Home Random Page



V. Name the main language families represented in Asia and Africa.

VI. Say what languages the people of the following countries speak:

Iran, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Myanmar, Japan, Thailand, Algeria, Iraq, Tibet, India, Morocco, Tur­key, Ethiopia, the Lebanon, Libya, Laos, Nigeria, Cambodia, the Chinese People's Republic.

General exercises

I. A. Translate into Russian. B. Tell the text in English.

The Thai language

Thai (Siamese) is a Sino-Tibetan language. It is the state language of Thailand with approximately 46 million speakers. Like all Sino-Tibetan languages Thai is monosyllabic, i.e. con­sisting of one syllable words. Its system of writing is derived from Sanskrit and is very complicated. It has 44 consonants, 32 vowels and five tones, the latter being indicated above or below the writ­ten line. There is no gender or inflection. Possession is generally indicated by placing the possessor immediately after the thing pos­sessed. The adjective, which is invariable, as all parts of speech, usually follows the noun. Verbs have no tense or mood, these ideas being conveyed by adverbs or adverbial expressions.

The Malay language

The Malay language is understood over a wider geographical extent in the Malay Archipelago than any other language. It is used in the whole of the Malay Peninsula, Indo-China (in some of the southern parts, along some coasts and in some river-valleys), Sumatra, Java (in considerable part), Borneo and in many other islands too numerous to mention. Whatever varia­tions there may be in these regions, the Malay speakers master them in a short time. Some of the languages that bear other na­mes are nearly akin to Malay. When the Malays became Moham­medans, in the XIII century, they adopted the Arabic alphabet with some modifications, and use it to this day, though there is an increasing amount of teaching and writing done with the Roman alphabet. The loan-words of Malay are chiefly from Sanskrit and Arabic. The Malay language is dissyllabic. Monosyllables are few. Words of more than two syllables are also rare. There is no conjugation or declension.

The Arabic language

Arabic which spreads across northern Africa and the Arabian peninsula is by far the most important of the Afro-Asiatic lan­guages. The speakers of Arabic run into the number of 186 million. As the sacred language of Islam it influences hundreds of millions of those who profess the Mohammedan faith. Arabic is a flexional language. The main characteristic of it, typical of all the Semitic languages, is the word-root consisting of three consonants, with shifting vowels to carry accessory ideas, e.g. Arabic root K-T-B — write"; KATABA — "he has written"; KUTIBA — "it has been written"; KITABUN — "writing", "book"; KATIBUN — "writer", etc. The Arabic language has two genders, masculine and femini­ne, with inanimate objects distributed between them: there are three numbers, singular, plural and dual (the latter denotes two objects, and is especially used for things that occur in pairs, such as, hands, feet, etc). The verb is fully inflected with numerous separate masculine and feminine forms, especially in the third per­son. The definite article for all nouns is "al"; there is no indefini­te article. The adjective follows the noun, and agrees with it in gender and number.

The Arabic script may have four separate forms for each con­sonant, according to as it comes at the beginning, the middle or the end of a word, or is used by itself. Vowel-sounds are indicated by short oblique bars and hooks above or below the consonants, but are very frequently left out altogether, and the vowel-values are to be supplied by the reader. The Arabic script, with certain modifications, is used by a number of other languages, among them Hausa and Swahili of Central Africa; the Malay and Javanese of Indonesia, and the Urdu of India.

The Turkish language

The speakers of Turkish are relatively not so very numerous. It is the national tongue of Turkey's 70-80 million inhabitants, loca­ted mainly in Asia Minor, but also in the European part of Turkey and adjacent territories — Bulgaria and Greece. Turkish-linguistic minorities are to be found as far west as Albania. In the eastern sections of Turkey there are some Kurdish and Armenian spea­king minorities.

Some linguists group the Turkish language with Finnish and Hungarian. Finnish, Hungarian and Turkish form the three westernmost European spearheads of the great Ural-Altaic fa­mily of languages of northern and central Asia. All these langua­ges have some interesting characteristics in common.

In the matter of sounds the Turkish language, like the other languages of this family, has some measure of the so-called "vowel harmony". This means that the vowel sounds are divided into three classes: front, back and neutral. If the root of the word has a "back" vowel, added suffixes must also contain back vowels; if a "front" vowel appears in the root, the vowel of the suffix must be changed as to conform to it; the "neutral" vowels, where they exist, may work with either "front" or "back" vowels. This in turn means that practically all suffixes appear in double form.

In grammatical structure Turkish agrees with other Ural-Al­taic languages in rejecting the concept of gender, and in indica­ting noun and verb relations by the piling of a suffix upon suffix.
Such grammar structure is called agglutinative. This means that the process of adding endings to a word-root, which appears in Indo-European, is carried on to a far greater degree, suffix upon
suffix being attached to the root to carry a variety of meanings. For instance, Turkish "at" — "horse"; "at-im" — "my horse"; "at lar-im" — "my horses"; "sav"— a root carrying general meaning of "love"; "sav-mek"— "to love"; "sav-me-mek"— "not to love"; "sav-il-eme-mek" — "to be impossible to be loved". Turkish has no article, definite or indefinite. The stress of Turkish is usually on the last syllable of the word. Turkish formerly used a modified Arabic script, but in 1928, under Mustapha Kemal, the Arabic script was discarded in favour of Roman letters.

II. Give a brief account of the language you study (location, language family and morphological group, grammar structure, vocabulary, the influence of other languages, script) using the words and expressions from the obligatory word list.

Date: 2016-03-03; view: 1444

<== previous page | next page ==>
Languages of the Middle and Far East | On the history of the Urdu language
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2024 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.006 sec.)