Saturday, 26 November 2011

Unu plian fojon, unu plian ŝancon

Kiom pli devas mi perdi, antaŭ mia koro estas pardonita?
Kiom pli da doloro, devas mi suferi, por renkonti al vi ree?
Unu plian fojon, ho sezonoj! Ne malaperu!
Unu plian fojon, la tempoj, dume ni kune ĝuis.

Kiam ni kverelis, mi ĉiam diris ke mi malvenkas.
Via egoisma naturo kialigis ke mi amu vin eĉ plie
Unu plian fojon, la memoroj ne permesas ke miaj gamboj moviĝu,
Unu plian fojon, mi ne povas decidi, kien mi volas iri!

Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Mi provas trovi vin apud la vagonaroj, kaj ĉe la fenestroj de aleoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi ne trovus vin tie

Se mia volo realiĝus, mi estus kun vi tiun ĉi momenton.
Tiam, estos nenio, kion mi ne riskos,
Por ke vi ĉiam restu kun mi.

Se mi nur volus esti kun iu,
Iu povus helpi min forgesi mian solecon,
Hodiaŭ nokte, ŝajnas al mi, ke la steloj falus
Tial, nur estas vi!

Nur unu plian fojon, se nur la iro kaj foriro de sezonoj haltus,
Nur unu plian fojon, mi volus iri al tiuj nestreĉaj tempoj
Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Sur vojokunĝioj, kaj eĉ en miaj sonĝoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi ne trovus vin tie

Se mi povus esperi miraklon,
Mi volus montri al vi novan tagiĝon, kiu estos mi de nun,
Kaj la vortoj “Mi amas vin!”
Kiujn neniam mi povis diri...

Memoroj de la somero marŝas ene mi,
Mia koro subite haltas,
Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vin
Matene, sur la stratoj de tiu ĉi urbo de Sakuragi,
Mi provas trovi vin,
Kvankam, mi scias ke vi neniam iros tie

Se mia volo realiĝus, mi estus kun vi tiun ĉi momenton
Tiam, estos nenio, kion mi ne riskos,
Por ke vi ĉiam restu kun mi.

Ie mi iras, mi trovas viajn signojn,
En vendejoj dum miaj vojaĝoj, kaj en la vendejegoj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi neniam trovos vin tie

Se mi povus esperi miraklon,
Mi volus montri al vi novan tagiĝon, kiu estos mi de nun,
Kaj la vortoj “Mi amas vin!”
Kiujn neniam mi povis diri...

Ie mi iras, mi ĉiam provas trovi vian ridetantan vizaĝon,
Ĉe la kuniĝo, atendante preteriron de vagonaroj,
Kvankam mi scias, ke mi neniam trovus vin tie

Se mi povus revivi mian tutan vivon,
Mi ĉiam volus esti kun vi
Por estas nenio, kion mi volas en tiu ĉi mondo,
Pri nenio mi zorgas tiom, kiom mi zorgas pri vi...


That's an Esperanto translation of Masayoshi Yamazaki's 'One more time, one more chance.' The song is in Japanese and I don't know the language therefore I consulted two English translations. In rendering the song into Esperanto, I've been more faithful to myself (it may sound selfish but it's true) than any translation. That's because she told me on 23 November, 2011 at 22:20 that she was committed. Yes, she is committed to another guy... ;(

Sunday, 13 November 2011

An Indian Interlingua - Antarbhasa

I have a confession here. To my knowledge, there doesn't exist any Interlingua equivalent of Indian languages. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. The languages of India are sufficiently close so that a common vocabulary can be extracted and joined together by a simple grammar.

So, what's the language situation like in India?

Well, there are 103 languages spoken in the country and the speakers of the 12 major languages account for 90 per cent of the population. That's a major relief because instead of more than hundred languages, we can safely limit ourselves to the Big 12 and assume at least 9 out of 10 people will be able to relate to it.

These Big 12 are: 

1. Hindi (40%)
2. Bengali (8-9%)
3. Telegu (8-9%)
4. Marathi (6-7%)
5. Tamil (5-6%)
6. Urdu (5-6%)
7. Gujarati (4-5%)
8. Kannada (3-4%)
9. Malyalam (3-4%)
10. Oriya (3-4%)
11. Punjabi (2-3%)
12. Assamese (1-2%)

Of the Big 12, eight (in bold) are direct descendants from Sanskrit and the remaining four belong to the Dravidian family of languages. Let's deal with them one at a time: 

Sanskrit Descendants:

Those descended from Sanskrit have similar vocabulary and almost identical grammars. For an analogy, you can think of Sanskrit as Latin and its descendants as Romance languages.

Also, Hindi and Urdu have so much in common that it is impossible to distinguish the colloquial speech. 

The learned vocabulary is derived from Sanskrit; Urdu is the sole exception here. It prefers to borrow from Persian and Arabic.

Each of these languages, Marathi being an exception, has a script of its own and they are mutually incomprehensible.

On the plus side we have more or less a common word stock and similar grammars to begin with.

Dravidian Family: 

I haven't got much to say here because I don't speak any Dravidian language. But I do know that their grammars have nothing in common with the first group. 

Fortunately, they have borrowed from Sanskrit. I read a couple of years ago in The Tribune that 90% of words in Malyalam have Sanskrit origin. Tamil is the farthest you can get in terms of non-Sanskrit vocabulary. Still, I read that in a dictionary, 40% of its vocabulary comes from Sanskrit. 

Using the same analogy, you can think of the Dravidian group as English that has borrowed a lot from Latin but has kept its grammatical features intact.

Now that we have a word stock to start with, we can start registering and standardising a pan-Indian vocabulary. But how are we to go about it?

A way forward is to pick up a word as see how it appears in all the languages of the Big 12. If it has a similar form and meaning in 7 languages, it is accepted into Antarbhasa. A downside of this approach is that we will not have many Dravidian words because there are only four of them in the list. Also, it is not wise to give Hindi and Assamese equal voting power. Hindi is understood by more than half of the Indians but Assamese, on the other hand, is hardly spoken outside the tiny state of Assam. To overcome this, here is my proposal: 

Divide these languages into three groups. The first group will include Hindi and Urdu; Oriya, Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Punjabi and Gujarati will be in the second Group and the Dravidian languages are put in the third group. 

After assigning the languages separate groups, we treat each group as a single entity and only when a word is common in at least two of them, does it become a part of Antarbhasa. English and Persian will be referred if there isn't a common ground. That's because these two languages, at different times, have been the official languages of the country since 1400 or 1500 AD. And if even that doesn't help, let Sanskrit come to rescue.

That's only my idea. I may be way off the mark. But it would be interesting to work on such a project. I don't know if Nikhil wants to work on something like this.

Once we have the vocabulary at our disposal we can start thinking of grammar. And given that there are eleven different scripts for these Big 12, the question of an official script is going to cause much heated debate.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Three Useful Artifical Languages to Learn

There are perhaps as many artificial languages (auxlangs) in the world as natural languages. Unfortunately, only a few of these languages have more than a dozen speakers. With perhaps more speakers than all the other auxlangs combined, Esperanto has been the queen of the field for the past 100 years. 

Other than Esperanto there are many exciting auxlangs and conlangs. For instance, one of them (Toki Pona) doesn't have more than 123 words to talk about everything in the world, while the vocabulary of another (Sambahsa) is inspired from proto-Indo-European (a language believed to be the mother of all Indo-European languages) and still there is a third (Lojban) that claims to have the most logical grammar. 

Exciting as these languages are, I wonder if an ordinary guy on the street has much use of them. To my knowledge there exist only three languages, that you can put to some practical use after learning and these are: 

1. Interlingua

It's my personal favourite. If you are reading this, you will find Interlingua the most familiar. It has its vocabulary extracted from the five major world languages namely English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Add to that occasional sprinkling of words from German and Russian and you get a language that, with the exception of the Middle East and the Far East, can be used everywhere. 

It is common to hear that there are exceptions and irregularities in Interlingua. Fortunately, you won't even notice them if you speak any of the source languages. How many of you would raise eyebrows on reading that Interlingua es is 'is' and son is 'are'? This is perfectly natural, isn't it?

There are two major advantages of learning Interlingua: 

  • You get an insight into how Romance languages work and after spending a few months you begin to get the gist of texts in source languages (except English).
  • Your English vocabulary takes a boost.

2. Slovianski

They call it the Slavic counterpart of Interlingua. The methodology of extracting vocabulary is more of less the same but there are more source languages - Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Slovene, Bularian and Macedonian - and all of them are Slavic. A grammar of the language is available on this website but I haven't found any lessons yet. Therefore, I don't know how much it will help you in the understanding of Slavic languages. However, when I showed a few Slovianski sentences to a Russian friend, he understood almost everything.

Just like Interlingua, there are irregularities and exceptions. The difference is: we will feel the pinch this time!

And it should give you a taste of writing and reading in Slavic languages within a few months of study.

3. Esperanto

Esperanto doesn't help you understand any language. It looks ugly. The Chinese, Japanese and Koreans don't find it easy. Most speakers of the language prefer to talk about Esperanto than any other topic and they look down on other artificial languages, often calling it a "waste" of time and energy. Still, it among the three and the reason it the strength of its speakers. They are spread all over the globe and by even the most conservative estimates, there are at least 10,000 of them.

There are lots of books in Esperanto and if your dream is to see the world but you are tight on cash, Pasporta Servo (Passport Service) can help you. Through Esperanto, I have talked to people from China, Lithuania, Romania and the Democratic Republic of Congo and have learned how similar we are. But again, even here discussion about Esperanto takes at least 10% of the time.

Therefore if you are looking for a way so that you can start talking to people from all over the world without using Google Translate, Esperanto is the way to go.


I wanted to add Frenkisch too but I don't think it's ready yet and I don't know a non-English Germanic language speaker who can tell me how effective the language is.