Saturday, October 31, 2015

Portuguese alphabet and pronunciation

Go to Omniglot page about Portuguese alphabet

my notes:
- the b and d are very, very, very soft, like a feather... the same with all the other consonants... I don't think any other language offers as much variation in the pronunciation as Portuguese.
- e is often [i], and disappears in the end of the word. In "bem"... it's almost Danish "ej". O is [u] and ou is [o] :-D
- some vowels sound like the Swedish ones - one must be very careful with the vowel sounds to get them right. Sometimes vowels are not pronounced, the bindings are interesting etc. There probably are rules, but I don't know them yet, so I need to struggle with them.
- m is sometimes almost n or ng
- r can be anything from the almost French r to the... er... there is a Swedish dialect that pronounces the R the Portuguese way, with a lot of roll and a bit of rock :-D (And every now and then there's a hint of L in the R, too...  Here's quite a good example. The rock-and-roll R is about 1:50 when she sings "Rolar no meio de tanta riqueza"

Tu achas que eu sou uma selvagem
E conheces o mundo
Mas eu não posso crer
Não posso acreditar
Que selvagem possa ser
Se tu é que não vês em teu redor (teu redor)

Tu pensas que esta terra te pertence
Que o mundo é um ser morto mas vais ver
Que cada pedra, planta ou criatura
Está viva e tem alma, é um ser

Tu dás valor apenas às pessoas
Que acham como tu sem se opôr
Mas segue as pegadas de um estranho
E terás mil surpresas de esplendor

Já ouviste o lobo a uivar sob a lua azul
Ou porque ri o lince com desdém
Sabes vir cantar com as vozes da montanha
E pintar com quantas cores o vento tem
E pintar com quantas cores o vento tem

Vem descobrir os trilhos da floresta
Provar a doce amora e o seu sabor
Rolar no meio de tanta riqueza
E não querer indagar o seu valor

Sou a irmã do rio e do vento
A garça, a lontra são iguais a mim
Vivemos tão ligados uns aos outros
Neste arco, neste círculo sem fim

Que altura a árvore tem
Se a derrubares não sabe ninguém

Nunca ouvirás o lobo sobre a lua azul
O que é que importa a cor da pele de alguém
Temos que cantar com as vozes da montanha
E pintar com quantas cores o vento tem
Mas tu só vais conseguir
Esta terra possuir
Se a pintares com quantas cores o vento tem

Friday, October 30, 2015

Silêncio e tanta gente...

One of the most beautiful Eurovision song contest songs EVER. It got 38 points and become #11.
On the other hand, Italian Il treni di Tozeur competed the same year and didn't win. 8-o
Sweden won with "Diggiloo, Diggilei".

Europeans are stupid.

Às vezes é no meio do silêncio
Que descubro o amor em teu olhar
É uma pedra
Ou um grito
Que nasce em qualquer lugar

Às vezes é no meio de tanta gente
Que descubro afinal aquilo que sou
Sou um grito
Ou sou uma pedra
De um lugar onde não estou

Às vezes sou também
O tempo que tarda em passar
E aquilo em que ninguém quer acreditar

Às vezes sou também
Um sim alegre
Ou um triste não
E troco a minha vida por um dia de ilusão
E troco a minha vida por um dia de ilusão

Às vezes é no meio do silêncio
Que descubro as palavras por dizer
É uma pedra
Ou um grito
De um amor por acontecer

Às vezes é no meio de tanta gente
Que descubro afinal p'ra onde vou
E esta pedra
E este grito
São a história d'aquilo que sou 


Even when there is nothing left but silence
I often see the loving in your eyes
Sometimes happy, sometime tearful
Never tiring, full of life

I see the same among so many people
Their silence helps me understand
Sometimes happy, sometimes tearful
Making me what I am

I'm living in a time that slowly goes by
I need to feel alive, but I don't know why
And sometimes in my mind, I never know when to laugh or cry
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream

Even when there is nothing left but silence
I always seem to find the words to say
Sometimes happy, sometime tearful
No two words can mean the same

I hear what's said among so many people
Their silence can be heard in many ways
Sometimes happy, sometimes tearful
Every story is here to stay

I'm living in a time that slowly goes by
I need to feel alive, but I don't know why
And sometimes in my mind, I never know when to laugh or cry
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream

I'm living in a time that slowly goes by
I need to feel alive, but I don't know why
And sometimes in my mind, I never know when to laugh or cry
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream
Now and then I feel as if I'm living in a dream

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Portuguese

I want to learn Portuguese. I think it is one of the most beautiful languages of the world, I love how it sounds. :-)

But I want to learn the European Portuguese. Not the Brazilian one. It is because I'm European and my focus is in the European languages, not in "what is the most useful language" or "how will I be understood by the most people of the world".

The problem is that most resources of learning a language on-line are for Brazilian Portuguese.
I know it's basically the same language, but... I want to learn the European Spanish, too, and not the American Spanish. I assume the difference is about the same.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Castilian

Spanish is the world's second biggest native language and #4 in most spoken languages. There's almost half a billion people who speak Spanish as their native language.

Spanish is a Romance language. Its closest (bigger) relatives are Portuguese and Italian. It's relatively possible for a Spanish speaker to understand some Portuguese and Italian, at least in written form.
French is also a Romance language, but it's very different from Spanish. Interestingly enough it's easier for French speakers to understand Spanish than for Spanish speakers to understand French.
The relation is a bit like with Danish and Swedish. Danes and Norwegians understand both, but Swedish people find it hard to understand Danish.

As with Portuguese, I want to learn the European version of this language. Now, my Spanish speaking friend speaks Chilean Spanish, but the language itself is the same. Sort of. It's like with any language that has a European and an American version.
Also, as with Portuguese, the European version is a bit hard to find. There's a lot of information about Spanish, but most of it is in American Spanish. After all, some 80% of Spanish speakers live in Americas. :-D

There are some slight differences in the alphabet. I think the European Spanish is softer and just nicer. If I have understood it correctly, the rest of the world think it's too soft.

Here's the numbers

It's really easy to find the frequency lists, Spanish radio and music, Spanish tv shows and movies, and Spanish texts of all kinds online, so the world is your oyster there.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Romanian

"The spirit of linguistic discovery spurred me on and led me next to learn Romanian. To this day, I find Romanian very fetching. It has more of a country flavor than French and is more “manly” than Italian and more interesting than Spanish, due to its Slavic loanwords."
- Kató Lomb

Romanian is a Romance language spoken by around 24 million people as a native language, primarily in Romania and Moldova, and by another 4 million people as a second language.

Romanian is a part of the Balkan-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin separated from the Western Romance during the 5th-8th centuries. To distinguish it within that group in comparative linguistics it is called Daco-Romanian as opposed to its closest relatives, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian, respectively.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Italian

Italian, I discovered, was Latin with all the difficulty removed. Much as a skilled chef fillets the whole skeleton out of a fish, some friendly folks somewhere had lifted all that grammar (at least, most of it) out of Latin and called the remainder Italian!
There was no nominative-genitive-dative-accusative in Italian. Not a trace, except in a few pronouns which I knew I could easily take prisoner because we had the same thing in English (me is the accusative of I). Italian verbs did misbehave a little, but not to the psychedelic extent of Latin verbs. And Italian verbs were a lot easier to look at.

- Barry Farber; How to Learn Any Language

Italian is a Romance language.
It is the second-closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary, after Sardinian.
Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and Istria (in Slovenia and Croatia) and used to have official status in Albania, Malta, and Monaco, all countries where it is still widely spoken, and in former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, regions where it plays a significant role in various sectors.
Italian is spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and by small minorities in areas such as Crimea, Corsica and Montenegro.
Many speakers are native bilinguals of both standardised Italian and other regional languages.

The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on Tuscan, which beforehand was a language spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Latin

"When you’ve pumped heavy iron, lifting a salad fork seems easy. When you’re thrown into a grammar as complex as Latin’s at the age of fourteen, just about any other language seems easy. I never quit thanking Spanish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Romanian and Yiddish just for not being Latin."
- Barry Farber: How to Learn Any Language

Sounds like a language designed for me!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sign language - teckenspråk - viittomakieli

American Sign Language alphabet

Swedish Sign Language alphabet

Finnish Sign Language alphabet

French sign language alphabet

Isn't it interesting that they don't have even an agreed alphabet in all the countries?
This alone is enough to tell one that if you know a sign language, you know one sign language,
and need to update your signs for all the other languages.
Such a pity they didn't think about that before they started creating these different languages.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian and Montenegrin alphabet

These are the letters Serbocroatian was written during the Ottoman empire

It is not being used anymore, but I like it.

 These are the Bosnian Latin and Cyrillic letters.
Croatian and Serbian Latin alphabet looks the same.

Serbian Cyrillic alphabet has different order from the Bosnian one, and this has also the cursive.

Montenegrin adds one extra Z

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Serbo-Croatian

 "By Wednesday I was attending sessions of a spirited Tito propaganda fiesta called the Zagreb Peace Conference and enjoying my first immersion in a language the mere mention of which impresses people even more than Chinese: Serbo-Croatian!
To my delight, I understood entire phrases from it from my university Russian. I became aware of “families” of foreign languages, something that doesn’t occur automatically to Americans because English doesn’t resemble its cousins very closely. It’s something of a black sheep in the Germanic language family. They say the closest language to English is Dutch. Dutch is about as close to English as Betelgeuse is to Baltimore!
I’d noticed the summer before that Norwegian is usefully close to Swedish and Danish. Serbo-Croatian sounded to me like a jazzier, more “fun” kind of Russian. They use the Roman alphabet in western Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Slovenia, and in Serbia to the east they use the Cyrillic alphabet, with even more interesting letters in it than Russian uses.
Some of the mystique I’d always imputed to multilingual people began to fade. If you meet somebody who speaks, say, ten languages, your instinct is to be impressed to the tune of ten languages worth. If, however, you later learn that six of those languages are Russian, Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian, Polish and Ukrianian – I’m not suggesting that you dismiss him as illiterate, but you ought to be aware that he got six of those languages for the price of about two and three fourths! They’re all members of the Slavic family.
The Yugoslav university students, my hosts, sent me back home aboard a Yugoslav ship, leaving me sixteen days with nothing to do but practice Serbo-Croatian with the other passengers."

- Barry Farber; How to Learn Any Language

(I am a native Finnish speaker. English is as close to Dutch as French is to Spanish. I would say Estonian is "nothing like" Finnish, but I know I'm wrong about that :-D You can't estimate the likeness of your mothertongue to all the other languages. Nothing is alike to the language into which you grew.)

Until the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin were treated as a unitary Serbo-Croatian language. Nevertheless, ssing this name of this (these) languages today is controversial for the speakers of Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin, so other paraphrases such as "Serbo-Croato-Bosnian" (SCB) or "Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian" (BCS) or even "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles, and the national standards are treated as different languages inspite of the the common base (vocabulary, grammar and syntax).
Here's a great article about the Serbo-Croatian language issue talking about the differences which exist, even when to foreigners they might be ignorable... so far. Perhaps in a lifetime these languages will be different.

Bosnian is the standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian mainly used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian, and also an officially recognized minority or regional language in Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Kosovo.

Bosnian uses both Latin and Cyrillic alphabet, with Latin in everyday use. It is notable among the varieties of Serbo-Croatian for a number of Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian loanwords, largely due to the language's interaction with those cultures through Islamic ties.

Bosnian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian.

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a recognized minority language in Serbia, and neighbouring countries.

Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian. In the mid-18th century, the first attempts to provide a Croatian literary standard began on the basis of the Neo-Shtokavian dialect that served as a supraregional lingua franca pushing back regional Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian vernaculars. The decisive role was played by Croatian Vukovians, who cemented the usage of Ijekavian Neo-Shtokavian as the literary standard in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, as well as designed a phonological orthography. Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet.

Besides the Shtokavian dialect on which Standard Croatian is based, Croats also speak Chakavian and Kajkavian.

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used chiefly by Serbs in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian (more specifically on Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian dialects). The other dialect spoken by Serbs is Torlakian in southeastern Serbia, which is transitional to Macedonian and Bulgarian.

Serbian is practically the only European standard language with complete synchronic digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created the alphabet on phonemic principles. The Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.

Montenegrin is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used as the official language of Montenegro. Standard Montenegrin is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian.

Montenegro's language has historically and traditionally been called Serbian. The idea of a Montenegrin standard language separate from Serbian appeared in the 2000s after Serbia and Montenegro broke up, via proponents of Montenegrin independence. Montenegrin became the official language of Montenegro with the ratification of a new constitution on 22 October 2007.

The Montenegrin standard is still emerging. Its orthography was established on 10 July 2009 with the addition of two letters to the alphabet.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lithuanian, day 2

Šiandien šiandien yra diena, kai pasitaukia sutema
Today, today is the day when - what? "dude"? nightfall/dusk/twilight? comes
All right, totally, fully, wholy
Vėl ant kojų
again on his feet
Ateik ateik ir prilaikyk, dar skauda man bet iš visų jėgų atsistoju
Come, come an hold me, it still hurts but I'll stand with all my might?
Nereik, nereik keršyt tiems kurie tiek degino ir tiems kurie tiek skandino
No need, no need to take revenge? get angry with those who are both burned and drowned?
Tegul, tegul žudys mintis kad šitaip stengiasi, ir mums nė vėlnio, bet mums nė vėlnio
let's let's kill the idea that this is how it's done and we won't be late, but we won't be late?
Ei, nemirtingi, mes einam žemyn, mes einam žemyn, nuo to liūdno kalno
No, immortal, we'll descent, we'll descent that sad mountain
Eina ramios širdys, neriam gilyn, mes neriam gilyn į pasaulio delną pilną deimantų dulkių, deimantų dulkių visiems
There's calm heart, take a deep breath, we'll dig deep into world's palm full of diamond dust, diamond dust for everyone

Tenai, tenai man virš galvos sparnuoti demonai išalkę sielų vėl ratą suka
There, there winged demons, hungry souls circulate over my head
Neleis, neleis tavęs sužeist, auksiniu skydu bus švelnumas tavo ir tavo lupos
Will not let, will not let you be hurt, your tenderness and your lips will be the golden shield

Ei, nemirtingi, mes einam žemyn, mes einam žemyn, nuo to liūdno kalno
Eina ramios širdys, neriam gilyn, mes neriam gilyn į pasaulio delną

Ei, nemirtingi, mes einam žemyn, mes einam žemyn, nuo to liūdno kalno
Eina ramios širdys, neriam gilyn, mes neriam gilyn į pasaulio delną

Lyg pažastų, ragauti dei - man, deimantų dulkių naujų
Like arms, to taste dia-mon, diamond dust new?
Šiandien, šiandien yra diena, kai pasitaukia sutema
Šiandien šiandien yra diena, kai pasitaukia sutema
Visai, vėl ant kojų
Ateik, ateik ir prilaikyk dar skauda man, bet iš visų jėgų atsistoju
Iš visų jėgų atsistoju
Iš visų jėgų atsistoju

I really don't get this, but... 

And here's a list of Lithuanian tv series, to pick one to watch

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: North Germanic Languages, week II

100 common words in the North Germanic languages... from 1000 Most Common Words.
I don't know where he got this list, and I'm pretty certain of that it's not accurate, but they are real words, and probably used quite often.

The missing numbers are "a", "an" and "set". I can't figure out which "set" they mean, and the indefinite article cannot possibly be one of the most common words of Icelandic considering that THEY DON'T HAVE THE WORD.
So I have added a couple of words I think fit the theme.
jag     jeg    jeg     ég     eg
hans     hans    hans     hans    hansara
att     at    at     að     at
han     han     han     hann     hann
var     var     var    var     var
för  for   for     fyrir     fyri
på     på     på     á      á
är er    er         eru   eru





de     de     de     þeir     teir
vara   være     være     vera    vera
vid         ved     ved     við     við
ha har har hafa hava
detta                    dette dette þetta hetta
från      fra    fra    frá    frá
med     med   med   með     við
het     hed     het    heitt    heit
ord     ord       ord     orð     orð
men     men     men     en     men
 vad    hvad     hva     hvað     hvat
några     nogen     noe     sumir     nakrir
är     er     er     er     er
den     det     den    það    tað 
du     du     du     þú    
eller     eller    eller     eða     ella
hade     havde     hadde     hafði     hevði
den     den     den     sem     tann
av     af     av     af     av
till       til     til     til     til
och     og     og     og     og
i      i     i     í     í
vi     vi     vi     við     vit
kunna kunne kunne   geta     kunna
ut     ud     ut     út     út
andra     andre     andre     annað     annar
var     var     var     voru     var
som     som    som     sem     sum
göra     gøre     gjøre     gera     gera
deras     deres     deres     þeirra     teirra
tid     tid     tid     tími     tíð
om     hvis     hvis     ef     um
vilja    vil     vil     vilji      vilji
hur     hvordan hvordan hvernig hvussu
sagt     sagt     sagt     sagt     sagdi
varje     hver     hver     hver     hvør
berätta    fortælle fortelle segja     siga
gör     gør     gjør     gerir     ger
vilja     ville     ville    vilja     vilja
luft     luft     luft     loft     luft
god      god     god    góður      góður
också     også     også     einnig     eisini
spela     spille     spille    spila     spæla
liten      lille     liten    lítil     lítil
ände     ende     ende     endir     endi
sätta     sætte     sette     setja    seta
hem     hjem     hjem     heim     heim
läsa     læse     lese     lesa     lesa
hand     hånd     hånd     hönd     hond
hamn    havn     havn    höfn     havn
stor     stor     stor     stór     stórur
stava     stave     stave     stafa     stavseta
tillsätta    tilføje    tilsette    viðbæta    samanseta
ens     endog    selv     jafnvel     eins
jämn    like    like    jafn    makað
land land land land land
här     her     her     hér     her
måste     måtte    måtte       mega    mega
stor     stor     stor     stór     stórur
hög høj høy hár høgur
sådan sådan slik slíkur slíkur
följ følg følg fylgja fylgja
gärning gerning gjerning gerð gerð
varför hvorfor hvorfor Því hví
fråga spørge spør spyrja spyrja
man mand mann  maður maður
förändring ændring endring breyting broyting
gick gik gikk gekk gekk
ljus  lys lys ljós ljós
slag slags slag tegund slag
av af av af av
behöva behøve trenge þurfa tørva
behov behov behov þörf tørvur
hus hus hus hús hús
bild billede bilde mynd mynd
försök prøv prøve reyna royna
oss os oss okkur okkum
igen igen igjen aftur aftur
djur  dyr dyr dýr djór
punkt punkt punkt punktur stig
mor mor  mor móðir móðir
värld verd  verd veröld verð
nära nær nær nálægt nær
bygga bygge bygge byggja byggja
själv selv selv sjálf sjálvur
jord jord jord jörð jørð
far far far  faðir faðir
dålig dårlig dårlig vondur illur
ny ny ny nýggjur
arbete arbejde arbeid vinna arbeiði