Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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JD
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JD » 09 Nov 2018, 13:30

JD wrote:
24 Oct 2018, 13:54
Also, counting and dates seems nice and simple so far. January is literally "one-month", February is "two-month", and so on, and something like "April 5th" is literally just "four-month five-day"; a number like "43" is just "four tens three".
Did I say it was nice and simple? I was wrong. Korean has two separate counting systems. One of them is used for numbers of items less than 100 and ages, and the other is used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, floor numbers, and numbers of items above 100. And everything has a specific type of counter-word, so "three newspapers" is literally something like "newspaper three paper-type-things", while "three dogs" is "dog three animal-type-things". And there are tons of them, like one that applies to bunches of onions or newspaper columns, one that's for things with handles, one that's for things in rows, one that's for buildings, one that's for clothes, etc. etc.
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Painboy
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Painboy » 10 Nov 2018, 15:32

JD wrote:
09 Nov 2018, 13:30
JD wrote:
24 Oct 2018, 13:54
Also, counting and dates seems nice and simple so far. January is literally "one-month", February is "two-month", and so on, and something like "April 5th" is literally just "four-month five-day"; a number like "43" is just "four tens three".
Did I say it was nice and simple? I was wrong. Korean has two separate counting systems. One of them is used for numbers of items less than 100 and ages, and the other is used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, floor numbers, and numbers of items above 100. And everything has a specific type of counter-word, so "three newspapers" is literally something like "newspaper three paper-type-things", while "three dogs" is "dog three animal-type-things". And there are tons of them, like one that applies to bunches of onions or newspaper columns, one that's for things with handles, one that's for things in rows, one that's for buildings, one that's for clothes, etc. etc.
Japanese is like that too. I don't understand how those forms of counting have survived linguistically. Is there some situational advantage over a single method of counting that I don't see?

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Kolohe
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe » 10 Nov 2018, 16:46

English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
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Jadagul
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jadagul » 10 Nov 2018, 18:33

I heard a satisfying explanation once, but I don't recall it.

Also, I believe at least some of the counters are pretty obscure even to native speakers. You can use them, but in practice people use something more generic.

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Highway
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Highway » 11 Nov 2018, 18:18

In my experience with Japanese (admittedly not that much), they mostly just say things in such a way as to avoid having to use counting words.

And how it survives is with a bunch of people saying "This is how REAL {insert language name here} is spoken. You have to do it this way or SHAME!!!!" Just like people do with English.
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Aresen
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Aresen » 11 Nov 2018, 18:31

Kolohe wrote:
10 Nov 2018, 16:46
English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
Someone once told me that English has more idiomatic expressions than any other language. Don't remember the source and I don't know if it is true.
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JasonL
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JasonL » 11 Nov 2018, 18:36

Highway wrote:In my experience with Japanese (admittedly not that much), they mostly just say things in such a way as to avoid having to use counting words.

And how it survives is with a bunch of people saying "This is how REAL {insert language name here} is spoken. You have to do it this way or SHAME!!!!" Just like people do with English.
The counting thing does rear its head when shopping for mixed shape things. It’s awful.

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Painboy
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Painboy » 11 Nov 2018, 19:56

Aresen wrote:
Kolohe wrote:
10 Nov 2018, 16:46
English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
Someone once told me that English has more idiomatic expressions than any other language. Don't remember the source and I don't know if it is true.
But idioms usually convey specific information or additional expression. I don't see what additional useful info contextual counting systems are good for.

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nicole
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by nicole » 13 Nov 2018, 09:13

The counting words are called “classifiers,” as opposed to “classes,” like grammatical gender. Classifiers sometimes collapse into a smaller number and become classes. Eg, in future instead of dozens of counting words Korean may have a handful of genders. The classifiers also often start out as words in themselves. So it’s all part of the language change process.
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