Contractions

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Hoogstwaarschijnlijk
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Re: Contractions

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-08-08, 9:59

Sophie wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:In written language you usually write 'Ik weet het niet' but in pronounciation it becomes 'kweenie' :)
That sounds as bad as French. :shock:

This is why I'm always having trouble understand French when it's spoken fast, particularly at the colloquial level. Fast speakers tend to omit the pronunciation of certain letters and squeeze everything else together. I can understand je ne sais pas when it's spoken properly, but in fast colloquial speech it can sound like (bearing in mind that ne is omitted in colloquial speech) [ʒspɑ].

Well, maybe, yes. But I think this happens in every language, doesn't it? In English it becomes dunno...
Though in French it happens very often too, indeed. Hence my shock when Jonathan & Kevin Borlee turned out to be Wallonian in stead of Flemish. I recognised the jspa-thing with them too. Besides that I didn't understand much of it, though reading French isn't that hard for me..
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Re: Contractions

Postby Muisje » 2012-08-08, 10:04

It's only because it's a fixed phrase that it can get reduced so much. Every language has them but native speakers aren't really aware of it usually..

natuurlijk (of course) -> tuuk
eigenlijk (actually) -> eik
in ieder geval (anyway) -> ieval
op een gegeven moment (at some point) -> (p)geement

But yeah you can't write them down like this, then people won't understand what you mean. :P

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:And Citybird, why is that surprising? I was only thinking of contraction in the sense of: two words becoming one word, I didn't think of elisie (leaving out sounds). I had thought of 't and 'm and 'r, but I thought they didn't count because that was just in one word :)
That is one word but it can only get reduced like that when it's attached to another word. Like in the English examples, 've is one word but it can only get reduced like that when it's attached to another word (would've, could've, should've, might've, I've). :)
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Re: Contractions

Postby CityBird » 2012-08-08, 10:07

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:And Citybird, why is that surprising? I was only thinking of contraction in the sense of: two words becoming one word.
Well, s'avonds are two words (des avonds). It is just that genitief (the des), apart from a few exceptions, is archaic.

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:In written language you usually write 'Ik weet het niet' but in pronunciation it becomes 'kweenie' :)
That sounds like certain Flemish dialects :mrgreen:. There is a difference however. 'kweenie' is not standaard Dutch. 't is and s'avonds are.

Anecdote: This reminds me that I once had to explain to a British colleague what the meaning was of 's-Gravenhage. He could not really understand why there was such a large difference between The Hague and 's-Gravenhage.

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Re: Contractions

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-08-08, 10:39

Muisje wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:And Citybird, why is that surprising? I was only thinking of contraction in the sense of: two words becoming one word, I didn't think of elisie (leaving out sounds). I had thought of 't and 'm and 'r, but I thought they didn't count because that was just in one word :)
That is one word but it can only get reduced like that when it's attached to another word. Like in the English examples, 've is one word but it can only get reduced like that when it's attached to another word (would've, could've, should've, might've, I've). :)

Yes, but there is a difference between them (still explaining why I didn't post the example of 't immediately...). With 've you attach it to the word before it. You're leaving ha- out there, it gets 'replaced' (sort of) with the would/could/whatever. But with 't it's different because there doesn't need to be a word before it. And if so, you don't write it down as one word and I think you wouldn't consider it as one word in the way you would consider don't as one word. Well, I'd consider 's avonds as one word, that's slightly different, but " was 't" or " 't geeft" would be two words for me. It's the elisie there that counts, not the fact that you can add whichever word after that, it's not a contraction.
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Re: Contractions

Postby Aurinĭa » 2012-08-08, 12:50

Muisje wrote:natuurlijk (of course) -> tuuk
eigenlijk (actually) -> eik
in ieder geval (anyway) -> ieval
op een gegeven moment (at some point) -> (p)geement

But yeah you can't write them down like this, then people won't understand what you mean. :P
I wouldn't understand those when spoken either... :para:

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Re: Contractions

Postby linguoboy » 2012-08-08, 14:15

melan wrote:
Muisje wrote:natuurlijk (of course) -> tuuk
eigenlijk (actually) -> eik
in ieder geval (anyway) -> ieval
op een gegeven moment (at some point) -> (p)geement

But yeah you can't write them down like this, then people won't understand what you mean. :P
I wouldn't understand those when spoken either... :para:

You'd be surprised. Your mind is so good at filling in missing segments that you don't realise how many are omitted in everday conversation. One of my friends in high school used to do an experiment where he would pronounce just one salient consonant of our names (e.g. the /k/ in Mark); it was enough to get us to turn around and see what he wanted.
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Re: Contractions

Postby Muisje » 2012-08-08, 15:08

melan wrote:
Muisje wrote:natuurlijk (of course) -> tuuk
eigenlijk (actually) -> eik
in ieder geval (anyway) -> ieval
op een gegeven moment (at some point) -> (p)geement

But yeah you can't write them down like this, then people won't understand what you mean. :P
I wouldn't understand those when spoken either... :para:
http://www.mirjamernestus.nl/Ernestus/public/Akademie_nieuws_2007.pdf :)
She did an experiment once with words ending in -lijk, which are reduced in regular speech so (amongst other things) the l is dropped. People had to push a button whenever they heard an l, and they pushed it when they heard one of those reduced forms, even though the l wasn't actually there. (It's in the article too)
I guess the actual reductions and phrases are partly different for Belgian Dutch but I'm pretty sure at least 'tuuk' does exist :wink: Just pay attention next time you talk to someone.
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Re: Contractions

Postby Kenny » 2012-08-08, 16:05

I've also noticed how in relaxed speech I tend to ommit a lot of sounds I wouldn't when thinking about what I'm actually saying.

That's how a sentence like Fogalmam sincs miről beszélsz (I have no idea what you're talking about) comes out as Fogamam sics mirő beszész.

We do have a number of "contractions", none of them acceptable in writing and mostly confined to an informal register, such as

vok for vagyok - I am
nem tom for nem tudom - I don't know
azt for aztán - then
etc.

(I could probably think of a lot more if I racked my brains a bit more...)

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Re: Contractions

Postby ling » 2012-08-08, 18:25

Thai has some, like yip, short for yiisip (twenty)
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Re: Contractions

Postby language learner » 2012-08-08, 18:33

ling wrote:Thai has some, like yip, short for yiisip (twenty)

This can't beat the Bulgarian двайс for двадесет (again twenty). Or шеснайс for шестнадесет - sixteen.

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Re: Contractions

Postby linguoboy » 2012-08-08, 19:39

Irish is like a Romance language when it comes to contractions of prepositions with the article, e.g.: de + an = den, faoi + an = faoin, i + an = sa (don't ask!), etc. There are also licenced contractions of preposition plus possessive like de + a = and nonstandard/dialectal ones like i + mo = im. Possessives also contract before a vowel, e.g. m'anam "my soul", t'ainm "your name", etc.

The interrogative also contracts with articles (cén), verbal particles (cérbh), and other words (e.g. cé an rud "what [is] the thing?" > céard "what?"). Same goes for other interrogatives like (e.g. cá háit > c'áit "where?). The copula is and agus "and" both frequently take the form 's.

Some common contractions in the Munster dialect that aren't found in the standard: cad ina thaobh (lit. "what in his side") > cad'na (pronounced canna) thaobh "why?", cé acu > cioca "which one?", aon duine > éinne "anyone".

Modern Welsh goes crazy with contractions. Literary Yr wyf i yn dy garu "I love you" becomes in speech Rw i'n dy garu di or even Rwy'n dy garu di and is often so written. The "weak" consonants f (i.e. /v/) and dd /ð/ often drop intervocalically leading to contractions like yr oeddwn > ro'n and drostaf i > drosta'i.
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Re: Contractions

Postby Johanna » 2012-08-08, 21:39

Sophie wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:In written language you usually write 'Ik weet het niet' but in pronounciation it becomes 'kweenie' :)

That sounds as bad as French. :shock:

This is why I'm always having trouble understand French when it's spoken fast, particularly at the colloquial level. Fast speakers tend to omit the pronunciation of certain letters and squeeze everything else together. I can understand je ne sais pas when it's spoken properly, but in fast colloquial speech it can sound like (bearing in mind that ne is omitted in colloquial speech) [ʒspɑ].

I spoke to Mulder-21 yesterday over Skype, and asked him to pronounce things normally, and let's just say that it's not surprising that I only get about 1 of every 10 words when the Faroese members of the Nordic chat group speak with each other in their native language... OK, my Faroese isn't that good to begin with, but when I listen to the radio I usually understand what the topic is at least, and often a fair bit more than that.

It's almost even worse than in French, since in French you're already used to them using a lot of contractions when they write, and omitting a few extra vowels isn't very far from that.
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Re: Contractions

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-08-09, 8:26

melan wrote:
Muisje wrote:natuurlijk (of course) -> tuuk
eigenlijk (actually) -> eik
in ieder geval (anyway) -> ieval
op een gegeven moment (at some point) -> (p)geement

But yeah you can't write them down like this, then people won't understand what you mean. :P
I wouldn't understand those when spoken either... :para:


linguoboy & Muisje already said you would, and I think they're partly right, but I think they're misjudging the difference between Flemish Dutch and Dutch in the Netherlands. Lately I was having a dinner with four Flemish people and I really had to pay attention on the way I speak. I have to admit that I usually don't speak very clearly, but I was still shocked that we couldn't understand each other when we would talk in our normal way. Well, two of them came from West-Flandern and I could understand them really well but they showed how they normally talked and wow, that was a little different, haha :lol:

I think that because Dutch doesn't write these contractions usually the differences can be bigger than you'd think. But I'm sure Flemish uses them just as much!
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Re: Contractions

Postby Massimiliano B » 2012-08-09, 15:46



In Italian the contraction occurs also with these words:

Questo: quest'anno (this year)
Tanto: tant'altre cose (many different things)
Quanto: quant'è? (how much is it?)
Anche: anch'io (me too)

"Lo", la" (articles and pronouns); "una" (a) and composed words; questo, questa (this); quello, quella (that). Examples:
l'albero, l'uva, l'ho mangiato; un'antica città, nessun'altra; quest'uomo, quell'aula.

"Di" (of) and other words which end in -i, like mi, ti, si, vi. Examples: d'oro, d'Europa; t'ho detto, v'ascolto; s'alzano; v'asciugate.

"da" (from): d'altronde, d'ora in poi…

"Ci" and "vi" (both mean "there") only before words which begin with "e" and "i": expamples: c'è/v'è (there is), c’era/v'era (there was); c'erano/v'erano (there where), c'eravamo (we were there).

The particle "ne" (it means "of it", "from it", "from here", "about it"): se n'andò (he went).

Words like santo (saint), santa (saint- female), senza (without), bello (beautiful), grande (big). Examples:
Sant'Antonio, senz'altro, bell'esempio, grand'uomo.

With double pronouns:
gli+lo (to him+it) becomes "glielo". Example: glielo do (literally: "to him-it I-give"): "I give it to him".

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Re: Contractions

Postby Sol Invictus » 2012-08-09, 16:48

Curiously, I found out today that contractions are routinely used in Latvian folk songs to make words fit the metre as apperently the language undervent some sort of change by which number of syllables in word changed (presumably droped wovel in the ending, but it makes little sense here as it actualy means dropping yet another vowel, unless, since this occurs in dimunitives, the solution was adding two instead and then dropping one :hmm: )

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Re: Contractions

Postby kevin » 2012-08-09, 17:40

Standard German doesn't do it a lot: There are some contractions of prepositions with an article (in das = ins; in dem = im; zu der = zur; ...) that are almost mandatory, but other than that I can only think of es becoming 's, mostly after verbs, and this is already something to be avoided in formal language. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Standard German was mostly a written language until not too long ago.

In dialects, however, it happens a lot. When I write something in Swabian (which I don't do very often...), one of the most troubling things apart from choosing the right alphabet is whether or not to write things as separate words, make it one word, put an apostrophe, a hyphen or whatever in the middle, etc.

For example, it happens more than it doesn't when a pronoun follows a verb, as in (English/Standard German/Swabian):

have I / habe ich / hanne
have you / hast du / hasch
has he, she, it /hat er, sie es / hat'r, hat se, hat's
have we / haben wir / hemmer
have you / habt ihr / hend'r
have they / haben sie / hen se

Things become more interesting as you add some more pronouns as objects: Sechschsem? (or sechsch's-em or whatever...) is in Standard German Sagst du es ihm?/Will you tell it to him? And I'm pretty sure you can do similar fun in other German dialects...

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Re: Contractions

Postby Saaropean » 2012-08-10, 5:11

Addendum to Kevin's post:

Preposition + article:
in + dem = im, an + dem = am, zu + dem = zum, zu + der = zur
X + das = Xs (especially ins, aufs)

Verbs:
I'd even go so far as to say the verb+pronoun contraction is a new conjugation. Look at these Colloquial Standard German examples:
habe ich [ˈhaːbə ʔɪç] => habich [ˈhabɪç]
hast du [hast duː] => haste [ˈhastə]
hat er [hatʰ ʔɛɐ̯] => hatter [ˈhatʰɐ]
hat sie [hatʰ ziː] => hatse [ˈhatsə]
hat es [hatʰ ʔɛs] => hats [hats]
haben wir [ˈhaːbən ʋiɐ̯] => hamwer [ˈhamʋɐ] / hammer [ˈhamɐ]
habt ihr [ha(ː)ptʰ ʔiɐ̯] => habter [ˈhaptʰɐ]
haben sie [ˈhaːbən ziː] => hamse [ˈhamzə]

Many dialects (at least in the south-west) distinguish stressed and unstressed personal pronouns. In the verb+pronoun contraction, the unstressed pronouns are used. Here's a Rhine Franconian example with the verb "sagen" (to say), showing pronoun + verb and the verb+pronoun contraction:
isch saan [ʔɪʃ zaːn] / saanisch [ˈzaːnɪʃ]
du saasch(t) [duː zaːʃ(t)] / saasche [ˈzaːʒə]
a saat [ʔɐ zaːtʰ] / saada [ˈzaːdɐ]
es saat [ʔəs zaːtʰ] / saats [zaːts] (The neuter pronoun is used for female persons.)
ma saan [mɐ zaːn] / saama [ˈzaːmɐ]
ihr saan [ʔiɐ̯ zaːn] / saana [ˈzaːnɐ]
se saan [zə zaːn] / saanse [ˈzaːnzə]

kevin wrote:Things become more interesting as you add some more pronouns as objects: Sechschsem? (or sechsch's-em or whatever...) is in Standard German Sagst du es ihm?/Will you tell it to him? And I'm pretty sure you can do similar fun in other German dialects...

That would be "saaschsem" [ˈzaːʃsəm] or, being more precise, "saasch de 's em" [ˈzaːʃdəzəm] in the dialect of Saarbrücken [zaˈpʁɪgə].

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Re: Contractions

Postby Ser » 2012-08-11, 4:42

eversleep wrote:Are there any other languages besides English that use contractions, like "don't", "can't", "should've", etc.? If so list them.
Spanish:

Standard Spanish only admits two in its orthography:
Remis wrote:Spanish has a + el = al and de + el = del.


But the language actually has a whole bunch of others... off the top of my head:
el + stressed a... = l'a, e.g. el agua > l'agua
para > pa'
para el > pra'l, pa'l
una > 'na
voy a (hacer) > vua
voy a ir > vuir
the /d/ of the preposition de is often dropped, and the /e/ becomes the non-syllabic part of a diphthong with the vowel of a vowel-final word before, or even deletes the vowel before, e.g. agua de nacimiento > [aɣwae̯nasiˈmjento], [aɣwenasiˈmjento]
lots of unstressed vowels, especially /e, o/, are centralized to a schwa or are deleted, e.g. que se considera > [kes(ː)kõsiˈðeɾa] para > [pɾa]
intervocalic /b d g/ disappear entirely, e.g. haga [ˈa.a]
Last edited by Ser on 2012-08-15, 2:26, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Contractions

Postby Remis » 2012-08-11, 12:15

Serafín wrote:la + a... = l'a, e.g. el agua > l'agua
I'm not very far into Spanish at all, but coming from Italian I always wondered if there were a contraction like that because la ardilla (for instance) looks and sounds terribly weird to me. So it's only in speech then? Also, is there anything like un'ardilla as opposed to una ardilla?
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Re: Contractions

Postby Ser » 2012-08-11, 12:44

Remis wrote:
Serafín wrote:la + a... = l'a, e.g. el agua > l'agua
I'm not very far into Spanish at all, but coming from Italian I always wondered if there were a contraction like that because la ardilla (for instance) looks and sounds terribly weird to me. So it's only in speech then? Also, is there anything like un'ardilla as opposed to una ardilla?
Yes and yes. "L'ardilla" and "un'ardilla". You can pronounce them [la.aɾ.ˈdi.ʝa] and [u.na.aɾ.ˈdi.ʝa] too, it's just more formal.


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