Random language thread 6

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Osias » 2019-03-20, 16:43

When he told me about the confusion it was already clarified.
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 Yasna » 2019-03-20, 21:06

国名から消える「ヴ」、外相肝いり 改正案が衆院可決

Japan's Lower House passed an amendment to stop using ヴ (vu) in the names of foreign countries in order to align the officially used names with how most people pronounce them. So Saint Kitts and Nevis will be changed from セントクリストファー・ネーヴィス (Sentokurisutofā Neivisu) to セントクリストファー・ネービス (Sentokurisutofā Neibisu), and Cape Verde will be changed from カーボヴェルデ (Kāboverude) to カーボベルデ (Kāboberude).
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2019-03-28, 15:00

It's kind of annoying me that Serbo-Croatian speakers conflate pitch contour and vowel length when talking about the language's pitch accent system.

One Quora answer gives this list of "minimal pairs" for pitch accent:

pȁra (vapour) vs. pàra (money) - starting off well, the first one has falling pitch and the second one rising pitch

jȁbuka (gen. sg. apple) vs. [mnogo] jȁbūkā (gen. pl. apple) - both falling pitch
skȕp (gathering) vs. skȗp (expensive) - both falling
lȕk (onion, garlic) vs. lȗk (bow) - both falling
grȁd (hail) vs. grȃd (city) - both falling
[ja] sȁm (I am) vs. sȃm (alone) - both falling

dùga (f. long) vs. dúga (rainbow) - both rising (the masculine form of long dȕg has a falling tone)
kàda (when) vs. káda (bathtub) - both rising

kȏs (blackbird) vs. kȏs (inclined, slant) - this is literally the same for both length and pitch; i.e. long falling ("blackbird" has a rising tone in declined forms)

Almost none of the examples given are actually minimal pairs for pitch. :roll:

Maybe they should've developed a more consistent notation system, so instead of:

ȁ - short falling
ȃ - long falling
à - short rising
á - long rising

It could have been:

à - short falling
ȁ - long falling
á - short rising
a˝ - long rising (this doesn't seem to exist for most vowels in Unicode though)

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-03-28, 15:36

Yeah, I find the current notational system super unintuitive.

ObRandom: TIL that leiten ("lead") is regularly derived from leiden ("suffer").
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2019-04-04, 9:00

Should I feel encouraged or discouraged when I try to study a French rap song and I realise most of the words I didn't understand were Arabic, badly-pronounced Spanish or proper nouns? :para:

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-05, 19:37

My dad just asked me (quite out of the blue) what I thought about Esperanto. I explained how it's not ever going to achieve its stated goal of facilitating global communication, nor is it particularly well-designed to do so anyway, but one possible advantage to learning Esperanto did occur to me: it's so similar to the Romance languages that knowing it might conceivably give you some passive understanding of the Romance languages. If you knew no Romance language and wanted to learn something that would allow you some passive knowledge of (and maybe even active communication ability with) the Romance languages, would Esperanto (given that it's easier to learn) be a good choice? What do you guys think?

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-04-05, 19:46

Ciarán12 wrote:My dad just asked me (quite out of the blue) what I thought about Esperanto. I explained how it's not ever going to achieve its stated goal of facilitating global communication, nor is it particularly well-designed to do so anyway, but one possible advantage to learning Esperanto did occur to me: it's so similar to the Romance languages that knowing it might conceivably give you some passive understanding of the Romance languages. If you knew no Romance language and wanted to learn something that would allow you some passive knowledge of (and maybe even active communication ability with) the Romance languages, would Esperanto (given that it's easier to learn) be a good choice? What do you guys think?

I've been pretty cynical about learning Esperanto in the past, but I do know at least one person who learned it after failing to learn any other L2s. I'm very much in favour of learning languages because of the cognitive benefits of doing so and while I don't believe Esperanto confers as many of those as most other languages, it's still better than never learning another language at all.

I've heard Esperantists quote research apparently showing that language learners do better at learning an additional L2 after first learning Esperanto, but I've never looked at it in detail so I don't know how robust it is. I don't the beneficial effect is different than it would be for learning any L2. That is, learning a language--any language--helps teach your brain how to learn languages, and you can apply those skills and techniques regardless of how similar a language is to your L1 or the particular L2.

So, to really answer the question, you'd need to run an experiment which split a sizable class of (preferably monolingual) subjects into:

(1) a control group;
(2) a group who were taught Esperanto;
(3) a group who were taught some other non-Romance L2.

Then you would attempt to teach all three groups a particular Romance language and see who had the best learning outcomes. My guess is that it would be group (2) but that the effect would not be very pronounced.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-05, 20:18

That would be an interesting experiment to run. I'd be inclined to agree with what you've said, with the addition that succeasfully learning another language might encourage people to tackle more challenging ones later, whereas trying and failing to learn a natural language might diacourage people, so it could be useful even just as a psycological boost.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2019-04-05, 22:17

It's certainly possible that given the same amount of exposure and motivation Esperanto can be acquired by English speakers faster than the Romance languages. And I guess you can get to a higher "active" level using a traditional textbook-based approach in Esperanto than Spanish or whatever, although that sort of approach is unlikely to get your far out of the A levels, and so afterwards you're still left with natural acquisition through contact with Esperantists and consuming Esperanto-language media.

The problem is that anyone who is learning Esperanto primarily as a shortcut towards the Romance languages is unlikely to engage with the Esperanto community in a way that allows them to actually acquire the language (rather than memorising some notions of it presented by a textbook). So whether it's "easy" isn't particularly relevant if you don"t have the motivation to actually go through the acquisition process, and it still takes quite a while to get to any serious level of proficiency in the language.

Esperanto also has a couple of its own peculiarities (including many that are equally unintuitive to both Romance speakers and English speakers) and some Germanic and Slavic influence so I don't think it would be particularly efficient either, you're learning a lot of information that isn't directly relevant to understanding Romance.

I would never discourage anyone from learning Esperanto but I don't think the idea of it being a good "first second language" is going to pan out in reality for most people.

Of course, a different dynamic might come out in a pedagogical context. I took "If you knew no Romance language and wanted to learn something [...]" to mean we're thinking about self-directed acquisition.
Last edited by Saim on 2019-04-05, 22:32, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-04-05, 22:30

Saim wrote:So whether it's "easy" isn't particularly relevant if you don"t have the motivation to actually go through the acquisition process, and it still takes quite a while to get to any serious level of proficiency in the language.

Agreed. Motivation is ultimately the key to all language learning.

The lack of an associated culture with anything more than very narrow niche appeal has always been one of Esperanto's greatest limitations. Most of the people I know who have actually attained fluency in a language which they don't absolutely need for day-to-day living have been motivated either by a strong personal connexion (e.g. significant other, relatives) or desire to access cultural output (e.g. songs, literature, television). The sum total of original cultural output in Esperanto still doesn't amount to much.

I think where Esperanto may have marginal utility is with people who, as Ciarán says, are discouraged by the difficulty of reaching even A-level command of a natural language. I've heard more than once from someone that they're "not good with languages" or even that they "can't learn them". Learning basic Esperanto might be enough to convince them otherwise and give them the confidence to tackle a language with more varied and tangible benefits.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-06, 0:15

The point about the lack of a sufficiently robust culture in which to immerse youself (or lack of desire to engage with the community) hadn't occurred to me, I agree that would probably negate most of the benefit derived from the relative ease of the actual language itself. I'd like to actually meet/hear from someone who learned Esperanto either as a first foreign language or as a first (or only) Romance(-esque) language. I don't think we have anyone like that on the forum..? I might have to go learn some Esperanto and hang out on their fora to try to meet some :)

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby voron » 2019-04-06, 8:45

From what I read about the effectiveness of using Esperanto as a springboard to learn other languages, it partly results from students' getting used to grammatical concepts such as subject, object, case, tense etc in a simplified setting. Which makes sense to me.

Also, I can't help liking the enthusiasm of the guy in this TEDx talk:
https://youtu.be/8gSAkUOElsg

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Dormouse559 » 2019-04-10, 22:11

The way this Brazilian science Youtuber says "redshift" as [ɹɛd.ʃiftʃ] (at 8:24). So adorable :P
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-10, 22:16

Dormouse559 wrote:The way this Brazilian science Youtuber says "redshift" as [ɹɛd.ʃiftʃ] (at 8:24). So adorable :P


I love that guy's channel :)

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Dormouse559 » 2019-04-10, 22:31

Ciarán12 wrote:I love that guy's channel :)

Neat! I just found his channel today. I've never studied Portuguese, but since I watch a lot of science videos in English, I thought I'd test my Portuguese listening comprehension on familiar subject matter.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-10, 22:37

Dormouse559 wrote:
Ciarán12 wrote:I love that guy's channel :)

Neat! I just found his channel today. I've never studied Portuguese, but since I watch a lot of science videos in English, I thought I'd test my Portuguese listening comprehension on familiar subject matter.


That channel is great for practicing Portuguese listening skills when you're at lower intermediate level - the content is really compelling and the speed is native level, but the vocabulary will mostly be familiar due to cognates with English (and French, in your case). It gets hard when it's comedy or very informal content.
How did you find it, comprehension-wise I mean?
I'm interested in trying to expand my passive understanding of the other Romace languages, do you have any YouTube recommandations for French?
Last edited by Ciarán12 on 2019-04-10, 22:38, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Prowler » 2019-04-10, 22:38

For those of you who are native speakers of less commonly spoken languages by foreigners, got any interesting or funny stories from when a foreigner unexpectedly spoke to you in your native language fluently?

A few months ago I had two young Asians coming up to me. The girl did not speak at all, but the guy did. He spoke Portuguese fluently. Ofc he had a foreign accent, but he spoke the language pretty well, so I'll assume he's been living here for a while by now. At first I had no idea where they came from. He suddenly pulled out a book and began telling me about God, Elohim, etc. His book was in Portuguese but also had some stuff written in Korean.

I was a bit surprised to meet a Korean who spoke Portuguese. Plus he did not use anything that remotely resembled a Brazilianism, so therefore he learned Portuguese from Portugal.

I've heard South Korea has a surprising considerable amount of Christians, so I guess that explains why two young Korean missionaries made it all the way to here. Being a missionary must be fun, because I bet they got a free trip abroad!

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-10, 22:51

Prowler wrote:For those of you who are native speakers of less commonly spoken languages by foreigners, got any interesting or funny stories from when a foreigner unexpectedly spoke to you in your native language fluently?


As a native English speaker, I'm never surprised when some one speaks my native language. Quite the opposite, I'm surprised if they don't.
I get a (usually pleasantly) shocked reaction from people when I speak Portuguese. I've gotten to the point now with it where people just think I'm Brazilian until they are told otherwise. I've had a few strange reactions: once there was a woman I was speaking to for 10 minutes before my wife alluded to the fact that I was Irish, and she looked completely taken aback by that. Another time there was this couple who I overheard speaking Portuguese in a bar, so I decided to chime in, as they had mentioned Irish people and I said something about not all of us being bad (in a joking way), they were quite hostile for a while at first because they were convinced I was just lying about being Irish, that I was Brazilian and trying to con them or something. The usual reaction is just amazement followed by lots of praise, which is of course very gratifying! :P I've had a similar reaction in the past when I've encountered foreigners from unexpected countries who spoke Irish quite well.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Prowler » 2019-04-10, 22:57

Ciarán12 wrote:
Prowler wrote:For those of you who are native speakers of less commonly spoken languages by foreigners, got any interesting or funny stories from when a foreigner unexpectedly spoke to you in your native language fluently?


As a native English speaker, I'm never surprised when some one speaks my native language. Quite the opposite, I'm surprised if they don't.
I get a (usually pleasantly) shocked reaction from people when I speak Portuguese. I've gotten to the point now with it where people just think I'm Brazilian until they are told otherwise. I've had a few strange reactions: once there was a woman I was speaking to for 10 minutes before my wife alluded to the fact that I was Irish, and she looked completely taken aback by that. Another time there was this couple who I overheard speaking Portuguese in a bar, so I decided to chime in, as they had mentioned Irish people and I said something about not all of us being bad (in a joking way), they were quite hostile for a while at first because they were convinced I was just lying about being Irish, that I was Brazilian and trying to con them or something. The usual reaction is just amazement followed by lots of praise, which is of course very gratifying! :P I've had a similar reaction in the past when I've encountered foreigners from unexpected countries who spoke Irish quite well.

I've never personally met a foreigner who spoke Portuguese unless he was an immigrant or expat. So yes, if I met someone from Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Russia, etc. who has never been to Portugal in their lives and they spoke European Portuguese fluently to me I'd be surprised. Although it's not like I could tell where they're from unless I asked them, and if it's someone asking me something quick like for directions or something, I'm not gonna ask them something like that or even think about where they might come from.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-04-10, 23:14

Prowler wrote:I've never personally met a foreigner who spoke Portuguese unless he was an immigrant or expat. So yes, if I met someone from Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Russia, etc. who has never been to Portugal in their lives and they spoke European Portuguese fluently to me I'd be surprised. Although it's not like I could tell where they're from unless I asked them, and if it's someone asking me something quick like for directions or something, I'm not gonna ask them something like that or even think about where they might come from.


I know a few Irish people here who speak very fluent Portuguese, but all of them speak Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilians are one of the largest immigrant groups here, you can hear PT-BR all over the city, every shop, every street, every day. By comparison, there are much fewer Portuguese here (though I know quite a few). I've yet to meet a single foreigner or Irish person who's learned PT-PT.


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