German Language Spoken Here

We know that German is spoken in Germany, Europe. Some of us know that it’s spoken in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well.

But German dialects are spoken elsewhere too. Or perhaps the spoken German is so different in Papua New Guinea and Pennsylvania that it could be considered another language? See the verbs at Verbix language drafts.

Khevsur – Descendants of Crusaders?

My father was reading an over 100 year old book, where he found information about “Kevzor” people living in Kaukasus mountains and with the roots far away from Alsace, today’s France.Khevsureti, Caucasus

This was interesting enough to search for more information. And after a while I found out a Wikipedia article about Khevsureti.

The article tells “There has been a hypothesis, coming from the locals and descriptions by Russian serviceman and ethnographer Arnold Zisserman […], that these Georgian highlanders were descendants of the last European Crusaders.[…] the pure Crusader origin of Khevsurs is not supported by most modern scholars. However, some form of settlement of Crusaders in these areas is possible, as they are mentioned in several manuscripts of the time as participants of several battles against the Muslims in Georgia […], and the fact that some passed through here after the fall of the Holy Land.”

And the crusades reminded me from the medieval Europe and maps from that era. See the map from AD 1160 at Medieval Europe and the Middle East


Sardinian x 4

Sardinian is a Romance language spoken on the island of Sardinia, Italy.

What makes it interesting is that there are actually 4 different Sardinian languages spoken there on an island of 24,000 km2 (9,300 sq mi).

The reason must be that the areas have been isolated by the nature in such way that their common ancestor language could evolve to different languages.

More (check out the sample verbs and compare the differences):

Friulian in Romania, really?

I found a great website with verbs of Romance languages.

One thing surprised me: I found out that Friulian is spoken in Romania. [See map] Could that be true? I used to know that Friulian is a language spoken in Italy.

Greci, Tulcea, Romania
View from Greci Town in Tulcea, Romania

After browsing for more information I found out in a book called Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia that “After 1880 Friulians moved to Romania (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), where they worked mainly as craftsmen or in the quarries near the town of Greci”.

Still amazing that a language survives there in these days!

Back to the Basics

Today I took the opportunity to visit one of the public libraries in Espoo.

Although there’s a great number of language related sites and pages in the Internet, the language books are still the primary source of information when it comes to grammar and language details.

From all the interesting books there, I picked the book A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson…

“§87 Like MnE, OE has two types of verbs — weak and strong. The weak verb forms its preterite and past participle by adding a dental suffix, the strong verb by changing its stem vowel; cf. MnE ‘laugh, laughed’  and ‘judge, judged’ with MnE ‘sing, sang, sung’. The strong verbs are nearly all survivals from OE; new verbs when made up or borrowed today join the weak conjugation. Thus the strong verb ‘drive, drove, driven’ survives from OE. When in the thirteenth century ‘strive’ was borrowed from the French, it followed the pattern of ‘drive’ because the two infinitives rhymed; hence we get MnE ‘strive, strove, striven’. But we conjugate the comparatively new verb ‘jive’, not ‘jive, jove, jiven’, but ‘jive, jived’, i.e. as a weak verb.”

New York, Maps, Languages

I visited New York a month ago or so.

New York City is home to the largest population of overseas Chinese outside of Asia.
New York City is home to the largest population of overseas Chinese outside of Asia.

What’s amazing is that your hear so many languages and people from different parts of the world there.

Not only are there tourists coming from all over the world, but a lot of people have found their home there. New York City is home, for instance, to the largest population of overseas Chinese outside of Asia.

I took the photo at the right in Chinatown, where you could hardly see any text in English.

While Chinatown is in the South-East of Manhattan Island, the largest concentration of Hispanics is in the north, as seen on the map.

Hispanic people in Manhattan Links:

Armenian, the Cradle of Indo-Europeans?


Typical Armenian terrain
Typical Armenian terrain

Despite the harshness of winter in most parts, the fertility of the Armenian plateau’s volcanic soil made Armenia one of the world’s earliest sites of agricultural activity. This is the reason that there have been many great civilizations there in the region.

Today the Armenians live there, surrounded by the Caucasus mountains. In Armenia they mostly speak Eastern Armenian. While Western Armenian was the language spoken on the Turkish side of the border and of many people living abroad in diaspora.

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language,

Read more:

PS: To conjugate some sample verbs in Armenian, install Verbix for Windows.

A Great Walk through Time

Map showing when the humans reached different parts of the world
Map showing when the humans reached different parts of the world

Roughly 200,000 years ago the humans migrated from Africa. And 10,000 years ago they reached the outmost parts of their origin.

With this timespan in mind, the languages that are covered on Verbix website(s) weren’t even born when the humans already had travelled around the globe.

It would be fascinating to know what and how they spoke.

Caucasian Languages

I had one day off from the work and spent some time trying to find websites that I frequently visited 15 years ago. (Regarding this, see another blog post).

Caucasus Mountains, Dagestan, area where Lezgian languages are spoken
Caucasus Mountains, Dagestan, area where Lezgian languages are spoken

Finally I found my way to The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. On that website I found my way to some minor languages spoken in the Caucasian Mountains. These Lezgian languages today struggle for their lives to survive and keep their own culture.

Read more:

European Languages 7000 Years Ago

After the latest ice age, Europe got free from the ice and the population could move to new areas from the refuges — or the inhabited areas during the ice age.

The language situation in Europe around 5500BC. IE = Indo-European languages, Bs = Basque languages, SU = Ugric languages
The language situation in Europe around 5500BC. IE = Indo-European languages, Bs = Basque languages, SU = Ugric languages

During this era Europe underwent the neolithic revolution, the time when people switched from hunter gathering to domestication. It is assumed that the Indo-Europeans brought the domestication to Europe and therefore won terrain over the other linguistic groups.