Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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JD
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JD »

JD wrote:
24 Oct 2018, 13:54
Also, counting and dates seems nice and simple so far. January is literally "one-month", February is "two-month", and so on, and something like "April 5th" is literally just "four-month five-day"; a number like "43" is just "four tens three".
Did I say it was nice and simple? I was wrong. Korean has two separate counting systems. One of them is used for numbers of items less than 100 and ages, and the other is used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, floor numbers, and numbers of items above 100. And everything has a specific type of counter-word, so "three newspapers" is literally something like "newspaper three paper-type-things", while "three dogs" is "dog three animal-type-things". And there are tons of them, like one that applies to bunches of onions or newspaper columns, one that's for things with handles, one that's for things in rows, one that's for buildings, one that's for clothes, etc. etc.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Painboy »

JD wrote:
09 Nov 2018, 13:30
JD wrote:
24 Oct 2018, 13:54
Also, counting and dates seems nice and simple so far. January is literally "one-month", February is "two-month", and so on, and something like "April 5th" is literally just "four-month five-day"; a number like "43" is just "four tens three".
Did I say it was nice and simple? I was wrong. Korean has two separate counting systems. One of them is used for numbers of items less than 100 and ages, and the other is used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, floor numbers, and numbers of items above 100. And everything has a specific type of counter-word, so "three newspapers" is literally something like "newspaper three paper-type-things", while "three dogs" is "dog three animal-type-things". And there are tons of them, like one that applies to bunches of onions or newspaper columns, one that's for things with handles, one that's for things in rows, one that's for buildings, one that's for clothes, etc. etc.
Japanese is like that too. I don't understand how those forms of counting have survived linguistically. Is there some situational advantage over a single method of counting that I don't see?

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Kolohe
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
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Jadagul
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jadagul »

I heard a satisfying explanation once, but I don't recall it.

Also, I believe at least some of the counters are pretty obscure even to native speakers. You can use them, but in practice people use something more generic.

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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Highway »

In my experience with Japanese (admittedly not that much), they mostly just say things in such a way as to avoid having to use counting words.

And how it survives is with a bunch of people saying "This is how REAL {insert language name here} is spoken. You have to do it this way or SHAME!!!!" Just like people do with English.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Aresen »

Kolohe wrote:
10 Nov 2018, 16:46
English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
Someone once told me that English has more idiomatic expressions than any other language. Don't remember the source and I don't know if it is true.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JasonL »

Highway wrote:In my experience with Japanese (admittedly not that much), they mostly just say things in such a way as to avoid having to use counting words.

And how it survives is with a bunch of people saying "This is how REAL {insert language name here} is spoken. You have to do it this way or SHAME!!!!" Just like people do with English.
The counting thing does rear its head when shopping for mixed shape things. It’s awful.

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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Painboy »

Aresen wrote:
Kolohe wrote:
10 Nov 2018, 16:46
English speakers (and esp writers) should be the last to complain about leftover legacy quirks of language.
Someone once told me that English has more idiomatic expressions than any other language. Don't remember the source and I don't know if it is true.
But idioms usually convey specific information or additional expression. I don't see what additional useful info contextual counting systems are good for.

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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by nicole »

The counting words are called “classifiers,” as opposed to “classes,” like grammatical gender. Classifiers sometimes collapse into a smaller number and become classes. Eg, in future instead of dozens of counting words Korean may have a handful of genders. The classifiers also often start out as words in themselves. So it’s all part of the language change process.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JD »

Rachel wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 19:52
I completed most the Duolingo German and can say useful things like "The cats are eating the beetles" and "I do not like trees"
In honor of Rachel:
"고양이가 딱정벌레를 먹습니다" (ko-yang-ee-ga dag-chong-bor-rae-rule mok-soom-nee-da, loosely)
and
"저는 나무를 좋아하지 않습니다" (jo-noon na-mu-rule joh-a-ha-ji anh-soom-ni-da, loosely)
...I think.

(It helps that "to eat" and "to like" were among the first verbs they give you. I had to look up "beetle" and "tree", though.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

After years away -- and never attaining any skill, despite great effort -- I checked out an intermediate "learn Spanish" CD from the library and was pleased at how much of the first lesson I could understand! It wasn't a complicated conversation ("Are you going on vacation tomorrow?" "No, my vacation is next week.") but anything is an ego boost.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JD »

This thread reminds me that I have been studying Korean for over a year now (admittedly, not very intensively). I didn't study Spanish or French anywhere near as long* and I feel more comfortable with those languages, so yes, I would definitely say Korean is more difficult.

* with the asterisk that in NYC one gets some Spanish exposure all the time anyway
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by JD »

Thanks to Spotify, I now know how to say "fistfight in the parking lot" in Finnish. (It's nyrkkitappelu parkkipaikalla.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by lunchstealer »

Heh.

I'd been doing Spanish off and on with Duolingo, but couldn't keep at it, so I got a bug up my ass and started Welsh. It's much less slick - I think with only one voice actor and no voice recognition, but it's so weird that I'm interested and stick with it a lot more.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Here's a language question I'll post on the off-chance someone might know the answer: I have a book called "Everything but Money" by Sam Levenson, a former Borscht Belt comedian who was very popular in the 1950s and 60s. First third of the book is hilarious stories of his childhood growing up in the tenement slums of New York City in the silent movie/gaslight era, then it kind of devolves into "get off my lawn" rants about declining values and Kids These Days (the kids in question were the Baby Boomers and the Boomers' older siblings).

Anyway, there was one lengthy bit where he was going on about how parents these days are teaching kids the wrong values and insufficient respect -- something along the lines of "We're sick of the kids saying 'hey, Ma' and 'hey, Pa," so they got French lessons and now they say "hey, mere" and "hey, pere" (with accent marks over the proper vowels, of course). And then there was a bit about how the child called his mother or father a "little basket" in French. Presumably that was intended as a stealth insult or bit of disrespect, but what, exactly?

"Little basket" in French is "petit panier," which (roughly) would be pronounced "petty pon yay," which is not a homonym for any English-language insult or rude comment I've ever heard of. But is it an insult of some sort in French? What was the presumed humor or shock value of an American kid calling someone a "little basket" in French?
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

Is the joke because the kid is saying ‘little bastard’ and the guy is thinking ‘oh that must be French for little basket’?


Eta
https://books.google.com/books?id=IiDkD ... et&f=false

The joke is that another French speaking kid is calling his son a ‘little bastard’ (in accented English) and the kid is telling his dad but mishears it as little basket.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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JD wrote:
21 Apr 2020, 12:55
Thanks to Spotify, I now know how to say "fistfight in the parking lot" in Finnish. (It's nyrkkitappelu parkkipaikalla.)
I wish I knew Finnish, Chinese, or Sumerian. I'd settle the gender pronoun thing once and for all.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Dunno if I'm actually going to stick with this, or get tired after awhile, but: for a long time now, when I'm in the living room/kitchen/common area of our apartment but not actually "watching TV," I'll often have it on just for background noise, while I'm doing some housework thing or playing on the laptop/tablet. (My new laptop, with its touchscreen, functions as both.)

Since our current lack-of-cable has me checking out all the free internet channels available via our Flex, I've been leaving the TV on the Nick Jr. Latino channel -- shows for preschoolers or kindergartners, all in Spanish. I figure the worst-case scenario is nothing happens, but best-case, maybe I start picking up a few of the words. (Obviously I have no memory of "learning English," but according to all childhood-language-development scenarios, the way I learned this was: first I heard meaningless babble when people talked around me, then I started to recognize certain repeated sounds in the babble, THEN started realizing "THIS sound corresponds to THAT meaning." So I was hoping maybe to pick up a bit of Spanish that way.)

One problem, though: even though Spanish is infinitely easier to spell than English, I know the vowel sounds AND I know (for example) that the syllable pronounced "kay" is actually spelled "que" -- I still can't spell a lot of the words I recognize, to look them up. Yesterday, for example, I saw a Spanish dub of a show called "Fresh Beats Spy Kids" or something (teenage musicians who also work as secret agents) -- the episode had something to do with Santa Claus. From the few images I saw, I think maybe the story was "Instead of Santa and his elves delivering presents, there's some robot-drone delivering presents and screwing it up" -- presents landing in yards rather than going down chimneys and such. Or maybe some evil anti-Santa was deliberately messing with things, I don't know.

Anyway, there was a certain phrase I heard repeated twice in that episode -- in English, it sounded like "Santa beano!" Heard it once when a teenage musician looked under the tree and saw presents, and much later in the episode (presumably after the whatever-it-was problem had been solved) when a little kid saw presents under the tree. So I guessed maybe "Santa beano!" meant something like "Santa came!" or "Santa was here!" ... but trying to look up "bino" in a Spanish/English translator brought back nothing.

Much easier to pick up bits of language from Dora the Explorer -- she sang a whole song about "mochila" while a cartoon backpack danced around, so I was not surprised to discover that "mochila" does indeed mean "backpack" or "knapsack" -- but even then, there were a few words I think I recognized her saying multiple times, but my attempt to guess their spelling and look them up in a translator ended in failure.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

Jennifer wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 16:40
Anyway, there was a certain phrase I heard repeated twice in that episode -- in English, it sounded like "Santa beano!" Heard it once when a teenage musician looked under the tree and saw presents, and much later in the episode (presumably after the whatever-it-was problem had been solved) when a little kid saw presents under the tree. So I guessed maybe "Santa beano!" meant something like "Santa came!" or "Santa was here!" ... but trying to look up "bino" in a Spanish/English translator brought back nothing.
Tip for looking things up in the future: in some (all?) Spanish dialects, "b" and "v" are essentially pronounced the same. They were probably saying "Santa vino" which means "Santa came."

(I know it is not hip to enjoy the comedy of Carlos Mencia, but the "Damn You Letter V!" bit from Mind of Mencia is much-beloved and oft-quoted in our house. Skip to 1:34 in the clip: http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/ind ... eoId=85650)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Ellie wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 17:53
Jennifer wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 16:40
Anyway, there was a certain phrase I heard repeated twice in that episode -- in English, it sounded like "Santa beano!" Heard it once when a teenage musician looked under the tree and saw presents, and much later in the episode (presumably after the whatever-it-was problem had been solved) when a little kid saw presents under the tree. So I guessed maybe "Santa beano!" meant something like "Santa came!" or "Santa was here!" ... but trying to look up "bino" in a Spanish/English translator brought back nothing.
Tip for looking things up in the future: in some (all?) Spanish dialects, "b" and "v" are essentially pronounced the same. They were probably saying "Santa vino" which means "Santa came."

(I know it is not hip to enjoy the comedy of Carlos Mencia, but the "Damn You Letter V!" bit from Mind of Mencia is much-beloved and oft-quoted in our house. Skip to 1:34 in the clip: http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/ind ... eoId=85650)
Thanks! That is definitely going to come in handy. Last night/this morning I also learned that, in the dialect Nick Jr. Latino uses for Dora the Explorer, the letter "z" can be pronounced "s" -- she and her friends kept singing about "mansana," which I typed into a regular search engine (not even a translator), and got back "manzana" -- apples, of which there were plenty on the screen. Though of course, the "s" sound can also be spelled with an "s."

So: I know "kay" is spelled "que." Thanks to Ellie, I know the "b" sound might be spelled with a "v" (though I also know sometimes it's still a "b," as with "bano" with the squiggle over the n -- "bathroom"). And I know the "s" sound might be spelled with a "z," the "h" sound is spelled "j," and the letter H in a word is generally silent.

Does anyone know any other Spanish-spelling peculiarities (by English standards) I ought to know about, if I'm trying to look up Spanish words I recognize, but can't spell? Or any other "silent consonants" akin to the "t" at the end of many French words? A word like "certainement" sounds, in English, like "sur tain mon" -- you wouldn't guess it's spelled with a second "t" at the end, unless you already know about that particular oddity of French spelling/pronunciation. Or in "petit," which is pronounced "petty." Other than the silent H, does Spanish have anything like that, especially at the end of words?

FWIW, if my latest attempt at semi-passive Spanish learning does end up generating actual useful results, I definitely think the Nick Jr. will work better for my purposes than regular Nick Latino. Tried that at first, for an episode of Bob Esponja (Spongebob Squarepants) -- then realized I'd be better off with more explicitly educational shows aimed at much younger children, which would be more likely to use real everyday Spanish words and basic sentences, in lieu of "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy want a Krabby Patty, Squidward."

I just hope none of the Nick Jr. Latino shows on that free Flex channel air anything equivalent to "Rugrats," where much of the humor came from the babies misusing or mispronouncing half the words they said. The shows I've seen (or at least semi-heard, and occasionally looked at) so far are Dora, "Fresh Beats," "Max & Ruby" (originally a Canadian series, about a 3-year-old boy bunny and his 7-year-old sister), "Peter Rabbit" and "Zoofari," a show dedicated to showing cool or cute live-animal footage (some of which I recognized from BBC nature documentaries and the like), while narrators alternately talk about the animals -- definitely heard the word "adorable" repeated many times, over various cute-baby-animal scenes -- or, using a "fake and funny" tone of voice, the narrators speak on behalf of the animals -- a perching parrot started flapping or flexing its wings, and the narrator raised his voice and said something beginning with "Hola, amigos!"

I also noticed that, even dubbed into Spanish, the "Fresh Beats" musical superhero spy team is still called "Fresh Beats," not whatever the Spanish translation would be, and Peter Rabbit is still "Peter Rabbit," not "Peter Conejo."

And if Dora, compared to Fresh Beats and maybe Zoofari, is any indication, shows explicitly aimed at preschoolers rather than kindergarten/primary-grade kids like to repeat themselves, a LOT, which is also good for my purposes. (Also, the streaming internet channels in general are very repetitive, compared to the actual Nick Jr. Latino and other cable channels you have to pay for -- far fewer shows, played far more frequently. When I first turned on the Nick Jr. channel, they happened to be airing a block of "Max & Ruby" episodes. Then they aired the same episodes again, only a bit more than 24 hours later.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Ellie wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 17:53

Tip for looking things up in the future: in some (all?) Spanish dialects, "b" and "v" are essentially pronounced the same. They were probably saying "Santa vino" which means "Santa came."
I thought that was Santa ha corrido.

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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

Depending on the regional accent, Spanish words that have a consonant y have either a y sound more or less similar to English, or one that sounds closer to an English j. More noticeable when the y is at the beginning of the word.

(Vowel y is pronounced ‘ee’ identical (I think) to the (Spanish) i sound)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Is consonant y sometimes pronounced like "T"? I just spent a couple hours watching Dora -- and turned off the TV when yet ANOTHER episode came on (if they're going to show the same thing for hours at a time, I wish they'd do more of that live-animal show) -- but there was one episode where they kept saying what sounded like "la plata," which does not exist, but there is a word "playa" meaning "beach." And they DID go to a beach in that episode.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Huh, I guess airing blocks of the same show for hours and hours is what the free Pluto versions of cable channels do. I just finished doing some things in the common area, while several hours worth of Spanish-dubbed "Wonder Pets" played in the background. I'm proud to say I already used my first tiny bit of applied Spanish to successfully figure out a plot point, on a show for three-year-olds: I learned from an earlier Dora episode that "barro" is mud (she got stuck in some), then the Wonder Pets later encountered some barro while going to rescue a triceratops (presumably time travel was involved); the dinosaur was stuck in a rock crevice, and as the Wonder Pets talked about this I heard one say "barro" and guessed "They'll use the mud to lubricate the triceratops so he can get out." And sho'nuff, they did.

It appears that, except for oft-used words like hola, gracias and vamos, the only words that I seem to even notice, let alone remember, thus far are nouns. (And vino/came, but only because it was part of a repeated two-word phrase where I already knew one of the words.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Huh. Dora pronounces the double-l in pollo almost like the English "j." (She did the danza del pollo at the end of her current adventure, which ended on the back of a giant friendly chicken--it sounds like she was saying "dansa del pojo.")
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