February 6th, 2012

misc - 月

narrowing-down thesaurus

So, weird question... My dad used to have this awesome thesaurus which had an index of sorts where even if you couldn't think of any words similar to the one you're trying to find, you could look it up by general and then more detailed categories, such as cognitive > emotions > sadness, or something like that, and then you'd find the closes word to the one you're looking for in that list and then look for other synonyms in that word's main entry. Does this ring a bell for anybody, and if so what thesaurus has (or thesauri have) this feature? Also, are there any iPhone apps with a similar function?

Russian voice pitch


I started a new job a few weeks ago and now share a cubicle with a very friendly, very nice middle aged Russian woman.  The cubicle across the corridor from us has another Russian woman and between the two of them speaking to each other in Russian and speaking Russian on the phone, I hear a lot of Russian and have been thinking about it.  Something I have noticed is that regardless of whether they are speaking Russian or Hebrew (the language we speak in the office), their pitch of their voices seems unnaturally high and even strained.  Israel had a massive wave of immigration from Russian speaking countries following the collapse of the USSR, so while I come in contact with Russian-Israelis all the time, the ones my age, who grew up in Israel and speak with Israeli accents, don't do this.  This is the first time I'm having this much exposure to Russians who moved here as adults.  As I was thinking about this today at work, I remembered that the women in my flatmate's J-Dramas all do the same thing.  So maybe it's a cultural thing? Something about the cultural status of women in Russia?  And Japan apparently?  Do any other countries do this?  I thought part of the USSR ideology had to do with women having rights and being equals at a time when they weren't in other parts of the world, so I don't know how that would fit in with having them have shrill helpless-sounding voices.

Does this make any sense?
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Richard Haddon

IPA help with names - Lithuanian and ?Bangladeshi

I'm doing some ESOL teaching at the moment, and I thought it'd be a nice idea (& one that might help students get a bit of a grip on IPA) to give them out name-tags with their names on in IPA.

I can deal with most of them, but there are two I could do with some help on (please note that I'm only after a fairly broad transcription here).

One is a South Asian lady (?Bangladeshi) named Tasnia - I'm not sure that I'm pronouncing her name correctly, and she's too polite to tell me I'm getting it wrong.

The other is a Lithuanian chap who spells his name Grazvydas, although googling that name leads me to wonder whether it shouldn't actually be Gražvydas.

My current best guesses for these are something like [ˈtaznia] and [ˈgrɐʒʋiːdɐs], but I'd prefer to actually get them right!

IPA or X-SAMPA are fine; any help would be much appreciated.