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Re: French (WAS: EVA Transcription)
20/01/02 18:59:12, Dennis <tsalagi@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>Jacques Guy wrote:
>> >viewed the evidence and understand fully that this is a late 15th or early
>> >16th century WESTERN language manuscript
>> Dennis thinks it's in French. I think it cannot be. But no matter
> I no longer believe it's in French, due to the most
>recent statistics. But what are
>*your* reasons for thinking it cannnot be French? I'd
>be most interested to hear.
It is shamefully simple. I know French, and I know Chinese, Mandarin,
a bit of Cantonese, a smaller bit of Shanghainese, and I have a
comparative dictionary of Chinese dialects. The co-occurrence
restrictions are just totally unlike French -- or any Romance or
Germanic language I know of (remember my critique of Levitov, who
claimed it was Dutch?). But they are very much like those of Mandarin.
For instance, in Mandarin, the sound "ng" never occurs syllable-initially,
only syllable-finally. like <iin> (you'll counter that the same holds true of
Enlglish, German, etc.; point taken -- but it does not feel like English
(or German) to me. I had, very early in this newsgroup, aired the
notion that, if it was a language, it had to be either holophrastic
(like many Amerindian languages) or be affected by extensive sandhi.
Mandarin is affected by internal tone sandhi, and some Chinese dialects
by external consonant sandhi. So, I felt than Chinese was a much better
fit. But I did not really believe in it.
When Jorge Stolfi came up with his Chinese theory, I thought to
myself "Frogguy, what have you done here? It was a canard, like the
Aztec hypothesis. Better own up now." And I looked closely at
Jorge Stolfi's evidence. And I could not fault it. I do not
think it is Mandarin, only that it is a language that "works" much
like it phonologically (piece of jargon: "phonetically" will do
just as nicely, but linguists might flay me alive, believing
themselves grand priests of Xipe Totec).
To sum it up, my reasons are just "seat-of-the-pants"