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

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Iversen
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 Message 2873 of 3959
25 March 2012 at 4:03pm | IP Logged 
Today I have been working with things for my travel club on my computer, and afterwards I decided to try to listen to some Irish. I remembered that we recently discussed something called languagehunters, who have made an Irish course based on an extreme version of the natural method plus sign language. I'm not going into details about the pro and cons of this approach here (see the thread instead), but will just describe my reactions after having listened to half a dozen videos.

My main feeling was satisfaction because I knew all the words and could spell out the things they said (the last thing I understood was actually the final "how fascinating" in each episode because I had expected something in Irish) - but mixed with some uneasiness because I had to rely exclusively on my previous studies to relate the sounds to the written language which remains my primary focus so far - and will remain so for a long time still. But I did pick up a few pronunciations, such as "is" with a closed e rather than an ee-sounc (the notation system I used wouldn't be useful for Anglophones, and I still haven't studied IPA).

Afterwards I used the speech synthethizer abair.ie on a number of sentences from the staff list of the Gaelic school I wrote about a few days ago. I still study this list in microscopic portions so that I can make certain that I have understood all words and all constructions in each park - which is the exact opposite of the method used by the language hunters. Those who use their approach will certainly be able to discuss full and empty cups with grandpa long before me, but I prefer learning the written language well before I deal with the spoken one because chances are that I will read more than I will listen/speak. And in the process I'll get a feeling for the functioning of the language which I hardly could get just by trying to hang on in a copycat game. Actually my belief is that the best results would come by doing the face to face sessions later in the learning process, where you can understand what the teacher/languagehunter is up to - just as immersion functions better when you already know enough to have real conversations and more or less understand what you see and hear around you.

And now I'm going to watch paleontological TV in English about terror birds of yore from South America - think two meter high meat-eating seriemas.



Edited by Iversen on 26 March 2012 at 3:18am

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Iversen
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Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 2874 of 3959
26 March 2012 at 12:41pm | IP Logged 
FR: Cette semaine j'ai mis dans mon sac le livre de poche "Dictionnaire des expressions idiomatiques" par Ashraf et Miannay. C'est une édition de 1995 et donc je sais qu'il faut être prudent avec les expressions qu'on y trouve. Dans quel niveau de langage est-ce qu'on trouve la plus haute fréquence des expressions idiomatiques? Probablement dans le journalisme, surtout celui qui se présente comme informel et personnel, mais ces expressions ne sont pas tout aussi fréquents dans les magazins de science populaires. Ce qui implique que mon impression peut être fausse, mais je crois néanmoins que ce genre de livre donne une impression un p'tit peu trop délirante du langage réellement utilisé par les écrivains professionels. Or Dieu soit béni pour nous donner Google, où l'on peut tester si les expressions dans le livre vraiment sont courantes ou non.

Par example l'expression "à pas feutrés", qui veut dire 'sans bruit'. J'ai limité les recherches à la language française, et j'ai eu 639.000 'hits' (résultats). Cela m'a apparue comme un peu suspect pour une expression que je n'aie pas reconnue. J'ai donc aujouté les termes négatives de recherche suivants: "-dictionnaire -prononciation -étymologie -traduction". Résultat 625.000, et avec "-not -does" aussi (pour éliminer les pages partiellement en Anglais): résultat 592.000. Il vaut donc la peine de retenir cette expression, elle existe et elle est courante.

Juste après on trouve "rendre fève pour pois" (rendre la pareille) - 2990 résultats. Sans restrictions: 3590 résultats. Donc voici une expression dont il faut se méfier - il se peut que même des français natifs ne connaissent pas une expression si rare.

Évidemment un livre de 1995 ne peut pas donner des indications si précises, mais dans notre époque électronique on pourrait espérer des indications de fréquence dans les livres d'expressions idiomatiques.

Et entretemps on peut les lire pour s'amuser:

Quitter ses houseaux = mourir (11 résultats)
À la houssarde = brutalement (1590)
En housse = à cheval (337.000)
être H.S. (ou être hs, hors service)= être vieux (270.000)
Tirer à hue et à dia* = agir de façon contradictoire (99.000)

Il est ironique que l'expression "en housse" qui est marqué comme 'vx' (vieillie) est 3,4 fois plus commune que "tirer à hue et à dia" qui est marquée comme "fam(ilière)". Et pour moi c'était une surprise que l'expression "être hs" (plutôt que H.S.) est si répandue.

*Cette locution se compose des termes de pratique équestre hue (pour faire aller le cheval vers la droite) et dia (pour faire aller le cheval vers la gauche) (Wiktionnaire)


Edited by Iversen on 26 March 2012 at 1:35pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2875 of 3959
26 March 2012 at 3:27pm | IP Logged 
IR: Chaith mé le fada an abair.ie sintéiseoir, ach bhí mé a úsáid mícheart é: do éist mé díreach tar éis an guth. Ach mar is gá dom a chóipeáil ar an téacs i do lámh as a bheith mall, mar sin is féidir liom freisin a aistriú le téacs labhartha i script foghraíochta a thuiscint go maith ... as a bheith mall! Ach níl a fhios agam IPA, agus mar sin liom mo chuid féin go breathnaíonn mar seo:

Tá mé ag obair sa Ghaelscoil ó 1999*.
/tå mi ɔg obæ·r sa γæjlsχɔjl so mlə mige·t nɔhɔnni /
Am! I at-working in Gaelicschool from 1999
I have been working at the Gaelic school since 1999

*míle naoi gcéad nócha naoi (ps. the /m/ in "naoi gcéad" /mige·t/ is puzzling, but that's how I heard it)

Is príomhoide teagaisc mé
/Ish prvɔdjə tægæshχmæ/
Is! principal (of)teaching me
I am a teaching principal

agus tá an chuid is mó den taithí teagaisc s’agam sa bhonnchéim.
/əgös ta-n hɔjd-ish mdæn tajhi tæ·gæsh səgæmshə vɔ·nishæm/
and is! mainly is me ofthe experience teaching of-mine in basis
and the main part of my teaching experience has been at the foundation stage

Is breá liom na páistí beaga.
/ish bræə ljöm nə pöjstii bəgə/
Is fine with-me the children small
I like the small kids.

The official translation of the sentences above runs as follows: I began working in the Gaelscoil in 1999 and have mainly taught the foundation stage – I am a teaching Principal. (" Is breá liom na páistí beaga" isn't translated).

I understand that that there are people who can't see the point of (hyper)literal translations, but I think this short example speaks for itself. However there are distinctions which can be difficult to include in a translation, such as the difference between "is" and "tá" which both mean "is" in English. Irish "is" is mainly used in definitions and identifications, while "tá" primarily is used about situations and locations etc.

Irish Phonology is a study in itself. I have for some time used the Cabóigín speech synthesizer at abair.ie, but it has occurred to me that I have used it the wrong way - I have just listened to the voice as any other fool would have done. What a waste of time! Actually I should have realized this long ago, because I have for years copied small samples of text manually in order to slow myself down and really catch all details - and that's of course also how the intensive study of the sounds of a language with a voice recording or synthesizer should be conducted: transcribe short passages and mark everything you can hear as precisely as possible without caring about the phonems of the language in question. The ideal conterpart to this would be to try to pronounce the sounds, but that's phase two (or seven or whatever in the case of Irish). I ought to use IPA for my transcriptions, but I prefer my own homemade transcription system, with the result you can see above. I learnt some of the special signs during my courses in French phonetics in the 70s, while others are snatched from special signs in other alphabets.

The sign · means a long vowel, underlining means stress, ɔ is an open o sound, γ and ð are soft g and soft d respectively as in Modern Greek, and I snatched ə from Azeri where it indicates a schwa sound. Finally æøå are officially Danish letters. Of course the result is unusuable for anybody but myself, but for me the systems functions quite well.


Edited by Iversen on 27 March 2012 at 12:18pm

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Марк
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 Message 2876 of 3959
26 March 2012 at 3:32pm | IP Logged 
/tå mi ɔg obæ·r sa γæjlsχɔjl so mi·lə mige·t nɔhɔnni /
How do you mark slenderness? Sof D is pronounced exactly as soft G. ag is pronounced /g/
between vowels.
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Iversen
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 Message 2877 of 3959
26 March 2012 at 3:39pm | IP Logged 
"Soft D is pronounced exactly as soft G"

In Greek (where I found the letters) they mark very different sounds. But I looked up in Wikipedia and found that only the /ɣ/ is relevant for Irish because slender "dh" and "gh" are pronounced like /j/. Thanks for pointing out that there was a problem.

Slenderness (palatalization) in Irish is as important as in Russian, so I could have snatched the Russian 'soft sign' ь (мягкий знак) - but I have chosen a crude rendering with j (or sometimes i), partly because the j-sound sometimes occurs before, sometimes after a consonant. I suppose there are rules for this, but I only know that there should be either slender or broad vowels on each side of a consonant - how these vowels and consonants are pronounced in concrete situations is something I only have had the means to begin to try to understand since I began making these detailed transcriptions. Just listening was worthless.     

Quote from Wikipedia:

Effects of lenition1.A stop becomes a fricative. Voicing is retained, as is place of articulation except with the coronals.
/pˠ/ → /fˠ/
/pʲ/ → /fʲ/
/t̪ˠ/ → /h/
/tʲ/ → /h/
/k/ → /x/
/c/ → /ç/
/bˠ/ → /w/
/bʲ/ → /vʲ/
/d̪ˠ/ → /ɣ/
/dʲ/ → /j/
/ɡ/ → /ɣ/
/ɟ/ → /j/

i.e. "nGaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh" is pronounced something like /næ·lskɔl i· juhɔrti/

Edited by Iversen on 27 March 2012 at 3:18pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2878 of 3959
27 March 2012 at 2:37pm | IP Logged 
Let's take three more sentences:

Is í Brídín mo chúntóir ranga agus tá sí glan ar mire   ach ar dóigh ag a post.
/ish i Bridin mɔ χyntɔir rngə əgəs tə shi glɔ·n αr mæ·rə ha·gər dɔj æ·g ə pa·st/
is! she Bridin my classroom helper and is! she clean on-mad but on-sure at - job

Bíonn Anna ag obair liom san oifig agus tá sí ar fheabhas.
/bin Anə əg ɔbær ljɔmsən lɔ·fig agəs tə-shi-ɔs/
Is! Anna at job with me in-the office and is! she on-excellent

Bainim an-sult as mo phost cé go mbíonn sé dúshlánach cuid mhaith den am!
/bənim e shəlt ashmo fɔ·st kægə mi·n sha-dlana kədjau· dæn m
Extract/get(I)! much-pleasure from my job al-though be it demanding (for) part big of-the time!

At this rate it will take me years to get through one page, but at the end of that year I'll know how Irish sounds - at least as pronounced by the lonely speaker at abair because Irish is as fragmented in dialects as a map of the Gaelteacht.

Notice how "tá sí ar fheabhas" is reduced to /tə-shi-ɔs/ and how "Bainim an-sult " is scrambled into /bənim e shəlt/. As a Dane I'm used to similar insane contractions, but they are hard when you don't already speak the language. And that's one good reason for learning the written form alongside or even before the spoken form - especially in this case where the number of speakers is so limited.

Of course I have listened to speech before and done some parroting of the usual kind, but seeing how long time it takes me really to hear what is said is shocking because it tells me how much I have missed earlier - even when I have replayed a certain passage several times. It is like walking from platform 9 to 10 at King's Cross, and suddenly you discover that there is something weird in between.

I intend to return to some of my earlier languages to discover what I have missed by just listening normally.


Edited by Iversen on 27 March 2012 at 3:38pm

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Марк
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 Message 2879 of 3959
27 March 2012 at 3:10pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
"Soft D is pronounced exactly as soft G"

In Greek (where I found the letters) they mark very different sounds. But I looked up
in Wikipedia and found that only the /ɣ/ is relevant for Irish because "dh" is
pronounced like /j/. Thanks for pointing out that there was a problem.

Slenderness (palatalization) in Irish is as important as in Russian, so I could have
snatched the Russian 'soft sign' ь (мягкий знак) - but I have chosen a crude rendering
with j (or sometimes i), partly because the j-sound sometimes occurs before, sometimes
after a consonant. I suppose there are rules for this, but I only know that there
should be either slender or broad vowels on each side of a consonant - how these vowels
and consonants are pronounced in concrete situations is something I only have had the
means to begin to try to understand since I began making these detailed
transcriptions. Just listening was worthless.     

Quote from Wikipedia:

Effects of lenition1.A stop becomes a fricative. Voicing is retained, as is place of
articulation except with the coronals.
/pˠ/ → /fˠ/
/pʲ/ → /fʲ/
/t̪ˠ/ → /h/
/tʲ/ → /h/
/k/ → /x/
/c/ → /ç/
/bˠ/ → /w/
/bʲ/ → /vʲ/
/d̪ˠ/ → /ɣ/
/dʲ/ → /j/
/ɡ/ → /ɣ/
/ɟ/ → /j/

i.e. "nGaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh" is pronounced something like /næ·lskɔl i·
juhɔrti/

Broad gh and dh (at the beginning of words) are both pronounced /ɣ/, the slender dh and
gh are pronounced [j], but the sound is tenser. In fact it is just the palatalized
version of the sound - voiced slender ch. Dh and th were originally dental fricatives
(like English th) but than changed their sounds. The importance of broad/slender
distinction is bigger than in Russian and more developed.
Maybe you meant something similar, but my post won't hurt anyway.
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Iversen
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Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
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 Message 2880 of 3959
27 March 2012 at 3:20pm | IP Logged 
Thanks, I have now reformulated my reference to the use of /j/ so that it mentions the slenderness.


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