Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Aigars » Fri 07 Aug 2009 7:46 pm

Okay I just read a bit about Finnic languages, I didn't know the term. But it appears that this branch is part of the Finno-Ugric language family. :)
Firstly, Finno-Ugric languages have nothing to do with Baltic languages (at least at present in Latvia), not even with Indo-European I believe. Although there is a Latvian dialect called Latgalian or "Livonian dialect" it shouldn't be confused with the Livonian language.

Secondly: I read about the German monks in a museum in Sigulda in Latvia once. But I may be mistaken. I see that Wikipedia and a book about the Baltic countries of mine doesn't describe it that way.
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby linguoboy » Fri 07 Aug 2009 8:20 pm

Aigars wrote:Firstly, Finno-Ugric languages have nothing to do with Baltic languages (at least at present in Latvia), not even with Indo-European I believe. Although there is a Latvian dialect called Latgalian or "Livonian dialect" it shouldn't be confused with the Livonian language.

Firstly, saying that two languages have not been proven to spring from a common source is a far cry from saying that they "have nothing to do" with each other. We know that prolonged language contact leads to significant changes in the languages involved, up to and including a complete rearrangement of their syntax. (See the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_contact for examples.) It's unthinkable that Baltic and Finnic languages haven't influenced each other; the only question is what exactly these influences are.

Second, it's an open question as to whether Finno-Ugric and Indo-European are ultimately related or not. Actually, the ultimate relationship of all natural languages is an open question, since there's of course no way to prove a negative. But hypotheses linking these two groups have far more support than most other high-order proposals. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostratic for more details.)

Secondly: I read about the German monks in a museum in Sigulda in Latvia once. But I may be mistaken. I see that Wikipedia and a book about the Baltic countries of mine doesn't describe it that way.

I can't imagine what good docents at Sigulda were thinking when they wrote that unless it was the fact that German monks were to reduce Latvian to writing. But creating a written record of a language isn't the same thing as "inventing" it any more than photographing a baby is equivalent to giving birth to it.
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Sobekhotep » Sat 08 Aug 2009 4:50 am

Aigars wrote:Are any of you acqainted with one Baltic language or more?

My stepfather is of Lithuanian heritage (with a Lithuanian surname) so I've read up on that language quite a bit. I really like the orthography; quite similar to Czech which is another language I have "expertise" in.
I don't really know any Lithuanian, though, aside from some random words & phrases.
I don't know any Latvian at all.
Can Latvian speakers understand written &/or spoken Lithuanian?
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Aigars » Mon 10 Aug 2009 12:39 pm

I believe other influences are more significant than the assumed connection between Finnic and Baltic languages. Have you read some kind of article about the Lithuanian and Finnic morphology and pronunciation?

And you're probably right about the role the German monks played in the history of Baltic languages..

Sobekhotep wrote:My stepfather is of Lithuanian heritage (with a Lithuanian surname) so I've read up on that language quite a bit. I really like the orthography; quite similar to Czech which is another language I have "expertise" in.
I don't really know any Lithuanian, though, aside from some random words & phrases.
I don't know any Latvian at all.
Can Latvian speakers understand written &/or spoken Lithuanian?


I find the written Lithuanian easier to understand than the spoken.. To me Lithuanian sounds very Slavic.. The grammar is very similar to Latvian, the 7-case system is very near identical for example, it also has like russian a system of prefixes and prepositions, and of imperfective and perfective verbs..
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Sobekhotep » Wed 12 Aug 2009 1:32 am

Aigars wrote:To me Lithuanian sounds very Slavic..

To me they both sound Slavic! :)
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Aigars » Wed 12 Aug 2009 7:57 am

:D
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Talib » Wed 12 Aug 2009 8:26 am

Of course they're going to sound Slavic after prolonged contacts between the two groups. There are almost as many Russian speakers in Latvia as native Latvians, are there not?
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby linguoboy » Wed 12 Aug 2009 1:05 pm

Talib wrote:Of course they're going to sound Slavic after prolonged contacts between the two groups. There are almost as many Russian speakers in Latvia as native Latvians, are there not?

That's a relatively recent development, however. The Russians simply didn't have much involvement in Latvian history before the 18th century.
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Talib » Wed 12 Aug 2009 6:47 pm

Fair enough, but there have been contacts between Baltic-speaking and Slavic nations since at least the medieval period, right? Common ancestry aside, the two families must have influenced each other somehow.
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Re: Baltic languages, Baltiskās valodas

Postby Sobekhotep » Thu 13 Aug 2009 5:02 am

Talib wrote:Fair enough, but there have been contacts between Baltic-speaking and Slavic nations since at least the medieval period, right?

Yes. Thanks to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
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