Across the Languages

On my morning bike commute to the parish, I’ve been practicing counting forwards and backwards in Spanish. The relationship between different languages fascinates me. And the patterns of numbers is almost as cool as the blooming trees in my neighborhood.

In English, you know two and the Spanish dos. The d and the t just differ in the amount of pitch or “whisper” one puts into the speaking. It’s not really one or the other–I’ve always been curious about the degrees one can shade the pronunciation of either.

The English twenty and Spanish veinte seem even a bit closer, considering the closeness of v and w in many words.

Did you know Sanskrit for two is dva?

In German it’s zwei, pronouncing the z as ts and the w like a v, so the end result sounds like tsv, with an English long-i.

From Europe to India, a lot of connections for such a simple number or two and a limited set of sounds to communicate them.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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