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> From:    J Matthew Pearson <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Ethnologue.
>
> Glancing over all these ethnologue entries, I notice that most people's
> languages have over 100,000 speakers.  Some have millions of speakers.  I
> know that Tokana and Tepa have (or had) fewer than 30,000 speakers apiece
> (in the case of Tepa probably far fewer).  Are there any other conlangs on
> the list with very small (fictional) speaker bases?

Sure.

HADWAN [HDW] 1,000 in Spain, 1,500 in all countries.  Islands
in Alborán Sea.  Indo-European, Mykaic, Western.  Several
dialects, intelligibility probably sufficient to understand
complex and abstract discourse.  90% non-human speakers.  40%
(mostly males) bilingual in Spanish, younger speakers prefer
English.  Recent orthography reform (1976); 35% literacy in
old native script, 85% in new Roman-style script.  Typology:
SVO, head-initial, ergative.  Christian.  Bible respelled
1977.

Standard disclaimer: 98.8% of statistics are made up on the spot.  I'm
really not that far along in the language yet (I'm about two thousand years
behind!... glacially slow.) so anything this current is well and likely to
change without notice.  (Although in an absolute sense, there really _can't_
be too many Hadwan speakers.)

> From:    Dan Sulani <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Obscenities
>
> I'm not an expert in German linguistics,  (note that, in my previous
> posting, I didn't refer to /x/. I wasn't sure if I was talking about
> allophones of /x/ in German or not.)  Anyhow, my German grammar
> book, in the section on pronounciation, lists the [x] and the
> "c with a tail" just like I wrote. I have also heard German spoken this
> way. BTW, "c with a tail"  really does sound like a fricative (more
> noise than "y" ).

People who come out of German at the high-school I went to pronounce the
ich-laut as /S/.

> From:    Cathy Whitlock <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: something i found interesting...
>
> I was working on something for my ToK (Theory of Knowledge) class, and
came
> across something relating to languages in general:
>
> "Language has an imporant effect on the way we experience the world. Most
of
> our knowledge comes to us linguistically encoded. This immediately raises
the
> question of the relationship between language and the world. Does language
> passively describe the way the world is, or does it actively structure our
> experience?... Can we know something we can't put into words?"

That depends on, if when you say "we can't put into words", whether you mean
something like "we as mere humans haven't the power to do so" or something
like "we personally can't think of words to do so".

There's a kind of problem, actually, with knowing things you can't put into
words--that is, if you can't communicate it, how can you prove it's actually
there?  But an odd property of words is their ability to place complex ideas
into small packages.  There's nothing to prevent me from taking this [X
which I cannot put into words] and calling it "foo" (something I have found
incredibly helpful in the past for peace of mind).

Of course, if I wanted to get anyone to understand what "foo" meant, I might
have to channel Anna Wierzbicka...

> And our next discussion will be on what would theoretically happen if a
baby
> grew up without being exposed to a langauge and what the baby would do,
etc.,

It would speak Phrygian, of course.

> From:    Yoon Ha Lee <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: something i found interesting...
>
> This also depends, I suppose, on how you define "knowledge."  If I know
> how to play a piece on the piano (I have some 50 memorized, though I'm
> out of practice), does a verbal description suffice to encapsulate that
> knowledge?  Would you count musical transcription as "words"?

Sensory memory, too.  I haven't got neither language nor skill enough to
bang together to make sparks to describe what smells are like, but I can
recognize and recall smells I know.

> From:    Jonathan Chang <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: "Aryans" (was Re: query: distorted languages?)
>
>     There is a group called the Beige Race Liberation Front that advocates
a
> "polyracial" category in all government forms, census, etc. worldwide...
>     They have a t-shirt that is highly amusing that reads:
>
>     PROUD TO BE A RACE TRADER
>
>     TODAY MANY "RACES", TOMORROW ONE RACE!!

Pfeh.  I'm pretty much visibly ethnically ambiguous.  People are always
asking me "where I'm from"--I'm from _here_ and most of them know that, but
most people don't have it in them to come right out and ask the question
they really want:  "what's your [ethnic background]?" "what [race] are
you?".  I don't see why it matters, but I answer them anyway.  Maybe I
should start making up exotic stories.  Yes, I'm Greek.  And Icelandic.  And
Armenian, and Cherokee, and Tibetan, and Israeli, and even a quarter Martian
on my half-uncle's side.

> From:    Nik Taylor <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: USAGE:  Currencies and -s
>
> Raymond Brown wrote:
> > But the trouble with gold coinage is that if inflation weakens the
pound,
> > the coin becomes worth more than its face value!
>
> That seems really odd to have a coin whose value changes.

American coins did that too.  The metals in (IIRC) the pennies or the
nickels came to be worth more than the actual denomination of the coin, so
they ended up making them of different amounts of stuff.

> From:    Steg Belsky <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: TECH: UniPad Unicode Editor
>
> I downloaded this program that was mentioned on the list a while ago.
> It seems pretty cool, i made a Hebrew keyboard setup (the program didn't
> come with one) based on the Israeli standard in case anyone's interested.
>  But i can't figure out, how do i take the text that i type in the editor
> and put it on a webpage?
> could anyone help me with it?

Probably the easiest way might be to save your HTML file as UTF-8.
If you do that you might need a, um, I think it'd be <meta name="charset"
value="utf-8"> but I'm not sure, you could probably look in
http://w3.org/MarkUp/ and they'd have it.

----------------

Okay, my ObLing questions for the night:

Are there any other totally awesome Indo-Europeanist webpages like
http://iiasnt.leidenuniv.nl/ around?  Something on grammar or verb
conjugations would be really nice.

Also, uh... I had another question, and forgot it.  Oops.

    *Muke!