gwalla: (psychedelic banana)
For [ profile] padparadscha

gwalla: (language buff)
I think I did OK. I hope I did better than last time. The essay portion actually came pretty easily, and it wasn't just regurgitating my previous HW essays—it was still a bunch of direct comparisons between English and Japanese, but it wasn't phrased the same, and I covered some stuff I didn't in the HW, like some more parts of grammar and the writing system—so I'm happy about that. Still not too confident about the JLPT 3 this Sunday.
gwalla: (language buff)
for [ profile] padparadscha, [ profile] stormeteller, et al.: LoCoWriMo

(I won't be participating. None of my conlangs have enough lexicon to write a sentence, let alone a story, no matter how crude.)
gwalla: (language buff)
The first verb: yseul, "to commit adultery, cheat on, cuckold". Yeah, I know it's an odd choice, but I couldn't resist the cross-linguistic pun (slightly more obvious with the imperative ending -t).

Yes, this means that <y> is now a vowel. Specifically, a compressed (semi-rounded) central close vowel. Orthography and phonology have been in flux recently. I've reluctantly dropped <rh>, for various reasons: differentiating between two rhotics is a bit tough; the approximant is probably easier in clusters, but letter groups like <drh> are awkward and don't look right for the language, and the alternatives of neutralizing the /ɹ/-/ɾ/ distinction in clusters or swapping the spellings around would just get confusing; and it turns out that <rh> isn't an "Irish-like" spelling at all, but rather Welsh and Greek (this is not so important, but the others are deal-breakers). On the other hand, I'm trying to find a use for <bh>, which does look appropriate, but I've already got <v> for /v/; I'm vaguely leaning towards using it for /w/, like Irish Gaelic, but I'm not totally sold yet. Not sure how I want to spell /j/: <j> is already taken (/ʤ/, under the Naïve Anglophone Won't Mangle It principle), but I also don't want <y> to do double duty as vowel and consonant.

Still not settled on how I want to use diacritics.

Prosody has gotten some attention. Syllables can be light (one mora), heavy (two morae), or superheavy (three morae): a short vowel is one mora, a long vowel or diphthong is two, and a consonantal coda adds one (whether a single consonant or cluster); an onset consonant or consonant cluster has no effect on syllable weight. Current thinking is that stress falls on the syllable containing the third mora from the end. In other words: if the last two syllables are light, the antepenult is stressed; if the final syllable is heavy, or the penult is heavy or superheavy, stress falls on the penult; if the final syllable is superheavy, it takes the stress. This rule is actually the same as Latin, except that there are no superheavy syllables in Latin. The only problem I have with this is that I've gotten used to the name "Ilion" having a stressed first sylable, but this would mean that stress would actually fall on "io" if it's a diphthong or "i" if the vowels are in hiatus. Bumping it up to fourth-mora-from-the-end would mean that the final syllable couldn't take stress, though. And I want stress to be regular. It's frustrating.
gwalla: (Default)
I got this from [ profile] steerpikelet by way of [ profile] metaquotes, but my Latin is really rusty. Can anyone translate?

Numquam te reliquam
Numquam te sumissam
Numquam circumcursabo
Te deseritque
gwalla: (halloween)
How would you pronounce "suffixaufnahme"?
gwalla: (wryyyyyyyyy!)
I love you, Hanzi Smatter.

Words to the unwise:

"New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to 'beef with broccoli.' The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high." - Bill Maher

Seth MacFarlane and Red vs. Blue agree.
gwalla: (language buff)
Okay, following up on that last post. It was mainly an exercise in characterizing people's dialects. I was less interested in finding out which people considered "proper English" according to a standard than what people felt natural by ear.

None of the samples given are considered deviant in all dialects. However, there were a couple of trick questions: #8 and #9 are generally considered well-formed in any dialect.

This whole thing was prompted by reading through R. L. Trask's Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics, particularly the entries on the percent sign (used to mark strings that are considered well-formed by some speakers but not others; #2 through #5 were taken from this entry) and well-formed, and by a post [ profile] fadethecat made a little while back surveying people on how many levels of center-embedding they could tolerate before sentences became too difficult to parse (technically, English grammar permits arbitrary levels of center-embedding, but in practice after a few levels it becomes confusing).

A rundown:
#1 is use of an intensive reflexive (like "he himself") without the presence of the non-reflexive. "Is it you?" → "Is it you yourself?" → "Is it yourself?". I got from an Irish-themed postcard an ex-coworker had pinned up in her cubicle. According to [ profile] moltare it is Scots slang. Maybe it's acceptable in both Irish and Scots dialects of English, or maybe the postcard was mistaken.

#2 According to Trask, it is "consistently adjudged well-formed by speakers from certain areas of England, but not by other speakers". Mol narrows it down to the north of England.

#3 According to Trask, "well-formed only for speakers from certain parts of the northeastern United States".

#4 Trask unhelpfully says "well-formed only for speakers of certain non-standard dialects." Thanks, Trask. It's not in my dialect, but I have heard it. My problem with it isn't the presence of "ain't" (which, after all, is actually an older negative form of "is" than the standard "isn't"), but that it is being used to mean "have not", not "is not".

#5  Trask says this is "variously adjudged well-formed or ill-formed by speakers in a seemingly unpredictable manner." That is, it varies by idiolect, not just dialect.

#6 comes from the entry on parallel construction, as an example of a possibly ill-formed non-parallel construction contrasting with the undeniably acceptable parallel construction "I like to read fantasy novels in the bathtub and to experiment in the kitchen".

#7 comes from the entry on sequence of tenses, where Trask marks it with an asterisk (meaning that it's considered ill-formed in general), but it didn't actually sound wrong to me (and I was sure I'd heard similar usage before, and possibly used it myself), so I threw it in just to see. Lack of a rule regarding sequence of tenses may be more common in American dialects; Trask is British.

#8 comes from the entry on well-formed, where it is used as an example of how a well-formed sentence may not be considered acceptable by speakers. "Flounder flounder badger badger flounder" is grammatically equivalent to "Games children play include marbles", but is lexically ambiguous: since "flounder" and "badger" are both nouns and verbs, it's hard to parse it. It would be easier with "that" between the first two "flounder"s and a comma between the "badger"s; spoken, it's a bit easier to pick out, since the tone would start high and drop for each word until the first "badger", then rise for each word until it reached the starting tone (there may be a brief pause between "badger"s as well).

#9 comes from the entry on hash mark (a symbol used to mark strings that are "syntactically well-formed but semantically bizarre"). Its meaning would be considered an impossible state, but all of the words are doing what they should be doing and it can be understood without trouble. With some creativity, you can even come up with a hypothetical situation in which it is not impossible at all, such as the suggestions of British and French as names of styles.

EDIT: [ profile] fadethecat posted the center-embedding survey, not [ profile] padparadscha.
gwalla: (language buff)
Just out of curiosity, which of these sentences do people feel are ill-formed or "ungrammatical", and which are acceptable?
  1. Is it yourself?
  2. You need your hair cutting.
  3. The beer here is lousy any more.
  4. I ain't seen him.
  5. I ran into Janet while enjoying herself.
  6. I like to read fantasy novels in the bathtub and experimenting in the kitchen.
  7. Lisa said she wants a BMW.
  8. Flounder flounder badger badger flounder.
  9. Paul is a British trumpeter but a French cellist.
There are no "right answers". I just want to know what people think.
gwalla: (evil mickey)
Jst plāyŋ r̈ʊnd wð mī Ŋ̀lʃ Φn̊ēmk Æbjæd prajkt. Ī wund˞ f n̈ēwn kn figy˞ t ʊt wðʊt mī telŋ ðm hʊ t w˞ks.
gwalla: (Default)
Hmpti Dmpti sæt n a wal
Hmpti Dmpti hæd a g˞ét fal
Al ð ḱŋz ho˞sz nd al ð ḱŋz men
Kudnt pt Hmpti Dmpti bæk tgeð˞ agen


gwalla: (Default)

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