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Indians and "even"

Sania Marsh
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This quote in the other thread reminded me of a question that no idian answered me till now.
Quote: " ..even I did not like.."

Many times I hade this type of conversation with indians:
Me: - I tried really hard but I couldn't fix this program
Indian friend: - Even I couldn't do that

When I ask indians if there is a difference between "also" and "even" in the above converstion, they say no, and both can be used interchangeably.

In my understanding, if someone replied me "Even I .. ", person mean that he/she is very good in that area (more percisely better than me).

None of indians agreed with me so far.

So am I wrong, or there is something in indian language that can be translated as both "even" and "also", therefore the confusion?
Venkatraman Kandaswamy
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Very interesting thought !! But if you were speaking to me, I would have used "also" and not "even".

I dont know about other Indian languages but I can tell definitely about Tamil. We do differentiate between these also and even.

"ennalayum mudiyalai" = the yum sound gives the also meaning.

"ennalayae mudiyalai" = the yae sound gives the even meaning ( little arrogant ) .


About Hindi, I dont speak that tongue well - so I might not be able to comment with any authority.


--Venkatraman<br />SCJP 1.4<br /><a href="http://kvrlogs.blogspot.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">blog</a>
Jayesh Lalwani
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I think the confusion comes partly from the English language, partly because (I think) you are mistaken. meaning of Even

I think when most of us Indians use "Even", we use it as an intensive. So, "Even I couldnt fix the bug" translates to "Indeed! I couldnt fix the bug".
Even means "to a greater extent" only if it is used as a comparative adverb, as in "I wont do well in this test, I might even fail". I might be wrong here, but if you start a sentence with Even, then it's being used as an intensive.

Anyways, using Even as an intensive is tottally redundant, and the meaning of the sentence wont change even if you dont use it(another even!! argghh!!)
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
I think the confusion comes partly from the English language, partly because (I think) you are mistaken.



Hah, that's what all my indin friends tell me.

How about americans (and other nationalities), do you also think I'm misunderstanding "even"?
[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: Rita Moore ]
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by venkatraman kandaswamy:
I dont know about other Indian languages but I can tell definitely about Tamil. We do differentiate between these also and even.


That was also one of the things I was surprised to learn, when I saw some indians talk english to each other because their native languages are different. How do you watch indian movies? Are they translated to all different indian languages?
I know now there is Tamil and Hindi, what other languages are there?
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:



Hah, that's what all my indin friends tell me.

How about "He even tried nailing it down" vs "He also tried nailing it down"
Do you find difference in those??
To me the first one is like: he tried everything, he went over the limit - he tried to nail it down,
Second one mean: along with all other stuff he tried was nailing it down


How about americans (and other nationalities), do you also think I'm misunderstanding "even"?

[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: Rita Moore ]



I think you are right on this one. "He even tried nailing it down" doesnt mean "He also tried nailing it down" when it really means "I tried everything and as a last measure I tried nailing it down" I think Indians are misusing "even" here because they are confusing the adverb with the adjective. "Even" as an adjective means "equal" which is sort of like "also".

Here's where the confusion is

Even, He tried nailing it down = Indeed!! He tried nailing it down
He even tried nailing it down = He tried everything and finally tried nailing it down
He tried nailing it down evenly = When he was trying to nail it down, he was trying to make it as flat as possible

Mind-boggling huh?
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:


That was also one of the things I was surprised to learn, when I saw some indians talk english to each other because their native languages are different. How do you watch indian movies? Are they translated to all different indian languages?
I know now there is Tamil and Hindi, what other languages are there?


20 or 30 I think. I dont remember. But, many of them are close to either Tamil or Hindi. So, if you know either Tamil of Hindi, you can understand many other languages. Tamil based languages are prevelant in the south, and Hindi based languages are prevelant in the north, and most educated people know English everywhere. So, if you want to be able to survive in idnia you should know wither English and Hindi, or English and Tamil or Tamil and Hindi
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
I think when most of us Indians use "Even", we use it as an intensive. So, "Even I couldnt fix the bug" translates to "Indeed! I couldnt fix the bug".


I was thinking about this, so when you use "Indeed", you make a pause before you contimue, which stands for "!". Hovewer in the sentence with Even you didn't use even comma.

It is very much possible that I'm wrong, because in Russian for most different meanings of english "even" there is separate word.
But what's interesting, is that no other nationality person, but indian uses even that way, or I just never heard it.
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:


I was thinking about this, so when you use "Indeed", you make a pause before you contimue, which stands for "!". Hovewer in the sentence with Even you didn't use even comma.

It is very much possible that I'm wrong, because in Russian for most different meanings of english "even" there is separate word.
But what's interesting, is that no other nationality person, but indian uses even that way, or I just never heard it.


Well, in proper english, when "even" is used as an intensive, it's not followed by a exclamation or a comma. So, I think "Even I couldnt fix the bug" is correct usage. I think the confusion arises because sometimes "even" means "equal" and sometimes it means "more than". I think most Indians I know will take "even" to mean "equal" all the time
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:


Well, in proper english, when "even" is used as an intensive, it's not followed by a exclamation or a comma. So, I think "Even I couldnt fix the bug" is correct usage. I think the confusion arises because sometimes "even" means "equal" and sometimes it means "more than". I think most Indians I know will take "even" to mean "equal" all the time


Why indians? Why not others? Is there some word in Hindi(I assume) that they use similar way as "even" = "equal" but not as "even" = "more than"?
peter wooster
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:

Hah, that's what all my indin friends tell me.

How about americans (and other nationalities), do you also think I'm misunderstanding "even"?

[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: Rita Moore ]


In Canadian usage the phrase "even I couldn't fix the bug", would imply that the speaker was an expert and that the bug was so difficult that an expert couldn't solve it. It almost implies that the speaker is the top expert.

This derives from the usage described in the OED as "introducing an extreme case of something". The example they give is from Gibbon "Even on that memorable occasion, his stay did not exceed two months".
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:


Why indians? Why not others? Is there some word in Hindi(I assume) that they use similar way as "even" = "equal" but not as "even" = "more than"?


I'm trying to rack my brain trying to find some word like that, but I cant. Maybe that's something we learned in school, or somehow it entered common usage. There is "bhi" which means "also", but I dont think there is a word for "even" as in "more than". There is "jyada" which means "more than", but "jyada" is never used as as an intensive. Most people will use "Ha!!" as an intensive which means "Yes!!". I might be wrong though.

And also, let's not forget "Even though" as in "Even though I am checking for null, I get a NullPointerException".
Axel Janssen
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Originally posted by peter wooster:


In Canadian usage the phrase "even I couldn't fix the bug", would imply that the speaker was an expert and that the bug was so difficult that an expert couldn't solve it. It almost implies that the speaker is the top expert.


That way I learnt it in school. I think that in indian english they just don't make that semantic distinction. And in other flavours of english there is.

I find it a bit peculiar, though. In nearly all languages there should exist this distinction, because its so basic.
peter wooster
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:

That way I learnt it in school. I think that in indian english they just don't make that semantic distinction. And in other flavours of english there is.

I find it a bit peculiar, though. In nearly all languages there should exist this distinction, because its so basic.


There are a lot of these kind of differences in English usage, even between Canadians and Americans, not to mention the British. When I say "truck", I mean "lorry" not "garbage" (unless it's an SUV), the British phrase "I'll knock you up in the morning" has a very different meaning in North America.

One usage that seems to be common to those from south asia is the use of "doubt" for "question". In standard english "doubt" usually carries a negative connotation, as in the phase "I doubt that".
Mapraputa Is
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Jayesh: 20 or 30 I think.

Actually, I read about 700, but trying to find proofs, found only this quote:

"The encyclopedic People of India series, published by the government's Anthropological Survey of India in the 1980s and early 1990s, identified seventy-five "major languages" within a total of 325 languages used in Indian households. In the early 1990s, there were thirty-two languages with 1 million or more speakers."
http://www.indianchild.com/indian_languages.htm
Also,

"The Indian constitution recognizes eighteen languages as the official languages of the country"
http://azaz.essortment.com/languagesindian_rsbo.htm



Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by peter wooster:


There are a lot of these kind of differences in English usage, even between Canadians and Americans, not to mention the British. When I say "truck", I mean "lorry" not "garbage" (unless it's an SUV), the British phrase "I'll knock you up in the morning" has a very different meaning in North America.

One usage that seems to be common to those from south asia is the use of "doubt" for "question". In standard english "doubt" usually carries a negative connotation, as in the phase "I doubt that".


I thought "I doubt that" is much differrent than "I have a doubt" That is when doubt is used as a verb it means "I dont beleive it", whereas when it's used as a noun it means "I am not sure"
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by peter wooster:

There are a lot of these kind of differences in English usage, even between Canadians and Americans, not to mention the British. When I say "truck", I mean "lorry" not "garbage" (unless it's an SUV), the British phrase "I'll knock you up in the morning" has a very different meaning in North America.

One usage that seems to be common to those from south asia is the use of "doubt" for "question". In standard english "doubt" usually carries a negative connotation, as in the phase "I doubt that".



It took me long time to get that by "fall" people meant "autumn". But at the same time, there is language-specific stuff that foreigners translate as is and it may sound different.
For example, in one of the languages I speak, both "blue" and "green" can be named with one word - "kuk" (even though there is another word that stands for green only, "kuk" can mean both green and blue). So those who name those colors "kuk", have hard time naming green and blue with different words in other languages (no, they are not colorblind).
I came across such things with many nations, and they almost always could explain it with the specifics of their language. But no indian could explain me the "even" thing. And as I learned in this thread, it is not all indians who mean "even"="equal". I also know that most(if not all) Pakistanis wouldn't use "even"="equal". So if it was region-specific english, like British english, then most indians and pakistanis should use it the same, but it doesn't seem to be a case.
peter wooster
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Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:

I thought "I doubt that" is much differrent than "I have a doubt" That is when doubt is used as a verb it means "I dont beleive it", whereas when it's used as a noun it means "I am not sure"


You are right that doubt as a noun means uncertainty.

According to the OED

doubt sb.
1a) the (subjective) state of uncertainty as to the truth or reality of anything. with pl.: a feeling of uncertainty as to something
1b) the condition of being (objectively) uncertain
2+) a doubtful matter of point, a difficulty
3+) apprehension, dread, fear


2) and 3) are obsolete, 2) is usually used in the phrase "the benifit of the doubt"

So you could "have doubt" or "have doubts about". You cannot "have a doubt", the correct term for that is to "have a question", even though "have questions" is very close to "have doubts" in its meaning and "have question" is never used.
[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: peter wooster ]
Kripal Singh
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you are right
this link will give you more info
http://adaniel.tripod.com/Languages.htm

officially

English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language

forgot to add three more Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Jayesh: 20 or 30 I think.

Actually, I read about 700, but trying to find proofs, found only this quote:



[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: Kripal Singh ]

# Help an unprivileged kid.<br /> Whatever u do will make a difference...<br /> ...to a child's life & ur own #<br /><a href="http://www.cry.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.cry.org/</a>
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by peter wooster:


2) and 3) are obsolete, 2) is usually used in the phrase "the benifit of the doubt"

So you could "have doubt" or "have doubts about". You cannot "have a doubt", the correct term for that is to "have a question", even though "have questions" is very close to "have doubts" in its meaning and "have question" is never used.

[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: peter wooster ]



I beleive you are correct. Even though "I have a doubt" is technically correct, it's not popularly used (atleast in US, as far as I know). It becomes even more confusing when some people just leave out the "a" and say "I have doubt".

So, "I have doubt about your code" could be easily misunderstood as "I am skeptical about your code", when the speaker could have meant "I have a question about your code"
Thomas Paul
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To an American:

"Even I couldn't fix this bug."

Sounds like

"Even I, the most grand and glorious Oz, could not fix this bug."

"The most grand and glorous" is silent.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
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Alan Wanwierd
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
To an American:

"Even I couldn't fix this bug."

Sounds like

"Even I, the most grand and glorious Oz, could not fix this bug."

"The most grand and glorous" is silent.


I agree - Which suggests this particular bit of English seems to hold its meaning across all its major regional variants(U.S, U.K, Australia).. not sure about Africans - There are some perculiar phrases that seem to come out of some South African friends I have that suggest their use of English varies enormously:

"You must get me a cup of coffee" (which sound terribly demeaning and excessively direct) is actualy used EVEN when they really mean to say "Can you please get me a cup a coffee while your up, if its not too much trouble?"
kayal cox
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Its interesting to read this thread, because there are a LOT of quirky things in Indian English, and its not always uniform because it depends on their native tongue. So the Indian English from a Tamil speaker would be pretty different from that of a Hindi speaker from that of a Malayalam speaker.


That way I learnt it in school. I think that in indian english they just don't make that semantic distinction


I remember being taught this in school.. But as is the case with most people who speak a foreign tongue, the brain first processes their thoughts in their native language, and then applies a translator. For some, I think the translation takes place in huge chunks, and for the not so fluent, I guess there is a per word translator, and then there are those who actually "think" in English!

A few examples of the quirks:
1. I couldn't speak "only" to him.
The "only" mentioned here takes the place of "thaan" in the sentence "Avan kooda naan paesa thaan mudiyala". I am not quite sure what would be an exact English translation of this sentence. Folks good at Tamil and English, any ideas?

2. I am wiping and wiping but couldn't remove the stain..
In my native tongue, some words tend to get repeated, sometimes (not always), to emphasize the magnitude of effort one puts in an action. It always brings a smile when I see people doing the same in English, and I have wondered what Americans make of it.
[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
Nick George
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I wonder if techincally there is a difference between a) "Even I couldn't fix the bug" and b) "Not even I could fix the bug." The latter most definately implies "grand master me," but I wonder if the former doesn't have a little more wiggle room.


I've heard it takes forever to grow a woman from the ground
peter wooster
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Originally posted by kayal cox:

A few examples of the quirks:
1. I couldn't speak "only" to him.
2. I am wiping and wiping but couldn't remove the stain..


1) I couldn't speak just to him.
2) I scrubbed and scrubbed but couldn't remove the stain.
Avi Nash
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Here "even" (as adverb) means 'Not just you, but also".

Originally posted by Rita Moore:
This quote in the other thread reminded me of a question that no idian answered me till now.
Quote: " ..even I did not like.."
......
Many times I hade this type of conversation with indians:
Me: - I tried really hard but I couldn't fix this program
Indian friend: - Even I couldn't do that
..........

[ November 10, 2004: Message edited by: Avi Nash ]
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Actually, I read about 700,


it might be more than that

Actually 90% of the languages minutely differ from each other, so we can say that major languages are 20-30.

Linguists might think these languages are different but for normal people its just a another varient of XYZ language.


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by R K Singh:


it might be more than that

Actually 90% of the languages minutely differ from each other, so we can say that major languages are 20-30.

Linguists might think these languages are different but for normal people its just a another varient of XYZ language.


I think that difference is called dialect instead of different language.

Which brings up another question, when does different dialect becomes actually different language? Who determines whether it is just dialect or actually a language?
I cannot think of many russian dialects, I think there are very few.
But Most asian countries have region-specific dialect, just like america has region-specific accents.
peter wooster
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:
Which brings up another question, when does different dialect becomes actually different language? Who determines whether it is just dialect or actually a language?


The standard cute answer is that a language is a dialect with an army. So American English is a language, while French Canadian is a dialect.
soumya ravindranath
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Originally posted by peter wooster:


1) I couldn't speak just to him.


Well, it looks more like this to me (Indian)

1) I just couldn't speak to him OR I couldn't speak to him at all (sorry tone)

I And Hello! Tamil and Hindi are NOT the most prominent Indian languages ! (Hindi can be accepted to some extent)

The 4 south Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam) differ from each other to a great extent and one speaker cannot understand the other unless he knows the language. I have Kannada speaking friends who cannot even (?!) identify the other three correctly when they hear it.
If one has wild imagination, then almost all Indian languages can be understood to some extent, this is my experience (I have some difficulty in getting the gist of pure Marati conversations, though!).

II We, English speaking Indians in non-English speaking countries like Germany have a tough time getting into an English-speaking playgroup for the kids ! The leader just cannot accept us as English speaking. The husband and wife speak english as their mother tongues are different, though Indian. The kid hears English all through the day and repeats the same, though he can speak his father's and mother's mother tongue quite well. The last time i stared into a wonderstruck face was yesterday as I explained that I speak English with my husband, an Indian. I don't bang my head against the nearest wall anymore ;-)

(Just venting out my frustration ....)
soumya ravindranath
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Well, I am not very sure about this dialect concept when we talk about Indian languages. I am not a linguist, but the languages of two different states (at least in South India) cannot be dialects of one language ! They are more like, say, German and French and not like 'North-German and Schwaebish'. The only pair of 'languages' that comes to my mind in India is Marati-Konkani, which are so similar. Any experts ?
Sania Marsh
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Originally posted by soumya ravindranath:
Well, I am not very sure about this dialect concept when we talk about Indian languages. I am not a linguist, but the languages of two different states (at least in South India) cannot be dialects of one language ! They are more like, say, German and French and not like 'North-German and Schwaebish'. The only pair of 'languages' that comes to my mind in India is Marati-Konkani, which are so similar. Any experts ?


Are those languages called differently?, if yes, then they are different languages.
Dialect always belong to some language. Two differently named languages are not dialects of each other.
So the difference in each language in India is as big as German and French? Having hundreds of them, how do people manage still talk to each other?
Since it was said: "...its just a another varient of XYZ language.", I assumed there are few dozens of distinct languages, and other ones are very similar to one of them.
Sania Marsh
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I found this on one web site,
I'm putting link below, but it has lot of pop ups

The Indian constitution uses the term �mother tongue� instead of language or dialect. Officially the central government recognizes 18 languages, but each language includes in it many mother tongues. The Indian census records over 200 different mother tongues.



http://adaniel.tripod.com/Languages1.htm
Sania Marsh
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Isn't that amazing how some languages carry words of other languages. Everytime I find some word of one of my mother tongues similar to a word of language of different country, I try to imagine how this word ended up in my language. And you can actually feel the layers of history.
The simplest words, like rice, bread - are not spread widely. They are very region specific.
The abstract words, like love, soul seem to reside within a region, but larger than the simple subject words. Ex. word Mohabbat is used im most asian and middle-eastern languages for love.
Business and new technology words are spread all around the world.

The more human advanced, the more he could travel, the morehe could express in words, and those words carry lifes, miles of travel, wars and unions. It is really amazing.
[ November 11, 2004: Message edited by: Rita Moore ]
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by soumya ravindranath:
Well, I am not very sure about this dialect concept when we talk about Indian languages. I am not a linguist, but the languages of two different states (at least in South India) cannot be dialects of one language ! They are more like, say, German and French and not like 'North-German and Schwaebish'. The only pair of 'languages' that comes to my mind in India is Marati-Konkani, which are so similar. Any experts ?


Most North indian languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi have the same grammar as Hindi. But the words are tottally differrent. Whereas, Hindi and Tamil have totally differrent grammar. So, if a person knows Hindi, they can easily learn the other languages by learning the new vocabulary.
Jayesh Lalwani
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:
Isn't that amazing how some languages carry words of other languages. Everytime I find some word of one of my mother tongues similar to a word of language of different country, I try to imagine how this word ended up in my language. And you can actually feel the layers of history.
The simplest words, like rice, bread - are not spread widely. They are very region specific.
The abstract words, like love, soul seem to reside within a region, but larger than the simple subject words. Ex. word Mohabbat is used im most asian and middle-eastern languages for love.
Business and new technology words are spread all around the world.

The more human advanced, the more he could travel, the morehe could express in words, and those words carry lifes, miles of travel, wars and unions. It is really amazing.

[ November 11, 2004: Message edited by: Rita Moore ]



There are some words like Sugar, which is derived from Hindi word Shakhar. Mango is derived from Tamil word Manga. Chai comes from Hindi Chai, which is in turn derived from Chinese Cha. Shampoo comes from Champoo, which was how British used to pronounce Champi, which means massage. On the other siade, Hindi has taken a lot of words from English. Like there are pure Hindi words for bus, train, phone, etc, but everybody uses the English words.
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Rita Moore:
Since it was said: "...its just a another varient of XYZ language.", I assumed there are few dozens of distinct languages, and other ones are very similar to one of them.


You can quote me by taking my name, I dont mind

AW it is said that in India every Village has its own dialect.

For linguist Awadhi/Magdhi/Maithli/Bhojpuri/Bihari etc. could be different languages but for me its a variant of one language. Here is a small list of languages.
Ashok Mash
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Okay, I was watching a Japanese movie the other night, with subtitles, but I couldn't help thinking how familiar the sound of the language is, I thought it was very similar to Tamil, especially the way how a statement or question ends with a -aa's and -ee's, just as in Tamil. Can anyone who understands both tell me if there's any real similarity between these two?


[ flickr ]
Ashok Mash
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Okay, internet magic, Japanse and Tamil are somehow related. There's plenty of it online, here's more some.

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Japanese%20language

Sania Marsh
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Posts: 469
Originally posted by Ashok Mash:
Okay, internet magic,..


I think internet should be the next world wonder.
One of the best things on earth.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Indians and "even"
 
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