A quick roundup of SouthEast Asian languages.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chinese - Even the Chinese people admit, Chinese is a language that is hard to use even when you practically grew up in China. With close to a million special characters, half of them looking like each other with the difference of a stroke or two, mastering this language is about as futile as trying to memorize the wardrobe philosophy of Lady Gaga. Chinese demands only the strictest of tongue control, which may appear horrifyingly hard to newbies, but generally useful for things other than speaking (if you know what I mean). Because of dependence on inflection rather than syllabication, a Chinese person on the average speaks faster than an American (among other reasons). If in the future we develop methods for developing orations deliverable at speeds that can break the sound barrier, I strongly believe it will be chinese, and they will be from a newscaster of CCTV.

Korean - The written counterpart of Korean called Hangul is one of the most elegant, futuristic languages out there, filled with circles and lines and stuff. I believe in the future, we'd all be eating dominoes pizzas and Hangul is a language derived from the logo of dominos found in the discarded pizza boxes left by visitors from the future. The spoken language of Korean, and I still do not understand to this day why so many people think it's beautiful, is probably the most abusive hard-palate languages in the world, making you unable to distinguish an batshit angry korean from a lucid one without looking at lip movement.

Thai - To be fair, I have no idea how kids in Thailand look at it, but from my point of view, the Thai written language is a nightmare to learn because even though the Chinese characters are just as complicated, the Thai language almost looks like you have to write it with the precision of etching microcircuits. The language structure of Thai was developed through the centuries independently from other civilizations, which resulted in the massive incompability with most Western languages. Spoken Thai is a lot like speaking with your nostrils stapled shut, which is good or bad, depending on whether or not you hate people who speak through their noses.

Filipino - Filipino is like the bastard child of all the South East Asian languages and Spanish, making it weird to both Asians AND Westerners. Surprisingly though, this feature also makes Filipino easy to learn, with words and syntax almost identical to English. Almost, being the operative word, since this rapidly evolving language is now almost becoming Hebrew-ish, discarding vowels in the written form. (i.e. D2 NK PPNT K?) Written language is same as western text, with a couple of added Spanish letters just to fuck with you. (ñ? SERIOUSLY? WHO USES THAT? OTHER THAN IN NAMES?)

Bahasa Indonesian - Honestly, majority of my experience with this language came from the back of shampoo bottles that constituted 90% of my reading material inside the bathroom as a kid, leading me to think Indonesians are people who are just crazy about hair care, in the same way Koreans make it seem like they're crazy about yawning. As for the words, speaking as a Filipino, Bahasa sounds like taking every awkward word in Filipino and turning it into a full spoken language of its own. Remarkably, if you play back Indonesian on a particularly shitty speaker, you can almost swear it's just drunk Filipino.

Vietnamese - I don't know. I don't really care. I'm only for the food, not the language.

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