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

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TixhiiDon
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 Message 2913 of 3959
27 April 2012 at 12:06am | IP Logged 
About Georgian grammar, it's not all bad news. Noun endings are much simpler than
Russian, and the perfect subjunctive is now obsolete, and, er..., well that's it, really,
but of course textbooks and teachers feed you all this information in bite-sized morsels,
making it much more easily digestible than the Wikipedia page would have you believe.

I do hope you decide to treat yourself to Georgian (kartuli, by the way, not kartveli,
the former being used for things and the latter for people) one day in the future. It
would bring me great pleasure of the type only language geeks experience to discuss the
superessive version and the present perfect of Class IV verbs with you!
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Iversen
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 Message 2914 of 3959
30 April 2012 at 1:48pm | IP Logged 
TixhiiDon wrote:
(...)but of course textbooks and teachers feed you all this information in bite-sized morsels, making it much more easily digestible than the Wikipedia page would have you believe.


But I like getting the whole thing in one big package, instead of getting it served drip by drip! And I find Georgian verbs fascinating precisely because the whole thing it looks like one big combinatorical engine with a few fuzzy edges here and there - but right now it would be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back if I also started to study Kartuli.


Edited by Iversen on 30 April 2012 at 1:48pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2915 of 3959
30 April 2012 at 3:33pm | IP Logged 
IT: Sono appena tornato da 3 giorni una Sicilia. Per qualche ragione, Ryanair ha fatto una linea aerea da Billund in Jutlandia all'aeroporto di Birgi presso di Trapani in Sicilia, nella parte occidentale ove vanno generalmente pochi turisti. E laggiù ho visto un cartellone impressionante con decine di città europee, da dove ora volano a Trapani.

Trapani è una bella città, che in parte si trova su una penisola. Ci sono alcuni musei, ma nulla che merita in sé un viaggio. La città vicina, Erice, e invece una perla medievale posta sulla sommità di un poggio, e si può andarci da Trapani sia con il autobus sia con la funivia. Ci sono anche molti autobus per il capoluogo dell'isola, Palermo, che oltre la Mafia ospita il famoso Palazzo dei Normanni con la ancora più famosa Cappella Palatina. Se ci sono lunghe code alla cappella, resta in fila per guardarla, ma se c'è anche una lunga fila per le sale reali, non vale la pena - ci sono solo 2-3 camere veramente interessante, ed il personale tratta i clienti come bestiame. Se volete vedere altro da Trapani è necessario noleggiare una macchina, ossia prenda una camera d'albergo altrove sull'isola. Io aveva solo tre giorno lì questa volta (1: Trapani, Erice, 2: Palermo, Monreale, 3: Selinunte, Agrigento), ma ho visto Messina, Taormina, Catania e Siracusa prima - Sicilia merita sicuramente più di una visita..

Ed evidentemente ho parlato solamente l'Italiano, salvo in una situazione dove non ho potuto resistere la occasione di parlare Svedese a una coppia Svedese, e un altro dove ho suggerito - in inglese - a un'altra coppia nel mio hotello di interrogare il barista alla stazione degli autobus sugli orari degli autobus - "lui sa tutto". La signora alla reception ci ha sentito, e quando fu il mio turno ha continuato a parlare inglese con me - ma io ho risposto in Italiano. Fanatico o no?

Ho comprato tre riviste: "Viaggio" con il tema Sicilia, "Le Scienze - Astronomia" (le Scienze ordinarie aveva l'universo 'quantistico' sulla paga iniziale - e dev'essere lo stesso articolo che ho già letto in tedesco o francese) .. e finalmente il no. 2 di una nuova rivista "Com'è" (offerta lancio a solo due euro!), che è la sola dalle tre riviste che ho finora letto. Mi piace perché anche gli articoli con un angolo sensationalista son trattati di una maniera sobria e con i detagli necessari. Per esempio nell'articolo "Impatto Imminente!" si scrive che un asteroide AG5 è stato scoperto il 8 gennaio dell'anno scorso "e oggi si ha una stima più precisa delle percentuali di impatto di questo corpo celeste errante. Infatti, nel Jet Propulsion Lab a Pasadena, dove collaboranno anche qualche matematici dell'Università di Pisa, è stata calcolata una possibilità di 1 su 625 che AG5 nel 2040 arriverà così vicino alla Terra da essere attirato dal suo campo gravitazionale per poi precipitare al suolo con effetti ncatastrofici. Si attende con ansia l'arrivo del settembre 2013, poiché il gigante spaziale sarà abbastanza vicino al nosro lianeta da essere 'pedinato' con più precisione". Solo un rischio di 1 sul 625, e solo un diametro 140 metri (contra 12 km per l'oggetto che distrusse i dinosauri)? No problem. Sono più preoccupato per la possibilità di una tempesta solare in grado di distruggere tutti i sistemi elettrici sulla Terra e quindi anche cancellare il mio conto di banca e il atto di proprietà del mio appartamento. Una tempesta relativamente piccola spense la luce per giorni in tutta Quebec nel 1989, e c'era una eruzione molto più grande nel 1859, ma all'epoca non eravamo talmente vulnerabili.

I have just returned from three days on Sicily, where Birgi airport South of Trapani apparently has become a new hub for Ryanair. I stayed in Trapani and saw this pretty town and its medieval neighbour Erice the first full day, then Palermo and Monreale the next day and finally on the third day I hired a car to visit the archeological sites Selinunte and Valle dei Templi (near Agrigenti). That's about how far you can get in one day from Trapani, so if I had had a longer holiday I would have spent part of the time at the other end if the Island - but in fact I have already been there years ago.

And of course I used the opportunity to speak my terrible Italian with the appalling pronunciation - apart from one brief conversation with a Swedish couple and a few words in English to some people at the hotel reception who kept pestering the poor receptionista for bus information which she couldn't find through her computer. I suggested that they walked a mere 10 minutes to the busstation, and there the omniscient bartender would tell them everything they needed to know.

I bought three Italian magazines: the astronomically oriented version of "Le Scienze", one "Viaggio" with Sicily as its main theme and a newcomer in the market, "Com'è" ("how is") - only its 2. issue. The nice thing about the latter is that it could tell about fairly serious problems in a calm and relaxed way, with the reassuring details which some of its more sensationalist competitors might be tempted to leave out. Such as in the article about the asteroid AG5 (diameter 140 meters), which with a calculated probablity of 1/625 will fall down on the Earth in 2040. In September 2013 there will be an occasion to calculate some more precise odds for the continued existence of the world as we know it, but so far I'm not too worried ... people younger than me may be more interested in the results, and in any case it is much smaller than the thing that killed the dinosaurs (which had a diameter estimated to something like 12 km).

Actually I'm more worried about the maximum of solar activity we are witnessing right now (and which will continue right into 2013). As late as 1989 the Sun blew out the candles at Quebec, and in 1859 there was a much larger event which would be rather catastrophic if it happened today where we have become so much more dependent on our electronics. But "Comè" doesn't even flinch when it tells us things like this. In between it has more neutral information. Have you for instance noticed the blue screen technique which make it possible to make things invisible on film? Harry Potter and his friends, for instance? Actually it has a name: "Chroma key", and because electronical cameras aren't happy about the blue background colours a sickening green is now used with those cameras. I didnae know that!

Edited by Iversen on 02 May 2012 at 1:03pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2916 of 3959
30 April 2012 at 4:16pm | IP Logged 
I dd one thing more during my trip Southwards: a word count. When I visited Milano a few years ago I bought a small "Dizionario Inglese" (DeAgostini) with allegedly "40000 vocaboli" (including expressions, and divided into Italian-English and English-Italian). At home I use my midsize dictionaries so this was the first time I used the little one, but I found it to be quite good - both in its choice of vocabulary and its 'extras': conjugations, pronunciation rules etc. But then I decided to do a new word count. The total number of words culcated with such a small dictionary will of course not be correct - you can't be credited for words which aren't in the book - so I decided to go for percentages rather than absolute figures. And this time I counted both words and expressions, and I divided them into three groups: known words, halfknown words (which either can be guessed or I know them, but I'm not sure about the precise meaning), and definitely unknown words.

I counted 20 pages out of 313 in the Italian-English section, and got the following results:
Words: known 545, halfknown 90, unknown 117, sum 752
Expressions: known 136, halfknown 52, unknown 63, sum 251.

The first conclusion is that the 40.000 'words' may be slightly exaggerated: I got an estimate of all in all 11769 words and 3928 expressions in this half of the dictionary - but maybe the other half is bigger. Thereof I know an estimated 8529 words (72%), halfknow 1439 (12%) and don't know 1831 (16%), while I know 2128 expressions (54%), halfknow 814 (21%) and dunno 986 (25%). I know from the counts I made a few years ago that the percentage of known words doesn't drop significantly with larger dictionaries (because many of the added headwords are scientific terms which I have a tendency to know) so with a standard midsize dictionary of for instance 30-40.000 words the estimated number of known words would certainly not be 8529 words, but more likely something like 20-25.000 words. Maybe I'll do that calculation soon just for fun. And in the meantime I have learnt a lot of green and red words and expressions just by doing this exercise.

One interesting detail is that my percentage was much lower for those 4 pages which I counted while sitting in the departure hall at Birgi airport without a table, but instead with noise and people around me and a boarding time to keep an eye on. In this situation I only got 61% known words.

And the eternal question: who cares? Well I care - those vocabulary counts only cover one corner of a whole language, but it is an important one. And it is one of the few things in language learning which can be quantified.

PS: I just checked my statistics from april 2009: an estimated 29000 Italian words (69%) out of approximately 43.000 in the Italian-Danish dictionary from Gyldendal. This is a fairly high number, and I'm not sure I would get more today, even though I can speak Italian more fluently now than I could in 2009.


Edited by Iversen on 02 May 2012 at 1:13pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2917 of 3959
02 May 2012 at 1:30am | IP Logged 
... and tonight I calculated my Italian word stock using a fat Gyldendal with 44.000 words and 780 pages. However this kind of exercise takes time, so I just counted eight pages. The numbers:

Known: 268 known words, 60 half-known and 97 unknown ones. And 89 known expressions (or examples), 25 half-known and 31 half-known ones. Which gives the following percentages: 63% - 14% - 23% for the words, 61% - 18% - 21% for the expressions. On those 8 pages I evaluated all in all 425 words, which means that my estimate for the total number of words in the dictionary is 41438 headwords, slightly below the official number - heaven knows where the rest is hiding - and my estimated passive vocabulary amounts to something like 25130 words.

Have I lost ground since 2009? Probably not, because some of the known words from then are now relegated to the new cathegory 'halfknown words' - for instance because I didn't know some core meaning or a special use - and the new calculation method is preciser. As an example of a truly halfknown word I would like to mention "sambuca". I knew that you can drink sambucas, but not that you can play small melodies on some of them (sambucas can also be panflutes and bagpipes). In the old days I would have cathegorized this word as 'known', but this time I could be more precise and I have put it into the halfknown cathegory. And as a consequence my Italian vocabulary appears to shrink in numeric terms.

The problem is of course that my vocabulary should have grown, but I haven't done too much hardcore vocabulary study in Italian compared to some of my other languages. A fair number of the words I dont know belong to a small number of cathegories. One is gadgets and specialized mechanical devices like "mostrino" (the small dial with the second hand on some watches), "motofurgone" (a threewheeler used for the transport of goods through narrow Italian streets), "alzacristallo" (the handle used to open or close a window in a car) and "dedalo" for a labyrinth (after the legendary Greek inventor Daidalos). Another group contains plants and animals, like "fratina" for a wagtail and "amanita" for an ...umh, 'amanita' (so there I learned an English word). The Danish name directly translated is "fly fungus" (or agaric or mushroom or toadstool).

And to promote the Italian atmosphere I listened to cello concertos by Vivaldi for one and a half hour while counting words - il preto rosso more or less invented this genre, and long ago I played this instrument myself.

Edited by Iversen on 02 May 2012 at 1:06pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2918 of 3959
03 May 2012 at 11:07am | IP Logged 
POR: Não tenho contado as minhas palavras depois de abril de 2009, mas quando eu por acaso fazia as contagens para o Italiano, eu sentia a vontade de ir adiante com outras linguagens - e a primeira foi Português esta manhã. Eu quero criar pesquisas com dicionários pequenas e dicionários médias para ver o efeito sobre as percentagens, e portanto peguei o "Oxford Colour dicionário Português" em que a seção Português-Inglês é de apenas 180 páginas. Deve haver um total de 40000 palavras e 65.000 traduções (nas duas direcções) e as minhas estimativas preliminares (após apenas 4 páginas) sugerem que há aprox. 14625 verbetes reais e 1035 expressões na seção Português-Inglês. E dessas 14.625 palavras eu deveria conhecer aproximadamente 67%, o que é maior do que eu esperava... mas vamos a ver o efeito quando eu ter feito o mesmo exercício com um dicionário mais grande. E fazendo-lo eu tambem aprende algumas palavras novas.

After having done more or less by accident those wordcounts in Italian I felt the urge to continue with my other languages (which also has the effect that I may fill out some holes in my vocabulary) - this will be a follow-up on my general inventorio from April 2009, but using the new layout as described above. This morning I did four pages in my smallest Portuguese dictionary, the twoway Oxford Colour thing, which has 180 pages in the Portuguese-English section - i.e. it as roughly the same size as the small Italian dictionary which I used during my holiday. After just 4 pages the results can only be preliminary, but those four pages gave 219 known words, 35 halfknown and 71 unknown words, plus just 11 known, 6 halfknown and 6 unknown expressions - this Portuguese dictionary clearly has another politics about expressions than its Italian counterpart. The total number of words/expressions would seem to be 14625 resp. 1035, and among the words it seems that I know around 67%. Time will tell whether the high percentage also is valid when I switch to a larger dictionary (no Gyldendal, but I have got a usable midsize Langenscheidt), and if it does then my Portuguese vocabulary is just marginally lower than my Italian one - which I find hard to believe.

Edited by Iversen on 03 May 2012 at 2:24pm

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Fasulye
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 Message 2919 of 3959
03 May 2012 at 3:57pm | IP Logged 
Counting words endlessly to measure one's own vocabulary stock seems to be a suitable hobby for mathematical people. I myself couldn't experience the fun of it!

Fasulye
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Iversen
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 Message 2920 of 3959
04 May 2012 at 9:47am | IP Logged 
It doesn't take a lot of mathematics - just a lot of time, and if your aren't really interested in knowing the results then you wouldn't want to do it. And actually I haven't done it myself since the big campaign in 2012. But I have found out that just working in a concentrated way with a dictionary teach me new words and reinforce my old ones so the time isn't wasted. This is also my motivation for actually writing down the words and expressions on the pages I count - for the mathematics it would be enough to do a clean counting (using the wellkown technique with small lines in my 6 groups), but then I wouldn't learn anything.


Edited by Iversen on 13 May 2012 at 1:16pm



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