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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: BBC: Searching for the Welsh-Hindi link

Submitter: Antony Green

Submitter Email: toniogreen@web.de
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Media Body: At http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4328733.stm there's a story
about a BBC journalist from India, now living in Wales, who has noticed
'peculiar similarites' between the Indian accent and the Welsh accent of
English, and calling on professional linguists to help her figure out why.

In my opinion, her speculations are unlikely to yield any useful results. I
can predict what the results of any serious linguistic comparison will be:
Welsh and Hindi are both pitch-accent languages, resulting in superficial
intonational similarities in the respective accents of English. The fact
that Welsh and Hindi are both pitch-accent languages is probably
coincidental, as Welsh at least does not preserve the Proto-Indo-European
pitch accent (Proto-Celtic almost certainly had a stress accent). And
calling Indo-European 'the mother of all languages' is just absurd, and
really shoddy journalism.

Antony D. Green
Quitzowstr. 114
10559 Berlin

Issue Number: 16.790
Date Posted: March 15, 2005

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