Friday, December 01, 2006

more updates

I thought that, rather than collect lots of new information, which there is plenty of time for, I'd just ruminate on what I"ve got.

-Arabic speakers using English letters. Because I'm in contact with Arabic speakers every day, and they know I'm interested in this, they've been sharing a little. A story I like is that of using the 6 as a kind of accent mark. They say, though, that computers more often carry Arabic now. So, as a language, it may be fading. These could be temporary, written, informal but vibrant chat languages. Dialects?

-the unusual visitors, whose chat is a fourteen-page post. I asked a student from Cote d'Ivoire, who says that "Ng" and "Bumsky" are possibly from central Africa (Congo/Angola)...but I have found that randomly putting some of the words into Google gives me eulogies to Nigerian clerics. The Ng I also take as a possible clue for Nigerian (I had originally guessed Hausa-Fulani, not knowing either, or much in general about any African language)...the student promised to look into it.

The interesting thing about this conversation is that these two actually intersperse English phrases into their heated discussion. Yet they are totally oblivious to all English that is directed at them, including polite questions about whether they need help with anything. As if their stock English phrases have some meaning in their own language, yet don't offer them any real help with real English in their environment. Interesting.

Such is chat. Like different kinds of animals in the wilderness, sometimes. When the dog says "meow," the bird says, what are you doing, speaking a foreign language?


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