Random language thread 6

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Prowler » 2019-05-09, 19:29

I recently changed the language of my Nintendo 3DS to German, which resulted in the language of my 3DS games being automatically changed to German as well. Been playing Star Fox 64 and Ocarina of time's Master Quest in German lately. They're games I've spent countless hours on in my childhood and also games with dialogue that I know quite well, so I felt they'd be safe bets.

For the most part I have no trouble understanding the dialogue and the text. Occasionally there's a word or two I don't recognise and have to check it up, but that's understandable.

I'm at a strange point with German. I can nowadays understand like 90% of what I read in German and understand about 80% of what I listen in it, but still struggle a bit at writing long paragraphs in it. I reminds me of my relationship with the English language when I was 11-13 years old. I was scoring very high grades in English class, but still didn't feel so confident when typing about more complex subjects online. Then suddenly, at 14 or so I felt like I was 100% fluent in it and had no problems expressing myself anymore. Really strange.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby h34 » 2019-05-09, 19:39

Car wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
kevin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:ObRandom: My friend Tony is a local DJ and today he played a track from Kompromat, a French electroclash project. For some reason, it was sung in German and I couldn't tell from Tony's pronunciation whether the title was "Einfach Dasein" ("Simple Existence") or "Einfach Da Sein" ("Simply Being There").

What difference in pronunciation would you have expected? Shouldn't they sound the same? Before the spelling reform, they were even written the same, as a single word.

IME, phrasal verbs with separable prefixes don't get the same stress as compound nouns. Perhaps it's different in your speech?

I'd have to think of some examples, but in this case, I don't see a difference in stress, I'd stress "Da" in both cases.

The only difference I can think of is that da sein could be pronounced with a (very short) pause after da but would that be a natural pronunciation or an 'artificial', orthography-based one? I'm not sure.

(I also think that German orthography can generally be quite misleading, especially since the recent reform(s) that created some orthographic 'compounds' like zurzeit which is - in contrast to derzeit - stressed on Zeit, i.e. as a combination of unstressed preposition + stressed noun. Before the reform, the spelling reflected the pronunciation: zur Zeit.)

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Car » 2019-05-09, 20:08

h34 wrote:
Car wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
kevin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:ObRandom: My friend Tony is a local DJ and today he played a track from Kompromat, a French electroclash project. For some reason, it was sung in German and I couldn't tell from Tony's pronunciation whether the title was "Einfach Dasein" ("Simple Existence") or "Einfach Da Sein" ("Simply Being There").

What difference in pronunciation would you have expected? Shouldn't they sound the same? Before the spelling reform, they were even written the same, as a single word.

IME, phrasal verbs with separable prefixes don't get the same stress as compound nouns. Perhaps it's different in your speech?

I'd have to think of some examples, but in this case, I don't see a difference in stress, I'd stress "Da" in both cases.

The only difference I can think of is that da sein could be pronounced with a (very short) pause after da but would that be a natural pronunciation or an 'artificial', orthography-based one? I'm not sure.

(I also think that German orthography can generally be quite misleading, especially since the recent reform(s) that created some orthographic 'compounds' like zurzeit which is - in contrast to derzeit - stressed on Zeit, i.e. as a combination of unstressed preposition + stressed noun. Before the reform, the spelling reflected the pronunciation: zur Zeit.)

Yes, I'm not sure about that either.

I couldn't agree more, I always had the impression they didn't quite get how German pronunciation actually works.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-05-09, 20:27

h34 wrote:The only difference I can think of is that da sein could be pronounced with a (very short) pause after da but would that be a natural pronunciation or an 'artificial', orthography-based one? I'm not sure.

For me, the pause is a natural consequence of giving sein full lexical stress. It's similar to the contrast I hear between English compounds like greenhouse and noun phrases like green house.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby kevin » 2019-05-09, 20:48

linguoboy wrote:For me, the pause is a natural consequence of giving sein full lexical stress. It's similar to the contrast I hear between English compounds like greenhouse and noun phrases like green house.

But in "green house", doesn't "house" get the primary stress normally? If you have some context where you would stress "green" more, like when contrasting "I don't mean the blue house, but the green house", doesn't this sound very much like "greenhouse"?

In the right context, you can put the stress in "da sein" on "sein" (like contrasting "sein" with a different verb), but the normal thing would be to put it on "da".

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2019-05-09, 20:58

kevin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:For me, the pause is a natural consequence of giving sein full lexical stress. It's similar to the contrast I hear between English compounds like greenhouse and noun phrases like green house.

But in "green house", doesn't "house" get the primary stress normally? If you have some context where you would stress "green" more, like when contrasting "I don't mean the blue house, but the green house", doesn't this sound very much like "greenhouse"?

I'm not really sure what you mean. I don't perceive utterances in Germanic languages as having a "primary stress" on the sentential level unless there's an emphatic contrast. In a neutral sentence like "He is lives in a green house on north side of the street", both words are stressed more-or-less identically (just as "north" and "side" are in contrast to a compound proper name like "Northside").
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-05-10, 2:22

linguoboy wrote:What inhabited place in America is that far from water?

Apparently, this city called Great Bend in central Kansas. Obviously it's not that far from all water since there are rivers and lakes and whatnot, but it's about exactly that far from the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Michigan. If the nearest sea is over a thousand kilometres away, calling anything there "Del Mar" would be pretty weird.
vijayjohn wrote:I think they mean 'of the mesa'. Mesas are pretty common in this part of the world, and I'm pretty sure there's one very close to my house. (But I've never been absolutely sure because people don't talk about them much IME and so I'm actually not 100% certain wtf a mesa is :silly:).

Oh, they exist in Austin too? I stupidly assumed they were only in the desert parts from western Texas (not West Texania) to California or something, because I'd only seen them in some nature documentaries and travel shows on TV where it was always in the desert.
vijayjohn wrote:I think I was wrong when I said there are some Hindi-speakers who pronounce it [məˈhal] (but before submitting that post, I wrote that part in without realizing I was probably wrong (I think before mōdgethanc pointed out the Hindi form), clicked on "Save draft," and then forgot to delete it before posting it).

Oh, ok.
vijayjohn wrote:I know; that's exactly what I mean. It's easier to find results about "comparative adjectives in Russian" than "comparative adjectives in Kazakh," in English. (Or probably in any language).

I guess, but it doesn't do that with Kyrgyz, Uzbek, etc. even though it should obviously be easier to find information about Russian comparative adjectives than Kyrgyz or Uzbek comparative adjectives too, and a lot of people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also speak Russian, like in Kazakhstan. Consider it like if you searched "Tibetan comparative adjectives" and the results were all about Mandarin Chinese comparative adjectives... it's not an exact equivalent politically, but still.
vijayjohn wrote:Street names here seem pretty random.

Street names are pretty random here too, or not really random but weird: most were named after fairytales (there's more on Finnish Wikipedia if you understand Finnish enough, or just use Google Translate; it's surprisingly accurate in this case).

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-10, 3:33

Vlürch wrote:Oh, they exist in Austin too?

I think so, at least! But I could be wrong. It's probably part of the image stereotypically associated with Texas anyway, though. (Austin is really big on keeping up that image, for some reason. I guess they think it's part of its local charm or something like that).
I guess, but it doesn't do that with Kyrgyz, Uzbek, etc. even though it should obviously be easier to find information about Russian comparative adjectives than Kyrgyz or Uzbek comparative adjectives too, and a lot of people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also speak Russian, like in Kazakhstan.

Huh, maybe it really is just the official language thing then. Well, and surely also the large number of non-Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. And of course the fact that Google uses the kinds of dumb-ass approaches people use for natural language processing.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-05-10, 4:04

vijayjohn wrote:
Vlürch wrote:Oh, they exist in Austin too?

I think so, at least!

8-)
vijayjohn wrote:But I could be wrong. It's probably part of the image stereotypically associated with Texas anyway, though. (Austin is really big on keeping up that image, for some reason. I guess they think it's part of its local charm or something like that).

Google is being really annoying, only street names with "mesa" in them and shops and whatever when trying to google "mesas in/near/around Austin", but since you clearly have at least some hills there, maybe they're considered mesas even if they're different from the western desert mesas?
vijayjohn wrote:
I guess, but it doesn't do that with Kyrgyz, Uzbek, etc. even though it should obviously be easier to find information about Russian comparative adjectives than Kyrgyz or Uzbek comparative adjectives too, and a lot of people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also speak Russian, like in Kazakhstan.

Huh, maybe it really is just the official language thing then. Well, and surely also the large number of non-Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. And of course the fact that Google uses the kinds of dumb-ass approaches people use for natural language processing.

But Russian is co-official in Kyrgyzstan, too. :para:

~

A question about phonemes, which hopefully someone could answer: does any natural language contrast something like /t͡s/, /t͡s~d͡z/ and /d͡z/? I mean, the first being always voiceless (and possibly aspirated) and the third being always voiced, with the second being variable (but never aspirated)? Asking because I have that in a conlang I'm working on but I'm not sure how realistic it is, even though it makes perfect sense to me as a plausible three-way distinction.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-05-10, 5:41

I'm going to Portugal for a week next week and oddly enough, I don't know whether or not I should speak Portuguese while I'm there.
My reasoning is this: I've heard there's quite a bit of anti-Brazilian sentiment in Portugal (or parts of it, at least). If I speak to someone and have trouble understanding them (which some PT-BR speakers do occasionally, and if even natives do than I'm certainly even more likely to have these problems), then the person is not likely to know I'm a non-native, they'll think I'm a Brazilian and therefore think I should be able to understand, and that maybe I'm actually mocking their Portuguese by intentionally misunderstanding/exaggerating the extent to which I find them difficult to understand, and I'd end up insulting them.
There are a few Portuguese in my office, I don't have any trouble communicating with them, but I'm pretty sure they change their Portuguese a bit when they talk to me because when I catch them talking to each other it's somewhat harder to follow their conversation.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-10, 6:31

Vlürch wrote:Google is being really annoying, only street names with "mesa" in them and shops and whatever when trying to google "mesas in/near/around Austin", but since you clearly have at least some hills there, maybe they're considered mesas even if they're different from the western desert mesas?

I guess not, but, like, what is this if not a mesa? Maybe I just don't know the word for it?
mesa.png

But Russian is co-official in Kyrgyzstan, too. :para:

Oh. Yeah, I forgot, lol. :P But nah, it's probably just the dumb-ass natural language processing.

I just tried looking for "comparative adjectives in Turkmen" and I got results about Turkmen, Turkish, and even English, all on the first page.
A question about phonemes, which hopefully someone could answer: does any natural language contrast something like /t͡s/, /t͡s~d͡z/ and /d͡z/?

Sounds a little like Korean
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Lur » 2019-05-10, 6:58

Vlürch wrote:A lot of Finns do the opposite, being fluent in English and at least more or less capable of understanding Swedish but only saying they speak Finnish. Then again, in Finland being "fluent in English" doesn't really take into consideration pronunciation. I mean, I consider myself fluent in English but my pronunciation is still pretty Finnish-ish especially with certain vowels and /h/ being all over the place... and sometimes I make no sense, but the same happens with Finnish too and tends to be connected to my mental state (like, I make less sense when I'm depressed or whatever).

People say that I'm fluent in English but my pronunciation is probably hilarious. I've never lived in an anglophone area so that's part of it.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Linguaphile » 2019-05-10, 13:33

vijayjohn wrote:I guess not, but, like, what is this if not a mesa? Maybe I just don't know the word for it?
mesa.png

A small cliff, scarp, or (if formed by water erosion) a bank?
In the photo it's not possible to see if it has vertical cliffs on all sides, rather than just some of them, or to tell if it is flat across the entire top until reaching those other vertical sides. It would have to have those characteristics in order to be considered a mesa. (It would also have to be wider than it is tall, which the one in the photo clearly is.)
Since its overall size, top, and other sides aren't visible in the photo, it doesn't look like a mesa to me. It reminds me of the short cliffs or banks along the roads near where I live.

kevin wrote:But in "green house", doesn't "house" get the primary stress normally? If you have some context where you would stress "green" more, like when contrasting "I don't mean the blue house, but the green house", doesn't this sound very much like "greenhouse"?

Yes, it does. It makes it sound enough like the compound that I've even heard people make jokes to that effect (to use your example, it would be something like this: "He lives in the blue house, not the green house." - "No kidding, of course he doesn't live in the greenhouse.") :D Sometimes "green house" will have a slight pause between the two components though, which "greenhouse" lacks, especially if there is any potential ambiguity to clear up (i.e., if context isn't going to make it clear which one is intended, the pause may be lengthened in anticipation of that, to try to make the intended meaning more obvious).

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-10, 15:37

Linguaphile wrote:A small cliff, scarp, or (if formed by water erosion) a bank?

I suspect "scarp" is the right word for this thing, especially given that the Balcones Escarpment runs through Austin (and I don't think there's enough water nearby for that to play a significant factor, plus "cliff" just brings something different to mind for me :P). I just learned a new word from you, thanks! :D

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-05-10, 23:50

vijayjohn wrote:But nah, it's probably just the dumb-ass natural language processing.

I hope so, and hopefully it'll improve in the future.
vijayjohn wrote:I just tried looking for "comparative adjectives in Turkmen" and I got results about Turkmen, Turkish, and even English, all on the first page.

Yeah, but still, much more about Turkmen than there is about Kazakh when searching for the same about Kazakh. Anyway, this takes the cake, just searching "comparative adjectives in Kazakh":
Image
So, "Russian adjectives" is highlighted, but the fact that the whole thing is about Kazakh (and probably the most concise thing about Kazakh there is online) seems presumably irrelevant to the search? Well, at least it is about Kazakh, so still much better results than searching "comparative and superlative adjectives in Kazakh", which will pretty much literally all be about Russian...
vijayjohn wrote:Sounds a little like Korean

That's kinda true, although I didn't even think about it. :o But isn't the distinction in Korean between "strong articulation", "weak articulation" and aspirated rather than anything to do with voicing? Or is voicing a part of it? The part whose naturalism I'm wondering is the existence of a phoneme with "variable voicing" in contrast to a voiced and voiceless one with the same POA and MOA, which of course would allophonically include other differences to reduce ambiguity and keep the variable one from merging into either its voiced or voiceless counterparts.

But well, it doesn't really matter if it's not entirely naturalistic anyway, and I guess something being unattested in natural languages doesn't mean it wouldn't be naturalistic enough to be a thing in a "naturalistic" conlang as long as it can be explained why it exists... :lol:
Lur wrote:People say that I'm fluent in English but my pronunciation is probably hilarious.

Do you aim to use the American R or intentionally avoid it? Because it's one of those things I can't decide, like on one hand I like using [ɾ] intervocalically and I guess [ɹ] elsewhere (or go non-rhotic in words where that feels more natural) both because it's easier and sounds less American, but on the other hand making the [ɻ] sound is fun (as long as it's not a hyper-American [ɻʷˤ] :P ) and I'm sure makes it easier for some native speakers to understand...
Lur wrote:I've never lived in an anglophone area so that's part of it.

Same.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby md0 » 2019-05-12, 5:16

I wonder if this is interpretable for anyone: "almost uncertain"
I was reading the news, and in one article about the Israeli-Palestinian relations, the article said "θεωρείται σχεδόν αβέβαιο οι δύο πλευρές να προσέλθουν στο τραπέζι των συνομιλιών ξανά" (It is considered almost uncertain that the two sides will come to the negotiation table again).

The whole sentence feels strange (probably translationese), but "almost uncertain" in particular seems to violate some universal principle of quantifiers.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2019-05-12, 10:26

md0 wrote:I wonder if this is interpretable for anyone: "almost uncertain"

Judging by that example and a bunch of results on Google for that phrase, the impression I get is that it can mean the polar opposites "outwardly uncertain but factually certain" and "outwardly certain but factually uncertain" or something like that, maybe so that in both cases there's an implication that the (un)certainty is dubious and/or subjective? :hmm:

I guess this could be one of those things that means widely different things depending on context or even to different people? My own first impression and gut feeling of what the sentence you posted means would be "it seems doubtful but is nonetheless almost certain", but maybe that's the exact opposite of what it actually means...?

And it's also possible that my interpretation is based on interference from Finnish somehow, even though I can't think of a similar phrase in Finnish that wouldn't be as (or more) confusing.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Prowler » 2019-05-12, 16:56

Apparently some people can speak foreign languages without a foreign accent. I'm not talking about people who grow up in bi-lingual households, btw. I've seen Americans and English people claiming they've met many Europeans who "sound American". Which seems a bit odd, even if you've been exposed to the language since you're a kid. I definitely have a foreign accent as do most people I know. Some have a thicker accent than others, sure. Also, I might be imagining thing, but I notice guys in general tend to have thicker accents than the girls. Or maybe it's just the people I know/have met.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-05-12, 18:55

Prowler wrote:Apparently some people can speak foreign languages without a foreign accent. I'm not talking about people who grow up in bi-lingual households, btw. I've seen Americans and English people claiming they've met many Europeans who "sound American". Which seems a bit odd, even if you've been exposed to the language since you're a kid. I definitely have a foreign accent as do most people I know. Some have a thicker accent than others, sure. Also, I might be imagining thing, but I notice guys in general tend to have thicker accents than the girls. Or maybe it's just the people I know/have met.


I've definitely met people like that, most commonly with American accents, but I've heard people with English accents (and even some people here with Irish accents) that didn't grow up speaking English. It's by far less common than non-natives having foreign accents though, obviously.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Prowler » 2019-05-12, 19:09

I could see people developing an accent if they move to England or USA,but people who have either never been to those countries or only been there for a few days as tourists?

I think having an accent is fine as long as people understand you. I'd personally hate to sound American or English.


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