December 3rd, 2008

Reading, writing Farsi.

This might be a stupid question but how hard is it to learn to read and write Farsi? I understand it perfectly- anything anyone says I'm good. Songs are a little trickier but I figure it out heh. My dad spoke it to me my entire childhood (I'm half Turkish so my mom spoke Turkish and for the longest time I didn't think my parents could understand each other. Then I heard my dad speak Turkish when I was like 5 and pretty much stopped talking Farsi and switched to Turkish full time) and I used to be fluent but now when I speak I have an unfortunate American accent and I stammer a lot.

I was thinking about taking classes at Harvard and I've heard they are for my level, but I was just curious. My boyfriend taught himself in like a month but he's like a linguistic genius seeing as how he learned Turkish in about a year and a half and also taught himself to read Cyrillic and Greek (though he doesn't understand what he's reading).

irrational mix-ups

I regularly say "towel" when I mean "pillow" and the other way around.  Other than the fact they share two consonants and a vowel, I can't figure out why (since there are plenty of other words with more similar segments, like "conscious" and "conscientious", which I never mix).

Do you guys do the same?  Which are your irrational mix-words? 

ETA: I knew this was something of a phenomenon.  Thanks to all who replied--very enlightening and humorous.
Now, what in the world would linguistics studies make of this?  Does anyone have any links to formal theory dealing with this phenomenon?
Ki (default)

Japanese Electronic Dictionary

It's my first post here, so hello. :)

I know there are a lot of people here who know Japanese, so I was hoping someone could help me with my Christmas list.

I've been studying Japanese for almost seven years now and I'm in my fourth year at university. I'm not fluent, but I'm almost there and I was thinking that now would be a good time to get an electronic dictionary.

So, my question is: Does anyone have one that you're particularly fond of? There are so many and I'd like to narrow it down to one and save my dad some trouble.
  • gooofy


Could someone please recommend a guide to Lhasa Tibetan pronunciation? The two books I have don't bother to distinguish between all the consonants that the language is supposed to have, not to mention tones. I'm also curious about the relationship between Tibetan phonemes and orthography, if there is one. That is, can I use the spelling as a guide to pronunciation?

Syntax questions (using X-Bar theory)

I'm trying to write about verb raising in Spanish, and realized I don't really understand some of the basics of verb raising. In a language like Spanish where all verbs are inflected with person, do all verbs raise? Or do only verbs with tense inflections raise? (like the Spanish pasts and future). How do you prove that verbs raise in a language like this? My book gives some examples from French about adverb position, but I don't really understand them. What about verb raising when you have haber as an auxilary? Where the heck would your participle go on a tree?

  • oh_meow

IPA stuff

I was doing some phonetic work with my elementary english class today, and they know the IPA well enough now to point out that actually I don't pronounce bought with an o: / ɔ: like in the textbook and they asked me to write the phonetics of what I actually say, which left me at a loss.

The IPA in the book is for your average home-counties RP english textbook sort of voice, and I'm from Kent, and describing variations in accents with IPA is not my strong point at all. My accent's not that far apart from that in the book, but there's the odd sound that's different. With most of them, I've made the students aware from the start that I don't always pronounce things the same as the textbook (and also introduced ɫ / dark l from the start, because they need it for that), but my brain has gone totally blank for what the hell to write for the sound I produce for that particular one. I think there's a w in there somewhere, and maybe a ʊ, but I really don't know. Here's a sound sample of total nonsense (please excuse my voice for sounding bloody awful)

Can anyone help?