English is essentitally polysyllabic because most of the words are pronounced with multiple sounds and cannot be broken. (exception do exist but they are the minority).
If you notice, the polysyllabic things in English mostly comes from Greek, Latin, or French.
Among 0-10, only 0 and 7 is polysyllabic.
English "basic" (mostly visible) body part:
monosyllabic: Head, Hand, Foot, Eye, Mouth, Nose, Ear, Neck, Waist, Arm, Leg, Tooth, Tongue, Bone, Hair
can be broken: Eyelid, Eyebrow
unseparable polysyllabic: Shoulder, Ankle, Finger
I don't quite agree that thai language belong to separate tai-kadai when I see so many similarities between the thai language and the sino languages which is not shared among other language families.
We have the right to disagree with some of these so-called linguists who decided to put into a separate language family. I heard that Miao-yao language also belongs to sino-tibetan group once.
Languages within the same language family means that it is easier to learn than a language outside the language.
For example, an english would find it easier to learn french than chinese due to similarities in the language (eg. tense, verb changes, gender noun etc)
Yes, as those grammar characteristics can be inherited. But influence from can also enter the mainstream and inherit to new languages.
From a genetic viewpoint, the sino and the tibetan are related but when we talk about language family,
I would redefine it as how similar the languages are within the same family and thus making it easier to learn.
The tai/zhuang people would have quite a long history of language interaction with the chinese.
Long interaction does not make a language belong to the influencer, except "completely" replaced. That's why English is not Romance but Germanic language; Khmer not Indian language.
In Thai there are 2 words for "one" : nueng is the current word, but they say "sip et" for "eleven", where "et" sounds a bit like the cantonese "yaat".
Thai also use 2 words for "two" (but in a different maner from putonghua "er" & "liang" ) : "song" means "two", but "yii sip"means "twenty" , with "yii" very similar to cantonese again.
That's right, but arguably it's Classical Chinese influence. Complex words tend to use "et" and "yii" more. (but ending of "2" is always "song" never "yii", 22 "yii sip song").
If I recall correctly Kam-Sui languages of Tai-Kadai use Chinese-like numerals even for 1.
Edit: see details of the numbers here:http://www.zompist.com/asia.htm#Tai
some of Tai-Kadai languages do not use Chinese-like numeral, and there is Tsat influence, visible on the number "6" (Tsat: 6=nam).
Edited by qrasy, 08 January 2006 - 08:43 AM.