Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 1 of 52

Yes, week one. It's the middle of October. The Jewish New Year was some weeks ago, the Pagan New Year will be in a couple of weeks, and I decided to start my challenge NOW.

The language of this week is not Estonian, but Albanian. Absolutely fascinating language...

Now, I know a lot of people hate the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), because it's like learning foreign letters, like Cyrillic or something. I recommend you learn it anyway, because it really works. Perhaps I'm "spoiled" by the fact that all Finnish foreign language school books use it, so I kind of learned it by practice and not by studying it.
You can use Benny's ideas on how to learn it.

I also strongly recommend you start learning a foreign language by learning the alphabet. In most languages the letters actually stand for a sound. English is so f'd up in that sense, you might not believe it actually helps A LOT to know the alphabet.

Here's the Albanian alphabet.

I think this is one of the better videos.The background music, I think, is the Kosovon national hymn.The poem in the end is:
dhe atij ju thaftë dora
qu përbuz ktë gjuhë hyjnore,
gë n' gjuhë të huaj
kur s'është nevoja flet.
E tijen lë pas dore
- Gjergj Fishta
And I have no idea what it means... or I do have an idea, but that's about it. Something about the divine language, Albanian, and about people speaking foreign languages... and I suppose it's some sort of warning, voeing or cursing... Something.

THis is even better: Viola :-D Parts I (a-gj), II (h-q) and III (r-zh)

Not only does she repeat the letter, but she gives several examples in Albanian where there letter has been used.
funny things
Hëna the moon is pronounced exactly like höna the chicken in Swedish

Helmi the poison, it is the exact Finnish word helmi the pearl...

Kali the horse - Kali the Black of sanskrit - kali the woman in Georgian - see Kali riding a black horse from India to Albania through Georgia. She's riding naked, like lady Godiva, covered with her long, black hair... that's not much of a cover though. So she might be cold. In Finnish, we say "kali-kali" when we are cold, onomatopoeic expression describing the teeth chattering. "cliclicli..." Kalikali. :-D
(And now you have learned two new words in Greek too. I love the o-no-ma-to-po... :-D
ὄνομα - onoma means name and ποιέω poieo "I make".
Examples of this are ticking, meowing and - chattering :-D

ishulli - the island
In one episode of "come dine with me" someone was serving îles flottantes as dessert, and someone asked "floating islands? Which word means island? Flottandes?" LOL

shaj - to blame, pronounced like shy

shaka - joke. Chaka Khan shaking of laughter.

ujku - the wolf - sounds like "uiku"... 'uikuttaa' is to whimper, it's onomatopoetic "ou-y, ou-y". 'uida' is to swim. 'susi ui' is 'wolf swims'.

ylli - the star - 'yllä' in Finnish is 'above'. 'ylle' is Swedish and means wool. (there's a Finnish saying "villaa ylle" - wool to wear, sort of, hard to translate. Yllä, ylle, yli, ylin are related; over, above, the outer layer, top most... I suppose "yllä" is some sort of form of "ylhäällä" - above... Then we have 'yllin kyllin' - plenty. 'kyllin' is 'enough', so "yllin kyllin" is "more than enough, over the top" :-D

Nevertheless, repeat the alphabet after him as many times as you need to get it right. It might help if you recorded that on MP3 player so that you can listen and repeat the alphabet to yourself as you do other things, like walk the dog or do the dishes. Also, fit it into an easy song and sing it as the English alphabet song.
Yes, there's 36 of them, so what? Most of the "extra" are repetition. C - Ç, L - LL, N - NJ, R - RR and so on.

I really like Steve Singleton's approach with Greek alphabet. He has made three videos; sound, slow version and fast version. I have actually walked around singing "alpha, beta, gamma, delta..."
Adjust to the Albanian alphabet.

For exampl, learning the Albanian alphabet sounds in a song:

I suggest you "transliterate" the sounds, and write this down in a way that is easy for you to read correctly. I don't know what works for you, for me it's this:
 but I'm Finnish, I know some Welsh and if I knew where the phonetic letters are on my keyboard, I'd use them in the last line. Dzödzh-yzözh just doesn't quite express it :-D

Then in the evening of the first day, I suggest you learn the numbers. Albanian counting is very easy.
5 pesë 10 dhjetë 15 pesë-mbë-dhjetë (mbë means 'over') 50 pesë-dhjetë

Pronouncing the numbers is not easy.

0 - zero
1 - një
2 - dy
3 - tre
4 - katër
5 - pesë
6 - gjashtë
7 - shtatë
8 - tetë
9 - nëntë
10 - dhjetë
11 - njëmbëdhjetë
12 - dymbëdhjetë
13 - trembëdhjetë
14 - katërmbëdhjetë
15 - pesëmbëdhjetë
16 - gjashtëmbëdhjetë
17 - shtatëmbëdhjetë
18 - tetëmbëdhjetë
19 - nëntëmbëdhjetë
20 - njëzet
21 - njëzet e një
22 - njëzet e dy
23 - njëzet e tre
30 - treidhjetë
40 - dyzet
50 - pesëdhjetë
60 - gjashtëdhjet
70 - sthatëdhjetë
80 - tetëdhjetë
90 - nëntëdhjetë
100 - njëqind
101 - njëqindenjë
102 - njëqindedy
200 - dyqind
300 - treqind
1000 - njëmijë
1,001 - njëmijenjë
2,000 - dymijë
1,000,000 - milion

Here's Viola counting from 1 to 20, and then in tens to hundred. I love Viola :-D
You might need to have a list of the names of the numbers in front of you, because in the video the names come a bit too late :-)

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