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Old 2016-08-22, 12:06   #67
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
I can read Cyrillic easier than I can properly-written old English, though surely 10 minutes of effort would level the playing field (and I'm certain I could make more sense of the old English than the Russian, though my own non native linguistics experience is primarily of the Romance variety rather than Germanic , so still probably quite difficult).
In that case I strongly urge you to read the OE wikipedia. It's much easier to read typescript than handwriting so a large part of your difficulty goes away immediately. About all you need to learn are the four letters (given as upper / lower case below)

Æ / æ --- aesc (or ash) pronounced as a flat-a vowel

Ƿ / ƿ --- wen or wynn, pronounced as the Modern English unaspirated w in water.

Ð / ð --- eth, a voiced th as in Modern English these

Þ / þ --- thorn, an unvoiced th as in Modern English thin.


To make life even easier, remember that spelling may change but words often sound much the same; vowels tend to be shorter in Modern English, t and d are often interchanged while p/b are often aspirated to f/v or vice versa; g tends to disappear in modern English. If you know some German life is much easier as that language tends to preserve more of the old Germanic structure, in speech and in grammar.

Examples:

English penny / German pfennig / OE penig

English day / German Tag / OE dæg (though the vowel has lengthened in Modern English!)

English fowl / German Vogel / OE fugol

It helps enormously if you have a good working English vocabulary and etymology. For instance, a bishopric is the domain ruled by a Bishop. Compare the German word for an empire, Reich, and notice the shortening of the vowel in modern English. The OE is rice (long-i as in German, hard c as in Modern English and German but not aspirated as in the latter).

Another classic example comes from the first three words of Beowulf:

Hwæt We Gardena
or
So! The spear-Danes


The first word is literally "what" in modern English but is used in the poem as a call to attention. The -dena portion is still recognizable as modern Dane. Gar also survives in Modern English in the word garlic. The -lic portion is the same as "leek" (note shortened vowel!) and means onion. A clove of garlic has a spear-head shape...

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2016-08-22 at 12:14 Reason: Expand Reich example
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Old 2016-08-22, 15:19   #68
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The linguistic turn twigged a response from me, sorry for the tangent. As well, this post can be readily buried elsewhere..

Once upon a time I had to use Morse Code regularly as a means of communication. The base language
was my second language. Beyond this one had to implement various codes and concatenations as
required which all then had to be encrypted `on the fly` usually under less than ideal circumstances.
When communicating with one's counterparts of other nationalities as well as intercepting and deciphering
Morse communications, whatever the medium, whatever the country and whatever the language (including
dialects) you had to be atuned to the mode of thought as well as the logic of the intent and
purpose of communicating. Besides, these transmissions were made as quickly as possible so that
you would not be detected.
Everything communicates with everything else, usually openly and transparently; smiles are universal
as is the affection shown by animals re-uniting with their `owners.` Photons from a distant galaxy;
Aramaic, Mayan or Runic scripts; Uniquely oral languages passed down through generations. And now,
the development of `thinking machines.`
Dialog can only happen between animate and aware entities? Is attempting to communicate with the
universe `at large` nonsensical? Perception, awareness, comprehension and transmission/communication
requires interaction. Being self-aware is an important attribute. Mathematics, using this word
in its full generality, is something which seems codify everything and we have found a means of
approximating aspects of it which may loosely be described as a language. Yet, for many people
this language does not seem to translate nor communicate well.

(Try framing the Cyrillic translation of the `Canterbury Tales` within the context of information theory.)

Hmm.

Last fiddled with by jwaltos on 2016-08-22 at 15:25 Reason: CtCT addition.
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Old 2016-08-22, 19:43   #69
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As an addendum, I was unable to provide an example of old Cyrillic literature which I would have liked to do. Older works in Arabic or Oriental scripts are well known and we can only admire those anonymous people that had toiled over the original translations and their desire to disseminate them.

Last fiddled with by jwaltos on 2016-08-22 at 19:46
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Old 2016-08-23, 14:14   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwaltos View Post
Once upon a time I had to use Morse Code regularly as a means of communication.
Were you a radio operator or signal analyst in the military?
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Old 2016-08-24, 03:30   #71
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A mule.
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Old 2016-08-29, 03:52   #73
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So where am I in my peripatetic autodidactic language dilettantism? Funny you should ask; several days ago I completed a Duolingo French from Spanish tree. That means I did all the language tree's exercise units at least once. Nothing really stuck though because someone specifically asked what confusion occurs while studying French and Spanish at the same time and I found my memory to be too hazy to say anything worthwhile.

Since then I did about half of a tree of Portuguese from Spanish, got bored and switched to German from Spanish. I'm about halfway through that tree now. Of course I directly completed more than that for French, Spanish and Portuguese from English previously but am finding that I actually learn more when English is not on either side of a language tree. Then, when I am uncertain of a word I read the sentence comments which are in a foreign language to look for indications of what the word means and I learn a great deal more.

It's hard to say how these trees line up with the CEFR levels. A comment here suggested that a completed Duolingo tree might be at A2 level for most people (What educational level at completion of tree?). I don't think my gains are quite that good but I am noticing some positive signs. What I have found is that after completing a tree I can mostly follow along while watching the Extr@ lessons if I have the captions turned on in that language. These are sort of like watching Three's Company and Laverne and Shirley but with more aluminum foil chewing-ish cringes.

Recently when starting a tree I noticed that during the first few units the slower speech that the beginning units used was actually increasing the difficulty of listening comprehension. Last night while listening to Spanish radio, the speech seemed slower than on previous occasions so actually my listening is being less overrun by next word than in the past. My vocabulary is still paltry but I am having more of an impression of being able to hear the words that people are saying.

While studying French from Spanish I did stop for a couple of days to do more work on each of them from English and this improved my Spanish to the point Portuguese and German from Spanish are less encumbered than was my initial work on French from Spanish.

As far as strict lexical simularity, the highest levels for Romance languages in this partially populated chart are French/Italian and Spanish/Portuguese with both of the pairs at .89 Lexical similarity.

That's not strictly speaking of mutual intelligibility. In that case French speakers understand the other languages better than the other way around as it is also the case that Portuguese speakers understand spoken Spanish better than Spanish speakers understand spoken Portuguese.

The other night I tried listening to a Spanish/German word list while I was too tired to function well but at the same time was "too tired to sleep" (Nice line from a Kenny Rogers song). Anyway this particular word list has some of the Spanish words spoken with a male Portuguese accent. I found that even on simple words I could not follow along with my eyes closed even though I have had half of a Duolingo language tree of Portuguese to get used to those sounds. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2hf_1_8bhBg

As for Portuguese/Spanish differences (18 minute video):
Top 11 Spanish-to-Portuguese Grammar Differences
http://youtu.be/47tLXpM_3qo

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2016-08-29 at 04:40 Reason: added Portuguese/Spanish grammar differences. deleted sound differences video.
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Old 2016-08-31, 05:35   #74
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Duolingo Greek is now in beta for public use as of a few hours ago. (I suppose I'm talking to myself here)

It's hard to say why I like the Duolingo website. They ask for name and address when you sign up and that is a no go zone for many people. Maybe they've changed that policy, I don't know but children in classes now use the site and personal information is much more sensitive for them so maybe they don't inquire as deeply now; that might be a teacher-school-interface - I don't know.

The site sends reminders to visit and gamifies things a bit - this might help with motivation. The data is not as concentrated as grammar tables but is more phrase oriented than mind numbingly boring word drills. Sentence user comments, where people help each other, are nice too.

People who do use anaki or memrise to memorize word lists must be more motivated than me. LaurV has said here that Memrise's own German word lessons are very good. To me word lists are just too grueling when I don't even have a direct use for my hobby studying.

A few people on Duolingo mention another language word list memorization site:
https://babadum.com/ This does it in games and the main word recognition game is multiple choice without typing so it is fairly fast and perhaps is tablet friendly.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2016-08-31 at 05:40
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Old 2016-08-31, 08:15   #75
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I also like Duolingo. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would place it around 8. Which is quite good, I am a picky son of a breach. But the same goes for Memrise, which I would also place around 8, but from different criteria. I don't know why you keep calling it "word list", it actually contains beautiful courses, with lots of expressions, and more advanced level than Duolingo, too. Of course, there are problems with both of them. For example, what I don't like at Memrise is the fact that every idiot can make its own course, almost uncensored. This is good because many people have many interesting things to say, but is bad because there are zillions of courses about idiotic subjects (like learning multiplication tables with two or 3 digits) or courses that would not teach you anything at all, no matter your level of knowledge about that subject, and selecting which courses are good and which are not is more difficult than the course/learning process itself. Memrise is not about languages only. Another thing I don't like there is their rating system, which encourage you to stay stupid. Yes, it is not a joke, the counters are reset when you finish a course (except the general score, which always increase, but I am talking about other counters like continuous days of activity, etc), therefore you are encouraged to spend as long time as possible on one course, and not to finish it fast and go to another course. I even wrote them, but they do not seem to care.

Another "wrong" thing there is the absence of feedback, sometimes I find clear mistakes in courses, or stupid typos, and I have no possibility to report it to the authors, or correct it myself. Therefore wrong things will stay wrong. This is really bad.

There are many reproaches that can be made. But "being a wordlist", I don't think is one of them. Of course, opinions vary. If you learn a language which you already know partially, than it may look very easy to you (and "wordlist-ish").

But after you select your course, learning is more fun than on Duolingo. After you spend some time there, you "learn" the people and avoid idiots who make courses just because they have nothing else to do. The courses done by Memrise itself (there is a user called Memrise, yes), inlcuding languages courses, those are good. All of them have 7 levels, and it may be that the first level looks like "words learning", but that is also the shortest. Finish it faster and go to higher levels. When I started, i "felt" that the first level was too simple, and I considered that I can do more, so I started levels 2 and 3 in parallel, which was a BIG mistake. I had to give up level 3 in the middle (and the continuity credits with it) to be able to concentrate better on level 2. Still struggling at level 3 currently.

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2016-08-31 at 08:24 Reason: s/my/by/
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Old 2016-08-31, 08:25   #76
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Maybe it was the couses I previously chose on Memrise. I just now looked at the German level one course by Memrise themselves and the second entry already was a phrase. I'm sorry that I've kept calling their courses word lists. I swear that all the courses I selected previously really felt like word lists
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Old 2016-08-31, 13:41   #77
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