Essentialist Explanations

16th edition

This page comprises a list of 1078 "essentialist explanations" of the form "Language X is essentially language Y under conditions Z". I have edited some entries for uniformity, clarity, or good English. The entries are grouped for convenience rather than correctness. In particular, fictional languages belonging to actual language families are grouped with their natural language relatives. New contributions are solicited, especially for American and African languages. No flames, please.

Note: Entries attributed to me (John Cowan) are often ones that I have heard or read somewhere, or ones that were suggested by other people's contributions but heavily modified by me.

"[We] do but jest, poison in jest, no offence in the world." --Hamlet


Index

English

English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary.
--Eugene Holman

English is essentially Norse as spoken by a gang of French thugs.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

English is essentially a bizarre dialect of Chinese, pronounced entirely in the first tone.
--John Cowan

English is essentially any other language spoken with a very hot potato in one's mouth.
--Ivan Derzhanski (based on Alain LaBonté on Swiss French)

English is essentially the language you speak without moving your mouth.
--Marianne Cowan

English is essentially a language that uses vowels no other language would accept.
--Luís Henrique

English is essentially degenerate Welsh steeped in Latin, Dutch and Franco-Scandinavian Norman.
--Mike Taylor

English is essentially German spoken in the mouth rather than the throat.
--jmallett

English is essentially Low German plus even lower French minus any sense of culture.
--Danny Weir

English is essentially Anglo-Saxon with all the cool bits taken out.
--Thomas Leigh

English is essentially a dialect of French.
--Alain LaBonté

...spoken by Germanic barbarians.
--Fragano Ledgister

English is what you get from Normans trying to pick up Saxon girls.
--Bryan Maloney

Written English is essentially a variety of Old French invented by somebody who spoke only Saxon and read only Latin.
--Basilius

English is essentially an imprecise dialect of Java, without the object orientation.
--Julian Morrison

English is essentially a language that no one speaks in France.
--Dan Seriff

English is essentially French converted to 7-bit ASCII.
--Christophe Pierret [for Alain LaBonté]

English is essentially a whore.
--Lars Henrik Mathiesen

English is essentially a French menu stuttered by a fish-and-chips dealer.
--Kala Tunu

English is essentially the Borg.
--Muke Tever

Men efter all Englisk äre basiklig Svensk förpoisonat of Frensk (ellor skould dat be Danisk?).
--Jonathan Knibb

English is essentially Dutch but it doesn't want to admit it.
--Danny Wier

English is essentially a West Germanic language that's trying very hard to look like a Romance one.
--Andreas Johansson

English is essentially language's equivalent to a transvestite.
--Andreas Johansson

Modern English read phonetically is essentially Middle English as no Middle Englishman would have spoken it.
--Jake X

According to generative linguists, all languages are essentially English.
--Arnt Richard Johansen

English is essentially the devil's attempt to reverse the curse of Babel by making a world language from the most difficult language in the world.
--qaya

English is essentially Pictish that was attacked out of nowhere by Angles cohabiting with Teutons who were done in by a drunk bunch of Vikings masquerading as Frenchmen who insisted they spoke Latin and Greek but lacked the Arabic in which to convey that.
--Bill Hammel

English is essentially Plattdeutsch as spoken by a Frisian pretending to be French.
--Andreas Johansson

English is essentially a stripped-down Germanic lang with Baroque-style Norman French ornamentation glued on at odd angles.
--Adam Walker

English is essentially a language that doesn't care where syllable boundaries are.
--Peter Bleackley

Inglish iz issenshali a langwidje dhat, wen rittun fonetkli, iz ilejibul tu netiv spikerz.
--Peter Bleackley

English is essentially the language of people who think that everybody else speaks their language. French is essentially the language of people who think that everybody else should speak theirs.
--Peter Bleackley

English is essentially bad Frisian, old French, Latin, and Greek, with a grammar that pretends to be like Latin but is really like Chinese or very dumbed-down Germanic (depending on how you look at it).
--Trebor Jung

English is essentially all exceptions and no rules.
--Jonathan Bettencourt

English is essentially the works of Joyce with the hard bits taken out.
--Jon Hanna

In English, all foreign languages are essentially French.
--Tristan Mc Leay

English is essentially Hindi (cot, jungle, shampoo), with a heck of a lot of loanwords from Anglo-Saxon, French, and Latin.
--Sean B. Palmer

English is essentially a Germanic language that has eaten far too many French dishes for its own good.
--John Cowan

English is a structurally Semiticized, lexically Romanized German dialect.
--Theo Venneman

English is essentially the noise made by people who don't believe you can use language but want your stuff handed over politely.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially what happens when you can't decide whether the Greeks or the Romans had the better civilization, so you ask everybody they ever beat up on to sort it out.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially a language in which up has forty-seven dictionary definitions, but antidisestablishmentarianism is considered a "hard word."
--John M. Ford

English is essentially a text parser's way of getting faster processors built.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially the inevitable result of repressing the gender of nouns.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially ideographic, but it's sneaky about it.
--John M. Ford

English was essentially created to be the language of international air traffic control, but it got bored waiting.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially the "universal Martian" used for interplanetary ditching instructions.
--John M. Ford

English is essentially a tale told by an extremely clever and inventive idiot.
--John M. Ford

English is a marriage between German and French.
--Brian

English is essentially l33t with the numbers replaced by letters.
--Shanth

English is essentially a half dozen other languages locked in a small room. They fight.
--M. Kehrt

English is partly dysfunctional Scandinavian.
--gooeyfruitbat

English is essentially Teletubby as reinterpreted by Frank Sinatra and passed through a used coffee filter.
--George Spiggott (in the mood of irony)

Australian English is essentially what happens to you after living in isolation for too long.
--Fumiko Amaya

Australian English is essentially an Irishman bitten by a Tasmanian Devil while chasing a kangaroo.
--Fumiko Amaya

American English is essentially what British English would sound like with better oral hygiene.
--Xander

American English originated from English immigrants who lost their tongues because of lack of vitamin C during their sea voyage.
--Kees van den Berg

New Zealand English is Cockney spoken by a Scotsman who's watched to many Australian soap operas.
--Ken Westmoreland

South African English is Dick Van Dyke trying to put on an Australian accent.
--Ken Westmoreland

Canadian English is American English spoken by a Scotsman who's trying to console a bereaved Frenchman.
--Ken Westmoreland

English speakers are essentially French speakers, all the superior attitude, and all the bluntness. (French & American tourists are about equally hated around the world!)
--Bill Van

English is essentially the most Latin Germanic language. Conversely, French is essentially the most Germanic Romance language.
--Bill Van

English is German with a license to kill.
--Leonard Cohen (via Douglas Owen Baker)

English is essentially a language in which up has forty-seven dictionary definitions, but antidisestablishmentarianism is considered a "hard word".
--John M. Ford

English is essentially the result of Normans trying to date Anglo-Saxon barmaids.
--H. Beam Piper (via Brian Maloney and Peter Funch)

English is essentially a constructed language. That is, a language constructed over centuries by a succession of drunken mobs.
--Javier Candeira

English (Specific Varieties)

Cockney is essentially English while haggling over prices.
--Mike Taylor

Pig Latin is essentially eulological English as spoken by Latin professors with Tourette's syndrome.
--ilvi

Basic English is essentially Rapping, but censored and without the beat.
--Jay Bowks

Australian is essentially a dialect of English as spoken by hungry Europeans pursuing a kangaroo dinner.
--ilvi

Australian English is essentially Cockney without the refinement.
--Öjevind Lång

American English is essentially English after having been wiped off with a dirty sponge.
--J.R.R. Tolkien

American English is essentially a tool to keep a person from ever being able to speak another language.
--jmallett

American English is essentially British English without the redundancies, including the monarchy.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Today's British English is what today's American English would have become if Americans hadn't had any fun either.
--Glen Perkins

American English is essentially your Queen's English as bastardized by colonists, or is it as colonized by bastards?
--ilvi

American English is essentially British English without the funny accent. [Or is that Canadian English?]
--Aleks Dubh

American English is essentially Irish English as spoken by non-native speakers.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

The Queen's English is essentially Modern Anglo-Saxon as passed on by generation after generation of stiff necked Norman nobles with their noses in the air.
--ilvi

Texan English is essentially Spanish as spoken by drunken American rebels.
--Javier de la Rosa

Yankee is essentially 18th Century English as altered by the impure thoughts of Puritans with cabin fever.
--Jay Bowks

Jamaican is essentially an African dialect with enough mispronounced English to be able to buy ganja and sing reggae.
--Javier de la Rosa

Scots is essentially English, only funnier.
--Thomas Leigh

Scots is essentially English as spoken by Robert Burns.
--Zoe Mulford

Scots is essentially English spoken as Dutch by a Dane.
--Mark Odegard

South Philadelphian is essentially Italian with the final syllables dropped off.
--Zoe Mulford

Southern US English is essentially English without monophthongs.
--Danny Weir

Yo! Ebonics is essentially Welfarese processed through a grant-seeking processor akin to a guitarist's distortion box in the hands of the psychotropic educrats, homies.
--laser

Ebonics essentially is the speech of hoods in the 'hood.
--laser

King James English is essentially the language that many Americans think Jesus spoke. "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"
--Dan Seriff

Psycho-babble is essentially Minbari spoken by seekers of tax-funded grants, power-hungry psycho-totalitarians, counsellors or other unemployables while wearing a too-tight tiara.
--laser

Galach is essentially Anglo-Slavic run through Grimm's Law and baked on the desert of Arrakis until well-dune.
--laser

Governmentese is essentially a branch of spoken and written English designed to say nothing with as many words as possible hoping that the nothing is lost in the translation.
--laser

Old English is essentially mispronounced Modern English spoken while wearing armor and carrying a roundshield and sword.
--Dan Seriff

Middele English is essencially Moderne Lowe Duchish with a heevy Scottisshe broog yspoken and with ful many fetise Frensshe loon-wordes that been ful quayntly and straungely ywritten.
--Amittai Aviram

New York City Syrian Jewish English is essentially Arabic curses and bad Ebonics spoken with a Brooklyn accent.
--Steg Belsky

Yeshivish is essentially English spoken by people who think they're speaking Yiddish.
--Steg Belsky

1337Speak is essentially what happens when an AOLer's keyboard breaks.
--Andy Fox

American English essentially is not English and is not American either.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Southern US English is essentially Irish English spoken through moonshine and whiskey instead of stout and ale.
--Andrew Johnson

New York English is essentially New England English with a bagel in one's throat and being mugged.
--Andrew Johnson

Liverpool English is Irish English spoken by Irishmen and Welshmen trying to bash England.
--Andrew Johnson

Birmingham English is what the world would sound like if they also snorted coke laced with ants and drank gasoline every night for 30 years like Ozzy Osbourne.
--Andrew Johnson

Midwestern US English is essentially New England English with their sinuses filled with ice.
--Andrew Johnson

American English is essentially the language that everyone understands if you speak it loudly and slowly enough.
--Michael Alexander (via Daniel E. Huston)

Broken English is the language of international trade.
--John Naisbitt (via Daniel E. Huston)

Ebonics be Shakespeare playin' da urbon Oak-lan' (Calie-forn-ah) bluz, homie.
--Hanuman Zhang

American is essentially achieved by simplifying and complexifying English at once.
--Greg Johnston

Shetlandic is essentially English taught by Lowlanders to Norwegians.
--Alexander Ellis

Newyorkese is English with a Dutch accent and a grudge.
--Javier Candeira

American English is essentially an Irish tongue in a Dutch mouth.
--John Cowan

New Zealand English is essentially the English somebody forgot to take it out of their back pocket before putting their jeans through the laundry.
--Hamish Ritchie

Lancashire is essentially English spoken properly.
--Liv Bliss

Ebonics is basically Manding-Congo/Manding Cushi African languages with English words, ancient Egyptian parents and polyrhythmic presentation.
--Paul Barton

Gullah-Geechee is basically the remnants of the ancient Egyptian syntax found in Kru, Manding and Serer brought by the Africans to the Sea Islands/Georgia region and spoken with 'chopped' English words to replace the lost African ones.
--Paul Barton

Jamaican/Caribbean English is basically a combination of Yoruba, Tiv, Manding, Kongo placed in a saladbowl, mixed and fused and spoken with English words with a juju music, reggae and calypso rhythm.
--Paul Barton

Southern 'white' English is basically the Ebonics English created by Blacks and used by former speakers of Gaelic, Welsh, English jailbird descent, French Huguenot descent and other 'poor white' ancestry Southerners who worked on Southern plantations as 'indentured laborers' alongside African slaves.
--Paul Barton

Indian English is essentially late Victorian bureaucratese as spoken by Peter Sellers.
--Tommy Tyrberg

If you wake a Britisher up at five in the morning, he'll sound like a human being.
--Brian

American is essentially British with decent cooking.
--libcat

American English is essentially what the English would be speaking had they kept up their English lessons.
--Alan Kellogg

San Diegan is essentially Iowan as spoken by people living in a geographically interesting location.
--Alan Kellogg

Surfer Speak is essentially Iowan as spoken by people who are perpetually stoned.
--Alan Kellogg

American grammar is essentially not essential
--Ivan C. Amaya

American is essentially nothing to write home about.
--Ivan C. Amaya

American English is essentially the "haiku" version of British English minus the class.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Geordies are essentially Scots speaking English with a Norwegian accent.
--Daniel Carrera

Canadian English is essentially Mid-West American English with a lot of eh's.
--contrariandoer

Essentially, Texan is fake Spanish endings tacked onto every other word, with occasional bursts of enough German to confuse people.
--Bob Thornton

Ulster Scots is English as spoken by a Northern Ireland Protestant who doesn't want money spent on the Irish language.
--Ken Westmoreland

American English is essentially the language nobody speaks well, but everybody seems to understand.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Southern American English is a language where all the monophthongs are diphthongs and all the diphthongs are monophthongs, ah thaink.
--Rodger Cunningham

Australian English is essentially British English spoken with the mouth wide open.
--Bernard Abramson

Southern American Hillbilly English is essentially the King's English, sequestered and inbred.
--Elise Trucks

Indian English is essentially what you get if you pronounce English like a Spaniard but with Welsh intonation.
--Javier Candeira

Proper English is normal English spoken with a very wide mouth.
--Curt Fenz

American English is British English, without all the high-class references and with a more familiar spelling.
--Chrysaor Jordan

British English is essentially an upper class version of American, even if they won't admit it.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Australian English is essentially a cross between Cockney and cowboy, with unique slang we must admire. We Americans love the Aussies. They remind us of when our nation was also young.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Gullah is essentially a Southern accent, written exactly the way we talk, and flavoured with Kikongo seasonings.
--Chrysaor Jordan

North Germanic

Norwegian is essentially Danish spoken with a Swedish accent.
--Eugene Holman (and many others)

Danish is essentially Norwegian spoken with a sore throat.
--Kaare Albert Lie

Danish is essentially Norwegian (or Swedish) spoken while eating a hot potato.
--Eugene Holman/Benct Philip Jonsson

Danish is essentially Swedish spoken while eating porridge.
--Peter Landgren

Danish is essentially Swedish while swallowing yogurt.
--Mike Taylor

Norwegian is essentially Swedish spoken by eunuchs with false teeth.
--Peter Landgren

Swedish is essentially Norwegian spoken by Finns.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Swedish is what happened when a Nordic-speaking people got angry at all the other Nordic-speaking peoples and decided to deliberately alter their language to make it look more German.
--Peter Ravn Rassmussen

Swedish essentially is a very well camouflaged dialect of Chinese.
--Andreas Johansson

Danish is essentially Swedish run backwards at half speed.
--Tommy Tyrberg

Danish is essentially Swedish after running over all consonants that didn't get out of the way fast enough.
--Tommy Tyrberg

Swedish is essentially Norwegian spoken while trying to maintain a stiff upper lip.
--Sten E. Moe

Danish is essentially Norwegian spoken without a tongue.
--Sten E. Moe

Danish is essentially Swedish with the ends of syllables mangled.
--Lars Mathiesen

Conversely, Swedish is essentially Danish with the onsets of syllables mangled.
--Lars Mathiesen

Swedish is essentially perfected Danish.
--Aleks Dubh

A Gothenburg accent is essentially Swedish with all vowels reduced to "ö".
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Norse is essentially Gothic as spoken by seasick vikings.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

New Norwegian (Nynorsk) is essentially the speech of Norwegian peasants as mutilated by a schoolteacher with a poor understanding of Icelandic.
--Halldór Laxness, via Benct Philip Jonsson

Danish is essentially Swedish minus articulation.
--Andreas Johansson

Danish is essentially [ə::::::::::::::::].
--Andreas Johansson

Danish is essentially Swedish with a sense of humor.
--Anders Engwall

Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are actually the same language. It's just that the Norwegians can't spell it, and the Danes can't pronounce it.
--Chlewey

Faroese is essentially bad Icelandic.
--Eugene Holman

Icelandic is essentially bad Old Norse.
--Thomas Leigh

Danish is essentially Norwegian, only you drop out all the consonants, skip all the vowels and then mispronounce the rest.
--David Oftedal

Nynorsk (or Redneck, as I call it) is essentially Swedish with a bad accent.
--David Oftedal

Swedish is essentially the language of Inscrutable Nordics who decided to make their language even more inscrutable than before.
--John Cowan

Swedo-Norwegian is essentially a dialect continuum, divided vertically in writing but horizontally in speech.
--John Cowan

Icelandic is essentially Norwegian spoken with an American accent.
--James Worlton

Swedish is essentially the strangest dialect of Dutch I ever heard.
--Christophe Grandsire

Swedish is essentially Spanish with the verbs conjugated backwards.
--Mark J. Reed

Swedish is essentially Norwegian plus vowels with tremas.
--Trebor Jung

Hungarian is essentially Norwegian spelled backwards, with a lot of ö's.
--Nils Wærstad

Swedish is essentially English spoken backwards.
--Dave Yarwood

My ex brother-in-law, who is essentially an ass, once told me that Danish is essentially a "throw-up" language since you feel like you're retching when you pronounce it. That's essentially his opinion.
--Sally Caves

Icelandic is essentially Björk for those who don't know where Iceland even is.
--Sally Caves

Gøtudanskt is essentially Danish spoken the way it is spelled.
--Philip Newton

Bokmål is essentially Danish with Swedish phonemes and hippie intonation.
--Andreas Johansson

Norwegian is essentially Japanese as spoken by Germans.
--The Multilingual Kitten

To a western Norwegian, East Norwegian is essentially Danish.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Swedish is German spoken in English word order with a singsong accent.
--Unknown, via John "Serge" Beeler

Danish is essentially Norwegian spoken when drunk.
--John Cowan

Icelandic is Faroese for Danes who want to live in a timewarp.
--Ken Westmoreland

Danish is essentially drunken Norwegian.
--John Cowan

West Germanic (High)

German is essentially a philosophical cough.
--Luís Henrique

German is essentially a language developed by a group of Teutons who gathered in the forest one day to come up with a language that their enemies would have no chance of grasping.
--Jeff Lowery

German is essentially a guttural dialect of French with more fs and aus.
--jmallett

Germann ist eßentially Dutsch and Englisch with a few Tschanges.
--Danny Wier

Germänn ist eßëntiälly Ënglisch mit ein few Tschängen und das käpitäal Lëtteren und Lötten von Dötten.
--Nik Taylor

German is essentially a language that had a lot of future up until about 60 years ago.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Yiddish is essentially bad German mixed with worse Hebrew and execrable Russian.
--John Cowan

Yiddish is essentially a Slavic language where most of the words just happen to be German.
--John Cowan

Conversely, German is essentially a parody of Yiddish.
--Anonymous, via Jörg Rhiemeier

Standard German is essentially southern grammar and lexis with northern phonology.
--John Cowan

Bavarian and Austrian are essentially Real German spoken with a mouth full of spaetzle.
-- David Bell

German is essentially a form of assembly language consisting entirely of far calls heavily accented with throaty guttural sounds.
--ilvi

Transylvanian Saxon (Saksesh) is essentially a Luxembourg Yiddish spoken by old-German Protestants with a Romanian-Hungarian accent.
--Alfred W. Tüting (.aulun.)

Proto-Germanic was essentially Proto-Latin spoken with a Proto-Basque accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

German is essentially English as spoken by a drunken, slurring nuclear-plant technician desperately trying, and failing, to get a date by expounding on "The Sorrows of Young Werther" and, then, logically enough, committing suicide.
--Thomas Wier

German essentially Gothic with Latin syntax is.
--John Hudson

Yiddish is essentially the modern descendant of a koine of Middle High German dialects, mixed with Slavic and Hebrew.
--John Cowan

Austrian German is essentially Berliner German without all the spitting.
--Bill Hammel

Yiddish is essentially the Ebonics of German.
--submanifold

German is essentially English spoken with a head cold.
--Orson Scott Card

The -le of Schwäbisch clearly demonstrates how it is essentially Swiss German ashamed of itself.
--Christian Thalmann

Essentially is German a verb-second language.
--Sally Caves

It is essential, that You the german Syntax and Punctuation right get must.
--Sally Caves

German is essentially Yiddish without the Hebrew.
--Tom Arnold

Yiddish and Romanian are aberrant dialects of German and Italian with some Slavic modifications.
--Brian

Swiss German is essentially Standard German spoken with laryngitis.
--Dreas

German is essentially bastardized Yiddish.
--Zackary Sholem Berger

German is essentially Dutch with a gay lisp
--Heinz Hummer

Swiss German is essentially German spoken while eating crunchy crackers.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Swiss German is German spoken with a Swedish accent.
--Frann Michel

Luxembourgish is Swiss German spoken by a demented Dutchman with a French accent.
--Ken Westmoreland

Lëtzebuergesch is essentially German reinvented by speakers or southern Dutch dialects.
--Ruben

German is essentially the crossroads between Latin and Slavic languages with some cold herring from the Northern Sea.
--Ivan Amaya

German dialect is essentially High German with the vowels wrong.
--Nick Nicholas

Swiss German is essentially High German with the vowels and the consonants wrong.
--Nick Nicholas

Yiddish is essentially German without an army or a navy.
--Ari Krupnik

Hebrew is essentially Yiddish with an army and an air force
--Ari Krupnik

German is essentially Attila's attempt to speak French.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Luxembourgish is essentially what a German speaks who has been hit on the head.
--Matthew Wolf

German is the only language in which "I love you" sounds threatening.
--Michel Clasquin

West Germanic (Low)

Northern German is essentially Dog spoken in a guttural accent.
--jmallett

Dutch is essentially English spoken with a French accent by a German.
--jmallett

Dutch is essentially German written with English spelling.
--Luís Henrique

Dutch is essentially German as spoken by the members of a conspiracy who pretend not to speak German.
--John Cowan

Dutsj is essensjullie a Loo Sjurmennik lenkwitsj wis det vunkie letter (det riepleezes Y) plus a serieuslie koel ortografie.
--several members of Conlang

Dutch is essentially German spoken by someone with a sore throat (or: by someone clearing his throat while speaking).
--Philip Newton

Written Dutch is essentially German with misspellings one would expect from small German children.
--Terrence Griffin

Dutch is essentially what you know to be English, only heard through lots of loud background noise.
--Dan Seriff

Dutch is essentially English with all the vowels doubled.
--Keith Gaughan

Dutch is essentially English spoken whilst stoned, which pretty much explains all the double vowels ;-)
--Keith Gaughan

I prefer to think of English as being essentially Dutch with all double vowels halved.
--Maarten van Beek

Afrikaans is essentially Dutch baby talk.
--John Cowan

Conversely, Dutch is essentially Afrikaans as spoken by a corpse.
--John Cowan

Flemish is essentially Dutch dumbed down for use by Francophones.
--Zoe Mulford

Flemish is, as its name phonetically suggests, essentially Dutch while vomiting.
--Mike Taylor

Frisian is essentially (Middle) English as spoken by the Dutch.
--John Cowan

Conversely, English is essentially the Old Frisian of a sea-sick Old Saxon speaker, as mangled by an obtuse Francophonified Danish mercenary who took Latin and Greek in school and is currently on an around-the-world cruise.
--Benct Philip Jonsson/Matt Pearson

Low German is essentially Dutch with an identity problem.
--Danny Weir

Dutch is essentially Low German with an army and a navy.
--Andreas Johansson

The Dutch are actually Anglophones pretending to be Germans.
--Andreas Johansson

Afrikaans is essentially Dutch with English grammar.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Dutch is essentially English spoken while yawning (therefore the extra vowels).
--Ivan C. Amaya

Frisian is essentially Old English spoken by Anglo-Saxons who got lost on their way from Schleswig-Holstein.
--Andrew Johnson

Dutch sounds like a drunk Englishman speaking German.
--Warren Dumke (via Daniel E. Huston)

Dutch is essentially a mix of German, Swedish and English, but tries to hide it by having a lot of unnecessary double vowels and 'oe's everywhere.
--Andreas Johansson

Dutch is essentially a mixture of German and English spoken in a Swedish accent.
--Estel Telcontar

Dutch is essentially swish German.
--Anon.

Walloon essentially is bad French spoken by a Dutch person who wants to impress the Germans.
--Hanbing Feng

Luxembourgish essentially is worse German spoken by another Dutch person who wants to impress the French.
--Hanbing Feng

Dutch is essentially German as spoken by a group of people who decided to start their own literary tradition several hundred years ago.
--Philip Newton

Dutch is English spelt funny and spoken in a Klingon accent.
--Javier Candeira

Dutch is essentially the only langage in the world that sounds as if its phonology had been originally devised as a German creole by some Asian people that nonetheless can only have learned it after they were colonized by already Dutch-speaking Europeans.
--Guillaume Thomas

Low German is essentially Germanic that stayed at home.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Lippisches Platt is essentially bad Dutch with the diphthongs all spoken backwards.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Hutterisch is essentially Plattdeutsch smeared in cowshit.
--Ebeneezer

Afrikaans is Dutch spoken by a Malay slave with plenty of rythym but not enough saliva.
--Ken Westmoreland

Dutch is just funny German, and Norwegian is just funny Dutch.
--Jory

Dutch is essentially German with Welsh pronunciation.
--Sam Aaron

Dutch is essentially English words in a German word order.
--Bill Van

Sometimes Dutch looks remarkably like English as typed by the guys at the Computer Center.
--Geoffrey K. Pullum

Dutch is essentially not a language but a disease of the throat.
--Tom Meijer

Dutch is essentially English spoken with the mouth full of pebbles.
--Bernard Abramson

Afrikaans is Dutch spoken while trying to expectorate two inhaled bluebottles.
--Paul Rodman

Dutch is essentially German, as pronounced by a horse. (see Jonathan Swift)
--Michel Clasquin

English is essentially BASIC for humanities students.
--Michel Clasquin

Afrikaans is essentially Dutch ... No it isn't. Ask any Dutchman.
--Michel Clasquin

Dutch is essentially Afrikaans as spoken by preachers, doctors and other establishment types trying to pass for civilized.
--Michel Clasquin

Frisian is essentially Dutch with a bad hangover.
--Michel Clasquin

Who cares what Dutch essentially is? The Dutch all speak English now.
--Michel Clasquin

Dutch is essentially German spoken with an English accent.
--Lisa Lambert

Dutch is essentially Old English and German, which remains modern, and is known to English speakers for that sentences often wrong order are, and for the long words.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Frisian is about 50% similar to Dutch, 25% like English, and 25% just that way. The accent sounds melodic, and the language sounds as if we ought to understand it.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Afrikaans is essentially countrified Dutch, with old-fashioned expressions and an influence from that English.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Flemish is essentially Dutch, but with antique words still in use and with a French accent.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Dutch is essentially a language that has not decided to be English nor German.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Spanish

Spanish is essentially Italian spoken by Arabs.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Castilian Spanish is mostly your average Spanish spoken while gagging on paella rice.
--Javier de la Rosa

Castilian Romance is nothing but Latin spoken by Basque lips and transformed by evolution in an environment of Basque habits and of Basque phonetic tradition.
--P. Ormaechevarria, via David Mediavilla Ezquibela

Andalusian Spanish is essentially Castilian with needless syllabic appendages circumcised.
--Javier de la Rosa

Puerto Rican is just Spanish as hurriedly spoken in substandard housing in the Bronx.
--ilvi

Cuban Spanish is essentially Spanish as spoken on the express train.
--Angel Ortiz

Argentinean is essentially Italian spoken so that other South Americans can catch on.
--ilvi

Spanish is essentially a dialect of Californian English used for increasing the value of real estate. (Gee, wouldn't this faux Spanish strip mall be worth $200,000 more if it was called Plaza del Mucho Dinero?)
--Jeffrey Henning

Mexican is essentially Castilian Spanish as spoken while excreting hot peppers, therefore without the superiority complex.
--ilvi & Ivan C. Amaya

Mexican essentially sounds like Japanese pronounced with a strong Irish brogue.
--Heather Grove

Conversely, Japanese sounds like Mexican with all the vowels removed.
--Heather Grove

On the other hand, Mexican is essentially Nahuatl with enough Spanish and English borrowings to keep from scaring off tourists (ask anyone from Spain, it certainly isn't Spanish).
--Heather Grove

Ladino is essentially Spanish as spoken while haggling at overseas markets.
--Jay Bowks

Judeo-Spanish is essentially the perfect auxiliary language squelched by Arabic and Hebrew.
--Javier de la Rosa

Silbo is essentially Spanish as blown through the lips.
--ilvi

Papiamento is essentially Dutch Spanish.
--John Cowan

Papiamento is essentially Spanish as spoken after one too many shots of Captain Jack.
--Javier de la Rosa

Mexican Spanish is essentially all consonants.
--John Cowan

Caribbean Spanish is essentially all vowels.
--John Cowan

Ladino is essentially Spanish vowels with Portuguese consonants written in Hebrew by people living in the Netherlands and Turkey.
--Steg Belsky

Spanish is essentially Japanese with a few consonant clusters added to fool you into thinking it's Romance.
--Steg Belsky

Spanish is essentially the English of the future (it is now the second most spoken first language).
--Danny Wier

Spanish is essentially Latin spoken by Iberians, with Basque phonetics.
--Javier Candeira

Spanish is basically just a crude form of Vulgar Latin jazzed up with a little Basque and Arabic.
--Brian

Spanish is essentially a five-vowel variant of standard Italian, but with no gemination, except ll and rr, which have become qualitatively different.
--John Cowan

Spanish is what happened when Moors tried to learn Latin and said "screw it."
--Charles Lavergne

Spanish is essentially a language that should be called Castilian, for the relief of Basques, Gallegos and Catalans.
--Humberto Ribeiro

Criollo is essentially a stew made with potatoes, onions and tomatoes with a touch of cilantro, but people think it is a language.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Llanito in Gibraltar is Andalucian Spanish spoken by a Genoese with a Yorkshire accent.
--Ken Westmoreland

Spanish is essentially the new "Vida Loca" Latin.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Castillian Spanish is essentially a Colombian speaking while trying to swallow a very hot paella, thus the ZZZZs.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Mexican is essentially to Mariachi what Scottish is to bag pipes, go figure.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Argentinian is essentially the language spoken by Italians immigrants trying to dance "La Cumparsita".
--Ivan C. Amaya

Spanish is essentially tropical Italian.
--Ivan Amaya

Castilian Spanish is essentially Colombian spoken with bad teeth, which is why so many Spaniards come to Costa Rica for dental work.
--Dennis Rogers

Latin American Spanish is essentially Castillian minus the fat parts.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Castilian is essentially Spanish spoken by Sylvester the cat.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Mexican is essentially a concoction made of tacos, burritos and enchiladas, mixed with strident trumpets, one or two thick moustaches, a bright sombrero, and just a few Spanish words to spruce it all up.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Argentinian is essentially Spanish after drinking too much "Yerba Mate" tea.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Cuban is essentially Andalusian at sea.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Austronesian

Hawaiian is essentially ... vowels.
--Lauren M. Squires

Hawaiian is a cousin of Indonesian with a fear of consonants.
--Danny Weir

Bislama is essentially an Austronesian language with English vocabulary.
--Jacques Guy

Tok Pisin is essentially bad English mixed with even worse Melanesian, decorated with a few German swearwords and strung together by somebody who had never heard of grammar or syntax.
--Tommy Tyrberg

Samoan/Hawaiian/Maori is essentially bad Hawaiian/Maori/Samoan.
--John Cowan

Police-Motu is essentially canine elocution as emulated by (in)human beings.
--ilvi

Bahasa Indonesia is essentially a constructed language designed to fool foreigners into thinking Indonesia is a monoculture.
--John Cowan

...and the same is true of Tagalog/Pilipino, mutatis mutandis.
--John Cowan

Indonesian and Tagalog are essentially flowing water -- Indonesian a swiftly flowing brook and Tagalog water going over rapids.
--Adam Walker

Ilocano sounds essentially like Tagalog spoken by a Balikbayan from Indo-China.
--Kristian Jensen

Malay is essentially Indonesian as spoken by Englishmen.
--Amber Adams

Conversely, Indonesian is essentially Malay as spoken by Dutchmen.
--Amber Adams

Tagalog is essentially Spanish.
--Anonymous, via Nate

Tagalog is essentially Visayan spoken by Kapampangans.
--goodboi

Tetum in East Timor is Austronesian that slept around with Portuguese before being given a bit of rough by Indonesian.
--Ken Westmoreland

Tagalog (or Filipino) is Austronesian that grew up in a Spanish convent before marrying an American GI.
--Ken Westmoreland

Maori is Malay sung by a Welsh male voice choir.
--Ken Westmoreland

Austronesian is essentially a language family in which the vowels are everything and the consonants nothing.
--John Cowan

Tagalog is essentially Malay with all the vowels changed to 'a' and all the endings changed to 'ng'.
--Chris Guillen

Latin and Italian

Oscan is Latin with every other consonant changed to f.
--Justin Mansfield

Classical Latin is essentially an artificial language devised to make the vulgar Roman aristocracy sound intelligent.
--Javier de la Rosa

Latin is essentially what you have if you read a satanist mass backwards. (tse assim, eti!)
--Luís Henrique

Latin is essentially Greek with all of the interesting bits dropped into the Adriatic.
--Dan Seriff

Classical Latin is essentially Liturgical Latin with correct pronunciation.
--Dan Seriff

Conversely, Liturgical Latin is essentially Classical Latin with all initial consonants pronounced as affricates.
--Dan Seriff

Modern Latin is essentially Classical Latin full of neologisms that end in -trum.
--Justin Mansfield

Church Latin is essentially reverse-engineered Italian.
--Justin Mansfield

Erasmian Latin is essentially Church Latin as spoken by Germans.
--Justin Mansfield

Italian is essentially bad Latin.
--Eugene Holman

Spanish is essentially bad Italian.
--Eugene Holman

Italian is essentially Latin as spoken by people who were shouting at their slaves all the time.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Italian is essentially machine gun fire heard from a long way off.
--Dan Seriff

Italian is essentially Tuscan dialect as spoken by a Lombard.
--Luca Mangiat

Italian is essentially Latin in a leather factory.
--Mike Taylor

Venetian is essentially Spanish as spoken by people not smart enough to discover America.
--Marco Cimarosti

Lombard is essentially Italian spoken with German accent and English grammar.
--Marco Cimarosti

Lombard is essentially French as spoken by Italians who don't know French.
--Marco Cimarosti

Piedmontese is essentially French as spoken by Italians who only know French a little bit.
--Marco Cimarosti

Ligurian is essentially Sicilian spoken with a Portuguese accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

Corsican is essentially Ligurian spoken with a Sardinian accent and some French words.
--Marco Cimarosti

Romanesque is essentially Tuscan spoken with a Neapolitan accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

Tuscan is essentially Italian with all consonants aspirated.
--Marco Cimarosti

Neapolitan is essentially a sign language. The loud sounds that Neapolitans emit are just music to accompany the gestures.
--Marco Cimarosti

Bolognese is essentially Lombard spoken with a English accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

Sicilian is essentially ancient Tuscan spoken with an English accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

Italian is essentially English with vowels added to the ends of words.
Lombard is essentially Italian with vowels removed from the ends of words.
Ergo, Lombard is essentially English.
--And Rosta/Marco Cimarosti

Ecclesiastical Latin is essentially Classical Latin with a "pick your pronunciation" sign over every phoneme.
--Harald Stoiber

Italian is essentially Latin that stayed at home.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Italian is essentially the feminine side of Spanish. Conversely Spanish is essentially Italian for "Men".
--Ivan C. Amaya

Italian is what happened when Romans tried to learn Latin and said "screw it."
--Charles Lavergne

Italian is Latin that's had a bottle of wine.
--John "Serge" Beeler

Italian is Portuguese spoken by someone on acid.
--Ken Westmoreland

Italian is essentially tropical Romanian.
--Ivan Amaya

Latin is essentially the mother language of languages that do not communicate with each other.
--Ivan C. Amaya

French

French is essentially the first syllables of Latin words spoken with a headcold.
--Eugene Holman

French is essentially Latin spoken by a drunken Roman soldier.
--Elliotte Rusty Harold

French is essentially the language that Americans don't learn before travelling abroad.
--Dan Seriff

French is essentially English spoken while eating a very big piece of Brie cheese.
--Ivan C. Amaya

French is essentially Latin on a catwalk.
--Mike Taylor

Franche est essentialement englaishe ouithe les endinges funnies et lottes de vowelles et les adjectifs en alle les places ronges.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Belgian is essentially French spoken as a tonal language.
--Zoe Mulford

Wallon is essentially French as spoken by Spanish soldiers occupying Belgium.
--Zoe Mulford

Francophones are essentially Germans speaking the bad Latin they were taught by Gauls.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Swiss French is essentially French spoken with a very hot potato in one's mouth.
--Alain LaBonté

Canadian French is essentially bad English as spoken by a Belgian with an inferiority complex.
--Ivan C. Amaya

French is essentially German with messed-up pronunciation and spelling.
--Robert B Wilson

French vocabulary is essentially English minus a few obvious germanicisms.
--Andreas Johansson

All Romance languages are essentially the same. Except French.
--Andreas Johansson

French is essentially Latin forced to comply with destructive sound changes and German influence.
--Trebor Jung

French is essentially an attempt by the Dutch to speak a Romance language.
--Danny Wier

French is essentially a language that elides everything that doesn't get out of the way fast enough, and nasalises everything else.
--Peter Bleackley

French is essentially Inuktitut disguised as Latin.
--Christophe Grandsire

French is essentially a Romance language with Algonquian verb grammar.
--Danny Wier

French is essentially je ne sais quoi.
--Sally Caves

Swiss French is essentially French "uptalk."
--Sally Caves

French is essentially the linguistic equivalent of a really bad tailgating accident in which all the final consonants either are lost or stuck on the windshield of the next car.
--Hanbing Feng

French is essentially Latin spoken by Germans (with their mouths full).
--Mukund Marathe

French is essentially the quintessence of every kind of Romance language, disguised over centuries by its inspired creators into some Germanic stepbrother out of sheer modesty.
--Guillaume Thomas

French is essentially the pidgin Latin that Caesar's army used to solicit German whores.
--Tom Arnold

French is just Celtic with a heavy overlay of Vulgar Latin.
--Brian

If Quebecois is to French what American is to English, French is essentially an extinct language.
--Ivan C. Amaya

French is essentially bad Latin as spoken by Bretons and Gauls who are insecure about their ancestry.
--Xander

French is what happened when Germans tried to learn Latin and said "screw it."
--Charles Lavergne

French is essentially Latin as spoken by rowdy drunken Gauls mocking the Roman legions in their own language.
--Xander Pasqueretta

French is essentially the only language worth speaking -- according to the French.
--Ivan C. Amaya

French is essentially an accordion, where the final letters of words are either smeared into the next words, or squashed out of existence entirely.
--Bill Van

French is essentially the language you think you can speak until you arrive in France.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Kreyol is essentially French pwonounced wike a wittu girw and spewwed aww kwazie.
--Elise Trucks

French is essentially less than what French speakers think it is and more than the rest of us think it is.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Creole French is essentially French from which all the needless complications have been removed: no irregular verbs, no genders, no subjunctive, no pronouns that vary by case, no hard-to-pronounce "u" or "r" sounds... (In fact almost the only thing they forgot to fix were those silly numbers, such as quatre-vingt-quatorze...)
--Paul Berry

French is essentially refined Catalan.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Portuguese

Portuguese is essentially bad Spanish, mumbled.
--Eugene Holman

Portuguese is essentially Spanish spoken through ill-fitting dentures.
--Not Roger Mills

Portuguese is essentially the language spoken by Gallegos who decided to have their own independent country.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Portuguese is essentially Spanish while eating a hot potato.
--Mike Taylor

Ergo Portuguese is essentially Danish posing as a Romance language.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Portuguese is essentially Spanish spoken while on Viagra™.
--Danny Wier

Brazilian is essentially Latin without consonants.
--Paulo Rónai (via Luís Henrique)

Portuguese is essentially Brazilian without vowels.
--Luís Henrique

Portuguese is essentially Spanish as spoken by a Russian.
--Peter Clark

Azorean Portuguese is essentially your Mainland Portuguese as spoken with puckered lips.
--ilvi

Portuguese is nothing more than Spanish as spoken by people who wannabe French.
--Javier de la Rosa

Gallego is essentially Portuguese as suppressed by Francisco Franco (a wannabe Castilian).
--Javier de la Rosa

Brazilian is essentially Spanish spoken by Portuguese hot babes with rhythm.
--Javier de la Rosa

Brazilian is essentially a conlang created by people who wanted to have sex all the time, but still be able to talk about everyday things.
--alleszermalmer

Portuguese and Galician are hayseed dialects of Spanish.
--Brian

They say if you're speaking bad Spanish, you're speaking Portuguese but I didn't find that to be true!
--Brian

Portuguese is Spanish spoken with a French accent. (Not really true since the nasals in Portuguese are different than those in French.)
--Brian

Portuguese is essentially a kind of contact language formed from Spanish and... more Spanish!
--Maria

To a Galician speaker, Portuguese sounds like a kind of Galician with most vowels left out, whereas to a Portuguese speaker Galician may sometimes sound like Portuguese with a Spanish accent.
--Anonymous

Portuguese is Spanish spoken by a drunken Frenchman.
--vacapinta

Portuguese (Brazilian) is Spanish without bones.
--Carlos Quevedo

To a Galician speaker, Portuguese sounds like a kind of Galician with most vowels left out, whereas to a Portuguese speaker Galician may sometimes sound like Portuguese with a Spanish accent.
--John Cowan

Portuguese is essentially bad Latin that Spaniards cannot understand.
--Humberto Ribeiro

Portuguese is Italian spoken by someone on sedatives.
--Ken Westmoreland

Portuguese is essentially like a kind of Galician with most vowels left out.
--Anonymous Wikipedian

Contrariwise, Galician is essentially Portuguese with a Spanish accent.
--Anonymous Wikipedian

Portuguese is essentially hard core Galician.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Brazilian is essentially Portuguese with bossa rhythm.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Portuguese is essentially Spanish that's ashamed of its heritage, so it passes itself off as a Slavic language.
--Bill Van

Portuguese is essentially a dialect of Spanish that managed to score an army and a navy.
--Leonardo Boiko

Portuguese is essentially heavily mutated vulgar soldier's Latin, as spoken by prescriptive purists obsessed with "preserving the correct language".
--Leonardo Boiko

Portuguese is essentially Spanish.
--Leonardo Boiko

Brazilian Portuguese is essentially Spanish.
--Sili

Portuguese is essentially Spanish that's been left out in the rain all night.
--Paul Clarke

Portuguese is essentially Castilian without bones.
--Miguel de Unamuno (via Guilherme Azevedo)

Portuguese is essentially the language Gallegos do not know they already speak.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Other Romance

Provençal is essentially Medieval French as uttered during lovemaking.
--Javier de la Rosa

Catalan is essentially bad Spanish mixed with even worse French.
--Eugene Holman

Catalan is essentially Spanish and French spoken at the same time.
--Michael Everson

Catalan is essentially Spanish when you're not paying attention.
--Mike Taylor

Catalan is essentially bad Spanish and bad French mixed by somebody who did not speak either one of them.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Catalan is essentially Castilian spoken by a dyslexic Frenchman.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Catalan, as everyone knows, is essentially Spanish spoken by Poles.
--John Fisher

Catalan is essentially Spanish with the last letter removed from each word.
--Ged Lewis

Catalan is essentially Castilian spoken by people who don't want to speak Castilian.
--Luís Henrique

Catalan is essentially French spoken with a Portuguese accent.
--Luís Henrique

Catalan is essentially Provençal spoken by Spaniards.
--Thomas Leigh

Occitan is essentially Catalan spoken by the French.
--Thomas Leigh

Rumantsch is essentially Vulgar Latin of old as cryogenized in the Swiss Alps.
--ilvi

Brithenig is essentially bad Italian spoken by Welsh who swallow the final syllables.
--Andrew Smith

Wenedyk is essentially Latin written by someone who fell asleep on the keyboard.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Romanian is essentially a Romance language trying really hard to blend in with the Slavic languages around it.
--Jesse S. Bangs

Romanian is essentially an exiled, forever-homesick 'Ovidiu' writing his stanzas from an immense vocabulary of slavic-turkish-hungarian-greek-french-german-yiddish-kaldarash Latin, and -- unlike all of his far-living lazy and vulgarized brothers, sisters and cousins -- still cherishes a faint idea and longing for his classical mother's so-noble traits.
--Alfred W. Tüting (.aulun.)

Reman is essentially the prodigal son of Latin.
--Christophe Grandsire

Narbonósc is essentially French spoken by a Provençal who drank too much Pastis.
--Christophe Grandsire

Romanian is essentially Italian with unintelligible endings.
--Primo Levi

Rumantsch is essentially Gaelic with an Italian accent.
--Eamon Graham

Catalan is essentially Spanish with the accents slanted the other way.
--Adam Walker

Judajca is essentially Latin that's been circumcised.
--Steg Belsky

Romanian is essentially Dracula in Gucci underwear.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Catalan was invented by horny Spanish guys who tried to sound French so they could pick up Northern European girls who could only speak French as a foreign tongue.
--Andrew Johnson

Catalan is essentially the secret passwords needed to get into places half-price in Barcelona.
--Peter Bleackley

Catalan has more of a frantaliano feel to it, whereas Portuguese is more esfrañol.
--Mark J. Reed

Portuguese is essentially the language of angry Spaniards.
--Bill Hammel

Romanian is essentially Latin spoken by Slavs.
--Trebor Jung

Portuguese is essentially Spanish disguised as French.
--Danny Wier

Catalan is a complicated mixture of Spanish and French: sometimes it appears to be the intersection, sometimes the union, sometimes it is weirdly unique.
--Javier Candeira

Catalan is essentially German read in Spanish by a French speaker.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Romanian is essentially French pronounced as written.
--Christian Thalmann

Romanian is essentially Latin spoken by people who prefer to live in cold lands instead of Mediterranean basin and prefer to drink vodka instead of wine.
--Fatih Yuksel

Romanian is essentially Russian pretending to be a Romance language.
--Keith Gaughan

Moldavian is essentially a Romanian dialect which spurted out of Russian imperialism, except that some angry men and women who found themselves on the bad side of the border decided to pick up all the broken pieces of their cultural identity and to call their dialect with the name of their nation, which is touching but still linguistically misleading.
--Guillaume Thomas

Romanian is essentially the expression of the stunning ability of a Roman soldier to keep his linguistic roots alive when he switched to shepherding in a hostile Dacian environment.
--Guillaume Thomas

Yiddish and Romanian are aberrant dialects of German and Italian with some Slavic modifications.
--Brian

Romanian is essentially Latin spoken with an Albanian accent.
--Brian Joseph

Romanian is essentially Italian stirred in a blender.
--Anonymous

Catalan is essentially Portuguese migrated to the other side of the Iberian peninsula and spoken with an outrageous French accent.
--Theresa Ann Wymer

Romanian is essentially the German of the Romance languages for three reasons: Like German, it has fricatives and affricates practically everywhere, an unintuitively conservative grammar, and a stubborn cockiness regarding the latter, often expressed while unintentionally spitting because of the former.
--Xander Pasqueretta

Catalan is essentially the language used by Spaniards to communicate with French people who speak some Spanish.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Rumantsch is essentially German idiom and syntax disguised with Romance words and inflections.
--Philip Newton

Catalan is just an Occitan dialect, the only difference is that it's still alive.   in: Spanish by: Darius Ruda The Spanish language is a dialect of Catalan, pronounced by Basque people and with a considerable amount of Arabic words in it.   in: Slavic by: Darius Ruda Croatian is the result of the artificial intention to differentiate it from the rest of of Serbo-Croatian dialects by changing all the nice words by those that only the peasants of the country use. If they are the same as in Serbia, then they use Italian ones.
--Darius Ruda

Catalan is essentially Castilian spoken under Ibiza's sun
--Ivan C. Amaya

Catalan is essentially "the missing link" between Spanish and French.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Slavic

Bulgarian is essentially Russian pronounced as it is spelled and using English grammar.
--Eugene Holman

Bulgarian is essentially Romanian with Russian vocabulary.
--Danny Wier

Slovenian is essentially Russian with an Italian accent.
--Egbert Lenderink

This [Russian with an Italian accent] is actually how I tend to view Bulgarian.
--Daniel von Brighoff

This description fits Serbo-Croat much better.
--Ivan Derzhanski

Serbo-Croatian is essentially an auxiliary language devised so that different ethnic groups can understand each other as they swear at one another.
--Javier de la Rosa

Serbian and Croatian are essentially different languages merged by mutual hatred.
--Jay Bowks

Bosnian is essentially a dead language, shot dead in no man's land.
--Javier de la Rosa

Croatian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in Catholic Gospels.
--Marco Cimarosti

Serbian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in Orthodox Gospels.
--Marco Cimarosti

Bosnian is essentially Serbo-Croatian curiously not written in the alphabet used in the Koran.
--Marco Cimarosti

Bosnian is essentially what Serbs and Croats prefer to communicate with each other in.
--Danny Weir

Polish is essentially Russian spoken by a Frenchman.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Polish is essentially a light form of Russian that even Germans can master.
--Jay Bowks

Polish is essentially any other Slavic language with 70% of its consonants randomly shuffled.
--Basilius

Polish is essentially Czech spoken under the shower by a couple that is unable to choose between fighting and making love.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Russian is essentially Church Slavonic with a strong Mordvin accent.
--Basilius

Russian is essentially Englishovat'.
--David Peterson

Russian is essentially an articulated wail.
--Dan Seriff

Russian is essentially a language invented by Poles who couldn't spell.
--Dan Sikorski

Ukrainian is essentially Russian spoken by people with cleft palates.
--John Cowan

Ukrainian is essentially an East Slavic relexification of Polish.
--Basilius

Written Belarusian is essentially Russian with misspellings one would expect from small Russian children.
--Ivan Derzhanski (based on Terrence Griffin on Dutch)

Czech is essentially Slovak as spoken by a German.
--John Cowan

Conversely, Slovak is essentially Czech as spoken by a Hungarian.
--John Cowan

(Modern) Church Slavonic is essentially a Slavic relexification of New Testament Greek.
--Basilius

Old Church Slavonic is essentially the language that comes out when the basses sing a low C.
--Dan Seriff

Polish is essentially a remarkably "wet" language.
--Jan van Steenbergen

German and Polish are essentially the same, only there are too many "ß"s in Leftoderian writing, and too many "z"s in Rightoderian.
--Andreas Johansson

Trasianka is Russian as said by the Belarusian mouth, Narkamauka is Belarusian as imitated by a Russian mouth and Taraszkievica is the Belarusian mouth itself.
--Pavel Iosad (on Belarusian dialects)

From 15000 meters up, all Slavic languages are essentially the same.
--John Cowan

Belarusian is essentially Polish spoken by a Russian suffering from a severe attack of akanie.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Ukrainian is essentially Russian with extra letters.
--Bill Hammel

Polish is essentially Russian spoken by people who thought it was French and had to sound awful.
--Trebor Jung

Polish is essentially Portuguese when you stand 3 meters away, and Russian when you come closer.
--Philippe Caquant

Czech is essentially Russian with beer instead of vodka.
--Andreas Johansson

Russian is essentially Punjabi spoken in the throat. Contrariwise, Punjabi is essentially Russian spoken in the nose.
--C. B. Wright

Russian is essentially Punjabi that fell off the wagon. Contrariwise, Punjabi is essentially Russian with better spices.
--C. B. Wright

Rrrrussian essentially is a language that requirrres its speakerrr to have a tongue that worrrks like a vibrrratorrr.
--Hanbing Feng

Russian and Belarusian are essentially badly spelled Ukrainian.
--Andreas Johansson

Russian is essentially drunken Polish babytalk written with a Greek alphabet.
--Mark Garrity

Ukrainian is essentially Russian with a bad attitude.
--Mark Garrity

Ukrainian is essentially Indo-European that stayed at home.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Bulgarian is essentially Russian with no cases, but with articles (but tacked on to the ends of nouns).
--John "Serge" Beeler

Polish is perfectly good Russian words effed up with redundant sh and zh sounds.
--John "Serge" Beeler

Belarusian is essentially Russian spelled the way it's pronounced.
--John "Serge" Beeler

On the other hand, Old Church Slavonic is essentially Russian pronounced the way it's spelled (and with funny archaic words in it).
--John "Serge" Beeler

Bulgarian is essentially Russian spoken with an Italian accent.
--Thomas Topham

Polish is essentially Slovak as spoken by a young Slovakian making a lot of silly, funny mistakes -- and vice versa.
--Thomas Topham

Russian is essentially Czech vocabulary with a Polish accent.
--Jacek Kopecky

Modern Bulgarian is essentially Old Church Slavic which has lost its cases.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Bulgarian is essentially yet another Russian with yet another similar but a bit different grammar and lexicon.
--Aleksej Saushev

Slovak sounds essentially like Polish spoken with a speech impediment.
--Marek Sergot, via Jacek Kopecky

Bulgarian essentially would like to trade places with Portuguese.
--Bill Van

Russian essentially is the last few words you utter before being eaten by a polar bear.
--Ivan Amaya

Czech, Slovak and Slovenian are all essentially Polish child-speak.
--J.P. (of "Johnson")

Ukrainian is essentially Russian spoken by a Pole who knows its grammar but does not know its words.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Celtic

Latin is essentially Gaulish, but tour guides need to say both.
--Asterix

Norse is essentially Gaulish with rings on top of a's and o's slashed.
--Asterix

Greek is essentially Gaulish with an angular version of the Latin script.
--Asterix

Gothic is essentially Gaulish in Fraktur.
--Asterix

Hebrew is essentially Gaulish.
--Asterix

Coptic is Gaulish that got lost in the desert.
--Danny Wier

Egyptian is Gaulish in pictures.
--Irina Rempt

Breton is essentially Welsh spoken with an aoutRAAAAgeous Franch acSANT.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Welsh is essentially some reasonable language that had its stock of vowels pillaged by Polynesians, yes, but which one? Irish? They really don't sound that much alike.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Breton is essentially Welsh with all the consonants changed to "z".
--Thomas Leigh

Welsh is essentially Breton spoken by Methodists (being sober, they have no problem with [T] and [D], keep their vowels and [r]'s clear, don't turn their diphthongs inside out ...).
--Keith

Cornish is essentially Breton spoken by lapsed Methodists (if they haven't lapsed to begin with, a few "cultural" visits to Brittany seem to do the trick).
--Keith

Welsh is essentially what appears on the screen after you have inadvertently been resting your elbow on the keyboard.
--And Rosta

Welsh is essentially the only language that can have four consecutive L's.
--Danny Weir

Irish is essentially an Indo-European language cunningly disguised as gibberish to perplex the English.
--And Rosta

Irish is essentially as many phonemes as possible written with as few letters as possible.
--Danny Weir

Scottish Gaelic is essentially Irish Gaelic as spoken by Britons, Picts, and Norsemen.
--Thomas Leigh

Manx is essentially Scottish Gaelic pronounced like Irish Gaelic and spelled like English.
--Thomas Leigh

All Celtic languages are essentially the same with different idioms, what.
--Asterix

Irish essentially sounds like a "normal" language recorded on tape and played backwards.
--Christian Thalmann

Gaelic sounds like Dutch on Acid.
--Anonymous, via Thomas Leigh

Manx is essentially Irish disguised as English gibberish.
--Danny Wier

Welsh is practically spoken in Swansea and essentially spoken in Aberystwyth.
--Sally Caves

Gaelic is essentially what would happen at the intersection of English spelling, Polish pronunciation and quite random yet strongly h-rich vocabulary. (This, however, would suggest that Gaelic is being reborn around the modern London suburbs or that it is Basque as sung by some weary Scotsmen.)
--Jakub Bartoszewicz

Welsh is American English spoken by an Indian rap artist trying to keep his head above water.
--Ken Westmoreland

Scots Gaelic is Ulster Irish as spoken by a Presbyterian minister with the hedonism squeezed out of him.
--Ken Westmoreland

Manx is Scottish Gaelic spoken by a Liverpudlian in a bad mood.
--Ken Westmoreland

Manx is essentially Welsh with the tail chopped off.
--John Emerson

Modern Irish is essentially a breeze compared with Old Irish.
--Language Hat

Greek

Modern Greek is essentially Classical Greek with all vowels and diphthongs changed to "i", and all consonants pronounced as fricatives.
--Egbert Lenderink/Justin Mansfield

Modern Greek is essentially Classical Greek as spoken by Venetians.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Koine Greek is essentially Classical Greek as spoken by people who don't know any Greek.
--Andreas Johansson

Modern Greek is essentially Koine Greek after too much ouzo.
--Danny Wier

Mycenaean was essentially Greek written in katakana. (Apart from pigs and vases, which were written in kanji.)
--Marco Cimarosti

Ancient Greek is Proto-Indo-European pidgin with an attitude.
Koine Greek is Ancient Greek mangled far and wide.
Modern Greek is Koine Greek mumbled and hissed (p-ssed). ;)
--Hanuman Czhang

Latin is essentially bad Greek.
--paiktis22

Greek essentially is a lengthy math equation with too many variables.
--Hanbing Feng

The Greek language is essentially the reason why the rest of Europe decided to adopt Latin instead.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Greek is essentially Turkish.
--Anonymous, via Noetica

Modern Greek is essentially encrypted Castilian Spanish.
--Henrik Theiling

The Book of Revelation is essentially written in Aramaic Pidgin Greek.
--John Cowan

Middle Greek is essentially the repeated, stuttering, yet beautiful denial of Hellenes who claim to be Roman who claim to be Christian who refuse to pretend that the Medieval World is still Classical.
--Alexander Montie

Baltic, Indo-Iranian, Dravidian

Lithuanian is essentially bad Sanskrit.
--John Cowan

Proto-Sanskrit was essentially Proto-Latin spoken with a Proto-Tamil accent.
--Marco Cimarosti

Sanskrit is essentially PIE as spoken by people who like /a/.
--Andreas Johansson

Tamil is essentially Sanskrit spoken with a stutter.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Conversely, Sanskrit is essentially Tamil spoken with a lisp.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Urdu is essentially Hindi as spoken by Muslims.
--John Cowan

...conversely, Hindi is essentially Urdu as spoken by Hindus.
--John Cowan

Hindi is essentially a combination of bad Persian and worse Sanskrit.
--Amber Adams

Bombay Hindi is essentially bad English.
--Amber Adams

...conversely, Bombay English is essentially bad Hindi.
--Amber Adams

Bengali is essentially Hindi with all words stressed at the beginning.
--John Cowan

Gujarati is essentially Hindi spoken by lazy Frenchmen.
--Shreyas Sampat

Romany is essentially a mix of Hindi and everything else.
--Danny Weir

Romany is essentially Kashmiri that took a long trip.
--Danny Wier

Malayalam is essentially Tamil as spoken by people who like palindromes.
--Amber Adams

Middle Persian is essentially Aramaic as written by monolingual Iranians.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Pashto is as essentially Persian as Icelandic is essentially English.
--John Cowan

Kurdish is essentially Persian as spoken by Klingons.
--Robin Turner

Tajik is essentially Farsi written in the Cyrillic alphabet, with a little Uzbek stirred in for flavor.
--Andreas Johansson

Estonian is essentially Finnish with more length distinctions.
--Lars Henrik Mathiesen

Latvian is essentially Lithuanian (or Livonian) spoken by Estonians.
--Lars Henrik Mathiesen/Otto Stolz

Punjabi is essentially Hindi for pop music.
--Amber Adams

Bengali ish esshentially the shame ash Hindi, exshept no /s/.
--Amber Adams

Tamil is essentially the language that makes German look logical and easy.
--Amber Adams

Farsi is essentially Classical Latin as spoken by an Arab first-year student.
--Amber Adams

Romany is essentially Hindustani that took a walkabout.
--Danny Wier

Bengali is essentially Hindi spoken with a rosogolla in one's mouth.
--Alok Joshi

Sanskrit is Tamil with aspiration and voice, with borrowings from Proto-Indo-European.
--Shanth

Punjabi is essentially Indo-Iranian that stayed at home.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Eastern Punjabi is essentially Western Punjabi that has been pwned by Hindi.
--John Cowan

Lithuanian is essentially Latvian as spoken by Poles.
--The Multilingual Kitten

Lithuanian is essentially a Baltic language insisting really strongly that it doesn't blend in with the Slavic languages around it.
--Theodore

Latgalian is essentially Latvian with vowels randomly shuffled.
--The Multilingual Kitten

Livonian is essentially Estonian as written by Latvians who couldn't decide whether to use Latvian or Estonian orthography, so used both at the same time.
--The Multilingual Kitten

Livonian is actually Latvian as spoken by drunken southern Estonians.
--alcarilinque

Livonian essentially sounds like what a deaf man would hear in a diving bell at the bottom of the ocean.
--UbuRoivas

Livonian is essentially a language the sound of which nobody knows.
--Not UbuRoivas

Pali is essentially Sanskrit spoken with your mouth full of cotton.
--Malcolm David Eckel

Lithuanian is Sanskrit spoken by a Pole.
--Ken Westmoreland

Latvian is Russian in Roman script with a letter 's' at the end of every word.
--Ken Westmoreland

Tamil is Welsh spoken by a Sri Lankan auctioneer underwater.
--Ken Westmoreland

Lithuanian is essentially Koiné Satem."
--Ted Kloba

Uralic

Finnish is essentially Estonian spoken in the genitive case.
--Eugene Holman

Conversely, Estonian is essentially Finnish with most unstressed and final syllables suppressed.
--Eugene Holman

Finnish is essentially bastardized Hungarian.
--Ferenc Valoczy

Finnish is essentially Japanese spoken with an Italian accent.
--John Davies

Finnish is essentially Turkish in the snow.
--Mike Taylor

Conversely, Turkish is essentially Finnish in the sun.
--Mike Taylor

Sámi is essentially Finnish spoken with a lisp and a sore throat.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Conversely, Finnish is essentially Sámi with a PIE substrate.
--Daniel Andreasson

Ffiinnnniisshh iiss eesssseennttiiaallllyy aa llaanngguuaaggee ffoorr ppeeooppllee wwiitthh ddoouubbllee vviissiioonn.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Hungarian is essentially Finnish spoken by Czechs.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Hungarian is essentially the noise one's dad makes when he has accidentally hit his thumb with a hammer.
--And Rosta

Finnish is essentially Proto-Estonian.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Estonian is essentially Finnish spoken by Swedes.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Hungarian is essentially German with all sounds randomly shuffled.
--Egbert Lenderink

Hungarian is essentially a Scotch snap with double-long rounded vowels.
--Dan Seriff

Hungarian is essentially all counterintuitive consonant pairings.
--Dan Seriff

Finnish is essentially Hungarian spoken while drunk, freezing, and morose.
--Dan Seriff

Sámi is essentially Hungarian spoken while drunk, freezing, and standing next to a reindeer.
--Dan Seriff

Finnish is essentially Swedish with all sounds randomly shuffled.
--Egbert Lenderink

Votic is essentially Finnish with a German accent. Or perhaps with a strong Russian accent, in which case it is Estonian that is Finnish with a German accent.
--Alfredo Garcia Gonzalez

Votic is essentially extinct (25 speakers and falling).
--John Cowan

Estonian is essentially an inflecting form of Finnish whose lexicon is just Finnish mangled by syncope and apocope with a whole bunch of foreign words pretending to be native.
--Trebor Jung

Hungarian is essentially a mangling of Uralic, Turkic, Slavic, and German words, with a remarkably Uralic-esque grammar.
--Trebor Jung

Hungarian is essentially German disguised as a Uralic language with Turkic and Slavic influence.
--Trebor Jung

Estonian is essentially mumbled Finnish as written down by a German.
--Philip Newton

Hűngarian eszensialy egy langűagy dizaind all főrein tőűrisztsz tű perpleksz every aszpekt-in iz.
--Hanbing Feng

Mordvin is essentially Uralic that stayed at home. in: West Germanic (Low)
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Hungarian is essentially Finnish as spoken by Norwegians and written by Poles.
--The Multilingual Kitten

...no, by anti-Poles. No self-respecting Pole would flip s and sz around.
--spamsink

Finnish is Estonian spoken by a Hungarian with a stutter in very cold weather.
--Ken Westmoreland

Finnish is essentially a language nobody really needs to learn.
--Ivan Amaya

Votic is essentially Finnish with a German accent.
--Old Chatot

Afroasiatic

Hebrew is essentially Arabic mangled by Europeans. But then, so is Maltese.
--John Cowan

Maltese is essentially Arabic as spoken by an Italian living in England.
--Fabian

Modern Hebrew is the language of the Bible and the Talmud, refurbished by a mad pedant and bastardized by 5 million immigrants.
--Marc Miller

Modern Hebrew is essentially Biblical Hebrew with Euro-Zionist mismanagement.
--Jay Bowks

Berber is essentially Egyptian spoken while imitating snorting camels.
--ilvi

Berber is essentially a cousin of the Semitic languages with a fear of vowels.
--Danny Weir

Egypt, home of mystery religion, had a language with mystery vowels.
--Danny Weir

Coptic is essentially Egyptian spoken by Greeks. (Or Greek spoken by Egyptians?)
--Thomas Leigh

Egyptian is essentially Coptic with no vowels written.
--Justin Mansfield

Coptic is essentially Egyptian with no vowels pronounced.
--Justin Mansfield

Modern Hebrew is essentially bits of Ancient Hebrew from every period, spoken by an Eastern European.
--Justin Mansfield

Hebrew is essentially Arabic with most consonants changed to "sh" and "kh".
--Danny Wier

Syriac is essentially Hebrew with Georgian-like vowel placements.
--Danny Wier

Hausa is essentially Arabic spoken in a manner much like playing the didgeridoo.
--Danny Wier

Maldivian is essentially Sinhala written with Arabic-Indic digits with accents.
--Marco Cimarosti

Hebrew is essentially Arabic spoken with a Yiddish accent.
--Christophe Pierret

Arabic is essentially the result of a bottle of tabasco flushed down with a bottle of Stroh rum.
--Christian Thalmann

Arabic is essentially Spanish spoken backwards.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Al-Arabiyya al-essentialliyya al-lanqu'aj al-moor as-similar al-Hebruwwa adh-dhan al-Inqlishiyya.
--Danny Wier

Algerian is essentially Arabic before vowels were invented.
--Christophe Pierret

Egyptian is essentially Arabic spoken on top of a pyramid.
--Christophe Pierret

Egyptian is essentially Arabic pronounced by sphinxes (which explains why [dZ] is replaced by [g] to mystify other Arabs).
--Christophe Pierret

Saudi Arabian is essentially Arabic with all words meaning "sex" and "alcohol" removed.
--Christophe Pierret

Lebanese is essentially business Arabic.
--Christophe Pierret

Lebanese is essentially Arabic with a French accent.
--Leo Caesius

Aramaic sounds essentially like Greek, as spoken by a camel with morning sickness.
--Somtow Sucharitkul

Modern Hebrew is essentially Ashkenazic Hebrew as spoken by Sephardim.
--Steg Belsky

Modern Hebrew is essentially Sephardic Hebrew as spoken by Ashkenazim.
--Steg Belsky

Modern Israeli Hebrew is essentially all previous stages of Hebrew relexified into British English with all the words changed to end in "-atziya".
--Steg Belsky

Standard Arabic is essentially Biblical Hebrew with a few more consonants.
--Steg Belsky

NYC-Area Judeo-Syrian is "essentially" Arabic curses, bad Ebonics, and anglicized Hebrew religious terminology spoken with a Brooklyn accent.
--Steg Belsky

Moroccan Arabic is essentially Arabic pronounced as spelled -- without any vowels.
--Adam Walker

Arabic is essentially the Latin of the future (there will be more Muslims than Christians sometime this century).
--Danny Wier

Hebrew is essentially Arabic disguised as Aramaic.
--Danny Wier

Maltese writing is essentialy Latin with some dots on top.
--anonymous

Maltese is essentially the bastard child of Arabic and Italian who spent too much time hanging around with English.
--Joe

Aramaic is essentially Hebrew after being violated by Greeks and left by the side of the road.
--Tom Arnold

Modern Hebrew is essentially 11th Century Hebrew poorly pronounced by European Socialists.
--Tom Arnold

11th Century Hebrew is essentially Mishnaic Hebrew after Rashi added some words.
--Tom Arnold

Mishnaic Hebrew is essentially Biblical Hebrew minus some confusing grammatical rules.
--Tom Arnold

Biblical Hebrew is essentially supposed to confuse anyone who reads it without referring to the Oral Law.
--Tom Arnold

Israeli (somewhat misleadingly a.k.a. "Modern Hebrew") is essentially a hybrid of "sleeping beauty"/"walking dead" Hebrew, "mame loshn" (mother tongue) Yiddish and a plethora of other contributors.
--Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Modern Israeli Hebrew is essentially Sephardic Hebrew as fit into Ashkenazic/Yiddish Phonology.
--Anonymous, via Jonathan North Washington

Berber is essentially French.
--Hassan Ibrahimi

The Afro-Asiatic family is essentially the first language family to make grammatical use of perpetual laryngitis.
--Xander

.sdrwckb nttrw dn gnssm slwv ht ll htw ctms-trp ylltnss s wrbH
--Christopher C. DeSantis

Aramaic is essentially really informal Hebrew.
--Mark Shoulson

Afroasiatic, Ancient

Biblical Aramaic is essentially Biblical Hebrew with a lithp.
--Dan Seriff

Peripheral Akkadian is essentially bad Akkadian.
--John Huehnergard

Amarna Akkadian is essentially Peripheral Akkadian as written by monolingual Canaanites.
--John Huehnergard

Canaanite is essentially bad Arabic.
--John Huehnergard

"Amorite" is essentially everything written in Akkadian which isn't Akkadian.
--John Huehnergard

Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian are essentially debased forms of Akkadian as written by monolingual Aramaeans.
--Charles Häberl

Akkadian is essentially East Semitic as spoken and written by Sumerians.
--Charles Häberl

Moabite is essentially Aramaic, concealing its roots and aspiring to be a dialect of Hebrew.
--Charles Häberl

The language of Deir Alla is essentially Hebrew, laying low and pretending to be a dialect of Aramaic.
--Charles Häberl

Biblical Hebrew is essentially Canaanite as spoken by Zoroastrians.
--Charles Häberl

Mandaic is essentially Aramaic as spoken by Zoroastrians.
--Charles Häberl

Late Biblical Hebrew is essentially Biblical Hebrew, as written by monolingual Aramaeans, without the benefit of Lambdin's grammar.
--Charles Häberl

Imperial Aramaic is essentially "business Aramaic" as spoken by Persian clerks and middle management.
--Charles Häberl

Biblical Aramaic is essentially a bad imitation of Persian Chancery Aramaic as written by a mediocre Judean novelist during the Hellenistic Era.
--Charles Häberl

Phoenician is essentially "business Hebrew."
--Charles Häberl

Punic is essentially Phoenician as spoken by Berbers.
--Charles Häberl

Proto-Semitic is essentially Arabic spoken by an Ethiopian.
--Danny Weir

Biblical Hebrew is essentially Standard Arabic with a few consonants lost at the bottom of the Reed Sea.
--Steg Belsky

Talmudic Aramaic is essentially Arabic at the dentist ("say 'aaaaa...'") trying to be Hebrew but dropping the wrong consonants.
--Steg Belsky

Ancient Egyptian is essentially a picture book.
--Steg Belsky

Sino-Tibetan, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese

Mandarin is essentially Chinese as spoken by Mongols.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Korean is essentially bad Japanese, also as spoken by Mongols.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Conversely, Japanese is essentially Korean in the mouths of little children.
--Daniel von Brighoff

Japanese is essentially tone-deaf ancient Chinese spoken backwards.
--Matthew Faupel

Japanese is essentially phonetic heaven.
--Nik Taylor

Japanese is essentially 16th-century Chinese, 17th-century Portuguese, 18th-century Dutch, 19th-century French and 20th-century English with an abhorrence of consonant clusters.
--Matthew Faupel

Japanese is essentially the linguistic equivalent of kicking someone's butt.
--Danny Wier

This is a more apt description of Korean as I heard it used by kindergarten teachers and drunk middle-aged males alike.
--Brendan Wolfe

Korean is essentially being caught in a syllable-diagramming exercise gone horribly, horribly wrong.
--David Boshko

Shanghainese is essentially Mandarin spoken with laryngitis.
--John Cowan

Mandarin is essentially Chinese as spoken by servants.
--Yuen Ren Chao

Mandarin (contrasted with Cantonese) sounds essentially like wind whistling through dry bamboo.
--Adam Walker

Taiwanese sounds essentially like a room full of rubber balls.
--Adam Walker

Cantonese is essentially Chinese as spoken by a Zhuang.
--John Cowan

Cantonese is essentially what everyone else in China calls swearing.
--Kiri Aradia Morgan

Chinese is essentially Symbolic Logic spoken as a tonal language.
--Zoe Mulford

Modern Tibetan is essentially Old Tibetan as spoken by people whose tongues went numb from trying to actually pronounce Old Tibetan as written.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Tibetan is essentially Burmese with Georgian-like vowel placements.
--Danny Wier

Vietnamese is essentially Chinese spoken as fast as you can.
--Alex Stanich

Spoken Vietnamese is essentially Chinese with 6 tones, unpronounceable consonants, and sounds you have to say while inhaling.
--Jonathan Walton

Written Vietnamese is essentially Wade-Giles as invented by an opium-smoking Frenchman.
--Jonathan Walton

Chinese is essentially just like any other language, except that there's no tense, gender, conjugation, grammar, or logic, and all the words sound the same.
--Jonathan Walton

Taiwanese is essentially Mandarin (though the letter 'H' was mortally wounded during the civil war).
--Jonathan Walton

Chinese, as spoken by hip 20-somethings, is essentially really bad English.
--Jonathan Walton

Japanese, as spoken by hip 50-somethings, is essentially really bad English.
--Wolcen

Japanese is essentially Classical Chinese with a second helping of vowels.
--Jonathan Walton

Modern Chinese is essentially Classical Chinese without any manners.
--Jonathan Walton

Chinese is essentially a picture book drawn by people who forgot they were drawing pictures.
--Steg Belsky

Japanese is essentially Tagalog spoken by Koreans trying to do an impression of Americans from the point of view of Chinese people.
--Andrew Johnson

Classical Japanese is essentially Classical Chinese with zi4 ("z") pronounced as ji ("g").
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Korean is essentially being caught in a syllable-diagraming exercise gone horribly, horribly wrong.
--David Boshko

I have long maintained that Japanese grammar is essentially Spanish done in reverse Polish notation.
--Elyse Grasso

Vietnamese is essentially Thai with a Chinese vocabulary.
--Danny Wier

Korean is essentially Mongolian with a Chinese vocabulary.
--Danny Wier

Chinese is essentially German, only more so.
--John Cowan

Classical Chinese is essentially verbs with optional arguments and complements.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Japanese is essentially a language that adopted the world's most complicated writing system, and then made it worse.
--Peter Bleackley

Mandarin Chinese is essentially French spoken backwards.
--Troels Busk-Jepsen

Korean is essentially angry Japanese with a speech impediment.
--Aeron Lempert

Japanese is (of course) essentially Turkish as spoken by Hawaiians.
--David Eddyshaw

Japanese is essentially Korean as spoken by academics with absolutely no knowledge of Korean.
--mythusmage

Mandarin is essentially the French of Sinitic.
--Bill Poser

Tibetan is essentially the French of Tibeto-Burman.
--Russell Lee-Goldman

Cantonese is Hokkien spoken by a Maori doing the haka after hearing his wife's been cheating on him.
--Ken Westmoreland

Japanese is essentially Spanish written in Chinese characters thrown in a bag and then sorted out without any logical order.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Wu is essentially a discordant mélange of Mandarin and Cantonese.
--Simon Winchester

Modern Japanese is essentially a way for the vocabulary of other languages to skip 100 years of evolution in meaning.
--Joshua Nishikawa

North Korean is essentially a collection of South Korean threats and insults put together by the North while South Koreans work.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Altaic

Turkish is essentially Arabic, Persian and French words stuck together with Mongolian grammar.
--Thomas Leigh

All (other) Turkic languages are essentially obsolete Turkish.
--John Cowan

Modern Turkish is essentially Ottoman Turkish minus the Arabic, Persian and French words.
--qaya

Turkish is essentially Azerbaijani spoken by would-be Europeans, so with a French, German and English accent.
--qaya

Tatar is essentially Azerbaijani with a strong Mordvin accent.
--qaya

Uzbek is essentially Azerbaijani spoken by those who gave up on its 53 verb tenses.
--qaya

Kalmyk is essentially Mongolian that got lost.
--Danny Wier

Azerbaijani is essentially Turkish spoken by Shi'as who never have had anything to do with Ataturk.
--Danny Wier

Uzbek is essentially Uighur which used to be spoken with a Russian accent.
--Fatih Yuksel

Uighur is essentially Uzbek which still is spoken with a Chinese accent.
--Fatih Yuksel

Karaim is essentially Turkic spoken by Lithuanian Jews with European syntax and with a few Hebrew words added -- just to make sure they are both Europeans and Jews.
--Fatih Yuksel

Turkish is Azerbaijani spoken while sunbathing on the coast.
--Fatih Yuksel

Azerbaijani is Turkish spoken while working in an oil field.
--Fatih Yuksel

Uighur is essentially bad Turkish mixed with worse Kazakh and execrable Chinese.
--Daniel Baker

Manchu was essentially Mongolian, as adapted for use by multiethnic hillbillies with a penchant for voiceless bilabials and combined arms tactics.
--Kenji Schwartz

Evenki is essentially Ur-Tungusic as spoken by reindeer fetishists with wanderlust.
--Kenji Schwarz

Negidal is essentially Evenki without the wanderlust.
--Kenji Schwarz

Even is essentially pharyngealized Evenki, spoken by Santa's ranchers, at the beach.
--Kenji Schwarz

Solon is essentially Evenki spoken by Mongol groupies. Oroqen is just Solon without horses but with Chinese passports.
--Kenji Schwarz

Jurchen might be, in essence, Nanai as spoken by Mongol groupies but recorded by Chinese.
--Kenji Schwarz

Yakut (Sakha) is essentially Old Uighur spoken by Evenkis to cattle, while trying to sound like Finns.
--Kenji Schwarz

Nanai is essentially Ur-Tungusic as spoken by those Tunguses who objected to reindeer, cattle, and other newfangled Turco-Samoyedic vices, and who invested in riverfront property instead.
--Kenji Schwarz

Oroch is essentially Nanai spoken on the tributaries. Ulcha is essentially downriver Nanai. Kur-Urmi is essentially backwater Nanai. (Nanai proper fished all the sound changes out of the river before they could reach Oroch, Ulcha, or Kur-Urmi.)
--Kenji Schwarz

Udihe is essentially the bastard child of trappers' and ginseng-diggers' Chinese and upriver women's Nanai.
--Kenji Schwarz

Goldi is essentially what the old guard called Nanai, while Hezhen is essentially what the Red Guard called Goldi.
--Kenji Schwarz

Orok is essentially Nanai that crossed the Tatar Straits to look for more riverfront properties.
--Kenji Schwarz

Kazakh is essentially Kyrgyz without affricates.
--Jonathan North Washington

Uzbek is essentially three major branches of Turkic as spoken by Tajiks.
--Jonathan North Washington

Turkish is essentially a dialect of French (restoran, omlet, garson, factura, pantolon, televizyon,...).
--Siganus Sutor

...spoken by Armenian berberians.
--Language Hat

The Manchus are essentially Jurchen who have recast themselves as a type of Mongol.
--abd ul jetnu

Sakha (Yakutian) is essentially Turkish spoken by people whose lips are frozen.
--Ken Dowling

Tuvan is essentially Turkic as spoken by Physicists and Bluesmen.
--Ted Kloba

Turkish is essentially Korean that survived the sack of a gang of angry Mongols and the transliteration of several nasty rulers.
--Elise Trucks

Turkish is essentially Hungarian adapted by retreating Huns who hoped that curses with umlauts would really frighten the Greeks.
--Uschi Müller

Eskimo-Aleut

Inuinnaqtun is essentially Inuktitut written in the Latin alphabet and with most /s/ replaced by /h/.
--Philip Newton

Conversely, Inuktitut is essentially Inuinnaqtun written in Syllabics and with /h/ replaced by /s/.
--Philip Newton

Greenlandic is essentially Inuktitut with all consonant clusters replaced by geminates and all diphthongs replaced by long monophthongs.
--Philip Newton

Nunatsiavummiutut (aka Labradorimiutut or Inuttut) is essentially Inuktitut as spoken by someone without a uvula.
--Philip Newton

Old Greenlandic spelling (Kleinschmidt orthography) is essentially etymological rather than phonemic.
--Philip Newton

New Greenlandic spelling essentially pretends that a three-vowel language actually has five vowels.
--Philip Newton

Inuktitut iis eesseentiiaallyy Fiinniish aas spooqqeen iin Greenlaand.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Miscellaneous

Proto-Indo-European is essentially Latin as spoken by Klingons.
--Joe Hill

Etruscan is essentially mummified, dried up Modern Albanian as used by hoary Italians.
--ilvi

Etruscan is essentially composed of the various sounds emanated by the cartoon character Pinky from Animaniacs.
--Justin Mansfield

Cherokee is essentially a language written in a mixture of Latin, Coptic and Cyrillic letters with exaggerated serifs.
--Danny Wier

Bella Coola (Nuxalk) is essentially the linguistic equivalent of a drum solo.
--Danny Wier

Chechen is essentially Klingon spoken by Caucasian Muslims.
--Danny Wier

Swahili is essentially Bantu as spoken while haggling over prices.
--Jay Bowks

Gur languages are essentially typical Niger-Congo languages, only with the nouns spoken backwards.
--John Cowan

Wolof is essentially the announcement of African unity restricted to the northwestern part of the continent.
--Guillaume Thomas

Tukulor is essentially Wolof when some Fula guys tried to experiment with linguistic variation over it, and they were successful.
--Guillaume Thomas

Hottentot is essentially voiced rock and roll, just the beat without the music.
--ilvi

Xhosa is essentially a Bantu language as spoken by a Bushman.
--John Cowan

Zulu and Xhosa are essentially Bantu languages that dabble a little in Khoisan phonology.
--Danny Wier

Georgian actually does have vowels but they procrastinate.
--Danny Weir

Grgn s ssntlly lngg wrttn wtht ny vwls
--Clint Jackson Baker

Georgian spoken backwards essentially is Russian.
--Danny Weir

Navajo is essentially not a language: it's a cryptographic system.
--Tommy Tyrberg

Nativeamericanlanguagesessentiallycramlotsofideasintooneword.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Comanche is essentially bad Shoshoni spoken from the back of a horse.
--Anon.

Burushaski is essentially Basque spoken by Indians.
--Amber Adams

Germanic is essentially a direct descendent of an Indo-European creole.
--Hanuman Zhang

If Welsh is P-Celtic, Irish is Q-Celtic, and Latin is Q-Italic, then Germanic is essentially Wh-F-Celtic-Italic.
--John Cowan

Classical Georgian is essentially a literal translation of New Testament Greek into Kartvelian.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Gothic romanization is essentially an attempt to write both Gothic and proto-Gothic at the same time.
--John Cowan

Khmer is essentially Pali with a few consonant clusters borrowed from Georgian.
--Amber Adams

Most Germanic languages are essentially English spoken by Barbarians.
--Joe

Georgian is essentially a hybrid of altered IE grammar and Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Russian vocabulary with a grammar that pretends to be related to IE but is actually like Basque, just more polysynthetic.
--Trebor Jung and Danny Wier

Shilha is essentially the Bella Coola of Afro-Asiatic. Or Bella Coola is the Shilha of Salishan.
--Danny Wier

Chechen is essentially a mix of Arabic and Georgian consonants and French vowels.
--Danny Wier

Abkhaz is essentially the Haida of the Caucasus. Sixty-odd consonants; two vowels.
--Danny Wier

Astrotalk is essentially Scoobytalk with a futuristic accent.
--Mark Shoulson

Sumerian is essentially Akkadian after being invaded by proto-Persians.
--Tom Arnold

Nyulnyul is essentially Bardi with no final vowels.
--Claire

Southeast Asian languages in general (and Cantonese, for that matter) essentially sound like cutlery being thrown down the stairs.
--Anonymous, via Jonathan North Washington

Carrier is essentially French.
--Anonymous, via Bill Poser

Wolof is essentially English.
--Anonymous, via Nate

Ubykh is essentially an Abkhazian impersonation of an avalanche.
--ubykhlives

The Northeast Caucasian family is essentially the only language family to make phonemic use of burps, hiccups, gagging, coughing, inhaling, exhaling, and a combination of all six.
--Xander Pasqueretta

Yoruba in Nigeria is a list of vowels uttered by a man on a pogo stick.
--Ken Westmoreland

Shona in Zimbabwe is what you get when you try to quote a helicopter verbatim.
--Ken Westmoreland

Miami-Illinois is essentially not spoken in Miami or Illinois.
--Ted Kloba

One language essentially turns into another when the speaker has had too much to drink!
--Meramarina

Esperanto

Esperanto is essentially bad Romance with lots of German and some Russian stirred in.
--John Cowan

Esperanto is essentially French spoken by a Russian.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Esperanto is essentially a crippled cross-over between Italian and Spanish.
--Jan van Steenbergen

Esperanto is essentially German and Latin spoken with a Yiddish accent.
--Danny Wier

Esperanto is essentially English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Latin, and Greek, invented by someone who speaks English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Latin, Greek...and Polish.
--Kapitano Eglefino

Esperanto is essentially English/Romance/Germanic as construed into purposeful orthographical inaccuracy by Polish/Russian.
--Jay Bowks

Esperanto is essentially Indo-European pidgin.
--Roger Mills

Esperanto is essentially Hebrew as ravaged by Modern Aryan in a pogrom.
--ilvi

So it may be, but Esperanto still essentially sounds like Italian being mugged by Polish.
--Mia S. Soderquist

Ido is a essentially a Jewish language spoken by an anti-Semite.
--Kapitano Eglefino

Ido is essentially Esperanto, as sweet wine is essentially a bunch of sour grapes.
--Jay Bowks

Ido is essentially the bastard offspring of Esperanto and Idiom Neutral.
--Thomas Leigh

Esperanto is essentially English, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Finnish, Japanese, Mandarin, Thai, and Russian all divided by 18.
--Will McGree

Esperanto is colloquial Italian.
--Brian

Esperanto is essentially Spanish with extra 'x's and 'k's.
--Amos Block

Other International Auxiliary Languages

Novial is essentially Esperanto, reinvented by someone who was too late to be an Idist.
--Kapitano Eglefino

Novial is essentially French read with a Danish pronunciation.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Re-Novial is essentially Jespersen's Novial as aged in the cask, bottled and ready for uncorking.
--Jay Bowks

Novial is essentially Ido and Occidental as spoken by a Dane.
--Thomas Leigh

Interlingue is indisputably De Wahl's Occidental filtered by IALA.
--Jay Bowks

Volapuk, Esperanto, Occidental, Novial and Interlingua are essentially butcheries of every language found in Europe.
--Thomas Kent

Volapuk is essentially English as gastrically processed and passed out by a German speaker.
--ilvi

Latino Moderne is none other than Interlingua grammatically retrofitted.
--Jay Bowks

Interglossa and its descendant Glosa are essentially Basic English in Greek.
--Nick Nicholas

Interlingua is essentially Italian spoken by a Spaniard, or vice versa.
--Bruce R. Gilson

IALA Interlingua is essentially Peano's Latino sine Flexione as influenced by unruly Latin offspring.
--Jay Bowks

Conversely, Peano's Interlingua (Latino sine Flexione) is essentially IALA's Interlingua as a diamond in the rough.
--Jay Bowks

Solresol is essentially Octalcode before the advent of the computer and Net English.
--ilvi

World Language (WL) is essentially an anthroposophical technical draughtsman's Japanese-Californian calligraphy uttered in North American Native sign language with a Lojbanic accent.
--Alfred W. Tüting

Eklektu is essentially Afrikaans, Ainu, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Aztec, Bengali, Breton, Cantonese, Cherokee, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Enochian, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gamilaraay, Gashta, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hopi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jirrbal, Korean, Lakota, Latin, Latvian, Lenape, Malay, Malagasy, Maya, Mbabaram, Navajo, Nepali, Norwegian, Passamaquoddy- Maliseet, Polish, Portuguese, Potawatomi, Quechua, Quenya, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Sindarin, Sotho, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Tibetan, Tlingit, Turkish, Uzbek, Warungu, Warlpiri, Welsh, Yoruba, and Zulu spoken by someone who only speaks English.
--Herman Miller

E-prime essentially attempts eschewing essentialism.
--Sally Caves

Other Artificial Languages (A-M)

Kizidanoce is essentially 16th century Castilian, with Hangkerimian words, Hangkerimian syntax and Latin script.
--Chlewey Thompin

Kizidanoce is essentially Hangkerimian as spoken with a Vulgate Bible.
--Chlewey Thompin

Hangkerimian is essentially Kizidanoce as spoken by that majority of American Natives that refuse to adopt the Latin alphabet.
--Chlewey Thompin

Criollo is essentially Castilian with tones.
--Chlewey Thompin

Criollo is essentially Hangkerimian as spoken by Spanish colonists that never cared to learn a word of Hangkerimian.
--Chlewey Thompin

Lojban is essentially English spoken by a computer.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Lojban is essentially predicate calculus spoken by an Esperantist.
--Kapitano Eglefino

Lojban is essentially Shelta spoken by Trekkies.
--Danny Wier

Mungayöd is essentially German, Latin, and Greek put through a blender.
--Dan Seriff

Atlantean is essentially Indo-Japanese spoken when ordering a Big Mac and fries.
--Danny Wier

Klingon is essentially Arabic spoken by a German with a tribble caught in the back of his throat and a turtle on his head.
--Peter Clark

Klingon is essentially Arabic spoken through a set of bulky false teeth.
--Christian Thalmann

Klingon is essentially a Caucasian language with fewer consonants, but still sounds Caucasian, spoken by ugly individuals that probably never heard of the Caucasus.
--Danny Wier

Bajoran, Trill, Romulan, Ferengi, Vulcan and just about any language of Star Trek is essentially what you get from a random CVC syllable generator with standard Latin phonemes.
--Christian Thalmann

Aluric is essentially all the accented characters in the Windows character set strung together.
--Thomas Leigh

Chleweyish is essentially Colombian Sign Language spoken by a hearing person who never finished the lessons and threw a bunch of randomly generated words and a few borrowings into it.
--Chlewey Thompin

Kalini Sapak is essentially Arabic spoken by a Swede who doesn't know Arabic.
--Andreas Johansson

Madzhi is essentially bastardized Hungarian spoken by various North American Natives.
--Ferenc Valoczy

Cenlatorre is essentially what you get when a Frenchman transcribes the results of a Medieval Pope converting to Hinduism and preaching to a crowd of monolingual Greeks.
--Amber Adams

My as-yet-unnamed conlang is essentially a Quechua-Finnish pidgin spoken by Indonesians.
--Levi Tooker

Astou is essentially Greek and Latin spoken by Incas.
--Christophe Grandsire

Moten is essentially Basque with all the difficulties thrown out.
--Christophe Grandsire

Chasmäöcho is essentially a reader's nightmare.
--Christophe Grandsire

Megdevi is essentially Arabic as transmogrified by Dr. Zamenhof.
--David Peterson

Etábnanni /rɑm˩næn˩/ is essentially unreadable.
--Tristan Alexander Mcleay

Kîrri is a perfectly normal Semitic language with all the consonants stolen by Nrit.
--Shreyas Sampat

Etábnanni is essentially Tibetan done badly.
--Tristan

Gabwe is essentially creaky voice.
--Steg Belsky

Gabwe is essentially backwards English grammar and badly-disguised English morphemes written in Korean by someone who doesn't know Korean.
--Steg Belsky

Cruzan is essentially Swiss German with an Albanian accent.
--Christian Thalmann

Khangaþyagon is essentially a language that sounds like Welsh to people who don't speak Welsh.
--Peter Bleackley

Jarda is essentially a relexified Zireen language with a vocabulary derived from the raccoon language Kianarthal.
--Herman Miller

Ithkuil is essentially bad Katanda spoken by Techians, written in Klingon letters drawn with a ruler.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Ithkuil is essentially an unending phonetic and grammatical nightmare which attempts to combine all the world's natlangs together into one big stew of unlearnability and unspeakability.
--Trebor Jung

Mikiana is essentially English with everything but girls' names taken out.
--Jonathan Bettencourt

Mikiana is essentially English trying to pass itself off as a-priori.
--Jonathan Bettencourt

Lojban is essentially DOS with more full stops.
--Will McGree

Klingon is essentially Orkish with fewer vowels and more spitting.
--Will McGree

Ithkuil is essentially Chechen as spoken by a Welshman raised by bilingual Chinese-speaking parents, which is recorded and then replayed backwards.
--Michael Gerardi

Lojban is essentially speakable first-order predicate logic with emotional decorators.
--John Cowan

Kash is essentially bad Indonesian spoken by a distracted librarian (Shh!).
--Roger Mills

Fith has essentially been adapted by the Rrodaly androids possessed of essentially flawless memory and strong arms for stacking.
--Sally Caves

Keshean is essentially Dutch impersonating Sanskrit.
--Andreas Johansson

Meghean is essentially some reasonable language where morphology and phonology merged into one.
--Andreas Johansson

Ismaîn is essentially what French would be if Latin had been Cadhinor.
--Philip Newton

Cuêzi is essentially the Almean moral equivalent of Greek.
--Philip Newton

Lojban is essentially a slight relex of TLI Loglan.
--Philip Newton

Mágikimnaz is essentially Khangaþyagon that tried to be Latin, but ended up with features of Mandarin.
--Peter Bleackley

(B is part of A) Kelen no verbs essentially.
--Peter Bleackley

Mërèchi is essentially a language with decorated vowels.
--Peter Bleackley

Proto-Drem is essentially a language that allows Tense-Aspect-Mood-Voice markers to run riot without proper supervision.
--Peter Bleackley

Star Trek is essentially a religion for secular humanists, and Klingon is its Latin.
--Jeffrey Henning

Lojban is essentially Snow Crash as spoken by an Esperantist.
--Alan Caum

Old Albic is essentially Old European vocabulary, Germanic phonology, Georgian grammar and Celtic word order.
--Jörg Rhiemeier

Other Artificial Languages (N-Z)

Nyucar is essentially English spoken by people who make every possible attempt not to be understood in England.
--Chlewey Thompin

Nadsat is essentially to Russian what Texas Spanish is to Spanish.
--Danny Wier

Vorlin is essentially everything you can think of, spoken by Rick Harrison.
--Kapitano Eglefino

Vilani is essentially Sumerian as spoken by interstellar tax collectors and management consultants pretending to be Aztecs.
--Anonymous

Yf Rgalin is essentially Lojban as it would be spoken by a Basque Klingonist who doesn't count beyond two.
--Mark Shoulson

Obrenje is essentially Russian spoken while sober.
--Christian Thalman

Talossan is essentially English, French, Occitan, Romanian, Albanian, Portuguese, Icelandic, and Berber as spoken by one man in his bedroom.
--Thomas Leigh

Veldan is essentially Greek, Latin, and Gaelic as spoken by a fictional people who spend too much time with Elves.
--Cian Ross

Vranian is essentially a fusion of Serbian, Czech, Island Tlingit and Inuktitut as spoken by a Hungarian anarchist who wishes he was a Faroese lesbian.
--a friend of the creator's

Tech is essentially the IPA alphabet as viewed by a Texan.
--Peter Clark

Tech is essentially Arabic spoken by a Georgian.
--Danny Wier

Tech is essentially Arabic, Georgian and Sanskrit spoken by an Egyptian leprechaun.
--Danny Wier

Rav Zarruvo is essentially Native American war chants being attempted by a group of dyslexic Chinese with severe indigestion problems, who think they're learning Hindi.
--Bob Greenwade

Northern Uatakassí is essentially Southern Uatakassí with no diphthongs and all the vowels turned to /i/.
--Nik Taylor

Southern Uatakassí is essentially Northern Uatakassí with no codas and a bunch of weird consonants.
--Nik Taylor

Vulgar Uatakassí is essentially Standard Uatakassí spoken by lazy foreigners.
--Nik Taylor

Conversely, Standard Uatakassí is essentially Vulgar Uatakassí spoken by snobs.
--Nik Taylor

Uatakassí is essentially Hawaiian spoken by Finns on crack.
-- Amber Adams

Uatakassí is essentially the result of an orgy involving Eskimos, Polynesians, Bantus, and Finns, spoken by fanatically religious birds living in a furnace.
--Nik Taylor

Xi is essentially politically correct Cenlatorre transliterated into Katakana and then read by a Valley girl.
--Amber Adams

Nyo'fa is essentially the same, except that the aforementioned Valley girl can't read Katakana.
--Amber Adams

Alternately, Nyo'fa is essentially attempting to speak Arabic backwards while choking on a mouthful of painfully hot oatmeal.
--Amber Adams

Notya is essentially Japanese with all the grammar thrown out.
--Christophe Grandsire

O is essentially the product of an amnesiac.
--Christophe Grandsire

Thh:tmaa [the language of the TV show Dark Skies] grammar is essentially a weird combination of Malagasy and predicate logic.
--Joel Matthew Pearson

Nrit is essentially Finnish spoken by Indians who are still coughing up Sanskrit consonants.
--Shreyas Sampat

Toki Pona is essentially small.
--Nikita Ayzikovsk

Toki Pona is essentially English spoken by a Japanese.
--Nikita Ayzikovsk

Toki Pona is essentially a side effect of smoking too much weed.
--Nikita Ayzikovsk

Steienzh is essentially what you got if you mark the passive present and the active participle the same.
--Andreas Johansson

Rokbeigalmki is essentially Hebrew and English's alien love child spoken by half-Elven Polynesian Klingons who think it's Lojban.
--Steg Belsky

htwvitbveuotkvwvahfi ihv ehenvhxawlvi hinbvtbeywlv, wlveuotvhxvitkawlv, hewlvhf-tkeuonvhihtenvt anvtv iuonvwcviuoiuohvatbveywlv. (which translates as "Stribography is essentially simple, logical, self-consistent and unusable.")
--Peter Bleackley

yxnomk atpukno ujklevt is essentially Klingon trying to look like Esperanto.
--Robert B. Wilson

Khangaþyagon is essentially itself.
--Ray Brown

Viktor Medrano (?) invented Vong or Ving or something in order to write Zen-influenced haiku in a Hawai'ian-like loglang.
--Hanuman Zhang

Telendlest is essentially a variant of Tairezazh that wants to be Spanish, but falls short.
--Andreas Johansson

Steienzh is essentially Classical Klaish as spoken by a Dane.
--Andreas Johansson

Taizh dialect is essentially Standard Tairezazh as spoken by people who think Standard Tairezazh has too many vowels.
--Andreas Johansson

Yargish is essentially ergative Japanese with a lot of consonant clusters and no labials.
--Andreas Johansson

Verdurian is essentially what Spanish would be if Latin had been Cadhinor.
--Philip Newton

Verdurian is essentially a mixture of Russian and French with a few unique words to make it look like a separate language.
--Philip Newton

Kelenala is essentially Wasabi with only David Peterson as a speaker.
--David J. Peterson

Wasabi is essentially a bunch of words some undergraduates tried to make resemble a language.
--David J. Peterson

Slovio is essentially the only conlang with a huge audience that already understands it.
--Bill Van

Romanova is esse'ntially Interli'ngua with extra'neous apo'strophes.
--Theresa Wymer

Ttuan is essentially a muchness of much-alike monosyllables, and everything you say is a bloody tongue-twister. Grammatically, it is a language of pure case, with actual nouns and verbs sometimes optional.
--Chrysaor Jordan

Tolkien Languages

Quenya is essentially Finnish as spoken by Elves.
--Thomas Leigh

Sindarin is essentially Welsh as spoken by Elves.
--Thomas Leigh

Sindarin is essentially Quenya spoken by Welsh Elves.
--Matthew Kehrt

Quenya is essentially Latin spoken by Elves.
--Matthew Kehrt

Quenya is essentially all of Tolkien's "cellar door"s lined up one after another.
--Benct Philip Jonsson

Dwarvish is essentially Basque as spoken by Dwarves.
--Thomas Leigh

I disagree with this last statement -- Dwarvish is essentially Hebrew as spoken by dwarves.
--Renee

Orkish is essentially Klingon as spoken by Orcs.
--Thomas Leigh

Aelya is essentially Quenya spoken by an Irishman raised in Finland.
--Clinton Moreland

Cein is essentially Quenya spoken by a Frenchman living in Wales (or a Welshman living in France).
--Daniel Andreasson

Quenya is essentially a bad copy of Italian.
--Maurizio M. Gavioli

Orkish is essentially Sumerian as spoken by angry drunks.
--Alan Kellogg

Elvish is essentially Finnish as spoken by a people who personally remember the Pleistocene.
--Alan Kellogg

Animal Languages

Dog is essentially a language spoken while begging for food.
--Dan Seriff

Cat is essentially a language spoken while begging for food, destroying the furniture, and puking on the carpet, all while high on catnip.
--Dan Seriff

Cat is essentially Dog spoken while chasing a piece of string.
--jmallett

Cat is essentially a highly variable language privileging diphthongs, rising inflection, sibilants, and initial labials along with very mobile facial and fecal expressions.
--Sally Caves

Cat is essentially the endless repetition of the phrase "Now! Now!"
--Xander

Writing Systems

The Georgian alphabet is essentially a bag of curly fries spilled on the floor and trodden on.
--Muke Tever

The Armenian alphabet is essentially mangled Greek.
--Danny Wier

The Avestan alphabet is essentially Pahlavi with a restored sense of sanity.
--Danny Wier

The Tamazight alphabet is essentially geometric figures used for love letters.
--Danny Wier

The Oriya script is essentially a succession of bald heads.
--Danny Wier quoting someone else

The Devanagari script is essentially a collection of snakes dangling from a wire.
--Danny Wier

The Bengali script is essentially a collection of snakes dangling from a wire that are better contortionists.
--Danny Wier

The Gujarati script is essentially a collection of snakes that fell from the wire.
--Danny Wier

The Thaana (Maldivian) abjad is essentially rows of diagonal scribbles with Arabic letters thrown in.
--Danny Wier

Arabic is essentially Aramaic written in a hurry.
--Danny Wier

Urdu writing is essentially Arabo-Persian writing, done in a hurry.
--Danny Wier

Cyrillic is essentially Greek written by a dyslexic Latin speaker.
--Danny Wier

Futhark is essentially Latin formed from carefully engineered trees.
--Danny Wier

Cursive Hebrew script is essentially Rashi script written by someone trying to avoid imitating Jewish square script.
--Danny Wier

Hangul (Korean) is essentially Visible Speech designed to resemble Chinese.
--Danny Wier

Mongolian script is essentially Aramaic doing a headstand.
--Danny Wier

Deseret is essentially a cross between Cherokee and shorthand.
--Clint Jackson Baker

Traditional Chinese is essentially Simplified Chinese as written by some people in Taiwan.
--Jonathan Walton

Cyrillic is essentially Greek disguised as Latin.
--Danny Wier

Roman script is essentially Phoenician as written by Italians learning Euclidean geometry.
--Daniel Baker

Gurmukhi script is essentially Devanagari as it would appear on the computer screens in a sci-fi movie.
--Amber Adams

Bengali script is essentially Devanagari as it would appear in the Indian version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
--Amber Adams

Cambodian script is essentially Brahmi script as written by a Medieval German calligrapher.
--Amber Adams

Classical Mongolian script is essentially Arabic, only written from top to bottom.
--Carsten Becker

The Japanese writing system is essentially amputated (or "que1 ge1 bo shao3 tui3 de") Chinese characters, invented by illiterate peasants.
--Hanbing Feng

Written Uighur is essentially Spaghetti with a sprinkling of Paprika.
--Daniel Baker

Fenair (the writing system for Eretas) is essentially badly scrawled Nestorian masquerading as Manchu.
--Keith Gaughan

Greek is essentially written in the Cyrillic alphabet.
--John Cowan

Greek letters cannot form any real word; they were designed only for mathematics, physics and chemistry.
--Jonathan Rodrigues de Assis

The Greek alphabet is the alphabet that for some reason the Greeks are still using.
--Jonathan Rodrigues de Assis's dad

Telugu script is essentially Kannada with check marks.
--John Anderson

Buginese script is essentially what you see painted on the side of an alien spaceship.
--Mark Shoulson

Yi script is essentially (check all correct answers): a) signage in an alien airport b) heavy-metal logos c) handicapped parking signs
--Mark Shoulson

Japanese kanji are essentially Chinese hànzì as written by people who cannot pronounce or understand Chinese at all.
--Leonardo Boiko

Basque

Basque is essentially Hexcode as used in antediluvian times.
--ilvi

Basque is essentially Neanderthal spoken by Spaniards.
--Thomas Leigh

Basque is essentially a dyslexic Cro-Magnon's lingo, discovered by the Romans 15,000 years too late.
--Ivan C. Amaya

Basque is essentially English mispelled by a German.
--Gordon Boddington

Basque is Klingon spoken by people who don't want to be Spanish.
--Gordon Boddington

Basque is essentially English without the pedantic adherence to grammatical rules.
--Alan Kellogg

Basque is essentially bad Gibberish.
--John Cowan

Basque is essentially the distance between kaixo and agur.
--Ivan Amaya

Meta

The items on this list are essentially amusing and intriguing, but the quality bits are overwhelmed by the enormous amount of collected drivel.
--monju_bosatsu

John Cowan is essentially a linguist with his humerus intact.
--beelzbubba

This list (?) is essentially meaningless to nonlinguists.
--Pope Guilty

This list essentially contains 3 very funny jokes.
--DU

... hidden under a dead horse.
--nomis

John Cowan is essentially a dude with Asperger's obsessively trying to collect all the world's jokes so that he can learn them by heart and thereby know when to laugh.
--nomis

This list is essentially like having a Far Side book; just because you can, doesn't mean you should read them all in one sitting.
--chrismear

This list is essentially a bunch of ethnic stereotypes, glossed over with a veneer of linguistics.
--UbuRoivas

Some of the entries on this list are way less funny than they should be.
--rkent

This list is essentially a compilation of useless odds and ends, very like a compost pile.
--Mayor Curley

This list is meant to be perused, and may be funnier if you know more than one language.
--vacapinta

John Cowan has included this pandering comment in the list you are reading despite some misgivings.
--cortex

[Of these explanations:] some are funny, some are silly, some are mildly offensive, some are nearly true.
--Mark Liberman

Essentialist Explanations is where linguistic and non-linguistic stereotypes combine cheerfully.
--Mark Liberman

Monolingual people should not be authorized to peruse this list. They would not understand anyway.
--Ivan C. Amaya

This list offers a wealth of raw material for a brief, incomplete, and mostly wrong history of languages.
--Mark Liberman (after James Iry)

Some of the Essentialist Explanations are a heck of a lot more accurate than you'd imagine it'd ever be possible.
--army1987

This list is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
--Michel Clasquin

This is essentially an entertaining page with many shrewd observations.
--Iversen

This list is essentially finished.
--John Cowan


This list is maintained by John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>; if you like this, see my home page.