April 4th, 2007

i need to learn German quick

Hello I hope I am posting this right. My friend told me to get a livejournal and tell about my stuation here.

I am going to be moving to a German-speaking area on July 17th and I speak no German at all. I'm going with my partner, who also speaks no German. The most language I have studied was 2 years of French in high school, and that's been years ago now. My partner is hispanic but only has so-so spanish because she is a 3rd generation english speaker.

Anyway we need to learn as much German as possible before we board the plane. It's too late to enroll in the german class in community college, and we're leaving before the new one starts in september.

Does anybody have any recomendations for books, CDs, DVDs, etc that could help me at least get used t othe language and learn how to say basic things? i know it takes a long time to learn a language, but I dont want to get over there and be lost.

My next stop is the public library so if anybody can recomend books, i will definately look for them!

Thank you!

Snatching defeat or victory

I always thought that the original version of the somewhat cliched expression was "snatching victory from the jaws of defeat" (i.e., coming from behind for a last-minute win), and that "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" was a mildly humorous inversion to describe a team choking from a commanding position. But I see that Google gives 67 800 hits for "victory from the jaws of defeat" and 206 000 from "defeat from the jaws of victory".

So which came first? My intuition is that the humorous inversion has become more popular because it's amusing to talk about great falls, but I don't like to trust my intuition on these things.

"Some" in Turkish

According to what I've been reading, both "bazı" and "biraz" can be used to mean "some" in Turkish. My problem has been that I'll use the one when I should use the other.

The only working hypothesis I can figure out is that "biraz" means "some discrete items" (mountains, trees, dogs, people), while "bazı" means "some of a larger mass" (of sugar, water, sand). Does that sound right, or am I just confusing myself further?

age and language

Not a purely linguistic question, but...

Is there a habit among elderly people of your nationality (or just the speakers of your language) to address to younger strangers like "Son!/Daughter!"? If not, what do they normally say? And what's your nationality? (in either case)

Thanks in advance.

French translation request?

I have a friend who's a devout Catholic and gave up all chocolate for Lent. Lent is about to end soon (with Easter), and I'd like to give him some chocolate as a small gift, and a note sayign how much I admire his abilities to refrain from something he loves so much. This is what I'm thinking, in English:

Dear Jason,

I greately admire your small "suffering" over Lent by giving up chocolate. Now that Lent's over, please accept this small gift from me. May God bless you and all your loved ones. Happy Easter! Christ is risen indeed!


Could I get that in French? Of all the languages I'm familiar with, I'm afraid French is the poorest. :(

Feel free to loosely translate or to translate with idioms, whatever. I jsut want the general sentiment to be there.

(If it's too much and you need paid for it, I have a couple dollars on PayPal, but I really really hope somebody can do it for free, as I'm a stereotypical poor college student :P)
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Sorry if this isn't appropriate for this community but I think it is, as it has to do with communication and the power of language.

What are your favorite book/film/CD/song/painting/poem/any other expression of art titles? In any language?

I'm interested to see how a usually very short expression of language can impact people so much.

Question about IPA transcription

Hi - I have a couple of questions about transcribing with IPA.

First question - how do you transcribe the vowels in the word 'trying'? Do you just follow the dipthong [aɪ] with another [ɪ], so there are two ɪ's in a row, or do you put a [j] in between, to represent a 'y' sound?

Second question. This is about the Estuary English accent. When people pronounce the 'l' at the end of a word so that it sounds more like a 'w' (like saying 'musical' sort of like 'musicoow' - where they make the 'l' sound with their lips rather than with their tongue) how do you transcribe that? It sounds to me like a schwa followed by the 'oo' sound that's in the word 'good', which would be [əʊ], but that is how the diphthong in the word 'toe' is represented, and it sounds very different from that.

Any help would be appreciated. I'm trying to get the hang of transcribing in IPA, and finding it to be quite complicated.