Analytic/Isolating languages in Latin alphabet?
September 24, 2008 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Analytic/Isolating languages that have standardized, highly phonetic writing in the Latin alphabet?

I want to learn another language using flashcard software [Anki]. I'm already using the flashcard software for other things, so it would cost me almost nothing, in terms of time, to throw in more flashcards.

The biggest bottleneck, and a deal breaker, is adding cards. It takes forever. However, an analytic language would mean vastly less data entry. If this language used the 26-letter alphabet, that would save even more time.

So, what's my best bet? Does it have to be Mandarin, or is there cool stuff I'm overlooking? I'm less inclined to do Mandarin because of the non-phonetic, non-Latin characters. Pinyin et al. seems like cheating. (I will consider synthetic and agglutinating(sp?) languages, too. And I know that all languages have exceptions. I'm just looking for strong tendencies.)

Note: Anything that inflects is out. Spanish, etc., are definitely, definitely out.
posted by zeek321 to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, please don't point me to ready-made flashcards. That's a separate issue!
posted by zeek321 at 5:17 AM on September 24, 2008

Have you looked at Malay or Indonesian?
posted by gimonca at 5:27 AM on September 24, 2008

Response by poster: "Malay is normally written using Latin alphabet called Rumi [...]. Rumi is official in Malaysia and Singapore [...]" [wikipedia].

Nice! What else is out there??
posted by zeek321 at 6:02 AM on September 24, 2008

Response by poster:


Perhaps I Asked MeFi too soon. Now I need to see which of these are analytic/isolating (or, less preferably, synthetic or agglutinative).
posted by zeek321 at 6:19 AM on September 24, 2008

Vietnamese is the ultimate isolating language and it's written using the Latin alphabet with extra diacritics.
posted by Alison at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2008

Yeah, but those diacritics are a dealbreaker, I'm afraid; zeek321 wants to use the basic alphabet. Interesting question. Besides Malay, you might look at Hawaiian, but Malay is going to be a lot more useful.
posted by languagehat at 9:05 AM on September 24, 2008

Response by poster: Hmm... it doesn't have to useful, though that would be very preferable. Thanks, everyone.
posted by zeek321 at 11:11 AM on September 24, 2008

Well, Tagalog nouns are uninflected, and the verb inflections aren't that bad. I learned Tagalog through my field linguistics class and the only hairy part I can recall is the topic focus system and the fact that some people have a hard time wrapping their brains around an ergative-absolutive language.

Plus, it's written in the Latin alphabet and there are much fewer diacritics that Vietnamese.
posted by Alison at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2008

« Older How do |I go on?   |   directory listing flash mp3 player Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.