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Tim’s Catalan Book (Team Caesar)

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rdearman
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 Message 9 of 60
18 January 2015 at 12:48am | IP Logged 
Welcome to the Forum BTW. I have a couple of Italian books if you want.

:)



Meddysong
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 Message 10 of 60
18 January 2015 at 11:14am | IP Logged 
Thank you! I have a stash of Italian books that I bought when on holiday in Sardinia last year with the intention of reading them in 2015. I've read a couple already but still have maybe six to go.

I suppose I should write something on the language-related books I've read this year, come to think of it. Some of it seems quite lowbrow, but I love Asterix and learned a tonne of Esperanto from them when I was a beginner, so I've continued to buy them in different languages (or have them bought for me, since it was Christmas recently).

Two have bitten the dust so far this year, both in French: Asterix et le chaudron et Le devin. I loved them both, which doesn't surprise me at all.

I can't say the same about the French translation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, which I started at the end of last year. Goodness me - when will something happen? Why should I care about the protagonist? I've just got past the half-way mark and am a stubborn man, so I'll finish it, but probably at the pace of three of four chapters a week.

It took me a while to get into Dieci piccoli indiani, an Italian translation of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, but things picked up and it became a page-turner towards the end.

I'm toying with the idea of starting another Italian book today. At weekends I tend to prefer reading big, coffee-table style books. And since it was Christmas recently I have a new stock of them. So I might not. Plus I'm out this afternoon. Not a social thing as such (perish the thought!) but a meeting with a very nice fella who has declared an interest in becoming a trustee of the Esperanto Association of Britain, so I'll be sitting down with him to bring him up to speed. I expect we'll speak in English (this is business rather than pleasure and I keep the two separate) but maybe switch once the more formal stuff is out the way.

Oh, with respect to Catalan - I should've noted yesterday a curious feature by which feminine names of towns, cities and countries are preceded with an invariable form tot [all] and mig [half] rather than the feminine forms tota and mitja. Noted. Aren't things like this strange? You just have to accept them, I suppose, much as with the French phenomenon of going from one preposition + article if it's a masculine country to changing the preposition and dropping the article if it's a feminine one: aller au Canada but en France.

Edited by Meddysong on 18 January 2015 at 11:16am



Crush
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 Message 11 of 60
18 January 2015 at 12:31pm | IP Logged 
Meddysong wrote:
It seems that in Catalan the structure "go + infinitive", unlike in English and the other Romance languaages, forms a past tense. I find that sort of thing fascinating.
I dunno that that's entirely true, but you could sort of think of it that way. While it conjugates mostly the same as the verb "anar" (to go), the first and second person plural forms are different so i'm not sure if it's considered its own verb or not.
anar:
vaig vas va anem aneu van
formes del passat perifràstic:
vaig vas va VAM VAU van

There's also a simple past form, but similar to French it's mostly relegated to the literary language.

Also, do you have any examples of preceding a feminine city with tot/mig? I'm curious what that could be.
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Meddysong
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 Message 12 of 60
18 January 2015 at 11:15pm | IP Logged 
Crush wrote:
Also, do you have any examples of preceding a feminine city with tot/mig? I'm curious what that could be.

Only the direct quotation from the book:

1.2.1 NOUNS ENDING IN -a

Most nouns ending in unstressed -a are feminine. As seen above, the affix -a is also the
major one used to derive feminine nouns and adjectives from masculine ones. Thus: capsa (f.) little box França (f.) France història (f.) history, story Tarragona (f.) Tarragona cama (f.) leg

Curiously, feminine names of towns, cities, and countries are preceded by invariant tot ‘all’, mig ‘half’ rather than the feminine forms tota, mitja: tot Catalunya ‘all Catalonia’, Mig Girona va quedar a les fosques ‘Half Girona was in darkness’.
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Crush
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 Message 13 of 60
19 January 2015 at 9:23am | IP Logged 
Hmm, i dunno if i ever really paid attention to that. I guess i'll have to watch out for that. Thanks! Btw, i just found an entry (in Catalan) about that at esadir.cat:
Quote:
Els determinants tot i mig no varien davant dels topònims (noms propis de lloc: ciutat, comarca, país, illa, continent, etc.) no precedits d'article.
The determiners "tot" and "mig" don't change before toponyms (place names: cities, "comarcas", countries, islands, continents, etc.) that aren't preceded by an article.



Ogrim
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 Message 14 of 60
19 January 2015 at 10:54am | IP Logged 
Crush wrote:
Meddysong wrote:
It seems that in Catalan the structure "go + infinitive", unlike in English and the other Romance languaages, forms a past tense. I find that sort of thing fascinating.
I dunno that that's entirely true, but you could sort of think of it that way. While it conjugates mostly the same as the verb "anar" (to go), the first and second person plural forms are different so i'm not sure if it's considered its own verb or not.
anar:
vaig vas va anem aneu van
formes del passat perifràstic:
vaig vas va VAM VAU van


Most linguists agree that the auxiliary in this construction derives from "anar", but it has been "desemanticised", i.e. lost its original meaning as a verb of movement and functions only as a marker of the past tense in this particular construction.

I have been quite interested in learning about the origins of this construction in Catalan, but I cannot say that I have found a 100% convincing explanation. However, this article puts forward some interesting views on the question, pointing to the fact that this construction also existed in Occitan and Old French. The author therefore thinks that it was introduced in Catalan by influence from Occitan. If true it explains how it came about, but not really why.

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Meddysong
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 Message 15 of 60
19 January 2015 at 10:58am | IP Logged 
Crush wrote:
While it conjugates mostly the same as the verb "anar" (to go), the first and second person plural forms are different so i'm not sure if it's considered its own verb or not.
anar:
vaig vas va anem aneu van
formes del passat perifràstic:
vaig vas va VAM VAU van

Thank you - that's fascinating. I love that sort of quirk! It's maybe not the best thing when you're learning, but it all adds flavour to the language.

I don't think it was an unreasonable conclusion, all said, to have drawn. The author notes on the back, for example, include:

"Des que el 1989 vaig publicar Els pilars de la terra, milers de lectors m'han demanat que escrigués la segona part ... Al final, però, vaig decidir omplir-me de valor."

And the biography starts:

"Ken Follett va néixer a Cardiff, Gal·les. Després de llicenciar-se en filosofia al University College de Londres, va treballar de periodista per al ..."

Thanks for pointing out the difference. It could've left me mightily confused later when I undoubtedly meet the forms that no longer match :)

******
On the language front:

I downloaded a ten-minute or so podcast of The news in slow Italian and listened to it yesterday. That's such a good idea and I more or less followed it perfectly. Since I was driving at the time I didn't pay proper attention at certain points but when I was able to offer some degree of concentration, I was happy to be able to follow it.

I also downloaded what I thought to be the first ten lessons (in reality, the whole course) of One-Minute Catalan. There wasn't much in the way of depth, but given that I didn't know the basic words (hello, goodbye etc) it served its purpose. It reinforced to me, however, that I'm a visual learner, because though I could hear the words and more or less repeat them, my brain was crying out to see them in printed form so that it could file them away. Consequently, I can't quite recall everything that I couldn't attempt to visualise, so although I'm fairly confident that there was a sentence along the lines of "parlo una mica catala", I can't recall "I don't understand" on the basis that it seemed to be no + entend- + some ending that I couldn't quite make out, but which sounded like it might be a g.

Still, it was useful to get the reinforcement that it does - unsurprisingly - sound very similar in quality to Spanish, so I think I'll try to track down other such sources.

My chat with a fellow Esperanto-speaker yesterday went really well. We chatted for three and a half hours without realising it - we could've gone on for much longer but it dawned on me that I'd have a very hungry and upset other half, since I wouldn't be home till nine and hadn't yet cooked dinner!

Owing to the time I got home there was no scope to start another book, so in that respect I'm disappointed. It's been a book-free weekend (he says, forgetting until mid-sentence about the pages he's read of his PDF about Catalan). I hope to get something in tonight by way of compensation.



Crush
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 Message 16 of 60
19 January 2015 at 2:02pm | IP Logged 
It likely won't be a problem since "anar" is rarely used the same way as Spanish's "ir" or French's "aller", it's pretty much restricted to movement (going from here to there). Sometimes you'll see it with an infinitive in the form "anar a ...", but it's got more emphasis on the action of GOING than on being a future action. Here's an explanation i just found online:
http://cv.uoc.edu/tren/trenacc/web/LLENGUA.GLOSSNOMEN/glossa ri_entrades.frame_detall?i_paraula=40

It gives a couple examples on how "anar" should not be used to talk about future actions unless you literally have to move from one place to another to do it (for example, "vaig a obrir la porta").

Another thing you'll probably come across sooner or later is the controversy surrounding per and per a, it seems like there's no real "correct" (maybe "standard" would be a better word) way. Though i think the growing tendency (the simpler one) is to not use "per a + infinitive" and in all other situations distinguish them more or less like Spanish por and para.



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