August 16th, 2009

how do you native English speakers pronounce

bas-relief?

I am a native English speaker in Alberta, Canada, but took 10 years of French immersion, so the French pronunciation is emblazoned in my mind. BAH-ruh-lee-eff (last two syllables kinda blend).

Sorry I don't know how the accenting works vs pronunciation other than the long horizontal line to lengthen a vowel (I'm still a future ling student :s) so if you can sound it out phonetically like I did above that'd be awesome :)

It's just a curiosity.
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German Compound Nouns

I'm taking a look at how compound nouns are formed in German and I want to make sure that I'm understanding gender determination correctly: given "Bananenbaum" (banana tree), the gender would be masculine (der Bananenbaum) because Baum is masculine and Banane(-n) (which is a feminine noun) is acting as an adjective. Is this correct?

Edit: How do I know when I should insert an N or an S between two words? That is, why is it Bananenbaum and Pfirsichbaum yet not Pfirsischebaum nor Bananebaum?

from a painting

Hasta and Hacia in Spanish

I want to clear up a sort of doubt I have in Spanish: the difference between hacia (towards) and hasta (to). Is hasta (to) more abstract, used more commonly in reference to time, and hacia (towards) more physical, referring to actual movement? What's the difference between "Fui hasta la casa" and "Fui hacia la casa"? 
misc - 月

Innovative Language Learning promotion

Right now Innovative Language Learning is doing a promotion where if 1,000,000 people become a friend of any of their language programs on Facebook, follow any of them on Twitter, or subscribe to any of their YouTube channels, that first 1,000,000 will get a free 6 month premium subscription to one of the sites. All the information is here. (The link is just for the Japanese site, but the list of other languages you can become a fan of/subscribe to/follow is here.) I'm not sure exactly how they'll count that 1,000,000 (I imagine if 33,334 people subscribed to each of the 30 "venues" that'd count as 1,000,000, but they'd only give each of the 33,334 one 6 month subscription. In any case, I thought you guys might like to know, since it'd be a good opportunity to enhance our learning if we do manage to reach that 1,000,000 mark.

x-posted to various comms
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Monet

Toward and Towards in English

So in reading theunixgeek's post about hasta and hacia in Spanish, I noticed that everyone was using the word "towards." 

Last semester, when I was writing my undergraduate thesis, my advisor made a huge fuss about me using the word "towards."  She thought it was quite funny I had made up this spelling and made me do a search-and-replace to rid my thesis of it.   At the time I was a bit miffed, but figured she knew better than me.  Now I'm thinking it might just be some prescriptivist bs. 

A Google search says that most believe the difference is between British and American English, with the interesting twist that "towards" is supposed to be the British one.  I was born and raised in Arkansas, and while I think I would say either one, writing my thesis showed I tend to only write "towards." 

So, in your dialect, is there a difference between the two words?  If not, do you only use one exclusively?  

greek

Bengali

My job has taken me to just outside of Detroit, MI, where there is a sizeable community of Bengali speaking people, and our company works directly with them on a daily basis. Although we do have interpreters who help us communicate with them, I would personally rather be able to do it myself, and have decided to learn Bengali.

So my question for anyone who knows the language, and especially those who have had success learning it as a second language, is if you have any resources (online or off, free or not) that you would recommend for learning the language, both spoken and written. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Transliteration Question:

Hi - I'm trying to figure out why the transliteration of the name 'Sherlock Holmes' in Chinese is 福尔摩斯 (fúěrmósī)... I've snooped around and looked for transliterations for the names characters out of Western literature before, but this doesn't seem as close in terms of... well, phonetic correspondence, I guess you could say. The meanings behind the hanzi themselves doesn't seem all that relevant, either... does anybody have any insight into this? Are transliteration choices just kind of arbitrary on the part of the original translator?

(and as a side note, anybody know what the transliteration is for Watson? Heh...)

And before you start to suspect, I promise I'm not getting tattoos of either. I was just watching the television series with Jeremy Brett on Tudou...