Macnerd wrote:Earlier today I read about the Thai language being monosyllabic.
The following text is copied from a website.
To audition: /tót-sòp-gaan-sà-daeng/
to test: /tót-sòp/
to perform/to show: /sà-daeng/
performance (show/play): /gaan-sà-daeng/
“Audition” in Thai is a “test of one’s ability to perform (in a show or play)”.
Actually, it can be broken down even more than that:
To audition: /tót-sòp-gaan-sà-daeng/ ทดสอบการแสดง
to carry over: /tót/ ทด
test, verify, check: /sòp/ สอบ
noun-forming prefix ("activity of"): /gaan/ การ
to act, perform /sà-daeng/ แสดง
Soundtrack: /phleng-bprà-gòp-pâap-yon/ เพลงประกอบภาพยนต์ร์
music: /phleng/ เพลง
prefix: /bprà/ ประ
scoop, take: /gòp/ กอบ
picture: /pâap/ ภาพ
machine: /yon/ ยนตร์
However, Thai also makes use of loanwords. The word ดนตรี above (you had it as /don-dtree/) is a loan from Sanskrit तन्त्री; "music" in Thai is also เพลง /pʰleːŋ/, and "soundtrack" can also use that word as well in place of ดนตรี, making each element of meaning just one syllable. That's the one I used in my example above. (แสดง "to act, perform" is still two syllables though and I don't know how to break it down more than that. This happens a lot in Hmong too; maybe the individual syllables at one time had individual meanings but the combination of words together has taken on a new, fossilized meaning that is now separate from its parts.)
By the way, Thai also has ซาวนด์แทร็ค /saːw tʰrɛ́k/ for "soundtrack" (from English) and ออดิชั่น /ɔː dì tɕʰân/ for "audition" (also from English).
Macnerd wrote:I thought that was interesting! The Thai word defines itself. Normally one would look up a word in a dictionary to get the definition.
Many languages do this. Even English sometimes, but in English, often the word parts are Latin or Greek (etc) and so the meaning is not immediately as clear to English speakers. But, think about it; in school everyone has to memorize the meanings of Latin and Greek affixes and roots... and this is exactly why. Memorizing those affixes and roots helps to allow many English words to "define themselves", too.
Here is "audition" in Estonian:
in front: esi
decausative infix: -ne-
infinitive verb suffix: -ma (note: together the above three parts make the verb esinema
, "to act, to present, to deliver [in front of others]")
noun-forming suffix, which replaces
-ma: -mine (it becomes -mis here due to declension)
a try, an attempt: proov
But you can see that the process is a little different here than it was with Thai, because elements are not only added to each other, but also modified (-mine
-) and/or taken away (-ma
disappears because this is not an infinitive verb anymore) in the process.
Technically this is just a two-part compound, esinemise + proov, but the above shows how the word was formed and how the word parts do define the word as a whole (a try for presenting in front).
"Soundtrack" in Estonian in the sense of "a recorded set of music taken from a film" is made up of loanwords (filmimuusika), although still a self-defining compound since both film(i)
are used in Estonian on their own. In the older sense of "area on a strip of filmstock where the music to accompany the images was recorded" which linguoboy mentioned as the origin of the English word, Estonian has a different word for that: heliriba (heli = sound, riba = strip), although heliriba
normally refers only to that strip of recorded sound added to a tape (or to a soundbar
, but let's not confuse things to much here.
When the sound is removed from its accompanying video and played on its own, it becomes filmimuusika
. I would think that the self-defining nature of the compound is precisely why heliriba
is not as often used for the type of "soundtrack" that is sold commercially (it's no longer a strip of sound at that point) and it becomes filmimuusika
when it takes the form of an mp3 file, CD album, Youtube playlist, or whatever.
Macnerd wrote:"lexically opaque" ? Please define.
Lexically transparent: You can correctly figure out the meaning from looking at or hearing the word (for example, from its individual parts, or possible from cognates in a language you are familiar with), even if you haven't encountered that particular word before.
Lexically opaque: you can't.