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

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josht
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 Message 745 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 3:01am | IP Logged 
Iversen -

I know you've touched on the subject previously, but could you elaborate a bit on what size of dictionary you find best for doing word lists? I ask because I believe I've seen you remark that pocket dictionaries don't provide enough idioms / alternate usages, but I'm not sure of the ideal size. I'm also curious about something else: do you go by the number of words a dictionary says it has, or do you do a rough figure on your own? For example, I have a "concise" German dictionary which says that it has "over 195,000 entries and translations." However, doing a rough number crunch multiplying the number of headwords on a page by the number of pages in the German-English section, I come up with a meager 24300. I know each headword comes with a number of translations / idioms, but to count each of those as a separate entry altogether seems rather strange.
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 Message 746 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 3:25am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Recht wrote:
Iversen: What is/are your favorite language/s? Do you enjoy your native Danish? Do you find English is good for precision? Is Spanish enjoyable to speak and read?


I don't like to choose one language as my favorite, and I would say that I like all my languages - I have also tried to stay out of discussions about favorite your 5 or 10 languages or the most beautiful or ugly language (except to point out that I find such discussions futile).

The right speaker can make any language sound good, and any language can be spoken badly. The same applies to their written forms. But to find out how to make any of your own languages sound and look and 'feel' good, just about the worst thing you can do is to declare that is isn't as pretty or interesting as another language. The right attitude is to try to get the best out of each and every language - after all, thats's how you should treat your children, and languages need as much time, care and attention as children.

But it is definitely a fact that the amount and diversity of sources in the languages of this world are very different, and that some traditions have blossomed in fome areas of the world while being almost absent from others. For instacne my chances of getting the kind of scientific articles in Romanian as I can in English are somewhat slim, and in practice that means that I read more in English and watch more TV in English than in Romanian. But instead of declaring that English thus demonstrably is my favorite language it just makes me wish that the sources where somewhat more evenly distributed.

I also try to keep a stable writing style across all my languages, though of course it is easier to do this in my best languages than in for instance Greek or Russian. My impression is that it mainly is a question of vocabulary, command of idiomatics and suffiecient experiences with native material in a language whether I can do this, not anything inherent in the language.

And finally: yes, I do like Danish. And I haven't got any wish to live anywhere else than here.


I also like all my languages, otherwise I wouldn't have learned them. I would find it ridiculous speaking about "ugly" languages and I cannot understand those people who do. My whole language learning hobby started with the Dutch language, so I cannot deny that this language plays a key role for me. Because of the Dutch language I moved to the German/Dutch border region. I wanted to emigrate to the Netherlands, but when I was young enough to leave, I didn't have any professional diploma's, which could enable me to find a job there. When I obtained my qualifications, it was already too late for a successful emigration, so I had to accept staying in Germany. That's life!

I agree with Iversen that you can express everything in any language. My conclusion is that any language can be worthwhile learning it. I wouldn't distinguish either. It is my personal development that I wouldn't have learned so many other languages without my learning experience of Dutch. About the Dutch language itself it doesn't say anything, of course.

Fasulye-Babylonia

Edited by Fasulye on 23 April 2009 at 6:42am

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Iversen
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 Message 747 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 10:19am | IP Logged 
josht wrote:
Iversen -
I know you've touched on the subject previously, but could you elaborate a bit on what size of dictionary you find best for doing word lists? ...


A few words about dictionaries...

I would divide them in three categories:

the tiny ones, - such as the smallest from Langenscheidt, Berlitz or Collins. Their number of lexemes generally lies below 15.000, the bulk probaly around 8.000-10.000 (in each direction in the case of bidirectional dictionaries). The number of illustrated constructions is very limite or even non-existant, and even important morphological information can be missing - though some are better than other. For instance my tiny blue Russian-English dictionary from Collins is quite good at pointing to aspect pairs of verbs, and it contains a limited, but well chosen selection of constructions. But in general the only good thing to be said for this category is its portability.

At the other end of the scale we have the mammoths, where every word gets ample treatment with a bewildering array of translation possibilities and constructions (sometimes even with examples). For most languages with a minimum of scholarly traditions there are fat monolingual dictionaries, and some of these are of impressive dimensions, often in several thick tomes. Bilingual dictionaries are typically smaller, but they exist. For instance I have at home Carl Bratlis Spanish-Danish dictionary with no less than 200.000 lexemes. But I hardly ever use it because it takes too long time to find anything among all that information about rare and unused words and constructions - and it is simply too heavy. A professional translator would probably find answers to all his/her questions (apart from those that concern words and phrases that have developed after the deadline of the dictionary, which is an important caveat), but ordinary language learners don't need all that extra information. If we want examples we can use Google.

And finally the middle group, which is the one to choose for word lists and word counts: midsize dictionaries with 25-50.000 lexemes, all the necessary morphological information in shorthand plus a lot of construction examples (but preferably no genuine quotes at all as these take up a lot of space without being more informative than a 'standardized' construction directive). All the big series of dictionaries have this category, but not allways for all of the languages in their repertoire. Luckily there are mostly good alternatives from smaller editing houses, but you may have to order them directly from the relevant country or buy them during travels - for instance I have had to do this in order to get suitable dictionaries for Afrikaans, Icelandic and Romanian. The amount of morphological information varies, and you have to be aware that dictionaries in 'small' languages often are written for the native speakers of that country, which means that they can give a lot of morphological information about your own language and none for your target language. I have two Danish>Icelandic dictionaries of this type, so if I'm in doubt about an Icelandic word I have to doublecheck it in my Icelandic-English dictionary - this is irritating and take a lot of time.

As Josht mentions you have to be very careful about the official wordcounts given for dictionaries. If you have a dictionary with "over 195.000 entries and translations", then not only the lexemes, but also each translation and each construction is included. Some words can have a whole page of full translation possibilities (which in itself isn't a bad thing), so that each lexeme in extreme cases can amount to several hundred entries. And that's of course misleading, but the dictionary itself can still be useful. A typical midsize dictionary of any type will typically have 500-1000 pages, which in the case of bidirectional dictionaries just gives 250-500 pages in each direction. And it is of course physically impossible that such a dictionary could have 195.000 lexemes.

When I consider buying a dictionary I would first open it to look at the way the words are presented - is it readable? Does it have the kind of information I want? Does it fill a hole in my collection? I find the indications of lexemes numbers interesting, but the information at each item might be better in a dictionary with fewer lexemes. I have a Greek-English bilingual dictionary at home with quite few items, maybe just 10.000 in each direction. But this book has been very important for me because it has a lot of morphological information and very well-chosen hints about different uses of the Greek words instead of a mere enumeration of alternatives. So this was my base for a lot of word lists, in spite of its meagre wordcount. Size isn't everything.


Edited by Iversen on 23 April 2009 at 1:01pm

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 Message 748 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 11:04am | IP Logged 
NEWS AUS DEM BEWERBUNGSVERFAHREN

DE: Der "Conference Call" auf Französisch und Niederländisch war OK, heute bin ich zur einem schriftlichen Übersetzungstest für beide Sprachen eingeladen worden. Da muss ich jetzt gleich hin. Ohne Benutzung von Wörterbüchern! Da wird genau getestet, die gehen kein sprachliches Risiko ein.

NL: In feite was het een authentieke taalexamenssituatie vanmiddag. Bij dat bedrijf waar de sollicitatieprocedure nog gaande is, kreeg ik een Duitse zakenbrief voorgelegd en ik had ongeveer 60 minuten de tijd, om deze brief eerst in het Nederlands en daarna in het Frans te vertalen. Zonder woordenboek. De Nederlandse zakenkorrespondentie is mij wel vertrouwd, dus daar zag ik geen problemen bij. Zoiets voor het Frans kon ik van tevoren niet inschatten, want ik ben alleen het schrijven van Franse privébrieven gewend. Gelukkig had ik wel wat over bepaalde "Floskeln" van het Zakenfrans gelezen en dat kwam me daarbij van pas. Ter mijn verbazing had ik die brief sneller in het Frans vertaald dan in het Nederlands. Daarvoor dat ik nooit Franse handelscorrespondentie heb geleerd, denk ik dat ik het goed heb gedaan, maar het moet natuurljk allemaal nog gecorrigeerd worden.

Fasulye-Babylonia

Edited by Fasulye on 23 April 2009 at 7:59pm

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Jar-ptitsa
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 Message 749 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 11:19pm | IP Logged 
wow Fasulye, dat lijkt me allemaal hartstikke moeilijk!!! Ik hoop dat ze je goed daarvoor betalen, want drietalig te moeten zijn en ook met zakelijke dingen is al veel en dan ook nog veel aan de telefoon te luisteren en terugspreken is erg lastig. Het is wel indrukkwekkend wat je daar doet.

Ik zal nu twee lessen in andere klaskamers hebben. Ze zijn mooier dan de oudere kamers. tevens, wat ben ik opgelucht dat die onaangenaame persoon gemuzzeld is geworden. dat gedicht dat hij me schreef was verschrikkelijk en helemaal niet waar maar ging over zichzelf. Hij was absoluut gemeen en onaardig. Dankjewel, Iversen dat je me hebt gewaarschuwd niet verder te reageren want dat was zeker goed advies.

hebben jullie last van hooikoorts? Ik wel, en ook veel anderen die ik ken. Dit jaar zijn alle de bloemen, bomen enz samen met bloeien en het droge weer.
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 Message 750 of 3959
23 April 2009 at 11:21pm | IP Logged 
DU: Gefeliciteerd met de succesvolle proef, Fasulye. Er zijn gelukkig leerboeken over het Franse commerciële correspondentie.

IT: Ho seguito in Raiuno il quiz "L'Eredita", dove ci erano parecchie questioni linguistiche. Per esempio i participianti dovevano evitare la risposta corretta della questione "Com'è chiamata dai finlandesi quella che per noi è la Via Lattea" tra dieci possibità. Perciò ho appreso che i thailandesi dicono "Via degli elefanti bianchi", i armeni "Via del ladro di Paglia", i svedesi " via dell'invierno" (Vintervägen - sapevo questo) eccetera ... e i finlandesi dicono "Sentiero degli uccelli" (qualcosa come "linnun rata"). Devo comprare un dizionario finlandese un' di questi giorni..

RU: Кроме того, я провел несколько часов прослушивания записей с некоторыми Вениамин Смехов, который прочитает "Мастер и Маргарита" Булгаковa. A oн не читаeт все это, он пропустит не менее одной трети текста, и моя первая задача заключалась в том, чтобы пометить те части текста, который он "забыл" читать. Только тогда, когда это будет сделано, я могу прислушаться к чтению, а я читал текст, не получив один шок за другим. И это не слишком быстро, что я начиная с этого мероприятия. И это действительно настало время, что я также начать слушать устныю русскыю языкы - до сих пор я только слушал несколько текстов из ГЛОССом. Смехов имеет приятный голос, но, как и все актёры, он преувеличивает, и, таким образом, oн звучит манерном. А сама книга является, пожалуй, главной литературной, но это нет причином, почему я выбрали ее. Скорее, это потому, что я не мог найти MP3-версии на научную работу. Но если я не могу избежать литературе Булгаков не худшая. Булгаков имеет воспаленную фантазию, oн смешной.

-----------------

Early in the evening I watched the Italian quiz "L'eredità", where some of the questions were linguistical. For instance the participants had to avoid the correct one between ten alternative answers to the following question: "How do the Finnish people call the Milky way?". I learnt that the Thai call it "The road of the white elephants", the Armenians call it "The road of the straw thief", the Swedish "The road of Winter" (I knew tat one: "Vintervägen") and ... well the Finns apparently call it the "Birds' way", "Linnun Rata". Btw. I ought to buy a Finnish dictionary some day, - I only have a couple of old textbooks.

I have also spent som time listening to the first three chapters of Bulgakov: The Master and Margerita, performed by Benjamin Smekhov. Or rather, I first had to mark with blue that third of the text that Smekhov skipped. Mr. Smekhov has a good voice, but as all actors he exaggerates. Bulgakov's book is considered a masterpiece, but I have primarily chosen it because I couldn't find any scientific text both as audio and in a bilingual tekst. Nevertheless Bulgakov isn't the worst choice, - he has a lurid phantasy which makes his book sufficiently funny.

-----------

I have read a couple of news articles about languages and music. It seems that there is new evidence for the hypothesis that speakers of tonal languages such as Chinese have a higher proportion of people with absolute pitch (more about absolute pitch (here)) . This isn't surprising if you consider that they have to be very precise about the tonal level of their speech, unlike speakers of nontonal languages. Furthermore it seems that speakers of tonal languages stick to absolute tone levels and not just make relative movements from a variable 'mid tone'. So given that few westerners have absolute pitch learners of tonal languages have one more problem to deal with. In fact there is evidence that having it might be due to a single gene, - in a test with 2000 persons on the internet there was a strongly bipolar distribution, which is normal in such cases. But apparently you can learn Chinese without having absolute pitch.

I took the test (which consists of isolated sinustones followed by tones from an electronic piano) and to my surprise I scored way below the treshold! Disaster! The end of the world! But then I found another test, where the answers were given after the test, and suddenly I saw the problem. Out of the first 16 notes there are 3 totally wrong and two precise guesses, - but the remaining 11 guesses were precisely ½ tone too high. Then there came a section with too low guesses, and then after a bit of confusion I stabilized my internal standard pitch* and gave a series of correct guesses. This pinpoints the problem, namely that it isn't enough to be able to identify the level of the notes, but you also have to remember which level corresponds to which name. In the old days where I still played my instruments I had such a reference tone in my instruments, and I could immediately name even isolated tones. Now I'm 15 years older, which according to some scientists in itself implies a tendency to push the perceived notes upwards, and I haven't played for years, so now I need to correct the perceived level before I can produce correct guesses. But there is one interesting thing more, namely that my semi-absolute pitch is acquired as an adult, not inborn or learnt at an early age. And if you can learn to have something approaching perfect pitch, then you can also learn to deal with the tone levels of a tonal language in the same way that the natives do.

* In English probably known as "concert pitch" or "standard pitch", "Kammerton" in German and something similar in most other languages apart from English, because this standard (A=440hz) was chosen for instrumental ensembles (see Wikipedia)


Edited by Iversen on 24 April 2009 at 10:56pm

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SII
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 Message 751 of 3959
24 April 2009 at 12:08am | IP Logged 
Iversen
Quote:
Кроме того, я провел несколько часов прослушивания записей с некоторыми Вениамин Смехов, который прочитает "Мастер и Маргарита" Булгаковa.


Кроме того, я провёл несколько часов, слушая запись "Мастера и Маргариты" Булгакова, которую читает Вениамин Смехов.

Quote:
A oн не читаeт все это, он пропустит не менее одной трети текста, и моя первая задача заключалась в том, чтобы пометить те части текста, который он "забыл" читать.


Но он читает не всё, а пропускает не менее трети текста, и моя первая задача заключалась в том, чтобы пометить те части, которые он забыл прочитать.

Quote:
Только тогда, когда это будет сделано, я могу прислушаться к чтению, а я читал текст, не получив один шок за другим.


Hmm... First half of the sentence is correct, but second... I don't know what you want to say.

Quote:
И это не слишком быстро, что я начиная с этого мероприятия.


I don't know what you want to say too, but this isn't correct.

Quote:
И это действительно настало время, что я также начать слушать устныю русскыю языкы - до сих пор я только слушал несколько текстов из ГЛОССом.


И вот действительно настало время, чтобы я начал слушать устную русскую речь - до сих пор я слушал только несколько текстов с ГЛОССа (Is this a web site?).

Quote:
Смехов имеет приятный голос, но, как и все актёры, он преувеличивает, и, таким образом, oн звучит манерном.


Смехов имеет приятный голос, но, как и все актёры, он переигрывает и, таким образом, звучит манерно. (Last word is correct but it don't sound well in this context).

Quote:
А сама книга является, пожалуй, главной литературной, но это нет причином, почему я выбрали ее.


А сама книга (Better: Сама же книга) является, пожалуй, шедевром, но не это причина, почему я выбрал её. ("Но это не причина" is correct but in this context you must say "но не это причина").

Quote:
Скорее, это потому, что я не мог найти MP3-версии на научную работу.


Скорее это потому, что я не смог найти MP3-версии какого-нибудь научного текста.

Quote:
Но если я не могу избежать литературе Булгаков не худшая.


Но если я не могу избежать художественной литературы (in Russian "литература" is common term; for example, we say "учебная литература", "научная литература", "техническая литература"; you speak about "художественная литература", not common "литература"), Булгаков -- не худший выбор. (You can say "Булгагов не худший", this will be correct but not good).

Quote:
Булгаков имеет воспаленную фантазию, oн смешной


Hmm... This sentence is absolutely correct, but, IMHO, the word "смешной" don't applicable to "Мастер и Маргарита"... IMHO, it is better the word "забавный".
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Iversen
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 Message 752 of 3959
24 April 2009 at 12:24am | IP Logged 
SII wrote:

Quote:
Булгаков имеет воспаленную фантазию, oн смешной

Hmm... This sentence is absolutely correct, but,.....


Если она когда-либо удастся мне писать совсем правильное предложение на русском, я считаю, что должен праздновать.

не получив один шок за другим. ---> (so that I) don't get one shock after another.

ГЛОСС = http://gloss.lingnet.org/searchResources.aspx

И это не слишком быстро, что я начиная с этого мероприятия --> And it isn't exactly fast, that I have started with this arrangement (i.e. an audio source and a bilingual text in front of me). Maybe "начиная" should be changed into an ordinary past tense "начинал", or the whole thing should be reformulated. Is the following version understandable? According to my dictionary the form "начаться" can only be used impersonally in the 3. person, otherwise I would have tried to avoid "был начать":
Я должен был начать работать с этой мероприятиeм гораздо быстрее (гораздо раньше).

"Но если я не могу избежать художественной литературы, Булгаков не худшая U(---> худший выбор)."
Я подумал, не Булгаков, но позвольте мне влияние словом "литература", которая является женщиной слова - по-видимому я не могу найти свой приговор! Но в целом я считаю, что мой приговор начинают походить Российской фраз, и худшее промахом было реже.

Edited by Iversen on 24 April 2009 at 1:08am



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