January 9th, 2011

Turkish translation & Kurdish resources

Can anyone tell me what this Istanbul graffiti says?

Google translate hints something along the lines of "men's love kills three women a day", I think?

Also, can anyone recommend any good resources for learning Kurdish, preferably Sorani (or any words of wisdom on how mutually unintelligible Sorani & Kurmanji really are)? I checked the tags but all the Kurdish posts were a while back.
Doctor are you kidding me?
  • runa27

Ah, the perils of trying to learn IPA by yourself... (Forgive me, for I am Noob)

Forgive me, for I am Noob, probably missing something incredibly obvious, and probably too wordy.

All right, so, I decided I will, in fact, devote myself to the years of effort it will take to create a fully-realized fictional, naturalistic language/culture for a people in one (and thank god only one!) of my stories. Up until this point, even the challenging parts - coming up with a reasonable syntax, idioms, vocabulary, creation of an orthography that includes a cursive system (I think I'm almost done on this, maybe, except for some kinks revealed by the cursive experiments that I may or may not ask for advice on later) etc. - have been fun. So far I'm happy with the phonemes as represented by the syllabary, which I even like the look of, though again, I may ask for advice on that in the future.

Aaaaand finally we get to the first true roadblock, particularly if I plan to share the language with anybody: I'm inexperienced with IPA, Wikipedia and such seem to not be very helpful at clearing up my first question on it (particularly since my native language is English, and at least one of the other languages or families whose sounds I can both imagine and actually pronounce that lends sounds to the conlang in question is something I can't read, so the IPA guides on Wiki aren't 100% consistently usable for me?), Zompist's Language Construction kit is more helpful but only comes close to solving the problem, and in summary:

I'm having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to describe the pronunciation of a new vocabulary word I came up with today, using IPA-style orthography. (Which leads me to worry since how the heck am I going to ask for advice on this if I can't transcribe the words or syllabary completely into IPA!?) So I need help teasing out and articulating exactly what a linguist would render this word as.

OK. So. Here goes:

The basic phonemes in this word, near as I can tell, would be represented thusly:

kɒ ti, all one word, though there is possibly some kind of stop in the middle.

It's hard to say if I can call it that (a "stop") without some input though, because the only foreign language I've learned where "syllable stops" were important was a lot more obvious about it (Japanese) and it there it's a very distinctive feature that could completely change what you were saying... whereas both the k and t phonemes tend to be very pronounced in the fictional language I'm working on, so what I'm feeling as a sort of micro-pause might simply be just the flow of the language from its natural accent (at least as it goes over short words like that), and not a true stop, and therefore not a real concern to linguists? I really don't know. But this is almost coincidental to my question, because the REAL trickiness is how to describe the ending sound!

Basically, emphasis falls somewhat for on the ti; pitch rises slightly (from the natural tendencies of the accent), and the i is... shortened? Truncated? I want to call it a "glottal stop", but that doesn't sound right. It's hard to figure out from the resources I've got if that can apply to a phoneme that ends in a vowel, though I strongly suspect it isn't, just from the position of the mouth on the sound (the glottis is pretty far down in the throat), but is there a vowel equivalent stop that uses a different part of the mouth/throat that can describe this? Or is it not a stop, and I'm simply using the wrong character to represent it? :\ It's not quite devoiced... it's actually emphasized, in fact, just much briefer.

I feel like a total noob for having to ask this, and the answer will probably be something I will *facepalm* over once it's explained to me. But hey, you don't learn without asking a stupid question once in a while, I guess... and anyone who can put up with me long enough to answer would be greatly appreciated!

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