Random language thread 6

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2020-03-30, 15:07

Yasna wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I live in a country where everyone speaks Mandarin Chinese, and that too in a city where few people speak much English, yet I have very few opportunities to speak it myself. I spend most of my time at work, where I'm forbidden to speak Mandarin.

One easy way to get conversations kickstarted is to ask for recommendations. Asking a restaurant employee what dish they recommend, a book store employee what book they recommend on topic ___, someone (friendly looking) on the street if there are any good restaurants or parks around.

Ooh, good idea!

When I was in Germany, I did a language exchange with another student. I also joined an immigrant encountre group at a local church. They met regularly and there were roughly as many native-speakers as non-natives, so I got lots of good practice in.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-04-01, 14:28

Yasna wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I live in a country where everyone speaks Mandarin Chinese, and that too in a city where few people speak much English, yet I have very few opportunities to speak it myself. I spend most of my time at work, where I'm forbidden to speak Mandarin.

One easy way to get conversations kickstarted is to ask for recommendations. Asking a restaurant employee what dish they recommend, a book store employee what book they recommend on topic ___, someone (friendly looking) on the street if there are any good restaurants or parks around.

I don't particularly want recommendations, though. I love everything I eat and can't get enough of it, I haven't been having enough time to read even one of the five books I brought with me, and I've been here for over a month, so I already know a lot of the places to eat (most of which aren't exactly restaurants) and one of the parks (if there even is more than one in such a small town).

Maybe the four-day weekend I have coming up will help me get in a bit more practice, although the current pandemic and social distancing of course complicates this anyway. I did have a lovely (if simple) conversation with two ladies who shared a table with me at the stall down the road one Sunday afternoon. It might help if I could find a voice chat in Mandarin or something, too.

Also, one thing I could use a recommendation for is how to get a goddamn microwave here! (Or a hot plate, or a kettle, or anything I could use for heating up water at least). There's some type of government-owned(?) store that sells them, but I forgot its name.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2020-04-01, 15:24

You don't have to act on their recommendations. Unless you're likely to run into them again, they'll never know if you follow them or not. It's just a topic for getting a conversation started. I ask taxi and rideshare drivers for their restaurant recommendations all the time. Most of the time they're in parts of town I don't go to, but it's just fun to hear them talk about what they like to eat. A lot of times the answer is, "I eat at home" and then they talk about their favourite homestyle dishes.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Gormur » 2020-04-01, 16:20

Admittedly, I was going to post in the linguistics thread, but I kept getting a rejected sqt message

Anyway, I was just wondering what the precise term or description would be for something. It's the phenomenon when a language has two or more forms. Let's say English from England and the version from North America versus one another

You have words like trolley and cart,or even buggy in regional areas. Then there is some description in books, like analysis by association or such. I know there's more than likely another more descriptive name here but I can't find it

To be sure I do mean a term which expresses how these terms developed independently from the other and explains why. Maybe this is social linguistics :hmm:

I mean the actual process which describes these outcomes, like by association this word came from x and that's why it happened in this country

Does that work? :hmm:
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2020-04-01, 17:08

Gormur wrote:Anyway, I was just wondering what the precise term or description would be for something. It's the phenomenon when a language has two or more forms. Let's say English from England and the version from North America versus one another

You have words like trolley and cart,or even buggy in regional areas. Then there is some description in books, like analysis by association or such. I know there's more than likely another more descriptive name here but I can't find it

"Geographic lexical variation". When confined to a single country, often called "regional lexical variation".

Gormur wrote:To be sure I do mean a term which expresses how these terms developed independently from the other and explains why. Maybe this is social linguistics

It can be--sociolinguistics touches on everything. But historical developments are usually subsumed under etymology.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2020-04-03, 7:28

I just learned the word अनुभव (anubhav; experience) in Hindi, and when I looked it up on Wiktionary it also gave me the Perso-Arabic synonym: तजुर्बा (tajurbā). I was shocked at first: I thought that I had acquired the incorrect pronunciation of Urdu تجربہ (tajribā) from having read the word several times and making up my own vocalisation.

It turns out that tajribā is the standard pronuciation, modeled after Persian and Arabic, and tajurbā is a common colloquial variant. What's interesting about this is that Hindi dictionaries only register तजुर्बा (and not तज्रिबा) and it's the only form that seems to give many g-hits, whereas the main Urdu-Urdu dictionary (http://udb.gov.pk/) only gives tajribā.

What's more, the Sanskritism अनुभव also appears in Urdu dictionaries: انبھو, but the pronunciation is noted as اَنْبَھو (anbhav). So it seems here Standard Urdu prefers the vulgar variant of the Sanskritism and insists on the "correct" pronunciation of the Arabic loan, and Standard Hindi in fact does the exact opposite!

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2020-04-03, 15:27

Saim wrote:So it seems here Standard Urdu prefers the vulgar variant of the Sanskritism and insists on the "correct" pronunciation of the Arabic loan, and Standard Hindi in fact does the exact opposite!

Well, it makes sense, doesn't it? I'm not a Hindustani pro by any means and literally only know maybe like a handful of words (90% of which are Perso-Arabic tbh) so I might be totally wrong, but as I understand it the Sanskritisation of Hindi happens both top-down and with popular support while the lingering Perso-Arabisation happens bottom-up with less enthusiasm, but in Urdu the Perso-Arabisation happens both top-down and with popular support while the lingering Sanskritisation happens bottom-up with less enthusiasm?

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2020-04-04, 16:52

Oh yes, I'm certainly not surprised, it was just interesting to see it first-hand. I'm not sure what you mean by "popular support", but it's not hugely surprising given that Standard Hindi and Standard Urdu are nothing if not different formal registers.

In other news, Romansh is a fun language to read. It took me a while to understand that dumbraziun dal pievel is just a calque of German Volkszählung (census), since pretty much every other Romance language uses a word similar to English census (even Romanian has recensământ, probably from French recensement). I might have been able to parse it sooner had I realised that pievel is from populus, but it was a bit too different to understand in the context I found it in.

EDIT: It also differentiates "if" and "whether" like many Germanic (German wenn vs. ob, Dutch als vs. of) and Slavic languages (Serbian ako vs. da li, Polish jeśli vs. czy, Russian если vs. ли, Ukrainian якщо vs. чи), and unlike most of Romance: sche vs. schebain.
Last edited by Saim on 2020-04-04, 20:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-04-04, 19:59

Saim wrote:I just learned the word अनुभव (anubhav; experience) in Hindi

We have this word in Malayalam, too: [ənuˈbʱəʋəm]. :D

This makes me curious as to how much Malayalam you might be able to understand now just because of Sanskritisms in Hindi! You'd probably be able to understand an awful lot of the words in the old 70s movie songs I grew up with. :lol:

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Car » 2020-04-04, 20:26

Saim wrote:In other news, Romansh is a fun language to read.


You're learning Romansh now, too?

I was wondering why the Portuguese course I'm currently doing on LingQ had a Chinese description and if it has anything to do with Macau. Turns out it does - it's made by Radio Macau. They mostly spend the lessons talking about the few sentences in Chinese, though.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2020-04-05, 15:43

vijayjohn wrote:We have this word in Malayalam, too: [ənuˈbʱəʋəm]. :D

This makes me curious as to how much Malayalam you might be able to understand now just because of Sanskritisms in Hindi! You'd probably be able to understand an awful lot of the words in the old 70s movie songs I grew up with. :lol:


Don't tempt me!

Actually, that is one of the main things that motivates me to study shuddh Hindi (it's a great bridge to other languages in South and Southeast Asia with lots of Sanskrit loans), although given that I only just learned a word as common as अनुभव it should be clear to you that I'm still just scratching the surface. It's just a shame that the Dravidian language with most learning materials and media is also the least Sanskritised. :cry:

Car wrote:
Saim wrote:In other news, Romansh is a fun language to read.


You're learning Romansh now, too?


A bit, mostly just spending a couple of minutes reading the Romansh Wikipedia or Swiss public news in Romansh and looking up words and making flashcards using the Romansh-German dictionary.

I was wondering why the Portuguese course I'm currently doing on LingQ had a Chinese description and if it has anything to do with Macau. Turns out it does - it's made by Radio Macau. They mostly spend the lessons talking about the few sentences in Chinese, though.


That's cool, I didn't realise that Macau had Portuguese broadcasts.

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Car » 2020-04-05, 19:53

Saim wrote:
Car wrote:
Saim wrote:In other news, Romansh is a fun language to read.


You're learning Romansh now, too?


A bit, mostly just spending a couple of minutes reading the Romansh Wikipedia or Swiss public news in Romansh and looking up words and making flashcards using the Romansh-German dictionary.


I see, thanks. You've seen the TV programmes on the RTR website, too? Just in case you also want to hear it.

I was wondering why the Portuguese course I'm currently doing on LingQ had a Chinese description and if it has anything to do with Macau. Turns out it does - it's made by Radio Macau. They mostly spend the lessons talking about the few sentences in Chinese, though.


That's cool, I didn't realise that Macau had Portuguese broadcasts.


Indeed, it is, they actually talk about Macau and the wider area a bit.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2020-04-06, 6:32

Car wrote:I see, thanks. You've seen the TV programmes on the RTR website, too? Just in case you also want to hear it.


Yeah, I remember listening to some of their stuff and understanding very little, which is why I'm pleased that reading is so easy. I was thinking of circling back to listening once I hit a certain amount of intensive reading time, like an hour or two (I've only done around fifteen-twenty minutes so far so it could even be a week or two before I get there, though :P ).

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2020-04-06, 19:44

Did Tangut not have a word for dune, is it lost to time, or do I just suck at searching? And in Chinese, is there any difference between 沙丘 and 沙山? Does the latter refer to a larger dune, is there some other difference, or are they interchangeable?

I'll also have to ask even if there's almost certainly no 100% clear-cut super professional answer: could a Tangut word for dune be calqued as *śia ŋər, or would it have to be *śia khjiw since that'd be a more "proper" Sino-Tangut calque from 沙丘? I mean, neither is attested AFAICT but *śia ŋər sounds cooler... and less Chinese, but that's unrelated to it sounding cooler.

Also, it's really interesting to me how no language is known to have Tangut loanwords. Like, how could that be the case? It really makes me want to make a Tangut-influenced conlang... :lol:
Saim wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "popular support"

I'm not sure if it's the best word to use and maybe it's not actually the case in practice, but I mean, at least logically (or whatever) as far as religiopolitical influence on language is a thing, the predominantly Muslim Urdu-speakers would prefer Perso-Arabisation over Sanskritisation and the predominantly Hindu Hindi-speakers would prefer Sanskritisation over Perso-Arabisation?

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2020-04-06, 20:28

Vlürch wrote:Did Tangut not have a word for dune, is it lost to time, or do I just suck at searching? And in Chinese, is there any difference between 沙丘 and 沙山? Does the latter refer to a larger dune, is there some other difference, or are they interchangeable?

Most references I found for 沙山 are to 鳴沙山, a particular location in Dunhuang. 沙丘 seems to be the usual term.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Vlürch » 2020-04-07, 14:18

linguoboy wrote:Most references I found for 沙山 are to 鳴沙山, a particular location in Dunhuang.

That's what I found when I googled it as well, but some of the results seem to use it as a common noun? The reason I assumed it might refer to bigger dunes (in addition to it being logical) is that when googling "沙山" and "dune", two of the results that don't refer to that particular place in Dunhuang have English translations referring to "mega-dune" and "dune mountains" and "dune-mountain system", although the former also uses 大沙山 (and there are other results for that as well), which would seem a little redundant if 沙山 already referred to a bigger dune than just 沙丘...? 🤔

Maybe I should PM OldBoring and ask him? I'm always a little hesitant to PM anyone, though, and it might be rude to randomly send a PM asking such a basic vocabulary question...
linguoboy wrote:沙丘 seems to be the usual term.

Yeah, I'd only known 沙丘 until the day before yesterday (well, technically 砂丘 since I knew it from Japanese, but it's practically the same thing) but had to look up if 沙山 exists when I learned Tangut ŋər corresponding to 山; I don't know if that makes any sense, but well. It doesn't seem like Tangut had a calque of 沙丘 as the word for dune either, though, or at least googling it has no results, so eh. Then again, there's still a lot of uncertainty around Tangut in general, so who knows.

Apparently there's a Japanese song called 砂山, and the Japanese Wikipedia seems to imply the word exists as a synonym for 砂丘 in Japanese, but the reading given is 'sunayama' so it's presumably unrelated to the Chinese one, and some of the image results on Google are of little mounds made of sand on a beach. :o

Sorry for rambling again. :oops:

EDIT: accidentally used the Chinese sand character instead of the Japanese one in the last paragraph

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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Yasna » 2020-04-10, 19:18

Remembering the Chinese version of Korean names is such a pain. An example would be the actress Han Hyo-joo (韓孝周). I am used to seeing her name in Korean, but since it's usually written in Hangul, I have no bridge for getting to Han Xiaozhou. At least with Japanese names, all I need to do is remember how the name is usually written in Japanese (with Kanji), and then pronounce the characters the Mandarin way.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby linguoboy » 2020-04-10, 19:39

Yasna wrote:Remembering the Chinese version of Korean names is such a pain. An example would be the actress Han Hyo-joo (韓孝周). I am used to seeing her name in Korean, but since it's usually written in Hangul, I have no bridge for getting to Han Xiaozhou. At least with Japanese names, all I need to do is remember how the name is usually written in Japanese (with Kanji), and then pronounce the characters the Mandarin way.

Since I learned the Korean pronunciations of most characters before I learned the Mandarin, this is trivial to me. "Xiaozhou" is exactly what I would expect to correspond to "효주". (Sure, there are other possibilities for those jamo, but these are basically the defaults.) So I guess I don't have anything useful to say beyond, "It gets easier."
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Yasna » 2020-04-10, 20:31

linguoboy wrote:Since I learned the Korean pronunciations of most characters before I learned the Mandarin, this is trivial to me. "Xiaozhou" is exactly what I would expect to correspond to "효주". (Sure, there are other possibilities for those jamo, but these are basically the defaults.) So I guess I don't have anything useful to say beyond, "It gets easier."

I'm not sure it will get easier. Proper names are essentially the only occasion I have to mentally associate Korean and Chinese pronunciations. Sure I glance at the Hanja when learning new Sino-Korean vocabulary, but only for their meaning. I find the pronunciation differences too great to be of much help. If anything I might take note of how the Japanese pronunciation compares to a given Sino-Korean word.
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Re: Random language thread 6

Postby Saim » 2020-04-19, 6:04

Why do so many resources on Mandarin tones for beginners insist on comparing them to English intonation? Does anyone actually find this helpful? I found "tone 2 is like when you're asking a question" actively damaging, IMO it made me listen for the wrong cues.


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