Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Talib » Sat 25 Apr 2009 11:50 pm

Sobekhotep wrote:I guess the Manchus have no practical use for it. They're content to just use Chinese. Maybe if they had their own country...
That's a pretty big if, judging by how China treats the Tibetans. They're intent on maintaining their borders.

It just goes to show that the Manchu went from the ruling class to a small minority with an almost extinct language, whereas the Jews went from a persecuted minority to having their own country and reviving Hebrew. I guess it really depends who's in charge politically.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Jayan » Sun 26 Apr 2009 3:11 am

But is reviving a dead language totally dependant on being a self-governing nation? I think it might have been possible to revive Hebrew without an independant Israel, wouldn't it?
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Talib » Sun 26 Apr 2009 5:00 am

Jayan wrote:But is reviving a dead language totally dependant on being a self-governing nation?
I suppose not, but the speakers at least need official support of some kind.
I think it might have been possible to revive Hebrew without an independant Israel, wouldn't it?
Possibly, but why? Jews had their own vernaculars before then, like Yiddish and Ladino. Modern Hebrew was born out of a necessity for Jews of different backgrounds to communicate with each other.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby formiko » Sun 26 Apr 2009 8:23 am

Modern Hebrew is basically like Esperanto. It's an artificial language, restored by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן־יְהוּדָה.
Many words were completely invented by him, or he took existing words, like lightning for electricity. חַשְׁמַל khashmal (חשמל)
He also made the grammar simpler and ditched the vowel signs. He designed it to be simpler than Ancient Hebrew.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Talib » Sun 26 Apr 2009 9:12 am

formiko wrote:Modern Hebrew is basically like Esperanto. It's an artificial language, restored by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן־יְהוּדָה.
I wouldn't call it that. What Ben-Yehuda did was prescribe a modernized form of the language with new vocabulary. His intention was to make Hebrew useable in daily life. I suppose by doing so he had to change its character, but fundamentally it is still the same language.
Many words were completely invented by him, or he took existing words, like lightning for electricity. חַשְׁמַל khashmal (חשמל)
Well, it's better to say he adapted them rather than invented them outright. חשמל is a good example, although it actually means something like "coronal discharge" (it's hard to translate). The word for lightning is ברק (bārāq).
He also made the grammar simpler and ditched the vowel signs. He designed it to be simpler than Ancient Hebrew.
He did indeed simplify the grammar but you can't say really he ditched the vowel signs because they weren't part of the orthography to begin with. The original spelling for Hebrew didn't write vowels. The vowel points were developed in the Middle Ages and are used only when precise reading is required, like in religious texts.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby kaenif » Sun 26 Apr 2009 12:05 pm

Talib wrote:That's a pretty big if, judging by how China treats the Tibetans. They're intent on maintaining their borders.

It just goes to show that the Manchu went from the ruling class to a small minority with an almost extinct language, whereas the Jews went from a persecuted minority to having their own country and reviving Hebrew. I guess it really depends who's in charge politically.

When they were the ruling class, they were also a minority. :P
The Manchu script is beautiful... I think the language should be revived too.
Hope the people are willing to do that.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Sobekhotep » Mon 27 Apr 2009 10:36 pm

kaenif wrote:The Manchu script is beautiful

True, but that may be an impediment to the language's success. The script is difficult to typeset, due to it's nature (vertical, left to right). I think that if they really wanted to revive the language they should adopt a modified Latin or Cyrillic alphabet, like with Mongolian.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby linguoboy » Tue 28 Apr 2009 3:56 am

Sobekhotep wrote:The script is difficult to typeset, due to it's nature (vertical, left to right).

Why would that make it difficult to typeset? Vertical, right-to-left was once the most common way of printing Chinese. I still come across books laid out that way, in fact. What would be so challenging about reversing the direction of the columns?
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Neqitan » Tue 28 Apr 2009 6:26 am

By the way, the current version of Internet Explorer already supports vertical displaying. It's in fact one of the few things that Internet Explorer can do better than Firefox. I already can assure you it does when I saw a blog about Phags-Pa months ago with the examples properly coded vertically for the font.
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Re: Should we try for more cases like Hebrew?

Postby Talib » Tue 28 Apr 2009 6:49 am

I don't know how Manchu script works, but would it be possible to write it left to right like Chinese? Or right to left even.
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