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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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Summary Details

Query:   French 'Si'
Author:  Ira Noveck
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Language Documentation

Summary:   For Query: Linguist 11.2201


I am grateful to the 40 or so people who responded to this query. Here is a
brief summary of the replies:

The following languages were reported (with confidence) to have an
equivalent to ''Si'' in French:

German ''doch''

Dutch ''jawel''

''Danish Norwegian'' ''jo'''

Swedish ''jo''

Icelandic ''ju'''

Finnish ''Kyll?p?''

Hungarian ''dehogynem''

Sorbian ''ju''

Japanese ''iie''

Occitan (related to catalan) ''hoc''

Arabic ''balaa'' stress on first syllable

Eastern Armenian ''inchu che'' or ''her che''

Other possibilities are Korean and perhaps Portuguese (''sim'', at least in
some circumstances).

Interestingly, Quebecois French does NOT have ''Si'' and a forerunner to
Catalan DID (''hoc'') but does not now.
I learned that references conerning this question are Emily Pope: Questions
and Answers in English, Mouton, 1976 and there is some information on the
question from one of the respondents (Bob Morris Jones) -- Welsh: The Welsh
Answering System, Mouton de Gruyter 1999, pp. 36-41.

I would like to thank the following people who (easily) identified themselves:
Bill Palmer, Bob Morris Jones, Bruno Estigarribia, Catherine Walter,
Christopher Miller, Daniel Buncic, Ernest N. McCarus, foxmb@georgetown.edu,
Frank Joosten, Gary H. Toops, Geoffrey Sampson, Hans-Werner Hatting,
Johannes Heinecke, Hank Mooney, John Goldsmith, Karine Megerdoomian, Kevin
R. Gregg, Laurence Horn, Laurent Gautier, Liesbeth Degand, Madalena
Cruz-Ferreira, Mark A. Mandel, Martin Forst, Mar?a In?s Van Messem, Michael
L. Mazzola, Michael Swan, Nancy Salay, Nancy Stenson, Patrick Grommes,
Regina Weinert, Rachel Ricarda (?), Raija Solatie, Rick Mc Callister,
Wolfgang Schellinger, Bill Fletcher, Bill Morris, zappy

Thank you all for a very useful and enlightening experience.

Ira Noveck

Ira Noveck
Institut des Sciences Cognitives
67 Blvd. Pinel
69675 Bron FRANCE

Tel. (de la France): 04 37 91 12 68
Tel. (from abroad): + 33 4 37 91 12 68


LL Issue: 12.259
Date Posted: 31-Jan-2001
Original Query: Read original query


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