July 20th, 2009


(no subject)

medGadget has a post about the physiology of "clicking languages." Ultrasound was used to image poorly understood "clicking languages" (I don't know what the proper term is and that's what the article used). In this particular case, they were imaging native speakers of N|uu, of whom there are less than 10 in the world (grammar fail?).
「crack」★ nei ga plz

Writing styles

I've managed to finish the first chapter of 《第8號當舖》 (only looking up phrases that were repeated that I didn't know really helped; I was surprised how much I could pick up of the general gist of the story), and I've noticed that the author uses lots of commas. Lots and lots of commas. To a native English speaker, this looks really bizarre, and I'm wondering if it's just her style (if so, it's annoying), or if it's a more general writing style in Chinese to use commas differently than they're used in English.

For example:

  • 「他神色沮喪,走路時一拐一拐的,事實上,他左邊腋下,正撐著一副拐仗。」

  • 「每二十年一條小路,一望無盡,走一走不完,這些小路上,有永遠贖不回的珍寶。」

  • 「地圖上的指示是朝郊外走,在一個墓園之後向右邊的路拐去,直行,再在分岔路上拐左,再直行,上山,然后向右邊的路走去,便會看見一座大宅,門牌外有一個『8』字。」

To me, the sentences all look like run-on sentences, and it looks as though she doesn't know how to use a semicolon... but that's because I read and write primarily in English, where use of commas like this isn't a convention of the language. And I figure her grammar can't be entirely horrible; she has something like 60+ books published, and if this were a larger stylistic error as it is in English, then my assumption would be that she wouldn't have that many books published... but I'm not sure if this assumption is correct.

If it is indeed just her style and not the style of Chinese writers as a whole, then I have another question—in which languages is punctuation used differently than in English? By which I mean marks such as commas, semicolons, colons, periods, etc. ETA: I mean in a way that would be jarring for an English reader. Difference in quotation marks, the Oxford comma, differing punctuation in numerals, etc. aren't necessarily jarring, but different ways in separating clauses and groups of words can be. If that makes sense?

Thanks in advance!

"True Blood" Language

Not sure how many "True Blood" fans there are here, but on yesterday's episode there was an extended sequence taking place in what appeared to be some medieval location showing Eric being turned, and the characters were speaking some sort of Germanic language (at least, that's what it seemed to be, from the sound of it, as well as picking up some cognates). It didn't seem like Old English to me, but I was wondering if it might be the "old" variety of another language. Any positive ID's?
kim possible

Hindi and Russian questions

Hi everyone! I'm a writer on an animated tv show (currently in production) that introduces kids to world languages and cultures. I have two questions for you, and please let me know if I am not adhering to community rules -- I read them, but I'm new and occasionally a little dense.

1. Hindi

Does "sitara" means "star" in Hindi? Is that the best romanization of the word? Also, we are receiving some conflicting data on the correct pronunciation of the word. Some folks say "siTARa" (emphasis on second syllable) and some folks say "sitarA" (emphasis on last syllable). This makes a big difference in the song we're writing.

2. Russian

We're looking for the best word that means "Great! Awesome!" We have heard "harasho," "atlichna," and "zdrovo" might all work, but our research shows that "harasho" usually means "good," not "great." For the purposes of our song, we need something more emphatic like the American English "Awesome!" Pronunciation would also be great.

Thank you so much!
Zee Captain
  • diello

Miho Hatori song


I don't suppose anyone of the Japanese persuasion would be willing to transcribe this super-fun song by Forro in the Dark (featuring Miho Hatori)... preferably in romaji or kana, kudasai.


I would like to sing along since it frequently gets stuck in my head (with no complaints ;)
Zee Captain
  • diello

and A French inquiry

I have decided to only read French books over the summer, to keep my mind in the game between course 1 and 2.

I am trying to work my way through La Mécanique du Cœur, by Mathias Malzieu (lead singer of one of my all-time favourite bands Dionysos). I am only a little way through the first part, and what do you know... I got stumped on the second sentence of the book:

"Un froid de canard paranormal cadenasse la ville."

...along with some other sentences, but this one really bugs me.

Is it a colloquial expression? Because I cannot wrap my head around a cold, paranormal duck padlocking the town.

Does this make me sound strange? (A blurb about myself written in Chinese)

I recently joined a social networking site in the hopes of improving my ability to read and write in Chinese. I wrote a little something about myself for my profile and just need someone to look at it to see if my wording is correct, whether or not I've made any grammatical errors, any ways I could make it sound better, etc. It's supposed to sound casual, as if I was having a relaxed conversation with someone... So I just needed some feedback.
Thanks in advance!


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