[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Thursday, June 20th, 2013|
וָלָיְלָה (please pardon my ignorance)
Why is "...and night" "וָלָיְלָה" in Biblical Hebrew (e.g. in Psalm 1:2)? I mean, why the qamatz under the waw, why not a shwa?
Thanks in advance! I know all my questions are very basic, but I still can't solve them on my own.
I am wondering if any of you could recommend a decent Hebrew-English dictionary for beginning students.
Desired features include nikeidot (vowel points), part of speech identification, Hebrew/Israeli idioms and slang, NO TRANSLITERATION PLEASE (I can't stand it!!). Additionally, one of the primary complaints I see on Amazon is that the dictionary is more suitable for Hebrew speakers learning English. not the other way around.
Additionally, I am looking for a detailed grammar guide for Hebrew. I am a native English speaker, but I took two years of ESL in high school, so my understanding of the intricacies of my mother tongue is deep. *shudders* Memorising irregular verb conjugations is not fun at all.
Thank you all!
|Wednesday, June 19th, 2013|
curiosity about diglossia and Chinese
I met two very nice Hong Kong born-and-raised girls, who help me to understand more of their culture, language and country history. However the demographics are still a little confusing for me and I'd like to understand more, having lived in Taiwan and having interest in Chinese language / culture in general.
- Is Hong Kong officially a 'part' of China? So they are no longer being fought over, I hope, at present...by the Chinese or the British.
- As regards language, is this what I would call a 'di-glossia' country, because they use the same written form as China with Mandarin - but Mandarin refers to the spoken Chinese in China, Taiwan, and Singapore...whereas it's Cantonese that refers to the spoken Chinese in Hong Kong?
Yet, are both Cantonese and Mandarin grouped together to include Chinese for demographic purposes?
- Just a few examples on how Mandarin and Cantonese differ, then. Is it just the vocabulary, or are there some grammar differences too? I hear that Cantonese has more tones...but otherwise, it's very similar?
I'd love to learn some basic phrases to just have fun and communicate with my friends but I can only imagine how hard it is especially with tones. I found Vietnamese to be *such* a challenge because of its 6 tones,,,I wonder does Cantonese have more than this?? And do they follow Taiwan in terms of using traditional characters for literacy..
Thanks you all! I find this to be really interesting. Maybe because whenever I hear the word 'CHinese' in society It always always seems to imply Mandarin and not Cantonese. But the two ARE distinct languages, yes?
|Monday, June 17th, 2013|
Studying Chinese, new member
Hello ! I'm new and just joined this great com, though I've been stalking for a while.
Just wondering if there are any students of Mandarin out there willing to get in touch - I'm just looking for friends in my quest ^.^
I'm at the intermediate level (about 3,000 characters, but my grammar is atrocious), and have studied Mandarin at the University of Hawaii for 2 years now. In August I'm moving to Nanjing to study at Nanjing University.
Hope to hear from someone! Also, if you know of any great Chinese/Mandarin-related coms, please link me!
British English: "Tuck in" to a meal
I live in America / New York state / mid-hudson valley area.
I've been watching a British show about eating healthy and the show will describe someone eating a meal as "tucking in". I assumed it was like how in American English you can "dig in" to a meal, but they also modify the "tuck in" to say "He tucked into that meal" (he finished the dish), "she's going for her tucker" (She's going to get her meal) and so on.
You can't do this with "dig in" as in "He digged into his meal" (this implies the meal is still in progress), or "she's going for her digger" (We'd imagine she's going for her shovel.)
Just thought this was really interesting. It's also interesting to see how they say certain words differently, like estrogen (EE-stro-gen as opposed to eST-ro-gen) vitamin (vit-a-min as opposed to VIE-ta-min); and fries are chips, and chips are crisps.
Languages without conjunctions
Are there languages that exist without conjunctions?
If so, how do they translate a statement like "We can stay here or we can go to the park."
|Sunday, June 16th, 2013|
|Japanese 'homework' questions
I'm giving myself my own 'Japanese homework' to make sure I understand some concepts or phrases.
If anyone could read / correct, I'd appreciate it =) Thank you!
1. I want to say: because it is too late, I cannot drink coffee now.
Ima, osoi node? or Ima osoi Kara? Watashi wa kohi o nomu koto wa, dekimasen.
2. As for the matter - I heard this phrase is kind of a set 'no ken desu ka' but not sure how to use it..
3. I don't like to eat a lot of dairy: Watashi wa nyu seihin o takusan taberu koto ga, suki dewa arimasen.
4. Someone told me it will maybe rain tomorrow. I don't understand the grammar part of this: 'shirenai'
Dare ga watashi ni, itta ashita wa, ame ga furu kamo shirenai. What is the kamo shirenai?
5. Is there a difference between the two verbs 'neru' and 'nemeru' for 'to sleep'?
6. I'm trying to learn Japanese.
Watashi wa, nihongo o benkyou shiyou, to shite imasu.
7. I try to study a little bit every day.
Watashi wa, mainichi sukoshi zutsu benkyou shite mimasu.
8. There seem to be many ways to say 'to have' how do you know which verb to use in such context?
- motte imasu
- katte imasu
Domo arigato gozaimasu!
|Saturday, June 15th, 2013|
|Help transcribing a possibly English audio sample
Here's a fun little project some of you linguaphiles might be able to help me out with.
I have an audio sample, which is the piano outro to a song by the British band GRAMMATICS. There is a distorted female voice speaking very quietly under some loud piano. Perhaps it's the female cellist from the band (apparently from Sweden). Or maybe it's just a random audio sample taken from a film or something. In any case, I think that the woman might be speaking German, because at the end I can make out the words "waren tot... danke."
However, I'm having a miserable time understanding really ANY of the rest, if it is German. I know I don't have the greatest Hörverständnis, but I think I can at least blame some of it on the distortion of the audio, haha.
Can anyone (particularly German speakers) have a listen? ANYTHING that you can transcribe would be immensely helpful!Here's the audio (uploaded to dropbox)EDIT 1: So far, the consensus among German speakers is that it is NOT German. Perhaps it's Swedish (since the only female band member was Swedish). OR maybe it's something completely different, haha. Any ideas?EDIT 2: Somehow it never crossed my mind that this could even be in English, but that's what some people are hearing. German and Swedish seem ruled out at this point.
|Thursday, June 13th, 2013|
|Romanian(?) map key?
So, I was doing some research on Romania (for a story), and I found a really fantastically detailed-looking map (as in, it seems to show a lot of small towns and rivers and the like that aren't on pretty much any
of the other maps I've seen, which is useful to me)... but apparently it's a Romanian
map of Romania. Meaning, the key/legend is all in Romanian. At least, it looks an awful lot like
Romanian - since the closest I've ever come to learning Romanian is learning a smidgen of Spanish, I can't tell 100%; but it looks
like Romanian, with all the right accent marks, a mixture of Latin-derived words and words I can't recognize, what looks like "Romance" grammar etc. But Anyway.
I can make some educated guesses (one section looks like it is talking about cities being categorized by the dot symbols which are organized by population? Another - that numeric chart - seems like maybe it's referring to the "distance between cities" or something? And of course, ports and airports, those are easy! I'm also catching a reference to Moldova, yes? And maybe something about canals?). Some of the other stuff though is beyond me.
Here's the original and truly massive jpg
. I didn't think it would be wise to upload it because of the size - even behind a cut, it would mess up LJ's layouts I think. You might want to open it in a new window or tab.
The part that I most need translated (into English) is in the upper left - the map key/legend itself. There's some other, somewhat hard-to-read text on the bottom, a little further right, but I'm not sure it's as important?
Any help is appreciated :)
|Wednesday, June 12th, 2013|
|Translating some lines of dialogue into Irish for a fic?
Hello, Linguaphiles! :D I could use some help translating some lines of dialogue for a story. I'm still not sure if I'll just use the dialogue as is with some italics or other indication that they are in Irish, or if I will put in the Irish dialogue and pepper the translations throughout the rest of the story and in the author notes. Either way, I would like to have the translations available.
For context, I have
a first-generation American son of post-WWI Irish immigrants to America getting cornered into talking about modern day/21st century immigration with a
Bill O'Reily expy
political commentator of faintly-possible Irish descent. The lines of dialogue I would like translation help with are:
“No Irish Need Apply.”
“Those signs weren’t always as common as people thought they were, but it never really mattered - we all knew who would and wouldn’t hire us.”
“And I don’t know what YOU mean. ‘First-generation children of immigrants are not real Americans’? I hope you don’t really mean that. I’d be out of a job if that were really the case.”
“Though who knows, maybe Ireland would want me.”
“If I leave, I really hope I can take my shield with me, even if I have to get the paint-job redone.”
“I guess I will have to start working on my Irish, though, it’s terrible. My accent must be atrocious.”
“Do you realize how much of an ass you sound like when you are ranting against immigration, O’
“I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough.”
"Broken" Irish, or Irish spoken by someone who didn't really learn it well, would be much appreciated, as might any slang or dialet-specific affections typical of American Irish speakers in the 1920s and 1930s.
Even if I don't use the above dialogue, I could definitely use these phrases in Irish:
"No Irish Need Apply"
"Our nation would be happy to have you, Captain."
"Captain America for Ireland!"
"Kiss me, I'm Captain Ireland."
"Kiss me, I'm Irish-American."
"fuckyeahcaptaineverywhere" - or some sort of equivalent one might see on Tumblr
Please and thank you! :D
|Tuesday, June 11th, 2013|
I'm attempting to write a literature review on construction grammar, but I don't know where to start.
I've never wrote a literature review before, and I've only starting to understand what construction grammar is.
Could anyone offer some suggestions on how to start/ what to read/ what to write about?
|Monday, June 10th, 2013|
Native English speaker here, attempting to teach myself German on a budget. I'm looking for a textbook/grammar book that would be appropriate for a beginner working by themselves. My one big requirement is that when it comes to conjugating verbs there are charts that are like the ones on this page
because that type of presentation is the best way for how my brain works.
|Low German vocabulary questions
This is probably a long shot, but on the off chance that anyone here could help me with some Low German words... Any help, hints, thoughts etc appreciated, even if you're not sure yourself or it's not exactly the word I'm looking for, or maybe just an idea how to rephrase something.
naheliegend/offensichtlich - obvious (Adjektiv): t.B.: de ... Antwoort op en Fraag
unbeirrt/unbeeindruckt - obliviously/unflinchingly (Adverb)
selbstgefällig/selbstzufrieden - smugly (Adverb)
unpassend/ungelegen/ungünstig - inopportune/inconvenient (Adjektiv) t.B.: en ... Momang
Gepäckträger - luggage rack vun en Fohrrad. Packdreger? (Nedderlandsch heet dat packdrager.)
Fußballen - ball of the foot Oder wo seggt man dat, wenn een op sien ... op un dal wippt?
ansteckend - contagious (Adjektiv) t.B. en ... Lachen. Wenn een lacht un du ok lachen muttst.
leidenschaftlich - passionate (Adjektiv) en ... Kuss. Ik kunn algemeen mehr Adjektive för Küss bruken, de 'n beten wat rapper sünd.
ermutigt/angespornt - encouraged/incited (Adverb)
(crossposted to plattdeutsch
|Advice on a name for a dog
OK. So. My next roleplaying character is probably going to have a dog, which was given to her to act as a bodyguard, by Athena (the goddess). She is multilingual (haven't decided which languages yet, but likely including French, German, Latin, and Hebrew), and the dog (also female) may have already come with a name in Greek if that works better. The dog is likely to be one of these
, or possibly one of these
, though I may go with a more standard breed instead, like a Rottweiler or German Shepherd.
Any good ideas for a name for the dog? I'd like something that in some way indicates her role (guardian/protector/bodyguard), and/or her origin (something associated with Athena, or at least Greek). Some things associated with Athena: owls, a spear, a helmet, a shield, olive trees, and serpents.
If your answer is in something that doesn't use the Latin alphabet (such as Greek or Hebrew), please transliterate it for my language-challenged self?...
|Saturday, June 8th, 2013|
|Ransom as a language-learning game? RANSOM is
a modification of a well-known party game called "Mafia"
in which 2 52-card packs of ordinary playing cards are used to add
solid ground to base players' deductions on, something the original game
regretfully lacks, forcing participants to make random or silly and unmotivated steps.The game has been tried briefly in a group of 8 players and seemed to work great
1. Players can use one pack (if the number of players is 4-6) or two if the number of players is higher.
2. First, we separate out cards of one suit (e.g. clubs) and
decide how many mafia members are in the game (one half of the players
seems reasonable), then deal the shuffled cards of this suit face down.
E.g. for 6 players King, Queen and Jack will mean "Mafia", while 10,9,8
are "Good Citizens".
These are the "role cards". They are revealed only when the player is
"killed" or at the end of the game.
THE AIM OF THE GAME is for one party to figure out who the other side
are and "kill", eliminate them from the game by "murdering" their
abducted victims, if they are the Mafia, or by "bringing them to justice"
if they are honest citizens, as explained below.
3. Next, each is dealt 4 cards from the deck. These cards are player's
"money". Small cards' value is determined by their own point values
(e.g. 2 = 200 dollars, 10 = $1000). Picture cards are valued as
Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13, Ace=14 (e.g. an Ace could become $1400 in
4. The Ace of Clubs is put in the centre of the table. The game
moderator declares "night". Everyone closes his eyes and hangs his head
The next command is "Mafia, open your eyes and decide on your victim".
The moderator (who himself may be a sleeping player, or a mafioso)
counts out 20 (30,..) seconds. Then he announces "it's daytime: everyone
5. They discover that the Mafia (after silently selecting their
victim with gestures) have moved the Ace of Clubs towards
one of the players. This means he has been abducted, and is still alive
- but the Mafia will demand ransom, and kill their victim unless money
equal to or exceeding their demand is collected and payed up. The amount
is determined during a round of card play, and it is exactly
from the actions and words of people during this round of collection that
the honest citizens will begin to guess who the Mafiosi are.
6. So, everyone selects 2 cards and places them on the table. One of them,
face up, is the amount of money he is contributing towards releasing
the victim. The other one, face down, will determine the Mafia demand.
You see, the Mafiosi have to pretend they are like ordinary citizens,
and therefore they also contribute to the collection. On the other
hand in our little town totally controlled by the Mafia, everyone
pays his or her protection money anyway, so some of the cards from
your hand (i.e. your "money") goes to the heap that will determine
the mafia demand for ransom.
Your only choice is how much. If you are an honest citizen, you will
contribute a high-value card to save another citizen (the one facing up),
while as little as your hand allows to determine the "mafia demand"
(the one you do not reveal).
If you are a mafioso, you'll do it the other way round of course.
A number of bluffs and tactical moves are possible here, but we'll discuss
them later. Remember however that the Mafia may point at one of their own
as a fake "victim of abduction".
7. Next, the amount of collected ransom is calculated (e.g. 52 points,
which will stand for, let's say, $5200 in our game).
Next, the cards facing down are picked up, shuffled and then revealed and
their total value counted. Let's say, 48 points ($4800).
We see that the citizens' collected ransom exceeds the Mafia demand,
and the life of the player is spared. From this point on he continues
in the game as usual.
The collected money however go to a special discard heap, which becomes
"the Mafia Proceeds" (i.e. the payed ransom becomes Mafia money)
8. Another situation arises when the face-down cards amount to more
than the collected "ransom", and the player is "murdered".
His "role card" is turned and revealed to everyone.
If he is an honest, then the collected (insufficient) ransom is taken by the citizens
and becomes part of their "City Fund".
/generally, yes, but need to CLARIFY THIS for special cases. Money
collection in this scheme works against elimination, which can be good design/
So the Mafia had their night hit and either obtained Ransom and
let the abductee go, or murdered him or her because the citizens
could not pool together enough money.
9. NEXT - it's still "daytime" - the citizens begin to discuss what
to do against the Mafia. The best indicator is of course how the
cards were played out. Basically, the only difference between the Mafia
players and the rest, the "honest citizens", is that the Mafiosi know
who they are (they did open their eyes at night and saw each other),
so they play as partners -- while Honest Citizens have to guess
and reason to figure out who to hit back at and eliminate as their
Talking a bit (I will later tell how to control this discussion), the
players (some of them are the mafiosi, too - and they will bluff and
lie etc. etc.) decide on one or several suspects for "bringing to
justice" as possible Mafia members.
Obviously, the Mafia will try to put an innocent citizen to trial (and
they know for sure which are which), while for the Honest Citizens
it's a guessing game, and they could be mislead by the Mafia members
false reasoning and tricky argumentation. This is the core of the game
and fun in it (as well as the main active language-using part).
But anyway, one or several possible names appear.
IF there are several suspects, say, 3 of them, 3 cards will be
drawn from the "stock" deck of yet unused cards and the highest card
will decide which of the players will be "arrested" and
"put on trial" for possible elimination.
10. Then the second round of card playing follows. People again
use 2 cards (the 2 remaining cards from the original 4 dealt out),
and will place one of them in the "prosecutor's pool" and the other one in
the "advocate's pool" (= for and against the execution) -- THIS TIME FACE UP.
Each player has to give reasons for his or her choice:
"No, I do not believe player X is a mafioso because ... (here some
past player's moves and words may be remembered as a justification
for this decision) -- and so I am placing a small amount of money,
the smallest currently possible for me, in the hands of his prosecutors,
while I am contributing as much as I can to save him from execution"
11 Each player in each round of card play in fact HAS TO state
his reasons. We are playing this game for fun, language learning etc. etc.,
so words - how people justify their decisions, how they understand
and analyze past moves, is as important, if not more important, than
the card play, from which these decisions arise.
12. At the end of this round the player "put on trial" by the
town citizenry is either convicted (and executed) or declared
not guilty and released. If he is eliminated, his role card is
turned up, and the whole town finds out if the executed prisoner
was a real Mafioso, or an innocent victim of a miscarriage of justice.
In case of conviction, the prosecutor's fund goes towards the "City Fund"
In case the prisoner escapes conviction, the advocate's fund goes to the Mafia.
/or whatever - it must be symmetrical to the first round; there the
Mafia collected money. Need to correct this/
13. NEXT players are dealt more cards (to total 4 in each hand for
everyone remaining in the game - or, "people in the town work hard and
earn more money, and just then the next Mafia hit happens", if you
prefer), and the same cycle is repeated,
of "night" and paying out "ransom" for an abducted citizen -- and
a following daytime "trial" when the fate of a suspected citizen is decided.
14. As the game proceeds, two things happen.
FIRST, it becomes more and more obvious from both the card play
and from the explanations and justifications uttered during the
obligatory player's addresses to the citizens, which of the players
are acting in concert, and which play to eliminate "honest citizens"
So the game moves closer to the total elimination of one party or the
other, and either Mafia taking over the town, or Honest Citizens clearing
their town of all crime (losing some of their members on the way either to
the Mafia or as a result of a miscarriage of justice).
SECOND, both the City and the Mafia collect more and more money
as the citizens' City Fund or as collected Ransom. Even if the remaining
players know fully who they are, this remains the aim of their play to the
end, because the side that ultimately wins has the right to collect this
amount from the losing side.
Which can be symbolic, or actual money (only scaled down:
the $1000 of game money might become payable as 1000 cents, or $10
in real money etc.)
NOTES ON TACTICS AND LANGUAGE LEARNING
(1) The Mafia Bluff
The Mafia, especially in the beginning of the game, when it would be
natural to assume that the victim is an innocent villager, or if
during their night council the Mafia flash their cards to each
other and see they've got a few aces etc -- the Mafia in this case
might wish to bluff and point to one of their own as an abductee.
If this works, it can create 3 advantages for the Mafia:
-- one of them is seen as a "victim" by everyone.
-- other Mafia members contributing their Aces to the Ransom pool,
publicly become good protectors of citizenry in the eyes of
others (we remember that for the Ransom-collecting round the
"save-the-victim" contribution card is always open, while the "Mafia
demand" card is hidden from view)
-- and thirdly the collected Ransom becomes mafia money, it's their
winning trick after the end of the round, if everything goes according
to their plan that is
However there is a chance that Citizens play against the "victim", having
suspected him or her to be a mafioso, or that card values add up in such a
way that this bluff falls through.
Then it could be a disaster for the Mafia: not only they will lose one of
their own, but will also reveal themselves by their play.
(2) Balancing the game
It's not immediately obvious if the equal number of Citizens and Mafiosi
will lead to a balanced game, the mafiosi having an advantage of knowing
each other and that of the first move etc.
So it might be useful to experiment with the relative number of Good
Guys and Bad Guys.
(3) Cards that are not taken and accumulated as City Fund or Mafia Proceeds
should go into general discard and reshuffled and dealt out in subsequent rounds.
Even the Fund and Ransom cards can be reused if one is keeping a score on a
piece of paper: the game ends not when the deck runs out, but when all enemy
players are eliminated
(4) Jokers may be introduced
Usually 52-card decks come with 2 or 3 joker cards. Those may be introduced
into the play as "special agents", who, once produced by a legitimate
player, save the abduction victim (or in case of a suspect on trial - as
a special government ruling that releases the victim) etc. etc.
Then it might be necessary to deal 5 cards per player, or not - this
idea needs to be tried first.
Generally, it may make sense to deal out 5 or 6 cards per player for him
to have more choice in expressing his support or otherwise. Players should
remember that they will have to play 2 rounds (night/ransom and day/trial),
2 pairs of cards out of their hand and therefore plan: it may be bad tactics
to automatically throw the highest/lowest pair in your first move.
(5) The Dead Bodies - players who've been murdered by the Mafia
or executed should not leave the game and be sitting around as silent dummies.
Whether played as a party game, or (and especially) for language-learning, it
could be much more fun to turn them into "Journalists".
Their obligation in the game will be to provide a review and analysis of players'
moves and motives.
For example, the moderator announces "it's daytime, everyone open your eyes".
Then the Journalist player chimes in with "..and here's our morning news.
We have just received a report of a terrible crime that happened in our
town last night: one of the citizens got kidnapped. The owner of Crunchy Bagel
on the corner of Oak Grove and Hazel Hill Mr .... did not return home, as his tearful
wife revealed to our correspondent, and about 3a.m. a male voice over the telephone
When there are several of them, they could interview each other, or, say,
a former Mafia member may become an owner of a tabloid and start questioning the
wife's story, implying her husband ran away with a lover, or that the whole
thing was a scam as his Crunchy Bagel had long needed to be renamed to "Crumpled Bagel"
The idea however is (a) to draw attention to the past play and words (b) for
the purpose of swaying the public opinion
(6) Players usually talk in turn when making their move. They are
obligated to speak, their aim is to influence other players. Mafia has obvious
purposes, while ordinary citizens are trying to figure out who the Mafia are, and
draw attention to certain points in the game to help others see their reasoning is
(7) The more advanced the players are, the more these exchanges
should sound like parodies (e.g. of newspaper reports, prosecutor or barrister's
speeches, and so on. Lots of fun could be had (possibly) by inventing names and
details about events as they unfold.
ONE IMPORTANT POINT - the discussions have to be conducted in terms of townspeople,
ransom money, their income (the dealt cards represent their income) etc., and NOT
IN TERMS OF A CARD PLAY (trick, dealing, aces, queens and kings etc, etc)
For less able players it might be necessary to become more basic and simply analyze
past moves and quotes using factual language.
(8) This is a first draft of the game of Ransom, and so more
adjustment of the rules may be needed. Only the practice will show.
I hope this variation of Mafia dispenses with its innate silliness, and becomes
suitable both as a better party game for native speakers, as well as a sort of
game that provides changing plots and generates language learning situations
to which players may react using the language they already know.
p.s. sorry for typos etc.