The pampas of ennui

Being Leonardo Boiko's online Journal, featuring Long & Very Sporadic Essays on any Subject.

Flirting with a language

28 March 2012

  • I start with phonology; if I’m reading on language X, I read the “Phonology of X” article in wikipedia. Sometimes the article is less than stellar; in this case I find paper articles.

  • Next, investigate the relationship between phonology and ortography, which is never direct. This is to avoid me memorizing too many fake spelling pronunciations like I did with English.

    In fact, in the typical case the phonology-to-ortography mapping will be very complex and many-to-one, so the only way around this problem would be to acquire the spoken language first. But that’s a lot of trouble, and I’d rather read than talk, so I just put in some effort to minimize the errors and hope for the best.

  • Next, morphology: I like studying paradigms better than reading analytical descriptions, but I read’em too. My main goal here is to be able to map inflected forms back to whatever’s the dictionary form—though tools like Google have been making this technique less necessary.

  • I don’t care for reading on syntax trees and obscure deep movements. I try to focus on lexical words; a sense for syntax (and function words) arises naturally from exposure.

  • At this point I’m typically already flirting with another language. I don’t know how to go from here to an actual acquisition plan. If I wanted to move to regular dating (and I plan to propose a couple new languages this year), my next goal would be to reach the “intermediate” point where you can grow your vocabulary from direct reading of compelling input. I think that, for absolute beginners, perhaps it’s not such a terrible idea to build a core vocabulary using artificial, brute-force methods.

  • Other than wikipedia, I like this for language descriptions; unfortunately it’s only about popular languages, and even then the coverage is uneven.


Comments (3)

  1. (Juro solenemente não passar mais por aqui nesse meio tempo, mas meus dedinhos estavam coçando pra te passar isso e eu não sabia onde postar. Desculpe. :B)

  2. Pode passar o quanto quiser, você é bem vinda :)

    Nüshu é legal, né? Eu já tinha visto :) Na verdade foi minha primeira proposta de trabalho em Sistemas de Escrita, mas o Chagas acabou preferindo lingüística da pontuação.

    Mas pessoas exageram um pouco na narrativa Mas mesmo assim é legal

  3. o meu trabalho ia ser sobre comparar isso com onnade.

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