November 8th, 2008


Manon des Sources

I'm currently re-reading Manon des Sources, and have two questions arising from it in relation to Méridional French and/or Occitan and/or Catalan.

1) I keep reading references to pèbre d'aï, which seems to be a herb that one can gather on the hills. ("Après, elle a ramassé du pèbre d'aï...") I know that the words mean garlic pepper, but I have never found any dictionary reference to it. Does anyone know what pebre d'ai is? (Sounds rather nice...)

2) Ugolin at one point threatens a lizard (don't bother asking) that he will kill it "un de ces quatre matins, d'un bon coup de fusil." I was reminded of Catalan "des de fa quatre dies" for something really recent, but wondered if anyone had any ideas re why it should be 4 days in either case.
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  • philena

Help with Teochew

Hello. I am working on a project for my phonology class in which I'm documenting the phonological system of Teochew. I've found a few resources, but not very many, and none which I actually feel are reliable enough to cite in my paper.

1. Do you have any suggestions for where I can find information about the phonology of Teochew? English is best, but I can also read French and Russian. The thousands of pages on it that are written in Chinese, alas, will not do me any good.

2. My speaker is an elderly gentleman who does not speak English, so his granddaughter has been translating for us. Because of this, it is very difficult for me to ask about things like minimal pairs and phonological contrast, because I need to explain it to her, and then she needs to explain it to him in another language that she does not speak perfectly. What I would like to do would be elicit minimal pairs from him. He reads Chinese, so I can show him the characters if I have them. Can you give me characters that represent minimal pairs for (any of) the following phonemic contrasts:

-tones (I believe there are eight, but it's the six open-syllable tones I'm interested in: mid-level (33), high-level (55), high-falling, mid-rising (35), low-rising (12), low-level (11)--this last tone, low-level, might also be low-falling (21). It's hard to tell for sure.
If you think there is a better way to describe these tones, please let me know! I'm going from what I've found and elicited, but I could easily be wrong. It's really, really hard to hear the difference with my untrained ear.)

-ph (aspirated p)/p (unaspirated p)/ b (voiced b)
-nasal and oral vowels

The minimal pairs with regard to consonants are hard, because I would like them to be the same tone.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

French name origin?

I know Ségolène is a French name, but is it of French origin? Superficially, it looks kind of strange to me, and not very French-y. Is it cognate with names in other languages? I was thinking maybe it could be related to Sigourney…

Curiously yours,
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Avis on Gift

Polish-English Medical Dictionary?

This may be a long shot, but does anyone know of a good Polish-English (and vice-versa) medical dictionary?

I own the Słomski one (see link below), but it seems slightly outdated in some ways. I'm also personally offended that they translated lichen (of the botanical variety) into Polish as "moss" (mech when it should've been porost), but that's a different story...

P.S. There's always the possibility that the Słomski dictionary really is the best that's available. If this is the case, I'd also like to know.
snsd - yuri

(no subject)

Hello All,

I'd need help for my would-be thesis. The topic is not that concrete yet, all I know is that I'd like to write something related to Global English. I'm not even sure of how I should approach it. So technically, I have a huge topic and nothing else. I would really appreciate if you could give me tips on how to narrow it and/or name some sources that can be useful. Currently I'm reading David Graddol's English Next. It's a really interesting book, but I don't think it'll be very useful, as I'm curious about the linguistic part not the economic and such things. I haven't finished it though. The other source my tutor gave me was Varieties of English (the relevant parts).

Thanks for any help in advance. :)
  • mavisol

"cool dry poplin, both close- and full-textured, with soft drape"

This is a phrase from a fashion piece. Google hasn't answered
1. what "dry poplin" is (apparently this is a type of poplin, not an antonym to "water-soaked poplin"
2. what is close-textured" and "full-textured" in relation to fabric (POPLIN in this case)? Close-textured seems to be used only with reference to cheese or bread, and "full-textured," yes, appears to be used with reference to fabric but I can't quite fathom the meaning of it (dictionaries are of no help either).

Thanks a lot!

using languages learned in university

I have always enjoyed learning languages, and I'm studying two foreign languages in university.

I was just wondering if anyone here who studied languages in university ended up using them in their careers, or even just in every day life after graduating. I'm asking mostly because I know how easy it is to lose skills in a language if you don't have the opportunity to use the language regularly, and I am interested in how other people kept up their language abilities when their studies were finished.

Also, I'm just curious, if you had the opportunity to study Arabic, German, or Hebrew, which would you pick? and why? (I'm currently studying French and Arabic, but I have experience with German (intermediate) and Hebrew (very basic), and I am trying to decide whether I want to continue with Arabic next year, or revisit my studies of German or Hebrew. If I could take more than two languages at a time I would, but due to requirements for my major I can't)