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  1. - Top - End - #421
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    The device is always /ɹaʊɾɚ/ (rhymes with "doubter") in Kentucky/southern Indiana—I wasn't even aware that people pronounced it "rooter". :o

    As far as paths and roadways go, it's pretty much interchangeable and differs based on personal preference. The famous Route 66, however, is always "root", and in the phrase "State Route [#]" is always "rowt".
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-08 at 10:57 PM.

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  2. - Top - End - #422
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    I'm willing to bet that Iowans actually say /raʊder/. Most Americans voice a "t" between two vowels and turn /t/ into /d/.

    And now you can't unhear it.
    That's why I wrote it as an alveolar tap We hear it as a d-ish sound, but it's solidly an R to the rest of the world (except languages that have the same process, I guess).

    (Also, you should say we turn [t] into [d] (which is really [ɾ]). It's still an underlying /t/.)
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  3. - Top - End - #423
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Isn't there an expression in english to the effect of "an advance payment of trust".
    In the sense of "I taking risk giving you that much trust now, even though you still have to show if you can live up to it"?
    A more severe case of "benefit of doubt".


    Mini-thought: It just occured to me that in German "a shot" of liquor is called "a short". Could there be a mistranslating hiding somwhere?
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  4. - Top - End - #424
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Do you mean a financial trust or a more general sense of interpersonal trust?

    (It's probably a little sad that I even have to ask, but that's what a year of law cramming does to you).

    Assuming the latter, there's nothing I can think of that conveys the precise meaning, but something like "I'll have to trust you on that one", perhaps. It implies that you wouldn't normally necessarily trust them, but you'll make an exception.

    I've heard neat alcoholic spirits referred to as "shorts" over here, presumably because they're short measures (compared to a mixed spirit, or long drinks). I don't know the etymology, but I expect the term "shot" is a more recent innovation.
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  5. - Top - End - #425
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    'To take something on faith', perhaps? Or 'on trust'?

  6. - Top - End - #426
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    One option, when used directly to the object of questionable trust, is always "I'm going to regret this, but [insert trust thing]"

    We really come at things from odd angles in this language.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora
    Mini-thought: It just occured to me that in German "a shot" of liquor is called "a short". Could there be a mistranslating hiding somwhere?
    See "Kaffee mit Schuss" - German already uses "shot" to mean "a small amount of something put into something else". To order "einen Kurzen" makes reference to the amount of time it will typically take you to empty the glass you get, as colloquial German is kind of used to comparably massive helpings of beer as the pub standard, and many of the harder kinds of liquor are commonly served in comparably miniscule quantities. Or at least, that's how it was explained to me.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Yup, I also saw it that way. A "short drink" is consumed in a short amount of time (as such drinks are often drunk in one go) and it's also "short", in that the glass isn't very big.
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  9. - Top - End - #429
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    One option, when used directly to the object of questionable trust, is always "I'm going to regret this, but [insert trust thing]"

    We really come at things from odd angles in this language.
    You mean the complicated descripton of a situation instead of having a word for it?

    I would assume that it's a result of relatively limited vocabulary, which is a great advantage for an international language, like English has always been from the very beginning.

    On the other hand, yeah, compound words are cool.
    Interestingly, English does have the option to use it and does that quite a lot. "Credit card", "bank account", "shoe lace", "banana peel", "playing card". But somehow, it doesn't seem to do it nearly as much as German or also Japanese.

    Kleidungsstück (ger.) - kimono (jap.) - piece of clothing
    Clothing piece would be a perfectly valid card. As would be the always popular age spirit, turn compulsion, and misfortune joy.
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  10. - Top - End - #430
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    And car track, lightning war, frying sausage and double walker.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    And car track, lightning war, frying sausage and double walker.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You mean the complicated descripton of a situation instead of having a word for it?

    I would assume that it's a result of relatively limited vocabulary, which is a great advantage for an international language, like English has always been from the very beginning.
    I was always under the impression that English had a relatively large base vocabulary, thanks to its mongrel nature and habit of simply stealing any word we like the look of. I mean, look at all our redundant near-synonyms - is it really necessary to have both 'blow up' AND 'explode'?


    On a somewhat related note, I was reading some book recently which pointed out something interesting that I hadn't really considered before: a lot of the simpler compound words in German have Latinate or Hellenic equivalents in English which were originally formed in the exact same way, though we might not often think of them in that way.

    An example of what I mean would be a word like 'zusammenkommen' - 'come together' or meet, literally, but we also have the word 'convene', from 'com+venire', i.e., you guessed it, 'together+come'! There were a bunch of other examples, though I can't remember them offhand.

  13. - Top - End - #433
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Well, German does have the formal "explodieren" (which I guess is a Latin word, from the prefix), plus "sprengen", still pretty formal and then various less formal ones like "hochjagen" (chase upwards, literally?).

    As for the compound words... anything with Greek or Latin suffixes, I would guess. Ex-, com-, con-, In-, Hypo-, Hyper...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosefeather View Post
    I was always under the impression that English had a relatively large base vocabulary, thanks to its mongrel nature and habit of simply stealing any word we like the look of.
    English has a gargantuan vocabulary. However, it might be the case that Old English - which still forms the basis for a lot of the language - had a relatively small one, and the added vocabulary we've bolted on all over the place is really just window dressing.

    I mean, look at all our redundant near-synonyms - is it really necessary to have both 'blow up' AND 'explode'?
    "Kevin's 7th birthday party starts in an hour!"

    "It's ok; I've exploded the balloons".
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  15. - Top - End - #435
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    "Kevin's 7th birthday party starts in an hour!"

    "It's ok; I've exploded the balloons".
    Touché...

    Still, that leaves us with at least one redundant term from the trio 'explode', 'inflate' and 'blow up'.

    And before anyone mentions 'blowing up' photos, we have 'enlarge' for that.

    Still, we have to have something to complicate the language for people learning it, given the relative simplicity of our verbs, our lack of grammatical gender and adjectival agreement (except for oddities like blond[e] and brunet[te]), and our near lack of cases. Pronunciation is a start, but for written language, it's all about the phrasal verbs and redundant vocabulary... *grins evilly*

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Still, that leaves us with at least one redundant term from the trio 'explode', 'inflate' and 'blow up'.
    "Why is that balloon stuck in the telegraph wires?"

    "It blew up."



    There seem to be quite a lot of irregular nouns (and verbs) in English. Pronunciation is the real killer though. "-ough" and "-cester" catch out even native speakers if it's a word they haven't heard before.
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2012-09-18 at 04:26 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #437
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    Doesn't count if it's not phrasal! That's just 'to blow' plus a preposition of direction

    As for pronunciation, I'm partial to the name 'Featherstonhaugh' myself. Pronounced
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    Last edited by Goosefeather; 2012-09-18 at 04:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I like the first name "Saint John". That one took me a while to figure out from both directions.
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  19. - Top - End - #439
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    Which is functionally comparable to Santiago, when you think about it. Huh.

    I also like Magdalen College, Oxford. Plus, all those funky Gaelic names, like Siobhan, or Niamh.
    Last edited by Goosefeather; 2012-09-18 at 06:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Celtic Fringe names, Irish ones in particular, just take the cake.

    In both Oxford and Cambridge, mispronunciation of "Magdalane/Magdalen" is one of those things that marks you out as an intruder. Of course, if you spell Magdalen/e the wrong way, that's a dead giveaway. Cambridge has another one in the shape of Gonville and Caius college, usually just "Caius".
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2012-09-18 at 07:38 PM.
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  21. - Top - End - #441
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I love Gaelic names. There was an Irish woman on Big Brother a few years back named Caoimhe (pronounced: "Kee-vuh"), and naturally she became referred to by fans as "Daoimhe".

    I've had a lot of run-ins with counterintuitive surnames of German origin in southern Indiana. I could pronounce them as German names just fine, but they Americanize the pronunciation juuuuust enough that it becomes a guessing game.

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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    I have never managed to get a hang of how you pronounce anything Celtic or Gaelic. I've tried countless times, but it just makes no sense to me. "w" is a freaking consonant damn it, and don't even get me started on "ll".
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    ll is one of the easier sounds in my opinion, it just indicates a soft l - Llewellyn is the main example.

    I agree that Gaelic or Celtic names are tricky - my wife still can't pronouce Aberystwyth correctly, despite nearly going to university there (actually, I think that was one of the main reasons why she didn't go there...).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosefeather View Post
    Which is functionally comparable to Santiago, when you think about it. Huh.
    Santiago is St. Jacob, actually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I want more mwa-ha-haaa and much less boo-hoo-hoo.

  25. - Top - End - #445
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    ll is one of the easier sounds in my opinion, it just indicates a soft l - Llewellyn is the main example.

    I agree that Gaelic or Celtic names are tricky - my wife still can't pronouce Aberystwyth correctly, despite nearly going to university there (actually, I think that was one of the main reasons why she didn't go there...).
    Maybe it would help using a spelling system that looks similar to how the letters are used in Germanic and Romanic languages.
    From the way it's spelled, it could be pronounced Bunny Town for all that I know.

    Though from where I am from, we're a bit guilty of it ourselves. There are lots of weird place names:
    Lübeck - Lyubēk, not Lyubekk
    Itzehoe - Itseh-hō, not Itseh-ho-e

    In Lübeck, this is not a ck as in all other German words. It's a ec, which is a long E, which does not exist anywhere else.
    The spelling for a long O in german is oh, there is no oe anywhere, only o-e.

    And then you can also get into dialects. Yes, the correct pronounciation of Hamburg is is humbourg. But the locals sam Huhmboirch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Santiago is St. Jacob, actually.
    Well, St. James, really, given that that's the form of Jacob we use for that particular saint. I was just comparing it as another example where 'Saint' is part of the name itself, though.

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    You should come down to Switzerland some time. We decided to use standardized German to write all place names, whether they are pronounced anywhere near that or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Maybe it would help using a spelling system that looks similar to how the letters are used in Germanic and Romanic languages.
    From the way it's spelled, it could be pronounced Bunny Town for all that I know.
    Welsh isn't *too* bad, because there are only a couple of differences and once you get your head around them - and the ridiculous length of some words - it makes sense. Aberystwyth, for instance, is pronounced pretty much as if the "y"s were "i"s. That's about as good a version as an English-speaker will ever manage, as some of the sounds of the language are difficult to replicate.

    It still takes you aback a bit when you come across something like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio gogogoch, mind.

    Gaelic, though, is just insane. Apparently they used to have their own script for writing it, which would make more sense, but at some point they started using an adapted version of the (English) Romanised script instead, thus confusing everyone. I've heard it's Cromwell's fault.

    Quite apart from the pronunciation/spelling issues, Gaelic is crazy anyway, mind, what with the VSO word order and the conjugation (and mutation) of everything. I've read that it's one of the hardest languages in the world to learn.
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  29. - Top - End - #449
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Gaelic, though, is just insane. Apparently they used to have their own script for writing it, which would make more sense, but at some point they started using an adapted version of the (English) Romanised script instead, thus confusing everyone. I've heard it's Cromwell's fault.
    The actual native Gaelic script is ancient, it occurred way before any of the complexities of modern Irish or Scottish (mutation, broad/slender consonants), and was made up of nothing but lines off a central stem-line (ogham). For the most part, Gaelic is pretty straightforward, at least as much as English and probably moreso. I don't have some of the stranger vowel trigraphs and such down, but I can generally get a good guess despite never studying the language.

    I've read that it's one of the hardest languages in the world to learn.
    I can't imagine someone that's said that did much research. Then again, I have yet to read anything that seems to come up with a decent list, even ignoring the huge cultural bias of what is or isn't difficult. It's all well-known languages that pick out one or two pieces of the language, and even then it seems to focus on the writing and/or one or two particular sounds (which a less-known language invariably is far more difficult). I won't be impressed until I see a list including things like Taa, Koasati, or Georgian, that have a combination of sounds, grammar, sentence structure, as so on radically unlike English. Even for English speakers, languages like Hindi are going to kick someone's ass if they're not prepared for it, and probably deserves a title for hardest language as much as Chinese or Irish or Arabic.

    Also, on Welsh ll - it's an easy sound! Many English dialects even make the sound (or one extremely close) in words like click or clear or please (Dumbledore's pronunciation of "clear" in one of the Harry Potter movies stood out as a near-perfect example of it). It's a voiceless el, or an ess made with the air going over the sides of the tongue rather than the top.

    On Synonyms:
    A lot - but not all - are because of different source languages, but each pair was their own peculiarities. Guard/ward is my favorite examples because they're both Germanic - one through Old English and one loaned into Norman and then back into English. They are not complete synonyms, and each takes on their own specific meaning that the other cannot fill. I'd bet genuine, complete synonyms are nearly non-existent.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2012-09-20 at 04:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Musings on Language #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Quite apart from the pronunciation/spelling issues, Gaelic is crazy anyway, mind, what with the VSO word order and the conjugation (and mutation) of everything.
    What's wrong with VSO? That's a perfectly cromulent syntax.

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