Polynesian languages

I’ve always been obsessed with Polynesian languages myself, growing up, it was one of my four “forbidden languages” meaning that if I started studying, I couldn’t stop, even though some say the sound of Hawaiian is only because it’s second language learners using it, and hearing other Polynesian language is so fast that you don’t hear the beauty that you do when listening to slowed down Hawaiian.

The language family is fascinating because even though everything started in Taiwan probably more than six thousand years ago, the languages still retain a whole lot of similarities. The Swadesh lists are pretty much intact, the alienable possessive system, numbers, name-taboo situations, definite articles and even the mythology (Polynesian). In the video I made, I wanted to go through a few words to demonstrate how the sounds have altered the languages throughout the centuries and share some common, consistent grammar patterns that almost all Polynesian languages share. Although the inalienable system and the tense/mood/aspect verb system are both very difficult to completely understand, it’s so worth it so be able to speak one of these languages.

Chemehuevi language

This is an Uto-Aztecan language, the The Chemehuevi language at first glance into Press’ grammar looks to be a complex mess. This language is beautiful, yet complicated with its agglutinative system. The verbs were something else, saying a sentence like “They made themselves run” would have a syntax like <reflexive-to run-causative-plural> but it can become much deeper as root forms of verbs have their exceptions and tons of different kinds of suffixes. The pronoun system is one of the most complex I have ever come across, while one could use the independent pronouns, which might be easier at first, when using the joined forms with nouns, it goes something like this, all forms have a singular, dual, and form for several nouns being possessed, the first person form has inclusive and exclusive forms, the second person forms have subject, and object forms, BUT the dual and several forms are the same, and the third person form has positional aspect (here, visible and invisible) AND forms of these for animate and inanimate nouns, but in the inanimate forms, the singular, dual and several forms use the same inflection. I was trying to keep the original video under five minutes but with languages like this or Wukchumni, with their fairly complex agglutinative grammars, it is hard to not get too far into these grammars and provide too much detail to viewers/readers. I hope you all enjoyed this, if you speak Chemehuevi, or some other dialect of Southern Paiute, comment down below if you can understand Northern Paiute, or other Uto-Aztecan languages.

The picture is a table of the pronominal/pronoun system of Chemehuevi.


See an unlisted video down below that I took down due to a native speaker’s doubt about the information. The information in the video came from Margaret L. Press’ book on the language in the early 70s. The language appears to have changed very fast between the 70s and today, resulting in a simplified form of the language.

The video will be available here on the website, the only discrepancies are that there are only 3 native speakers alive, as of January 2020, and that the representation of “i” in the video could be either an /i/ or an /ɨ/. The Chemehuevi today write the /ɨ/ as a /ü/, but the lips are not rounded when pronouncing this sound, at least in its older form in Press’ grammar, you can find that at <chemehuevilanguage.org>.

The Beothuk language

This language is strange in that it has no connection to any other in its region (island of Newfoundland, Canada). Some connection to Algonquin languages has been speculated but it’s not clear and concise, I would say that if the language were a part of the Algonquin family, then it would be perhaps a very divergent member of the family. Proto-Algonquin was said to split off between 2,500-3,000 years at minimum, but Beothuk must have been a family that broke off much earlier than any of the other languages, but I don’t see the connection well at this point. The number system is completely different, there are words from contact or idea spread, but they’re not native to Beothuk. There are some suffixes and/or morphology however that could have a connection from some quick, personal observation, but it’ll never been known for sure.

This language has sounds which are not typical of most North American Indigenous languages, such as /θ/, “dr”, “tsch”, and who knows what the writers of the time meant by “dr” or “tsch” anyway? Beothuk does not have the /f/. It is remarkable that a linguist (Gatschet) was able to infer so much about the grammar in a most possible way based on the scant information available and the variances in the word-lists.

I’d be more than happy to make a video and do some research with Ojibwe, Micmak or other Eastern Algonquin languages to see if some connection between them and Beothuk could be forged but it would surely be one divergent language.

Fixing to plan out our mobile app

Currently at LangShack, we have just finished our first language course, and are currently researching how to get the book published and are in the process of getting an ISBN for that Papiamento course. We are planning out a mobile app for the Apple App Store and the Google Market, which is slated to be released sometime during the next year. The app will feature our LangShack language courses with audio, and a portal to import additional, custom lessons with audio, this will also be released with some additional features. We want to develop a way for you to keep track of all your language study notes in one place and some games to keep our users engaged with learning languages. Please email us with suggestions or if you’d like to volunteer with us.

As the site and this business grows, we are looking into holding conferences with potential customers and current fans to elicit feedback on our courses and media content to make sure that we are satisfying the needs of our fans and customers. If you’d like to make a difference by helping us develop our language courses or if you’d like to volunteer in translating a course into your language (any language, especially more widely known ones), then please email us at [email protected]

LangShack language courses

I have been spending a lot of time editing the Papiamento course I made. I started this whole thing with a daily video of all my study progress and got discouraged that no one was following and changed my approach. The thing about starting a business is that it takes patience and people aren’t going to find LangShack over night. I’ve been producing videos for about two months now and it is finally starting to produce a following. I started experimenting with an audio podcast that has an accompanying PDF that has a reading selection or dialogue, followed by vocabulary, grammar explanations and exercises to practice and because it was so late in my study process, everything became jumbled. Now, I have the process in place but I am editing the book so that it can be used as a study tool by learners.

One idea that I have in mind is that the lessons need to be short and “bite-sized” so that it isn’t so long that the learner gets discouraged but just long enough to where you can still learn something and get through the lessons somewhat quickly. I have some other supplemental ideas in mind for future languages, which will be part of paid-tiers on Patreon but the audio of the lessons will always be free. I intend to sell the books on my website and find native speakers to record audio for the reading selections so learners have a native ear.

Cape Verdean Creole will be the next language I intend to brush up on and I am going to make a PDF and audio podcast for this language for the next month and a half as soon as I finish the Papiamento book which I intend to have done in the next few days.

I need feedback on the Papiamento book as this will be the basis for all future LangShack courses. If you are interested in helping me, I have a sample PDF of one lesson that can be reviewed. I need to know if a learner would be comfortable learning a language with this material, and the format, or if it needs work, such as more exercises, shorter dialogues, etc.

Speaking Papiamento with locals in Aruba!

I made a compilation of my conversations with locals in Aruba. I learned the language before I went with the intent of only speaking Papiamento with everyone in Aruba. You should always learn the language before you go to a country, it makes the trip so much more worth it and gives you a new life! Check this out and spread the world. Subscribe on YouTube for more content and support us on Patreon!

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