Sorting it all Out Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value Be sure to read the disclaimer here first!
On the heels of the incredible news I relayed yesterday (to very little fanfare) in Reporting on 64 bits of awesomesauce, a whole bunch of Language Interface Packs have been released recently!
Of the four I am going to talk about today, three (Maltese and Malay and Irish) predate the "Always release 64-bit for Windows 7 LIPs" policy but were in the Thirteen (13) can be a lucky number list so their 64-bit release was already going to happen anyway.
And the fourth (Bengali - India) benefits from the new policy and I think may be the first official LIP released under it!
This is pretty exciting stuff, if you ask me! :-)
Anyway, without further adieu, the languages:
A little background on Maltese:
Download page for 32-bit and 64-bit windows 7 LIPs, that can only be installed on a system with English resources can be found here.
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Maltese is spoken in Malta where it has been the official national language (together with English) since 1936. It was also recognized as an official language of the European Union when the country became a member state in 2004.
Based on and most closely related to Arabic, Maltese also contains a lot of elements from Romance and Germanic languages which reflects the history of the Maltese islands. In 870, Malta was occupied by the Arabs, who brought their language. [Maltese is the only survivor of the Arabic dialects which were widely spoken in Spain and Sicily in the Middle Ages.] When the Normans conquered Malta in 1090 and Christianized it, Maltese started adopting many loan words and even phonetic and phonological features from Southern Italian and Sicilian. After a long rule by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem (from 1530 to the end of the 18th century), which prolonged the process of Latinization, the country became part of the British Empire as a crown colony in 1814, opening the language to English influences. Malta was granted independence in 1964.
Over the centuries Maltese has developed a hybrid vocabulary. An analysis of the etymology of 40,000 Maltese words found that about a third of the words is of Arabic origin (though these are most basic words), about half is of Sicilian and Italian origin, and 6% are derived from English.
The Maltese grammar is still mainly Semitic, though for nouns of Romance origin there is a Romance pattern for inflection. The Maltese population, being fluent in both Maltese and English, displays code-switching (referred to as Minglish) in certain localities and between certain social groups.
Maltese, most closely related to Arabic, belongs to the group of Semitic languages (of which for example Hebrew or Amharic are part as well).
Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet. It has a few special characters:• ċ (pronounced like ch) • ġ (pronounced like the English j) • ħ (pronounced like an English h, but stronger) • ż (pronounced like English z, while z is pronounced like ts)
Click here for more information on Maltese!
A little background on Malay:
Note that the Indonesian LIP has already been released for both architectures, as described in "Donesian"…just east of "Variant" and just north of "Cognito", right?
47 million speakers
The Malay language is official language in Malaysia and Brunei where it is spoken by about 23 million people. It is also one of four official languages of Singapore.
It is a variant of a language diasystem, having its counterpart in the Indonesian language. Malay/Indonesian was a trade language since at least a thousand years on the Malaysian peninsula and the Indonesian islands; the difference between the two languages started to form only in colonial times when today's Malaysia was influenced by English while Indonesian was influenced by Dutch. The differences are still small enough to make both variants mutually intelligible.
The grammar of this agglutinative language is rather simple: There is no inflection for both nouns and verbs, no articles are used for nouns, only very few words (those borrowed from Sanskrit) have a grammatical gender, the plural mostly gets indicated by using a numeral (often with a classifier) or simple duplication (orang, person, orang-orang, people). There are only two different tenses for verbs: the present tense and a form of future tense.
While the language might sometimes be referred to as "Malaysian" (Bahasa Malaysia), linguists nowadays prefer "Malay". Bahasa means language, so shortening the name to bahasa does not make sense.
See also my blog Malay or Malaysian? for more info on the name....
• English words of Malay origin include amok, bamboo, compound (from kampong, enclosure), ketchup (originally referring to fish sauce), orangutan (literally meaning forest person).
• While Indonesian was influenced by Dutch during colonial times, Malay borrowed many words from English. Striking examples for the resulting difference in the vocabulary include akaun (account, Indonesian: rekening), farmasi (pharmacy, Indonesian: apotek) and tiket (ticket, Indonesian karcis, from Dutch kaartje).
Malay belongs to the Western Malayo-Polynesian languages, along with languages like Javanese, Balinese, which are spoken in Indonesia, Malagasy, spoken in Madagascar, or Tagalog, spoken in the Philippines. The Malayo-Polynesian languages form a subgroup of the Austronesian language family.
Malay is written in Latin script, which replaced the modified Arabic alphabet (jawi) used before the 20th century. In 1972 Malaysia and Indonesia agreed on a unified spelling for Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia.
Click here for more info on Malay!
A little background on Bengali - India:
207 million speakers
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Bengali is spoken in the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, comprising Bangladesh (where it is spoken by about 110 million people) and the Indian state of West Bengal (where it is spoken by 55 million people). With more than 200 million speakers it is the second most widely spoken language on the Indian subcontinent and among the 5 languages with the most native speakers worldwide. Bengali is official language of Bangladesh, one of India’s official languages and official language of the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura.
The dialect spoken in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is considered standard for Bengali as it is spoken in India. The dialect spoken in Bangladesh is different.
• The first Asian author to ever be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature was Bengali poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). He won the Nobel Prize in 1913. He wrote the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh.
Bengali belongs to the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages which are part of the Indo-European language family. Together with its closest relatives Assemese and Oriya, Bengali is the most eastern of this large language family.
Bengali is written in the alphasyllabary called Bangla or Kutila-lipi which highly resembles the Devanagari script used for Sanskrit, Hindi or Nepali. The script consists of 12 vowel characters and 52 consonant characters. Like in all alphasyllabaries, or abugidas, characters for consonants have embedded vowels (or an extra diacritic showing that there is no vowel).
Click here for more info on Bengali!
A little background on Irish:
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Irish is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland (with English being a second one). On 13 June 2005, Irish was made an official working language of the European Union, starting on 1 January 2007. The number of Irish speakers steadily declined after England conquered Ireland in the 16th century, and even after the Republic of Ireland was founded in 1922 this trend continued. Today about a 260,0000 people can speak Irish as a second language; on a daily basis it is used by about 30,000 people, chiefly in the western and southwestern parts of the country. The use of Irish is strongly supported and encouraged by the government. The language is taught in all schools and in 1998 the first all-Irish-speaking TV station, Teilifis na Gaeilge (TnaG), was established in the Ireland. In Northern Ireland there are another 100,000 speakers, in the United States about 25,000 (mainly concentrated in the states of Massachusetts and New York).
The most unfamiliar features of Irish are the orthography, the mutation of initial consonants and the Verb - Subject - Object word order. Irish has a long and rich written tradition. The oldest written examples can be found in inscriptions dating from the 5th to 8th century.
Click here for more info on Irish
Now two of these LIPs (Maltese and Irish) both have something else interesting in common, something that I'll talk about more another day....