[lit-ideas] Re: Are they synonymous?

  • From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 10:57:10 -0500 (GMT-05:00)

Russian now has huge quantities of English words.  It's very annoying actually. 
 I have books from before the collapse of the SU and the words will be mostly 
Russian.  Read BBC Russian today and if a Russian word and an English word are 
equally available, as often as not they'll use the English word and Russianize 
it.  That doesn't mean that all someone has to do is learn the letters and they 
can read Russian.  Certainly they'll never understand it spoken.  The 
declensions, syntax etc. are very different, and most words are still Russian 
(whatever than means, like whatever English means).  My husband is at the 
moment reading a thing on Brazil nuts from the Brazilian rainforest, and he 
sounded out the Portugese word for Brazil nut.  I instantly heard the Russian 
word for chestnut (but without the 'sh' sound).  Small world, isn't it?

-----Original Message-----
>From: Andreas Ramos <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Jan 27, 2007 8:43 PM
>To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Are they synonymous?
>> Portuguese has always troubled me ... It's supposed to be thoroughly
>understandable by anyone who speaks Spanish...
>I've been to Portugal several times. If both sides speak slowly and use simple 
>sentences in 
>plain context, Spanish and Portugese speakers can mostly understand each 
>other. But I can't 
>understand a movie in Portugese.
>The same with Italian. I've been to Italy many times and I just speak simple 
>Spanish. It 
>Romanian is also a Romantic language. I was with a bunch of Romanians one time 
>and they were 
>talking and I suddenly realized I could understand them. It's related to 
>But speaking Spanish doesn't mean you can talk with any Latino. Often, I 
>barely understand 
>Mexicans. They use so much slang. I've watched Argentinian movies and I miss 
>perhaps half of 
>it, due to local slang. Colombians seem to speak entirely in slang. One of the 
>things that 
>really surprised me is that Spaniards generally don't speak Spanish. Only 
>Madrileños speak 
>Castellano. Everyone else speaks the local dialects of their province, such as 
>Those are difficult to understand in spoken conversation.
>If you speak either Danish, you can understand Norwegian and Swedish. 
>Amusingly, Norwegians 
>and Swedes can't understand Danish pronunciation. They are really annoyed by 
>the refusal of 
>Danes to speak properly.
>Back to the Latino/Hispanic issue: I've never heard Latinos refer to 
>themselves as 
>"Hispanicos" in Spanish. They say Latino. They'll use the phrase in English 
>for the benefit 
>of Mr. Kite.
>Polyglots don't talk about whether they speak German or Dutch. They say they 
>speak the 
>family, such as Germanic, or Romantic, or the region, such as "she speaks 
>European". If you're fluent in German, Danish, and English, then it's fairly 
>easy to read 
>newspapers in Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian. My cousins in the Hague noticed I 
>read the local 
>papers every morning and discussed events with them.
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