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.

3 comments

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)
    http://yerawizardharry.tumblr.com/post/21313344420
    http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/feminist/nushu_oob.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nushu

  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 http://keywords.oxus.net/archives/2004/02/29/much-ado-about-nushu-an-invited-post/ Mas mesmo assim é legal http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue1/nushu2.html

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

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