word roots and similar grammar. For this reason, scientists think that all Slavonic languages originated from one common language, the so-called Protoslavonic language, that people spoke a long time ago (before 1000 A.D.). As time passed, the language spread, and people in different countries began to speak it differently. It is believed that Serbian became a separate language in 11th – 13th centuries, when the first Serbian countries were formed.

As Serbian countries changed with time, so did the language. Major events in Serbian history brought new features to language and literature. Serbian linguist Vuk Stefanović Karadžić is considered the "father" of the modern literary language. Though the Serbian language is very flexible and ever-changing, Vuk’s language stays the base and the standard of the classic style. Vuk's name (Вук) in Serbian means wolf! :)

(Definition)

Slavonic languages — a group of several closely related languages spoken primarily in Eastern, Central, and South-Eastern Europe and Nothern Asia. This group includes Serbian, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Czech, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and many other languages. Also known as Slavic languages.

(Definition)

linguist — someone who studies languages.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

Serbian literature is ancient and it has a special style. There are also lots of wonderful children’s books in Serbian.

(Definition)

literature — books, like the one you are reading now.

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić (1787 – 1864) is considered "father" of the modern Serbian language. He is also famous by collecting Serbian proverbs and folk poems and tales. Here is one Serbian folk story written down by Vuk Karadžić:

The Dark Realm
People speak that once some king with his army reached the very end of the world and entered the Dark Realm, where one can't ever see anything. When they entered the Dark Realm, and walked around it, they felt some small stones under their legs, and suddenly something spoke from the dark:
Which one of you takes these stones, he will be sorry! And which one doesn't take them, he will be sorry, too!
Some of the soldiers tought:
If I am going to be sorry, then why should I take them at all?
And some:
I'll take at least one.
When they returned to the light, they saw that those stones were all pure diamonds. Then those who didn't take them were sorry because they didn't, and those who did take them were sorry because they didn't take some more.


Jovan Jovanović Zmaj (1833 – 1904) is one of the greatest Serbian poets for children. He wrote many beautiful poems. His name Zmaj (Змај) in Serbian means dragon! :) Here is one famous poem by Zmaj:

A Child And A Butterfly
Child:
Oh, my little butterfly,
Would you please just come to me!
Spread your wings and twinkle by,
Here's a rose for you to see.
Butterfly:
I would like to come and see,
I would like to twinkle by;
But, your needle might poke me
And my life might go bye-bye!
Child:
I won't do that — don't be scared —
Cross my heart so you could know.
I would only like to bend —
Count how many legs you grow.
Butterfly:
That is something I can tell
Even if I'm not close by:
I have six legs that are swell,
And now, my dear boy, bye-bye!

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

  • Здраво (zdravo) - Hello (informal)
  • Добар дан (dobar dan) - Good Day (formal)
  • Како си? (kako see) - How are you? (informal)
  • Како сте? (kako ste) - How are you? (formal)
  • Ја се зовем... (ya se zovem) - My name is...
  • Довиђења! (doveedyenya) - Goodbye!
  • Шта је то? (shta ye to) - What is that/it?
  • Говорите ли енглески? (govoreete lee engleskee) - Do you speak English? (formal)
  • Говориш ли енглески? (govoreesh lee engleskee) - Do you speak English? (informal)
  • Где је купатило? (gde ye koopateelo) - Where is the bathroom?
  • Извините! (eezveeneete) - Excuse me! (formal)
  • Извини! (eezveenee) - Sorry! (informal)

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Try to learn this little folk poem from the west of Serbia:

Љуља баба дијете,
што га не зовете?
Ми смо га звали,
шећера му дали,
а оно се љути
што је шећер жути!

It sounds like this:

Lyoolya baba deeyete,
shto ga ne zovete?
Mee smo ga zvalee,
shetyera moo dalee,
a ono se lyootee
shto ye shetyer zhootee!

And that means:

Grandma holds her little child,
Why don't you kids call him?
We did call him,
We gave him some sugar to eat,
But he was angry on us,
Because the sugar was yellow!



Spanish[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Spanish is written using the Latin alphabet, with the addition of Ñ (enye). CH (che) and LL (eye) also used to have their own places in the alphabet (a, b, c, ch, d, …, l, ll, m, n, ñ, …) as well as RR (erre, the double r indicating a rolled r). Since 1994, however, words containing the letters CH and LL have been alphabetized as though spelled with the separate letters c - h and l - l.

Spanish doesn't use letter W except in foreign words. Letter K is used very little and is mainly found in foreign words.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are more than 400 million people across the globe who speak Spanish as their first language. When you include non-native speakers (people who learned another language before they learned Spanish), the total increases to about 500 million.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

This language is spoken in Central and South America (except Brazil, Guyana, French Guyana, and Suriname), Mexico, and Spain. Large numbers of Spanish-speaking peoples live in the United States as well. Spanish is also spoken in several Caribbean islands including the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Some Jews living in Israel speak a dialect called Sefardi, also called Ladino. The biggest Spanish-speaking countries are Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina and the United States.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Spanish is a member of the Romance branch of Indo-European languages, descended largely from Latin. Spanish has also been influenced by many other languages it has been in contact with, including Basque, Germanic, Arabic, several Native American languages, and other Romance languages such as French and Italian, so there are some Spanish words that do not come from Latin.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, which is considered by many to be the first modern novel, one of the greatest works in Western literature, and the greatest of the Spanish language.
  • Gabriel José García Márquez is a Colombian novelist, widely credited with introducing the global public to magical realism. He wrote Crónicas de una Muerte Anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), Amor en los Tiempos de Cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera), Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), and others.
  • Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century. He is best known in the English speaking world for his short stories. Many of his most popular stories concern the nature of time, infinity, mirrors, labyrinths, reality, and identity.
  • Ernesto Sabato is an Argentine writer best known for his existentialist novels El Túnel, On heroes and tombs, and The angel of darkness.
  • Julio Cortázar was an Argentine intellectual and author of several experimental novels and many short stories. Cortázar is highly regarded as a master of short stories of a fantastic bent, with the collections Bestiario (1951) and Final de Juego (1956) containing many of his best examples in the genre, including the famous "Continuidad de los Parques."
  • Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the penname and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and communist politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. His works have been translated into dozens of languages, and he is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. He was accomplished in a wide variety of styles, including erotically charged love poems (such as "White Hills"), surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. Some of Neruda's most beloved poems are his "Odes to Broken Things," collected in several volumes. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez has called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language". In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a controversial award because of his political activism.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Respuestas Responses
Yes
No No
Tal vez, quizás Probably, perhaps
Saludos Greetings
Hola Hello
Buenos días Good morning
Buenas tardes Good afternoon
Buenas noches Good night
¿Qué hay de nuevo?, ¿Qué hay?, ¿Qué onda?, ¿Qué pasa? What's up?
No mucho. Not much.
Nada. Nothing.
Despedidas Good-byes
Adiós. Good-bye.
Hasta luego. See you later.
Hasta mañana. See you tomorrow.
Hasta la vista. See you later.
Hablamos (translated 'Nos mantendremos en contacto'). Keep in touch.
Te veo pronto. See you soon.
Frases útiles Useful phrases
¿Podría decirme dónde puedo encontrar un baño? (polite)
¿Dónde hay un baño?
Could you tell me where I can find a bathroom?
Where is the bathroom?
¿Cuánto cuesta?, ¿Cuánto es? How much does it cost?
Quiero leche por favor. I want milk please.
Gracias. Thanks.
Me caes bien. I like you.
Te quiero, Te amo. I love you
Mi perro se comió mi tarea. My dog ate my homework.
...Por favor... ...Please...
De nada. You're welcome.

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Hola, mis amigos, ¿cómo están?[edit]

Hola, mis amigos, ¿cómo están?

(español)
Hola, mis amigos, ¿cómo están?
Hoy vamos a jugar
luego vamos a cantar
y después podemos irnos a casa.

Hello, How Are You My Friends?

(English)
Hello, how are you my friends?
Today we are going to play
then we are going to sing
and then we can go home.

Estrellita[edit]

Estrellita

(español)
Estrellita, ¿dónde estás?
Me pregunto qué serás.
En el cielo y en el mar,
un diamante de verdad.
Estrellita, ¿dónde estás?
Me pregunto qué serás...

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

(English)
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

(Literal English)
Where are you, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
In the sky and in the sea,
Truly like a diamond.
Where are you, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

La pequeñita araña[edit]

La pequeñita araña

(español)
La pequeñita araña subió, subió, subió.
Bajó la lluvia y se la llevó.
Salió el sol y todo secó,
y la pequeñita araña subió, subió, subió.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

(English)
Itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun-shine and dried up all the rain,
And itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

The Cute Little Spider

(Literal English)
The cute little spider climbed up, climbed up, climbed up.
Down came the rain and she was carried away.
Out came the sun and it dried everything,
And the cute little spider climbed up, climbed up, climbed up.

Un elefante[edit]

Un elefante

(español)
Un elefante
se balanceaba
sobre la tela de una araña.
Como veía
que no se caía,
fue a llamar a otro elefante.

Dos elefantes
se balanceaban
sobre la tela de una araña.
Como veían
que no se caían,
fueron a llamar otro elefante.

Tres elefantes...
(Y así...)

One Elephant

(English)
One elephant
Was balancing
On a spider web.
Since he saw
That it didn't fall
He went to call another elephant.

Two elephants
Were balancing
On a spider web.
Since they saw
That they didn't fall
They went to call another elephant.

Three elephants...
(And so on...)


Swahili[edit]

What writing systems does this language use?[edit]

Although originally written in Arabic script, Swahili writing is now based on the Latin alphabet that was introduced by Christian missionaries and colonial governments.

The Swahili alphabet now contains all the same letters as English with the exception of q and x.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

About 5 million people speak Swahili as a native language. About 80 million people speak it as a secondary language. It is more common as a second language because it is used as a language of business in an area where there are many different tribal languages. People need to learn Swahili to buy and sell things with people who have other native languages.

(Definition)

native language — the first language that a person learnt as a child.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

File:Maeneo penye wasemaji wa Kiswahili.png
Distribution of Swahili in Africa

People primarily speak Swahili in Zanzibar and Tanzania. There are smaller communities of Swahili speaking people in Burundi, Kenya, Mayotte, Mozambique, Oman, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

It is uncertain where or how Swahili first came about but it is general believed that Swahili speaking people have occupied their present territories, hugging the Indian Ocean, since well before AD 1000.

It appears to some researchers that Swahili started in a number of Arabic trading posts. People speaking different dialects of Bantu, a local language, found that it was difficult to communicate with one another, so they adapted Arabic and Bantu to create a language for business, Swahili.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Utend̠i wa Tambuka, which means "The Story of Tambuka", is one of the oldest known pieces of literature in Swahili. The author of the story identifies himself as Mwengo, son of Athumani or Osman. Little is known of him. The story is about "the Byzantine-Arab Wars" and "Byzantine-Ottoman Wars" between the Muslims and Byzantines, covering a period from 628 AD to 1453 AD (the Fall of Constantinople). Like other early Swahili writing it was written with the Arabic script.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Majibu Responses
Ndiyo Yes
Hapana No
Labda Maybe
Mahamkio Greetings
Jambo ! Hello !
Hujambo ? How are you ?
Sijambo I'm fine
Habari gani ? How are you ?
Salama Fine
Hodi ? Anyone home ?
Karibu ! You're welcome !
Karibuni ! You're welcome ! (plural)
Kuachana Good-byes
Kwa heri Good-bye
Kwa herini Good-bye (plural)
Tutaonana See you later
Tutaonana kesho See you tomorrow
Usiku mwema ! Good night !
Lala salama ! Sweet dreams !
Maneno ya maana Useful phrases
Unasema kiingereza ? Do you speak English ?
Choo kiko wapi ? Where are the toilets ?
Tafadhali Please
Asante Thank you
Asante sana Thank you very much
Jina lako nani ? what's your name ?
Jina langu... My name is...
Pole ! Sorry !
Safari njema ! Have a good journey !
Maneno machache Some words
Mimi I/me
Wewe You
Yeye He/him/she/her
Baba Papa/père
Mama Maman/mère
Nzuri Good
Mbaya Bad
Hapa Here
Hakuna There isn't
Hakuna matata No problem
Nipe... Give me...
Chakula Food
Maji Water
Gari car
Shule School
Soko Market
Kituo cha mabasi Bus stop
Stesheni Railway Station
Polisi Police
Askari Soldier
Kitabu Book
Simu Telephone
Kusoma to read/study
Kula to eat
Kunywa to drink
Yangu My/mine
Yako Your/yours
Wanaume Gentlemen
Wanawake Women
Nina I have
Sina I don't have
Nambari Numbers
Moja One
Mbili Two
Tatu Tree
Nne Four
Tano Five
Sita Six
Saba Seven
Nane Eight
Tisa Nine
Kumi Ten
Wanyama Animals
Paka Cat
Mbwa Dog
Ndege Bird
Samaki Fish
Ng'ombe Cow
Mbuzi Goat
Farasi Horse
Punda Donkey
Punda milia Zebra
Simba Lion
Twiga Giraffe
Ndovu/Tembo Elephant
Swala Gazelle
Kiboko Hippopotamus
Kifaru Rhinoceros
Mbogo/Nyati Buffalo
Nyoka snake

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Here are some interesting Swahili sayings that you can learn.

Swahili Literal Translation What it means

Bahati ya mwenzio usiilalie mlango wazi.

"Do not leave the (front) door open and go to bed just because someone you know did the same thing but nothing happened to him."

Don't be reckless just because others were lucky.

Usitukane wakunga na uzazi ungalipo.

"Don't insult the midwives as long as you are still able to bear children."

Don't offend people that you might need help from later.

Samaki mkunje angali mbichi.

"Bend a fish while it is (still) fresh/wet."

Children should be given guidance early in life (before it is too late).

Ahadi ni deni.

"A promise is a debt."

You have to keep your promises.

Riziki ni kujaribu.

"Sustenance is to try."

If you try your best, you can earn your living.

Wema hauozi.

"Mercifulness does not rot/decay."

If you are merciful to others they will never forget you for that.

References[edit]

Mwanasimba : Online Swahili course for beginners
Swahili Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Wikipedia: Swahili Language
A Selection of Common Swahili Proverbs/Sayings/Maxims and Riddles


Tamil[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Tamil is written using modern Tamil script which was evolved from Grantha script, Vattezhutthu (means rounded letters) and Tamil Brahmi. Just like the Latin alphabet, the Tamil script has letters representing vowels and consonants. In addition, unlike the Latin alphabet, there are letters representing combinations of vowels and consonants! For example, to represent 'PA' using Tamil script we have to combine the consonant ப் (P) with the vowel அ (A) to form ப (PA). This type of letters are simply called as uyirmeyyeḻuttu or vowel-consonants.

The Tamil script has 12 vowels, 18 consonants and 216 vowel-consonants (12 vowels x 18 consonants = 216 vowel-consonants). In addition, there is a special letter called āytam (ஃ) which is classified as neither a consonant nor a vowel. Hence, the complete script is comprised of 247 letters!

In Tamil, vowels are called as Uyirezhutthu which means soul-letters, consonants are called as Meiyezhutthu which means body-letters and vowel-consonants are called as Uyirmeiyezhutthu which means body & soul letters. Do you have any idea of why vowels are called as souls? It is because they give life (sound) to the soundless bodies - consonants!

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Over 66 million people speak Tamil as their native language and an estimated 11 million speak it as a secondary language.

(Definition)

native language — the first language that a person learned as a child.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India and Sri Lanka (1961).

Most Tamil speakers live in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore. Tamil is recognized as an official language in India, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Within India, Tamil is spoken mainly in Tamil Nadu, a state in India. Emigrant Tamil speakers live all over the world and have taken their language with them to their new communities.

(Definition)

emigrant — someone who has moved from the area where they were born to another country or region.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Some of the oldest Tamil writing can be seen in rock inscriptions from 200BC. The oldest work of Tamil literature, called தொல்காப்பியம் (tholkaappiyam, or "ancient vault"), was written sometime between 300BC and 1000AD. This work is a grammar book for Tamil.

Tamil has always been spoken by people of the Tamil culture in India since antiquity; the history of the language (and of the similar south Indian languages belonging to the Dravidian family of languages) before this is not clear. Tamil literature was developed during the classical period by literature events hosted at the historic Tamil city of Madurai by different Tamil kings.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

திருவள்ளுவர்(thiruvalluvar) is a popular Tamil poet, who wrote the திருக்குறள் (thirukkural). It is a collection of philosophical and practical advice, and has been widely translated to the languages of the world.

Ancient poets of note are இளங்கோ அடிகள் (ilango adigal), ஔவையார் (ouvaiyaar), கனியன் பூங்குன்றனார் (kaniyan poonguntranaar).

Some popular, late poets of the past two centuries include பாரதியார் (baaradhiyaar),பாரதிதாசன் (baradhidasan) and கண்ண‌தாசன் (kannadhaasan)

Popular current poets include வைரமுத்து (vairamuthu), வாலி (vaali)

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Hello: vanakkam வண‌க்கம்
Good-bye: paarkkalaam பார்க்கலாம் (literally "let us see [each other again]")
Mother: ammaa அம்மா
Street: theru தெரு
School: palli பள்ளி
Fire: thee தீ
Sound: oli ஒலி
Song: paattu பாட்டு
Jasmine: mullai முல்லை and malligai மல்லிகை
Rice: arisi அரிசி (the English word 'rice' is derived from this Tamil word)
Cooked Rice: soaru சோறு
Father: appa அப்பா
Hunger: Pasi பசி
Love: Anbu அன்பு
father: appa



A typical greeting:
How are you? eppadi irukkeenga? எப்படி இருக்கீங்க?
I'm quite fine : nallaave irukken நல்லாவே இருக்கேன்


What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Tamil text[edit]

குறிஞ்சி - தலைவன் கூற்று

யாயும் ஞாயும் யாரா கியரோ
எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம்முறைக் கேளிர்
யானும் நீயும் எவ்வழி யறிதும்
செம்புலப் பெயனீர் போல
அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாங்கலந் தனவே.

-- செம்புலப் பெயனீரார்

Transliteration[edit]

kurinchi - thalaivan kootru

yaayum ngaayum yaaraa giyaro?
endhaiyum tnundhaiyum emmurai kelir?
yaanum tneeyum evvali yaridhum,
chembulap peyaneer pola
anbudai tnencham thaangalandh thanave.

-- chembulap peyaneeraar

Translation[edit]

In hilly lands - The hero speaks

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
Did you and I meet ever?
But in love
our hearts have mingled
as red earth and pouring rain
-- chembulap peyaneeraar (a nickname meaning "[one who sang of] red earth and pouring rain")
Translated by AK Ramanujan (kurunthogai குறுந்தொகை - poem 40)
A poem from the Eight Anthologies எட்டுத்தொகை collection.


Turkish[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Turkish uses the Latin alphabet, just like English. However, the alphabet is slightly different.

This is the Turkish alphabet: Aa Bb Cc Çç Dd Ee Ff Gg Ğğ Hh İi Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Öö Pp Rr Ss Şş Tt Uu Üü Vv Yy Zz

All the bold letters sound different from English, and you may have also noticed that Turkish doesn't have the letters Qq, Ww or Xx. Cc sounds like the j in jam. Çç sounds like the ch in chocolate Ğğ doesn't have a sound, but just lengthens the vowel before it. does not sound like an English i, as a matter of fact, it doesn't even have an English equivalent. To make this sound, imagine a British person saying urgh, but a shorter version of it. That's an ı. Just don't forget, it's dotless! İi, however, is dotted, including the capital letters! It sounds like ee but shorter. Jj sounds like the s in treasure. Öö sounds just like the German ö. A close English equivalent is the i in bird. Şş sounds like the sh in shake Üü sounds like the ou in you.

(Definition)

equivalent — equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Turkish is the native language of about 70 million people, but worldwide about 100 million people can speak Turkish altogether.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

A map showing the number of Turkish speakers in each country.

Turkish is the official language of the Republic of Turkey (click here to learn about Turkey) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Turkish is also spoken within communities of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) where at least 20% of the local population speak it. Turkish is spoken by 2 million people in Germany due to a huge Turkish population living there. About 800,000 people in Bulgaria and over a million people in France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America also speak Turkish. There are also small communities of Turkish speakers found in Greece, Russia and Azerbaijan.

(Definition)

migrant — a person who moves (or has already moved) from one place to another.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

The earliest forms of the Turkish language were written in Orkhon script.

Atatürk teaching the new Turkish alphabet to the Turkish public.

During the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turkish language was influenced mainly by Arabic and Persian. The primary writing system was based on Arabic and Persian script. Due to the difficulty of learning the language only about 10% of the Ottoman Turkish population were literate.

However, in 1928, modern Turkey's greatest hero, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had changed many things about the Turkish language. He changed the writing system to a Turkish variant of the Latin alphabet (without the letters Q, W or X, and added the letters Ö from Swedish, Ç from Albanian, Ş from Romanian, and Ü from German; and also added the letters Ğ, I, and İ to represent certain sounds which weren't present in any other Latin-based languages at the time), and replaced many old Turkish words with new loanwords.

The change of the writing system heavily benefited Turkey's youth, and during the 1930s, the literacy rate shot up to 70%. Today, the overall literacy rate for both males and females is approximately 87%.

(Definition)

literate — Someone who is literate knows how to read and write.

(Definition)

youth — a young person/people.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Nasreddin Hoca riding a donkey.

Turkish literature is very rich, and stretches back even before the time of the Ottomans.

An example of a pre-Ottoman literary figure is Nasreddin Hoca, who is famous for his funny stories. Nobody really knows whether he existed or not, but there is a lot of proof. His tomb (which, although has a door with a huge padlock on it in front of the tomb, has no walls), can even be found in the town of Akşehir in Turkey.

An example of an Ottoman literary figure is Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu, but everyone just calls him Aşık Veysel. He was a famous minstrel and a poet. As a child, he became blind in both eyes. His father gave him a saz, a Turkish instrument, and recited many poems to him. As he was growing up, he devoted himself to playing the saz and singing songs, and ended up becoming a saz virtuoso. Unfortunately he had a very tough life (in addition to being blind, almost his entire family died, and his wife ran away with another man). His songs are like poems and mostly sad, but are very beautiful and touching.

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, Turkey underwent a huge modernization process, making it the most Westernized country in the Islamic world. Orhan Pamuk, one of Turkey's most successful authors, has also written many successful books, such as Kar (Snow), and Benim Adım Kırmızı (My Name is Red). In 2006, he became the first Turk to win the Nobel Prize, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

(Definition)

literature — books, like the one you are reading now.

(Definition)

literary — someone or something linked to literature.

(Definition)

minstrel — a poet and musician who sings or recites while playing a stringed instrument.

(Definition)

virtuoso — someone who has special knowledge in or is very skilled at something.

(Definition)

Ottoman — a Turkish dynasty that ruled the Ottoman Empire from the 1300's until the end of World War I.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Cevaplar Responses
Evet. Yes.
Hayır. No.
Belki. Maybe.
Selamlar Greetings
Merhaba. Hello.
Günaydın. Good morning.
Tünaydın. (rare), İyi öğlenler Good afternoon.
İyi akşamlar. Good evening
İyi geceler. Good night.
Ne var ne yok? What's up?
Vedalar Good-byes
Güle güle. Good-bye.
Görüşmek üzere. See you later.
Yarın görüşürüz. See you tomorrow.
Görüşürüz. See you soon.
Yararlı ibareler Useful phrases
İngilizce biliyor musunuz? Do you speak English? (formal)
İngilizce biliyor musun? Do you speak English? (informal)
Tuvaletler nerede? Where are the toilets?
Lütfen. Please.
Teşekkür ederim. Thank you.
Benim adım... My name is...
Özür dilerim! Sorry!
Şerefe! Cheers!

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Delivering a khutba[edit]

Once, Nasreddin was invited to deliver a khutba. When he got on the minbar (pulpit), he asked "Do you know what I am going to say?" The audience replied "NO", so he announced "I have no desire to speak to people who don't even know what I will be talking about" and he left.

The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day. This time when he asked the same question, the people replied "YES". So Nasreddin said, "Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won't waste any more of your time" and he left.

Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week. Once again he asked the same question - "Do you know what I am going to say?" Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered "YES" while the other half replied "NO". So Nasreddin said "The half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the other half" and he left!

— by Nasreddin Hoca

Mini Bir Kuş[edit]

Mini Bir Kuş is a Turkish nursery rhyme. This is the Turkish version of it:

Mini mini bir kuş donmuştu
Pencereme konmuştu
Aldım onu içeriye
Cik Cik Cik Cik Ötsün diye
Pır pır ederken canlandı
Ellerim bak boş kaldı

This is the translated version into English:

A tiny tiny bird got frozen
It perched on to my window
I took it inside
So that it could sing like jick jick jick jick
When it heard a purring sound it got excited
Look at my hands they're empty now

It sounds silly in English because the lines don't rhyme, unlike in Turkish.

References[edit]

Turkish Wikibook


Urdu[edit]

What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

The Urdū alphabet, with names in the Devanāgarī and Latin alphabets

Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic Script, and has many letters common with Arabic and Persian. It is written from right to left. However, Urdu is often written in the Latin alphabet in text messaging and e-mails.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

There are estimated to be about 60 million native speakers of Urdu and an additional 40 million people who can speak it as a secondary language. It is also closely related to the language Hindi, and speakers of the everyday forms of the languages can usually understand each other.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Urdu is widely spoken in Pakistan and India, though it also has large number of speakers in the Middle East, United Kingdom, and North America.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Urdu is believed to have evolved from contact between the local Indo-Aryan (prakrith, a localized form of Sanskrit) speaking population and the people of the Persian/Arabic speaking nations who invaded and ruled the Indian sub-continent for almost 1000 years since the attacks of Ghaznavi in early 10th Century. Urdu evolved in the Indian sub-continent from various local dialects such as Prakrit and Brij Bhasha with outside influences from the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Urdu is rich in both prose and poetry. Some famous poets who wrote in Urdu are Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Allama Muhammad Iqbal is recognized as the national poet of Pakistan.

National poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Urdu word or phrase Latin version English translation
آداب Aadab Greetings!
شکریہ Shukriya Thank you.
برائے مہربانی baraey meherbani Please
معاف کیجئے maaf keejiye Sorry
شب بخیر shab Bakhair Good Night
آپ کیسے ہیں؟ aap kaise hain? How are you?
میں بخیر ہوں main bakhair hoon I am fine.
آپ کا نام کیا ہے؟ aapka naam kyaa hai? What is your name?
میرا نام صائمہ ہے meraa naam Saima hai My name is Saima.
وقت کیا ہوا ہے؟ Waqt kya hua hai? What time is it?

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

In Urdu

میں اکیلا ہی چلا تھا جانب منزل مگر .

لوگ ساتھ آتے گئے اور کارواں بنتا گیا

Urdu Version (English Text)

main akela hi chala tha jaanib-e-manzil magar

log saath aate gaye aur kaaravaan bantaa gayaa

Translation

I had started all alone towards the destination but

People kept joining and it became a caravan.

(According to the Indian Urdu newspaper Pindar,

the couplet is by Majruh Sultan Puri.)


Glossary[edit]

(Definition)

alphabet — all the letters of a language.

(Definition)

character — a letter, number, or punctuation mark.

(Definition)

colonization — going to and conquering other countries; a way of spreading a language. Because England colonized America, the people of America now speak English.

(Definition)

colonize — to send people to govern and live in another country.

(Definition)

consonant — all letters except vowels.

(Definition)

constructed language — a language that someone invented. This is unlike English and other natural languages whose rules and vocabulary evolved over hundreds or thousands of years.

(Definition)

diacritic — a mark above, below, or around a letter that changes how it's said. It sometimes even makes a new letter.

(Definition)

dialect — one form of a language; usually created when different regions develop slightly different forms of a language.

(Definition)

digraph — when two letters are used to show one sound.

(Definition)

emigrant — someone who have left the land where he was born and moved to another country.

(Definition)

eszett — a letter which is only found in the German alphabet; it looks like this: ß.

(Definition)

equivalent — equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.

(Definition)

fluency — being able to speak a language without any trouble.

(Definition)

infinitive — a tenseless form of a verb; it is not used for a specific period of time.

(Definition)

inflection — the way words change form to show things like singular/plural or past/present/future.

(Definition)

language development — the steady growth and change of a language. Languages took over a thousand years to get to what we speak today.

(Definition)

linguist — someone who studies languages.

(Definition)

literary — someone or something linked to literature.

(Definition)

literate — someone who is literate knows how to read and write.

(Definition)

literature — books, like the one you are reading now.

(Definition)

migrant — a person who moves (or has already moved) from one place to another.

(Definition)

minority language — a language spoken by a minority of the population of a country.

(Definition)

minstrel — a poet and musician who sings or recites while playing a stringed instrument.

(Definition)

mood — a certain way of saying something; these can be orders, possible actions, or regular speech.

(Definition)

native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

(Definition)

phomeme — one of the basic sounds out of which words are made.

(Definition)

prose — writing in sentence form; the opposite of verse.

(Definition)

secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

(Definition)

speech — "speaking".

(Definition)

tense — a form of a verb that describes a time for an action; for example, "I went," "I am going", and "I will go" are in past, present, and future tense. They are different tenses because they describe different times when I did the action of going.

(Definition)

trigraph — when three letters are used to show one sound.

(Definition)

umlauts — dots, which can be placed above three of the vowels in German, and which change the sound of them. They look like this: Ää, Öö, Üü.

(Definition)

verb — a word that describes an action.

(Definition)

vernacular — the native language of a country.

(Definition)

verse — writing in poetic form; writing not in sentences.

(Definition)

virtuoso — someone who has special knowledge in or is very skilled at something.

(Definition)

vowel — A, E, I, O, U in English.

(Definition)

youth — a young person/people.


Authors[edit]

Legal Stuff - The Small Print[edit]

Version 1.2, November 2002

Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002  Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301  USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

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It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.

4. MODIFICATIONS

You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement.
C. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified Version, as the publisher.
D. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.
E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
F. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
G. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document's license notice.
H. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
I. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
J. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the "History" section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
K. For any section Entitled "Acknowledgements" or "Dedications", Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
L. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
M. Delete any section Entitled "Endorsements". Such a section may not be included in the Modified Version.
N. Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled "Endorsements" or to conflict in title with any Invariant Section.
O. Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.

If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version's license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

You may add a section Entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties--for example, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.

5. COMBINING DOCUMENTS

You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections Entitled "Dedications". You must delete all sections Entitled "Endorsements."

6. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.

7. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS

A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.

8. TRANSLATION

Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.

9. TERMINATION

You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided for under this License. Any other attempt to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Document is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

10. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation.