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michimike
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 07:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinese is too difficult to be the world's language. English has one of the most easy grammars - you only have to learn a lot of vocabulary Very Happy
And there are a lot more people, who understand English than Chinese today - we are not talking about the mother tongue!

Maybe our planet is called *-'' in suaheli - or dhoglhagh, if you try to describe the words of some aliens in arabic letters Laughing
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Shadowmaster
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

ive been to kuwait and iraq before and during the war, and we had to go through classes to try to learn some basic words of arabic, and most of us could only learn a few words and never learned how to read arabic. to alot of us it sounded as though little kids who couldnt yet take were rambling on and on. =) i think that i could learn chinese way befor i could learn arabic! arabic writing looks more like scribbles than anything else.

( dont think that i am talking bad about any language, im not. just telling my experiances) would be easier if the whole world could speak one language, i beleive that would bring all a little closer together, and all could comunicate more easily.
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One-of-Many
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 13:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't matter what language you speak. As long as you speak business.


Chinese is indeed a difficult language, mainly due to the following:

-Lack of an alphabet equivalent (unlike the latin language derivatives, and the arabic derivatives as well). Think abstact pictograms.
-Symbols have no attached pronunciation guide (Be sure to memorise the tone and look of over 8000+ individual characters). Unlike German, which is one of the easiest to speak and write even if you have no clue as to what you are saying.
-General prevalance of idioms, proverbs and metaphors even in informal conversations. Averaging one found per sentence.

Use of the chinese language for modern purposes usually results in portmanteau words. Unfortunately, these sound exceedingly stupid (if you are multilingual) and are considered poor mandarin unless officially sanctioned.

Do not ever attempt to use mandarin in a computer language!
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michimike
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 14:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhh, I made a bad mistake. Of course I was talking about latin laters Laughing
I mixed them with our arabic number-system Embarassed
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Locutus
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 21:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

michimike wrote:
English has one of the most easy grammars - you only have to learn a lot of vocabulary Very Happy


I beg to differ - Chinese grammar in my opinion, is something insultingly simple. For example, a simple sentence is always:
stuff --- subject --- action ---- stuff

Also, there are no cases in Chinese, virtually no tenses, and no genders. (Due to the system of characters, some of those things would not exist anyways.)
The only difficult grammar is the pluralization of certain objects. Those can be summarized in a list not longer than a page, though.
The hardest part for non-orientals to learn Chinese, in my opinion, is the character system and the four tones on every sound.

I think that English is a ridiculous language because of the crazy grammar, and the arbitrary system of inflection. For example, on the word "determining," we do not know whether to pronounce it "DEE-tur-MINE-ing" or "di-TUR-men-ing" or something else.


The Chinese language has undergone many revisions in the past, and they have attempted to regulate pronunciation as well as definition by using similar radicals to group words together. For example, a lot of the words with the "qing" radical (青) are pronounced as an inflection of qing. Also, many characters with the "two dots" radical (the left side of 冰) have to deal with ice or snow.
One advantage of the character system is that a meaning is attached to a specific character instead of a string of arbitrary objects. If you become proficient at a character based language, you can instantly process ideas, which is more efficient than attaching meanings to words, which are language constructs.


And while we are talking about grammar - does anyone know Russian? I am learning it right now, and I need a bit of help. Very Happy
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One-of-Many
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 00:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will assure you that Chinese "grammar" is far more complex than you think it is. Although tenses may be considered easier (正在~present continous) as they are added akin to prefixes, they still do exists. Those simple sentences are only fit for informal verbal communication.

The main problem is that unlike English or other languages, there are limited ways to construct a sentence. If I were to swap "still do" with "do(,) still", the meaning would be mostly unchanged and still readable. This is not true with mandarin.

Chinese, unlike Germans, have a special gender for objects(它). Thus, they do not need to worry about the genders of tables and the like. Mandarin does have lots of terms for describing human relationships (unique for both the paternal and maternal branches).


Yes there are radicals, and these do help. But there are many, and usually the association is abstract/broad. The "three dots" (三点水)deals with water, from swimming(游泳), to hotels(酒席), to harbours(海港). While they are all linked with water, the reader cannot easily see such an aspect with prior knowledge of the character.

Contrary to popular belief, most meanings in mandarin are attached not to individual characters themselves, but to combinations of characters, similar to 'words' in the latin languages (their combined meaning is likened to latin roots). 例如:俗语,成语,词语。Which are similar to proverbs, idioms and words respectively. Thus, you still do have to process attached meanings.

PS: I hope everyone learnt something about Mandarin.
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Angron
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

i must be thick or something because that went right over my head???
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Nikoy
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 13:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Locutus: Yes, I know Russin, although not perfectly. They have terrible grammar too, worst than the German one! Wink Maybe here is some native speaker to help you?

Well, computers do not speak ANY language - they understand only zeros and ones: 1001010101.

Special programs have to translate your commands anyways, so why not chinese to be used too?
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Locutus
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 13:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

One-of-Many wrote:
Contrary to popular belief, most meanings in mandarin are attached not to individual characters themselves, but to combinations of characters, similar to 'words' in the latin languages (their combined meaning is likened to latin roots).


Oops. Being native born Chinese does not prevent me from still making mistakes. However a few western friends of mine said that they can more easily read Japanese and Chinese than they can English, even they learned English first.

@ Nikoy: I have two Russian friends, and a Ukrainian friend (who speaks and writes better Russian than both the Russians). They encouraged me to learn a bunch of vocabulary, then learn how to conjugate/modify them later.
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Carboneater
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 15:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

@One-Of-Many & Locutus:

didn't understood much about your explanations about mandarin, but I have chinese neighbours. Don't know if they speak Mandarin or Cantonese, but the grandmother living there (because there's three generations fo the family living there) only speaks one of these two. And when she comes to me, I don't understand a single thing she says. (fortunately, she does a lot of mimics so we can understand) Our only way to understand what she says is meet some other family members who speak english (and Mandarin or Cantonese).
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alphabravo
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 17:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

at my school we have a large cantonese, mainly hong kong, population (a hundred or more)

in fact, out of 2 maths sets in my year (about 30 people altogether), doing further maths, i am the only brit

so i have cantonese speaking, and Russian friends... in fact i just had a couple of very amusing conversations with some russians (one of the conversations with with a drunk russian, the other was with someone trying to translate bits of the first convo)

i also have a sister doing russian at uni, so i learned a tiny bit from her, and she has a large film collection...
and i watched a russian film yesterday, subtitled naturally... - called "The Return" is probably the most depressing film ever made in the history of the world... if you're feeling depressed, DO NOT watch it... but even still, it was quite good
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vozvrashcheniye
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Aurion
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 20:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terraganhurria
Terrajunos

Now, many Earths are out there?
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Locutus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 21:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe only HE knows...

As far as I am concerned, each one of them is just a giant sphere akin to our cube ships. Just like the Dyson sphere(s) scattered elsewhere, these spheres will make a nice addition to our collection... Very Happy
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Ancient
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 23:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earth could be called ki


The Sumerian expression for "universe" is an-ki, literally "heaven-earth."
From verses scattered throughout hymns and myths, one can compile a picture of the universe's (anki) creation according to the Sumerians.
The primeval sea (abzu) existed before anything else and within that, the heaven (an) and the earth (ki) were formed.
The boundary between heaven and earth was a solid (perhaps tin) vault, and the earth was a flat disk. Within the vault lay the gas-like 'lil', or atmosphere, the brighter portions therein formed the stars, planets, sun, and moon.

It is a known fact that in the long stretch of time between approximately 3500 and 2000 B. C. it was the Sumerians who represented the dominant cultural group of the entire Near East.
It was the Sumerians who developed and probably invented the cuneiform system of writing; who developed a well integrated pantheon together with spiritual and religious concepts which influenced profoundly all the peoples of the Near East; who, finally, created and developed a literature rich in content and effective in form.

(Sumerian is the first known written language. Its script, called cuneiform, meaning "wedge-shaped".
The Cuneiform script is one of the earliest known forms of written expression.
Created by the Sumerians in the late 4th millennium BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs.
Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.

Cuneiforms consist of arrangements of wedgelike strokes generally impressed with a stylus on wet clay tablets, which were then dried or baked.
The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform, wedge-writing.
The Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Akkadian, Elamite, Hittite, Assyrian, and Luwian languages, and inspired the Old Persian and Ugaritic national alphabets.
It was widely used in Mesopotamia for about 3000 years, though the syllabic nature of the script as it was refined by the Sumerians was unintuitive to the Semitic speakers.)

Moreover, the following significant fact must be borne in mind.
By the end of the third millennium B. C. Sumer had already ceased to exist as a political entity and Sumerian had already become a dead language, for by that time Sumer had been overrun and conquered by the Semites, and it is the Semitic Accadian language which gradually became the living, spoken tongue of the land.
Nevertheless Sumerian continued to be used as the literary and religious language of the Semitic conquerors for many centuries to come, like Greek in the Roman period and like Latin in the Middle Ages.
Indeed for many centuries the study of the Sumerian language and literature remained the basic pursuit of the scribal schools and intellectual and spiritual centers not only of the Babylonians and Assyrians, but also of the many surrounding peoples such as the Elamites, Hurrians, Hittites, and Canaanites.
Obviously, then, both because of their content as well as because of their age, the Sumerian mythological tales and concepts must have penetrated and permeated those of the entire Near East.
A knowledge of the Sumerian myths and legends is therefore a prime and basic essential for a proper approach to a scientific study of the mythologies current in the ancient Near East, for it illuminates and clarifies to no small extent the background behind their origin and development.

The major source for the Sumerian conception of the creation of the universe is the introductory passage to a Sumerian poem entitled "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World."


China

In China historians have found out a lot about the early Chinese dynasties from the written documents left behind.
From the Shang Dynasty most of this writing has survived on bones or bronze implements.
Markings on turtle shells have been carbon-dated to around 1500 BC. Historians have found that the type of media used had an effect on what the writing was documenting and how it was used.

There has recently been discoveries of tortoise-shell carvings dating back to c. 6000 BC, but whether or not the carvings are of sufficient complexity to qualify as writing is under debate.
If it is deemed to be a written language, writing in China will predate Mesopotamian cuneiform, long acknowledged as the first appearance of writing, by some 2000 years.

There was a lot of cultures in that period of time
7500 BC - 6100 BC: Pengtoushan culture
7000 BC - 5800 BC: Jiahu
7000 BC - 5000 BC: Peiligang culture
6500 BC - 5500 BC: Houli culture
6200 BC - 5400 BC: Xinglongwa culture
6000 BC - 5500 BC: Cishan culture
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alphabravo
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 07:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aurion wrote:
Terraganhurria
Terrajunos

Now, many Earths are out there?
get me a map of blackstar and neozlick/austrian-alliance/kanaani, and i'll have most of the inhabited galaxy... then i'll do a search for you Wink
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