Blah blah English blah blah

Blah blah

A Danish friend came to visit Bangor this week. He makes the ActualFluency podcast, and is one of the people behind such courses as Italian Uncovered.

We talked a lot about websites and marketing, particularly email marketing, which I haven’t done before, but am going to try.

As well as Danish and English, he also speaks Russian and Hungarian, and has studied other languages. He doesn’t know any Welsh though, and I was curious to find out what Welsh sounded like to him. As I speak and understand Welsh, I can’t get an outsider’s perspective on it. To him it sounded very foreign – something like “blah blah blah blah English word blah blah blah blah”.

When I listen to languages I don’t know, they may sound like that to me. Mostly mysterious sounds with occasional recognisable words. The recognisable words are borrowed from English, or from another language I know, or are the names of places or people.

When listening to languages related to ones I know, I can usually understand more, or at least recognise more words.

What do unknown languages sound like to you?

The hieroglyphs in the image mean “The cat dances when the crocodile hides” (iw ib(A) miw imn msH), and come from Hieroglyphs.net

One thought on “Blah blah English blah blah

  1. The whole subject of Blah Blah Blah is fascinating (if you are into that sort of thing :-).

    Several years ago, somebody published a book (at least, a *picture* of a book) in which every word, from the title to the author, the table of contents – every last word – was “Blah”. The point of this, I guess, is how it reflects people’s attitude at times about books in general -, that they (too often) seem like a meaningless waste of time.

    There was also a TV show once that was trying to get people to vote, but first they had a part where the family members were dreaming or imagining that they themselves were watching TV, and various political figures came on, and every word THEY said was Blah Blah Blah. In the end, the moral of the story was that we actually needed to listen and not tune-out the world, which needed our civic involvement. It really was funny at the time to watch this.

    Finally, I seem to recall from your Tower of Babel series, that the very word “Babel” is related to “babble”, to speak in a meaningless way. I believe also that the Roman empire referred to its enemies as “barbarians” because they imagined those (non-Latin-speaking) were just barking like dogs and saying nothing but Bar Bar Bar – and that became “Barbarian”.

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