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How To Learn Sign Language

Language nods – meaningful messages from native speakers


I receive a lot of suggestions for linguistic
tales, some short and to the point, just: language name. Once in a while though I get a special message from
someone who shares how much my animations meant to them and how meaningful it would
be to tell a tale about their language. It’s beautiful. Then I turn to my list of ideas and I get
a reminder of just how long this list has grown. Wow. So I did some quick calculations, comparing
the quantity with how much time it takes me to craft each one of these… yeah, many years
of work ahead of me. With this little exercise, it sank in that
I won’t be getting to all of these. Probably obvious. But my calendar just flipped over to a new
year, and today I want to set aside time to highlight some of the unmade videos and the languages
deserving nods over the past years. Hang on till the end to find out the most
requested language among these personal thanks. I’ll also be curious to hear how many of these
you recognize or know something about. Let’s start with the latest video on African
Romance. Behind the scenes someone was instrumental
in getting facts on the ground right about what my French and Italian sources labeled
“berbère”, “berbero”, “Berber”. Hylda answered my questions and gave extra
info about the multiple living language variants under the umbrella term Tamazight, including
just how diverse they can be. Travel even just ten miles from where Hylda lives and there’s
already a noticeable change in phonology, vocabulary and semantics. I often get messages about Nāhuatl and sometimes
Maya in the wake of my videos, including a beautiful one about reconnecting with family. But other languages in the area were left
out. I think the most requested must be Purépecha. It’s a language isolate in Michoacán, no
known relatives found after 150 years of study. It’s unique. If you think back to my video on the Mesoamerican
language area, Purépecha speakers today have hardly any of the traits common in their area,
arguably only sharing one with the languages around them: those base 20 numbers. I’ve seen a lot of eager requests for languages
of the Philippines, Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano, even for the unique local Spanish creole Chavacano. It makes sense; looking at the geo behind
my vids, YouTube consistently puts the PI easily in the top 10 watchers of NativLang. Philippine languages are often grouped together
as a subfamily of Austronesian, but it’s debated whether they actually form a separate unit
from other Austronesian languages. There are well over a hundred of them, and
they share lots of structural similarity, including the notorious Philippine alignment. This different way of marking the verb’s voice
and subject nouns is worth a video or two all its own. From time to time I get the now-expected friendly
reminder that I still haven’t animated anything about Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Montenegrin,
or all of them together in a single video. These multiple or overlapping variants are
pluricentric ways of standardizing one Štokavski dialect. Their heaps of shared grammar and vocabulary
can appear very different in print, depending on whether they use the Latin script or Cyrillic
script or, for many speakers, both! The Dena’ina language is native to the coast
of southern Alaska, though very much at risk of extinction. Argent Kvasnikoff, a visual artist from a
Dena’ina culture tribe, was inspired to create a unique writing system for the language,
and even though undertaking it out of pure interest ended up gaining support from the
tribe. Each of the 44 letters has a sound associated
with it in a kind of acrophonic way and meaningful Dena’ina symbolism, and Argent uses the script
across projects, even in signatures. Argent became my patron and wrote one of the
best messages I ever received, giving appreciation for ideas that my Thoth’s Pill animation sparked,
and encouraging me to keep doing the kind of work that could really be a goal for all
of us, work that “helps heal cultures”. In my last video I showed a map of the Romance
languages. I said I couldn’t fit them all, but one I
made sure to fit in is Lombard, lumbaart. That’s thanks to an enthusiastic email over
a year ago that included this simple line I loved: “we really care about our language”. It’s spoken in Italy, but as form of Gallo-Romance
it has features that set it apart. For example, Italian often drops subject pronouns
before verbs, but Lombard demands these little subject reinforcers, plus optional full pronouns. After I finally finished my animation about
Middle Chinese, personal messages trickled in. One that sent me down a rabbit hole was a
kind and simple prompt to look into Wenzhounese, the “devil’s language”. But the longest and most enthusiastic was
from someone whose native language is Hmong, part of its own Hmong-Mien language family. The story goes that the written language was
lost but preserved in a way in traditional flower cloth garbs. Today’s adopted alphabet system feels
clumsy to this speaker, who explained how you now break words into initial consonants,
vowels, then look at the final consonant but don’t pronounce it; you use it to compute the
tone of the vowel. After I caught a video by a popular creator
about the terms “Indian” and “Native American”, Diné YouTuber and flag evaluator Peter “Vexillographer”
helped me clarify thoughts about names and naming and about indigenous representation in videos. Now, from wonderful requests for getting animated
about North American languages from Anishinaabe to Cherokee, I think one thing that’s clear
is how indigenous nations identify with specific languages more than these broad terms. Thanks to Peter for providing nuance and clear,
ordered points about really listening to indigenous voices. I wrote back-and-forth in Spanish with someone
who’s much more comfortable in their native language than Spanish: one of only 2000 speakers of
cmiique iitom, likely a language isolate, called Seri by outsiders. They were so happy to share how unique their
language is and how much love they have for it. Just consider the verbs, which have a whole
range of inflections across different subjects, moods, distances, and how often the action
gets repeated. I think all of these are worth more of our time. But before we get to the big one with, I think,
the most private requests, I want to mention some that have come up multiple times, enough
that they’re stuck in my head. One, you could almost guess from public comments,
is Turkish. Seriously, why still nothing about Turkish? Another, including from a very positive polyglot,
is about Moroccan as distinct Darija language. But pound for pound, which language do you
think I’ve had the most personal heartfelt messages about? It may be Guaraní. Natively, it’s “avañe’ẽ”, people’s language,
a Tupian language heard in and around Paraguay. Uniquely, it’s an indigenous language of the
Americas spoken by people from all backgrounds. Paraguayans often speak it mixed-style, “jopara”,
“mixed” with Spanish words. It has many things that you might not have come across
before, but here’s one: nasal spreading. If you see a vowel written with a wavy nasal mark
above, say it through your nose. But don’t stop nasalizing there! Let the nasal spread out to whatever surrounding
sounds it can. This is why even the language’s name itself gets nose-y:
[ʔãʋ̃ãɲẽ’ʔẽ]. Thank you for joining me to look back on these warm messages
of language love with me. So, which ones were new to you? How many had you already met before? Stay tuned for more linguistic tales and,
of course, stick around and subscribe for language.

100 Replies to “Language nods – meaningful messages from native speakers”

  • Can you please do a video about Malayalam?
    It is crazy agglutinative and shouhd have a good tongue pronounce words especially when it comes to poetry. And also there are many words for a single meaning.

  • I really wanna learn Yurok, as I was born in Eureka and spent much of my childhood there and in Del Norte. The number of speakers is slowly growing, and I feel like it’s part of my personal heritage coming from the Redwoods to learn it. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find many online resources on the language, but I’m pretty sure it’s the next language I wanna learn. These videos are lit, and I think it’s incredibly sad how fringe and endangered Aborginal American languages are. Didn’t even know about the others besides Guarani tbh, but I hope to preserve the legacy at least 🙂

  • I just spent a summer in Morocco. The influence Tamazight, French, Spanish, and occasionally a few other languages have on the local Arabic dialect (الدرجة) is incredible. It even changes geographically within Morocco. The words chosen in the north differ from the south. For example, there's a higher degree of Spanish influence in Tangier than in Meknes.

  • This is honestly one of the best and most genuine communities in Youtube. It's hard to find another niche community that is so open, friendly, and dedicated in support of the topic(s) they talk about.
    The passion for linguistics, history, language aquisition, geo politics et cetera is being kept alive and well here on Youtube.

  • I am from the Netherlands and there are villages here that are 500m apart but still have a completely diffirent vocabulary and sound.
    There are two small cities several kilometers apart in the south, Kerkrade and Maastricht. If two people from either city would have a conversation in their native dialect they would not be able to understand eachother at all. They would have to switch to Dutch or German to be able to have a conversation.
    Also if it's your thing, and you're a native Dutch, you could fake any Dutch accent properly, even fool others into believing you're actually from that part of the country. Only this is not possible with 2 dialects: Frysian and southern Limburgs are completely impossible to fake because they are just extremely difficult to master.

  • I think you should make a series of videos about the italian dialects.
    Close northern dialects are almost unintelligible for close southern speakers and viceversa, that's because Italy itself has a messed history behind.
    LangFocus has made a good video about the italian language but it lacks the complete history behind them.
    In a radius of 500 miles you pass trough so many variations with a lot of isolated cases and i think it would make a great, and quite long, video if not a series on its own

  • I didn't have to peep the comments to guess the most requested language, we have an outrageous desire to be recognized and maybe analyzed (?) by outsiders. And we show that desire religiously. It would be very nice (and interesting to all) to see some fascinating traits of Turkish to be investigated.

  • What about albanian language, it is a distinctive branch of the indoeuropean tree of languages, it is unique in all it's ways! Hope you'll do a video on it when you have time.

  • Paraguayano's are literally þe only White people þat moved outside of Europe and decided to learn the languages of þe natives en masse.

  • Mixteco, we have a local radio station in Oxnard, California, Radio Indigena. You can call to listen by calling 605 475 0090. Both Spanish and Mixtec. Interesting and beautiful.

  • Yes! Filipino "Infixes" are such a bizarre thing, it really surprised me when I was relearning the language just how many cases a word could make aside from past, present, and future typical of English and other languages. There's also a possessive case, a particular action case, and an ordering case.

  • One language that I wish had more prominence is indigenous to Guam: Chamorro. My mom's side of the family is from there, and they've taught me some phrases, but on the whole, it's an early Austronesian language that has largely been infiltrated by Spanish vocabulary and phonology due to Spanish colonization over three centuries. The Chamorro language also had influence from Japanese, English, and even German as the island passed through these nations' hands. Strangely enough, Chamorro is the only Austronesian language (that I know of) that went through this much change in the entire language family.

  • I am interested in this "Devil's Language " 😈

    But I would be remiss if I didn't request a video [or more] on the Ryūkyū languages.

  • I'm a proud speaker of a dialect of lumbaart language, and the struggle to keep my language alive really makes my day. People of the world, don't let your languages be forgotten!

  • I'm amazed that there was no request for Urdu, Mongolian, Uzbek and other Turkish languages, Tamil, Sanskrit, Sumerian, Babylonian and many many other famous and interesting languages, or is it that he didn't had the time to mention all those?

  • Do a video about Kabyle (not Berber). Would be pretty interesting. It's a special case, I believe. Especially how many sub-dialects are inside and how many external words there are inside.

  • 3:00 Tough I know it is controversial I have to say something about Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language(s). The fact that many people don't know when talking about their similarity is how it came about. It would be incorrect to think that the spoken language is so uniform and that the differences occured only because of small regional differences magnified by nationalism. The truth is opposite, south-slavic dialectal continuum has quite a lot of different local dialects, many of them quite unique and very different from standard languages (some could be considered as separate languages). The story began in the 19th centuary during the standardisation process of both croatian and serbian, one of the dominant ideology at that time was that of panslavism. Quite a few notable Slavic people sought political and linguistic union hoping that by doing that they would be free from foreign rule and live in harmony (how ironic that seems today). So in 1850. in Vienna linguists from Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia made a deal that the dialect upon which a standard language would be born is eastern-herzegovinian dialect. It is a dialect that is spoken by Serbs in western Serbia and eastern Herzegovina and by orthodox population in northern Bosnia and part of central Croatia. The orthodox population was brought to this areas by the Ottoman empire and Habsburg monarchy because it was depopulated by constant war, they were thencalled Vlachs, but now they consider themselves to be Serbs. Anyhow, the reason Croatian and Serbian are so simmilar is because the base is the same. The base (i.e. eastern-herzegovinian) was then adapted differently and now there are two different standards, Croatian and Serbian. Bosnian officialy started existing in the 1990-s, before that Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian were Serbo-croatian. Bosniaks use the mix of the standards (Serbo-croatian) with added turkish loan-words and its own flavour. Montenegrins acctually used their local dialect as the basis of their language, hence why it is the most different.

    Had croatian and serbian continued their separate path, had the meeting in Vienna never happened croatian would be half way between serbian and slovenian and serbian wouldn't have as many croatian words in their lexic.

    Now to the controversial question, are serbian and croatian the same language? Depends on what you mean by language. If you are reffering merely to the standard then yes. If you however think of a language as a collection of dialects, then no, as both croatian and serbian hav their own separate dialects. If you also include history and literature into equation then the difference becomes greater.

  • Extra clitic pronouns are tipicals non only of Lombard, but also of Venetian. And there is also an interrogative form that doesn't exist in italian/tuscan! Thanks so much for your work!

  • Love your channel! Us Filipinos love languages, there are so many in our many humble islands! It’s why we adapt well to other peoples culture and language as a diaspora I feel, because we do it so much in our own nation.

    PADAYON! Much love from a Cebuano !

  • I'd be interested in the Philippine languages video!! There's over 70 different native languages in a country that is roughly the size of California, and they're not mutually intelligible (though they're commonly mislabeled as dialects). What makes them similar? What makes them different?

    Same for Mandarin. It's hard to understand each other across dialects. Where did the unique Beijing rhotic r come from?

    Lastly, I'm curious about Gallego. It's a Spanish language, but it self- identifies as Gaelic or Celtic and distinctively not Romance. But it doesn't have similarities with Celtic languages! What's the mystery behind that???

  • Thought I knew a lot about linguistics, then I found your channel xD

    you make this field interesting; neat art, the animation, and great delivery. I like your voice tone haha.

  • 5:32 "After I caught a video by a popular creator about the terms, "Indian," and, "Native American,"

    I'm heavily betting that it might be CGP Grey's video about the topic.

  • Guess I need more than one or two lifetimes to get to know even the basics of them all … big sigh … Languages are so fascinating, reflecting how folks are and live and think and feel and so much more.

  • I absolutely love this channel. And would also love to hear about dravidia languages or Tamil in particular. I grew up in the states so Tamil is my second language but tamilians are so fiercely proud of their language and culture that Hindi doesn't get you very far in the southernmost indian states

  • I’d never heard of any of them, so a video on any and all would be great for us! You just need to not sleep for the next 30 years…I would love one on Turkish. I was sounding out words while I was there 20 years ago, encouraged by the tour guide.

  • I'm kind of taken by surprised by how emotional I feel after watching this. Language really is so close to the heart and soul of being human.

  • I’m shocked that you haven’t done anything on Icelandic yet. It’s like Tibetan where the spelling is so inconsistent and the language itself seems to exist only to stop outsiders from learning it. It seems like any attempt I try to pronounce it correctly gets locals looking at me funny, even if I try to imitate what they just said.

  • Hey if you ever make that video about Lombard and its variants hit me up, me and my family speak a form of Lombard as our dialect so we could help you!

  • I always appreciate looks at under-exposed languages.  While you may never get to some of the specific ones I'm fascinated by on their own, I can hope you might look more broadly at certain areas.  Specifically, I live up in Redding, California, and the original language spoken in this area is Wintu.  I know it's an endangered (maybe considered dead/extinct) language, and that makes me think of all the languages of the world which are endangered-to-extinct.  It might be interesting to see you rifle off some of these in a video, and maybe highlight some that have been revived, as well.  Sadly, some will never be able to be revived in their original form (such as Powhatan, which by what I've read has at most 550 words recorded).  But yeah, doing a video per language for every language in the world would take forever.  I can understand prioritizing, and by its nature a good amount will never be touched upon.

    Makes me wonder how often you get asked about conlangs.  I mean, the natural languages of this world are fascinating enough, but you somebody will always want to hear about Klingon.

  • Answering to your question, well I had of course heard of guaraní before, since I'm from Buenos Aires (born and raised). Of course I don't speak any of it but many of us Argentinians do recognise a specific swear word/expression XD

  • I think you should do a video about the mysterious language of the Iranian mountains, one known only by a fallen peoples for many, many years. The language of a people who've had many names, Nimmaki, Haltamti, and many more, of which we today call the Elamites.

  • This was adorable. I haven't messaged but I've been watching this channel for a long time and have recently started university with a double major in linguistics and anthropology, largely due to the passion you instilled in me. So, thank you. I hope you see this. All of your videos mean a lot to me.

  • I've been watching your videos for quite some time, and I must say that I really enjoy them! The animations also fit perfectly!
    My cousin & I want to design a language, & we need help picking a sound set. The purpose of this language requires that it only contains sounds that are either found in all native languages or have similar equivalents in every language. An example of similar sounds would be b, p, f, & v all either voiced or unvoiced. Another example: any sound the letter "a" can make in any accent. Sibilants are all similar. Why not even say that k & g are similar? These are just a few examples of what I'm looking for.
    I would really love if you did a video on this. I'm open to a loose definition of similar sounds. Feel free to play around with any of this.
    Thank you! Keep up the good work!

  • Ever studied a bit about pashto? It's a language with a TON of native speakers but has almost little to none materials for learning. If you don't learn from a Native speaker, well… enjoy soap-operas from the 1970s on youtube. I learned it while in the Airforce at the defense language institute in Monterey, California. If you have any questions, message me!

  • as basic as it may sound, i'd love to see something about romanian, since it's basically latin on crack with a sprinkle of slavic influence. its history is quite fascinating too!

  • Hello!

    We’ll be happy to embed the links to your channel to our educational platform www.urait.ru, www.biblio-online.ru if you say YES to us.

    The video links will be placed on the margins of books, and our readers will go to your Youtube channel to watch videos. We are URAIT Publishing House, one of the leading higher and secondary education

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    No need to upload your videos to our educational platform.

    What you get:

    additional views for your videos; great awareness among the huge Russian academic audience;

    new subscribers for your channel who are members of large professional communities (professors, students, etc.) ready to share what they find interesting.

    Our partners are Tate, CERN, The Royal Institution, engVid: Learn English, WWF International, University of California, BBC News (in Russia) etc.

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  • Romanian languages are fascinating, because it shows how Eastern Romance languages survived many years of Greek Slavic and Turkish influences over a millennia.

  • Thank you for putting so much into these videos. They really are special, important, and so so so nicely explained. You're awesome. You're helping a lot of people, myself included!

  • I wish you could do Xhosa. Lol. I'd love to write the script of it if you'd do it 😂 I am educated in it by university. I'm more than qualified to do it.

  • Darn it. I watched your video about how Latin sounded because of my music geek side, now I've watched several of your videos and I have become a Language Geek. You have really good content.
    Personally I'm very partial to European languages, but where I'm from it's not exactly convenient for me to study them, regardless I have been studying German and Italian. I study German because of my passion for my roots, and Italian because of my love of Italian music, and it's relationship to Latin, which also ties to my own language , English.

    I personally think it's cool that European languages for the most part have similarities.

    I know that was kind of off topic for this video, but I wanted to express my appreciation to you in a way you may have a chance of seeing. 🙂

  • Maybe you could do a video about how different languages ‘prefer’ to use different tenses. For example, the English present progressive phrase “what are you doing?” Gets translated into Spanish as the present phrase “que haces?”. Another example I can think of off the top of my head is how Italian uses perfect tenses a lot when talking about the past.

  • If it's not on your list yet, would you consider a video about celtic languages, about their 30 unique features (in europe) or Welsh which might be the oldest surviving language in Europe

  • Awesome man….But if you want a fun challenge go for pontic greek it's an ionian based dilectet that's near extinction
    It would mean a lot of you do this .
    Again awesome videos keep on it.😁👍

  • one i would love you to cover, but is difficult to research is the qiangic languages, speakers are extremely rare outside of china so im a bit of a rarity

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