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Magyars and Mordvins



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John, on Turkish: various Finns have told me that their language does have something in common with Finnish, which would thus make Hungarians and Turks cousins, linguistically at least. On other major Finno-Ugric languages, don’t forget Mordvin, spoken by almost a million (count ‘em) people.

Just to Get It Straight



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Derb, do you speak Hungarian? I’m begining to think you’re a right wing android.

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Chirac’S Army



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Chirac has found new supporters for his army – the Greeks and, er, Russia.

Web Briefing: July 22, 2014

Attila Was Not Hungarian



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And by the way, the Hungarians are NOT related to the Huns, whatever they may tell you. Since the Huns were perfectly illiterate, all we know about their language comes from studying their names. The person who did the most work on this, Otto Maenchen-Helfen thought they were most likely a Turkic tribe, speaking a language related to modern Turkish–a language which, see my previous post, is not known to have any affiliation at all with Hungarian. Remember that the Huns had disappeared from history
400 years before the Hungarians showed up–time for plenty of churning.

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Salami, Suomi



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Rick: I don’t know, either. I do know, though, that GO HANG A SALAMI–I’M
A LASAGNA HOG! is one of the best palindromes in the language.

How’s Your Mideast Geography?



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This is worth wasting some time on. I’ll never forget where Mali is now.

Pat Ireland Now Heads The Ywca!?!



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It’s true. Most of the young Christian women I know would have a problem with that…

Jewish Meats



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I was too lazy to sign in for the linked NYTimes article, but all who are interested in exploring these matters in the field should check out the Second Avenue Deli (on, where is it now? yes, Second Avenue), and Katz’s, on Houston Street. Katz’s still displays their WWII vintage slogan, SEND A SALAMI TO YOUR BOY IN THE ARMY. In ancient New Yawkese, it rhymes. (Don’t know if it’s related to Finnish, tho).

Best Actuary Joke of The Day



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An actuary is someone who invites an accountant to his children’s birthday
parties to entertain them.

Re: Hungarian’s Affiliations



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Ooooooo-kay, language affiliations. This could be as contentious as
creationism. Here is what I know: the classification of languages into
families is a bit like prime number theory. There are a few
solidly-established facts, surrounded by a vast host of conjectures,
hypotheses and surmises, of various degrees of plausibility, some of them
guarded jealously by proselytizing partisans, but none of them decisively
proved. Hungarian belongs to the Finno-Ugrian family, which you can read
all about here. The only major
modern languages in this family are Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian. Some
people think that the Finno-Ugrian family may be connected (i.e.
“genetically,” by having originated from a single language in the remote
past, not merely by borrowed words and structures) to the Altaic
family–Turkish, Mongolian, Manchurian. Some people think that either or
both may be similarly connected to the Paleosiberian family–which consists
of tiny unknown languages in Siberia having a few hundred speakers each.
Some other people, including some of the same people, think that either,
both, or all, may be connected to Korean, which may be connected to
Japanese. However, none of this has been proved to the satisfaction of any
large consensus of experts in comparative linguistics. It would make
headlines, in fact–in the world of comparative linguistics, at least–if
someone could decisively prove a “genetic” connection between Japanese and
any other language at all, including Korean. To the best of current
knowledge, so far as I know, Japanese is an “isolate” with no proven
affiliations with any other language, and Korean likewise. The Finno-Ugrian
and Altaic families may be descended from a common “super-family,” but if
anyone has proved this to the satisfaction of linguistics scholars at large,
or even just a large minority of them, I haven’t heard about it.

It’s Started



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As longtime readers of the Corner will recall, I
am no fan of dogs. Who needs all that slobbery groveling, that predictable
unconditional love, the mess? However, I am also the father of a
small boy, which makes my position untenable, especially as he approaches
his fourth birthday in September. Matthew is already showing signs of a dare
I say feline instinct for manipulating his pop into getting him a
puppy. The other day he said to his mother and me: “I wonder what it’s like
for people who have dogs?” I see what’s coming, which is why I ask: if I
wanted to get a good dog for a small boy, a hound that’s not as dumb as a
stump, but also not high-strung and yappy, what breed should I go for?
Nobody suggest poodles or Pekinese.

Norman Mailer...



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…has something to say about the white male ego.

Bye-Bye



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In removing our troops from Saudi Arabia, we are realizing one of the important strategic benefits of our invasion of Iraq. Here’s what I wrote in a cover story about the Saudis back in February 25, 2002:

“As for U.S. troops, it is yet another of the contradictions of the current situation that it is Osama bin Laden’s prescription that makes the most strategic sense in the long run: pulling out of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis wouldn’t let us fly missions against the Taliban from Saudi territory, and are resistant to letting us fly bombing missions to enforce the no-fly zones in Iraq. What use are our bases? In a post-Saddam world, the U.S. could withdraw its security guarantee from the Saudis, fulfill its basing requirements elsewhere—Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, even Iraq—and give the Saudis some time to think about the Bush doctrine: Supporting and tolerating terrorists makes you a terrorist.”

Neoconservatism, Shmeoconservatism



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The Jews greatest gift to America is pastrami.Also note the important sidebar on the best places to get the most sensuous of cured meats

Hungarian’s Affiliations



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A couple of readers have suggested that Hungarian might be related to
Basque. Unfortunately, as any comparative linguist will tell you, “related
to Basque” is a synonym for “has no proven affiliations with anything.”

Hungarian Opera



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On the Hungarian language: a reader reminds me that there are several fine operas in the language, if you want to hear what it sounds like when sung to beautiful music. Here, for starters.
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The Sounds of Victory



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A reader e-mails:

This was too cool! I was sitting in my downtown office in a mid-day stupor and was shook by a thunderous roar. Sixteen F-16 fighters returning direct from Iraq for a Colorado homecoming! Too bad they didn’t fly a quick “buzz” sortie to Boulder and back.

Finno-Ugric Factoids



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In his piece today, the Derb (a self-confessed ‘mild Hungarophile’) notes that the Hungarian language is a “bizarre oddity whose only relatives are some scattered tribal tongues in Siberia”, and adds (quite correctly) that Hungarian’s much vaunted relationship with Finnish is somewhat exaggerated. Interestingly (at least for language geeks), I have read accounts by some Stalin-era Estonian deportees to Siberia recalling how they were able to exchange a handful of words with some of the native peoples there. Estonian is, language geeks will know, closely related to Finnish. And then there’s Ingrian…

Re: Linda Vester & The Dead Dugong



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Kathryn: Did you HAVE to remind me? Just when I was getting over it….

Oh No!



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FNC has a new afternoon talk show with a studio audience on their schedule. I shudder, as the first thing I thought of was the dreaded, dreadful Talkback Live. Its host is the bright Linda Vester, though, so John Derbyshire might want to get himself on it, regardless.

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