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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:30 pm 
Avisaru
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As this forum has a lot of venting-type threads, I thought, why not add a specifically linguistic one?
What if you are working on a language or an article or paper or something, but you are just struggling. Or you are learning the gazillion verb forms of language X but cannot wrap your head around. Or you keep failing to memorize consonant mutations in Welsh, or cannot pronounce that one pesky Musqueam Salish word. This is the thread to vent about that !

------

I'll start:
Ugh, I am analyzing complex predicates in a certain south-american language family, but it's a really complex subject. It's just for a small paper of say 10 pages but I am already easily at those 10 pages having mostly described the thing and not really done some nice discussion yet. I hate writing papers in general... :(


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:26 am 
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I usually have problems with r-sounds in other languages. I can pronounce them all, but generally clusters are a problem. I find [nr] and [lr] just about impossible and they become becomes [ndr] and [ldr] (eg. un dragazzo - il dragazzo). This would be fine, except I'm from Australia and constantly have to say /str/. In German, it catches and I end up pronouncing /str/ as something like [stqχ]. I don't think it's really a [q] but like an extra glob of phlegm. In Turkish, I can pronounce just about everything except avustralyalıyım (= I'm Australian.) The /str/ is hard enough and then the /l/s and /j/s. I just want to tell people I'm from New Zealand sometimes.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:28 am 
Avisaru
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Imralu wrote:
I usually have problems with r-sounds in other languages. I can pronounce them all, but generally clusters are a problem. I find [nr] and [lr] just about impossible and they become becomes [ndr] and [ldr] (eg. un dragazzo - il dragazzo). This would be fine, except I'm from Australia and constantly have to say /str/. In German, it catches and I end up pronouncing /str/ as something like [stqχ]. I don't think it's really a [q] but like an extra glob of phlegm. In Turkish, I can pronounce just about everything except avustralyalıyım (= I'm Australian.) The /str/ is hard enough and then the /l/s and /j/s. I just want to tell people I'm from New Zealand sometimes.

What is hard about it? You can probably also not pronounce Dutch herfststorm or schrijven then ([hɛrfststɔrm] [sχrɛivə]). I must admit that herfststorm would become herfstorm in quick speech but certainly not in careful speech.

I do think nr and lr clusters are very hard to pronounce if not impossible but I don't know of languages where they are common. I can also not pronounce [sr] clusters without inserting the Dutch ch sound (or well I can with some effort).


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:37 pm 
Sanci
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@Imralu:
When you say un (d)ragazzo - il (d)ragazzo, do you actually produce an alveolar trill, a flap, or an approximant?

You probably already know this, but Italian /t, d/ are laminal denti-alveolar [d̪, t̪], that is, they're produced with the blade of the tongue and closer to the teeth than the apical aveolar /n, l, r/. Also, /n, l/ assimilate to the laminal denti-alveolar point of articulation of a following /d/ or /t/.

Now, I’m not a native Italian speaker, but I'm fluent enough in it and my own L1 behaves much like Italian in this aspect. When I pronounce It. un dragoil drago or Sp. un dragónel dragón, the clusters are [n̪d̪r], [l̪d̪r]. I'm not sure what kind of /r/ I’m producing: it’s either a laminal trill or flap (a sound I can’t produce in isolation) or my tongue moves quickly to the normal apical alveolar position of /r/. On the other hand, in It. un ragazzoil ragazzo or Sp. un rayoel rayo, the clusters /nr/ and /lr/ are apical and the /r/ is a clear trill. But if I try to insert here an apical [d̺] between /n/ and /r/ or between /l/ and /r/ (u[n̺d̺]ragazzo, etc.), I find the difference almost inaudible. So, at least to my ears, the presence of a [d̺] between (apical) /n/ or /l/ and /r/ doesn’t make me understand the clusters as “true” /ndr/ or /ldr/ (That is, if I hear u[n̺d̺r]one[l̺d̺r]on, I’d say I’ll understand it as Sp. un ronel ron and not as Sp. un dronel dron.)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:12 am 
Lebom
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sirdanilot wrote:
I do think nr and lr clusters are very hard to pronounce if not impossible but I don't know of languages where they are common. I can also not pronounce [sr] clusters without inserting the Dutch ch sound (or well I can with some effort).

Funny you say that, I normally pronounce <schr> clusters as /sr/ in Dutch. But then, I have a uvular /r/, and if I try to say /sr/ with an actual alveolar trill, that's not an easy thing to do for me either. Saying /sXr/ is hard too though.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:40 am 
Avisaru
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Haha yeah with a uvular r it is different.

Where I come from (Zeeland) a uvular r is called 'brouwen' and it is deemed a speech pathology.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:48 am 
Lebom
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sirdanilot wrote:
Haha yeah with a uvular r it is different.

Where I come from (Zeeland) a uvular r is called 'brouwen' and it is deemed a speech pathology.

I was in Friesland the other day, and apart from being surprised at the actual number of Frisian place and street names, I also heard people speak with an actual alveolar trill (or tap mostly). I'm so not used to hearing this I was almost surprised it still happens. I know it does, but still.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:52 am 
Avisaru
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pharyngeal consonants after vowels, especially /i/, never fail to screw me up and end up sounding like some guttural vowel. Arabic difficult consonant clusters...

Then there is the matter of pronouncing pre-nasal stops and fricatives without them sounding like the nasal is the coda of one syllable and the stop the onset of the next syllable. Also poses a problem is when a pre-nasal occurs after another consonant, a nasal, or even another prenasal.

I can produced an alveolar trill in most cases except after other alveolars, and sometimes when I go to make trill I instead pass air and my tongue fails to vibrate.
I can make uvular trills very good after stop consonants (likely because as a Canadian, I had to learn French during public school), but not so well before other consonants and they sound very weak word-finally.

Tried to learn Turkish but unrounded close back vowels end up sound like /U/...

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:56 am 
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Any words with too much of a mixture of /r ɾ l/ can get confusing for me. Palabra used to turn into parabra or palabla.

And why must my theoretical knowledge of French phonetics be useless? I say something which should be phonetically correct, and then my girlfriend says "I don't understand a word your saying!" Apparently vowel length makes a world of difference. Does anyone have a clue about phonemic vowel length in French?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:01 am 
Avisaru
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Haha, I think you would need to upload a recording of something she doesn't understand in order for us to judge what is going wrong. I do not know of phonemic vowel length in french. Perhaps you are not properly pronouncing the nasalized vowels?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:14 am 
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ol bofosh wrote:
Apparently vowel length makes a world of difference. Does anyone have a clue about phonemic vowel length in French?

I thought it was a highly recessive feature. I've heard bête contrasted with Bette and pâte with patte in old films, but I didn't think anyone alive still talked that way.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:29 am 
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Location: tʰæ.ɹʷˠə.ˈgɜʉ̯.nɜ kʰæ.tə.ˈlɜʉ̯.nʲɜ spɛ̝ɪ̯n ˈjʏː.ɹəʔp
The nasal vowels are okay, except for in intention or invention where I have to think too hard about each syllable. The front rounded are worse, specifically /œ/, which my girlfriend says I don't round my lips enough for (I say it closer to my NURSE vowel). And when /y/, /u/ and /ø/ appear too close together I have to think hard to not mix them up.
I can't remember what she said exactly, but it was a comment on the speed or length of words, which made me think of vowel length. She also admits not being used to an English accent in French, so it may not be how I say it but how she hears it. :roll:

Quote:
I thought it was a highly recessive feature. I've heard bête contrasted with Bette and pâte with patte in old films, but I didn't think anyone alive still talked that way.


She apparently has vowel length difference in mal and mâle, but doesn't seem to contrast /a/ and /ɑ/, one being [mal] and the other [ma:l]. She's from Geneva, so maybe they still retain this vowel length in Switzerland.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:11 am 
Sanno
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ol bofosh wrote:
She apparently has vowel length difference in mal and mâle, but doesn't seem to contrast /a/ and /ɑ/, one being [mal] and the other [ma:l]. She's from Geneva, so maybe they still retain this vowel length in Switzerland.

According to this article, Vaudois does have lengthening before e muet, as in certain Belgian varieties. It doesn't talk about circumflexed vowels though.

Could it be the prosody? French doesn't have word stress, only non-phonemic stress on the last syllable of a breath group, so one of the most common errors of native Anglophones is to stress one syllable of a word (thereby lengthening the vowel) and give the others short shrift. I know as an English-speaker that non-native prosody can really make speech hard to decipher, moreso than phonemic substitution or stress-shifting.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:26 am 
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Can I say German word order? I can't handle it. Maybe with French I just have had enough exposure that I've absorbed the word order, or maybe French word order is simply easier, but I do not remember having much of a word order struggle with French. But I also learned so much Spanish that I might have observed general Romance word order there so with French it was never much an issue. Nowadays I can even judge when an adverb or the like sounds correctly placed in French. But in German this is plaguing me, and it's not the shifting verbs or particles, it's adverb or negative particle placement. Mostly it's the adverbs. I'll probably encounter this in Dutch too. I was really hoping that being a Germanic speaker would make this easier, but alas. The only thing it has made easier is that German is not too difficult to understand when spoken. It doesn't have intonational stress as in French. The language does feel more natural to speak than French at times, but the word order still trips me up consistently.

Also, it was easier to sound refined in French when you didn't know a word because you could just look to English, find a Latin or French loan, and Frenchify it. But in German this is not possible, so I have a large vocabulary deficit. And in all truth, the amount of basic Germanic vocabulary that I originally thought English and German would share is considerably less than I thought. Dutch is a bit closer at least, but still not terribly so. It would be beneficial if we still spoke Old English.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:58 am 
Sanno
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Viktor77 wrote:
But in German this is plaguing me, and it's not the shifting verbs or particles, it's adverb or negative particle placement. Mostly it's the adverbs.

Weird. Not only do I find adverb placement in German pretty easy to do, it's easy to teach as well (unlike adverb placement in English, which is harder than hell to explain to learners). The unmarked order is: time manner place. Any of these can be topicalised by being fronted ("Gestern war ich dort") or emphasised by being moved rightward ("Ich war dort gestern, nicht heute."). And negation is straightforward as well: right before the complement unless you want to restrict the scope somehow, e.g. "Ich will das nicht mit ihm hier diskutieren".


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:29 pm 
Sumerul
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linguoboy wrote:
Viktor77 wrote:
But in German this is plaguing me, and it's not the shifting verbs or particles, it's adverb or negative particle placement. Mostly it's the adverbs.

Weird. Not only do I find adverb placement in German pretty easy to do, it's easy to teach as well (unlike adverb placement in English, which is harder than hell to explain to learners). The unmarked order is: time manner place. Any of these can be topicalised by being fronted ("Gestern war ich dort") or emphasised by being moved rightward ("Ich war dort gestern, nicht heute."). And negation is straightforward as well: right before the complement unless you want to restrict the scope somehow, e.g. "Ich will das nicht mit ihm hier diskutieren".


Quite frankly, no one's explained it that clearly before. So thanks for that.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:41 pm 
Sanno
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Viktor77 wrote:
Quite frankly, no one's explained it that clearly before. So thanks for that.

You need a copy of German: a structural approach. Or at least the syntactic model pioneered by the authors: front field - predicate (first prong) - middle field - predicate (second prong) - end field. It doesn't account for every possible grammatical sentence in German, but probably about 98% of them.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:48 pm 
Sumerul
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linguoboy wrote:
Viktor77 wrote:
Quite frankly, no one's explained it that clearly before. So thanks for that.

You need a copy of German: a structural approach. Or at least the syntactic model pioneered by the authors: front field - predicate (first prong) - middle field - predicate (second prong) - end field. It doesn't account for every possible grammatical sentence in German, but probably about 98% of them.


Just requested a copy from our awesome library.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:04 am 
Smeric
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linguoboy wrote:
ol bofosh wrote:
She apparently has vowel length difference in mal and mâle, but doesn't seem to contrast /a/ and /ɑ/, one being [mal] and the other [ma:l]. She's from Geneva, so maybe they still retain this vowel length in Switzerland.

According to this article, Vaudois does have lengthening before e muet, as in certain Belgian varieties. It doesn't talk about circumflexed vowels though.


Thanks for the article. They don't mention anything like that on the English Wiki.
Yes, she mentioned that chérie and chéri are pronounced differently, and the difference between <é> and <ée> at the end of a word. Would be interesting to read if there is something about the circumflex or any other situations where the vowels are lengthened phonemically.

Quote:
Could it be the prosody? French doesn't have word stress, only non-phonemic stress on the last syllable of a breath group, so one of the most common errors of native Anglophones is to stress one syllable of a word (thereby lengthening the vowel) and give the others short shrift. I know as an English-speaker that non-native prosody can really make speech hard to decipher, moreso than phonemic substitution or stress-shifting.


That would make total sense.
You get one little detail like prosody wrong and French goes to pot. Sort of justifies this: http://www.itchyfeetcomic.com/2014/12/s ... TtGa_CUn1E :mrgreen:

Just found a comment I did on that blog. I once asked her what agir means and she didn't understand what I meant until I showed her. Apparently I said the /i/ too short.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:28 pm 
Avisaru
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ol bofosh wrote:
Quote:
Could it be the prosody? French doesn't have word stress, only non-phonemic stress on the last syllable of a breath group, so one of the most common errors of native Anglophones is to stress one syllable of a word (thereby lengthening the vowel) and give the others short shrift. I know as an English-speaker that non-native prosody can really make speech hard to decipher, moreso than phonemic substitution or stress-shifting.


That would make total sense.
You get one little detail like prosody wrong and French goes to pot. Sort of justifies this: http://www.itchyfeetcomic.com/2014/12/s ... TtGa_CUn1E :mrgreen:

Just found a comment I did on that blog. I once asked her what agir means and she didn't understand what I meant until I showed her. Apparently I said the /i/ too short.

I wonder if Arabic speakers would be like the Italians...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:25 am 
Avisaru
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I'm learning Welsh by audio course in the car during my commutes, and I have real problems differentiating ff /f/ and th /θ/ and between f /v/ and dd /ð/.

I come from the Souf East of England and perhaps I've got more of a "suvvern" accent than I thought I had. I'm aware that they occasionally slip into free variation (three variation?) in my speech, but it's making it harder to learn Welsh than it needs to be.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:08 am 
Avisaru
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Gulliver wrote:
I'm learning Welsh by audio course in the car during my commutes, and I have real problems differentiating ff /f/ and th /θ/ and between f /v/ and dd /ð/.

I come from the Souf East of England and perhaps I've got more of a "suvvern" accent than I thought I had. I'm aware that they occasionally slip into free variation (three variation?) in my speech, but it's making it harder to learn Welsh than it needs to be.

Maybe that's why the English name for Caerddydd (I think, don't remember the exact spelling) is Cardiff?

I had this problem with Arabic too, but I do not have it with English. I think the pronounciation of the th is different in Arabic, it is more interdental perhaps compared to English? I only have it with the voiceless th.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:40 am 
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sirdanilot wrote:
I had this problem with Arabic too, but I do not have it with English. I think the pronounciation pronunciation of the th is different in Arabic, it is more interdental perhaps compared to English? I only have it with the voiceless th.

It really depends on dialect how the ث is pronounced, but no, interdental versions are not more prevalent Arabic. In fact, the most common pronunciations are almost identical to the English pronunciations of /θ/ and /ð/.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:54 am 
Avisaru
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Then maybe it's just because I was less used to arabic than to English. My teacher was Lebanese.

Another teacher I had was Egyptian and the th and dh become /s/ and /z/, which is even more confusing.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:02 am 
Avisaru
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As for my current linguistic struggles: I have to write an essay on a subject in phonetics. I am really not very knowledgeable about phonetics and writing essays is one big disaster for me in any case. I could have been done ages ago but I am struggling and struggling. Another very very annoying problem is that there is one very important journal which I cannot access through my university's library for some stupid technical reason.

Ideally I want to finish it today as tomorrow is a national holiday and after that I have no more time.


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