Talk in a language you don't know

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Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Sun 15 Jul 2012 2:04 am

Hi everyone. Recently I came up with the idea of having a thread where we all tried to post in a language we didn't know very well. You have to know at least one sentence in it and the translation. If you think this is a stupid idea, feel free to tell me. Anyway, there are two languages I don't know more of than a few sentences (Welsh and Japanese) so I'm going to string together what little I know of each of them and not make any sense. :P
Welsh:
Bore da, blant! Bore da, y Ddraig Goch! Dw i'n dy garu, 'nghariad. Haws dweud mynydd na mynd drosto.
(Translation: Good morning, children! Good morning, the Red Dragon! I love you, dearest. It's easier to say mountain than to cross over it.)
Japanese:
Zassi desu ka? Ee, zassi desu.
(Translation: Is that a magazine? Yes, that's a magazine.)
I'm looking forward to the replies! :) A possible purpose of this thread would be to learn a language that we didn't know that well, I suppose. That's my goal with this.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Sun 15 Jul 2012 5:00 pm

Tikolm wrote:Zassi desu ka? Ee, zassi desu.

:oops: I was really embarrassed when I remembered that I had only given the transliteration of this. Unfortunately, I don't know hiragana, katakana or kanji, so I couldn't have given anything else anyway (unless I used a translator program or something, and who knows how far that would get me). Anyway, this means that I'll only be posting here in English and Welsh because they use the Latin alphabet. :roll:
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby gnunix » Sun 15 Jul 2012 10:10 pm

今、大学で日本語を勉強します。とてもきれいな言語だと思います。話せたら、日本語で書いてください。
ima, daigakude nihongowo, benkyousimasu, totemo kireina gengodato omoimasu. hanasetara, nihongode kaitekudasai.
I'm learning Japanese at university at the moment. I think it's a beautiful language. If you can speak it, please write in Japanese.

지금, 한국어도 공부해요. 조금 밖에 못 해요. 그래서 여기에서 한국어랑 써요.
jigeum, hangugeodo gongbuhaeyo. jogeum bakke mot haeyo. geuraeseo yeogieseo hangugeorang sseoyo.
I'm also learning Korean at the moment. I can only say a little bit. Therefore I'll write here in Korean.

And if you also want to hear a language I know near to nothing in:
Gudai, ik het David, un wene uun Trier.
Hello, my name is David and I live in Trier. (Fering)
(Hope I got that right)

I think this thread is an interesting idea. Let's see how it evolves.
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Studying: 한국어, Fering, русский
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Mon 16 Jul 2012 5:34 pm

Bore da. (Good morning. It's not really morning anymore where I am, though.)
gnunix wrote:今、大学で日本語を勉強します。とてもきれいな言語だと思います。話せたら、日本語で書いてください。
ima, daigakude nihongowo, benkyousimasu, totemo kireina gengodato omoimasu. hanasetara, nihongode kaitekudasai.
I'm learning Japanese at university at the moment. I think it's a beautiful language. If you can speak it, please write in Japanese.

I can't, sorry. I would write in Japanese some more if I could, though! :)
지금, 한국어도 공부해요. 조금 밖에 못 해요. 그래서 여기에서 한국어랑 써요.
jigeum, hangugeodo gongbuhaeyo. jogeum bakke mot haeyo. geuraeseo yeogieseo hangugeorang sseoyo.
I'm also learning Korean at the moment. I can only say a little bit. Therefore I'll write here in Korean.

Sounds good to me. :)
And if you also want to hear a language I know near to nothing in:
Gudai, ik het David, un wene uun Trier.
Hello, my name is David and I live in Trier. (Fering)
(Hope I got that right)

Looks okay to me, but unfortunately I know exactly nothing in Fering and can't correct it. (I can only sort of understand it because it's Germanic-looking.)
I think this thread is an interesting idea. Let's see how it evolves.

I'm glad you like it! :D
Just so everyone knows, yesterday I finished parsing "Haws dweud mynydd na mynd drosto" (it's easier to say mountain than to go over it) and I'm reasonably confident that I know how it maps into English. Here's what I put together:
--
Haws dweud mynydd na mynd drosto.
Easier to say mountain than to go over it.
--
(Totally irrelevant, as usual. :P)

Edit: Just found out Google Translate (what I'm using to sort of learn Welsh :roll:) doesn't think "haws dweud mynydd na mynd drosto" is the real translation of "easier to say mountain than to go over it" -- it said it was "haws dweud na mynydd i fynd drosto". Now I'm all confused. If Google Translate is right (which it probably isn't), then the way I had the original sentence glossed makes very little sense.
Edit, again: Please ignore everything I said. I have obviously not gotten all of this right. I will be back sometime with a more sensible color gloss.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby linguoboy » Mon 16 Jul 2012 6:41 pm

Tikolm wrote:Haws dweud mynydd na mynd drosto.
Easier to say mountain than to go over it.

In the verb-noun dweud, the final -d is part of the stem. (Cf. dweuda "I will say".) In mynd, the final -d could be considered a verb-noun forming suffix (the verb noun was historically spelled myned), but this is moot because the conjugation of mynd is so irregular that a root form of *myn- never appears.

Either way, it's a mistake to gloss a verb-noun suffix with to because verb-nouns aren't used the same way as English long-form infinitives. (Cf. Rw i'n mynd dros y mynydd "I'm going over the mountain".)

Tikolm wrote:Edit: Just found out Google Translate (what I'm using to sort of learn Welsh :roll:)

Try using Catchphrase instead.

Tikolm wrote:it said it was "haws dweud na mynydd i fynd drosto". Now I'm all confused. If Google Translate is right (which it probably isn't), then the way I had the original sentence glossed makes very little sense.

It's the Google Translate version that makes very little sense. It reads "Easier to say than mountain to go over it." I can't come up with a comprehensible interpretation of that.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Mon 16 Jul 2012 10:24 pm

Thanks for posting all that, Linguoboy. Your post is very helpful and informative. :)
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Tue 17 Jul 2012 6:56 pm

Well, if anyone wants to know, I just got through proving how little Google Translate seems to know about Welsh. Here are a couple of sentences (feel free to correct me or to say "Why don't you just learn Welsh for real already"):
Haws dweud na chathod i fynd oddi tanynt.
Easier to say cats than to go under them. (By the way, this sentence [in English] always makes me laugh. :lol:)

Mae'r gath yn cysgu braster ar y mat.
The fat cat was sleeping on the mat.
(Brace yourselves, I'm going to -- horrors -- tell you how I think these sentences should be written.) As Linguoboy said, the way Google translates "Easier to ... than to ..." sentences makes no sense at all. The issue with the second sentence, however, seems to be the word order, which looks really wrong to me. From what I've heard, Welsh is VSO, but Google is quite convinced that it should be SVO. I also don't see how "... the cat was sleeping fat ..." makes any sense. I suppose it could have been "the cat was sleeping fatly", but that doesn't explain the fact that, when you pluralize cath, braster and yn cysgu switch places.
And just so I don't end up offending anyone, I'm not going to post anything more here until I've (a) decided to learn Welsh seriously, (b) decided to learn Japanese seriously, (c) a and b, or (d) figure out at least enough to put together something sensible in the aforementioned languages without a translator.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby linguoboy » Tue 17 Jul 2012 9:44 pm

Tikolm wrote:Mae'r gath yn cysgu braster ar y mat.
The fat cat was sleeping on the mat.
(Brace yourselves, I'm going to -- horrors -- tell you how I think these sentences should be written.) As Linguoboy said, the way Google translates "Easier to ... than to ..." sentences makes no sense at all. The issue with the second sentence, however, seems to be the word order, which looks really wrong to me. From what I've heard, Welsh is VSO, but Google is quite convinced that it should be SVO.

How do you mean? I don't get SVO sentences when I use Google Translate for Welsh, I get VSO. (The [correct] SVO version of that sentence would be Y gath dew sy'n cysgu ar y mat.)

It's important to keep in mind that Welsh only defaults to VSO. That means that this is the least marked word order, but it's not the only grammatical possibility. In fact, other variations are pretty common, especially in informal speech. Any element in the sentence can be fronted (moved to the front) for purposes of emphasis, and this is much more common in Welsh than it is in most varieties of English.

Tikolm wrote:I also don't see how "... the cat was sleeping fat ..." makes any sense. I suppose it could have been "the cat was sleeping fatly", but that doesn't explain the fact that, when you pluralize cath, braster and yn cysgu switch places.

The problems may be related to the fact that GT has chosen the wrong word to translate "fat". Braster is a noun (e.g. brasterau dirlawn "saturated fats"); for the adjective, you want tew. The ordering in Mae'r gath yn cysgu braster ar y mat would make sense if braster were a direct object and cysgu a transitive verb. (Cf. Mae'r gath yn bwyta braster ar y mat "The cat is eating fat on the mat.") It wouldn't work as an adverb even if it were the right word because Welsh adverbs of manner require the link particle yn, e.g. Mae'r gath yn cysgu yn dawel ar y mat "The cat is sleeping peacefully on the mat."

The switcheroo in the plural is particularly odd. Mae'r cathod braster yn cysgu ar y mat is grammatical, it just doesn't mean the same thing as you intended. Cathod braster would be "fat cats" in the sense of "cats of fat", as they were closely associated with lard or something.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby Tikolm » Thu 26 Jul 2012 3:08 pm

linguoboy wrote:How do you mean? I don't get SVO sentences when I use Google Translate for Welsh, I get VSO.

What I mean is that something that seems to be the verb is in the middle, something that looks an awful lot like the subject is at the beginning, and whatever's left over is at the end. I'd like to know why Google Translate is behaving differently for you from how it is for me.
It's important to keep in mind that Welsh only defaults to VSO. That means that this is the least marked word order, but it's not the only grammatical possibility. In fact, other variations are pretty common, especially in informal speech. Any element in the sentence can be fronted (moved to the front) for purposes of emphasis, and this is much more common in Welsh than it is in most varieties of English.

I see. So are you saying that Google Translate is trying to emphasize the cats because it's speaking informally? In any case, it likes SVO better than VSO. You can't easily explain that away.
The problems may be related to the fact that GT has chosen the wrong word to translate "fat". Braster is a noun (e.g. brasterau dirlawn "saturated fats"); for the adjective, you want tew. The ordering in Mae'r gath yn cysgu braster ar y mat would make sense if braster were a direct object and cysgu a transitive verb. (Cf. Mae'r gath yn bwyta braster ar y mat "The cat is eating fat on the mat.") It wouldn't work as an adverb even if it were the right word because Welsh adverbs of manner require the link particle yn, e.g. Mae'r gath yn cysgu yn dawel ar y mat "The cat is sleeping peacefully on the mat."

It seems to be the joy of GT to use a word that has the wrong part of speech.
The switcheroo in the plural is particularly odd. Mae'r cathod braster yn cysgu ar y mat is grammatical, it just doesn't mean the same thing as you intended.

Hey, you're forgetting that GT is doing all the heavy lifting! You're referring to what it intended. :P
Cathod braster would be "fat cats" in the sense of "cats of fat", as they were closely associated with lard or something.

You mean cats that belonged to fat? I think that's what you're after here, because you're making it sound like a genitive construction.
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Re: Talk in a language you don't know

Postby linguoboy » Thu 26 Jul 2012 6:10 pm

Tikolm wrote:
linguoboy wrote:How do you mean? I don't get SVO sentences when I use Google Translate for Welsh, I get VSO.

What I mean is that something that seems to be the verb is in the middle, something that looks an awful lot like the subject is at the beginning, and whatever's left over is at the end. I'd like to know why Google Translate is behaving differently for you from how it is for me.

Is it? It looks like we got the same sentences. They all begin with mae which is the only verb in the sentence. (Don't let cysgu fool you; verb-nouns are not verbs.)

I know that Google searches work differently depending on where you are. It wouldn't surprise me greatly to find that GT's results are location-dependent as well. They also seem to change over time, whether based on the translations people are requesting or something else.

Tikolm wrote:I see. So are you saying that Google Translate is trying to emphasize the cats because it's speaking informally? In any case, it likes SVO better than VSO. You can't easily explain that away.

I still don't see any evidence that it does in fact prefer SVO. Can you give me some examples?

Tikolm wrote:It seems to be the joy of GT to use a word that has the wrong part of speech.

This is one of the reasons why I consider it not to be trusted.

Tikolm wrote:
Cathod braster would be "fat cats" in the sense of "cats of fat", as they were closely associated with lard or something.

You mean cats that belonged to fat? I think that's what you're after here, because you're making it sound like a genitive construction.

It is. When you put two nouns together like that in Welsh, it will be read as a possessed-possessor relationship (or, more generally, a modified-modifier relationship), e.g. cathod Tikolm "Tikolm's cats". There's no special marking for the genitive construction in Welsh. It's all handled with word order.
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