Saim's log 2017-2019

This forum is for the Total Annihilation Challenge. See the sticky thread for more information.

Moderators: ''', Forum Administrators

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-14, 15:32

Saim wrote:Are you talking about Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian – A Grammar with Sociolinguistic Commentary?

Yes.
Do have it on you, by any chance?

Yes. That plus the textbook accompanying it and LP Croatian and TY Croatian are all I have for BCS (unless you count like "Berlitz Eastern European Languages" or whatever EDIT: and a bilingual Croatia Airlines in-flight magazine lol).
I'd like to know what he said specifically.

*she
Ronelle Alexander wrote:Many feel the four-accent system is needlessly complex and out of touch with reality. Part of this dissatisfaction is with the opacity of the traditional Vukovian accentual marks.

In most instances, however, the reason speakers are dissatisfied with the system of marks is because they believe it does not accurately reflect the way they actually speak. In some cases this non-congruence (between prescriptive statements of accentuation and descriptive statements of actual usage) is due to language change: the accentuation of the modern language is simply no longer the same as it was when Vuk and Daničić made their coficiations. More frequently, however, it is due to the great diversity of speech types over the broader BCS area and to specific facts connected with the history of modification processes. For a variety of reasons, the modern language is based almost completely upon the speech of Vuk Karadžić's native East Herzegovina[...] That is, when linguists sat down to compile the dictionaries and the grammars which became the core of BCS prescriptive grammar, they took the East Herzegovinian neo-štokavian dialect as their model, believing it to be the purest and most representative speech type. All elements of grammar were codified to follow that dialectal pattern, including the specific accentual characteristics of each individual word. The speech of eastern Herzegovina was especially rich in accentual distinctions - as it is still today - and those speakers of BCS whose native speech is similar to it have no trouble hearing and producing all four "accents" in all positions, according to the now-canonical system.

Those whose native speech is quite different from Vuk's, however, must learn the standard form of the language in school. Learning the endings of words is relatively easy, but learning the accents is quite another matter. In particular, it is almost impossible to make a consistent distinction between short rising and short falling accents unless one is accustomed to hearing these accents since childhood. Most Bosnians make all the standard distinctions naturally, and they are quite proud of the fully melodic (not to say traditional Vukovian) character of Bosnian. The majority of Serbs and Croats, however, do not make the full set of distinctions. Some attempt to learn them, and experience a fair degree of success. Others - even if they are not completely successful in learning the accents - believe that this system is part of their heritage and that the language should continue to maintain all the codified distinctions, if only as an ideal to strive for. Yet others, however, believe that the codified forms of Serbian and Croatian should be revised in order to reflect more accurately the way Serbs and Croats actually speak. They do not feel that educators should need to work so hard to force students to learn something which is both very difficult to learn, and (in their view) unnaturally artificial. They believe the current language should be revised according to the very principle which governed its original codification, and that the idealized standard should represent actual speech as it is today. The great majority of Serbs or Croats who cannot distinguish short falling from short rising accents feel there should be only a single "short" accent; they also feel that the language should codify only those long unaccented vowels which are consistently spoken as long (such as the [genitive plural] endings).
[...]

But although there is considerable discussion among linguists on all aspects of this issue, feelings run especially high on the issue of non-initial falling accents. The dictum of the Vukovian system is that falling accents are allowed only in initial position. This is because all non-initial accents historically represent retractions, and all retracted accents are rising[...] It follows from this, therefore, that words with a falling accent on a non-initial syllable are being pronounced incorrectly and should be adapted to the Vukovian system. Since a number of speakers of BCS come from areas where the neo-štokavian retraction was not fully carried out, schoolteachers regularly teach these speakers these speakers [sic] to pronounce the words in question with consistently retracted accents. This general pedagogical experience has strengthened the belief of prescriptive grammarians that any non-initial accent must be scrutinized. If it is pronounced as falling, then it has not been properly retracted and this must be corrected.

Now, however, linguists and educated speakers are beginning to realize that their speech does indeed include words with non-initial falling accents, and that these falling accents are not in error. Rather, they represent the natural pronunciation of a number of words, a pronunciation which need not (and should not) be corrected according to some abstract principle. For Bosnian linguists (and others who look to Bosnian as a model of accentual "purity"), the most convincing evidence is that Bosnians also pronounce these words with non-initial falling accents. The number of these words is not large, but it is significant enough to make the point. Many of the words are foreign borrowings, a number of which end in -ent (such as absolvent "fifth year university student"). Others are native words which are relatively long, often consisting of a number of morphemes (such as poljoprivreda "agriculture").

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-18, 9:51

That's quite interesting, thanks!

I find it kind of strange that the author conflates the situation in Serbia with that of Croatia. Most people in Croatia don't maintain any sort of tonal distinction, whereas most people in Serbia will generally have some sort of tonal system that is different to the standard. I would argue that that's quite a different phenomenon.

Further, the author contradicts herself when she says that short falling accents on final syllables are an issue in Serbia. If speakers in Serbia don't differentiate tone in short syllables, why is it an issue to find short falling accents outside of the first syllable? If it was true that speakers in Serbia don't maintain tonal distinctions in short syllables, the widespread non-standard pronunciation absolvȅnt mentioned by the author would be impossible. It wouldn't be an issue of a falling tone outside of the stressed syllable, but of non-standard stress, because the stressed syllable in absolvent is short. The same is true of poljoprivreda, and there there isn't even non-standard stress (short rising poljoprìvreda vs. short falling poljoprȉvreda both have the same stressed syllable).

"Since a number of speakers of BCS come from areas where the neo-štokavian retraction was not fully carried out"; as far as I know this would specifically apply for kosovsko-resavski (so Kragujevac, Jagodina, Zaječar, Kruševac, northern Kosovo) speakers, so not the vojvođansko-šumadijski bloc that includes the prestige dialect.

I'd also like to know if there are any major differences in the pitch accent systems of the two major dialects in Bosnia, Eastern Bosnian and Eastern Herzegovinian. I can't find any sort of real descriptions of Eastern Bosnian on the internet so I'll have to find some print sources in Serbia. Things may be changing now due to the influence of each country's respective prestige dialect and all the population displacement in the '90s, but I find it rather strange to hear talk of "Serbian", "Croatian" and "Bosnian" as if they were the most salient linguistic categories when there are massive regional differences in all three countries.

In any case, she's obviously right in that the way people speak in Serbia is quite different from the standard accent system (although the way it's different varies a lot by region), but I'm still somewhat skeptical of the idea that people in Serbia, at least in the traditional vojvođansko-šumadijski area, don't maintain tonal distinctions on short syllables (it may not be a particularly salient phonemic distinction, since stress and length are much more important, and may be hard to consciously perceive for the uninitiated, but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't pronouncing it). I guess now that I can fairly reliably perceive lexical tone in careful, standard speech I'll have to keep my ears primed to notice what it's like in Novi Sad.

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 5897
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Milan
Country: IT Italy (Italia)
Contact:

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby OldBoring » 2019-05-18, 10:28

Saim wrote:In any case, she's obviously right in that the way people speak in Serbia is quite different from the standard accent system

Serbians speak a dialect of Croatian.

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-18, 11:53

OldBoring wrote:
Saim wrote:In any case, she's obviously right in that the way people speak in Serbia is quite different from the standard accent system

Serbians speak a dialect of Croatian.


No they don't. They speak four completely different dialects of Croatian. :P

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-19, 10:59

Mandarin

I'm on Lesson 24 of Assimil: Le chinois sans peine. I've come to the conclusion that it's just too hard for the absolute beginner. You can brute-force the whole thing in Anki, but there are too many jumps in difficulty. In every dialogue there is at least one sentence that will have two or even three new words and up to three new characters, which is just too much for someone without a base in characters. Maybe that would've been manageable had I gone through the whole Heisig book before tackling Assimil, but that's just too boring for me, I prefer studying the characters along with the actual language.

There's a shared deck on Anki's website called Spoon-fed Chinese that takes a more progressive approach, with "i+1" sentences. I think I'll spend some time with this and then go back to Assimil once I've gone through a couple of hundred cards.
Last edited by Saim on 2019-05-20, 18:52, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-19, 17:40

Another Turkish series with audiodescription and subtitles (not hard-coded, so the transcript is also available with a click!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCkpcetMaU0

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-20, 17:23

Le chinois sans peine, c'est trop de peine, oh là là :P
Saim wrote:I find it kind of strange that the author conflates the situation in Serbia with that of Croatia.

For whatever it's worth, I find that what people (who speak BCS) say about BCS doesn't really match up with what she writes.

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-23, 8:31

Mandarin

I stopped doing character production cards a while ago and I think it's severely impacted my ability to remember characters, so I'm going to get back to into it. I've realised that the way I was approaching my production deck was wrong -- although I'll have the pronunciation and the meaning there, what I need to practice is stroke order. And if I come across a character first in a bisyllabic word I'll practice that word rather than the character on its own.

It sounds really obviously now that I think about it. I don't know why I ever did it the other way. Before my production cards were like this:

Front: character, stroke order, audio
Back: one meaning, pinyin

Now they're like this:

Front: character(s), pinyin, one meaning
Back: stroke order(s)

I guess I just thought that stroke order would be too hard to practice, so I didn't even try. But it's actually not that hard, it's much harder to remember the pronunciation and one meaning of every single character I want to learn without the sentence providing context. Sentences are a good prompt for meaning and pronunciation, whereas individual characters/words are a good prompt for stroke order (but not for meaning and pronunciation).

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-23, 19:24

I think I've been told that stroke order is kind of overrated, and I've definitely been told that Chinese people these days don't know how to write (by hand) anymore, but I definitely had to know it for my Chinese homework in college. :P

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-23, 20:25

vijayjohn wrote:I think I've been told that stroke order is kind of overrated, and I've definitely been told that Chinese people these days don't know how to write (by hand) anymore, but I definitely had to know it for my Chinese homework in college. :P


I don't expect to learn how to write by hand by doing this. :) I don't want to be able to write characters from memory (at least not at this stage), but to be able copy characters I see in front of me and to see characters as a collection of strokes so that they're easier to recognise.

At a certain point it becomes hard to learn lots of characters without writing them out. And I'm not sure what I could test on my production cards other than stroke order. :hmm:

User avatar
Yasna
Posts: 2199
Joined: 2011-09-12, 1:17
Gender: male
Location: Boston
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Yasna » 2019-05-23, 20:38

If you haven't already, be sure to give radicals some attention. There's only around 200 of them, and being familiar with them makes the overall task of memorizing thousands of characters considerably less daunting.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-24, 5:29

I probably still haven't really learned the radicals. Lol :oops: I used to be pretty bad about learning characters.

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-24, 7:00

Yasna wrote:If you haven't already, be sure to give radicals some attention. There's only around 200 of them, and being familiar with them makes the overall task of memorizing thousands of characters considerably less daunting.


Good idea. I'd heard it's important a couple of times but kind of avoided it because I felt like it's probably best to start by jumping in and working through a textbook, but since I've gone through 200+ characters already and am starting to see an upper limit to my ability to comfortably acquire new characters it might be good to give this special effort now.

I've already deleted the "Spoonfed Chinese" deck because I just wasn't going through it, but since radicals are a small, closed list this might be something this might be something that's good for a premade deck.

vijayjohn wrote:I probably still haven't really learned the radicals. Lol :oops: I used to be pretty bad about learning characters.


The radicals aren't going anywhere, learn them now with me. :twisted:

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-25, 4:59

I'm not sure whether I've learned them yet or not, but if not, I guess I might as well! I have this, so I might as well use it. (Again).

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-25, 8:36

vijayjohn wrote:I'm not sure whether I've learned them yet or not, but if not, I guess I might as well! I have this, so I might as well use it. (Again).


You have books? Look at Mr. Fancy over here.

Since you can already read Chinese it'll probably pretty straightforward for you. :)

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-05-26, 9:57

Saim wrote:Good idea. I'd heard it's important a couple of times but kind of avoided it because I felt like it's probably best to start by jumping in and working through a textbook, but since I've gone through 200+ characters already and am starting to see an upper limit to my ability to comfortably acquire new characters it might be good to give this special effort now.

I've already deleted the "Spoonfed Chinese" deck because I just wasn't going through it, but since radicals are a small, closed list this might be something this might be something that's good for a premade deck.


I think instead of trying to burn through the entire deck as soon as possible it's best to associate the radicals with characters that they occur in and then associate those characters with words and sentences they can be used in.

From now on if there's a new character in a sentence I want to make a flashcard for I'll check what the radical is and make a note of it in the character production card, as well as exporting the radical itself to from the premade radical deck to my own character production deck. Besides this, I'll also make sure to work through the radical deck itself, but if I export a radical I'll also find some common words (and add them to my character production deck) and easy sentences (and add them to my sentence deck).

This may be a bit slower than just trying to burn through the radical deck but I think my retention will be higher in the long run.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-27, 7:43

Saim wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I'm not sure whether I've learned them yet or not, but if not, I guess I might as well! I have this, so I might as well use it. (Again).


You have books? Look at Mr. Fancy over here.

It's available on academia.edu, too, though: https://www.academia.edu/33754790/WIEGER.

Another book you might find useful that I also have in print form is this: https://archive.org/details/fcnhq.Tuttl ... Characters. Victor Mair doesn't like it, and it's admittedly pretty silly, but I think his criticism of it is a little overly harsh because I think it's precisely because it's so silly with its cute (but not very precise or etymologically accurate) mnemonics that it helps with memorizing the characters. I actually like it more than Wieger's book myself (I mean, at least it's easier to read...).
Since you can already read Chinese it'll probably pretty straightforward for you. :)

I think the hardest part for me about radicals is remembering whether I need to care what they mean or how they're pronounced (if I don't already know). I mean, does丨even mean anything?

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-06-09, 18:04

Characters

I'm biting the bullet and just going through Heisig with Anki. I'm not in much of a hurry to speak or even understand Mandarin, so it seems like it makes more sense for me to break it down into smaller pieces and work on things that will make sentence mining more fun in the long run. My plan is to go through the first book (~1500) for as long as it takes, and then reconsider whether I want to finish the whole thing or would prefer to study the actual language for a bit and then circle back to the remaining 1500 characters (book two). So far it seems to be working pretty well, but maybe there's an upper limit to how many I can realistically memorise without studying the language more holistically, in which case I'll need to mix up my materials more.

Punjabi

I'm just noting that I've found an online monolingual dictionary (Gurmukhi-only as you'd expect):

http://punjabipedia.org

I'm not sure how good it is, I hope it's comprehensive. So far I've only checked a couple of common words and it seemed to work for them.

For the time being I'm going to keep working on Urdu, I feel I'll need to read more than a dozen books before I'm ready to go back to Punjabi (this is an optimistic estimate based on the time it took for me to get comfortable in Hungarian, which is lightyears ahead of my Urdu at the moment). Knowing that there is a monolingual Punjabi dictionary available online has given me quite a lot of motivation to keep studying Indo-Aryan, so even though I don't have time for Punjabi at the moment I'm glad I found this as it'll make studying Urdu feel even more meaningful.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24010
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-06-17, 7:31

Saim wrote:For the time being I'm going to keep working on Urdu, I feel I'll need to read more than a dozen books before I'm ready to go back to Punjabi (this is an optimistic estimate based on the time it took for me to get comfortable in Hungarian, which is lightyears ahead of my Urdu at the moment).

I think you probably explained this before, but why do you need to improve your Urdu before you're ready to go back to Punjabi again? :hmm:

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5345
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Poznań
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Saim's log 2017-2019

Postby Saim » 2019-06-19, 5:40

vijayjohn wrote:I think you probably explained this before, but why do you need to improve your Urdu before you're ready to go back to Punjabi again? :hmm:


Do I necessarily need to? No. Is it the only realistic way to go about it given the amount of mental energy I have each day, my other goals, immediate access to interesting material, and general level of motivation? Yes.

The thing is that I only have a certain amount of mental energy to spend on "intensive" activities each day. This isn't such a problem when it comes to Slavic, Germanic and Romance languages (and recently Hungarian), because I can generally just enjoy them and do mostly extensive activities (reading articles, books, watching videos, etc. for fun), perhaps with some sentence mining and Anki as icing on the cake.

When studying Urdu, on the other hand, I get tired fairly quickly when I read, I just don't have the level of vocabulary to be able to read extensively, nor am I particularly used to the Arabic script. So my immediate priority is to keep reading Urdu, making lots of flashcards, so that I can break out of that and read for pleasure. My listening comprehension is quite good, but I keep hitting an upper ceiling in comprehension due to a lack of relatively less-common vocabulary, which I think will be easier to acquire if I get substantially better at reading.

The advantage of using written material is especially clear when you consider the fact that half the time in speech (at least when it comes to informal YouTube videos, instagram stories, interviews etc.) these words are replaced by their English equivalents anyway. Of course, here my comprehension gets substantially higher, but this isn't indicative of actual competence in the language, since you need (realistically, as a non-native) to be fluent in "real" Hindustani to even have a chance at producing grammatically-correct, idiomatic Hinglish.

As it stands any time I spend on Urdu or Punjabi is time I could spend on Mandarin or Turkish. Whereas potential time spent on Hungarian or German is not necessarily competing with languages in the former group. This the same reason why for the time being I'm not doing any Arabic, Basque or Hebrew.


Return to “Total Annihilation Challenge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest