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

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Iversen
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 Message 3297 of 3959
05 June 2013 at 5:07pm | IP Logged 
Just one thing more: alongside with my snail paced journey through Potter One in Irish I may find time to read some scientific articles extensively - from a bilingual printout, which solves most of my problems with immediate comprehensibility. I have found a treasure trove of articles in Irish at Irish.zenews.co.uk, and when I run them through Google Translate I can more or less understand them. And having everything on one page is much easier than trying to read two books in parallel. So on my way home in the bus-back-to-my-home (a slightly slower collegue to the one used by Harry Potter on his trip through London) I intend to learn something about the hanging gardens of Babylon. Whose existence has been denied, but they did exist ... just not in Babylon, but in the Assyrian capital Niniveh.

PS: I'm back home now, and the texts from zenews runed out to be a major disappointment - the themes are really interesting, but it seems that the texts have been machine translated from English, as shown by examples like this: " Tharla cinn nuair a chonaic sí ó thaighde níos luaithe go tar éis Sennacherib sacked agus conquered babylon, (...)". Besides there are lots and lots of sentences with irrelevant elements at the start of the sentences where the verb should be. The result is not suitable for study purposes, even though I might look through some of the articles because of the interesting content.

Edited by Iversen on 06 June 2013 at 4:31pm

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 Message 3298 of 3959
09 June 2013 at 12:27am | IP Logged 
DA: Jeg tog på arbejde og var der et par timer i formiddags, fordi jeg sammen med en kollega skulle opdatere et datasystem, mens brugerne holdt fri.

IT: Nell'autobus al ritorno al mio apartamento, ho letto le prime venti pagine di una guida al Museo Correr di Venezia. Riempie due lati della Piazza San Marco, e condivide il suo bigliotto con il famoso Palazzo Ducale - ma è molto meno conosciuto. Purtroppo, non c'era permesso fotografiare e non potevo comprare cartoline, cosìcché ho scelto di comprare questa guida in Italiano per non dimenticare il contenuto del museo. Ma purtroppo non è una lettura particolarmente interessante: il libro consiste prevalentemente dei nomi delle sale e degli artisti che le hanno decorate. Ciò che ha reso il più grande impressione su di me era una vecchia mappa del mondo - Mappa Mundi, la quale sarebbe considerato come " the greatest memorial of medieval cartography" according to Roberto Almagià (secondo Wikipedia)

RO: Ghidul meu român a Schönbrunn este mult mai interesant, deoarece conține anecdote mici și material biografic / istoric. Am copiat o parte din text acum două zile, nu să invăț vocabular, ci mai degrabă pentru a reîmprospăta cunoștințele mele de gramatică.

GR: Σήμερα έχω μελετήσει μικρά κομμάτια των κειμένων σε διάφορες γλώσσες, συμπεριλαμβανομένων άρθρα από newsbomb.gr - μια σελίδα για ενα βυθισμένο ήπειρο στον Ινδικό Ωκεανό (αλλά βυθίστηκε πριν από πολύ καιρό, οπότε δεν χρειάζεται να ανησυχείτε) και μία άλλη για τα παιδιά που παρακολουθούν πάρα πολύ τηλεόραση: το πιο τηλεόραση, το πιο εγκληματικής και αντικοινωνικής αυτά τα παιδιά (και εδώ είναι σίγουρα αιτία ανησυχίας!).

IR: Rinne me staidéar ar téacs eile faoi chomórtas d'aistritheoirí óga ó 27 talamh, tógtha as nuachtán idirlín na hÉireann "Saol". Tá comórtas bhliantúla reáchtáil an Coimisiún Eorpach. Táim ag tnúth leis an lá nuair is féidir liom a léamh an hiris ó A go Z gan a bheith rud éigin chun breathnú suas - ceart anois tá sé ró-mhall.

Hyperliteral translations:
I took on work and was there a couple(of) hours in beforenoon's, because I together with a collegue should update a datasystem while the users kept free.

Inthebus at back tothe my apartment, (I)have read the first twenty pages of a guide tothe Museum Correr of Venice. (It)fills two sides ofthe Square Saint Mark, and shares the its ticket with the famous Palace Ducal - but is much less known. Unfortunately, not there-was permitted photograph and not (I)could buy postcards, sothat (I)have chosen to by this guide in Italian to not forget the content ofthe museum. But unfortunately not is a reading particularly interessant: the book consists mostly of.the names ofthe halls and ofthe artists who them have decorated. That which has avoked the most big impression on of me was an old map ofthe world - Mappa Mundi (Map ofWorld) - which shouldbe considered as "Il più grande memoriale della cartografia" secondo Roberto Almagià (accordingto Wikipedia)   

GuideThe my Romanian to PrettyFountain is much more interesting, because (it)contains anecdotes small and material biografic/historical. (I)have copied a part of text now two days, no to (I)learn vocabulary, but more rather for to refresh knowledges-the my of grammar.

Today (I)have studied little piece ofthe texts in different languages, including articles from newsbomb.gr - one page about a sunken continent inthe Indian Ocean (but sank for from much time [ago], sothat not isneeded that youworry) and an other about the children who follow for (too)much television - the more TV, the more criminal and antisocial those the kids (and here is certainly reason ofworry!)

Did(I) study of text other about competition of translators young from 27 countries, taken from newspaper internet in Irish "Saol" [life]. Is competition yearly organized ofthe Commission European. Am(I) at longingfor with the day when is possible with-me to reading of-magazine from A to Z without at being thing (reason) any to looking up* [from page] - right now is it too-slow.

And of course I have had my TV switched on through all this. One of the Danish channels actually chose to retransmit the old program about D. Tammett - from before his secret prior existence as a non-autistic memory artist was revealed. And no, I didn't watch it. One thing I did watch was a Norwegian program called something like twenty questions - a variation on an old game where a panel tries to guess a word through twenty questions to a quizmaster (normally called 'the professor' ). Plus a healthy dose of QI. I think I have seen them all by now, but it is still the most intelligent entertainment available on TV - and slightly dirty, which I see as a plus in these political correct days.



Edited by Iversen on 10 June 2013 at 11:12am

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Iversen
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 Message 3299 of 3959
09 June 2013 at 8:38am | IP Logged 
IR: Tá moladh mé an Sintéiseoir Gaeilge Abair.ie, ach inné go raibh sé mall agus gráiniuil. Tá súil agam go bhfaigheann sí go maith go luath, ach tá mé ag éisteacht go dtí sin le Gaeilge in áiteanna eile. Agus fuair mé ansin agallamh le Benny agus and Diarmuid Ó Mathúna ar Youtube, iomlán, le téacs bunaidh agus aistriúchán Béarla - nach féidir leat iad a fheiceáil ag an am céanna.

I tried to use the Irish synthethizer Abair.ie yesterday, but it was unusually slow and unresponsive, and Acapela box doesn't have Irish speakers, so I had to search for other sources and then I hit upon a TV interview with Benny and Diarmuid Ó Mathúna, complete with subtitles in English and Irish - you can't see both at the same time, but still a useful setup. I have put my Irish grammar in my bag for reading in the bus - yesterday when I had to look something up I came to the conclusion that I needed to go through the relative clause constructions and conjunctions once more - it is a fairly complicated issue in Irish. As is just about everything else.

Edited by Iversen on 09 June 2013 at 8:44am

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Iversen
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 Message 3300 of 3959
11 June 2013 at 8:11am | IP Logged 
I forgot to put Mac Congáil's Irish grammar book into my bag for reading in the bus, but then I studied the sections on conjunctions and releative clauses instead. And true to the style of the book there was a section about each conjunction, each stating where that conjunction would be used (i.e. with which verbal forms) and whether it cause lenition or eclipse (lenition being the 'softening' that in writing is shown as an 'h': d hard, dh soft, while eclipsis is shown by a new consonant before the now silent one: d versus nd, pronounced as n).

At first this list looks slightly intimidating, going on for page after page with conjunctions found with certain forms of regular verbs, but only with the same forme of some of the irregular one .. and sometimes with lenition, sometimes with eclipsis. Besides there are positive conjunctions and a totally different set of negative conjunctions. But there is a simple rule, which you have to discover for yourself: the conjunctions come in pars, where one has a final -r: "an"/"ar", "go"/"gur" etc. ("má" and "dá" falls outside this patern). The ones with r are used with the past tense of regular verbs and the irregular verbs "beir", "clois/cluin", "tabhair" and "tar", they lenite and take on the dependent verbal forms insofar these differ from the regular forms. The ones without -r take the rest (except imperative and sometimes the present subjunctive, probably for semantic reasons) and they are combined with eclipsis and - again - dependent verbal forms. So basically they all cause the use of dependent forms, which is logical.

I have read somewhere else (maybe Kauderwelsch or TY Irish) that the -r actually is a rest of an old particle "ro" used with the past tense, and this particle apparently caused eclipsis. So even now in its existence as a mere suffix (!) it causes eclipsis, overruling the normal tendency to use lenition after the conjunctions. And therefore the whole chapter cut have been cut down to one page, leaving space to give translations of the words and the examples - the one thing I miss the most in this book.

As for the relative clauses there are two kinds: direct and indirect. and the relative particles/conjunction/pronouns have several different forms. Unfortunately the book isn't very specific about the difference in the particles/conjunction/pronouns, which is unfortunate as the same words pop up here. But there are a few telling double examples which suggest that the main difference in practice is lenition/eclipsis:

After am, lá oiche , bliain or other nouns denoting time either an indirect or a direct clause can be used:
cén lá a thagann /dtagann sé: (on) which day does he come


The "a" is the p/c/p I was referring to, and it is the same in both cases, and the lenited consonant 'th' is used with the indirect construction, so the one with eclipsis 'dt' is presumable the direct construction? But no, if you study the examples where only direct relative clauses are possible then there is lenition - like in " An fear a bhuil an cat": the man who with the cat. So why does the book give the double example in the opposite order?

The chapter on direct relative clauses first enumerates the cases where they are used, and so does the one on the indirect ones. In each chapter the particles are enumerated separately and the use of lenition/eclipsis is given for each one. And we find the words "a", "nach" and "nár" in both lists ... so it is patently illogical to call them direct or indirect particles - they are the same relative particles used in different constructions. But in the direct construction the positive particle "a" lenites, in the indirect construction it eclipses. There might have been an *ar, but no, so "a" is used with all tenses except the imperative and the present subjunctive (and yes, you have seen that combination somewhere before). However with the negative particles the usual partner race occurs with "nach" and "nár", and again the one with -r is used with the past tense of regular verbs plus "beir", "clois/cluin", "tabhair" and "tar" - the same ones as with the conjunctions. But here "nach" eclipses and "nár" lenites, which is the opposite of the rule used with conjunctions! Why isn't this difference pointed out? And by the way, which rules did that extinct "ro" actually follow, since its footprint still seems to dictate the rules of modern Irish.

OK, that was the direct construction. In the indirect one there is actually a "ar". "A" and "nach" eclipse while "ar" and "nár" lenite. And then I ask myself: why on god's green earth including a certain green island doesn't the book give me a simple table which states where there is lenition and where there is eclipse, with both conjunctions and relative particles in the same table since they seem to be so intimately connected? Why does it repeat either of two formulations concerning verbal forms with each conjunction/particle when it could have given all this information in one single table, and then just add the exceptions and special cases under each particular conjunction or particle? Or in other words, why can't grammar authors put themselves in the learners' situation and tell people things in the most concise and logical form first (tables!) before they loose themselves in a forest of single cases and exceptions?


Edited by Iversen on 11 June 2013 at 8:24am

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 Message 3301 of 3959
11 June 2013 at 10:46am | IP Logged 
OOOPS!

I remembered to put my Irish grammar book into my bag this morning, but forgot my newspaper. So instead I read about Irish grammar in the bus .. and got a nasty surprise. The books has a chapter about "Conjunctions and Verbal Particles", and the ones I commented upon above are classified as verbal particles in the book. The problem is that this classification is just as problematic as calling the items in question conjunctions. But to discuss this I have to broaden the discussion slightly.

The word 'particle' is used by grammarians in situations where they have some obnoxious small words which defy any attempt to classify them as something else. In English I can only think of one thing which might be seen as a verbal particle, namely the "to" used with infinitives. It is almost certainly the same word as the preposition "to", but it plays a unique role with the infinitives - no other preposition can be substituted for it, and it is normally obligatory with infinitives. In Irish there isn't really an infinitive, but with the past tense there is a word "do", which now mainly is used (as d') when the verb starts with a vowel. Even I can't think of another term than 'particle' for this queer little thing. But "go", "an" et cetera?

The problem is that conjunctions are supposed to conjoin things, either at the same level or in constructions with a main clause containing a subordinate clause. Actually the two cases are so different that it is problematic to call both conjunctions, but that's an established bad habit which we have to accept.

To discuss subordinate phrases we have to introduce the notion of "anaphore" or "pro-form". An anaphore or pro-form is a word which points to something else for an explanation. The pronouns are the most conspicuous proforms, and they can be subdivided according to the place where you expect the explanation: a relative pronoun has its explanation (or antecedent) in the main sentence, an interrogative pronoun is used in a direct or indirect question and the answer contains the explanation, and a demonstrative pronoun reminds you about something you are supposed to know from the context.

But conjunctions? Insofar they have a meaning it is something about the truth-value of 'their' clause, or maybe they define it as a condition, consequence or similar things - all from the realm of things you can do with statements rather than things.

Have you ever wondered why the "that" in English looks like a demonstrative pronoun? The explanation has been lost in the mist of time, but the only logical explanation I can see is that it originated as a construction of this kind:

I can only see this (explanation): it originated in a construction of this kind

"This" is a demonstrative which refers to a whole sentence, and I suspect that "that" had the same function, but somehow it slipped down into the subordinate sentence, where it as a consequence apparently ceased to have any proper meaning in itself.

Compare the interrogative clauses, which come in two flavours. One flavour contains an interrogative pronoun or other pro-form - they are called partial questions. The other has an element which either seemingly has no reference or the referene is a truth-value or something similar.

Ah dunno who the man is    ---> the man is mister Noname
Ah dunno whether/if mister Noname is here   ---> yes or no

English doesn't have a one word parallel to "if" for use in main clauses - the only thing you can do is to use a subordinate clause in isolation or reformulate your sentence. But in Latin you could say "Num", in Esperanto you have "cxu", and in Danish we have "mon" which is a remnant of an archaic verb "at monne", which now functions as a 'question particle' of some sorts - but originally it was a fullfledged main clause with the question as its subordinate interrogative clause. We can't use "mon" as an interrogative conjunction (not "jeg ved ikke, *mon ...", but instead "jeg ved ikke, om..."). However in Latin "num" could be used in subordinates, where it normally would be called an adverb - another word used to denote grammatical despair:

Num omnes ergo sumus inter Deum et hominem mediatores? num humani generis redemptores?

Dico tibi, Holmes, debui me ipsum semper vincere ne id nihilominus facerem et nunc me ipsum rogo, num melius evenerit, si fecissem


And now back to Irish: the socalled verbal particles "na", "nár", "go" etc. are indistinguishable from conjunctions when used in subordinate clauses, but unlike the English conjunction "if" they can also be used in maine clauses formulated as questions:

"Ar ól sí?" = 'did she drink?'

This is for me the main reason you can give for not calling those words conjunctions, but I also find it somewhat defaitistic to call them particles just because they have uses that span questions and subordinate clauses - for me the word 'particle' is the last resort for a grammarian who has lost the fight against the overwhelming linguistic realities. I have not quite made up my mind about what to do, and I will definitely have to check other available sources to see whether they all have conspired to use the term 'verbal particle' before I give in - but that will have to wait. I have other things to attend to now.

EDIT: triumph! The extremely thorough online grammar Gramadach na Gaelge also counts gur, an etc. as conjunctions, so I'm not alone.



Edited by Iversen on 12 June 2013 at 12:58pm

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 Message 3302 of 3959
12 June 2013 at 3:38pm | IP Logged 
Following all my activity in Irish the last couple of days I came to think about the early history of the Celts. Their expansion is supposed to have started in the area with the Hallstatt-culture, which blossomed in Southern Germany and Austria around 800-450 BC and had the Urnfield culure as its forerunner. But instead of proceeding to the later history of the Celts (where they dominated most of Europe from the Iberian Insula and the British Isles to central Anatolia) I ended up with something much older, when I hit upon an article in Science et Vie about a possible invasion much earlier, namely around 2800 BC and allegedly coinciding with the emergence of the Bellbeaker culture. In Danish a late version of this culture (around 2200 BC) is called the "Klokkebægerkultur", and it has long been the common view among the archeologists that the population just got new cultural impulses from somewhere abroad and prompty changed not only their pottery style, but just about any other cultural trait you might think of. Well something like that can happen: a relatively small group of Romans 'convinced' the Celts in Gallia to drop their language and become Romans (after Caesar had killed maybe 10% of the population). But the idea that the local population always survives and just adapts to new ideas is more an effect of political correctness and an unfounded belief in the essential kind innocence of mankind, and at least the natives of America - both North and South - have learnt the hard way that things can go in a totally different direction.

The point in the article in "Science et Vie" is that "Une étude génétique menée sur 39 squelettes anciens suggère l’existence de bouleversements migratoires inconnus, survenus en Europe il y a 4800 ans". Or in other words: bloody murder on a large scale has occurred 4800 yars ago, and even though some original inhabitants probably survived the genocide, the genetical composition of the European population was changed drastically during that period. In the absence of written evidence the best way of choosing between massmurder and assimilation/adaptation would in theory be to make DNS/RNA-tests on as many old skeletons as possible - if you can find enough skeletons from the period, of course.

In Britain it has been shown that the present population is more closely related to modern Spaniards than they are to Angles and Saxons or vikings from Scandinavia, so here there was probably not a general massmurder. Which doesn't prevent a population from being 'convinced' to give up their language and culture in order to please their new masters. But was this the case in 2800 BC?

The present state of the genetical research is summarized in an article in Wikipedia and a blogspot here, and to a hapless bystander as yours truly it seems that the evidence points to a movement from Anatolia towards Northwest, which would leave the Iberian Peninsula and the British Isles and Northern Scandinavia furthest away from the origin of the relevant genes. Whether this happened in the years around 2800 BC where the bellbeaker surge occurred is apparently still an open question, but given the evidence now I won't exclude that there actually was an expansion of the unfriendly kind where the original population is pushed out and away. Or murdered.

The question then is: what has this to do with languages? Well, Basque is almost certainly a survivor from the time before the invasion, but the Vennemann hypothesis about a Basque substratum in Germanic and Slavic place names has not been accepted by linguists (although you may ask which linguists are capable of judging about anything involving Basque - not many, I think). Etruscan could be another late member of a pre-invasion language group, although it is more likely that its predecessors came from somewhere in the Middle East at a later time. But by and late it seems that first the Bellbeaker invasion and later the Indoeuropean invasion did a fairly clean job of removing all traces of older languages from Europe. The only survivors apart from Basque could be the Uralic languages in the far Northeastern part of Europe (not Hungarian, which was introduced much later).

One last quote from Wikipedia: "With some exceptions, population levels rose rapidly at the beginning of the Neolithic until they reached the carrying capacity. This was followed by a population crash of "enormous magnitude" after 5000 BC, with levels remaining low during the next 1,500 years. Populations began to rise after 3500 BC, with further dips and rises occurring between 3000 and 2500 BC but varying in date between regions."

So now I wonder - what happened around 5000 BC - 2200 years before the Bellbeaker thing?


Edited by Iversen on 12 June 2013 at 4:06pm

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 Message 3303 of 3959
12 June 2013 at 4:01pm | IP Logged 
Was that article published in this month's edition of S&V? I do not remember reading it
and I have a subscription to the magazine. If so I will reread it sometime.

The Celts indeed used to be a very dominant culture all across Europe. It is so strange
to think that languages such as Irish, Breton and Welsh used to be very dominant all
across the continent.


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 Message 3304 of 3959
12 June 2013 at 11:45pm | IP Logged 
I have pressed a button on the remote of my TV set marked 'subtitles', and now it shows subtitles in a variety of languages - from Dutch over Finnish to Portuguese and sometimes even Danish (with ä instead of æ). So no way I'm going to turn it off again. It adds such a nice humoristic touch to the Anglophone programmes which have a tendency to dominate my TV viewing. Btw. in QI the normally infallible Fry tried to convince mrs. Brand that German "Boot" was pronounced as in English (/böwt/), even after she had given him the correct pronunciation twice. Did his Elves sleep???? Then give them a kick! And afterwards Mr. Fry ought to kick himself in the bodypart that according to himself should be turned opwards in lightning storms.

A Tharvos: I haven't seen the printed version of "Science et Vie" - I found the article on their homepage. Tá sé i ndáiríre aisteach, go bhfuil an domhan Ceilteach fhulaing den sórt sin a tubaiste. An mbeadh sé a tharla, dá chloíghfadh Vercingetorix Caesar? Raibh sé chailleadh toisc nach raibh sé ag foraoise mór na Gearmáine, áit ar briseadh Arminius Varrus agus a legiúin Ágastais? Ach bhí Vercingetorix eisceacht. An claonadh chun achrann inmheánach nach raibh cinnte tairbhe do na cumainn Ceilteach.

It's actually strange that the Celtic world collapsed like that. Would things have been different if Vercingetorix had defeated Caesar? And would he actually have beat him, if the fight had taken place in the deep forests of Germany, where Arminius crushed Varrus and the legions of Augustus? But Vercingetorix was an exception from the normal Celtic situation in war - the tendency to internal strife within the Celtic societies was certainly not an advantage when faced with strong, disciplined opponents.

Edited by Iversen on 12 June 2013 at 11:56pm



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