Random language thread 6

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-11, 17:00

Yesterday I was at a thrift store with a Houston transplant and the announcements were in English and Spanish. Most of them were done by native speakers, but for some reason one of the Spanish-language announcements was being read out by someone with a heavy Anglo accent. I complained about how it was hurting my ears. The Texan (who speaks both Spanish and German) and shrugged and said that he was used to hearing it spoken like that back home.

A gentleman who was stocking the shelves overheard us and started chuckling. This kicked off a rolicking conversation about languages and accents. I talked with him about the oddness of Swiss German and the ugliness of Saxon and he told us about the strangeness of the "Highlanders" (Górale) in the south of Poland. (He's from Kraków.)
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-02-12, 13:58

linguoboy wrote:Yesterday I was at a thrift store with a Houston transplant

What
2017 est l'année du (fr) et de l'(de) pour moi. Parle avec moi en eux, s'il te plait.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-12, 15:18

Osias wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Yesterday I was at a thrift store with a Houston transplant
What

I originally wrote "Yesterday I was thrifting with a Houston transplant" and immediately realised that would be impenetrable to non-natives, but I only changed part of it because I was curious about reactions.

I wasn't sure if Wiktionary would cover this usage, but it does:
5. (US) Someone who is not native to their area of residence.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-02-12, 15:49

:hmm:
2017 est l'année du (fr) et de l'(de) pour moi. Parle avec moi en eux, s'il te plait.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-12, 15:52

Osias wrote::hmm:

Seems like a pretty transparent metaphor to me, but then I'm a gardener.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-02-12, 15:57

It is, but now I'm thinking about a dystopian future where you can thrift shop human organs.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-02-13, 11:09

I always wonder, in languages that have morphology, if there's a particular reason of the human mind that causes considerably more morphology to exist in verbs than in nouns, and if there are natural languages were the reverse happens.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-13, 15:10

Lur wrote:I always wonder, in languages that have morphology, if there's a particular reason of the human mind that causes considerably more morphology to exist in verbs than in nouns, and if there are natural languages were the reverse happens.

Isn't it just that there are more ways of characterising an action than an object?

(Although, having said that, I can think of languages with very robust derivational morphology relating to nouns.)
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-02-13, 16:08

linguoboy wrote:
Lur wrote:I always wonder, in languages that have morphology, if there's a particular reason of the human mind that causes considerably more morphology to exist in verbs than in nouns, and if there are natural languages were the reverse happens.

Isn't it just that there are more ways of characterising an action than an object?

(Although, having said that, I can think of languages with very robust derivational morphology relating to nouns.)


But those actions can be characterized on the nouns.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-13, 16:25

Lur wrote:But those actions can be characterized on the nouns.

Can you give me some examples?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ser » 2019-02-13, 21:34

linguoboy wrote:
Lur wrote:But those actions can be characterized on the nouns.

Can you give me some examples?

I don't know about Lur, but I can easily imagine a language that makes heavy use of light verbs being like this, a language with an elaborate derivational morphology for its nouns, using affixes that can also apply to typical concrete nouns. Diminutives and augmentatives could be used to mark action intensity as well, possession state to mark valency, etc.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-02-15, 11:59

linguoboy wrote:
Lur wrote:But those actions can be characterized on the nouns.

Can you give me some examples?

Finnish partitive vs acusative expressing aspect?
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby france-eesti » 2019-02-16, 16:13

probably out of topic but wow... Is that serious? :silly:

Birds.jpg
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby księżycowy » 2019-02-16, 16:22

In short, yes. It's actually a thing.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... _by_animal

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-16, 16:29

There are really only a handful of distinct collectives in common use. There was a vogue (I believe starting in the late 18th or early 19th century) for coining ever more fanciful terms. People like to share lists of these but it’s questionable how many are actually familiar to most people. Moreover, “flight” and “colony” are general terms which can apply to any group of birds in flight and any species of bird which lives in colonies, respectively. That is, they’re no different than a word like “flock” or “herd”.

It’s a weird list in several respects.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby księżycowy » 2019-02-16, 16:32

Yeah, I can't say I run across anyone using any of these terms anymore.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-02-16, 16:46

księżycowy wrote:Yeah, I can't say I run across anyone using any of these terms anymore.

I definitely have seen some in use. “Murder” is well enough known that there’s a popular meme featuring two crows and the caption “attempted murder”. By contrast, “dopping” isn’t listed in Wiktionary or the AHD. (I don’t currently have access to the OED.)

“Parliament” I think of as applying to rooks, not owls, but the page you linked to says it can be used for both. IIRC, a parliament of rooks features in one of Neil Gaiman’s works, which is probably where I learned the term. Apparently a parliament of owls appears in one of Lewis’ Narnia books. In both cases, what you have are fantasy authors taking a fanciful term literally to enrich a narrative.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby france-eesti » 2019-02-16, 17:18

Oh so that's kind of literary? :) I was a little upset I didn't know most of them but then it can be "normal" :whistle:
(Something made me smile though - my parents used to call me "Ostrich" when I was young - and Pride is my Deadly Sin - so I was kind of surprised to see "a pride of ostriches", surely an omen) :mrgreen: :lol:
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-02-16, 17:24

I think the use of these terms varies by region. Definitely some of them are commonly used in my experience. The ones from the posted image which I've heard multiple times and don't consider it surprising to hear are:
a brood of chickens
a brood of hens
a colony of gulls
a colony of penguins
a colony of vultures
a flight of birds
a flight of cormorants
a murder of crows
a pod of pelicans
a stand of flamingos
In fact, anything other than "brood" for chickens and hens would probably sound odd to me. As for the ones that use "colony" and "fight," I think in common usage "colony" is used only when gulls and vultures are stationary and "flight" is used only when cormorants or other birds are flying. I'm not sure whether that's correct usage; the list implies that a flying flock of gulls is still a "colony" and a stationary group of cormorants is still a "flight"? Hearing that usage would strike me as unusual.

I've heard the following ones on occasion and might have even come up with the right word if you'd asked me "what do you call a group of X?" but haven't heard them often in real life:
a company of parrots
a convocation of eagles
a pride of ostriches
a parliament of owls
One thing I notice about this part of the list is that they are all birds which I wouldn't normally see in a group, so there aren't many opportunities to use the collective terms for them. Maybe that's why I know the phrases but haven't heard them used.

These aren't at all common in my experience; I'm not sure I've even heard these phrases before in conversation (although I'm sure I must have seen them before in lists like these):
a cast of falcons
a dole of doves
a dopping of goosanders
a host of sparrows
a mews of hawks
a mustering of storks
We have lots of sparrows and doves here, yet I've never heard anyone call them "a dole of doves" or "a host of sparrows". They are usually just "flocks" here. I think I've probably heard "host of sparrows" in a poetic sense before but not in normal speech.
As for "a dopping of goosanders"... we don't even call them "goosanders" here. They would be "a flock of mergansers."

Another one which is very well known and used is "pod" for sea mammals (not just for pelicans):
a pod of dolphins, a pod of seals, a pod of orcas, etc.
And, of course, a "school" of fish is extremely well-known and used.
By the way, if you've ever seen an enormous group of crows (as in hundreds) gather in treetops at dusk, you'll understand why they are called "a murder of crows" - and yes, we do call them that!

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-02-17, 10:38

Found a nice example of an unintentional game of "Google Translate presents Chinese Whispers". A guy wrote a question in English, the posted an edit to include a Serbian version he got from Google Translate, and my Facebook app asks me if I want to view the translation of the whole comment in Portuguese. So I take a look just to see what happens (as I know Google Translate usually uses English as an intermediate step when translating between "unusual" pairs like Sr>Pt). So this final translation at the end has gone through English > Serbian > English > Portuguese. The part after the --- is the part I see when I click on "view translation" in the Facebook app:


Question For Serbian Native Speakers: I was watching a video teaching Serbian and the guy said “never say the number 8 in front of a Serbian guy, I will not tell you why”. Does anyone care to explain ?

[EDIT-added the google translation of my inquiry in Serbian to communicate better with the natives: Pitanje za domaće govornike: Gledao sam video koji uči srpski, a momak je rekao: "Nikad ne reci broj 8 ispred jednog Srbina, neću ti reći zašto". može li itko objasniti na što je mislio?]

-------

Pergunta para palestrantes nativos sérvios: eu estava assistindo um vídeo ensinando sérvio e o cara disse “Nunca diga o número 8 na frente de uma cara sérvio, não vou te dizer por que”. alguém se importa de explicar?

[EDIT- adicionei o google Alemanha do meu inquérito em sérvio ela se comunica melhor com os nativos: pergunta para palestrantes domésticos: assisti o vídeo que ensina sérvio, e o cara disse: “Nunca diga o número 8 em frente a um sérvio, Eu digo por que”. alguém pode explicar o que ele quis dizer?]



My literal translation of the Portuguese back to English:

Question for native Serbian speakers*: I was watching a video teaching Serbian and the guy said "Never say the number 8 in front of a Serbian guy, I won't tell you why". anyone mind explaining?

[EDIT- I added the google Germany** of my query in Serbian she communicates better with the natives: question for domestic speakers*, I watched the video which teaches Serbian, the guy said "Never say the number 8 in front to a Serbian, I say why" Can anyone explain what he meant?

*that is, "speakers" in the sense of people who give speeches, a "speaker" at a conference or workshop, not a speaker of a language.

** just... what? Where the hell did Germany come from?

Also interesting how the message got reversed - the guy in the video said that he wouldn't say why, but the translation says he would.

And I like how "Serbian speakers" becomes something more like "domestic lecturers" :lol:


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