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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Nuts and Bolts: cherokee.

This is a place for play, not brain-aching lectures, so here are just two wonderful things about the Cherokee language.

1. Regular Cherokee verbs have 21,262 different forms, depending upon how they're used in a sentence. (And that's even though Cherokee doesn't have gender distinctions: he is going in Cherokee is the same word as she is going.)

2. Cherokee has shape classifiers, where the form of a verb depends upon the shape of the thing it's acting upon. These classes are: alive; flexible (like a rope); long/indefinite (like a pencil); indefinite (like food); or liquid.

There we are. Now we can all go and lie down and be very glad indeed that some of the Cherokee people, at least, are clever enough to learn their beautiful language and keep it alive for the world so we don't have to.

Word To Use With Gratitude Today: a simple English verb like, well, like, which hardly changes at all whatever you do to it. Like comes from the Old English word lÄ«cian.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, deeply grateful to be a native English speaker. Phew!


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