Learning Nepali: Hacking and Cracking, Chomsky Notwithstanding…

“…some random mutation took place, maybe after some strange cosmic ray shower, and it reorganized the brain, implanting a language organ in an otherwise primate brain” — Noam Chomsky, “world’s smartest man”

So all of this should be unnecessary, really, then, in learning Nepali, shouldn’t it?

ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch

It all sounds Greek to me: ena, dyo, tria, tessera, pente. Wait, that does sound Greek! And that’s no accident, since (Indo-European) Nepal–via Sanskrit–is is probably as close to it as its direct cultural descendant English. And so it goes down the Latin connection: unum duo tres quattuor quinque, uno due tre quatro cinque, uno dos tres cuatro cinco, um dois tres cuatro cinco, unu doi trei patru cinci, une deux trois quattre cinq, or through the Germanic lineage: eins zwei drei vier funf, or through the Slavic: adin dva tri chyetirye pyat, or the Persian, independent of Greek and parallel to Sanskrit: yek do seh chahaar panj, all of which sound closer to the source than English, though it’d help if we’d pronounce as written, not morphed through centuries of spoken fashion: an tuo tree…seesh sevn eicht, etc…

All of which makes Indo-European the most successful language lineage in the world, the Chinese family second, and arguably Chomsky is on safe ground here, with ‘core vocabulary’, such as simple numbers, but much shakier as concepts progress and expand, such that this linguistic ‘mentalese’ doesn’t help him much on Havana TV, speaking Pidgin English with one of Fidel’s flunkies, unable to converse in America’s second language and first in much of Occupied Mexico, to this day. I hope he speaks a mean Hebrew to compensate the lack, since many amateurs can do better than that. Me, I persevere, plowing fields wherever there are seeds to be planted and fruit to be harvested: neung sawng sam see ha, satu dua tiga empat lima, yi er san si wu, mot hai ba bon nam, muay pi bei buon pram, etc… This could take a while…

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