83 CONSONANTS. I once chatted about the difficulties of the Finnish language during one of those times at closings where everybody is waiting for the money to move. An American woman was representing a Finnish bank. She told me that she had always been a whiz at languages and had thought that she would learn Finnish quickly when she moved to Finland. Instead she found that there were so many cases in Finnish that it had taken her three years and she was still not where she wanted to be. Tim Connell in a review of 1,000 LANGUAGES (edited by Peter K. Austin) in the Times Literary Supplement for January 16, writes about how primitive or ancient languages can be much more complex than modern ones. He says that: “nouns in Sanskrit may take up to twenty-one different forms, and verbs up to 150, which leaves Finnish in the shade with a mere fifteen case endings and Latin absolutely nowhere.” He also notes that there is a language in the Northern Caucasus which has 83 consonants.

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