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Author Topic: Linguistic Mastery Thread  (Read 7762 times)
theMadTinker
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« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2008, 06:19:43 pm »

Ok this killed me today or rather yesterday
I am working in a theater which is performing My Fair Lady.
I hear this kid afterwards talking to his mother about some teacher who makes fun of a student, but the kid himself says it is because " He never bes quiet"
Oh, why can't they teach the students to speak?Huh?

WARNING: One-Semester Expert

According to my Linguistics TA, who was studying to become a developmental linguistic pathologist or some such, this behaviour is called "regularization" and is a normal phase in a child's liguistic development, depending on the age of the child. (I'm guessing the child in question was fairly young?)

What happens (AIUI) is this: When a child begins learning to conjugate verbs, he learns each verb in isolation. That is to say, no connection is made between the corresponding conjugate forms of (for instance) "open" and "close" (both regular verbs). At some point, though, the child's brain grabs hold of the pattern which regular verbs follow (open/opens/opening/opened = close/closes/closing/closed) and learns how to conjugate previously-unknown verbs (eg. spill/spills/spilling/spilled, to continue the example).

The problem (which really isn't a problem, per se) is that the kid hasn't yet grokked that there is such a thing as an irregular verb which does not follow this first rule, and so all verbs are conjugated regularly and we hear such abominations as "run/runs/running/runned", "go/goes/going/goed", and "be/bes/being/beed".

I don't recall how long this phase is supposed to last, but I believe it is usually a matter of a few months before the child begins to absorb the more-complex grammar of irregular verbs. Unless the parents are pathologically inarticulate, it will happen, and it will happen when it happens.

I can back you up on this one; young children, usually hovering in the area of 2-4 years will happily mangle irregular verbs because they think that they have learned the definitive rule for conjugation.  At this age, children play around with language a lot because they're playing with the quick-start guide, rather than using the full rules.  However, kids will grow out of this provided they're presented with good examples of how to speak properly.  This is why I hate baby-talk with a passion; you're not teaching your kid anything by throwing everything they've just said back at them, you have to talk normally because that's what they're trying to do, but at a very young age they haven't yet fully developed the necessary faculties for verbal expression, though they do have the cognitive ability to communicate their wants and needs.

So, if the kid was a young'un, let it lie, if the kid was old enough to know better, smack the parent rather than the child.
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Pheobsky
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« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2008, 07:53:29 pm »

Well I only speak English to any degree of compitancy, but I am able to speak French to a level where I can have a (grammatically appalling) conversation & farly regularly do -thankfully my friends who are fluent are fairly forgiving which is nice Grin
I'm not too bad at reading it*, but as I hardly ever have any reason to write in it, my spelling is foul.
I can also speak basic Spanish, but find that you can get by simply on the phrase "un otra cervasa por favor"(please excuse spelling) -to which you are either served or given an amused smile & let trundle on.


*I can read Gaston le gaffe & (most of) Blake et Mortimer which is more than I can say for most people who don't study french Roll Eyes



--edit--
I also know quite a few bits of other languages, but not enough to do much more than recognise a few words & have a useful sentence or two- I'm thinking however that it may be usefull to learn a dash more German, as I always find that I'm coming across websites/books etc. that I can only make out the vauge meaning of.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 07:58:30 pm by Pheobsky » Logged

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von Corax
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« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2008, 10:25:14 pm »

At this age, children play around with language a lot because they're playing with the quick-start guide, rather than using the full rules.

I shall have to remember that line.
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DonQuijote
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« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2008, 05:39:31 am »

I propose a linguistic mystery thread, where each entrant must speak in some obscure language, creole or dialect, to the exclusion of all understanding Smiley Dibs on nadsat Tongue
Deci nu ştiu ce-ar pute' fi mai ciudat, decât să vorbăsc pă ardeleneşte unde nu ma-nţăle'je nici dracu

does that fit the criteria?
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« Reply #54 on: May 26, 2008, 09:11:37 pm »

American English here, though proper English is also possible.

I've struggled to be fluent in German, with little success, but i can get around Germany quite well-- getting people to speak _German_ in Germany is increasingly difficult.

My only regret growing up is that i didn't insist upon multilingualism-- though I'm sure my childish ignorance was the only thing to blame back then.  My mother's first language was German, and my grandmother's first language was Czech-- like many immigrants to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, discarding the native tongue was one way of "becoming American."  What a shame.
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Ben Hudson, Esq.
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« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2008, 12:21:22 pm »

I propose a linguistic mystery thread, where each entrant must speak in some obscure language, creole or dialect, to the exclusion of all understanding Smiley Dibs on nadsat Tongue
Deci nu ştiu ce-ar pute' fi mai ciudat, decât să vorbăsc pă ardeleneşte unde nu ma-nţăle'je nici dracu

does that fit the criteria?

Almost certainly Smiley Romanian?
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #56 on: May 28, 2008, 06:12:43 pm »

like many immigrants to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, discarding the native tongue was one way of "becoming American."  What a shame.

Yes.

I've been trying to reconstruct what my grandmother still remembers (she has Alzheimer's and did not teach any of her children) but it's slow going.
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« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2008, 10:38:49 am »

My only regret growing up is that i didn't insist upon multilingualism-- though I'm sure my childish ignorance was the only thing to blame back then.  My mother's first language was German, and my grandmother's first language was Czech-- like many immigrants to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, discarding the native tongue was one way of "becoming American."  What a shame.

Although I'm still at home (to be leaving some point this year for uni) I still have a similar regret, as it's so much easier to learn a language when you're small- my Father speaks fluent Gaelic but never taught me, although its probably my fault for never asking him to.
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von Adler
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« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2008, 11:03:35 am »

Finnish is my native tongue, and then there's English, which I apparently speak with enough fluency (once I get started, in any case) to fool Brits into thinking I went to one of the Oxbridge colleges. Bits and pieces of Swedish and German to get around in those countries if need be, and a smattering of French and Spanish (tourist-type mongrel speech only, I'm afraid). And I can swear or make rude remarks in many other languages as well.
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DonQuijote
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« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2008, 01:29:42 pm »

I propose a linguistic mystery thread, where each entrant must speak in some obscure language, creole or dialect, to the exclusion of all understanding Smiley Dibs on nadsat Tongue
Deci nu ştiu ce-ar pute' fi mai ciudat, decât să vorbăsc pă ardeleneşte unde nu ma-nţăle'je nici dracu

does that fit the criteria?

Almost certainly Smiley Romanian?

yes an no.. it IS romanian, but it's peppered with some regional touches, which makes it look very peculiar in writing, since people don't tend to put that king of language customization in writing too....
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Ben Hudson, Esq.
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« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2008, 07:12:22 pm »

I see Smiley Jolly good. Interesting language. My grandparents travelled quite a bit through Romania, but I can't remember any bits of the language they told me. They came back with lots of interesting stories; some good (fantastic wooden churches), some bad (having to make sure no-one stole their windscreen wipers) Tongue
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2008, 07:37:31 pm »

some bad (having to make sure no-one stole their windscreen wipers) Tongue

Hell - you run into that in some parts of the good ol' US of A too.
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Lady Penelope
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« Reply #62 on: May 29, 2008, 08:15:17 pm »

Currently, I'm only fluent in English (the American version, although I'm somewhat conversant in British idiom also), but my mother tells me that I was also fairly fluent in Chavacano, Tausug, and Tagalog as a very young child.  Nowadays I only understand a few isolated words and phrases of Chavacano and Tagalog (not sure if I'd recognize Tausug if I heard it again or not), although I seem to have an inner translator that tells me exactly what my mother is saying about me if she's talking about me to another Filipino.   Grin  Otherwise, I only catch random snatches of the conversation, enough to sometimes figure out the gist of what they're saying.

I used to speak French well enough to be mistaken for Canadian rather than American, or so I gathered from the conversation I overheard between two men at Versaille who were trying to guess my nationality, and who decided my spoken French didn't sound mangled enough to be American.  I also used to be able to read French well enough to figure out the gist of 19th Century French novels, although I missed a good deal of detail.  My written French was decent, though not always grammatically correct (my language acquisition tends to be more instinctual rather than rules-based), but my understanding of spoken French was always the area that posed the most difficulty for me, unless the other person spoke slowly.  I never fully reached the point of being able to think in French rather than rapidly translating back and forth in my head, so I don't consider myself to have gained fluency in the language.  That was all during my university days, though; nowadays I count myself fortunate if I can puzzle my way through the French portion of an warning label or user's manual.

I also have a smattering of Anglo-Saxon, enough to have translated some Old English poetry, including large chunks of Beowulf, with the aid of a glossary.  I know less Latin, though I can sometimes figure out the meaning of certain words and phrases just from their similarity to languages I'm better acquainted with.  I can understand a few words of Spanish, and even less Italian, despite having lived in Italy for three years as a child.  And I understand "ni hao," "xie-xie" and "dong ma?", but that owes more to watching Firefly than to any serious study of Chinese.   Cheesy

English, though....I once made a perfect score on a test that assessed reading and comprehension ability from the kindergarten to the post-graduate level.  The test administrator told me she'd never seen anyone else answer all the questions correctly, including herself.  So I think I'm reasonably fluent in my native language.   Wink
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DonQuijote
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« Reply #63 on: May 30, 2008, 11:13:13 am »

I see Smiley Jolly good. Interesting language. My grandparents travelled quite a bit through Romania, but I can't remember any bits of the language they told me. They came back with lots of interesting stories; some good (fantastic wooden churches), some bad (having to make sure no-one stole their windscreen wipers) Tongue

i am truly sorry for your not-so-nice stories about romania. it unfortunately still is so, however, improvements show. may i ask when your grandparents travelend on carpatho-danubiano-pontic ground?
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« Reply #64 on: May 30, 2008, 01:40:19 pm »

And I understand "ni hao," "xie-xie" and "dong ma?", but that owes more to watching Firefly than to any serious study of Chinese.   Cheesy

This is one of the reasons I want to see this show, besides hearing that it was great. I got the briefest of synopsi, pretty much consisting of, "It's the future with English and Chinese being the predominant languages (or maybe the only languages used?)." Anyways, it is always neat to hear Chinese, I miss it.
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« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2008, 03:34:43 pm »

http://www.hulu.com/firefly

Here you go.  Watch 'em online for free.  It's legal, and requires no downloads, although you have to be on a Flash 9.0 enabled computer.  Watching Firefly is a great way to pick up odd curses like "the explosive diarrhea of an elephant" in badly mangled Chinese.  You never know when that might come in handy.   Wink  Cheesy
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 03:38:12 pm by Lady Penelope » Logged
Elmira Butcher
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« Reply #66 on: May 30, 2008, 04:29:19 pm »

English is my native tongue, though I can speak and read some Japanese, some Spanish (somehow I have an A in that class), a few words in Gaelic, French, and Korean....and I'm fluent in Melnics. And Fonic, to a certain extent. Be it fictional or real, if it's a learnable language, you can bet I'll most likely learn it. I'm a bit of a glossophile.
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Ben Hudson, Esq.
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« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2008, 07:20:55 pm »

I see Smiley Jolly good. Interesting language. My grandparents travelled quite a bit through Romania, but I can't remember any bits of the language they told me. They came back with lots of interesting stories; some good (fantastic wooden churches), some bad (having to make sure no-one stole their windscreen wipers) Tongue

i am truly sorry for your not-so-nice stories about romania. it unfortunately still is so, however, improvements show. may i ask when your grandparents travelend on carpatho-danubiano-pontic ground?

Ah, no worries Smiley Their overall experience was wonderful, and they've been back several times! I think they saw it eccentrically as more of an amusement than a real menace. I'm not entirely sure when they went first - I'm sure that it cannot be less than a decade ago, but if you go much further back it becomes the Ceauşescu era, and I believe that tourism was repressed somewhat towards the end. But they've returned several time, the last time being about a year ago, I would say. It's a country I'd like to see some day.
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PhilanderKitchingham
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« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2008, 08:02:52 pm »

Alas, I speak only two languages; English and Finnish.

'Though I wouldn't mind learning a third one (as long as it's mysterious enough Tongue).
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« Reply #69 on: May 31, 2008, 02:52:53 am »

Oh, I love languages! Norwegian is my mother tongue, so therefore I understand the Scandinavian ones quite well, as they're quite alike.

In most cases I'm better at pronouncing the sounds than actually speaking and writing them, but I feel that, for my age, I'm quite skilled in English (self-dubbed Anglophile since the age of 14).

Other than that, I've got three years of German in 8th-10th grade, but my grammar and active vocabulary is somewhat impaired, as this is some years ago. I can have a basic conversation ("Bitte langsam!" though) without problems.

Apart from these three, there's only (well-pronounced) quotes and phrases in a number of languages like French, Spanish, Latin, Russian, Greek and such. Mostly European languages. I guess I like to seem more international then I actually am.
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« Reply #70 on: May 31, 2008, 04:06:22 am »

"It's the future with English and Chinese being the predominant languages..."

Sounds like Vancouver, BC.

Throw in Italian and you have Toronto, ON. (Toronto has the second-largest Italian population of any city in the world. The largest is Rome.)
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Gazongola
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« Reply #71 on: May 31, 2008, 08:52:51 am »

I speak English, German, French, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Swahili, Afrikaans, Arabic, Italian... and complete and utter bullshit.
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DonQuijote
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« Reply #72 on: May 31, 2008, 08:19:00 pm »

I see Smiley Jolly good. Interesting language. My grandparents travelled quite a bit through Romania, but I can't remember any bits of the language they told me. They came back with lots of interesting stories; some good (fantastic wooden churches), some bad (having to make sure no-one stole their windscreen wipers) Tongue

i am truly sorry for your not-so-nice stories about romania. it unfortunately still is so, however, improvements show. may i ask when your grandparents travelend on carpatho-danubiano-pontic ground?

Ah, no worries Smiley Their overall experience was wonderful, and they've been back several times! I think they saw it eccentrically as more of an amusement than a real menace. I'm not entirely sure when they went first - I'm sure that it cannot be less than a decade ago, but if you go much further back it becomes the Ceauşescu era, and I believe that tourism was repressed somewhat towards the end. But they've returned several time, the last time being about a year ago, I would say. It's a country I'd like to see some day.

i wish i could invite you at my place, for a drink, be it alcoholic or not, but i am afraid being 18 and thus still living with my folks might be an impediment. however i know a beautiful tea shop in my town with antique furniture. if you honour me with you passing through Cluj-Napoca, you are my guest.

that is valid for whoever else visits the named town, my native one. and please excuse my rude behaviour, engaging in private converstions on a public topic.

Yours truly,
DQ
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Faustus Bailey
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« Reply #73 on: May 31, 2008, 10:15:08 pm »


Mastery of a tongue is composed of four things;
The ability vocally mimic its spoken form (with or without accent),
The ability to comprehend its spoken form,
The ability to write in the hand associated with the language,
The ability to read same.

Using these as a definition, the only languages I know are English and a small bit of German - three years of it, plus various vocabulary terms I've picked up on my own. (Can you imagine, the nerve of a German class that doesn't teach one the term Luftschiff?!)
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The Infamous Red Bixby
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« Reply #74 on: June 01, 2008, 12:50:34 pm »

http://www.hulu.com/firefly

Here you go.  Watch 'em online for free.  It's legal, and requires no downloads, although you have to be on a Flash 9.0 enabled computer.  Watching Firefly is a great way to pick up odd curses like "the explosive diarrhea of an elephant" in badly mangled Chinese.  You never know when that might come in handy.   Wink  Cheesy


Many thanks. Once I return from my pseudo-vacation back home I shall endeavor to devour them (and thusly, my free-time).

"It's the future with English and Chinese being the predominant languages..."


Sounds like Vancouver, BC.

Throw in Italian and you have Toronto, ON. (Toronto has the second-largest Italian population of any city in the world. The largest is Rome.)


Vancouver sounds like my kind of place. I may have to visit our friendly neighbors to the north someday.
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