(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Post by Khemehekis »

eldin raigmore wrote: 03 Feb 2023 20:59 I watched/listened to a couple of interesting and informative YT videos from ReligionForBreakfast yesterday.
YT? Youth theology?

I know a man in his sixties who always says "I seen" instead of "I saw".

I also know quite a number of western Contra Costa County speakers who maintain a past tense/past participle distinction, but use words like "have tooken" instead of "have taken".
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Post by shimobaatar »

Khemehekis wrote: 03 Feb 2023 21:13
eldin raigmore wrote: 03 Feb 2023 20:59 I watched/listened to a couple of interesting and informative YT videos from ReligionForBreakfast yesterday.
YT? Youth theology?
"YouTube" would be my guess.
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Post by Khemehekis »

shimobaatar wrote: 03 Feb 2023 21:55
Khemehekis wrote: 03 Feb 2023 21:13
eldin raigmore wrote: 03 Feb 2023 20:59 I watched/listened to a couple of interesting and informative YT videos from ReligionForBreakfast yesterday.
YT? Youth theology?
"YouTube" would be my guess.
Oh! Of course! How could I not recognize the abbreviation for YouTube when I have my own channel? [O.o]




Another thought on words like "drunk": In a future English-speaking society where psilocybin use becomes as common as alcohol consumption is today, I could see people say "I'm eaten" or "Steve looks eaten" to describe intoxication from having eaten enough mushrooms to get high.
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Post by eldin raigmore »

I live on a street named Foxthorn (pronounced like Fox Thorn).
I often need to call a help desk in, I suspect, the Philippines. Anyway all of their staff appears to speak English as a second language, acquired in adulthood.
They often have to read my address back to me.
Consistently I can’t be sure they said the right street name!

I finally figured out that they all thought the syllable-boundary and morpheme-boundary was between the T and the H, instead of the X and the T.
They were unaware that TH is a digraph, and the two letters together spell just one sound.
It’s also likely they couldn’t pronounce that tip-of-tongue-to-tip-of-teeth phoneme.
Either one of those could be true without the other, and it would explain the difficulty.

….

Does anyone know where English is common as a second language, but people don’t know what TH spells? Is one of those places the Philippines, or not?
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I know about 'th' and I would still think it's 'horn' because I don't expect a street to be called 'thorn'. 'Horn' somehow makes a better street name IMHO.
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Post by Salmoneus »

They may well be pronouncing the 'TH' but you just don't hear it. A lot of people pronounce 'TH' with a dental stop or the like (eg Ireland), and if you don't have a phonemic distinction between dental and alveolar stops yourself you'd just hear this as 'T' (the famous third-turd merger). Other non-native dialects often go further and merge the dental and alveolar stops entirely. It's not a matter of them being idiots who "don't know" what sound 'TH' makes - it's just the sound it makes in their dialect. And of course aspirated /t/ is very had to distinguish from /th/ anyway, particularly as the details of aspiration can vary with dialect.
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Post by LinguoFranco »

Not sure if this is better suited to to conlang forum, as this is about what some natlangs do so I have some inspiration for my conlangs.

So, a lot of tonal languages have sandhi. However, I cannot seem to find too much on it outside of Chinese. I'm working on a conlang that has more of a register tone system, but allows contours in long vowels.

What are some good tonal natlangs to research for tone sandhi? Like, are there any general rules or tendencies about tone sandhi?
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LinguoFranco wrote: 08 Mar 2023 02:51 Not sure if this is better suited to to conlang forum, as this is about what some natlangs do so I have some inspiration for my conlangs.

So, a lot of tonal languages have sandhi. However, I cannot seem to find too much on it outside of Chinese. I'm working on a conlang that has more of a register tone system, but allows contours in long vowels.

What are some good tonal natlangs to research for tone sandhi? Like, are there any general rules or tendencies about tone sandhi?
I really want to answer this question but I don't have the time to write stuff up right now. Could you send me a reminder PM if I don't answer within the next two weeks?
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Okay, so here's my answer. Tone Sandhi in the Chinese based terminology usually refers to external tone sandhi, i.e. phonological processes that affect tone and occur across 'word' boundaries. This terminology is relatively Chinese-specific. (Apparently, it's also used in Khoi-San descriptions for some reason.) In many other languages, these are called phrasal tonal processes or something like that. Grassfields Bantu languages are well-known to have a lot of these. There is a nice paper by Larry Hyman called "How To Study a Tone Language, with exemplification from Oku". You should be able to find it on google, if not send me a message. Another Niger-Congo language that is well-known for its complex phrasal tone is Copperbelt Bemba. There is a paper available by Nancy Kula titled "Phrasal phonology in Copperbelt Bemba", which has very interesting data. Bote that these patterns are often described in terms of assimilation or "spreading" rather than simple tone changes but this mainly boils down to Africanist traditions.

Outside of Africa, languages of Northern South Asia and Central America have relatively well researched phrasal phonologies. Savio Meyase for example has very detailed work on tone in Tenyidie, which is also phrasal, IIRC. Additionally, there is a bunch of dissertations on Chatino languages which all have interesting phrasal tone. Finally, I recently read a dissertation by Samantha Rarrick on tone in Kere, a Papuan tone language, which I also found very interesting.

I hope this is not too much of an overload. I really like this topic, so I might get overenthusiastic. If you have any further questions feel free to ask me here or via PM.

One final thing: the lexical tonal inventory is not a good predictor of phrasal tone procesess, IMHO and IINM, so feel free to look at all kinds of tone languages.
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Post by eldin raigmore »

Michigan Radio (NPR / PBS) is having their Spring Fund-Drive.
This morning one of their newsreaders said “we truly bring you information from every corner of the globe”.

I didn’t realise globes have corners?!??
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Post by Salmoneus »

It's been an expression for at least seven hundred years. Don't pretend you've never heard it before.

As you're well away, many words have metaphorical senses as well as literal ones (indeed, the original literal meaning of 'corner' was an animal's horn). As well as the angle of a shape, a "corner" may be any extreme, distant, isolated or hidden place (also, any place, real or metaphorical, for meetings or discussions between like-minded people or dedicated to a particular purpose). In this sense, the globe contains many corners. Although these are often metaphorically symbolised by a set of "four corners", presumably corresponding to the cardinal directions.
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Post by lsd »

it is good to question the duckspeaking of frozen expressions...
this is probably the main thing that makes me conlanging as the most extreme exercise of translation...
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Post by eldin raigmore »

I thought maybe it was a nod to the flat-earthers in their audience.
And I had never heard “corner” and “globe” used together like that before then;
Though I had heard each word used with a near-synonym of the other word.
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Post by sangi39 »

Sal is right here, I think. Globes/sphere's don't have corners, but "globe" here refers to just, well, the Earth, which we also represent, for example, with maps, which most often do have four corners, and references to "the corners of the Earth" or "the corners of the World" are commonplace in a number of different traditions, found in the Bible, Greek mythology, Norse mythology, etc. It doesn't seem too much of a stretch to carry over the reference to "corners" to "the globe"

As for reference to flat-earthers, IIRC, there was a convention held within the last few years that said something along the lines of "bringing people together from all four corners of the globe". I have no idea if that's actually something that was said or used, or something someone made up to poke fun at flat-earthers, and everyone just thought "yep, that's the kind of ironic thing they'd say" and just ran with it without fact checking

I'm also not sure this needed an entirely new thread, and probably could have gone in one of the Quick Questions thread, so when I get a chance, I'll merge it into another thread
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Post by sangi39 »

Yeah, /θ/ is noteably "unstable" as a sound in English, and <th> has several pronunciations

/θ/ can be anything from [θ], [t] (merging entirely into /t/), dental [t] (distinct from alveolar /t/), [h], [f], and [ s], and, as Sal noted, from some listeners, it might be difficult to hear the difference between dental and alveolar [t]

<th> can be anything from /θ/, /ð/ (which, again, has its own host of dialectal and socialectal variation), /t/, and /t.h/ (especially, for example, in compunds like "lighthouse"), and sometimes it's not even consistent which pronunciation will occur (something /t.h/ just appears as /t/, with speakers avoiding the cluster)

A good example from my local area is "Kirby Fleetham" /ˈkɜːbi ˈfli:təm/, but people from other areas might read it and read /ˈfli:θəm/ instead

So there's a good chance one of several things might be going on:

1) They speak a dialect with th-alveolarisation, so there's no issue with parsing "foxthorn" as "fox.thorn", they just dont distinguish the two sounds in speech
2) They speak a dialect with th-front, so there's a distinction between a dental and an alveolar [t], but it's maybe not particularly easy to hear, especially over the phone, when you're not used to hearing that particular distinction
3) They do have /θ/, but are parsing it as "foxt.horn" rather than "fox.thorn", which isn't too odd, given words like "foghorn", "bighorn" "shoehorn", etc. and the number of other compounds containing <th> for /t.h/
4) Some mix of the above

Honestly, one isolated example, it'd be hard to tell. As with your other post, though, I'm not sure this needed a new thread, so I'll merge it into one of the Quick Questions threads when I get a chance
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Post by Salmoneus »

sangi39 wrote: 16 Mar 2023 11:47
A good example from my local area is "Kirby Fleetham" /ˈkɜːbi ˈfli:təm/, but people from other areas might read it and read /ˈfli:θəm/ instead
While I don't disagree with the rest, I think this is actually a bad example! This isn't because of anything to do with the general pronunciation-ambiguity of <th> as a digraph; this is just an example of the more general rule that neither <h> nor <w> has no effect on the pronunciation when it's the first syllable of a suffix in place names. So in the Southeast here, yes, there's Wrotham and Ightham (/rutm/ and /ajtm/), but there's also Bosham (/bQzm/) and Caterham (/kejt@rm/). [similarly with /w/ see Alnwick or Dulwich]. There are exceptions (Amersham, Droitwich), but in any case the point is that these are exceptions to a rule about orthographic weak consonants in the onsets of placename suffixes, rather than a rule about <th> itself.
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Post by sangi39 »

Salmoneus wrote: 16 Mar 2023 20:28
sangi39 wrote: 16 Mar 2023 11:47
A good example from my local area is "Kirby Fleetham" /ˈkɜːbi ˈfli:təm/, but people from other areas might read it and read /ˈfli:θəm/ instead
While I don't disagree with the rest, I think this is actually a bad example! This isn't because of anything to do with the general pronunciation-ambiguity of <th> as a digraph; this is just an example of the more general rule that neither <h> nor <w> has no effect on the pronunciation when it's the first syllable of a suffix in place names. So in the Southeast here, yes, there's Wrotham and Ightham (/rutm/ and /ajtm/), but there's also Bosham (/bQzm/) and Caterham (/kejt@rm/). [similarly with /w/ see Alnwick or Dulwich]. There are exceptions (Amersham, Droitwich), but in any case the point is that these are exceptions to a rule about orthographic weak consonants in the onsets of placename suffixes, rather than a rule about <th> itself.
That's fair [:)] I work in a job where we stare at place names all day, and with stuff like Towcester and Wymondham and Frome coming at us, place names were pretty on my mind as I was writing my post (that's what I get for replying while at work, haha)
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Post by Khemehekis »

sangi39 wrote: 17 Mar 2023 02:14 That's fair [:)] I work in a job where we stare at place names all day, and with stuff like Towcester and Wymondham and Frome coming at us, place names were pretty on my mind as I was writing my post (that's what I get for replying while at work, haha)
Interesting . . . I learned just a few months ago that Frome rhymes with "womb" instead of "home".
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Post by eldin raigmore »

I first encountered the character-string “diatom” in Chemistry class, learning about diatomic gasses like H2 and N2 and O2 and F2 and Cl2 and some other halogens. Naturally I parsed the morphology as “di atom”, that is, “two atoms”.

Then in Biology I learned about the Class of unicellular microalgae with silicaceous skeletons which I just now learned is named “Bacillariophyceae”, informally “diatoms”. Here the morphology is parsed “dia tom”; “tom” meaning “cut” and “dia” meaning “across”. But I didn’t know that for quite some time! For a long time I thought the scientists who named this Class were suggesting they were so small they appeared to be made out of two atoms!

So, was anyone else ever confused between “di-atom” and “dia-tom”? I don’t think they are even pronounced differently in my idiolect of English, nor any other English dialect in which I can remember hearing both of them pronounced! Though they do take different suffixes in English; “diatomic” for the chemicals and “diatomaceous” for the soil that contains a lot of diatom skeletons.

It occurs to me that most modern languages’ scientific vocabulary contains many terms derived from morphemes in the classical languages Greek and Latin and Sanskrit; though that may be especially true of Western European languages in the Indo-European family that use the Latin or Greek or Cyrillic alphabets, possibly with some extensions.
So does anyone know of any modern natural language other than English wherein the “di atom” vs “dia tom” confusion is possible?

How about similar confusions in conlangs or natlangs you know about?

I think this type of error is common enough to have a name! I think I’ve heard or read such a name but just can’t remember it right now!
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 24 Mar 2023 18:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by sangi39 »

eldin raigmore wrote: 23 Mar 2023 23:17 I first encountered the character-string “diatom” in Chemistry class, learning about diatomic gasses like H2 and N2 and F2 and Cl2 and some other halogens. Naturally I parsed the morphology as “di atom”, that is, “two atoms”.

Then in Biology I learned about the Class of unicellular microalgae with silicaceous skeletons which I just now learned is named “Bacillariophyceae”, informally “diatoms”. Here the morphology is parsed “dia tom”; “tom” meaning “cut” and “dia” meaning “across”. But I didn’t know that for quite some time! For a long time I thought the scientists who named this Class were suggesting they were so small they appeared to be made out of two atoms!

So, was anyone else ever confused between “di-atom” and “dia-tom”? I don’t think they are even pronounced differently in my idiolect of English, nor any other English dialect in which I can remember hearing both of them pronounced! Though they do take different suffixes in English; “diatomic” for the chemicals and “diatomaceous” for the soil that contains a lot of diatom skeletons.

It occurs to me that most modern languages’ scientific vocabulary contains many terms derived from morphemes in the classical languages Greek and Latin and Sanskrit; though that may be especially true of Western European languages in the Indian-European family that use the Latin or Greek or Cyrillic alphabets, possibly with some extensions.
So does anyone know of any modern natural language other than English wherein the “di atom” vs “dia tom” confusion is possible?

How about similar confusions in conlangs or natlangs you know about?

I think this type of error is common enough to have a name! I think I’ve heard or read such a name but just can’t remember it right now!
I actually remember having this exact same thought, in the same order, when I was younger, and being confused by it, wondering what Diatoms had to do with "two atoms", or if Diatoms were thought to be made of two "main parts" or something

I think it's an example of rebracketting, reinforced by having two words that are homonyms (rather than, say, something like "helico-pter" > "heli-copter" [> "copter])
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