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Old 07-17-2003, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is Russian an artificial language?

Recently one of my friends was commenting that there had never been an artificial language adopted by a country. Another friend claimed that Russian was an artificial language (that is a language that was specifically designed by a scholar rather than springing up from the populous) Does anyone know if this is true?
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Old 07-17-2003, 05:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i would have to really doubt that's true. russian's a pretty old language, and i have a hard time someone creating a language some 1000 years or whatever time ago.

i remember from a history class (fall of roman empire- crusades) that there was a language which, while spoken, some guy from the church or rome went out to the people that spoke it and developed a writing system for it. but the language was already there.
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Old 07-17-2003, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Mael
i remember from a history class (fall of roman empire- crusades) that there was a language which, while spoken, some guy from the church or rome went out to the people that spoke it and developed a writing system for it. but the language was already there.
I think that there are quite a few languages throughout northern and eastern Europe like that. Finnish is one (I think), but there are quite a few others.

Heh. I'm half Finn and I know hardly anything about the place. Well, that's what being born in America is all about Maybe I'll finish my copy of the Kalevala some day ...
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Old 07-18-2003, 08:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Slavs (in one view)"arrived" from central europe and set up house in what would become Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia. This dates thier origin around 581 BCE. Another view is that they orginated in the Eurasian plains and were ruled by the Scythians or Avars. This places their origin around 700 BCE. The difference is when the Scythians and Avars were in power.

The Russian language existed as a spoken language before it was a written one. Very few if any language has evolved in true isolation from other languages. Even modern attempts at language creation are based on other models. Even math is a form of language. Therefore computer languages are derivatives of that primary stalk. Common history relates that Russian was codified and assigned an alphabet by St. Cyrill and St. Methodius. Thus giving the name to the alphabet. Cyrillic is merely the written manifestation of a naturally evolved language that already existed. It's lettering is similar to Greek due to the fact that both Cyrill and Methodius were Orthodox priests not Catholic. Therefore they had a preference for Greek over Latin. In short, while the alphabet may be created, the spoken language was and is far from artificial.
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's not really a language per se, but what about prison languages. Those are made up specifically so the guards won't know about what the inmates are talking about. There was a thing about it on some Discovery Channel show.
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Some artifical languages:

Esperanto - created to foster international relations
Klingon - Star Trek language
Elvish - spoken by the Tolkien elves

Russian is an organic language...
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot guys, I suppose that the artificial nature of the writen Cyrillic was what caused the confusion. Which brings me to another question... does anyone know of an artifical language that is spoken by a nation?
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't believe there is one...
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Old 07-18-2003, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally posted by wrkime
It's not really a language per se, but what about prison languages. Those are made up specifically so the guards won't know about what the inmates are talking about. There was a thing about it on some Discovery Channel show.
Interesting idea. However, prison languages are based on the languages present in that population. Therefore they have as thier basis the syntax, grammar and alphabets already available.
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Old 07-21-2003, 10:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Um... i beg to differ on the elvish being a totally synthetic language. Tolkin was a linguist and he used the most "beautiful" old forms of languages to create a new one... Kind of like german-dutch-english relation, i suppose. but made over tens of years by one man.
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Old 07-23-2003, 03:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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zampolit, linguists have yet to understand where Korean and Japanese come from (not the writing).

BenChuy, he still "synthesized" it, so it's still an artificial language.

And no, no country has adopted an artificial language. Esperanto has the most speakers of any of the major ones though.
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Old 07-27-2003, 11:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Klingon is most def a artificial language, and i like the sound of it almost as much as german .

I wish they woulda offered kligonese at my high school
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Old 07-27-2003, 03:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Um... i beg to differ on the elvish being a totally synthetic language. Tolkin was a linguist and he used the most "beautiful" old forms of languages to create a new one... Kind of like german-dutch-english relation, i suppose. but made over tens of years by one man.
it was a mix of latin and old-finnish just so you know
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Old 07-28-2003, 03:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Klingon is most def a artificial language, and i like the sound of it almost as much as german .

I wish they woulda offered kligonese at my high school
Wow, that would've made you as cool as the chess club kids, right?

Seriously, is there a website or book that has a synopsis of the "languages" of science fiction? I know some have used rare African dialects, or just ran the soundtrack backward, but from where did whole languages (such as Klingon) develop? Since there are dictionaries or whatever for things like that, I assume they have rules for conjugation and agreement, which seems to be awfully hard to create in a vacuum.
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Old 07-28-2003, 04:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I don't think using Cyrillic for Russian is an especially artificial way of adding a written component to language. Practically all of the European languages got their lettering from Latin in much the same way.

And I'd love to learn Klingon. I revel in my geekiness.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally posted by doctorphibes
Seriously, is there a website or book that has a synopsis of the "languages" of science fiction? I know some have used rare African dialects, or just ran the soundtrack backward, but from where did whole languages (such as Klingon) develop? Since there are dictionaries or whatever for things like that, I assume they have rules for conjugation and agreement, which seems to be awfully hard to create in a vacuum.
I remember seeing sites that catalogue artificial languages. Just try googling it.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Even better - google in Klingon!
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Old 07-28-2003, 11:15 PM   #18 (permalink)
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My favorite google language is still the Swedish Chef. Talk about made-up languages.
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Old 07-29-2003, 02:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by tedrlord
I don't think using Cyrillic for Russian is an especially artificial way of adding a written component to language. Practically all of the European languages got their lettering from Latin in much the same way.

And I'd love to learn Klingon. I revel in my geekiness.
Latin developed from the Phoenician and Greek alphabets, so it was sort of an organic growth. English used the Latin alphabet because that what was used in the churches.

Cyrillic was flat out created by two monks. They invented letters for certain sounds (Sh, Ch, Ts, Ya, etc.) that don't exist in Greek. There are also a lot more letters in Russian than Greek (30 vs 24), and not all of the Greek letters are in Russian (there's no Greek Zeta, Psi or Omega, among others).

Russian is definitely an organic language, and there are a lot of similar, related languages in Eastern Europe. Ukranian speakers can usually muddle through Russian without too much trouble, as can a lot of Poles and Bulgarians. I know several Polish guys that don't have real talents for languages that can converse pretty easily in Russian. The way that my friends have described it is like an English speaker from the deep South talking to someone that speaks Cockney English. There are a lot of words in common, but understanding them can be very hard.
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Old 07-29-2003, 07:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Korean is similar, but even more synthetic. The spoken language is natural, but the written language was entirely designed by scholars commisioned by the king in the 15th century or so. They had used chinese characters before (and they're still used sometimes), but it was very awkward. The resulting writing system is I think considered the most efficient for any real language (only 24 characters and completely phonetic).
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:52 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally posted by stingc
Korean is similar, but even more synthetic. The spoken language is natural, but the written language was entirely designed by scholars commisioned by the king in the 15th century or so. They had used chinese characters before (and they're still used sometimes), but it was very awkward. The resulting writing system is I think considered the most efficient for any real language (only 24 characters and completely phonetic).
I've done a little bit of study of Korean...would you say that it's much easier than Japanese?
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Old 07-30-2003, 06:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally posted by DrJekyll
I've done a little bit of study of Korean...would you say that it's much easier than Japanese?
I don't actually speak Korean or Japanese, but most Korean people I've known have made a point to talk about their language at some point.

I've heard that Japanese requires occasional chinese characters to supplement their alphabet, so I imagine that would make it more difficult.
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Old 03-25-2007, 10:41 AM   #23 (permalink)
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artificial russian?

Exists another idea. Russian comes from sanskrit (and other very ancient languages), and sanskrit can be considered very old artificial language. If you analize sanscrit structure, you can discover the same system to construct words and sentences used en esperanto. Similar system is used in russian, in other slavic languages and in japanese too. Recently was created another artificial language, similar to esperanto, but on "slavic dimension", by esentially slavic words-roots (slovio). Resultant is very interesting.

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Old 03-25-2007, 07:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJekyll
I've done a little bit of study of Korean...would you say that it's much easier than Japanese?
I'm told that modern written Korean is much easier to learn than written Japanese, because it consists of only one alphabet (hangul), whereas Japanese has 3 separate sets, including two moraic writing systems representing the sounds of the language (hiragana and katakana), and a set of about 2,000 chinese characters (kanji).

As far as learning to pronounce the words as they are written, Korean is one of the easiest languages to learn. Learning to actually understand what is written is of course a whole other story
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Old 03-26-2007, 04:18 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomjer
Exists another idea. Russian comes from sanskrit (and other very ancient languages), and sanskrit can be considered very old artificial language. If you analize sanscrit structure, you can discover the same system to construct words and sentences used en esperanto. Similar system is used in russian, in other slavic languages and in japanese too. Recently was created another artificial language, similar to esperanto, but on "slavic dimension", by esentially slavic words-roots (slovio). Resultant is very interesting.

nomjer
Um, Russian doesn't come from Sanskrit. It does come from other ancient languages, but I really don't get what you're trying to say here.
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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As far as the use of Kanji (chinese characters) in Japanese, its a blessing and a curse. Learning to read and write them properly takes a hell of a long time. The upside to kanji is that they are fairly easy to recognize. There are many kanji that I know the meaning of, but can't write, or even pronounce. It's very nice if your going over a paper to yourself, you can just substitute its meaning in. This is very nice because Japanese's phonetic alphabet is only ~96 characters, so there are alot of homophones. The kanji let you know immediately the intended meaning of the word. Japanese is also written without space, so a sentence written with kanji makes it easier for to seperate the words.
I've never studied the Korean alphabet, but I have had it explained, and it is an improvement to the Japanese hiragana/katakana. Where as in hiragana "ka" would be written with one character, Korean combines a "k" and an "a" sound to form one character, meaning you can learn it in a much shorter time(although learning hiragana/katakana only took me one week).
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:29 PM   #27 (permalink)
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And no, no country has adopted an artificial language. Esperanto has the most speakers of any of the major ones though.
Yes, yes a country has.

Turkey created a modern "Turkish" language in order to fit in with the scholarly thinking of the time. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire the Kamal the Turk had scholars re-invent the Turkish language.

At the time there was a European ideology that you can trace the modernity and civility of a culture by it's language. Naturally, if it had Latin or Greek grammatical structures it was more advanced. Thus was born modern Turkish.

It was thrust down the throats of the population, by the second generation severe penalties were issued to those who clung to the older Turkish version.

But Russian? No, it's an organic language.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:56 PM   #28 (permalink)
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How about Koine?
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Old 04-08-2007, 04:54 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Charlatan
Some artifical languages:

Esperanto - created to foster international relations
Klingon - Star Trek language
Elvish - spoken by the Tolkien elves
In the same vain as this, though it may seem farfetched, capoeira is an artificial language created by the enslaved Africans/Brazilains whilst in captivity in Brazil some 400 years ago.

The slaves used this language of dance and rhythm in an effort to conceal their thoughts and intentions from their oppressive masters.

This is what you would define as an artificial language.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:58 AM   #30 (permalink)
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I'm told that modern written Korean is much easier to learn than written Japanese, because it consists of only one alphabet (hangul), whereas Japanese has 3 separate sets, including two moraic writing systems representing the sounds of the language (hiragana and katakana), and a set of about 2,000 chinese characters (kanji).
There are a lot more than 2,000 kanji, and they are not all Chinese characters anymore. While it is true that the Japanese writing system was derived from Chinese a couple thousand years ago, there isn't a lot of overlap anymore. There are about 50,000 kanji characters in modern Japanese, and while it's true that you can understand about 60% of the language with only the first 1,500 or so, it's an incredibly expansive and descriptive language.
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:53 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Excellent bump. Great thread.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:29 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I don't think using Cyrillic for Russian is an especially artificial way of adding a written component to language....
Quote:
Originally Posted by stingc View Post
Korean is similar, but even more synthetic. The spoken language is natural, but the written language was entirely designed by scholars commisioned by the king in the 15th century or so. They had used chinese characters before (and they're still used sometimes), but it was very awkward. The resulting writing system is I think considered the most efficient for any real language (only 24 characters and completely phonetic).
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz View Post
Latin developed from the Phoenician and Greek alphabets, so it was sort of an organic growth. English used the Latin alphabet because that what was used in the churches.

Cyrillic was flat out created by two monks. They invented letters for certain sounds (Sh, Ch, Ts, Ya, etc.) that don't exist in Greek. There are also a lot more letters in Russian than Greek (30 vs 24), and not all of the Greek letters are in Russian (there's no Greek Zeta, Psi or Omega, among others).

Russian is definitely an organic language, and there are a lot of similar, related languages in Eastern Europe. Ukranian speakers can usually muddle through Russian without too much trouble, as can a lot of Poles and Bulgarians. I know several Polish guys that don't have real talents for languages that can converse pretty easily in Russian. The way that my friends have described it is like an English speaker from the deep South talking to someone that speaks Cockney English. There are a lot of words in common, but understanding them can be very hard.
I agree, Xerxys, sinlesstomorrow gave us an excellent bump.

I think that some have gotten stuck in thinking of the word artificial as meaning synthetic or not genuine. Or not "organic." I think that the real root here is "artifice" and that the Cyrillic alphabet was an artifice, e. g. the ingeneous or expedient creation of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. By imposing their artifice onto the existing language, they turned an existing spoken language into a written one. It was for the use of the Church, and was not Russian, as I recall, but what is now called Old Church Slavonic.

I took six semesters of Russian language in college. I can still read it pretty well, (given some time) but never became a fluent speaker. I can agree with The_Jazz about the Slavic similarities. I had no trouble using my Russian to get around in Bulgaria a few years ago.

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Old 07-08-2010, 05:12 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Continuing on the bump Modern Hebrew was synthetically codified from Sephardi Hebrew and Mishnaic spellings. While it is close enough that anyone who speaks it can pretty much pick up and read a hebrew bible it's still quite different in many ways. It's not a truly synthetic language by a long shot but it was definitely deliberately codified and spread by artificial forces in an attempt to create a single jewish/israeli language following along the lines of biblical hebrew.
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