blog: Languages of Asia
what we call it
what they call it
|Selamat datang ke dunia saya|
|Chào mừng bạn đến với thế giới của tôi|
|295||abugida||125||मेरी दुनिया में आपका स्वागत है|
|Selamat datang di dunia saya|
|나의 세계에 오신 것을 환영합니다|
|Welkom in mijn wereld|
|43||Welcome to my world|
# sp – number of native speakers of that language, regardless of where they live
# 2nd (%) – number in that country who speak English as an additional language. Source: List of countries by English-speaking population
Hindi and Thai are abugida languages. Each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary.
Hindi in the Devanagari script, along with English, are official languages of the Federal Government of India.
Hindi is more common in Aryan northern India than in Dravidian southern India. It has changed little enough over the last thousand years that a huge body of literature is available in Hindi.
No commonly accepted romanization (transcribing Thai into the Latin alphabet). Google Translate uses the most commonly accepted international standard, but it is not used in most other contexts.
Thai is an abugida language. Each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary. It has 44 consonants and 15 vowel symbols that combine into at least 28 vowel forms, and four tone marks with five sounds. Each consonant may invoke an inherent vowel sound, described as an implied ‘a’ or ‘o’. Consonants are written horizontally from left to right, with vowels arranged above, below, to the left or to the right of the corresponding consonant or in a combination of those positions.
Logographic +syllabic languages
Chinese, Korean, and Japanese are all logographic +syllabic languages, although Korean now uses an alphabet.
59 million native speakers in Guangdong (Canton), southern Guangxi (southern China), Hong Kong, Macau
Although Cantonese shares much vocabulary with Mandarin Chinese, the two languages are not mutually intelligible because of pronunciation, grammatical, and also lexical differences. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two languages. The use of vocabulary in Cantonese also tends to have more historic roots. One of the most notable differences between Cantonese and Mandarin is how the spoken word is written; with Mandarin the spoken word is written as such, whereas with Cantonese there may not be a direct written word matching what was said. This results in the situation in which a Mandarin and Cantonese text almost look the same, but both are pronounced differently. The two languages have been described as “roughly as similar only as English is to Dutch.” (Wikipedia)
935 million native speakers, 14% of the world’s population, in China, Taiwan, Singapore. (Next closest is English and Spanish each with little less than 400 million, or 5% of the world’s population.)
Written Chinese (text below from Wikipedia)
Written Chinese is not based predominantly on an alphabet or a compact syllabary. Instead, Chinese characters are glyphs whose components may depict objects or represent abstract notions. Occasionally, a character consists of only one component; more commonly, two or more components are combined, using a variety of different principles, to form more complex characters.
Pictographs, in which the character is a graphical depiction of the object it denotes.
- Ideographs, in which the character represents an abstract notion.
- Logical aggregates, in which two or more parts are used for their meaning. This yields a composite meaning, which is then applied to the new character.
- Phonetic complexes, in which one part—often called the radical—indicates the general semantic category of the character (such as water-related or eye-related), and the other part is another character, used for its phonetic value.
The vast majority of Chinese characters (about 95 percent) are constructed as either logical aggregates or, more often, phonetic complexes.
YoYoChinese.com’s count to 10 in Mandarin
Japanese is spoken by about 125 million people, primarily in Japan. video – Count to ten in Japanese
Yuu Asakura’s How To Say Hello In Japanese
From the Wikipedia:
Japanese has no known genetic relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字?), in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名?) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名?). Latin script is used in a limited fashion, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals alongside traditional Chinese numerals.
76 million native speakers in North and South Korea
video – Count to ten in Korean
Until the 20th century, Korean was written with adapted Chinese characters called hanja. This logographic system was replaced by Hangul, which had been developed in the 1400’s but rarely used.
Hangul is a featural alphabet of 24 consonant and vowel letters. However, instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Latin alphabet, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks, such as 한 han, each of which transcribes a syllable. That is, although the syllable 한 han may look like a single character, it is actually composed of three letters: ㅎ h, ㅏ a, and ㄴ n. Each syllabic block consists of two to six letters, including at least one consonant and one vowel.
Modern Korean is written with spaces between words, a feature not found in Chinese or Japanese. Korean punctuation marks are almost identical to Western ones. Traditionally, Korean was written in columns, from top to bottom, right to left, but is now usually written in rows, from left to right, top to bottom.
Alphabets are used for writing Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Dutch, and English
Speaking of cultural imperialism, the Chinese dominated the people of what is now Vietnam for a millenium, from about 100 BC to 938 AD. About half of the words in Vietnamese are Chinese loan words. In the United States, Vietnamese is now the sixth most spoken language, with over one million speakers, mostly in Texas and California.
77 million native speakers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore
The Malaysian language is normally written using a Latin alphabet called Rumi.
From the Wikipedia’s Malaysian Language:
Malaysian (Malay: Bahasa Malaysia), or Standard Malay, is the official language of Malaysia and a standardised register of the Malacca dialect of Malay. It is over 95% cognate with Indonesian and is spoken natively by over 10 million people. As a second language, it is spoken by an estimated 14 million, mostly Malaysians from ethnic minorities.
Today’s written Indonesian and Malaysian use the 26 letters of the basic Latin alphabet due to the colonial influence (aka cultural imperialism) of the English and Dutch. It is sometimes called Tulisan Rumi (“Roman writing”) though now more often just the Malay alphabet.
PEMAIN FELDA United, Bojan Miladinovic (dua dari kiri) menanduk bola dan melepasi pemain Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) pada perlawanan Liga Super di Stadium Selayang. FELDA menang 2-1 ke atas ATM. – Foto Muhd Asyraf Sawal
Dutch is the closest language to English, often characterized as between English and German. It shares a core vocabulary and word order with German and doesn’t have as many words borrowed from French as English. Dutch is a first language for about 23 million and a second language for another 5 million people.
English: What do you do when you see things that no one has ever seen before?
Nederlands: Wat doe je als je dingen ziet dat niemand ooit heeft gezien?
from Business Insider
Dutch is both structurally and syntactically familiar for English speakers.
In terms of pronunciation and vocabulary, it parallels English in many ways, such as groen (green) or de oude man (the old man).
In addition to familiar Germanic root words, the Dutch language adopted many loan words from French as did English, with familiar words like drogeren (drug) and blok (block).
Though some vowel sounds may be new for English speakers, Dutch pronunciation follows the English model of syllable stress, so pronouncing Dutch words is somewhat intuitive.
Dutch is similar to German, but because it has no cases and a less complicated grammatical system, many linguistic scholars consider Dutch to be the easiest language for English speakers.