1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. If you were a language...

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

If you were a language...

If you were a language, which one would you be and why?

People often say that languages have different characters like romantic, strong, soft, gargling rocks (real description I've read!), whimsical, patient, flowery, etc. Maybe it feels round or angular and that appeals to you. Or, maybe it has a flavor or a color that you like. So, I'm really curious what language each of you would choose to be. ^_^

October 9, 2017

80 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamuelCristea

I would choose to be Romanian, because it has all the characteristics that you mentioned! Except for gargling rocks, what does that even mean?

Anyways, in my opinion Romanian sounds romantic because it is a romance language. I'm not trying to be stereotypical because any language can sound romantic even if it's not a romance language. I feel that Romanian has a somewhat similar rhythm to Italian which gives a nice romantic flow to it. I also notice that the way you pronounce the words in both languages when reading it is quite remarkably similar. I would also like to mention that Romanian has also had some French influences which why some words looks like it came from french also giving it that romantic flavor.

Romanian can sound strong especially when you want to be authoritative and the reason behind that strong sound is because of the slavic influences. Romanian is surrounded by Slavic speakers giving it a similar accent and borrowing a few words from them making it sound strong when needed.

Also, Romanian has Hungarian neighbors which gave Romanian a few words to use. Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric and to me this group of languages sounds soft. Since, Romanian has borrowed a few words from their neighbor it also gives Romanian a soft touch to it. Another language that Romanian has borrowed a small about of words from is Turkish.

My point being, is that Romanian sounds a mix of all these awesome languages, making Romanian sound like a one beautiful masterpiece. Which is why I choose to be the Romanian language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Thank you for sharing your in-depth description here. I'm not familiar with the sound of Romanian. Is there a song in Romanian or a sound clip you'd be willing to link me to?

I was curious why some languages are called romance languages and if English was one of them. So, I looked it up and learned it has to do with their connection to Rome. (English is not among them that I could see. English is the one that has been accused of sounding like someone is gargling rocks when they speak. hee hee. I can't look for the video on Youtube from my computer, because it might crash all of my tabs. But, there is one on there.)

>The term Romance comes from the Vulgar Latin adverb romanice, derived from Romanicus: for instance, in the expression romanice loqui, "to speak in Roman" (that is, the Latin vernacular), contrasted with latine loqui, "to speak in Latin" (Medieval Latin, the conservative version of the language used in writing and formal contexts or as a lingua franca), and with barbarice loqui, "to speak in Barbarian" (the non-Latin languages of the peoples living outside the Roman Empire).[6] From this adverb the noun romance originated, which applied initially to anything written romanice, or "in the Roman vernacular".

>The word 'romance' with the modern sense of romance novel or love affair has the same origin. In the medieval literature of Western Europe, serious writing was usually in Latin, while popular tales, often focusing on love, were composed in the vernacular and came to be called "romances".

I agree with you, some languages do sound rather romantic. Which, feelings like these are built up through associations. So, I wonder if there are people who speak, say, German, who feel that German is the most romantic language and so forth.

Anyhow, your comment is a gem. Thank you for prompting me to think more about language and feelings. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamuelCristea

Hey! I'm so sorry for the late response. I was busy and couldn't answer back but thank you for reading my comment and replying to me! Also, thanks for sharing your research, it is definitely some interesting information.

So, to get back to your question here is a Romanian song: https://youtu.be/0bIy1GWgcg8

Also, here is a video of Romanian being spoken: https://youtu.be/OgVTMHoX9bI

Tell me what you think?

Do you agree with anything I said?

Thanks! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

First off, wow! What a voice! :O

I picked up on a similarity to Italian immediately.

After I slowed down the speed on the spoken Romanian to 75%, it sounded Spanish (More Castilian than Latin American) and even a little Russian! (But, I am not super familiar with Russian so maybe I am way off base.)

It sounded like a very bouncy language to me. ^_^

I had a bit of a sideways experience with that video. Maybe the sound is slightly off from the video. Or, is it dubbed by chance? Edit: I don't know why dubbing feels like it affects what I hear when watching a dubbed video. It just seems to somehow. So, I ended up closing my eyes finally to feel like I could hear it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamuelCristea

I'm glad you noticed the similarities!

And yes, I'm sorry about that video with the spoken Romanian; it was dubbed, which is why I understand you felt like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Glad it was dubbed and not my imagination! lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

That video of Romanian was very interesting to watch. The composite concept makes a lot of sense to me. I feel like I hear elements of Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. And also some other stuff.

Thank you for sharing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamuelCristea

You're welcome, I'm glad you watched it :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/melody13861

Wow I love the sound of Romanian! You convinced me, I totally agree with everything you said especially since I saw those videos. It's very beautiful and now I think I would choose to be Romanian too. Lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

Usagiboy, have you heard a South African English accent?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

Interesting. Thanks for the history.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

I like the Italian rhythm. When I speak Spanish I feel a rhythm too that I quite like.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/idkhbtfm

I'm probably most like German because some people regard German as a harsh language, knowing only the word 'NEIN', and German can sound sort of rough to outsiders. But, once you really get to know the language, it seems quite different than the stereotype. I also am quite a different person than what most people think. (wow that got deep)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

awwww ! I have quite a number of German friends, friends I value.
There is a saying about German - that they have a word for everything.

They have some interesting concepts - expressed in specific words - that I love learning about.

Also the diversity of Gernan - with the different dialects. It is all quite interesting.

And I also agree, that stereotypes can be very misleading. Sort of like putting on an overcoat.
And people judging your dress - due to the overcoat. Without ever seeing your cloths underneath.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RedAngel666

Hi,

there's a youtube channel I love so much. With a lot of humour! a british citizen discribes his live in german. This is about german pronounciation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuxgMGBymos and this is a video about german words in english and you might be surprised. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckxzcK2djpU

For the american citizens I recomend https://www.youtube.com/user/WantedAdventure

best regards Angel

PS. look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0WE0T2tdFM


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Thank you for sharing so honestly. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

People who think German sounds harsh and French sounds soft need to listen to more R & B in German and more rap in French. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

1: Awesome discussion idea! 2: Love the rocks. 3: My answer. I'd be French and to explain why, I'm going to write down my short personification of the language, which may seem weird, but it's the best way that I think I can describe it: French is a beautiful, timeless woman. Romantic, but also practical and smart. She flows. She is a diplomat, a teacher, friend of many, and a dancer. French is graceful, but can be stilted and fast. Her colours are pink and red and she wears long, elegant dresses.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Thanks! After being a daily regular here for 4 years, I've seen most of the discussions that come through here hundreds if not thousands of times. So, I really like to try to add some extra flavor to our language explorations and encourage other people to do so as well. ^_^

Your description of French is so visual. I love it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

Thank you. Yeah, I've been on for about a year and a half and so many similar discussions get posted everyday, so I also enjoy adding a discussion here and there that's different from what I see ever day.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

PS have you by chance read J Ruth Gendler's The Book of Qualities? I think you'd like it a lot. There is a similar style of talking about things like courage, sadness, truth, and compassion, etc. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

No, I have not. Thanks for the suggestion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

I like the dumbledore quote you have on your profile.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

Thank you. I'm a huge Potter Head. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davishannah28

I would be polish because. no one would understand what I am saying


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

Oh hugs !
It is nice to have space in one life. Space where you can be. To be with yourself.
However I am glad to see there is a strong and healthy Polish speaking community in the world, so you would also have people who understand you, and you them.

I wonder sometimes - though if you have hit on a truth. That this might be a reason why we modify languages. That we bond as a group, a separate group.

The concepts of groups - which seems inherent for humans to clump into - is a fascinating topic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

As for human beings inherently clumping into groups, think of the species that don't. ;)

The mother lays the eggs, then walks or swims or flies away, and then when they hatch they scatter and it's every hatchling for itself.

We can't do that, so if we didn't clump into some sort of groups at least some of the time then we'd be extinct...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

As much as I want to say French, I'm probably the most like German.

Someone else said something similar to what I'm about to say. I'm a very misunderstood person. People always believe I'm too nice for my own good, innocent, caring, and often I am called a saint. While I am very kind, I have a hard time socializing, but many people don't realize how outgoing I can be. In addition, I struggle with regret and I sometimes believe I am a devil. Like German, people have these perceptions about the language and about German people, like they are strict, harsh people. The language sounds harsh, too. But, once you get to learning it, you see a side to the language that is not apparent on the outside.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

I don't think this would surprise anyone, but, I feel like I would be American Sign Language (I am a hearing person and an outsider to the culture. So, please don't take this as an authoritative description. It is a personal one.) ASL is tactile and emotionally rich with a wide range. I perceive it as the language equivalent of a hug. However, because it is so expressive, all of the feelings go deep, both the soft and the sharp too.

It also has the textures and tastes of all the many different breads in a bread shop. It's airy and fluffy but also solid, grainy, and heavy. It feels like it has edges, but curved ones. I always find bakeries to be very comforting. And, I'd like to grow in that direction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

I think it would be a cool association making signals and associating them with meaning, especially forming relationships with people through that process. We all do this on levels, but through sign language I think that would be cool.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Yeah, spoken words and written words are signals too. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ledo.
  • 1643

If I were a language I would be the Hungarian language:

  • Have a long and rich language culture.

  • Have a so stable vocabulary and grammar system that a person from 1200 can make communication with a guy from our modern world with fully understanding.

  • Be unique between the Slavic and Romance languages on the European continent.

I also love the German (its pronunciation); the Italian (its logic); the French (its speciality); the English (its simplicity to use) languages so it is hard to choose only one.

Ledo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKicsiMacska

I would be NORWEGIAN.

I think that norwegian has a nice flow to it, and the way the consonants sound is just amazing to me!!

It also seems kinda sad, and cold (probably just because of geography)

but I think that is is absolutely incredible.

It is also a germanic language, so it's related to english, and it feels really cool because they are so similar but also so different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

Well, when I speak in different languages, I say different things in different ways. I can be Spanish, but, I don't know. I feel like I am going to be me and that will show in different ways in different languages. I think being 'hebrew' (Israeli), I would like some of what shows. But, I think what I said. I am going to be me and that comes through differently depending on the language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

I'm curious what comes through for you in those languages. If you felt comfortable sharing, I'd really like to read it. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

Well. Arabic feels like I have no soul. I have a basic proficiency in the language. When I talk, I feel like my words aren't very meaningful. They don't carry a lot of emotional weight, and there is not a grand interest in them.

En Español (y también voy a escribirlo en la idioma para esta idioma y português), no sé. Estoy tranquilo, y más. Pues, mucho de lo que he aprendido sobre la idioma es por inmersión. Así, hay palabras en español que no sé que significa directamente, pero tengo un sentimiento asociado con estas palabras. Así, a veces digo algo porque me parece el momento adecuado para decirlo, aunque siempre no sé la definición del diccionario. Y así es como hablo. Pero, he tomado algunos clases en las que he estudiado vocabulario más técnico, pero todavía falto mucho vocabulario porque no he vivido con gente con quien podía hablar por mucho tiempo. Pero, esencialmente, como hablo español es una manera de sentir, aumentado por much vocabulario, temas técnicas, y una manera de comunicar que aveces se puede parecer sistemático, en una manera distinto.

He conocido gente que son nativos que me han dicho que hablo español mejor que ellos, pero creo que esto es por las palabras que uso. Si pudieras hablar conmigo, creo que sabrías lo que quiero decir (porque estas palabras no son suficientes. Para comunicar verbalmente es distinto, y como mucho en la vida, mi respuesta a tu pregunta es un sentimiento, y solo palabras escritas no pueden comunicar esto.

You don't speak portuguese, so I won't write it in that. Its a lot like Spanish. With some english kind of vibes. I am expressive, but I don't have a history expressing myself in this language.

In English I can be many ways. It is all about how it comes through.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Sometimes, I say something in Spanish too without thinking about it ahead of time. It feels like it just fits. I attribute that for me as becoming familiar with a language, not just having memorized something. I've absorbed it more than put it into a memory file to be visited, taken out, and put on the table before others.

Arabic sounds poetic to me. I really like it. It is amazing how differently we can perceive the feeling surrounding a language for ourselves.

Thank you for sharing. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

I think identification with language depends how it comes from. I spoke with a volunteer from Iraq at my old job, and hearing how he understands arabic was neat. He wrote a poem down for me after my interview when I told him I was learning, and his enthusiasm and energy came through in the language. I hadn't heard someone use the language like that before, and I thought that was pretty.

Hay mucho en español, que, desde de mi punto de vista, se siente bien.

When I was in Spain, everyone say Vale constantly. It means ok. When in one of my classes a girls kept saying pues at different points in sentences, I started doing it because it felt right. Pero, pues, creo que se parece menos educado usarlo así. Pero está bien.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

And here is the thing too, there are different people from one language group who communicate who they are in there languages in different ways. Cuban, Colombia, Mexican, and Spanish Spanish do not have the same feel to me.

When I was in Israel, I met a bunch of Spanish-Jewish kids, and there was an immediate connection. We hung out in the hall and discussed how much we hated the french, and what else we were doing in Israel. It was wonderful. Most of how I speak comes from living in Spain for two months, and talking to them brings a lot of that back. The words we use, how we say it. All this stuff is a feeling, and its interesting.

Tengo muchas historias que viví en Español, y generalmente se queda allá. Es algo bonito, y más. Así, para responder a tu pregunta es difícil para mi. Si me dejaras pensar en español por veinte minutos, o más tiempo, tal vez te puedo dar una respuesta en español. Pero, básicamente es un sentimiento. Que es bonito. Y ya. He escrito suficiente aquí


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeiferB

I would be... music. And not just any music, no. DRUM AND BASS. Not many people know DnB, so I try to show them it as often as possible. For those of you who don't know what DnB is, this is a prime example Snails & Pegboard Nerds - Deep In The Night (Muzzy Remix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBB_71ZtUhE . This comment (I think) will get downvoted heavily because DnB (or even music, for that matter) isn't a language. But hey, music is amazing. Imagine a world without music... It would be like being colourblind!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanLuks

Man, I totally agree with you when you said music is amazing. In my point view, it really is a kind of language. Perhaps the language of the soul. Nice comment!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteffiBookworm

Fully agree and DnB sounds promising, I'll listen to it later :))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

I think I'm Japanese...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

It's hard to explain. I just really feel like I'm Japanese :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

I have read that the part of the brain in charge of feelings doesn't have a capacity for language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Our brains coordinate different areas to pull our experiences together. So, what was the context in which someone would say that about feelings and language?

I wonder because, for instance, the part of my brain in charge of wiggling my toes doesn't have a capacity for language either. (I promise, I'm not being sarcastic. But, I realize it might sound like that over text.) But, this hasn't limited my ability to talk about my toes, feelings, or language.

So, without context, I don't understand what would lead a researcher to point out specifically the connection between feelings and language occupying different areas of the brain. Did it provide some insight to the question the researcher was studying?

I'm very curious to be able to read it if you have a link. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeCreative__

Its from Simon Sinek's talks and first book. That is not a conclusive point, it is something interesting. It is also too that our brains work in some way, and how that is understood is another thing. Of course it is connected.

Some people, myself included, feel differently in different languages. While that feeling is real, I think the technical explanation for that is more complicated, and is related how that language was learned, what is associated with physically and psychologically, and how it is and has been used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

EnzoKrensky, thank you! I have read about the phenomenon of people feeling differently in different languages. I am fascinated by it for a number of reasons. Thank you for connecting me with the name Simon Sinek!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kiyomice

I'd be Japanese, definitely.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

I'd probably be Circassian. I'm mysterious, hard to understand, and not for the light hearted. I am kind of like an outcast in terms of other popular languages. However, the brave adventurers who take the time to learn about me and what I'm like, are often the ones who are rewarded the most than any other, for delving into a much smaller but culturally rich language.

As I was writing this post, I just realized how relatable the Circassian languages are to me. I think it is truly my destiny to learn this language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Merrowmic

I would be Polish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanLuks

I probably would be English as British as American accent. I'm fascinated with British accent, I think it's very polite, do you know? But when we're speaking about music, I tend to American accent I guess it flows better. Yet about songs, French and Spanish are both likeable to hear. I can't forget about Japanese, it's bloody marvelous language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

gargling rocks (real description I've read!)

This was definitely my opinion of Vietnamese when I started it...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ANIDSY

Frisian! Love the language! It's so beatiful...


[deactivated user]

    I would be French. I love French and it is a beautiful language !


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arachnje

    Rather than what I am, there’s the language I want to be, and that would be sign language: silent but strongly present, and very expressive. A boundary breaker, defiant to weakness, and equally kind. A voiceless I AM HERE statement that commands hard-earned respect and admiration.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

    That's not saying which language, though. There are lots of different sign languages! :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arachnje

    You're right. It's because I was referring to signing as a concept, which I believe different SLs share.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RedAngel666

    Hello Usagiboy,

    sorry, I'm late with my post, very late. But maybe someone still has a look at it.

    If you were a language, which one would you be and why?

    So if I had a choice? I wouldn't want to be one language.

    I would like to be like: spanish warm, with temperament, open for the day. german grounded and straight on with my words, english with a lot of dark but not offending humour, chinese to be aware of my words, it's meaning and the and difference it makes how you say a word, sign language with the abilily to express my feelings, wishes and words honestly, emotional and openly.

    regards Angel


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

    RedAngel666, not too late at all. Even a year would not be too late! I've enjoyed what you've written. Thank you for sharing it. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krpw__

    I would be Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese, or Japanese. Highest i-want-it feeling to lowest i-want-it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

    What do you mean? Do they describe your personality in some way, or, do they have a personality or characteristics you want to emulate? Maybe I should add that up top to the OP. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krpw__

    Well, I am Asian (people laugh when I say that) and I've always had a connection towards Asian languages.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolp3633

    ALTEAN because i the word 'quiznak' describes me perfectly


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

    What a GREAT word !
    And it uses up so many movements in the mouth as you say it !

    I have not heard of Altean before. Which country does it originate from ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolp3633

    Altea: a fictional planet destroyed by Emperor Zarkon in the Voltron series (on netflix) which had it's own language and culture. 'Quiznak' is shouted by alteans whenever they feel frusterated or angry, and they instantly feel better.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

    Altean, as in Voltron?

    we may be good friends

    Sorry, I love Voltron!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolp3633

    WE ARE FRIENDS NOW


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteffiBookworm

    I would definitely be German. Maybe a bit rough on the outside, but having a soft center and a word to describe everything, every single emotion. It is my native language, ingrained in my brain from the first thoughts and will rest there until my last breath. I can say a sentence, play with its pronounciation, can give it more meanings than just what it would have than written down, it matches the cultural make a human kit I've grown up with. From being romantic to earnest. Sometimes it makes me cringe when I see menu cards full of spelling errors or when someone on TV starts a sentence with "weil" or even worse concludes "weil das ist eben so" (edit: I forgot to add "Fremdschämen" here) and at other times I enjoy to play with words, to make mistakes just for fun - a pun :) I can say a word and wonder if it sounds sad or exited and what I would otherwise associate with it, if it wasn't for example the name of a town "Hildesheim". Well this one is actually quite nice because it has "Heim" - home in it ;) Despite my suffering from "Fernweh" that causes me to learn other languages and to dream about travelling I can unfortunately not give in to my "Wanderlust" having to many "Verpflichtungen" - and too empty pockets. But I can never reach this beauty of being creative in any of the other languages I learn.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elda_Mengisto

    This is an interesting question! I've been thinking about it for a while.

    A strong part of me enjoys literature, so I would like a language with a strong literary tradition, with a bunch of ways to put words together eloquently. Simultaneously, I would find myself being quite complicated--at times, I would find myself sounding harsh to the point of abrasiveness, but I'm also quite warm and contemplative. To mirror myself, I find myself thinking about the world in many ways, refracting different edges of a rare jewel.

    French seems the obvious answer, because of its smoothness and class, with a way of putting words together that make people swoon. As @Scarlett_Lucian personifies, she's elegant, practical, but diplomatic. Yet I am not timeless; I have brittle edges, and a style which may not fit me all the time. It could be explained by how French grammar has a bunch of exceptions, however.

    Russian has a certain eloquence--the rolling "rs" make it a lot harsher than it really is; with a louder voice, it could snap a room. Yet it's the original language of many works of literature, spanning two centuries worth of history and turmoil. It's not the easiest of languages to learn, but ends up being a warm light in an otherwise dark void.

    The same thing could be said of Hebrew--it sounds very harsh, especially when somebody raises their voice. However, I find it comforting, like one has entered home. One may note how biblical Hebrew was used in a religious context, but it was also used in poetry as well. It's also not learned as often, but it leads to an interesting journey.

    Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.