I find it much easier to understand someone speaking about food, linguistics, politics, history, religion, golf, programming, or even, say, zoology, in a language that i never studied, than to understand a dancing instructor in a language in which i am fluent.
Archive for the 'linguistics' Category
Google Translate sucks for many reasons. One of them is that it usually translates the English word “you” as plural, even though it is often singular. So what am i supposed to do when i’m too lazy to write an email in French or Portuguese by myself and ask Google Translate to help me?
Solution: use “thou”, “thee”, “thy” and “thine”! It actually works.
Dear English-speaking friends! Do you use the word “relations” as a synonym of “relationship”, in the sense of “everything that goes between a romantically-involved couple”? Thanks in advance.
I dreamt about the syntagmatic axis.
How do you look up words in a Hebrew dictionary?
For this post i would like to get as many comments as possible. If you are more comfortable reading or writing in Russian or in Hebrew, please see:
- The same post in Russian: Как вы ищете слова в словарях иврита?
- The same post in Hebrew: איך אתם מחפשים מילים במילון עברי?
What is difficult for you?
Is it difficult to find the root of the word? (This is relevant mostly for verbs, but in some dictionaries also for nouns.) How do you prefer to search for verbs – by the root, by the infinitive, by the past (perfect) tense, by the present (participle) tense?
Is it hard for you to separate the prefixes (conjunctions, prepositions) and the suffixes (tense, possession)?
Do you have any trouble reading Hebrew with or without vowel points (niqqud)? Do you need transcription in easy-to-read Latin characters or in IPA?
Do you understand abbreviations such as vt, n.pr.m., adv., impv., זו”נ, פעו”י, מ”ג, נ”ר? Do you notice them at all? Do they bother you in any way?
Do you remember any words that were particularly hard to find? Words or expressions, in order to find which you had to open several dictionaries? Words that you couldn’t find at all, anywhere?
Do you have any particular problems with the usage of the letters א, ו, י for vowels? If you can’t find the word תוכנה, do you know that you should try searching for תכנה? Is there a dictionary that you prefer, because it has a system for the usage of these letters that you like?
Do you have a preferred dictionary in general or a dictionary that you don’t like? Why? I am talking about mono- and bi-lingual ones, and about printed and electronic: Even-Shoshan, Ben-Yehuda, Gur, Ariel, BDB, Rav-Millim, Alkalai, Sapir, Ha-hove, Morfix etc.
These questions may seem a bit generic, but i am curious mostly about the aspect of using the dictionary and not general language difficulties.
Please write whatever comes to your mind, even if you think that it is embarrassing or too simple. Feel free to answer anonymously or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many, many thanks in advance.
Google’s PR people Mtmihim me.
Every few days, Google tells the world about the wonderful free translation tools it offers, but the problem is that they completely Mafnim, because they can not translate one sentence correctly between each pair of languages.
Why do they think the public will buy the lie that stupid?
The above was automatically translated from Hebrew. What i actually meant to write was this:
I’m puzzled by Google’s public relations people.
Every couple of days Google tells the world about the wonderful and free translation tools that it offers, but the problem is that they completely suck, as they aren’t able to translate a single sentence correctly between any pair of languages.
Why do they think that the public will buy this stupid lie?
And i’ve got to admit that this particular translation is not that terrible, but i already made the original somewhat synthetic. Any real world translation is completely useless.
I saw a Hebrew speaker typing the word “mistypiping” in an email. She meant to type “mistyping”. Unintended contextual humor.
I told her that “typo” is the usual English word. “Mistyping” exists: it appears in Merriam-Webster’s list of words with the mis- prefix and Oxford English Dictionary says that it exists since 1977. But it is obviously rare.
She eventually wrote “typo”, but wasn’t too happy about it. She said that it’s the first time that she sees the word “typo”, and it would be much harder for her to understand it if she received it in an email.
If you love Esperanto, you must be really happy now to be reading this, as this is exactly how Esperanto works, or at least supposed to work: as few roots as possible and as much regularity in prefixes and suffixes as possible.
“The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions.” (Paul JJ Payack, GLM.)
In most Hebrew language courses a significant majority of students are female. The only exception is the course “Medieval Hebrew: Piyyut and Spanish Poetry”, which has 70% of male students. Calling this course “the hardest” wouldn’t be very objective, but it is safe to say that the Even-Shoshan Dictionary is not very useful for understanding the texts that we read there.
In Linguistics courses i took the ratio of male-to-female students was pretty much even. The same goes for “Spanish for beginners”.
However, in the “Advanced Portuguese” course all students are male.
My number one favorite dictionary of all time is Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate. I often read it for fun. I don’t think that there is a single page in it that i have never opened. Its consistency is uncompromising. Its completeness and attention to detail are remarkable. Its definitions are so precise, that you could take nearly any word in an English text, replace it with the definition from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, and the meaning of the text would remain virtually intact.
But! Apparently i didn’t know how to pronounce the word “Collegiate” correctly. I though that it’s \ˈkä-lē-jət\, like “college” – \ˈkä-lij\. Apparently it’s \kə-ˈlē-jət\.
(N.B. In this entry i used M-W’s own pronunciation symbols and not IPA.)