Well you know, every language has its own unique sound. Unfortunately, if you speak it natively you can't hear it. So this is a thread for descriptions of languages from non-native speakers :) I was inspired to start this when a girl asked me today to describe German to her. I haven't heard a lot of German, but I said to her... it has a lot of "sh" sounds, and a lot of rounded vowels. It's like the speaker is rolling the words around in their mouth.
Now, it's incredibly late and I need to go sleep, but I might post more tomorrow. In the meantime, share your impressions! Oh and I think it might be easier to follow if you kept it to one language per comment (though you can go ahead and post several times in a row) and then anyone who wants to describe a language replies to the original comment for that language.
Oh yeah... anyone care to describe English and Mandarin? ;)
What means "ina ko" in Tagalog?
So, i'm not a linguist, but i'm trying to apply linguistic methods to my ethnographic work (without any formal training in linguistic anthro or sociolinguistics...yeah, i should fix that) which is leaving me with some knowledge gaps that need filling. I'm reading James Gee's "Introduction to Discourse Analysis" which presents a really nice simplified theory and method of discourse analysis, but in order to apply it i need more information. For instance, in one of his examples, Gee says that, in many English dialects, when someone answers a question on a low pitch with a falling final contour that indicates that they believe the answer to be obvious; or the use of Latinate words indicates formality. These things make sense in retrospect, but i wouldn't have been able to pull them out of the air while doing an analysis.
Is there some kind of handy reference guide to that kind of information with regard to intonation, timeing, word choice, etc.? Or do i really have to suck it up and learn sociolinguistics from the beginning?