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  • hardie karges 11:33 pm on May 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brazil, Dilma, Portuguese, SNL   

    Note to SNL: Know your language(s)! 

    Hey, I love Saturday Night Live, but I expect them to do their homework, if they want to play en Las Grandes Ligas.  CNN does, BBC does, as does Al-J (no comment on Fox).  So here’s a quick lesson on Brazilian Portuguese: ‘D’ followed by ‘I’ is pronounced like ‘J’.  Got it?  So ‘Dilma’ is pronounced like ‘Jilma’, Maya Rudolph’s comely affectations notwithstanding.  And if you want to get into it further, then that ‘L’ is pretty much chewed up and swallowed whole, so more like a ‘W’, okay?  Think ‘Jiwma’.  Like when the taxi driver in Manaos repeated after I booked him to the Hotel Continental: “Continentowww… Are we good now?  Party on, dudes. Now you’re ready for prime time…

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  • hardie karges 3:25 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: psycholinguistics, Thai language,   

    Thai Language/ภาษาไทย 

    IMG_1438Thailand enters the modern world with multiple role models, as the cultural DNA of language readily shows, not-so-parfait with American English on top as the current business-role model.  Below that is Indian Sanskrit in its own and Khmerized forms as the religious and pre-modern model, analogous to the French/Latin influence in English.  Deeper still is the Chinese and Thai tribal past, the racial and linguistic underpinnings of the entire race, overlaid on a Mon pre-history, similar to the Anglo-Saxon and later Danish incursions on a Celtic sub-strata.

    Somehow it all gets mixed and mashed into a fairly uniform system of pronunciation that is recognizably Thai regardless of the origin.  For a modern newcomer to the stew, sometimes the hardest part of learning the language is learning how to correctly mispronounce English.  I wonder if Indians feel the same way about the manipulation of Sanskrit into forms unrecognizable.  I’m sure that French feel the same way about English, but that probably says more about them than language considering what they themselves did to Latin.  I know it’s hard to learn the language of a people that you don’t especially like.  That’s for sure.  It’s also hard to learn the language of a people who refuse to speak it back to you–Psycholinguistics 101…

     
    • davekingsbury 7:28 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good for us English speakers to learn other languages, so easy just to rely on English everywhere!

      • hardie karges 9:05 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Too easy: …”but they’re supposed to be learning English”… haha

  • hardie karges 7:53 pm on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Ensalada lengua, tom yam bahasa… 

    001

    Grand bizarre in Istanbul…

    If there’s anything more annoying than gringos speaking incorrect Spanish, it’s—wait for it—Spanish-speakers speaking incorrect Spanish, for the presumed benefit of non-Spanish speakers, creating a mindless muck of incomprehensibility that is more annoying than anything else, as if I would never know what country was being talked about unless the Spanish-speaker said ‘Your-a-guey’ instead of ‘Oo-roo-guai’, which is the correct way, for Uruguay, or ‘Pair-a-guey’ instead of ‘Pah-rah-guai’, as actually happened once, from a Spanish-as-a-second-language speaker before she knew that I could speak Spanish, too.

    Actually I’m not sure if she ever acknowledged that I could speak Spanish as good or better than she, even though she had actually lived there a long time, and I never really did. That’s all too often the problem, of course, dueling with dual languages for supremacy and the upper hand at whatever dignity might be at stake. And it’s justified, too, in that anybody should have the right and encouragement to speak the language of whatever country he happens to be in.

    Thailand is the worst, though, only grudgingly relenting to speak the native tongue with a farang unless he can physically pass as a brown-eyed black-haired Asian or similar half-breed luuk kreung, insisting almost to the death that any English they speak will be better than any Thai you can speak. The books tell them that. The problem with such a mish-mash of languages is that when you can’t understand something, then you don’t even know what language it is you can’t understand! One must persevere…

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 12:00 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting. I don’t pretend to speak Spanish at all, even though it was a minor in college.

      Esther

    • hardie karges 12:03 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s the other side of the conundrum, of course, that studying and speaking are entirely different, takes a combination of the two…

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