Presentation on theme: "FUN FACTS ABOUT LANGUAGE!. FACT: At this moment at least 2,796 separate languages are being spoken on our planet – according to a calculation by the Academie."— Presentation transcript:
FACT: At this moment at least 2,796 separate languages are being spoken on our planet – according to a calculation by the Academie Francaise, whose decisions are the last word… There may well be, in remote forests and jungles, other languages that have not yet been discovered.
FACT: The German language has three genders for their nouns – masculine, feminine, and neuter (der, die, and das). Child is understandably neuter in German, but the word for girl – Maedchen – is paradoxically neuter, and so is wife – Weib – a word also used for female or woman. As Mark Twain said: In German, a young lady has no sex, but a turnip has (die Ruebe) In French, the word for the female organ is masculine – le vagin
FACT: In Mexico, the Mazateco have developed a private male language of long and short whistles which correspond to the syllables of certain words. Mazateco women are therefore unable to understand what the men are talking about and, so far, no male has apparently betrayed the secret!
FACT: German almost became the official language of the United States of America. The Continental Congress, convened in Philadelphia during the Revolution, at one time considered adopting a new language for the future of the United States, with the aim of cutting off all ties with England. Among the languages suggested were German, Hebrew and French. When it finally came to a vote, English narrowly one – by one vote!
FACT: Verdampt! (damned) and Donnerwetter! (thunder weather) are German examples of mild swear words which can be intensified to earthshaking proportions when combined with other words. The following example combines Lord God the Cross and intensifiers to create an enormous explosion: HERRGOTTKREUZVERDAMPTERDONNERWETTERNOCHMAL
FACT: Sometimes an entire English sentence sounds like a basic expression in another language. Americans visiting Japan who would ordinarily experience some difficulty in remembering the Japanese term for youre welcome (doo itashimashite) have solved the problem simply – by answering the Japanese thankyou (arigato) with dont touch my mustache. Said quickly, this is close enough to be an acceptable answer!
FACT: A single word in Chinese may have several dozen different meanings, depending on the tone used to say the word. For example, the word chiang can mean: shall, to command, a general, a river, soy sauce, mechanic, to drop, to descend, or to surrender. In Chinese, the repetition of ma four times with different tones signifies Mother scolds the horse (ma-ma-ma-ma). If you add the questioning ma at the end, you then have ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, which means Is mother scolding the horse?
FACT: Tongue twisters in various languages tend to emphasize letter combinations peculiar to the language which are difficult for non-native speakers to say quickly: English ~ She sells seashells by the seashore French ~ Combien de sous sont ces saucissons-ci? Ces saucissons-ci sont six sous. Spanish ~ Que rapido corren los carros, cargados de azucar, del ferrocarril! German ~ Zwei schwartze schleimige Schlangen sitzen zwischen zwei spitzigen Steinen und zischen.
FACT: In most languages there are language tricks, perhaps first developed as conversational scramblers in prisons to confuse guards. Most are easy to understand. English ~ the initial letter is changed to a position at the end of the word and followed by ay ~ Lets go = Etslay ogay! French ~ an av is inserted before vowels ~ Paris = Pavaravis German ~ repeats every syllable a second time but changes the first letter of the repeated syllable to b ~ Kindergarten = Kindbinderbergarbartenben
Submitted by : Brady Sherard, Floor Coordinator Lister Centre University of Alberta Campus Resource: Native Tongues by Charles Berlitz