Closest language to your language.

Guest   Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:53 am GMT
Stephaniel P. Spaniel: "Which language is closest to Polish? Perhaps the website administrators have a view on this. I'd say Slovak, myself. "

Frances: "hmmm, funny that considering I find Slovak relatively easy to understand and Polish not"

I think the closest language to Polish is Kashubian, but I wonder how many people speak it today. You can see the similarity by looking at the link below:

I also agree that the next closest language to Polish is Slovak, rather than Czech. Slovak is something of an in-between link between Czech and Polish (and incidentally, a further one towards Ruthenian). I myself understand Slovak quite well, and Polish is rather similar to it in both vocabulary and pronunciation (one example is the palatalisation in words like Polish and Slovak "rozumiem" vs. Czech "rozumím" ["I understand"], or the ending "-nie" in both Slovak and Polish, as opposed to the Czech "-ní"). A few days ago I was travelling by train, and there was a kid who kept speaking all the time in Polish, as it turned out, but at first I was not sure if he was speaking in Slovak or Polish.
A reveure   Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:04 pm GMT
I can't understand why some persons say italian is the closest language to spanish, when portuguese is quite closer to spanish..

An spaniard reading a text in portuguese is able to understand more than 80% , and this fact doesn't happen with an italian text
Easterner   Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:35 pm GMT
Sorry, the post before the previous one was mine.

A reveure:

The closest language to Spanish seems to me to be Catalan, not Portuguese. Catalan, in turn, is the closest language to Occitan, which in turn is the closest language to French (maybe even closer than the Walloon dialect)... :) Portuguese seems to me to be even closer to Catalan than to Spanish, which is rather unique among Romance languages, both with regard to phonology and to vocabulary (Arab and Basque loanwords, and the general absence of palatal/affricate sounds like the first sound of French "jour" and Italian "giorno" - at least in Iberian Spanish). On the other hand, I sometimes find written Portuguese easier to understand than Catalan on the basis of my small knowledge of Spanish, maybe due to the fact that the two still share the most important vocabulary.
A reveure   Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:51 pm GMT
To Easterner :

i don't agree about you said the closest language to spanish is catalan and not portuguese..

In my opinion , spanish and portuguese share more vocabulary than spanish and catalan, also the verbal forms are more similar in portuguese than in catalan with regard to spanish etc . This fact is quite surprising because Portugal from the 16th century is a country independent from Spain , and it means portuguese has could develope by itself withouth spanish " interference " . On the other hand , spanish and catalan are both in the same country ( we all know the big language invades the small with interferences in its vocabulary etc ) , plus all the regional languages in Spain have suffered attacks from Madrid's governments from 1700 to 1975 ( during two centuries those languages were forbidden in the schools , only spanish was allowed ) ..... in spite of these facts catalan has could keep a surprising level of integrity in comparison with languages as galician or valencian , which nowadays are a strange mixture of galician-spanish , valencian-spanish .

Then , according to the historical facts catalan should be more similar to spanish than portuguese is , but this doesn't happen .

PS: Actually the closest language to spanish is nowadays the current " Galician " , in all the aspects ( vocabulary, verbs and phonetic )
A reveure   Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:12 pm GMT
I forgot to say that i'm talking about portuguese is closer to spanish than catalan in terms of written language not " phonetics ", because portuguese has a pronunciation very unique and different with regard to the others romance languages.
greg   Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:58 am GMT
Le catalan est très proche des langues d'Oc et, dans une moindre mesure, du français.
Mitch   Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:49 pm GMT
Questions to German speakers: Would you consider Yiddish as the closest language to German? Or do you just look at it as another German dialect? And in general, how comprehensible is it for someone who speaks German? (And vice versa, for Yiddish speakers.)
Sander   Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:33 pm GMT
It's not really hard for Germans to understand Yiddish and visa versa, but written Yiddish is impossible because they use the hebrew alphabet.
Jonne   Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:01 pm GMT
My first language is Finnish and closest to it is Estonian and after that Hungarian and Sámi. I can understand some words in Estonian, but none in Hungarian or Sami.

Kaikki ihmiset syntyvät vapaina ja tasavertaisina arvoltaan ja oikeuksiltaan. Heille on annettu järki ja omatunto, ja heidän on toimittava toisiaan kohtaan veljeyden hengessä.

Kõik inimesed sünnivad vabadena ja võrdsetena oma väärikuselt ja õigustelt. Neile on antud mõistus ja südametunnistus ja nende suhtumist üksteisesse peab kandma vendluse vaim.

Buot olbmot leat riegádan friddjan ja olmmošárvvu ja olmmošvuoigatvuoðaid dáfus dássásažžab, Sudhuude kea addib huervnu ha ianedivdym ha vyigjat gakget neabbydut gyunnuudeaset gyivdy vuekhakaš vuoiŋŋain.

Minden emberi lény szabadon születik és egyenlő méltósága és joga van. Az emberek, ésszel és lelkiismerettel bírván, egymással szemben testvéri szellemben kell hogy viseltessenek.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Copied the sentences, I don't speak Estonian, Hungarian or Sámi at all.
Jonne   Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:05 pm GMT
"The closest languages to Finnish are the other Balto-Finnic languages. Among these siblings only Estonian is a national language of an independent country, but Karelian (spoken mainly in Russia) is closest to Finnish. An example:

Finnish: Minä istun tuolissa ja puhun omaa kieltäni.
Karelian: Minä istun stuulas da pagizen omua kieldä.
Estonian:Mina istun toolis ja räägin oma keelt.
Hungarian: Egy széken ülök én a nyelvemet beszélek.
(English: I sit in a chair and speek (my) own language.) "

I don't think Karelian is a real language.. but a dialect of Finnish...?
Easterner   Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:09 am GMT
Hungarian is a rather distant relative to Finnish, and the original Finno-Ugric vocabulary is not very prominent in it now. It has been a heavy borrower, and many of its words are of Turkic, Scythian or Slavic origin. In addition, many new words were coined during the language reform in the early 19th century, most of which are still in use.
Sanja   Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:03 pm GMT
It's interesting to find out that Estonian is so close to Finnish. I have noticed before that they have a similar writing system (the words look alike), but I didn't know that the vocabulary, grammar etc. are actually close.
Jonne   Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:18 pm GMT
Yes, it is very close.. though I can't really understand it. Grammar is similar, with case system etc.. but with different suffixes, of course. Finns make fun of Estonians, their words. "Toilet" is something like "Helpotus kob" in Estonian, and it is very similar to Finnish word "Helpotuskoppi", which means "relief closet" .. logical, isn't it :P ? Same with "book", which is "Raamatu" in Estonian, while "Raamattu" means "Bible" in Finnish.

I'm not sure of the spelling of Estonian words.
nico (french)   Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:15 pm GMT
Lexically i will say italian, phonetically i don't really know, maybe portuguese.
suomalainen   Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:45 pm GMT
Karelian is the language that is spoken in Eastern Carelia (Russia) and was spoken before the war in the easternmost parishes of Finland north of Lake Ladoga (that we lost in the war to our friendly bear-like neighbour). Ku rubien nügöi kirjuttamah karjalakse, eihäi tädä ole ülen kebjei ellendiä? Perhaps you think about speech forms that you can hear in Finnish Northern Carelia (around Joensuu) and Southern Carelia (around Lappeenranta) which are definitely Finnish dialects.
In Finland they tell lots of jokes about Estonian words that don´t really exist. I suppose that "helpotus kob" is such. The common Estonian word for toilet is 'väljakäik' (´välja´ = out, ´käik´ = going). Book is spelt 'raamat' in Estonian, it is an old loanword with roots in Greek (cfr. ´grammar´).
In the Saami example the first row is correct language but on the second row the consonants have been mixed up. Could you control your source?
Nice to meet a Finnish friend here who is also interested in languages.