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zompist bboard • View topic - Linguistic Struggles Thread

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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 
Smeric
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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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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 drago – il drago or Sp. un dragón – el 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 ragazzo – il ragazzo or Sp. un rayo – el 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]on – e[l̺d̺r]on, I’d say I’ll understand it as Sp. un ron – el ron and not as Sp. un dron – el dron.)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:12 am 
Lebom
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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 
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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 
Smeric
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Location: tʰæ.ɹʷˠə.ˈgɜʉ̯.nɜ kʰæ.tə.ˈlɜʉ̯.nʲɜ spɛ̝ɪ̯n ˈjʏː.ɹəʔp
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 
Sanno
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:29 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:11 am 
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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 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:29 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:48 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:04 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:28 pm 
Avisaru
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ʾAšol ḵavad pulqam ʾifbižen lav ʾifšimeḻ lit maseḡrad lav lit n͛ubad. ʾUpulasim ṗal sa-panžun lav sa-ḥadṇ lav ṗal šarmaḵeš lit ʾaẏṭ waẏyadanun wižqanam.
- Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


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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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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:40 am 
Smeric
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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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