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

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Iversen
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 Message 1697 of 3959
23 February 2010 at 7:15pm | IP Logged 
I'm now sitting in a town called Arima, but between Port of Spain and Arima I have visited an astonishing place, the Asa Wright Nature Center. I mentioned it to the owner of my hotel (or guesthouse) in Port of Spain, and then we called them to hear whether there was room for me. Ok, I got one night in an enormous room. And then I started watching birds and walking trails. But then I got one more weird idea: I was told that there was 12 km down to Arima (and no public transport, - I had arrived by taxi), and then I just started walking. It took three hours and 2 liters of fluids, and now I'm here - a bit tired after walking in 34 degrees C for three hours, but otherwise happy and unharmed. I have arranged to meet my next host at the local Police Station, and - being a town with few things to see - I hope to get time for some of the language related activities which I neglected at the bird place. I have brought the Kauderwaelsch Irish booklet, a small Russian grammar and my pile in several languages of wordlists that need repetition.

Btw. Arima is said to be a stronghold of the few remaining Caribs Indians, but my guess is that they speak English or Creole or something in between like everybody else.

Most tourists to 'Trinbago' go to tobago on group holidays. The two main exceptions are those who come for the Carnival (which ended just before my arrival) or to see the birds and the nature in general. None of these three groups are likely to end up in Arima.

Edited by Iversen on 23 February 2010 at 7:21pm

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Hobbema
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 Message 1698 of 3959
24 February 2010 at 3:56pm | IP Logged 
Iversen, dat is fantastisch!   Mezelf Ik het eens dat   de beste manier
Iversen, that is fantastic!   Mezelf I    agree   that the best    way

te verkennen een nieuwe plek is te lopen. En op een Caribisch
to explore      a  &nbs p; new    place is to walk. And on    a Carribean

eiland het beter   zou   zijn.   ; En het is   hier vandaag -17 graden Celsius...
island it   better would be . And it   is here today -17   degrees Celsius...

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Iversen
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 Message 1699 of 3959
24 February 2010 at 6:31pm | IP Logged 
In a couple of hours I'm going to some swamps with a guide to look at waterbirds. But first a bit of language study. I have brought my Kauderwelsch Irisch-Gälisch,and I'm quite content with this book - it has hyperliteral translations, pronunciation (which is a must with this language, whose ortography makes the English one look like an exercise in logic and economy)and relevant excerpts of the grammar. But I have over the last couple of months developed my own way of notating hyperliteral translations from Irish,and I'm going to describe some of my inventions.

First, Irish typically puts the verb first,and this makes the translation look like a question. So I put an exclamation sign after it to markthat it is NOT a question:

tá sé a ceathair a chlog
is! it (at) four o'Lclock

The 'it' is a formal subject, almost like a free-standing ending of the verb. There may be a more substantial subject later in the sentence. Notice the 'ch' in "chlog". When you see a 'h' near the beginning of an Irish word then it mostly is the result of lenition, one of the two major ways of altering the initial consonant of a word (and something to take into consideration if you use an Irish dictionary!). I often put a big L to mark this, and I put an E to mark another process, eclipsis. Those processes could be seen as something that is part of a preceding word rather than the one they affect. And you have to know where they apply, because that is not something logical - few things in Irish are logical. For instance

his = a L -> his car = a charr
her = a -> her car = a carr
their = a E -> their car = a gcarr (/ögarr/)

I can't write full IPA, but have a taken to a few tricks to write the pronunciation in a way that suits me. For instance I mark stresses with underlining and have have after some experimentation chosen the German and Swedish ö to mark a nondescript weakened couldbeanything vowel. The book uses an e with a dot over, which doesn't ring a bell with me.

'Full' yes or no questions ('Entscheidungsfragen') are in Irish initiated by a special word, which is 'an' in the present and future and 'ar' in the past tenses - and being Irish, these words have of course homonymes with totally different meanings. Those of you who speak Latin already know such a word (except that it doesn't inflect): "num". And luckily we have one in Danish too: "mon"(from an old verb "monne", approx. "might be") - so that's what I use in my hyperliterals:    

Ar thuigh sí an scéal?
Mon understood they the history?

Thuig
Understood (=yes)

Níor thuig
Not understood (=no)

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DaraghM
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 Message 1700 of 3959
26 February 2010 at 10:14am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Notice the 'ch' in "chlog". When you see a 'h' near the beginning of an Irish word then it mostly is the result of lenition


I love reading your analysis of the Irish language, as I've never looked at it properly. In old Irish the lenition was formed by a dot above the letter.

Iversen wrote:

'Full' yes or no questions ('Entscheidungsfragen') are in Irish initiated by a special word, which is 'an' in the present and future and 'ar' in the past tenses


As a child learning Irish, I use to associate 'an' and 'ar' with the English do and did.

Ar thuigh sí an scéal?
Did understand he the story? (hyperliteral)

The word tuig (understand) turns up in Hiberno-English as twig. E.g.

Did he twig what you're saying?

Edited by DaraghM on 26 February 2010 at 10:21am

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Iversen
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 Message 1701 of 3959
26 February 2010 at 5:32pm | IP Logged 
I'm now sitting in an internet cafe in San Fernando, the second largest town in Trinidad and Tobago and definitely not a place overrun by tourists (there is actually nothing to see here). The place has AC and no music, but the connection is painfully slow and and we have had two power losses within just five minutes - and then everything you have on the screen is lost. You don't write complicated things under those circumstances (at least not after the first time it happens).

I know that the dot above a let was used with the old Gaelic alphabet to indicate lenition, but I have learnt to use a raised dot to indicate a long vowel so that is how I use it even in Irish.

It is clear why Anglophones associate "ar" and "an" with 'does' and 'did'. The problem is that these last words are finite verbs and they are combined with an infinitive. The Irish words "ar" and "an" are not verbs (though it is debatable exactly what they are), so the 'true' verbs stay in a finite form. And both Latin "num" and Danish "mon" have this characteristic, which is why they both are better markers - the only missing detail is that they don't have a special past tense form. If you make a hyperliteral translation into English then it may seem strange to include non-English words, but it is more important to find a close grammatical parallel than to stay within one language in this kind of translations.

I have heard a lot of 'strange' English, sometimes almost incomprehensible. In its pure form this is probably a Creole that incorporates words from many sources: African, Carib, Spanish and French. Besides it has the typical simplified grammar. I have a transcript at my hotel of a poem about voodoo from the National Museum in Port of Spain, and one typical trait here was that "she" is used not only as a subject, but also as an object. I have tried in vain to find more about this Creole in the biggest bookstore and in the public library here, but it doesn't seem like something they are keen to put on paper. Even the 'normal' English here has some unexpected stresses and intonation patterns - for instance I have heard "newspaper" with stress on 'pa'.

Because of the lack of things to see in this town I have at last found time to complete a number of Greek wordlists, - which amounts to around 200 words. I have also some unfinished Russian wordlists waiting for me, which I will do this evening. And my Irish studies are still going according to plan. I will return to Europe after the weekend, and then I will be busy organizing my photos and my travel diary and doing chores for my travel club and working at my job, so actually I may have more free time these last holi-days than I'll have at my disposal right after my return to freezy Denmark. Just to mention one little detail: I have photographed maybe 30 different bird species, and I have just bought a Helms' Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago ... and now I just have to find out which birds I have photographed (under their English names). No mean task!


Edited by Iversen on 26 February 2010 at 6:12pm

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ruskivyetr
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 Message 1703 of 3959
28 February 2010 at 9:31pm | IP Logged 
Oh mein Gott Iversen! Das ist das größten Log, dass ich gesehen habe!!! Das ist PHANTASTISCH! Du bist wirklich das beste Sprachlerner hier in diesem Forum! Ich möchte
das mehr lesen, denn es ist so Interessant. Dein Englisch ist sehr gut. Es seht aus, dass es
deine Müttersprache ist! Du hast eine Ferien jetzt, ja? Wie ich sehen kann, du bist in
Trinidad und Tobago. Das ist ein schönes Land. Ich kenne Jemand, die dort geboren war.
Sie sagt, dass es sehr schön ist.
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Iversen
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 Message 1704 of 3959
02 March 2010 at 3:33pm | IP Logged 
GER: Mein Logbuch hier illustriert jedenfalls etwas was ich wichtig finde: Ausdauer! Wenn meine Gedächtnis besser wäre, oder wenn ich alles aufnehmen wie ein Schwamm konnte, dann gäbe es hier auch weniger Schreibübungen und Lerntechnik-Anweisungen von mir. Die besten Sprachlerner sind die die als Eingeborene überall gelten (wie die besten Spionen und Schwindler diejenige sind, die nicht aufgedeckt werden), und sie schreiben vermutlich nichts darüber weil das alles für ihnen so einfach scheint.

Ich bin nun wieder zu Hause in Dänemark, aber sitze gerade jetzt an meinem Arbeitsplatz und verwende nur eine kurze Pause auf etwas besseres als aus dem Fenster gucken. Während meine Abwesenheit hatte ich natürlich keine Zugang zu meiner Sammlung von Wörterbucher und Grammatiken, aber daß heißt schon lange nicht, daß ich nur Englisch benutzt habe, oder daß ich nur in Englisch und Dänisch gedacht habe.

Ich habe zum Beispiel Deutsch durch meinen Irischen Kauderwelsch trainiert, und es gab Straßennamen in Spanisch in Port of Spain (aka Puerto España). Auf dem Fernsehen gab es einige Sender mit Spanischer und Portugisischer Untertexten (und Werbung!), aber ich habe nichts davon gehört seit Mitte Februar. Und viele meiner Sprachen haben notwendigerweise auch Urlaub gehabt, und jetzt muß ich sie systematisch wiedererarbeiten. Aber das alles ist nicht schlimm. Und ich sehe, daß Loeland Scots jetzt auch eine studierbare Sprache geworden ist.

---

Rusyvyetr wrote that this is the largest log that he has seen. OK, at least that illustrates one important character trait for a language learner: persistance. However the truly excellent language learners are those that you never discover (just like the expert spies and criminals are those that don't get caught). And those who are world class language learning geniuses may not bother to write books or logs about it because it is too easy for them. In contrast I invent and describe memorization tricks because I need them myself.

I'm back from Trinidad now. During my trip there I had of course not access to my collection of grammars and dictionaries, but this didn't mean that I had to stick to English (and maybe some thinking in Danish). I had Spansh or Portuguese subtitles on some TV programs, and I brought a thin Langenscheidt Russian grammar and the Irish Kauderwelsch, both in German, so at least those languages got a bit of exercise.


Edited by Iversen on 08 March 2010 at 12:09pm



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