letnja_kisha: (дом)
Am I right in saying that when you're just meeting someone you say "Nice to meet you" while when you're saying goodbye to a person you just met you say "Nice meeting you"? Seems weird - why such a difference?
letnja_kisha: (Default)
... frustrated?

Мне этого слова в русском языке очень не хватает!
letnja_kisha: (život je čudo)
Оказывается, по-сербски сестра жены называется "свастика".
letnja_kisha: (linguistics)
I was reading an excellent excerpt from a book by Terence W. Deacon, "The Symbolic Species". It's the reading my students have to do for the cog sci class I am starting to teach next week, and so I thought it would be good for me to read it, too :-) The chapter (#4) has a lot of different stuff, including child learning and neural nets, which I found very enlightening.

Other than that, there was a mention of the fact that complete bilinguals have two different centers in the brain for the two languages they speak. I don't know how many centers I have; the only thing I know for sure is which languages interfere with each other in my mind, and which do not. English never interferes with anything. Neither does Russian (there is one exception). Only the languages that I do not speak on a daily basis mix with each other. Thus, when trying to remember Spanish after a year of Arabic, Arabic words were trying to get into the Spanish sentences. Spanish and German mix much less after I lived in Germany (but, I mean, it's not really possible that at the beginning I had one center for Spanish and German, and then they started separating, or is it?).

One weird exception to all this is Serbian. While it does not mix with English or anything else, it has a tendency to insert words into my Russian sentences. I can only explain it with the fact that Russian and Serbian are so similar; they must build on the same base in my head. You know, some people told me stories that sometimes they start speaking Russian to an English speaker without realizing it, or vice versa, or inserting Russian words into English sentences - and it's never happened to me. But I do insert Serbian words into Russian sentences or vice versa (more common Serbian words into Russian sentences) without paying any attention to it. There are two categories of words here: one is interjections, or very common phrases such as "you know" or "well". I insert them and only later realize that it was Serbian, not Russian. Words in the other category are words that my parents have to tell me don't exist in Russian. It's quite amusing - it could be a perfectly good Russian word, and most likely that root is used in Russian, too, just with a different prefix. And my parents go "Zhenya, that's not a word of the Russian language".

Another interesting thing is which levels of language are the same for all languages and which are different. These are just things I noticed myself doing. Phonology is different for every language, and I have to consciously switch from one system to the other. Have you noticed how difficult it is sometimes to say a Russian word with Russian pronounciation in the middle of an English sentence? It's like stumbling over something while walking. I find that with Russian and Serbian, too (since the systems are similar, but not quite). I think most people living in a country, other than their country of origin (depends on when they came there, of course) have noticed this, too: when nervous, or overly emotional, my long-forgotten Russian accent comes up in a foreign language. My mother-in-law, when too emotional, starts speaking in the Dalmatian dialect (it's all [i] instead of [e]), while usually she speaks in the Belgrade dialect; it's really cool.

For intonation, it's not too clear to me. I know that my Russian intonation has been greatly affected by my English (that's the first thing that goes after a week in Moscow), but my Serbian intonation is very Serbian (maybe because Filip's Serbian intonation didn't change, I don't know). Word access seems to be just on the "most frequently used" basis. It really drives me crazy sometimes when I can't remember the right word in the right language.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
It is the weirdest thing - I have great trouble distinguishing long and short vowels in Arabic, although the difference between them is quite audible, and it is more pronounced than in English. Actually, in English there isn't a set of long vowels and a set of short vowels that are exactly the same as the long vowels, just shorter, per se, it's just that some are longer and some shorter.

Russian certainly doesn't have a distinction between short and long vowels, so that is one reason for me having trouble in Arabic.

I don't remember that I had any trouble with English vowels, but it was so long ago that I am not sure if I ever confused 'beach' and 'bitch' or 'sheet' and 'shit' (why are those contrasts always so amusing?). I certainly do not do that now.

Anyway, the question is, why would I confuse the vowels (or not remember the difference, I can certainly hear it) in Arabic, while I don't do so in English?
letnja_kisha: (snegurochka)
"In the 1880s the French chef, Olivier, opened a restaurant in Moscow called the Hermitage. It became one of the most famous dining clubs in the city, where many innovative dishes were served. Olivier later published a book of everyday Russian cooking and gave his name to this elaborate salad".


Но рецепт там совсем не привычного Оливье.
letnja_kisha: (snegurochka)
At first I wanted to write in Russian, but then I realized it was going to be 10 times slower (because all the terminology is much more accessible in English in my brain).

Usually, at least here in the States, phonology, syntax and semantics are considered to be the most important branches of linguistics, the core of it. These three are thought to be the fundamentals, since they describe the main components of language: the actual sounds that we use to produce language, how we structure our speech, and the meaning we put into it.

Although I agree that these subjects are very important for the study of linguistics, I think that two different disciplines should be considered as the core of linguistics: sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. Language is intricately connected with thought, in fact, in my opinion, one is not possible without the other, hence cognitive linguistics. Language is inherently social, thus sociolinguistics.

I suppose the three current core branches, phonology, syntax and semantics, have to do with outer manifestations of language, and the two new proposed core disciplines strive to understand why these outer manifestations exist, thus all of them are important.

My interests lie more in cognitive and sociolinguistics, and I think that those two disciplines combined hold keys to many mysteries of language.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
Гепек - багажник. Это мне только вчера в голову пришло, слово от немецкого das Gepäck "багаж".

Ниво - уровень. На самом деле слово изначально французское, но в сербский оно пришло скорее из немецкого das Niveau "уровень".

Тепих - ковер, от немецкого der Teppich "ковер".

Виц - анекдот, от немецкого der Witz "анекдот".

Циљ - цель, от немецкого das Ziel "цель".

Вообще, я часто узнаю в немецком слова, которые выучила в сербском.

Прикольно, что немецкое ü сербы заменяют на и, а не на ю, как мы:

Цирих (Цюрих)
жири (жюри)

История, связанная с немецкими словами в сербском.

По-сербски "парковать" (машину) - паркирати. В общем-то, легко узнается немецкий суффикс "-ieren" для образования глаголов.

Прошлым летом, когда я в Германии была, сдавала тест по немецкому языку. Перед самим тестом нужно было зайти к преподавателю немецкого как иностранного, чтобы он оценил примерный уровень моего немецкого. И что-то надо было написать с глаголом "парковать". И что же я написала? Конечно, parkieren (причем, сознательно, по аналогии с сербским). Как потом оказалось, правильно - parken.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
Number of native speakers

1. Mandarin Chinese 836,000,000
2. Hindi 333,000,000
3. Spanish 332,000,000
4. English 322,000,000
5. Bengali 189,000,000
6. Arabic 186,000,000
7. Russian 170,000,000
8. Portuguese 170,000,000
9. Japanese 125,000,000
10. German 98,000,000
11. French 72,000,000
12. Malay 50,000,000

(from http://www.al-bab.com/arab/language/lang.htm). They seem to have combined all Arabic variants into one - whether that is legitimate or not, is an open question.

Another rating, also by number of native speakers:

1. Mandarin Chinese, 890 million
2. Spanish, 330 million
3. English, 320 million
4. Bengali, 190 million
5. Hindi, 180 million
6. Portuguese, 170 million
7. Russian, 170 million
8. Japanese, 125 million
9. German, 120 million
10. Wu Chinese, 77 million
11. Javanese, 75 million
12. Korean, 75 million
13. French, 72 million
letnja_kisha: (Default)
Ну какую бы мне систему придумать с языками? А то как ни соберусь в ЖЖ писать, все мучаюсь - на каком языке писать?

This won't be terribly interesting to people not somehow involved with languages and/or linguistics, but there are discussions about languages going on in LJ from time to time, so I thought I'd put this in.

1. There this one discussion going on here: http://www.livejournal.com/community/linguists/48381.html?nc=36 about linguists and languages they speak. Most people say that they find the question "So how many/what languages do you speak?" annoying, since linguists are people studying language structure (and other things)in general, and some of them don't speak anything but their native language, or their native language and English. While in general I agree that linguistics per se is a study of language in general, and not one particular one, it's interesting to see linguists who know only their native language (usually, English). My personal interest in linguistics came exactly from learning languages - and from speaking them. And although linguistics research gives me immense pleasure, there is nothing like learning how a language works just by speaking it!

2. Language/dialect. Many times I had heated discussions with people about distinctions between a language and a dialect. Russian/Ukranian, Russian/Belorussian, Serbian/Croatian, Serbian/Bosnian and others. I will say this: distinction between a language and a dialect is purely a political one. "Language is a dialect with a navy" (not sure if that's the right wording). Some languages have very few differences and yet they are called different languages (for example, Bosnian and Serbian - although I fully respect the right of Bosnians to have their own language). Some dialects are so different that two people speaking them will be unable to understand each other, and yet these two are called dialects (as for example, in China - Cantonese and Mandarin are mutually unintelligable). So while linguistically I agree that Bosnian is very close to Serbian to the point that otherwise I would consider them the same language, I still think it's a question of politics, and in political terms I believe that Bosnians should have their own language if they want to.

3. One language harder than another. Another issue that came up several times is whether one language is harder than another one. Suppose we have language A and language B. I believe that abstract discussions in terms of "A is harder than B" or vice versa are non-sensical. Usually, these statements are put in the form of "A is harder than B because A has 123 verb tenses" or "B is harder than A because there are tones in B". Well, all that is irrelevant, really, because how can one really compare verb tenses and tones? It is possible to compare two languages for their difficulty when talking about learning those languages and with respect to a particular person who is learning them, since that particular person will have a mother tongue C, which we can compare with A and B for presence/absence of particular features. Such as: an English speaking student will have more trouble with Russian than with Spanish, because 1) Russian has cases, E+S don't, 2) R has a different alphabet from E+S, 3) roots of the words in Russian are mostly Slavic, mostly Roman in E+S, 4) there's aspect of verbs in R, no such thing in E+S, and so on.
letnja_kisha: (paris)
Интересно, как некоторые слова иногда ассоциируются с конкретными событиями или вещами.

То, что слово "суть" может быть и глаголом, я узнала сравнительно недавно, год назад где-то. Это остаток вспомогательного глагола "быть", который в русском языке в настоящем времени спрягается вот так:

я -
ты -
он, она, оно есть
мы -
вы -
они суть

(Сравните с сербским спряжением:
ја (је)сам
ти (је)си
он, она, оно је(сте)
ми (је)смо
ви (је)сте
они (је)су)

Но даже из двух оставшихся форм употребляется только "есть", и то редко. Поэтому, когда я читала в учебниках алгебры и геометрии предложения типа "... где A, B суть величины постоянные ...", я гадала, что же эта "суть" делает в середине предложения? То есть, интуитивно, было понятно, что суть А и В в том, что они "величины постоянные", но эта самая "суть" в предложение не вписывалась.

Осознание того, что "суть" есть форма глагола "быть" было для меня прямо-таки откровением. Вот оно что! Оказывается, "суть вещей" происходит от "вещи суть ...", а не наоборот. Становится понятным и выражение "не суть важно".

Но самое интересное, что слово "суть" всегда наталкивает меня на воспоминания оранжевого учебника геометрии для 7-9 классов, нашей учительницы Ольги Михайловны, кабинета алгебры и консультаций с ашками после написанной контрольной.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
Pitanje: zašto se kaže, naprimer, "dio" i "htio" na ijekavskom?

Kako sam razumela ekavsko dugo "e" se pretvara u ijekavsko "ije", a kratko ekasvko "e" se pretvara u ijekavsko "je".

Pa da li je "e" u "deo" dugo i "dijeo" je teško za izgovor, pa se promeni u "i"? Ili je neki drugi razlog?
letnja_kisha: (paris)
blue (англ.) - грустный, слегка в депрессии
blau (нем.) - пьяный
голубой (рус.) - гомосексуалист

Какие еще есть слова такого типа?

blue (English) - down, depressed
blau (German) - drunk
goluboy (Russian) - homosexual

Anything else like it?
letnja_kisha: (paris)
1. Отступление. Когда я узнала, что по-сербски "всё" будет "све", а "кто" - "тко" (по-хорватски, по-сербски - (сокращенно) "ко"), я долго смеялась. А папа вообще сказал, что они издеваются над русским языком. На самом деле, интересно, как так получилось - во всех остальных (по-моему) славянских языках встречается комбинация именно "вс", а не "св". Может это исток знаменитого "шатровачкого"?
2. Собственно, чего я сказать-то хочу - очень мне это слово нравится. Его на русский точно очень сложно перевести. Вроде как "конечно" или "обязательно", но ничего конечного и обязательного в нем нет. Если переводить части слова отдельно, получится что-то типа "всекак". В русском остались похожие слова, типа "всегда" (всекогда) и "везде" (всегде), но вот с "всекак" не повезло. А если в предложении, например "Свакако дођи са нама" ("Обязательно пойди с нами"), получится что-то типа "Как бы все остальное ни было, ты с нами приходи". "Обязательно" же вас к чему-то обязывает, а "конечно" сотворяет что-то в конечном итоге (все же ближе к "свакако" чем "обязательно").


letnja_kisha: (Default)

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