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Chung at work / Chung pri práci

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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5559 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 185 of 541
10 September 2012 at 8:04am | IP Logged 
For anyone who's interested I won't be posting in the log for the couple of weeks as I'll be pretty busy but I expect that I'll still be doing some work related to my languages during that time. I'm starting to prepare for a bit of travelling later this month and I expect to be practicing at least a little in Finnish, Polish and probably others.

My classes for Ukrainian start this month and I look forward to working on my listening and speaking capabilities since much of my work so far has been rather one-way with much more reading and writing compared to the other skills.

I'll probably wind up my dabbling in Meadow Mari quite soon. I've reached the first review chapter of the course and ending my exploration of the language after finishing this chapter seems logical. It'll mean that I can get back just a little more into my primary target languages.

Lastly I've started work on a guide for Uralic languages that's modelled very vaguely on this book for Slavonic languages but incorporating what I believe that a non-specialist learner could use in addition to the ideas generated by what Iversen, Expugnator and caam_int posted. So far it looks like an extended version of the Estonian/Finnish/Hungarian "cheat sheet" but I expect to work in much from my assorted posts on the forum pertaining to Uralic languages in addition to some new content gleaned from WALS and anything pertinent on my shelf or at the library.
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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5559 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 186 of 541
08 October 2012 at 8:22am | IP Logged 
It's nearly a month since the last post and virtually no study but I do have languages on the brain.

I just came back from a trip to Poland and Finland and got in some much needed practice with speaking in Polish. Unfortunately I didn't use that much Finnish but I was happy to hang out with some of my Finnish friends again. While in Finland I stayed with a Finn who could also speak Hungarian and so I got a fair bit of reexposure to Hungarian. I smiled when seeing my host's room apartment with a bookshelf full of books in Hungarian and a map of Hungary on the wall. In Poland I picked up a few more books (to go with all of the other Polish books that remain unread) but those stores with the sign tanie książki ("cheap books" - cheap in Poland means lower than fire sale price for Americans) rarely fail to make me check them out.

Ukrainian class is OK so far even if it's review of grammar for me (accusative singular in the last lesson). It's good to hear Ukrainian and be forced to reply in it even though I've caught myself replying in Polish and Slovak to the amusement of one of the other students who knows Polish.

Lastly much of my free time has been consumed by working on that guide for Uralic languages. So far I've put together summaries comparing numerals, cases, and vowel harmony (or lack thereof) in Estonian, Finnish, Northern Saami, Meadow Mari and Hungarian to go with some material on the modern reflexes of reconstructed words in Proto-Uralic. The toughest part is coming up with example sentences in the five Uralic languages that I'm focusing on. I'm usually most comfortable in composing illustrative sentences for Finnish and Hungarian. The ones for Northern Saami are a little more onerous to devise, and those for Estonian and Meadow Mari are among the toughest because my previous ability in Estonian has become very rusty while I was only dabbling in the latter. For sections on Mari I have been skipping ahead many chapters in that textbook for Mari in order to get a handle on the structural knowledge that I need to fill in the guide.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of monographs, analyses or similar material on the structure of various Uralic languages that's available legally and for free. A lot of it has complemented my existing sources. If I have time, I'll add them to the links in the Finno-Ugric Profile. Some of the material by the University of Debrecen in its back issues of Folia Uralica Debreceniensia hosted at the Hungarian Electronic Library and elsewhere on the internet has been particularly interesting.
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hribecek
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3752 days ago

1243 posts - 1458 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech, Spanish
Studies: Italian, Polish, Slovak, Hungarian, Toki Pona, Russian

 
 Message 187 of 541
08 October 2012 at 3:00pm | IP Logged 
Where were you in Poland? What's it like for you to switch between languages like Polish, Finnish and Hungarian when you don't usually get the chance to speak them?

When do you think you'll get the book finished?
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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5559 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 188 of 541
08 October 2012 at 5:59pm | IP Logged 
I was in the south and central part visiting a few close friends.

It's a little tricky to switch languages especially around the points when I just arrived in Finland from Poland, and vice-versa. A couple of times stood out in Poland when I began to reply to my friends in Finnish but stopped mid-sentence and restarted in Polish. I didn't experience that much of a problem with switching to Hungarian primarily because I wasn't speaking that much Finnish in the first place. My host knew that I could speak Hungarian much better than Finnish and so we talked a lot in Hungarian, and she'd even reply in Hungarian after I'd say something in English or Finnish.

I hesitate to call it a book (it's not really my intention to make it as such) and I'm not sure when I'd be ready (or how) to release the final version. Using Lulu like Arekkusu did for his Québecois course is one option among many. Releasing the information by sections posing as entries in a blog or a series of posts on the forum (like Iversen's guide to learning languages) is another.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3569 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 189 of 541
08 October 2012 at 6:13pm | IP Logged 
Chung, regarding minor finno-ugric languages (other than Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian), for which of those have you found enough literature, novels etc. that would allow someone to continue intermediate learning through native materials? What about translation from well-known novels, that would allow for bilingual comparison?
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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5559 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 190 of 541
08 October 2012 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
Based on my trawling, I suspect that Northern Saami would be the one with the most and best authentic material that could supplement whatever formal course in the language that a person is using. In addition to TV programs in the language (but usually with subtitles in one of Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish) such as Ođđasat ("News"), Mánáid TV ("Kids' TV), or Unna Junná ("Little Junná") or the newspaper, Ávvir, there're some books or translations that one could use to go beyond the stuff in the textbooks.

Notable or suitable stuff includes:
- Sáhpánat ja olbmot (Script for "Of Mice and Men" in a dual Northern Saami-Norwegian presentation as used in a production by a Saami theater company)
- Transcripts of interviews with Alaskan Saami Mary Bahr, Clement Sara (with respective translations to English of Bahr's and Sara's interviews)
- Site on the history of schooling in Sápmi in English, Norwegian and Northern Saami which can be set up as separate tabs/windows in the browser to allow for a virtual comparison/translation of the text among the languages.

These links and others are under "Links" in the Saamic / Lappish Profile.

You now make me recall a short discussion on Unilang where someone commented that part of the problem with Northern Saami for him was that a lot of the published books are about Sápmi or Saamic culture. Indeed there seems to be relatively little in translations or adaptations of non-Saamic material apart from the Bible. I and someone else offered a few suggestions (including the links in this post), but I do see his point. It's a little strange for me to deal with a foreign language whose familiarity is lessened further by having so little output available on topics that are not confined to the native speakers' environment. It makes me think of my collection of Polish material where my favourite texts in Polish are translations of Peanuts comics or the short children's stories in "Le Petit Nicolas" rather than stuff associated with Poland or its native literature. As much as something may be lost in translation, the familiarity of the themes and lack of "Polish cultural exclusiveness" can work in the learner's favour.

As for the other Uralic languages I have found some tidbits (scroll down to "Links" in the Finno-Ugric Profile for them) but much of it isn't too useful to a prospective beginning student on the forum either because they're entirely in the target language or use Russian as an intermediary language.

Of course if this forum were based in Russia and/or dominated by speakers of Russian, what I've just noted wouldn't be that relevant.
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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5559 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 191 of 541
21 October 2012 at 1:32am | IP Logged 
UKRAINIAN

I've completed Unit 6 in "Teach Yourself Ukrainian" which introduced the dative and terms and phrases for talking about the weather. For my class, I've been working on some short exercises with the accusative plural.

I recently found out something interesting related to my Ukrainian studies. I came upon some background information and reviews for the reference manual "Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar" written by Ian Press and Stefan Pugh. These two have collaborated also to create Colloquial Ukrainian which I am not using for reasons I will explain below.

When checking out Pugh's CV, I was impressed and got the feeling that he is a bit of what I would like to be if I were in academia. Namely a linguist specializing in Finno-Ugric and Slavonic. On the other hand, I question the wisdom or quality of his publications for Ukrainian (and even Rusyn) when I see on page 12 of his CV he lists his ability in Ukrainian as "conversant" and that of Rusyn between "conversant" and "reading knowledge". According to his resume his Russian and German are deemed fluent, while his Finnish and Spanish lie between "fluent" and "conversant". Tellingly his Ukrainian and Rusyn are at lower levels of competency than these 4 languages.

With this knowledge in mind, I'm left wondering how he could feel qualified to write a descriptive grammar book as well as a course on Ukrainian. Moreover, I'm little surprised that he has also written a descriptive grammar of Rusyn - a language which he knows less than Ukrainian. Without sounding smart-assed, who does he think he is?

For my purposes, my fear is that what he presents as Ukrainian is actually heavily influenced by Russian, and so what I could be learning by consulting his grammar reference may be closer to some non-standard form of Ukrainian or even the transitional Russian-Ukrainian "Surzhyk".

On JSTOR, I came across a few reviews of the book and for the most part it seemed to have been received at least mildly positively primarily because similar reference material of Ukrainian for English-speakers is sparse (unlike for courses where one could start with TY Ukrainian, Colloquial Ukrainian, Beginner's Ukrainian, Pimsleur Ukrainian, Rozmovliaimo! among others). However being the "only game in town" among reference grammars for most people isn't a guarantee of high quality.

Walter Karpinich of Wilkes University concludes his review of the book with:

Walter Karpinich. “Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar by Stefan M. Pugh, Ian Press” in The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 85, No. 4 (Winter, 2001), pp. 641-642 wrote:
Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar represents an ambitious effort to bring the Ukrainian language and the complexities of its grammar to English speakers. The work complements a number of publications already on the market that introduce the learner to the Ukrainian language. This reference grammar will help learners access the richness of the Ukrainian language and serve as a valuable resource to elucidate the more intricate grammatical and idiomatic structures of the Ukrainian language.


However Karpinich lists a few questionable errors as well as instances of the authors passing off Russian words/names/transliterations as Ukrainian ones. In addition he wonders about the authors' lack of clarity when it comes to their target audience and their tacit assumption that the reader is familiar with concepts/terminology (jargon) in linguistics.

Marta Jenkala of the University College of London expressed rather similarly to Karpinich in my view.

Marta Jenkala. “Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar by Stefan M. Pugh; Ian Press” in The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 80, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 320-321 wrote:
In many respects the book is what it claims to be: user-friendly, clearly set out, detailed and thorough.
[...]
Some aspects, however, are problematical. It is not always clear for whom the book is intended. The authors' scholarly interest in the Ukrainian language, its history, development and present state, is reflected throughout the book, and this makes for a grammar which will be fascinating for researchers and those with a deeper interest but, perhaps rather daunting for the beginner or student who only wants to gain a working knowledge of the language.
[...]
Some of the descriptions and explanations are couched in the language of linguistic scholarship, rather than terms accessible to the average language student, and are, at times, rather complex, requiring an effort on the part of the non-specialist user of the book.
[...]
Each grammar point is amply illustrated, but the examples are not always labelled as to register, variety, dialect, etc. or whether they are historical, outdated or used mainly in the diaspora.
[...]
Notwithstanding the above reservations, the publication of Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar is to be welcomed as a significant step asserting the position of Ukrainian among Slavonic and world languages and promoting its study and teaching in the English-speaking world.


The most interesting but scathing review came from Valerii Polkovsky of St Albert (University? College?).

Valerii Polkovsky. “Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar by Stefan M. Pugh; Ian Press” in Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes, Vol. 45, No. 1/2, CANADIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE XIII INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF SLAVISTS, LJUBLJANA, 2003 (March-June 2003), pp. 244-247 wrote:
[...]
"The authors have consulted a great number of sources, in addition to a wide range of native speakers" (back cover). Many of the so called native speakers in Ukraine are not native speakers at all. Their first language was and continues to be Russian. Otherwise these native speakers (to whom the authors are indebted, probably, Marina Kharitonova, Olena Bekh, Serhij Moroz, p. xiv. Preface) could have corrected abundantly used Russian forms in this book.
[...]
The Ukrainian forms of the English 'hello' - галло, галло (sic!, p. 15), bye - бувайте па (sic!, p. 16) sound a little bit strange.
[...]
The authors encounter some difficulties with diminutives of personal names ending in -а/-я. Russian forms Вася, Жора, Женя of corresponding names Василь, Георгій, Євген (p. 54) are used instead of Ukrainian Василько, Євгенко. The other diminutive form Санько (p. 55) is also derived from Russian Саня.
[…]
Another significant problem in this Comprehensive Grammar is an abundant and uncontrolled use of dubious and artificial words/terms not fixed in any dictionaries of Contemporary Ukrainian, like Словник української мови (1970-1980) 11 томів. (Київ: Наукова думка) or the recent Великий тлумачний словник сучасної української мови, Уклад. і голов ред. В. Т. Бусел (Київ: Ірпінь: ВТФ “Перун,” 2002).
[…]
Many problems are encountered with stresses (accents), but the limitations of a book review prevent us from extensive quotations/citations.
The grammar presents dialectal, regional, diaspora, Russified, dated and artificially created forms without any delimitation or explanation. As a result the variants of Ukrainian presented are no longer spoken anywhere. The problem is that in too many cases the Ukrainian words might even be correct, but the sentence is not Ukrainian. Invisible syntactic rules are broken, the sense of Ukrainianness is obviously absent.
[…]
Too many rare or dialectal forms are used instead of standard or literary ones. Nothing is wrong with the general idea, but priority should be given to forms used frequently and currently in Ukraine.
[…]
There seems to be no feeling of style, syntax.
[…]
And in conclusion, we hope that a better Ukrainian Grammar will finally be written in the new century.


Despite these observations I'm not aligning myself with some Ukrainian nationalists who for me are annoyingly touchy about the position of Russian in Ukraine, yet in a general sense, I'm wary of language-learning material that is written by a non-native speaker of the target language. Polkovsky most clearly expresses the worst case of what happens when relying on language courses by non-native speakers (and ones where the authors don't even seem to be on top of things in that language) Polkovsky's reviewsis full of examples showing what he feels is the unidiomatic command of Ukrainian displayed in the book, which I've added to my copy of "Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar".

It is for these reasons that I'm doubly glad that I'm not using "Colloquial Ukrainian" by Pugh and Press. My first impression of that course was that it was too wordy and that's not comensurate with higher quality of grammar notes. That was enough for me to stick with TY Ukrainian. Now I'm more confident that I made a proper choice since it seems that I'd also have run the risk of my Ukrainian incorporating an uncomfortably high amount of non-standard expressions or structures if I had stuck with "Colloquial Ukrainian"

***

OTHER LANGUAGES

I haven't really studied any of my other languages but have been grinding through that guide to Uralic languages. However my work through it could perhaps count somewhat as I get some exposure to Finnish, Northern Saami and Hungarian in addition to Estonian and Meadow Mari, and come up with example sentences or inflectional charts. (*cough*NERD!*cough)

I've added summaries in draft on how to form the present tense in Estonian, Finnish, Northern Saami, Meadow Mari and Hungarian, in addition to information on the personal pronouns and hypothetical sound changes from the proto-languages to those 5 languages via cognates. I'm liking what I've been researching for sure, but always feel that I should instead be really hitting the books for Finnish, Polish and Hungarian a lot harder.

______


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viedums
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Thailand
Joined 3069 days ago

327 posts - 528 votes 
Speaks: Latvian, English*, German, Mandarin, Thai, French
Studies: Vietnamese

 
 Message 192 of 541
21 October 2012 at 8:24am | IP Logged 
To my mind the really interesting thing to look at is the politics of language use (Ukrainian vs. Russian) in post-independence Ukraine. In this regard, anthropologist Laada Bilaniuk's book "Contested Tongues: Language Politics and Cultural Correction in Ukraine" would be worth checking out.




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