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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 345 of 1511
17 November 2012 at 11:51am | IP Logged 
Damn, your Swedish is good. I understand everything you write, which is quite impressive considering you
have only studied it for a short while.

I see you are making major progress in Russian too - I think we might have to make you Captain of team
Sputnik!

Your French is also great, and you are even doing Breton. My hat is at your feet !
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tarvos
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 Message 346 of 1511
17 November 2012 at 9:54pm | IP Logged 
You can be captain, I have no ambitions in that direction, haha...

But thanks for stopping by!
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Hekje
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 Message 347 of 1511
17 November 2012 at 9:59pm | IP Logged 
Thank God I remember enough French from my school days to be able to read your Breton
entries. They're fascinating! Good luck with your studies. :)
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tarvos
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 Message 348 of 1511
17 November 2012 at 11:08pm | IP Logged 
Le Breton sans peine (until lesson 16)

Doing part of the update in English, also to describe a few more Assimil-related things
pertaining to the course as opposed to some grammar notes (which will follow later, for
all of those people who have been waiting for hours in the Northern European cold for
hours just hitting the refresh button for my update). Concerning Assimil the first two
weeks really were all about introducing the learner gently into the language, for the
most part discussing topics that are inherently related to any discussion about
Brittany - the sea, pancakes, fish, tourism, and for some reason feeding the cat (they
did mention the amount of houses bought by English and Dutch people in the area - which
seems to be corroborated by my local bookstore owner who has clearly been to Brittany
and has described it to me as "time having stood still" - which in many cases is not
far off the mark, when I take into account my own travels to Landerneau and Le Conquêt.

They have also gently eased us into some of the more outlandish things concerning
Breton: its tendency to mutate (and switch voiceless/voiced consonants around seemingly
at will), its interesting word order (emphasis first) and its tendency to conjugate a
lot of verbs using modal auxiliaries rather than just tacking on a number/person
suffix. You can actually do that in other circumstances, but it depends on how you are
phrasing the sentence, and often the verb is most important - in which case you're
using the infinitive + auxiliary with "to do". And furthermore there's the vocabulary,
which can be either entirely outlandish: kousket for "to sleep", but sometimes
astonishingly familiar: levr for "book" (think French livre).

However, one thing that is conspicuously lacking from the earlier lessons is most of
the humour that Assimil typically comes up with (no, the joke about the milk being for
the cat is not funny), and only in lesson 16 have we got our first zinger ("But what
does he paint?" "Oh, you know, just the sea and boats... the usual".) This is a bummer,
but perhaps it's also because Breton really is outlandish for a while, and I don't feel
like I have yet internalised many of the grammatical quirks and nuances that have been
thrown my way. I suppose the active wave will have to consolidate that for me, and my
understanding upon reading is not bad - and my listening is a skill that's getting
fairly honed, but the active wave seems to be really necessary to retain any sort of
grammar.

Why Breton Grammar Is Not Hard - And Why You Should Not Be Scared of the Celts

Now I have to say that Breton grammar is not as scary as it looks. There are a fair few
verb conjugations, and you do have to know them - but most verbs in the present tense
just require you to conjugate "ober" + infinitive (and know the particle you have to
use, which is a with to do and o with to be). These verb conjugations are scary in
number but not in conjugation, because thankfully Breton is really regular and only has
five irregular verbs - of which one verb is completely regular apart from having a stem
differing from the infinitive. Only two verbs really cause problems in this regard.

Furthermore there are no cases, funky agreements with adjectives only apply to
mutations (which are regular and can be learned - they're not different from knowing
masc/feminine in, say, French) and the one thing that can be particularly hard to get
used to is that prepositions often contract, not just with the article (er = e + ar)
but also conjugate for person/number. An example is warni, meaning "on-her". War is a
preposition which always means on - on the chair, on the sea, on the lake, on the roof,
etc. but it matters if you want to refer to something without naming it directly, so
you thunk the "elle" onto the preposition. In the same way we have ac'hanoc'h, which is
a conjugation of "a" (de in French, approximately) for the plural you (or polite you),
the vous-form basically.

In other words, there are a fair amount of reasons why Breton is not super-hard. Most
verbs are refreshingly regular, vocabulary construction is fairly logical with a few
loans, words do not concatenate endlessly, prepositions are always used very logically,
the orthography is quite regular (and at least much more predictable than English or
French), and the stress is pretty much always on the penultimate syllable.

Even though Breton does retain a few quirks that are quite "different" from how we
express them in Standard Average European, and these quirks take time to getting used
to - which is why you can't rush through Breton as quickly as you could while learning
Italian, Swedish, or Dutch - there is no reason to make it any more scary than it is.

The only problem you might have is to encounter native speakers of Breton (who, while
rare, do exist). And the materials that you will want to access are in French, mostly
(what else), and that is what I am using (to keep up my French as well), but for those
who speak no French you might want to try Colloquial Breton instead (it exists!) and I
believe there is even a course for Welsh speakers, although I do not speak any Welsh.

Come in, dive in, the water's cold but refreshing.

Edited by tarvos on 17 November 2012 at 11:10pm

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tarvos
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 Message 349 of 1511
18 November 2012 at 10:04pm | IP Logged 
Today I have not done much language study, much preferring to concentrate on some
university assignments instead having to do with totally different things, like
nanoparticle technology and molecular thermodynamics, and the latter of which I will
continue with studying (the assignments thankfully having been finished but one of them
needing scanning) most likely after posting this entry, although I might do some
bedtime reading of a French translation of some Agatha Christie stories that my friend
from French class has lent me (remind me to finish it before Thursday so I can return
the book).

FR: Malgré cette interruption nécessaire, j'ai étudie ma leçon quotidienne, et
comme hier j'ai pas vraiment écrit un petit pièce grammaticale sur le breton, je
continuerai avec un morceau de la structure verbale de la langue bretonne ci-dessous
(car les nouveaux mots d'aujourd'hui étaient juste sept).

Le Breton sans peine (jusqu'à la dix-septième leçon)

La dix-septième leçon d'Assimil parle pratiquement seulement des verbes et leur
conjugaison (il y a sept nouveaux mots en tout), et les autres leçons parlaient des
mutations, mais je les décrirai plus tard; d'abord je veux vraiment insister sur le
sujet de syntaxe.

J'ai déjà écrit ici qu'en breton, ce qui est le plus important commence toujours la
phrase, et cette phénomène entraîne des conséquences pour la structure des verbes en
breton. Donc ce qu'on dit en breton est toujours lié au fait stressé: alors il est
absolument important de savoir si le sujet est exprimé ou non. Si le sujet est exprimé
(n'importe qu'il vient en tête ou non), le verbe ne porte jamais une marque de
conjugaison.

Donc, si je veux dire "Anne travaille à Brest aujourd'hui" normalement la phrase neutre
sera:

Labourat a ra Naig e Brest hiziv. Cette phrase insiste sur le travailler qui est
important, et c'est ça qu'on stresse normalement.

Si on n'a pas besoin d'exprimer Anne dans une façon explicite, on rendra le phrase
comme ci-dessous

Labourat a ra e Brest hiziv (infinitif vient également en tête, le sujet n'est
pas exprimé mais c'est à la marque du verbe (qui porte une conjugaison identique au
infinitif) qu'on reconnait que nous parlons de Anne ici).

Mais voici le truc: si le sujet vient en tête, la verbe ne se conjugue pas du tout!
Donc si je veux insister sur le fait que c'est Anne qui travaille (et non quelqu'un
d'autre), je rends le phrase comme:

Naig a labour e Brest hiziv (Sujet en tête, nous avons également la particule
verbale habituelle, qui est "a", et la verbe est dans la forme du troisième personne du
singulier). Veuillez noter que c'est absolument une coïncidence que j'ai choisi Anne
qui vient en tête ici ; je pourrais également exprimer la phrase "Je travaille à Brest
aujourd'hui) et ça devient la suivante:

Me a labour e Brest hiziv. La verbe porte encore la marque du troisième personne
du singulier. Le sujet est exprimé. Il va sans dire que c'est un besoin qui ne convient
pas souvent, car normalement on insiste sur le verbe, ou sur un autre fait, et donc
pour la verbe on utilise la construction avec "ober" ou, si on insiste sur autre chose,
on utilise la forme du verbe a la troisième personne avec "a".

Veuillez noter aussi que je peux également stresser un autre fait:

Hiziv e labour Naig e Brest insiste sur le fait qu'elle travaille aujourd'hui
(et non demain, le lundi, samedi prochaine, etc.). La même idée s'impose si on veut
insister sur la place (E Brest e labour Naig hiziv). (Car il ne s'agit pas d'un sujet,
ou un COD, ou un complement anticipé, la particule est "e" ici)

Si on veut rendre cette phrase à un autre temps, c'est possible car le verbe porte
toujours la marque du temps, même quand la marque de la personne ne convient pas.

Et maintenant j'aimerais parler des mutations: j'ai encore vu que ce n'est pas
seulement les lettres k, b et m qui mutent après une article - t et g le font
également. Il est utile de savoir que t devient d et g devient c'h (prononcé comme le
c'h régulier, mais voisée).

Ainsi la leçon a manqué de noter que les verbes peuvent ainsi se transformer - après la
particule verbale "a" une mutation s'impose aussi, et k devient encore g (donc Naig a
gomz brezhoneg, et ne pas komz).

En concernant la grammaire, je voudrais noter ici que les prépositions peuvent
également se conjuguer, et donc peuvent porter une marque de personne si le nom que la
préposition modifie n'est pas exprimé (l'exemple déjà donnée c'est warni, "sur-elle",
et war c'est la proposition signifiant "sur" quelque chose).

Le coup de grâce c'est que je voudrais vous informer que le mot "mignon" existe en
breton aussi - mais en breton ça veut dire "ami, copain"! Donc attention à ne pas
confondre les deux! Et une banque est tout simplement un ti-bank (maison-banque).

Oh, et Naig est la forme habituelle de Annaig (Anne), mais c'est Naig tout court.
Autres noms ont une forme bretonne aussi, comme Yves (Erwan), Alain (Alan), etc.

Edited by tarvos on 18 November 2012 at 10:39pm

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tarvos
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 Message 350 of 1511
20 November 2012 at 11:47pm | IP Logged 
Today's free time was mostly spent on uni things, being anxious, and other unpleasant
states of mind. I therefore have managed (just about, I was planning on skipping it
actually but I didn't want to break my chain of 19 consecutive days) to finish today's
Breton lesson, although how much is sticking of both the vocab and the grammar is at
best debatable; at least I recognise a lot in writing, I guess.

I have also taken to doing the translation exercises without the book. I just play the
sentence once and then translate to French (I hit pause after every sentence). Just for
fun, I am going to write some sentences in Breton now (forgive my grammar) and I hope
you will all find it very instructive.

(By the way, there are a few more mutations for feminine words: gw goes to w, and p
becomes b).


BR: Plijout a ra din debriñ bara ha evañ gwin ruz. Plijus eo ar c'hig er yenerez
ivez. Debriñ a ra kig ha bara bemdez, met ne evan ket gwin bemdez.

J'aime manger du pain et boire du vin rouge. La viande au réfrigérateur est bonne
aussi. Je mange du pain et de la viande tous les jours, mais je ne bois pas du vin tous
les jours.


Komz a ran galleg ha un tamm bihan brezhoneg. Komz a rit brezhoneg ivez? Emañ ar
c'helenner o chom e Breizh. Met ne sellan ket ouzh ar c'helenner. Lenn a ran ul levr
mat ha bras.

Je parle français et un petit peu breton. Parlez-vous breton aussi? Le professeur
habite en Bretagne. Mais je ne vois pas le professeur. Je lis un bon et grand livre.


----

I have not done any systematic study of other languages, although I found out that you
use à with a refrigerator in French (how did I not know that?) and that I have as usual
spoken a lot of Russian on VK. My Twitter is now set to Swedish and Chrome and Gmail
have been set to French for a long while.

Edited by tarvos on 22 November 2012 at 12:19pm

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tarvos
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Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 351 of 1511
21 November 2012 at 3:51pm | IP Logged 
Just a short list of Breton loans (from French) for you today as a curiosity item
(these are words I have seen off the top of my head, there's no rhyme or reason to
them;

fourchetez - fourchette
asied - assiette
levr - livre
malizenn - valise
bilhed - billet
kafe - café
aerborzh - aéroport
laezh - lait (don't know if this is a loan or not, but it sure is pronounced like a
loan with modified Breton orthography).

There are a bunch more but I do not remember them right now. I'll add to them once I
get home. I do not count words like breur (frère) because these are close for all Indo-
European languages, or words that are similar to Latin and do have a cognate (labourat,
travailler).

Note also, that some of these words seem to be spelled differently, but this is due to
a curiosity of the Breton orthography. At a word's end, stops are devoiced (thus asied
is pronounced asiet, just like in French assiette). Note also that not all
voicings/devoicings are noted in the orthography: if I say mat eo ar c'hig, then this
is pronounced Mad-e(w) ar c'hig. (the e induces a voicing).

Some words like articles always invoke a mutation in spelling in certain cases (usually
feminine singular words. They also exist in the plural afaik but I don't know the exact
rule). I believe for feminine words in the singular, the mutations are such:

k --> g
m --> v
b --> v
p --> b
t --> d
gw --> w (the g just disappears for some reason)
g --> c'h (voiced c'h)

k --> c'h (voiceless) after an article if the word is masculine - words after an
article in the singular thus never start with a k, since they always mutate.

This is called the 1st mutation, also known as the "mutation adoucissante", or a
softening mutation (with the exception of k --> c'h, which is an exception that you
could term as the 0th mutation).

The verbal particule a also invokes this mutation on verbs.

NOTE: these loans are assigned a gender according to BRETON rules, and mutate according
to BRETON rules.

Thus kafe (which is masculine) does mutate, even though it is not technically of Breton
origin.




Edited by tarvos on 21 November 2012 at 4:00pm

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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
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Joined 2878 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 352 of 1511
23 November 2012 at 12:56pm | IP Logged 
After a very language-productive Thursday, which was more preferably spent doing other
things than writing about it here on HTLAL in some organized, semi-uncluttered fashion,
I will instead post a review of the past few days here instead, focusing mostly on the
languages I did use.

FR: D'abord, j'ai lu des petits nouvelles écrites par Agatha Christie sur le
fameux détective Hercule Poirot. C'était amusant mais j'en ai assez des romans
policiers pour les mois prochaines et donc j'ai fini le livre, je l'ai rendu à sa
propriétaire et je n'y ai plus pensé. En plus, je suis allé au classe et j'ai bavardé
sans cesse (c'est que je fais, je sais pas pourquoi, mais bien, c'est la vie hein?) Et
bon ma écrit m'a fait penser - la structure la plus difficile à comprendre, pour moi,
c'est le genre des noms. Il faudrait que je fais un essai réel afin de vraiment
utiliser les genres correctement. Eh bien ça prend aussi trop de temps, donc j'ai
vraiment pas hâte. Ça viendra.

РУ Насчет русского языка, я получил журнал <<наука и жизнь>>. Я постарался
прочитать одну или две статьи, но мне было сложно - однако, я буду продолжать.

Я также разговаривал с русскими по Интернету, с помощью программой Верблинг. Это было
неплохо - мне сказали, что у меня хорошее произношение и что, я почти не делаю ошибки.
Конечно, я совершенно не верю в это, но если они так говорят... может быть, они правы.

FR: Et puis j'ai étudié le breton, et j'ai inventé un nouveau méthode pour faire
l'exercice de traduction (c'est la première chaque leçon). Mais ça devra attendre car
je dois partir maintenant.

Edited by tarvos on 23 November 2012 at 7:07pm



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