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On Sat, 27 May 2000 18:33:16 -0500, Tom Wier <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>Danny Wier wrote:
>>  English and Dyirbal have at least a
>> very small mutual intellegibility since both languages have the word _dog_,
>> meaning "dog".  Almost zero, but not exactly.
>
>If an monolingual English speaker heard someone speaking Dyirbal and heard
>that person say /dOg/ within the stream of other phonemes, do you think the
>English speaker would recognize that for what it was?  Most people who hear
>a foreign language they don't know are likely not to be able even to discern one
>word from another.

Actually it's Mbabaram whose word for "dog" is /dog/; Dyirbal is a related
language, but its word for "dog" IIRC is /guda/. Of course, it's possible
there might be some other Dyirbal word that sounds like English without
being related. Just the other day I was watching the Lodoss War DVD and
noticed the Japanese word "majutsu", which is similar both in sound and
meaning to the English word "magic". But if I didn't have the English
subtitles to refer to, and if I hadn't known the words "mahou" and
"maryoku", I might not have suspected that "majutsu" had anything to do
with magic. The only reason Japanese might be a little more than 0%
comprehensible to a monolingual English speaker is all the borrowed English
words they use, and even then, many of them are only recognizable with
practice.

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