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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (October-December) » Linguistics « Previous Next »

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Jonas (213.243.191.197 - 213.243.191.197)
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde!

The discussion "Dialect Help" is by far the longest discussion ever on this forum with over 100 posts. The suggestions that we should change over to a topic devoted to
1. Linguistics in general
2. Irish linguistics in particular
must be viewed as a very wise one, and I thank all those of you who have suggested it.

Dawn, this post seems quite long. The reason is that I've included parts of your last post on this topic. I thought that since we've changed into a new topic and won't be able to scroll up to the previous comments this might be a useful exception.

>I think Foclóir Scoile has this IPA symbol wrong. It says the nearest English equivalent for a is the sound in bat. The Irish examples they >give are bean and mac. In a German dictionary I have, the the example for a is swat, whereas the sound in hat is written as ae. That is >more in line with what you told Alex.

So it is. Still, there is a reason to it. In Swedish,German, Finnish and many other languages the distinction is crucial.
Swedish "har" /ha:r/ means "have".
Swedish "här" /hae:r/ means "here"
Swedish "bar" /ba:r/ means "bar"
Swedish "bär" /bae:r/ means "berry"

Neither Irish nor English makes this distinction. It doesn't matter if you pronounce "maith" as /mah/ or /maeh/, you will still be understod by an Irish speaker. On the other hand, he wíll find the second pronunciation very strange and conclude that you don't speak the language that well.

I had no idea you are mostly German, do you speak German as well?

>1. So, Estonians can understand you when you >speak Finnish?

Definitely, but I don't understand them all the time. This phenomenon is very common. All Portuguese understand Spanish but few Spaniards understand Portuguese. All Danes understand Swedish but some Swedes have problem understanding Danish. Most Dutch understand German while many Germans don't understand Dutch. It's the same thing here, all Estonians understand Finnish but not that many Finns understand (spoken) Estonian.

There are two reasons for this. You will have seen one common thing in all the examples: the speakers of the smaller language always understand the larger, the opposite is much rarer. In many cases this is not so surprising. Most Dutch regularly hear German while it is less common that Germans hear Dutch. The same goes for all the examples. As you know, Estonia was a part of the Communist block for fifty years while Finland was not. Since the norhtern coast of Estonia is so close to the souther coast of Finland it was possible for the Estonians, living under heavy censorship, to listen to Finnish radio and TV. This was very popular as it was the only way to get a glimpse of the free world.

The other reason is purely linguistic. Finnish and Estonian are closely related, but Finnish is more archaic, it has longer words etc. That means that to an Estonian Finnish sounds rather old and very slow, but it's easy to understand. It's much harder for a Finn to understand Estonian, since the words have been shortened the Finn think that Estonian is very like slang and spoken very fast.

Compare these three phrases, taken from this site:
"This is a public posting area. If you do not have an account, enter your full name into the "Username" box"

"Thisod ist a publicid postingid areade. If you doow not havered an accountidesta, enteret your fullid namede into the "Useresnameses boxit"

"thi i a pub post are. If yo do't ha a acot, ener yo fu na int t "Usena" bo."

I guess the second phrase would look strange to all who speak English, but they would understand it despite the lengthened words. The third phrase would perhaps be somewhat harder. This is basically the difference between Finnish and Estonian. The same applies to Spanish and Portuguese, although in different way. The words are spelled almost identically, but in Spanish they are pronounced as they are spelled while the Portuguese pronunciation is very different and includes dropping many sounds.

Long answer to a short question ;-)

>2. I didn't know that about th. I thought it was unique to English, at least in Europe. Is it found anywhere else in the world that you
>know of?

Well.. Within Europe it's very common in Icelandic and Faeroese. It's also found in some Scottish Gaelic dialects. Outside Europe then.. I know the European languages far better than the non-European, but at least it's found in Arabic. Actually, I would assume it's quite common, I'll look into it.

>3.b. You don't always hear sounds correctly when you don't know what they are. I could
>listen to that Finnish song a dozen times and still not be able to write the phonetics
>perfectly, and I would not notice that the Finnish i in ilma is slightly shorter than a
>Russian would say!

The sequence that you hear consists of four rows from the first two verses

Kylä vuotti uutta kuuta
Mieron päivän nousendoa
Miepä vuotin minjoavani
1.Miepä vuotin minjoavani

2.Nouse sorsa soutamasta
3.Nouse sorsa soutamasta
4.Nouse ilman nostamatta
Ylene ylenemättä

This is the eastern dialect, and 99% of the Finns (I'm not joking) would not recognise the word "minjoavani". In standard Finnish you don't see "j" following another consonant.


>Oh this is interesting. I had two friends of mine (who have very little language experience)
>listen to Finnish, without telling them what language it was. One listened to the phrases on
>the first site you gave me. The first thing she said was it definitely wasn't Welsh (I had
>played some Welsh for her a few days before). She finally said she just didn't know, because
>it didn't sound like anything she recognized. The second friend heard the radio broadcast,
>and her first thought - are you ready for this -was that it sounded RUSSIAN. Oh yes!

I'm not surprised. I guess you would get the same answer from most friends, and there is in fact an explanation. And no, it has nothing to do with Russian actually sounding like Finnish ;-)

Most people in the Western World have only three concepts of non-western languages. Russian, Chinese and Arabic. These three are so big and so often featured on the news that most people have heard them. What is more, they sound very different from each other. I'm not a betting person, but play Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tibetan or Thai to your friends and see if they don't think it sounds Chinese. I'll be honest here, I do think so even though I should know better ;-)
Repeat the excersise with Hebrew, Amharic, Berber, Coptic or Aramaic and most will answer that it sounds like Arabic.

The tones and short words sound are connected with Chinese, the guttural sounds with Arabic. European languages lack both, so play any European language and the only option left will be Russian ;-)
Most English speakers would probably recognise French, Spanish, Italian and German. They also have an idea about Dutch, Swedish and Norweigian sounding somewhat like German. Then they will start guessing Russian, no matter what language you play.

I've also had an excersise with Welsh and Scottish Gaelic to friends without a particular interest in languages. The answer is almost always Russian. When I was 17 and spoke neither Welsh nor Russian I watched a movie with some friends. 50% of the actors spoke Russian, the other half spoke Welsh. None of us could tell any difference between the two languages back then. I think this is the explanation. Any language that sounds European but isn't familiar will be classed as Russian. Most people in the Western World, whether in Finland, USA, England or Ireland, would make this connection.

She said it had a Russian sound to it. She made two more guesses, first Italian, and then Spanish. What do you think of that?

>This was exactly what I needed. What struck me about the Russian news program was how VERY Russian it sounded.

I agree, I think it sounds 100% Russian ;-)

>The Finnish didn't sound so Russian anymore in comparison, but there is SOME kind of
>similarity still. I don't know how to describe the similarity any differently than I did in my
>last post. I would say now that Finnish sounds more in between Russian and Swedish. Am I
>getting closer?

Close to insulting any Finn prone to take an insult, yes. ;-) Sweden ruled Finland for 800 years (1000-1809) Russia for a hundred years (1809-1917) and the last thing any Finnish speaker would hear is this connection. As a Swedish speaker I don't take any offense ;-)
But I can't agree either. If you would say that Finnish sounds like Icelandic we would approach a commong agreement ;-)

>I could tell Serbian is a little different from Russian.

Very good, many would fail. A Russian friend of mine says there is no language that he understands as easily as Serbian.

>German I'm much more familiar with, and I had a year of it after school, so it's harder to be
>objective here. The sounds are more distinct to me since I know them. I wouldn't think of
>German as Eastern (Central, I guess), but it is closer to Russian than it is to Spanish, no
>doubt. I always thought Germanic languages were closer to the Scandinavian ones than the Slavic
>ones. Is that wrong?

On the contrary, it's perfectly right. That's the reason we enjoy learning German, it's very easy. In fact you could start at the northernmost point in Europe, Nordkap in Norway, and start walking downwards through Norway, Sweden and the Swedish parts of Finland, then cross over to Denmark and continue your walk into the north of Germany, the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, then downwards through Germany into Switzerland and Austria and finally into South Tyrol in Italy.
During your trip you would have visited 11 European countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denamrk, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Italy) and you would have travelled from the extreme north of almost constant winter and down to the southern side of the Alps, indeed the Mediterranean would only be a few 100km away. During this very long trip you would never had crossed any language border, only dialect borders. All the dialects in this area, from Nordkap to South Tyrol, form a gigantic dialect continuum. There is no single where the people can't communicate with each other. If you travelled slowly enough you wouldn't even notice the changes, they occur so slowly.

>The Turkish is unlike the rest; but, if Russian is the standard for Eastern, then it sounds more >Western, more "open" (I'm going to drive you crazy with that, huh?). The "u" sounds like the >French "eu", I thought.

I don’t really know Turkish, but I agree that it sounds unlike the rest. Not surprising since it is unlike the rest ;-)

>I had two years of Spanish. I would never compare it to German!

I guess not, but take my word for: that comparison would not seem more far-fetched than comparing Finnish to Russian or Welsh to Russian. But I agree, I’ve heard German spoken since I was very young and would never compare it to Spanish

>This was the first time I listened to Portugese. I felt like I should be understanding
>more than I could. It does have a little different sound than Spanish.

That’s no exaggeration!! With nasals, differenent diphtongs, reduced vowels, “s” and “z” turned into “sh” and many consonants and vowels dropped I’d say that it sound very different from Spanish.

>To answer your second question, I can't tell you what a Western language sounds like. I hear
>French, Spanish, German, English as unique. I wouldn't confuse one with the other. Many
>Americans wouldn't because we hear them more often(in the news, movies, etc.). This idea I
>had of an Eastern sound was the sound of
Russian and Polish because those were the only >two I was familiar with. Again, I think that is
a common perception in America.

I can’t speak for America, but I think you are right – but not in the distinction between Western and Eastern. I think most people, in Finland as well as America, would call a language that sounds European* but is unfamiliar “close to Russian”

*It might seem odd that I talk of a European sound after having rejected the distinction between Eastern and Western European sounds. The reason is that I think the languages bordering the European ones are much more different from the European languages than these are between themselves.



>Not to be a nuisance, but could you tell me what the two young people at Munsala are talking
>about (just a general idea would suffice). I would really like to know!


No nuisance at all. I could you give you a complete translation, but not in this all-too-long post. ;-)
The young woman is talking about an occasion when she tested driving a rally-car, the young man is talking of his cats.

Sin é anois, a chairde. I hope there will be as lively a discussion here as it was on the former "Dialect Help"!

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Dawn (66.19.56.190 - 66.19.56.190)
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, you're truly amazing. Quite an inspiration to me. Thank you so much!

I'll return again when I have more time to respond.

Dawn

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Dawn (66.19.56.56 - 66.19.56.56)
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 02:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

I wish.

Ich hatte nur ein Jahr Deutsch nach der Schule, und so ich spreche es nicht so gut. Haha.

There. Any native English speaker with a little intelligence shouldn't have much trouble reading that.

I'm sure I'll return to it at some point. I just get stuck on the der, die, das, dem, den, etc. Of course I can still read more than I can speak. That's how it always is.

1. I knew that language changes gradually across Europe (same with the Romance langs.), but I didn't know so many people other than those right on the borders could understand each other's languages. Your example in English was very helpful to understanding how that works.

Would those Estonian songs you gave me be listed under the singers' names? I couldn't find them at the library or bookstore, but that could be because there is not enough demand for them here.

2. I never heard of Faeroese. I know little of Icelandic, but it sounds like it would be fun to study, as far as its etymology anyway.

3. That is very interesting, Jonas, and I'm sure it's probably true, but now you have me confused. You were shocked that I said Finnish had an Eastern European sound, and now you say you're not surprised that someone would think it sounds Russian. ???

Serbian sounds "fuller" than Russian, maybe not as nasal.

>>On the contrary, it's perfectly right. That's the reason we enjoy learning German, it's very easy.

Oh good. I didn't want to have to "adjust" my way of thinking again. :) However, I didn't find German very easy! Spanish is easier. There is something fun about speaking German, though. You kind of feel like you're speaking English.......only your not.

Well, once again I'm up too late.

Gute Nacht, mo chara,
(or rather, Good morning!),
Dawn

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Maidhc Ó G. (67.235.185.41 - 67.235.185.41)
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ach, labhaireann tú as Béarla - giota beag.
Aber sprachst du im Englisch - einen bißchen.
English originates from German and Arabic.
Hmmm. Chur seo spraoi orm.
Der gab mir spaß.

Slán go foill,
Aufwiedersehen,

Maidhc.

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Jonas (213.243.174.248 - 213.243.174.248)
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm just home from a party and an aftermath at a girl's place so I won't comment on all the topics right now. Let me just make one short point absolutely clear: English does not originate from Arabic. Not in any way. It's mostly Germanic, with a large number of Norman French of loanwords, some very important loans from Old Norse and to some extent an influence from the Brythonic language (from which modern Welsh originated). But Arabic? No.

I'll be back tomorrow, oíche mhaith!

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.122 - 217.155.45.122)
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

Is léir nach bhfuil tú amháin saoi na teanga ach go bhfuil an-tóir ort i measc na mná! Maith thú, togha fir!

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Jonas (213.243.176.45 - 213.243.176.45)
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 04:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

;-)
Bheadh an t-saol go brónach mura mbeadh mná ann. Caithfead a rá gur fearr liom iad ná teangalaíocht, a chara ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.24 - 66.19.56.24)
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 12:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Very sweet, but I hope I'm not being perceived as one of those mná. : )

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Maidhc Ó G. (67.235.185.93 - 67.235.185.93)
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Agus, ag labhairt faoi ar ais fleá. Céard air a raibh me a smaoiniú? Arabic!? :(
A chairde, Ná bhain as focla má mbeadh poite oraibh! D'fhéadfadh siad a theacht ag steall ar ais isteach d'aghaidh. ;P Tá súil agam go bhfuil abalta oraibh chugainn mo leithscéil a ghabháil.
AH, I feel much better now.

Le árd mheas,
-Maidhc.

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Dawn (66.19.56.24 - 66.19.56.24)
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It's alright, Maidhc. We knew you didn't mean it. :)

Dawn

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Maidhc Ó G. (67.235.185.130 - 67.235.185.130)
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 09:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hahaha. I also didn't mean to mix up between a British and an American idiom. "Ná bhain as" should be "Ná sceith amach". That makes the visual much clearer. Oh, well. Ar ais chun na leabhaireacha dom.
Go raibh maith agat, a (Hmm. What is the vocative as Gaeilge for Dawn?) :)
-Slán,
-Maidhc.

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Dawn (66.19.56.47 - 66.19.56.47)
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 11:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Well, if Donncha becomes a Dhonncha, then I guess Dawn becomes a Dhawn?

I'd have to get used to that.......

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Jonas (213.243.178.51 - 213.243.178.51)
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dawn, I'm back to the topic again.

Aber du bist doch in USA geboren, nicht wahr? Du hast also nicht Deutsch mit deinen Eltern gesprochen? Und mit deinem Opa und deiner Oma?

1. I'd say that most Europeans can understand at least one (often more) other European language without having studied it a single day. The English, the Hungarians, the Basques, the Greeks and the Albanians are the only ones who I'm sure can't. There might be some more, but not many. Here are some examples:
A Swede will understand Norweigian and Danish perfectly, and will have no problem reading an article in either Icelandic or Dutch. Getting the gist of written German is not impossible.
An Finn will understand Carelian perfectly and get out the most of Estonian.
A Russian understand Ukrainian and Belorussian very well, and at least Bulgarian and Macedonian easily. Written Serbian, Croatian or Polish isn't that hard.
An Italian normally get out the most of both Spanish and Catalan, and quite a bit of Romanian. Written Portuguese and French is readily readable to some extent.

As you know, there are three huge language-groups in Europe, Germanic, Romance and Slavic. If we don't take English into account, all these groups are quite homogenous.
I'd say that the nine Germanic languages are the most different from eacht other, even without English. They are so similar that each is quite easy to learn for the speaker of another, but an Austrian and a Norweigian certainly can't speak with each other even though each could get the meaning of each other's newspapers.
The Romance languages (about ten, the boundary between dialect and language isn't always obvious.) are more similar than the Germanic, but not that much. While speakers of Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese and Italian wouldn't encounter that much problems both French and Romanian are definitely harder. I don't know languages such as Sardinian, Romansch or Arumanian well enough.
The Slavic group is by far the most homogenous of the large languages. All it's are very similar indeed. The three Eastern Slavic languages (Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian) are by far similar enough to be mutually comprehensible. The Western Slavic languages (Polish, Sorbian, Czech and Slovak) are a bit more different, but speakers do understand each other. This is especially true for Czech and Slovak.
The South Slavic group consists of between three and seven languages. The normal number given is five languages, Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian. The lowest number is reached by counting Serbian and Croatian as Serbo-Croat and by regarding Macedonian as a Bulgarian dialect. The seven languages include the split-up of Serbo-Croat into Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin. Obviously all these languages are very similar, thus the confusion. Even between Eastern, Western and Sothern Slavic mutual comprehension isn't really a problem. If I speak in Croatian with a Croatian friend of mine at University our Polish friend can join in without problems. Knowing a single Slavic language kind of opens up the world of about 600 millions people!

Again one of my long answers, and still I feel I haven't explained it well enough. Questions are very welcome here ;-)

2. Icelandic should be great fun for any English-speaker, it's so close to Old English. Tolkien loved Icelandic, both Gandalf and Gimli and real names from the Icelandic sagas. I like Icelandic myself, it is of course even closer to Old Norse than to Old English. As my granparents' dialect is so very archaic I have no problems understanding Icelandic, nor do other Ostrobothnians. Those who only speak Standard Swedish have far more of a problem with it.
Faeroese is similar to Icelandic, but they have invented some very own pronunciations. It is a really interesting language, but not that easy even for us who "should" be able to understand it.

3. I know, the confusion is my fault. First I say I'm shocked to hear that you think Finnish sounds Russian, then I said that it was expected that your friend should say that Finnish sounded Russian. Makes no sense, I know. Still I have an explanation ;-)

When I said that I wasn't surprised to hear what your friend said I did not mean that I thought it was correct. As I explained in my last post, any speaker of a European language is likely to identify an unknown language as Russian. This is because of the reasons I gave above. That is the problable reason that I have friends who have said that both Gaelic and Welsh sound Russian, and that I and my friends thought the Welsh in the film long ago sounded Russian. Just as your friend, we heard a language unknown to us, knew that it sounded European. Of course it sounded Russian, then ;-)
So why did I say I was shocked when you claimed the same thing. Very easy: You were (in my opinion) just as wrong as I was in connecting Welsh to Russian and that my friends have been in connecting both Welsh and Gaelic to Russian. If my first reaction would have been "Yeah, I kind of expected that you would think Finnish sounds Russian" I guess we would have left the subject at that and you would have had thought of Finnish as a language that sounds similar to Russian. I just wanted to point out that such isn't the case, just as I've pointed out to my friends regarding Welsh and Gaelic. I hope you won't mind my initiating of the long discussion on the sounds of Finnish! ;-)

I'd agree with you on Spanish, generally speaking. For someone who does not speak a Romance or Germanic language I would say that Spanish is much easier. If you do speak a Germanic language (other than the odd English... ;-) ) the similarities will mean that you'll find German quite easy.

I have this feeling I've forgotten something. If you find I have, please tell me!

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Dawn (66.19.56.47 - 66.19.56.47)
Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 02:11 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

Sorry this is so long in coming. I hope you do get a good laugh out of it. :)

This is best read out loud, even if it's only to yourself. Trust me.


"Euro-English"

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year plan that would be known as "Euro-English".

In the first year "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replased with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the third year publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komlikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a horor to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the mes of the silent "e" in the language is disgrasful, and they should go away.

By the fourth yar, peopl wil be rseptiv to steps such as replasing the "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yar, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou", and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yar, ve vil hav a sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

ZE DREM VIL FINALI KUM TRU!!!

Vut a riut, ja?

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Jonas (128.214.205.4 - 128.214.205.4)
Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 08:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dawn, bhí sé sin ana-mhaith ar fad. Caithfead a rá gur fearr liom Béarla na banríona, ach bhí sé go deas an scéal a léamh!

I'll wait for your answers to my previous reply before I enter into more comments on this. Táid agam ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.226 - 66.19.56.226)
Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 11:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Glad you liked it, Jonas (at least, I think that's what you said :) ).

I'll be back soon.

Dawn

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Mare (81.11.132.140 - 81.11.132.140)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 09:06 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

I just picked up this thread, and after a long absence, this forum.

I disagree with :
" and you would have travelled from the extreme north of almost constant winter and down to the southern side of the Alps, indeed the Mediterranean would only be a few 100km away. During this very long trip you would never had crossed any language border, only dialect borders"

You will indeed have crossed language borders, even if many words in those languages are similar , and they all come from the indo-european base. Dialects are within one language what distinguishes a town from the neighbouring one.

The identity of those languages and the culture associated with it, is what we need to protect in Europe - and in the world.
'Tír gan Teanga, Tír gan Anam' applies to all of us.


Mare.

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Jonas (213.243.191.125 - 213.243.191.125)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Mare, you are wrong. In linguistics a language border means that the the people on either side of the border can't understand each other. There are many such borders, examples of which are found between English and Welsh or English and Irish. Two people of two neighbouring villages, one Irish-speaking and one English-speaking, can not communicate with each other unless they have learned each other's languages. A Swedish and Finnish village, a French and German village etc. etc, that's language borders. The differences are so big that they hinder communication.

No such borders exist within the area I described in my previous post. The language changes gradually and slowly, not in sudden and sharp leaps. So, once again, if you made that trip you would not have crossed a single language border. If you think there is such border, please tell me where to find them in the area I described.

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.123 - 217.155.45.123)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 01:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas

I'm very interested in how you describe the whole Germanic speaking area as one long continuum from the North to the South, enabling a traveller to walk from the top of Norway to the North of Italy without really noticing any great change in the language spoken by the people.

Fascinating, like Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German are all aggregations of the dialects spoken in those countries with a Standard Language in each country normally written by everyone but not really spoken by all but a few.

I would have thought however that the North Sea would be one such barrier, can a Swede go to Denmark and be readily understood?

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Jonas (213.243.191.125 - 213.243.191.125)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 02:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oliver, a chara

The difference between Swedish and Danish is very small, all speakers of Swedish can communicate with Danes. Those from the extreme North can have a problem, but not that much. The dialect in Skåne (Scania), the Southernmost part of Sweden, is very close indeed to Denmark. In fact, this part of Sweden has belonged to Denmark longer than it has belonged to Sweden, it became Swedish in 1658. You are right in pointing out that the water is something of a divide hear, you could not walk on it of course ;-) Still, it's very narrow. You can see Denmark from the Swedish side. In fact, there is a bridge between Sweden and Denmark nowadays, so in fact you could walk. The cars would be annoying, though ;-)

The reason that standard Swedish (and Danish and Norweigian) looks relatively different from standard German is that the language of Sweden is centered upon the region of Uppland, historically a Northern region (although it's in the middle now) of Sweden. Standard German, on the other hand, is based upon Southern German, the area around Munich and to some extent Vienna. Today it is said that Standard German is Southern German spoken with a Berlin accent.

This meant that German came to be based upon dialect very far from the region where Danish, Swedish, Norweigian and Dutch are spoken. As you may know, many German dialects are still extremely viable and are even used for litterature. The grammar of Northern German dialects are (as you would expect) much closer to that of Swedish, Norweigian and particularly Dutch and Danish. Speakers of Northern German usually have problems understanding the German of Switzerland and Northern Italy, much bigger problems than a Swede has with understading Norwegian.

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Mare (81.11.132.140 - 81.11.132.140)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 04:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I have a Schwitzertuetsch speaking friend who, when asked what is the second language he learned after his mothertongue, will say : German.

But never mind.
I'll leave this discussion to true linguists like you.

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Jonas (213.243.191.125 - 213.243.191.125)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 04:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm no more linguist that you, but then again your last comment was problably a reaction to my previous post to you.

Your friend can say so and be absolutely right, there is a big difference between Schwitzertuetsch and standard German. That does not mean there is any geographical border between them, the dialects of the German parts bordering Switzerland are very similar to those spoken within the country. The dialect of Basel in Switzerland (where I have many friends) is identical to the dialects in Southern Baden-Würtemberg, bordering Basel. I never said that there aren't differences within the Germanic area, only that transition is gradual and not abrupt = there are no language borders within it.

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Larry (217.42.55.128 - 217.42.55.128)
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 09:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Mare, a chara,

Is é do bheatha ar ais, mo chara.

Le meas,

Larry.

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Dawn (66.19.56.38 - 66.19.56.38)
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 11:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I had this written up last night, but I lost my internet connection just before posting it. Fortunately I was able to save it!

Jonas,

Ja, du hast recht. Niemand in meiner Familie specht jetzt Deutsch, und so meiner Vater und ich um Wochenende studieren zusammen in einer ortlicher Oberschule. Der Deutsch gefallt uns, aber wir studieren nichts eine Zeitlang.

That might be horrible German, but you get the idea. : ) I have a friend who keeps giving me German magazines. I need to start reading them.

1. >>Questions are very welcome here

Good, because I have a couple. : )

What is Carelian?

Is Scandinavian Germanic?

Is my ability to understand (with some difficulty) an English speaker from, say, Newfoundland similar to a Dutchman understanding German? Or are our dialects still more similar than that?

The Basque language is not easily understood because it is so unique; however, English loves to borrow foreign words from every language it comes in contact with. So a speaker of a Germanic language will pick up certain words, a Romance speaker will pick up other words, etc. Then, with the semi-unique pronunciation of English, many of the words will still not be understood by a speaker of the language from which those words are derived. It works both ways. An English speaker who is not educated in etymology could listen to an Italian dialogue that is full of cognates and still not recognize a single word.

I was looking throught the linguistics section at the bookstore the other day (must be the smallest "section" in the whole store!) I found a book entitled The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages. Have you heard of it? It was only $20, so I thought it would be worth getting. I think basically it just shows how the languages of Europe are related, but I'm sure it's helpful.

2. I knew you would have an explanation for the Russian-Finnish thing. : ) So I was just part of an experiment this whole time? I don't mind the long discussion - not at all! But I wish you had told me that before I started feeling really stupid!

I've been thinking more about this. I have listened to Asian languages enough to hear the differences in the languages, but it's true that those who haven't will think it all sounds Chinese. I used to think so myself. However, having grown up hearing the Western European languages spoken more often, I couldn't imagine how a Chinese person could think that English and French sounded anything alike. So this idea of all European languages sounding like Russian is an interesting one. It makes me want to experiment on some friends myself. : )


>>I have this feeling I've forgotten something. If you find I have, please tell me!

It's the question about the Estonian songs.

Jonas, a realization came over me this weekend. It was possible for my comment on Thursday to be misunderstood. I'm afraid it might not have been clear that my response was directed more at Oliver's statement than yours. I just hope I didn't come across as being presumptuous. I certainly didn't mean to!

Talk to you soon,
Dawn

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Jonas (213.243.178.76 - 213.243.178.76)
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 04:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dawn, I'll get back to you tomorrow. Start any Finn on Carelia and he'll go on forever... ;-)

There is one thing in your post I'd like to react to immediately: I haven't found any stupidity in any of your posts. Not in a single one. Quite the contrary I'd say, I think you've showed great insight in all topics we've discussed. That's the reason I take such a great pleasure in our discussions!

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Dawn (66.19.56.38 - 66.19.56.38)
Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 05:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks. It's always nice to be appreciated. :)

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Jonas (213.243.190.222 - 213.243.190.222)
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 06:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll get back to this, it's been a rather long day 08:00-18:00. On the top of that, my computer has taken up the habit of restarting itself wit intervalls of about 45 minutes.

Bead thar n-ais amáireach, cífead tu ansan.
(In genuine Corca Dhuibhne Irish... ;-) )

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Dawn (66.19.56.129 - 66.19.56.129)
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 10:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll come back tomorrow, .........you.........huh?

I never thought of myself as having a sixth sense (I know people who do have one), but somehow I knew this message was waiting for me before I read it. No problem, Jonas. Maybe I'll use the time to finish that TYI test I've been avoiding. : )

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 07:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"cífead tú ansan" I will see you then

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Jonas (128.214.106.19 - 128.214.106.19)
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 07:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Very good Aonghus. Though in fact there is one small error. My writing "tu" instead of "tú" was not a typo, the object form of "tú" is "tu" is Corca Dhuibhne Irish.

In fact I should have placed it last in the sentence,
"Bead thar n-ais amáireach, cífead ansan tu"
Or in standard Irish
"Beidh mé ar ais amárach, feicfidh mé ansin tú"

I hope this does something to the myth that Standard Irish is the same as Munster Irish. Though of course I wouldn't mind if that was indeed the case ;-)

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Jonas (128.214.106.19 - 128.214.106.19)
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 08:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

And now on to Karjala, Karelen, Karelia. Muistojen ja laulujen unohtettu maa...

There are very few places that awake the same feelings as Karjala (the word I'll use for the region) for the Finns. In fact there is no other place. It's like the Gaeltacht and ancient Tara of the Kings combined in one. Karjala was always the national inspiration for the Finnish nation. But I'll take it from the beginning. Before I do, let me warn everyone that this is very long. Some might find it very interesting, others particularly boring... ;-)

The areas that today are known as Finland constitute about 50% of the Finns traditional territory (as well as some Swedish and Sápmi territories). The other half is Karjala. Just as Ireland is made up of Ulster, Leinster, Connacht and Munster, so is Finland made up of different regions. The two most important, historically speaking, was Häme and Karjala. When Christianity spread across Europe, Finlad was the place where west and east met (never mind Kipling...), the western half (Häme) came under Swedish (Catholic) influence and the eastern part (Karjala) under the influence on Novgorod (Orthodox). The importance of this was enormous, the boundaries of that time (1000 years ago) are still the boundaries of present day Finland and Karelia.

In that time both the language and the culture was more or less identical, but this was to change due to the different religiongs. Almost all words for religion in Finnish are either Latin or Swedish/German while the same words in Karelian are either Greek or Russian. The same thing goes for other spheres of foreign rule such as administration. Over time both Sweden and Russia (the heir of Novgorod) tightened their grips over Finland and Karjala respectively and this resulted in a decrease in contact between the two = the languages drifted somewhat from each others.

The process is mirrored by the development of
1. The Balkans
2. The Brittish Isles

On the Balkans the Serbs and Croats were once identical, but the Croats came under Catholic (Italian and Austrian) influence while the Serbs came under both Greek and Turkish influence. Thus the religius and administrational vocabulary is very different.
In the Brittish Isles there was only one foreign influence, but the geography led Irish and Scottish Gaelic to drift apart.

This is the background, but it does little to explain the significance of Karjala to us. (I should have said that I am biased, parts of my ancestry in Karelian.)

When the protestant reformation came it changed many countries (on an Irish discussion board this is really stating the obvious). Both the Catholics and the Orthodox have normally treated local traditions with tolerance, but the religious zeal of some of the reformers of Protestantism led them to view all old folk-tales and folk-traditions and as satanism that had to be hunted down. The implications are easy to see, the part of the Finnish area that had previously been Catholic (=Swedish) and renowned for its folktraditions had now been hit by the full force of the reformation. (Few countries embraced Protestantism with the same zeal as the Nordic ones). However, in the other half of the Finnish area, Karjala under the same Russian and Orthodox rule, nothing happened. In fact, while the Swedes were very active in administrating Finland for 800 years, Russia more or less ignored Karjala for the same time. There are good and bad things in both. Due to the Swedish administration Finland became more prosperous, town and cities were built, functional administration, efficiency etc. All the things associated with Scandinavia and Germany. In Karjala life went on as it always had in the Karelian villages. A poorer life for sure, but one that allowed all the old traditions to live on. In 1809 Russia conquered Sweden and gained all of Finland, for the first time in 1000 years most Finns and Karelians were united. I say most, for the Finns of Northern Sweden and Norway were still not included. As you know, the 19th century saw the great National movement. I'm not talking of the kind of political nationalism but of the cultural movement, the same that led to the formation of the Gaelic League in Ireland and renewed interest in old traditions in all countries.

The 19th century was crucial for Finland. Nowadays people might think that belonging to Russia instead of Sweden would be a disaster, but back then it was different. (The Russian Czars Alexander I and Alexander II were both dearly loved in Finland, their names and monuments can be found everywhere). The granted Finland full autonomy within Russia and returned large parts of Karjala to Finland. The national awakening saw a keen interest in folk traditions, and the place to look for these was Karjala (followed by Karjala and then Karjala). Painters took to the desolate Karelian landscapes and its small villages, composers went to Karjala to find inspiration and poets wrot poems about it. The real achievement, however, was made by the Elias Lönnroth.

As you mave have heard, the world's largest collection of national folksongs and folktales is the Finnish one. Ireland comes in second, Estonia third, Scotland fourth and Wales fifth. Obviously the Finnic and Celtic peoples kept their traditions much longer than most other European peoples. The bulk of the Finnish collection was made by this Elias Lönnroth. For many years he wandered through the Karelian villages and collected all the old tales and folk-songs from the Karelians. Part of them came to form our national epic, the Kalevala. As you may know, Tolkien (as well as founders of the Gaelic Leagues) was very inspired by it. Even though it is considered the Epic of Finland it was collected in Karjala, and the Karelian language echo in every phrase. (Soon I'll burst into song here... ;-) )

I hope that I've managed to convey at least some of the meaning that Karjala has for Finland. Of course, since the tale is Finnish, it comes with a tragic ending. When Finland became independent Karjala was split up between Finland and Russia. The Karelian areas of Russia all declared themselves parts of Finland, but the Russian army moved in to keep them. The Czars had never cared much, but the Communists that had taken power considered Carelia an important strategic area. Lenin was not so bad, he granted the Karelians cultural autonomy but Stalin was hell. (Excuse the word, but I think it's true). Not only did he take away the cultural autonomy of the Karelians, he actively tried to destroy both the culture and the language; the Orthodox church had suffered already under Lenin, of course. Stalin now made Russian the only official language in Karjala, just as English was in Ireland and in Wales. Using Karelian was punished. Continuing on the lines of Old England he copied the plantations. Huge numbers of Russians were forced to move into Karelia, making the Karelians a minority in their own lands. Still, much worse was to follow. Shortly after Hitler's attack on Poland, Stalin
attacked Finland in 1939. We managed to fight off the attack, intended to occupy all of Finland, but the peace was hard. Most of the Finnish half of Karelia was to be handed over to Russia, including Viborg, Finlands second largest city and the capital of Karelia. People cried in the streets and all flags were lowered when the message came.
After Stalin not much happened, but the many Russians that had been forced to move to Karjala ensured that Russian became the language of most towns and cities. No-one can blame them, of course, they too were victims of Stalin's ideas. After the fall of communism there has been a resurgence in the Karelian language and culture, and many Finns travell to the old Karelian villages that have been closed from us for 85 years. In most of the old villages the language and culture is still Karelian, the Russian influence is strongest in the cities.

I'm sorry for going on for so long, I'll stop now. I've added some links that might be helpful or interesting:

This map shows the Karelian areas in Russia. As you can see, they are about the size of Ireland, Belgium and Holland combined.
http://www.karelia.ru:80/Karelia/Images/Europe_Karelia.gif

This map shows all of Karjala. The yellow parts are those that always belonged to Russia (though they are as Karelian in language and culture), the blue-lined area is the part that Finland had to hand over in 1940 and the green part is the Karjala that remained within Finland.
http://cc.joensuu.fi/~alma/ktl/maps/kar-defs.gif

Here is a general info-site on the Russian part of Karjala. It's in Russian, English, Finnish and Karelian
http://www.onego.ru/english.html

If you really get interested, this is the site for you. The main version is in Finnish, but here is the link to a rather extensive English version:
http://www.juminkeko.fi/viena/en/index.html

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Larry (217.42.53.81 - 217.42.53.81)
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 09:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,

A 10 hour day? I wish my working day was so short!

Larry.

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Dawn (66.19.56.179 - 66.19.56.179)
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 12:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

What a glorious day!!!

A chairde,

I am in the highest of spirits today. October is my favorite month, and today is a perfect autumn day! The sun is bright, the air is cool, the leaves are turning gold and crimson - I love it! Life doesn't get any better than this.......

That is, until you find a little treasure of history and culture on the linguistics thread. Thank you Jonas! I especially enjoyed looking through the onego site (and laughing at some of the English used there). The craftsmanship of the artists featured there is astounding, especially those wood carvings. Wood carvings...........hmm, sounds very autumnal, doesn't it?

I couldn't find a detailed Finnish - English dictionary online, so the best I could do is this:

"Remembering and singing of the unforgotten land"

So, would I be wrong in thinking Karelia (Carelia?) is to Finland what Bavaria is to Germany?

You know, Jonas, you should be a travel agent. You really know how to sell your country!

I won't ask anymore questions until you've finished with the last ones. :)

Have a great day everyone!!!

Dawn

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Jonas (213.243.176.35 - 213.243.176.35)
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 03:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Iawn, dw i yma, as a Welshman would say. Actually I answered all these questions last night only to see my computer restart itself just when I was about to post it. Great fun... I was too sleepy to write it all again ;-)

I’ll take the very easy questions first:
a. Yes, the Nordic language (the term used for Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faeroese) are all most definitely Germanic.
b. The Estonian songs would appear on the Eurovision Song Contest albums, both were in the middle of the 90’s. They might be very hard indeed to find, at least in the States.
c. I haven’t heard about the book you mentioned, but please tell me more about it once you’ve read it

Guess it is a shock for everyone that I can answer questions using so few words ;-)
The question about the Dutchman and the German is not quite so easy to formulate in a few words, but the answer is easy. A Dutchman living in the Eastern part of the Netherlands and a German living close to the Dutch border would understand each other perfectly well. On the other hand, a German speaker from either Tyrol or Wallis would probably not be understood. Not by the Dutchman and not by the German from the area at the Dutch border. In practice there would be a difference between the Dutchman and the German on the Dutch border since the latter one would be able to speak Standard German, as would the speaker from Tyrol or Wallis. So if everyone just spoke their dialects, the Northern German and the Eastern Dutchman would understand each other perfectly well, probably better than you would understand someone from Newfoundland. The Dutchman (unless he had learned German) would not be able to understand the other Germans, but all Germans are able to speak Standard German. (Although their accents tell where they come from, picking out someone from Vienna, Zürich or Dresden is very easy even if the speak Standard German).

That’s it, I guess. I’ll be glad to dig further into these topics, and the same goes for the previous post about Karjala, which I guess might be a more “exotic” topic ;-)

I'll just add that the Kalevala, the Finnish epic mentioned in that post, has been translated to English about 40 times, in case anyone wants to read it ;-) There is even a specific American English translation of it. Some translations are rather bad, though. The German one is excellent, by the way ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.190 - 66.19.56.190)
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

I didn't know the Finnish had the largest collection of folksongs/tales. It is incredible then that we know nothing of them, or maybe we just don't recognize the influence of them as Finnish. There weren't too many Finns who immigrated to the U.S., were there?

I can't think of any one place that could be considered the cultural center of the U.S. The cultures of the East, Midwest, West and South are all so different. Each one has a unique history and its own types of folklore, folkart, etc. Historical images of each would be so different - East, the Colonial patriots; Midwest, the Pioneers; West, the cowboys; South, the Plantations. The landscapes and climates vary considerably, which certainly have their influence on each culture too. I think a common set of ideals has united our country as much as any common culture, history, or language.

A question has come to mind. If the Irish are known for being friendly, witty, and charming; and the Germans for being industrious and orderly; what characteristics are associated with the Finns?

Btw, I was hoping you would tell me if my translation of Finnish was correct, and I'm still wondering if Karjala is kind of like Bavaria (actually, I'm wondering the opposite. Isn't Bavaria thought of in the same way by Germans?).

I saw the Kalevala on that last site you gave me but didn't read it. Is that a good translation?

I understand the German/Dutch thing perfectly. I read the same thing about the Romance languages in my Latin book. The Spanish and French on the border can understand each other, but two Frenchmen may not. It was a strange (but wonderful) concept to me at first, but it really makes more sense historically than if languages changed drastically right at the borders.

Another thought........have you ever wondered this? I wonder if all languages were spelled with IPA if they wouldn't seem so different from each other as they do now (as far as mere sounds). Maybe English would bear more resemblance to other languages, even Chinese? We have many one-syllable words too. It's just a thought. Not one I've thought through really............

Okay, an Irish question. Where is it that slender d is pronounced like j, and slender t like ch? The IPA given for these sounds are "dj" and "tj", which would be dy and ty in English. But that's different from j and ch. I have heard both, and I want to know how to place them. What's more common in Munster? I think in studying TYI I might be learning Connacht grammar with a Munster accent?

One thing I like about TYI is that the conversations are about daily life, not centered only around business and travel. How does Learning Irish compare?

Dawn

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Jonas (213.243.190.37 - 213.243.190.37)
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 04:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dawn, the autumn you praised has brought me a cold, forcing me to stay at home today... but I still love the autumn. I'm not that sick, but I've promised to attend a big party tomorrow and I don't want to risk it. So it's a great time to post to Daltaí ;-)

Would the languages appear to be more similar if spelled in IPA? I'd say that some would, some would appear to be equally close of distant and a few would be more distant. Russian would certainly look much easier to Westerners, there are hundres of words in Russian sounding quite like in English but the spelling is a hander to those who don't know the Cyrillic alfabeth. I don't thin the relationship between, say, Swedish and Norwegian would be affected; they would appear to be equally close. In the same way, the difference between English and Chinese or English and Arabic would equally distant, there isn't really any similarity that the IPA would bring forth - but of course they would be easier to learn if the alfabeth was familiar.
English and French would actually appear to be more distant, since all the thousands of French loans in English are pronounced in their own way in English.

The slender d and t, another one of my favourites ;-)
The most marked pronunciation, outright /dj/ and /tj/ is to be found in County Mayo, in the souther part of Donegal and on the Aran Islands. In the rest of the Irish speaking areas they are "just" slender. In some Munster areas they are in fact only just slenderised.

The conversations in Learning Irish are perfect and useless ;-) It's firm on the principle of not introducing new things in the dialouges untill you've learned the grammar behind it. This means that the first texts are really basic and somewhat stilted, but as you progress so do the texts. Most texts are very centered on daily life in the Gaeltacht, in fine, natural Irish.

And then on to the Kalevala:

some Americans know a great deal about the Kalevala and Finnish culture. Don Rosa (legendary author of Donald Duck), for instance, made his longest tale ever about the quest for Kalevala, his tale was remarkably correct on the details. Longfellow based his Hiawatha-epic on Kalevala and unless I'm very much mistaken there is a Kalevala-festival in the States. At least some Americans must have found it, based on the reviews at Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/019283570X/qid=1065212120/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/002-9603733-6727251
The number of Finns going to the US were not overwhelming, even though there were quite a few. In Nykarleby, just outside my hometown, the census in 1900 revealed that 58% of the towns inhabitants were actually in the States at that time. Many of my own relatives went, both from my father's and my mother's side. Still, a small country can not make a huge influence. Ireland is the only exception I'd say, and in the beginning of the 19th century Irelands population was three times that of Finland (even though it's smaller today).

What are the Finns being known for, you asked ;-)
Being silent! No-one would believe this after hearing me but it's actually true. Take this old joke:
Kalevi and Paavo went to the Sauna. After sitting there an hour Kalevi asked:
-Anything new?
Silence fell in the sauna, but after one hour Paavo answered:
-Did you come to chat or to go the sauna...

As with most characteristics there are some truth in it, but not that much. But yes, you would find Finns more restricted than Spaniards and Italians, not to mention Arabs, South Americans or Indians. The difference between Northern Germany, England, Finland and Sweden isn't that big though.

Your translation was not far off. I'd say "Karjala, the forgotten land of music and remembrance" ("the forgotten land of remembrance", brilliant. Forgotten, or unknown, by most of the outside world, and rembembered dearly by its present and former inhabitants)

I'd say that Karjala actually means a lot more to Finland than Bavaria means to Germany, but the comparison is not bad. Both Bavaria and Karjala are the strongholds of traditional folk culture, but the fact that large parts of Karjala were occupied and treated very harshly has given it a somewhat sentimental, kind of bitter-sweet, feeling as well.

To tell you the truth about the translations, I haven't seen a good one in English. I've only seen about three or four of the 40 translations, so there might be one. The meaning is still found, but the rythm is absolutely absent. For an Epic meant to be receited this is quite bad. Most translations into other languages are rather good though, even though the Latin one is way to stilted. The one in Faeroese would be my personal favorite, but that might not help you much ;-)

If you're interested, take a look at these versions:
-Finnish. Rather obvious ;-) I guess you won't understand a word, but perhaps you'll be able to get the rythm. Of all the languages I know, Finnish is the only one with a 100% consistent spelling-pronunciation (Welsh at about 95%, English at 30%...) so you should be able to read aloud. I'll answer any questions on this ;-)
http://www.finlit.fi/kalevala/teksti/kalevala-01.htm

-English. To get the meaning, not to get the rythm. (I just found a rather good translation, so I removed this link. See below)
-German. Since you know some German you will be able to read it, at the very least. The German translator, as opposed to the English one, has managed to capture much of the original rythm
www.finlit.fi/kalevala/indexdeu.html

Ha! Since I wrote this I actually find another English translation. The first one, in fact. It's much better than the previous one. Far from perfect, but quite readable:

Masterd by desire impulsive,
By a mighty inward urging,
I am ready now for singing,
Ready to begin the chanting
Of the nation's ancient folk-song
Handed down from by-gone ages.
In my mouth the words are melting,
From my lips the tones are gliding,
From my tongue they wish to hasten;
When my willing teeth are parted,
When my ready mouth is opened,
Songs of ancient wit and wisdom
Hasten from me not unwilling.
You can find the complete work here:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/

(Note that the preface is from 1887, not tremendously up-to-date ;-) )

By the way, you mentioned the woodwork. Imagine the time needed for this very typical Karelian house ;-)
http://www.jounisakki.fi/Kuvagalleriat/karelia_rus/nella/landscapes_houses/imagepages/image35.htm

Actually, here you’ll find many hundreds of pictures.
http://www.jounisakki.fi/Kuvagalleriat/karelia_rus/index.html

Some good, some bad. You’ll also notice that the older Karelians are very hard on the traditions while the young ones are more like young people all over the world. The pictures are all from Russian Karelia (as Karelian as any other, but the part that has been, and still is, ruled by Russia. To me they show two thing: How well the old traditions have been kept, and how very poor the Russian economy has been for the past 100 years. Unfortunately these things tend to go hand in hand, don’t they. Irish also survived in the poorest parts of the country.

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Dawn (66.19.56.40 - 66.19.56.40)
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 06:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Wow, another party?

Haha......

I have a full weekend myself, but I'll get back to this as soon as I can. Thanks for the links.

Hope you're feeling better already,

Dawn

P.S. What's the "alfabeth"? :)

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Jonas (213.243.190.37 - 213.243.190.37)
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Right, I knew I got the "h" at the wrong place ;-) I always stop to consider that word, and I always end up guessing. Civilised [;-) ] people spell it alfabet (as in Swedish), no need for any "h" at all... Remember the post you sent about the new English, it's coming into shape, a chara ;-)´

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Dawn (66.19.56.218 - 66.19.56.218)
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 04:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It's not just the "h", a chara. There's no "f" in alphabet. Not yet anyway.......... :-)

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Jonas (213.243.174.29 - 213.243.174.29)
Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2003 - 05:08 am:   Edit Post Print Post

But that's the point, you see! Why use "ph" instead of the neat "f". You don't pronounce it alp-ha-bet, do you ;-) So pronunciationwise there IS an "f" in alphabet but no "h". But I suggest we move back to our previous topics, this path will lead us directly to good old Shaw's ghoti
;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.209 - 66.19.56.209)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 02:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, but "ph" looks so pretty, doesn't it? :-)

So, how was the big party? I had a lovely concert-going weekend. Then when I got home one night there was an interview with Pavarotti on tv. Haha....... what perfect timing.

Hmm, I don't know what you're making reference to in your last sentence there.

I'll try to start on those links tomorrow,

Dawn

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Jonas (213.243.177.32 - 213.243.177.32)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:12 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll await your answers! Glad you had a lovely weekend. Mine was very interesting indeed, not without some friction but on the whole very enjoyable. ;-)

My last reference:
George Bernard Shaw was an ardent critic of the absurdity of English spelling. To show what it's like he spelled "fish" as "ghoti".

If
-gh in "tough" is pronounced "f"
-o in "women" is pronounced "i"
-ti in "nation" is pronounced "sh"

Then ghoti would be pronounced as fish! ;-)
In many languages (at least in Europe) this would hold true, since the principle "one sound for each letter and one letter for each sound" is fairly popular. That's why Welsh, Finnish, Croatian etc. are so easy to pronounce even without being able to speak the languages. And that's why English is such a nightmare. ;-)

Now I'm off to lunch with some friends. My University Dining Hall is offering Chili con Carne today. I'll have either rice or a ghoughpteighbteau to go with it...

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Jonas (213.243.177.32 - 213.243.177.32)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Before I go I'd like to correct myself. Instead of "...either rice or a ghoughpteighbteau..." I meant to write "...either rice or a potato...". Well, no big deal, the pronunciation is the same, isn't it ;-)

p = gh in hiccough
o = ough in though
t = pt in ptomaine
a = eigh in neighbour
t = bt in debt
o = eau in bureau

With this I hope I've made my point about the English spelling. In fact I'm not one of those who would like to see it changed, I only think it's great fun ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.64 - 66.19.56.64)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 12:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, well, the eau we can blame on the French. ;-)

I think "hiccough" is considered old-fashioned now. Maybe it's still used in Britain. I didn't know it was pronounced the same as "hiccup", and I always read it as "hic-coff". One reason American spelling is different than British is because our President Teddy Roosevelt thought spelling should be modernized - and right there's a good example of the changes he made, the suffix -ize instead of -ise.

Ptomaine - I learned a new word today.

I'm just glad English is my first language. With maybe the exception of Irish,

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Dawn (66.19.56.64 - 66.19.56.64)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 12:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oops.

Besides a new word, I learned something new about how this site works. Haha.

As I was saying, with the exception of Irish, learning another European language is like walking downhill.

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Jonas (213.243.177.32 - 213.243.177.32)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 01:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Still waiting for your answers ;-)
And if you think learning another European language is like walking downhill I wholeheartedly suggest either "Teach Yourself Finnish" or "Colloquial Finnish". ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.64 - 66.19.56.64)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Okay, okay.........

I knew you would come back with something like that. I am beginning to anticipate your answers! Haha.

Btw, I have seen T. Y. Finnish AND T. Y. Swedish in the bookstores, but I restrained myself (it wasn't easy).

I will be visiting those sites tonight, but in the meantime, here's one last word on the "absurdity" of English spelling.


Subject: English Language

>If you ever feel stupid, then just read on. If you've learned to
>speak fluent English, you must be a genius! This little treatise on the
>lovely language we share is only for the brave. Peruse at your own risk.
>
>Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:
>
>1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
>2) The farm was used to produce produce.
>3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
>4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
>5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
>6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
>7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to
> present the present.
>9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
>10) I did not object to the object.
>11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
>12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
>13) They were too close to the door to close it.
>14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
>15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
>16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
>17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail
>18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
>19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
>20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
>21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
>
>By the way...
>There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor
>pine in pineapple.
>English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in
>France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads aren't sweet
>nor breads.
>Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is
>neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write
>but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
>
>If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
>One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that
>you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a
>bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you
>call it? Is it an odd, or an end?
>
>If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian
>eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people
>recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo
>by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
>
>How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man
>and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
>of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
>in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm
>goes off by going on.
>
>English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the
>creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.
>That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the
>lights are out, they are invisible.
>
>PS - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

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Maidhc Ó G. (67.235.185.70 - 67.235.185.70)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:16 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Their they're. Its knot sewed if accult aft her awl.
-Maidhc.

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Maidhc Ó G. (67.235.185.70 - 67.235.185.70)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

And why do we drive on the parkway and park in the driveway?
-Maidhc.

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Dawn (66.19.56.64 - 66.19.56.64)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oh Maidhc, I have a whole list of those too, but then I WILL get myself in trouble!

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Dawn (66.19.56.64 - 66.19.56.64)
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 11:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, the websites are fantastic! Lots of comments. Lots of questions. But they'll have to wait another day.............

Dawn

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Jonas (128.214.106.152 - 128.214.106.152)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 05:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Alright, I won't add more for now. I'm awaiting all those comments and questions

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 05:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey Jonas, are you still on?

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 05:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Of course! ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 05:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It's just an attempt to get some live discussion going, since we're missing a chat room. :)

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 05:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Good idea ;-)

In fact I'm reading through
Dyadic Business Relationships Within a Business Network Context.

Rarely has an interesting topic been so destroyed by the authors' will to use the most complicated terms one could imagine. I'm always suspicous when reading similar articles, I get the feeling that if they would have had anything to say of greater importance they wouldn't have codified it in academic jargon (this is a subject in which I have a Masters degree and I'm still amazed by the language they use).

Perhaps they just felt that no-one would take them seriously if they had written in an readable way...

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

though this last post was way too long for any chat session. And perhaps its connection to both Irish and linguistics can be questioned ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ive heard that getting a doctrate is easier than getting a masters. Do you find that true?

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Far from it. ;-)
In truth, and no offense whatsoever intended, but doctoral degrees from England or the US are not highly thought of. (I'm not talking about Harvard, Stanford, LSE or Oxford, of course). The reason is that the general perception in the academic world is, as you say, that it's (far too) easy to easy to obtain such a degree from many Universities in the English speaking world. Once again, I'm not talking about the top universities, they are outstanding.

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

But if we want to discuss education we could find many chatrooms. Ba cheart dúinn úsáid a bhaint as teanga na Gaelainne.

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

In Japan, it's harder to get into college but easier once you're in.

I saw something about Sibelius and his Karelia Suite on one of the sites. I have heard that suite before, but never made the connection!

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:15 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I've heard about the Japanese system but I don't know it very well. My brother is very into Japan.

You're absolutely right, Sibelius (who by the way was a native Swedish speaker just as I am) was very much inspired both by Karelia and the Kalevala.

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bead thar n-ais fé cheann nóiméid, íosfad ceapaire ;-)

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Okay, you're going to slow us down if you start speaking in Irish!

What time is it there? After one? You don't have Daylight Savings Time probably.

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ceart go leor, I'll switch back to English. Feel free to try Irish sentences, though!

It's 1:23 am here, and I'm struggling through my fourth article this evening. I usually get home between 8 and 11 pm so I have to read after that ;-) What about the time over there?

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Dawn (66.19.56.213 - 66.19.56.213)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It's 5:25 pm on Tuesday. At 2am October 26th, DST ends and the time switches back to normal time. Are you familiar with DST?

Hey, is this a bad time to talk (with you trying to read so late)?

I'll try some Irish in my next post that's not so hurried. :)

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Not that the average day on the university lasts untill 11pm ;-)

Since my first year on university I've been very active in the student body. Organising student parties (attending student parties...), chairing the marketing society, been student representative in the Institutional Committe and things like that. Great fun and you get wonderful friends but it is a bit time consuming. I also try to go to some café with my friends every day.

That's about a typical day for me, not particularly interesting. ;-) What do you normally do?

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

No hurry at all, take your time with the Irish. The more time you take, the more I get to read ;-)
Actually, I've just finished the last article so no need to worry about that. We have DST here as well, yes.

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Dawn (66.19.56.23 - 66.19.56.23)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ohhh, you Organize all those parties.......haha.

Wow, where do you find so much time for Daltaí?

There are two States that don't use DST - Arizona and Indiana. Half the year our neighbor State is the same time as we are and half the year they're different. I can never remember which is which!

I work for a Christian ministry.

Let's see, right now I'm working on pronouns as objects of the verbal noun, so I'll try something with that...........

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

No, I don't organise all parties - just some of them ;-) Must be quite hard having neighbours whose time isn't the same as yours. Finland is one hour behind Russia and one hour before Sweden but at least it's the same difference at any given time.

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

By the way, I'm not sure whether it is ok to ask about religion - different coutries have different standards of course and in Finland it's quite acceptable. I wanted to ask which Christian church you work for (Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist etc.) If you don't want to answer it, please ignore the question.

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Dawn (66.19.56.23 - 66.19.56.23)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 06:55 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bíonn orm ith mo dhinnéar go luath. Beidh mé á chócaireacht.

How's that?

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 07:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

One is wrong and one is more than perfect.

"bíonn" is in the habitual tense

"Bíonn orm mo dhinnéar a ithe gach lá" (I have to eat my dinner every day, a repeated action)

"Tá orm mo dhinnéar a ithe go luath" (I have to eat my dinner soon, not a repeated action)

The verbal noun (VN) is "ithe" and you have to say
"tá orm X a VN"

The other sentence is excellent

"Beidh mé ag cócaireacht" = I'll be cooking. To say "I'll be cooking it", the object (it = é) melts together with "ag" giving "á" which lenitates. Perfect!

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Dawn (66.19.56.23 - 66.19.56.23)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 07:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, I keep seeing you use the word "lenitates" instead of "lenites". ???

Well, the second sentence was much easier, right? I knew all that, just need to get into the habit of using it so I don't forget it.

The ministry doesn't belong to a denomination.

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 07:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Lenites, lenites, lenites! Thank you. The problem with Swedish and English being so similar is that you start using Swedish endings and syntax. No risk of mixing English and Finnish, though ;-)

Actually, I thought the second sentence was much more complicated, I would expect learners to make more errors with that construction.

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Dawn (66.19.56.23 - 66.19.56.23)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 07:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, I need to go, and you do too probably.

Thanks for chatting!

Dawn

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Jonas (213.243.190.166 - 213.243.190.166)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 07:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá an ceart agat, ba cheart dom imeacht anois. Bhí sé seo ana-dheas ar fád, cífead aríst tu! Slán go fóill!

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Dawn (66.19.56.23 - 66.19.56.23)
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 10:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

Thank you once more for those sites. The pictures and the poetry are so beautiful! I prefer the older English. It has a more lyrical quality. I will have to look further into the Kalevala sometime in the future.

Something has come up, and I will be gone awhile. Sorry about this, and go raibh míle maith agat for everything you've shared. I have learned so much!

I wish you the best in your studies,
Dawn

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Nicole (217.173.98.215 - 217.173.98.215)
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 07:37 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá an-bhrón orm a chloisint nach bhfuil morán meas sa hEorpa ar chéimeanna ón “domhain Bhéarla”, toisc go bhfuilim díreach tar éis céim Mháistir a chríochniú le Choláiste na hOllscoile i mBAC! Agus ní raibh sé chomh éasca ach a oiread! No offense taken, but disheartening all the same… bhí fhios agam faoin tuairim sin ó thaobh na S.A., ach níor cheapas go raibh sé ann faoin “domhain Bhéarla” ar fad. Is mór an trua é. Is docha go bhfuil an t-adh liom toisc nach bhfuil sé ar intinn agam post a lorg taobh amuigh den “domhain Bhéarla” (for the moment anyway)!

Tá súil agam go bhful an Ghaeilge ceart - táim ar obair is níl foclóir agam díreach anseo.

Le meas,
Nicole.

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Jonas (213.243.191.221 - 213.243.191.221)
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 11:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Dawn, I'm sorry to hear you'll be away, I hope it's not for that long. It has been a real pleasure getting to know you and talking to you about this wide variety of subjects!

Hope to see you soon here again, take care
Jonas

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Jonas (213.243.191.221 - 213.243.191.221)
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Nicole, bhíos ag labhairt mar gheall ar Sasana agus na SAM (ach tá ollscoileann aoibhinn sna tír sin chomh maith). Déarfainn go bhfuill meas ar Choláiste na hOllscoise, bhíos ag léamh "ranking tables for European Universities" inné agus bhí Coláiste na hOllscoile le fáil iontu - ollscoil mhaith is ea í.

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Nicole (217.173.98.215 - 217.173.98.215)
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 12:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hej, A Jhonais

Go raibh maith agat faoi sin – i ndáiríre ní rabhas ach ag [kidding] (ag an am céanna táim sásta faoin méid a dúirt tú!). Tá sé an-suimiúil dom áfach, fios a bheith agam faoi rudaí a cheaptar (an fhoirm cheart é sin?) i dtíortha eile faoin ‘domhain Bhéarla’, toisc go bhfuil sé deacair an t-eolas seo a fháil amach nuair a bhíonn duine i dtír ina labhraítar an Béarla, ó thaobh: “can’t see the forest for the trees”, má thuigeann tú mé.

Ar aon chuma, cheapaim go bhfuil an suíomh seo an-mhaith ar fad, agus an méid eolais atá agatsa iontach go leor. Meiriceánach atá ionamsa, ag phiocadh suas na Gaeilge arís i ndiaidh roinnt blianta gan í a chleachtadh. Tá brón orm faoi aon botún atá déanta anseo!

Nicole

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