[FoRK] The Great Prohibition - Title IX craziness

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Tue Jun 2 10:16:55 PDT 2015

My grandfather did his dissertation on the similarities between
Finnish and Hungarian, so my knowledge is both second-hand and
incredibly dated.  I believe, at the time, the similarities between
the languages were not considered obvious, or it would have made for a
mediocre thesis.....

Wikipedia puts them in the same general family, but I'd say the
relationship is more like cousins than sibling -- Hungarian and two
languages I've never heard are in a branch of the family that includes


On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Do Finnish and Hungarian sound similar?  My samples were widely separated,
> but I don't think so.
> Suomi is so different that when you hear people speaking Swedish in Finland
> it sounds like English because there is at least some overlap.
> For a long time I worked with two Fins, a younger one with perfect English
> and the other with a severe speech impediment along with a strong Finnish
> accent.  Often on conference calls.  Ouch.  The younger one was fine working
> with us, easy to understand too.  He eventually pointed out that our direct
> confrontation style when debating things would have appalled typical Finnish
> business people who go to great lengths to be respectful, deferential, and
> circumspect.  <Head nod>, yes, I see...  Except when locals are drunk, then
> they're belligerent for fun.  I only had one guy taking swings at me while
> there for a week.
> He also taught me a Finnish drinking joke, which I retell to Fins I meet,
> like the game dev team at a startup event.  They're implementing episodes in
> a world / story game that tells this well known cultural story.  I have a
> picture of the book for the next time I'm going to Finland.
> sdw
> On 6/2/15 9:48 AM, Ken Meltsner wrote:
>> IIRC, the real outliers for European languages are Finnish and
>> Hungarian (related only to each other), and Basque (related to nothing
>> else).  Just about everything else is at least cousin close, I think.
>> What fascinates me is how some languages have split off within
>> relatively recent times -- the divergence of Serbian and Croatian and
>> related dialects, or just how far Brazilian Portuguese has moved away
>> from European Portuguese.  The written versions are still close for
>> Portuguese (various spelling differences) but the pronunciation is
>> almost mutually unintelligible to my ears.
>> Ken
>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 11:40 AM, Joseph S. Barrera III <joe at barrera.org>
>> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>>>> I was surprised to learn a while back that German and Hindi are so
>>>> close,
>>>> as Sanskrit was an ancestor to both.
>>> Yep. That's where some of the "Aryan" nonsense came from.
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race
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