Indigenous Australian IE equivalent? 
Posted: 18 March 2018 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Burketown, Queensland, named as origin of dominant Pama-Nyungan family of languages

it says in the Guardian in an interesting article.

The researchers, from Yale and the University of Auckland, tested several theories to explain the spread of language across time and space, ranging from 4,000 years ago – the “rapid replacement hypothesis” – to more than 50,000 years ago with the initial colonisation of the continent from the north.

The latter was judged to be unlikely “because languages are thought to change too quickly to preserve family resemblances over such a long timescale”.

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Posted: 18 March 2018 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I posted this at LH; I particularly recommend the comments by Y and Trond Engen.

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Posted: 18 March 2018 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wish the article included a link to the Nature piece. I can’t find the original.

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Posted: 18 March 2018 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s in my post.  (Paywalled, though.)

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Posted: 18 March 2018 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I see a couple of words beginning with “ng”. The only place I’ve see that is in Vietnamese. Are they related languages from the past?

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Posted: 18 March 2018 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No, and there’s quite a few languages with initial ng- (including some “dialects” of Chinese)—it’s just not part of the familiar European languages.

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Posted: 18 March 2018 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I feel silly, now. I searched and came up with a site that only had Vietnamese listed. After seeing your answer, I did another search and see that it is quite wide spread. I should have searched further and better the first time.

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Posted: 19 March 2018 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That’s a lesson we all have to learn repeatedly!

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Posted: 20 March 2018 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I gave seen ‘Ng’ as a Chinese surname and now assume it is pronounced like Thai ง which only ever starts and ends words and is like the last part of ‘sing’ as you’d expect. The roman transliteration of the Ng surname in isolation isn’t helpful but there’s no alternative I can see.

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Posted: 21 March 2018 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ng is the Cantonese equivalent of the Mandarin surname Wu.  Chinese historical phonology is complicated.

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Posted: 28 March 2018 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks, LH, that makes a lot more sense. Ng is hard to pronounce what I thought it was on its own. Thai gets round it by by adding an ‘aw’ to all consonant sounds and then adding a common word starting with it as a mnemonic to help children learning to read and write (cf. ‘huh for hat’) or to distinguish between consonants with the same pronunciation. Fascinating stuff.

‘Ngoo’ is used for ‘ng’, from snake and Mod explains the sound here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPWgbNxDNIc

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Posted: 09 April 2018 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Regarding what Eyehawk said, I’ve remembered seeing an American TV show a few years ago in which a young lady with a Vietnamese surname I’d often read but had never heard was finally pronounced in the voice-over. Nguyen = Nwin. I had assumed it was like the Thai ‘ng’. This must be from the writing system the French devised for Vietnamese to replace Chinese characters I think. I can’t see how ‘g’ becomes ‘n’, though Guillaume is French for William. I also found out the Vietnamese first name Thuy is pronounced ‘twee’ which conforms to French ‘Guy’ or the vowel anyway. Which colonial power came up with ‘Ng’ for Cantonese ‘Wu’? It is ludicrously misleading to anyone who can’t speak or read it. I’m grateful I’ve never met anyone called Ng and tried to give it the full Thai! In isolation it sounds like a written sound effect in a Marvel comic when someone is hit in the tummy.

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Posted: 09 April 2018 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Which colonial power came up with ‘Ng’ for Cantonese ‘Wu’?

No, no, you’ve misunderstood: the Chinese surname 吳 is pronounced wu in Mandarin and ng in Cantonese (and Hakka for that matter).  The latter is [ŋ̍], just the “ng” sound from the end of sing pronounced on its own, just like /m/ in “mmm...” It only seems odd to you because English only has ŋ̍ after a vowel.

Nguyen = Nwin.

That’s just an English-speaker’s attempt at the name.  The Vietnamese form starts with [ŋ̍]; again, it seems odd to you because it doesn’t occur syllable-initial in English.

[ Edited: 09 April 2018 08:01 AM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 09 April 2018 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Venamous is right about the pronunciation of “ng” at the beginning of a word. It sounds the same as the “ng” in “sing”. It is hard to master at first, but one gets used to it and it becomes easy sooner than one would expect it to.

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Posted: 12 April 2018 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Nguyen sounds about like ŋwɪən. Ng sound followed by the w sound, rhymes with Ian.

If you want to pronounce it right you also need to wobble the tone like \_/. Good luck.

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Posted: 12 April 2018 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The name of the girl in the TV show (Nguyen) I mentioned may have been americanised by the voiceover guy or by the family itself. Maybe all Vietnamese Americans with that name pronounce it Nwin outside their language community because they realise we can’t pronounce it easily or be bothered trying. Some may not even speak Vietnamese at all.

I am familiar with the sound in Thai at the beginning of words because I hear it a lot and like to think I can make a fair stab at it. That is why I posted this earlier so people unfamiliar with the sound could hear it in action. Mod gives it more welly than her brother except, winningly, for the word for stupid. I will concede ‘Ng’ as a Chinese surname in some dialects does sound odd to my ears but it’s all part of phonetics’ rich tapestry.

Are there other unusual and arresting (to us) single words in other languages, as sounds in isolation (is phoneme the word)? Click consonants? Oo is a surname in Burmese though it’s easy to pronounce. I once read that anyone learning a foreign language over the age of 12 will have an accent though from kids I have taught who attend international schools I would put this higher. What have you found? My French is pretty bad but when I was in France when I was 18 with an English bloke who had studied it longer than I had and who was going totake it at Oxford to ask some girls we knew to speak French with a very strong, parody English accent. I couldn’t tell at all.

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