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Iversen’s Multiconfused Log (see p.1!)

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Iversen
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 Message 1601 of 3959
31 December 2009 at 7:13pm | IP Logged 
Right now I'm sitting at a computer in an internet cafe (luckily almost music free) in near my hotel in London, so I'll have to be brief. In fact there is free internet on my TV screen in my room, but it is the most useless and cumbersome kind of internet I have ever seen - not even the screen size is managed correctly. So here I am.

I visited the National Gallery yesterday, and I went away with their brochure in Italian, Spanish and Russian. That has been mentioned as a sign of linguistic geekiness in the relevant thread. Today I started out at 10 o'clock at the gigantic British Museum, and I came to think of another thread, the one about "how many languages have you heard today". Well, quite a few, actually. The museums are stock full of people on holiday (and they are free, to the boot, which doesn't make the crowds smaller). From there I went to Zoo, where the density of non-English languages is somewhat lower, but I finished at Foyles bookstore at Charing Cross Street. And no, I didn't find everything I looked for (including the Tagalog rootbased dictionary that didn't arrived when I ordered it from Manila), but I did buy a few books:

The big red book of Spanish and English idioms (and no, I don't know whether the typical Spaniard uses more or fewer idioms than his Anglophone counterpart)

The essential Scots dictionary (so that I don't have to rely exclusively on the online dictionary which I have mentioned earlier in this thread)

Collins Pocket Irish dictionary

and.. The Teach Yourself Irish grammar, whose awowed purpose to give me "complete understanding". Well, first have have to decide whether I'm going to study the language at all, and so far I haven't got time. But I once read the beginning of the textbook from TY, and I got the impression that half the letters are silent and the rest pronounced without any reference to the spelling, and that's were I decided to stay away from this not-spoken official language of Eire. But that was 30 years ago, and if I didn't have an ongoing project concerning the Slavic language I might find time for a bit of Irish. I'm not going to learn it now, but it's nice to have the books. Which is one one more sign of impending geekiness.

By the way, a notice in the brochure from a local delivery service claims that "Lasagne is an English creation. Apparently it appears in a 14th century cookbook under the name of 'Loseyns'. Though it didn't mention the meat".

Well, well, Me and Garfield didn't know that!


Edited by Iversen on 31 December 2009 at 7:14pm

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Sprachjunge
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 Message 1602 of 3959
31 December 2009 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
I'm sorry, I have to type this quickly before I lose my nerve--I also feel like I'm intruding on hallowed ground, seriously--but you, Iversen, are my hero! :)
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Fasulye
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 Message 1603 of 3959
01 January 2010 at 1:09am | IP Logged 
GER: Danke für deinen Bericht aus London. Ich war 1978 mal drei Tage in London, aber die Sehenswürdigkeiten, die du jetzt beschreibst, habe ich damals nicht besucht. Ich kann mich aber noch an die Underground und an Madame Tussaud's Wachsfigurenkabinett erinnern. Ich habe auch ein original britisches Buch zu den englischen Idioms, das heißt: "Oxford Dictionary of Idioms" (393 Seiten).

Ich werde am Sonntag eine Video-Response für Jiwon produzieren. Irgendwie inspiriert mich das, wenn sich einer wie Jiwon aus unserem Forum vor die Videokamera stellt und auf You Tube ein multilinguales Lied singt. Eigentlich bin ich ja ein Polyglgot und keine Sängerin, aber jetzt möchte ich doch mal musikalisch auftreten und zwar so, dass es von den Sprachen her interessant ist. Natürlich können andere Leute besser singen oder Gitarre spielen als ich, aber ich musiziere nur relativ selten und betreibe die Musik nicht mit soviel "Geekiness/Nerdiness" wie das Sprachenlernen. Aber ich werde dabei meinen Spaß haben und deswegen mache ich das.

Fasulye


Edited by Fasulye on 01 January 2010 at 1:12am

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Iversen
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 Message 1604 of 3959
02 January 2010 at 11:19am | IP Logged 
GER: Jiwon ist sehr sehr mutig, - ich möchte nicht einmal auf Video sprechen, und er singt in drei Sprachen. Ich konnte doch mit der jütische Version des Liedes beitragen, geschrieben vor Jeppe Aakjær, einem Dänischen Heimatdichter der um 1900 oder so lebte. So was reines Dialekt ist heute schwer zu finden. Leider ist es auch schwer Lernmaterial zu finden. Es gibt zwar ein Wörterbuchprojekt, aber die Leute werden wohl nie damit fertig weil alles so wissenschaftlich sein muss, - und inzwischen fehlt uns etwas einfaches und praktisches.

ENG: And now back to the language of this monolingual holiday (yes, English is also just a language between languages!). Yesterday I had a long discussion with an employee of the Science Museum in Kensington - I was the first guest in her department, so she wasn't too busy. We discussed among other things whether London is a place where you can learn English, and my contention is that it is not - you hear simply too many kinds of English here, and the local cockney(s) is not something you would normally try to emulate. Neither is Scots for that matter. The best place to refine your English must be a small town or village where you hear one single dialect all the time, and preferably one that isn't too extreme.

I have read the section about the nouns in my Irish Teach Yourself grammar, and I'm not too impressed. Some things are explained in an orderly way, but it seems that the author is scared to death about the prospect of providing systematic declension tables. When I had read his description I turned to my Collins dictionary and found that I couldn't guess the genitives of common nouns. The problem is that Irish has 5 noun classes and two genders (the neuter of Old Irish has disappeared, along with a separate Accusative), and most nouns are just marked with a noun class and a gender, - though some are marked with a plural form. Last night I found out that the otherwise dismal free internet at my room at least could be used for reading Wikipedia, and then I read the section about Irish nominals - and then I suddenly understood the system, and it turned out that the missing indications in the Collins book mostly are guessable.

As in other Celtic languages Irish has some mechanisms that change consonants, not least those at the beginning of a word. In fact some other Celtic languages have more than Irish, so I shouldn't really complain. There are broad consonants and slender consonants - the slender ones can be seen as palatized, but it is better to stick to the antonomy slender/broad. If you take a 1. class masculine noun and put it in the genitive then the final broad consonant is made slender - which in most cases is marked with an 'i' in the writing (-an --> -ain). So instead of having a specific ending (like the -s of English) you apply a specific mechanism. If you want a vocative you put the particle 'a' in front of the word (I still haven't figured out why this is called a particle and not a preposition). But this 'a' has the effect of provoking another another change called lenition, which applies to initial consonant. In the writing this is is marked by a 'h' after the consonant (with some exceptions).

There is also a dative, and it is mentioned in the grammar without one important detail, namely that it in the standard written version of Irish only is used in ONE word, namely Éirinn (from Éire=Ireland).

Then what about plural? Well there are two kinds, weak and strong. The strong ones have the same form in both Nominative/Accusative and Genitive, and this form is marked in my dictionary - what the grammar didn't tell me is that the strong ones generally are the one with a specific ending, so whenever there is marked a specific plural in my dictionary it is a strong plural - so no need to worry (except in a few cases, where I have found unmarked weak endings in the dictionary). The weak plural genitive is often identical to the nominative/accusative singular, which makes things much easier ... I hope.

Finally there is the problem about articles, - which in Irish only can be that definite article as there isn't an indefinite one (a situation that reminds me of Icelandic). It can be 'na' and 'an'. Generally it is 'na' in singular and 'an' in plural, but also 'an' in singular genitive with feminine nouns. OK, I can handle that. Then there is one more complication: words with an inital vowel inserts a 't' (!), and many with an initial consonant modifies this: d > nd, c > gc etc. Besides the article in some cases is fused with a few common prepositions, but overall it seems rather simple.

Tonight I'll have a go at the verbs. But now it is museum visiting time - I'm going to Greenwich.


Edited by Iversen on 03 January 2010 at 5:41am

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Iversen
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 Message 1605 of 3959
02 January 2010 at 11:20am | IP Logged 
Sprachjunge wrote:
I'm sorry, I have to type this quickly before I lose my nerve--I also feel like I'm intruding on hallowed ground, seriously--but you, Iversen, are my hero! :)


Thanks - and you are welcome to intrude on this absolutelynothallowed ground
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Iversen
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 Message 1606 of 3959
03 January 2010 at 4:40am | IP Logged 
Please note the time stamp for this message. I am writing this through the very limited kind of internet that I have got on my hotel room - but apparently it is good enough for the purpose. I woke up some time ago, but only to the point where I could think,but not so much that i wanted to move or even open my eyes. Be prepared for a long rant in two parts.

metalevel 1

I have spent some time the last couple of evenings reading about Irish, partly in Wwikipedia where I also could read about other Celtic languages. And so it happened that i woke up thinking about lenition and eclipsis, the two processes that change initial consonants in Irish (apparently Old irish and other Celtic languages have a few more). I have earlier thought about language differences in terms of prismatic experiences, but this time it struck me that zoological nomenclature is a better analogy, because it is stemmatic (i.e. has a tree structure) - though also with a notion of parallel development that functions as an analogon for the wawe mechanics of language development. So in practical terms I was lying there in the darkness seeing Irish and Scottish Gaelich and Manx and Breton and Cornish like green parrots sitting on a branch, all alike and all somewhat different. And the other language families within my scope were other birds: Germanic ducks, Romance sparrows and Slavic poultry. And in the horizon there were other kinds of animals representing the non-Indoeuropean languages. The funny thing about this rambling imagery was that the sounds of the birds were not invoked, only the taxonomic relationships and their outer looks.

metalevel 2

At some point it struck me that I was formulating these parallels in Scots with the voice of Billy Connally (as I have mentioned I listened to an hourlong stand up show with this Scottish comedian before leaving for London), and then I came to think about the possibility that each language in a person's mind has its own distinct voice. But the reason that one comedian's voice can epithomize the Scottish dialect or language is in fact that I have heard so little true Scottish. With 'common' British English I can choose to think using the voice of a certain person if I know it well enough, but it doesn't happen automatically. Today I have visited the Docklands museum, and on some screens there I saw someone that may have been the guy with the three day archeological excavations of British sites from TV (plus some years), and yes, I could use his voice and intonation - but I could also substitute another voice speakinng another kind of English. Then I tried with with Italian, where I also could use different voices I have heard lately, and I tried with the actor that did the three first three chapters of Master i Margarita by Bulgakov - the only Russian voice I could recall clearly enough (and I didn't like his Kaiphas impersonation!). But the better you know a language, the more you have developed your own voice in that language, based on all the impressions you have had.

.. and at that point I was sufficiently awake to get the idea this this could be my daily message in this logbook, and that I might forget it if I didn't write it down immediately. But Hobbema (see below) is right, I should be sleeping now - I'll correct the spelling errors when I can use a proper computer again.


Edited by Iversen on 03 January 2010 at 5:44am

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Hobbema
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 Message 1607 of 3959
03 January 2010 at 5:05am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Please note the time for this message. I am writing this through the very limited kind of internet that I have got on my hotel room - but apparently it is good enough fo the purpose. I woke up some time ago, but only to the point where I could think,but not so much that i wanted to move or even open my eyes. Be prepared for a long rant in two parts.


I note the time stamp.

So I have to say:

Dude, leave the computer alone and go to bed and get some sleep. Those of us in other time zones will take care of the rest.

We'll be here whenever you decide to post, never fear. And I will look forward to your rants!

Edited by Hobbema on 03 January 2010 at 5:17am

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Iversen
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 Message 1608 of 3959
04 January 2010 at 1:31am | IP Logged 
I'm back home now, but I have spent the evening on putting my photos in order, not on language learning. However in the plane back home I read about the pronouns in Irish, and haha ... they make funny words when they for instance fuse pronouns with prepositions and negations. The book tells me that the results are inflected prepositions, but for me it would be more logical to talk about prepositional/negative forms of the pronouns because these already are inflected. And they have forms of the verb which are fused with pronouns, i.e. inflected forms, while other forms consist of an independent verb form plus a free pronoun. This tendency to fuse single words from different categories without carrying any structural tendency to its full consistent end point seems to be very characteristic for Irish (and maybe also for ther Celtic languages? - I'll have to look into that problem later)

My big problem right now is that I don't want to stop reading that grammar, so in a sense I'm studying Irish now - though so far without any intention of learning to speak it. However tomorrow evening I intend to focus my attention on some of my old languages, - they shouldn't lie idle and rusting while I'm having fun with a new acquiantance.And besides I have some things to do for my travel club, so there will be a couple of busy evenings, and I'll probably have to cut down on my time expenditure on Irish grammar..


Edited by Iversen on 04 January 2010 at 1:53am



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