Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [norse_course] Modern Icelandic, Modern Faeroese And Old Norse

Expand Messages
  • Haukur Thorgeirsson
    ... I see Óskar is already writing an answer to this, I d just like to point out one thing. Old Norse had nasal vowels (as French does) but they were not
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      >How similar are modern Icelandic and Faeroese, particularly in terms of
      >phonetics? Which is closer to Old Norse?

      I see Óskar is already writing an answer to this,
      I'd just like to point out one thing.

      Old Norse had nasal vowels (as French does) but they were not marked
      in writing so we don't know where they were. No descendant of ON has
      preserved those nasals. This is one of the things that make it impossible
      for us to obtain a precise reconstructed pronunciation of the language.

      It is, for example, quite possible that the ó in Þórr was a nasal vowel.

      Regards,
      Haukur
    • Óskar Guðlaugsson
      ... of phonetics? Which is closer to Old Norse? Well... that s a tough one :) On the whole, I suppose we could say Icelandic sounds closer to ON than Faroese
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In norse_course@y..., "John G." <jg2010@h...> wrote:
        > How similar are modern Icelandic and Faeroese, particularly in terms
        of phonetics? Which is closer to Old Norse?

        Well... that's a tough one :)

        On the whole, I suppose we could say Icelandic sounds closer to ON
        than Faroese does; I wouldn't argue that very far, though. The fact
        is, both languages have undergone alot of sound changes, so that
        neither of them sounds much like ON probably did.

        Continental Scandinavian generally seems to be much closer to ON in
        pronunciation (excluding Danish, though); their inflectional system
        has, however, undergone vast simplification.

        The thing with Icelandic sound changes is that there have been few
        merges (where two formerly different sounds become the same, typically
        of a third value), and most sound changes have been complete (i.e.
        affected all the relevant sounds, not leaving some with the old value
        and others with the new one). This characteristic of the development
        enables the Icelanders to retain the old orthography almost as it was.

        If we take for example an ON word and its Icelandic counterpart:

        (using SAMPA transcription)

        ON: full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
        pronounced something like [PUll]
        MI: full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
        pronounced [fYtl_0]

        The two forms have the same meaning, and same "position" within the
        declension; but their pronunciation is markedly different.

        [P] is a so-called "bilabial fricative"; it is very close to the [f]
        that we know, but pronounced without the tongue touching the teeth (as
        it does in [f], which is therefore called a "labio-dental fricative").

        AFAIK, Faroese would have the following counterpart:

        full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
        pronounced [fUtl_0]

        I.e. the vowel like that of ON, the consonants like MI.

        Generally, though, Faroese has departed most in its vowel system; <u>
        is one of the few that still has a value similar to that of ON ([U],
        as above). The differences between Faroese and Icelandic are
        especially in their vowel systems. It is two much for me to detail
        here, really.

        The general tendency in all the descendants of ON has been to make
        diphthongs out of the former long vowels. Thus, ON <ae>, <oe>, <é>,
        <á>, and <ó> have all become diphthongs of some sort in Icelandic. In
        Faroese, those, and <ú>, <í>, and <ý> have also become dipthongs. The
        values of the new dipthongs are quite different between Icelandic and
        Faroese, and also different between the various dialects of
        continental Scandinavian.

        Icelandic and Faroese have more in common in the developments
        of the consonant system. They share their treatment of <ll> (to [tl]),
        <nn> (to [tn]), and pre-aspiration as well. In both countries, ON <hv>
        has generally become [k_hv] (pronounced somewhat like English <qu> in
        <quick>), though some Icelandic dialects have a value closer to the ON
        one.

        In Faroese, however, <kj>, palatalized <k>, <tj>, and <hj> have all
        become an aspirated affricate [t_hS] (as English <ch> in <chill>),
        quite unlike Icelandic. Likewise, <gj> and palatalized <g> have become
        [tS] (unaspirated <ch>). Faroese has also lost their "ð" [D] (though
        the orthography retains it), and the old "þ" [T] has changed to either
        a "t" [t_h] or "h" [h] (Far <Hórur> = ON <Þórr> = Thor, the
        Thundergod).

        Finally, I should note that the Faroes have a great variety of
        dialects (unlike Iceland)

        As I said, it's a tough question, as there is so much to explain;
        perhaps I could provide more understandable answers to less open
        questions :)

        Óskar
      • Óskar Guðlaugsson
        ... impossible ... language. ... vowel. Yes... this deserves more explanation than you give it :) The old nasal vowels are not quite as hard to guess as you
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In norse_course@y..., Haukur Thorgeirsson <haukurth@h...> wrote:

          > Old Norse had nasal vowels (as French does) but they were not marked
          > in writing so we don't know where they were. No descendant of ON has
          > preserved those nasals. This is one of the things that make it
          impossible
          > for us to obtain a precise reconstructed pronunciation of the
          language.
          >
          > It is, for example, quite possible that the ó in Þórr was a nasal
          vowel.

          Yes... this deserves more explanation than you give it :)

          The old nasal vowels are not quite as hard to guess as you say.

          "Þórr", for example, almost certainly had a nasal vowel at some point;
          cf German version "Donner", and English "thunder" (a cognate to the
          name); the "n" there disappeared and left a nasal quality to the
          vowel.

          The best examples are the prepositions "í" and "á"; their English
          cognates are "in" and "on". Since the English cognates have "n", it is
          very likely that "í" and "á" were originally nasalized, transcribed
          [i~:] and [a~:].

          The Runic alphabet did, NB, have a special rune for the nasalized "a".

          I should warn students that nasalized vowels is not anything they
          should worry about; it requires a great amount of etymological
          knowledge to be able to pronounce ON with nasalization in the right
          places, which is not anything we intend for you to learn here. Don't
          worry about it :)

          Óskar
        • Haukur Thorgeirsson
          ... This is perhaps a bit misleading. I think they actually call the god Tórur but the day that is named after him is Hósdagur . Kveðja, Haukur
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            >Faroese has also lost their "ð" [D] (though
            >the orthography retains it), and the old "þ" [T] has changed to either
            >a "t" [t_h] or "h" [h] (Far <Hórur> = ON <Þórr> = Thor, the
            >Thundergod).

            This is perhaps a bit misleading. I think they actually call the god
            "Tórur" but the day that is named after him is "Hósdagur".

            Kveðja,
            Haukur
          • keth@online.no
            Heill Óskar! ... Did you here mean to say there have been a few mergers ? I am tinking of Æ and Ø that I thought have been merged into a diphtong that is
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              Heill Óskar!
              --- In norse_course@y..., "Óskar Guðlaugsson" <hr_oskar@h...> wrote:

              > The thing with Icelandic sound changes is that there have been few
              > merges (where two formerly different sounds become the same,
              > typically of a third value),

              Did you here mean to say "there have been a few mergers"?
              I am tinking of Æ and Ø that I thought have been merged into
              a diphtong that is pronounced like "AI". (e.g. in "Laxdæla")

              Maybe the concept of "mapping" would be a good description.
              The old vowels have been mapped onto new ones.
              Part of the mapping is "one-to-one", but some of the old vowels
              have been mapped onto new ones in a "two-to-one" fashion.

              btw pronunciation Sampa/Ipa: I saw the "Duden" Aussprachebuch
              in the library. It has a good description of the phonetic
              alphabet at the beginning of the book. I think these phonetic
              symbols that "Duden" describes for use with German, are the
              same one Oskar uses with Old Norse.

              Are there some sounds in Old Norse that are not used in modern
              German (except the THURSE)?

              > and most sound changes have been complete (i.e.
              > affected all the relevant sounds, not leaving some with the old
              value
              > and others with the new one). This characteristic of the development
              > enables the Icelanders to retain the old orthography almost as it
              was.

              That is one of the differences between Icelandic and the modern
              Scandinavian languages, that the spelling of MS much more closely
              reflects the actual pronouncuiation, than in MI. MI is similar to
              English in this way. In fact, English does not seem to have gone
              through a serious spelling reform since the time of Shakespeare,
              or perhaps even earlier. And yet, in the intervening centuries
              there must have been many changes in pronounciation.
              Thus Written English is today a walking library of language history!
              (which is nice if you appreciate knowing about the history of a
              language)

              > If we take for example an ON word and its Icelandic counterpart:
              >
              > (using SAMPA transcription)
              >
              > ON: full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
              > pronounced something like [PUll]
              > MI: full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
              > pronounced [fYtl_0]
              >
              > The two forms have the same meaning, and same "position" within the
              > declension; but their pronunciation is markedly different.
              >
              > [P] is a so-called "bilabial fricative"; it is very close to the [f]
              > that we know, but pronounced without the tongue touching the teeth
              (as
              > it does in [f], which is therefore called a "labio-dental
              fricative").

              When I pronounce "F" in Norwegian, the tongue tip does not touch
              the teeth. But the lower lip touches the upper front teeth.
              I think it is the same way in English. (?)

              >
              > AFAIK, Faroese would have the following counterpart:
              >
              > full (full; fem sg, nom-acc/neut pl, nom-acc)
              > pronounced [fUtl_0]
              >
              > I.e. the vowel like that of ON, the consonants like MI.
              >
              > Generally, though, Faroese has departed most in its vowel system;
              <u>
              > is one of the few that still has a value similar to that of ON ([U],
              > as above). The differences between Faroese and Icelandic are
              > especially in their vowel systems. It is two much for me to detail
              > here, really.
              >
              > The general tendency in all the descendants of ON has been to make
              > diphthongs out of the former long vowels. Thus, ON <ae>, <oe>, <é>,
              > <á>, and <ó> have all become diphthongs of some sort in Icelandic.
              In
              > Faroese, those, and <ú>, <í>, and <ý> have also become dipthongs.
              The
              > values of the new dipthongs are quite different between Icelandic
              and
              > Faroese, and also different between the various dialects of
              > continental Scandinavian.
              >
              > Icelandic and Faroese have more in common in the developments
              > of the consonant system. They share their treatment of <ll> (to
              [tl]),
              > <nn> (to [tn]), and pre-aspiration as well. In both countries, ON
              <hv>
              > has generally become [k_hv] (pronounced somewhat like English <qu>
              in
              > <quick>), though some Icelandic dialects have a value closer to the
              ON
              > one.
              >
              > In Faroese, however, <kj>, palatalized <k>, <tj>, and <hj> have all
              > become an aspirated affricate [t_hS] (as English <ch> in <chill>),
              > quite unlike Icelandic. Likewise, <gj> and palatalized <g> have
              become
              > [tS] (unaspirated <ch>). Faroese has also lost their "ð" [D] (though
              > the orthography retains it), and the old "þ" [T] has changed to
              either
              > a "t" [t_h] or "h" [h] (Far <Hórur> = ON <Þórr> = Thor, the
              > Thundergod).
              >
              > Finally, I should note that the Faroes have a great variety of
              > dialects (unlike Iceland)
              >
              > As I said, it's a tough question, as there is so much to explain;
              > perhaps I could provide more understandable answers to less open
              > questions :)


              "Eg é fodle å gálen"

              Ketill
            • keth@online.no
              ... I also noticed Føroyic using a lot of hetta -s. At first I thought it meant that everyone was wearing a special Føroyic shirt that had a hood
              Message 6 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In norse_course@y..., Haukur Thorgeirsson <haukurth@h...> wrote:

                > This is perhaps a bit misleading. I think they actually call the god
                > "Tórur" but the day that is named after him is "Hósdagur".

                I also noticed "Føroyic" using a lot of "hetta"-s.
                At first I thought it meant that everyone was wearing
                a special "Føroyic" shirt that had a hood attached to
                it, a little bit like the U.S. style sweat shirts that
                are now also used in Europe. In fact, it took me quite
                a while to discover that the word should be read as
                "þetta" - and then sudenly everything started to make
                sense.

                Ketill

                maybe it means that the THURSE was once pronounced
                followed by a voiceless breath. Wouldn't that be the
                little (miniscule) superscripted "h" that we discussed
                a while ago?
              • Óskar Guðlaugsson
                Heill Keth, ok þér öll, ... [f] ... teeth ... That was an unfortunate slip of mine; I meant to say the upper lip touching the teeth... ; not the tongue. In
                Message 7 of 23 , Mar 8, 2001
                • 0 Attachment
                  Heill Keth, ok þér öll,


                  > > [P] is a so-called "bilabial fricative"; it is very close to the
                  [f]
                  > > that we know, but pronounced without the tongue touching the
                  teeth
                  > (as
                  > > it does in [f], which is therefore called a "labio-dental
                  > fricative").
                  >
                  > When I pronounce "F" in Norwegian, the tongue tip does not touch
                  > the teeth. But the lower lip touches the upper front teeth.
                  > I think it is the same way in English. (?)

                  That was an unfortunate slip of mine; I meant to say "the upper lip
                  touching the teeth..."; not the tongue.

                  In English, MI, and Norwegian (and most other Western languages), we
                  have a labio-dental [f], instead of a bilabial [P]. You may possibly
                  not ever have heard [P], actually; it's very rare in modern Western
                  languages, that I know of.

                  In our pronunciation guide, we did not address the [P] sound; there
                  is no need. It's much easier for all of us to just pronounce it as
                  [f], and not much less "realistic". So don't worry about it.

                  > maybe it means that the THURSE was once pronounced
                  > followed by a voiceless breath. Wouldn't that be the
                  > little (miniscule) superscripted "h" that we discussed
                  > a while ago?

                  Keth, I encourage you again to read a little bit about phonetics;
                  what you're saying here doesn't make much sense, though it's always
                  commendible to be curious :)

                  A little superscripted "h" marks aspiration in stop consonants (such
                  as p,t,k). "THURSE" is a fricative, not a stop; we are certain that
                  the ON "þ" was pronounced as an unvoiced dental fricative [T], just
                  as it is in Icelandic today, and just as "th" is pronounced in
                  English today (where it comes from the same root phoneme as the
                  ON "þ"; it is sometimes voiced in English, such as in "that").

                  Regarding the development þ > h, it is common in human languages for
                  unvoiced fricatives to change to [h], which is an unvoiced glottal
                  fricative. To name some examples, Latin initial [f] became Spanish
                  [h], syllable-final [s] changed to [h] in Andalucian Spanish, and [x]
                  changed to [h] in Proto-Germanic. And some ON [T] became [h] in
                  Faroese, as mentioned; actually, there are signs of the same
                  development (þ > h) in Icelandic too, though it is by no means
                  complete, and not even sure to carry through. Anyway, those are just
                  examples for the various fricatives, from the top of my head.

                  I did intend to reply to some other writings of yours, but I'll leave
                  it for tomorrow.

                  Óskar
                • Óskar Guðlaugsson
                  Heill Keth, ... I find this rather exaggerated; would you care to reason for your statement? The problem with English orthography is rather the irregularity in
                  Message 8 of 23 , Mar 9, 2001
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Heill Keth,

                    > That is one of the differences between Icelandic and the modern
                    > Scandinavian languages, that the spelling of MS much more closely
                    > reflects the actual pronouncuiation, than in MI. MI is similar to
                    > English in this way.

                    I find this rather exaggerated; would you care to reason for your
                    statement?

                    The problem with English orthography is rather the irregularity in
                    its representation; rhymes in the spoken language cannot be spotted
                    graphically, by comparing spelling. In MI, and most MS, there is much
                    less irregularity, but rather a few "unorthodox correspondences",
                    which may be what you're criticizing MI for. That is, the sounds
                    attributed to a symbol may seem unconventional to users of other
                    orthographies: the Swedish and MI values of orthographic "u" may seem
                    strange to many others; the Danish value of "r" may seem wrong to
                    some; the Swedish and Norwegian values of "kj" (and sometimes "k", as
                    in Swedish "köp") may seem strange too; to English and Romance-
                    speakers, the general Nordic value of "j" may not seem right. And so
                    on. But that is hardly a fault of the orthographies. We take the
                    symbols and apply them to the language's phonemes in a consistent
                    manner, trying to make them correspond in a "traditional" manner, to
                    make the orthography less confusing for foreigners; usually the
                    orthographies have assigned the symbols by their historical value,
                    which acts to keep the related languages closer to each other,
                    graphically.

                    The fact is, it is the norm for orthographies to misrepresent the
                    spoken language. Speech develops faster than orthography, because it
                    is simply not practical to change the orthography as often as would
                    be required, to keep it up to date with speech. There is also more
                    information in the spoken language than most orthographies care to
                    represent, such as intonation.


                    > In fact, English does not seem to have gone
                    > through a serious spelling reform since the time of Shakespeare,
                    > or perhaps even earlier. And yet, in the intervening centuries
                    > there must have been many changes in pronounciation.
                    > Thus Written English is today a walking library of language history!
                    > (which is nice if you appreciate knowing about the history of a
                    > language)

                    English hasn't undergone any major spelling change, ever, except
                    perhaps that of the Normans, which can hardly be called a "reform".
                    But English spelling doesn't always reflect language history; rather,
                    we might say it reflects spelling history, and not much more than
                    that; nobody should rely on English spelling as etymological proof.

                    Perhaps I should give some examples:

                    * "Island" is an example of a spelling with false etymology: the "s"
                    was inserted in the false belief that the word were related to
                    Latin "insula" (island), while the word is actually just Germanic,
                    and thus related to ON "eyland". It was common for false etymologies
                    to develop by misconception of English as a Romance language.

                    * "Ptarmigan" has a falsely added "p" in front of it, which is also
                    not present in speech. Etymologists often sought to make the words
                    look more Greek, as well as Latin; for instance, they
                    respelled "rime" to "rhyme", which is probably false etymology too
                    (ON has "rím", but it's not necessarily of Germanic origin).

                    * "Admiral" is an example of a word that has changed its
                    pronunciation in accordance with a false spelling; originally, the
                    word was something like "amyrel", and thought to have originated from
                    Arabic (through Spanish, if I remember right) "El Emir" (the Emir).
                    Medieval etymologists, however, believed the word to have a Latin
                    origin, and respelled it to "admiral", by analogy with the
                    word "admire" (Lat. "admirare"). Subsequently, as this is not a
                    common word, people came to pronounce it by the new spelling.


                    Óskar
                  • Angasule
                    ... It may not be that uncommon, just that most of us can t notice the difference! (I remember my french class trying to figure out the difference between
                    Message 9 of 23 , Mar 9, 2001
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Óskar Guðlaugsson wrote:
                      >
                      > Heill Keth, ok þér öll,
                      >
                      > > > [P] is a so-called "bilabial fricative"; it is very close to the
                      > [f]
                      > > > that we know, but pronounced without the tongue touching the
                      > teeth
                      > > (as
                      > > > it does in [f], which is therefore called a "labio-dental
                      > > fricative").
                      > >
                      > > When I pronounce "F" in Norwegian, the tongue tip does not touch
                      > > the teeth. But the lower lip touches the upper front teeth.
                      > > I think it is the same way in English. (?)
                      >
                      > That was an unfortunate slip of mine; I meant to say "the upper lip
                      > touching the teeth..."; not the tongue.
                      >
                      > In English, MI, and Norwegian (and most other Western languages), we
                      > have a labio-dental [f], instead of a bilabial [P]. You may possibly
                      > not ever have heard [P], actually; it's very rare in modern Western
                      > languages, that I know of.
                      >
                      > In our pronunciation guide, we did not address the [P] sound; there
                      > is no need. It's much easier for all of us to just pronounce it as
                      > [f], and not much less "realistic". So don't worry about it.
                      It may not be that uncommon, just that most of us can't notice the
                      difference! (I remember my french class trying to figure out the
                      difference between poison and poisson :) ) A consonant cluster like 'mf'
                      is probably said with [P] (or maybe the m changed to an n) in normal
                      speech.

                      > Regarding the development þ > h, it is common in human languages for
                      > unvoiced fricatives to change to [h], which is an unvoiced glottal
                      > fricative. To name some examples, Latin initial [f] became Spanish
                      > [h],
                      And then it went away :) 'h' (the letter) is no longer pronounced in
                      Spanish, I guess you were referring to a stage between Old Spanish (or
                      whatever it's called) and Modern Spanish (whatever that is ;) ). I think
                      I remember the word 'facer' (modern Spanish 'hacer', pronounced [aser]
                      or something similar) from the Mio Cid.

                      > syllable-final [s] changed to [h] in Andalucian Spanish, and [x]
                      > changed to [h] in Proto-Germanic. And some ON [T] became [h] in
                      > Faroese, as mentioned; actually, there are signs of the same
                      > development (þ > h) in Icelandic too, though it is by no means
                      > complete, and not even sure to carry through. Anyway, those are just
                      > examples for the various fricatives, from the top of my head.
                      I'd be interested in learning the relationships between OI and
                      Norwegian Bokmål (which I more or less speak), both to learn OI and to
                      improve my Norwegian (like knowing for sure what does the 'o' stand for,
                      argh!)
                      Angasule
                    • keth@online.no
                      HAil Oskar, ... The problem with English is that the pronounciation of a letter depends on what word it is occurring in. Thus, in English, the pronounciation
                      Message 10 of 23 , Mar 10, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        HAil Oskar,

                        you wrote:
                        >I find this rather exaggerated; would you care to reason for your
                        >statement?

                        The problem with English is that the pronounciation of a letter
                        depends on what word it is occurring in. Thus, in English, the
                        pronounciation of each word has to be learned independently
                        of the spelling of the same word.

                        I recall some years ago an American spelling reform, that
                        did not come across as very major, was being discussed. An
                        example is the spelling of "night" as "nite".

                        (I think this spelling reform was abandoned later, because it is
                        really very long ago since I saw any one write night as "nite")

                        The "gh" in "night" is actually a good example, since it suggests
                        that the word "night" was previously pronounced differently, though
                        this is many centuries ago. If you compare with West-Germanic,
                        e.g. Dutch "nacht" you will get some idea about what the "gh" is
                        doing in English "night". There are many such examples, and
                        you will notice many as you work with the language, with an open eye
                        for such phenomena.

                        The medieval spelling of imported arabic words, (you mentioned admiral)
                        is of course common to all European languages, and thus does not give a good
                        demonstration of the peculiarities of English.

                        One thing one motices is that the dictionaries they use in America
                        (e.g. Webster's) all include phonetic pronounciation guides for each
                        separate word, as well as etymologies.

                        The reason for the phonetic information is of course that there
                        is no other way to find out how to pronounce a word. (except by asking
                        someone else, who is a seasoned user) The reason for all the etymologies,
                        is because almost 50% af all English words are actually French imports.
                        And the meanings of many English words are very hard to learn without
                        knowing some Latin or some French.

                        For comparison, I'd like to state that the dictionaries we used for Norwegian
                        in school, did not include any etymologies at all. Nor did they include any
                        phonetic pronounciation guidelines. That is because Norwegian is very much
                        pronounced "as is".

                        (and I don't think the Norwegian language is in a unique position
                        in this regard, either - but that is another discussion)

                        Here a simple example of how the constant spelling reforms work:

                        Formerly it was "jeg stod".
                        However, since the "d" is no longer pronounced, the new spelling
                        rules say that the correct form is now "Jeg sto".

                        Very simple: you just keep changing the spelling so that it always
                        conforms to the latest habits of pronounciation.

                        I could give many other examples. But since a few random examples
                        are hardly statistically significant, the final judgement of the
                        state of affairs must be left to those who know the two languages
                        that are being compared. Preferably it should be people who have
                        lived a considerable time "among the populace" of the countries
                        that are being compared. Or better: gone through primary school
                        in the given countries. Since I haven't lived in Iceland, I just
                        have to take your word for it, that the Icelandic system is a
                        consistent one. But if the Icelandic school childeren all need
                        to know SAMPA and IPA in order to learn to pronounce their own
                        language, then that would of course modify ones view on how close
                        written Icelandic is to an approximately phonetic spelling system.

                        Note that my remarks were descriptive.
                        I wasn't "criticizing" either English or Icelandic.
                        I think it is nice that some languages are conservative and stick
                        to old forms.

                        Keth
                      • robert blank
                        Heill Keth Yes, there was an attempt at a spelling reform in the States. It was sometime in the late 70 s or early 80 s. It didn t really go anywhere.
                        Message 11 of 23 , Mar 10, 2001
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Heill Keth

                          Yes, there was an attempt at a spelling reform in the
                          States. It was sometime in the late 70's or early
                          80's. It didn't really go anywhere. However, it did
                          seem to make it acceptable to write "night" as "nite"
                          and "light" as "lite". Although, this is not an
                          official thing.

                          Its a funny thing, we Americans are very picky about
                          how our language is spelled eventhough better than
                          half of us can't speak it worth a damn. I think that
                          the reform in the 70's was doomed to failure at the
                          time because of our geographic isolation from the rest
                          of the world. Much like Iceland. Now with the wide
                          spread use of the internet that isolation is on its
                          way out. I don't believe that an actual spelling
                          change will occure because of any official change. I
                          doubt that one day Webster's Dictionary will come out
                          and say "Now 'light' is 'lite'. Though it may happen,
                          the contraction "ain't" is now in the Dictionary. An
                          interesting side note to this is the reason there was
                          a move to change the spelling in the first place was
                          that with the pronuniciation of English depending on
                          the word and not the letter it is quite possible to
                          write the word "fish" as "ghoti". The "gh" as in
                          "rough". The "ti" as in "nation" and I can't remember
                          where the "o" comes from. But it works.

                          Rob

                          --- keth@... wrote:

                          > The problem with English is that the pronounciation
                          > of a letter
                          > depends on what word it is occurring in. Thus, in
                          > English, the
                          > pronounciation of each word has to be learned
                          > independently
                          > of the spelling of the same word.
                          >
                          > I recall some years ago an American spelling reform,
                          > that
                          > did not come across as very major, was being
                          > discussed. An
                          > example is the spelling of "night" as "nite".
                          >
                          > (I think this spelling reform was abandoned later,
                          > because it is
                          > really very long ago since I saw any one write night
                          > as "nite")
                          >
                          > The "gh" in "night" is actually a good example,
                          > since it suggests
                          > that the word "night" was previously pronounced
                          > differently, though
                          > this is many centuries ago. If you compare with
                          > West-Germanic,
                          > e.g. Dutch "nacht" you will get some idea about what
                          > the "gh" is
                          > doing in English "night". There are many such
                          > examples, and
                          > you will notice many as you work with the language,
                          > with an open eye
                          > for such phenomena.
                          >
                          > The medieval spelling of imported arabic words, (you
                          > mentioned admiral)
                          > is of course common to all European languages, and
                          > thus does not give a good
                          > demonstration of the peculiarities of English.
                          >
                          > One thing one motices is that the dictionaries they
                          > use in America
                          > (e.g. Webster's) all include phonetic pronounciation
                          > guides for each
                          > separate word, as well as etymologies.
                          >
                          > The reason for the phonetic information is of course
                          > that there
                          > is no other way to find out how to pronounce a word.
                          > (except by asking
                          > someone else, who is a seasoned user) The reason for
                          > all the etymologies,
                          > is because almost 50% af all English words are
                          > actually French imports.
                          > And the meanings of many English words are very hard
                          > to learn without
                          > knowing some Latin or some French.
                          >
                          > For comparison, I'd like to state that the
                          > dictionaries we used for Norwegian
                          > in school, did not include any etymologies at all.
                          > Nor did they include any
                          > phonetic pronounciation guidelines. That is because
                          > Norwegian is very much
                          > pronounced "as is".
                          >
                          > (and I don't think the Norwegian language is in a
                          > unique position
                          > in this regard, either - but that is another
                          > discussion)
                          >
                          > Here a simple example of how the constant spelling
                          > reforms work:
                          >
                          > Formerly it was "jeg stod".
                          > However, since the "d" is no longer pronounced, the
                          > new spelling
                          > rules say that the correct form is now "Jeg sto".
                          >
                          > Very simple: you just keep changing the spelling so
                          > that it always
                          > conforms to the latest habits of pronounciation.
                          >
                          > I could give many other examples. But since a few
                          > random examples
                          > are hardly statistically significant, the final
                          > judgement of the
                          > state of affairs must be left to those who know the
                          > two languages
                          > that are being compared. Preferably it should be
                          > people who have
                          > lived a considerable time "among the populace" of
                          > the countries
                          > that are being compared. Or better: gone through
                          > primary school
                          > in the given countries. Since I haven't lived in
                          > Iceland, I just
                          > have to take your word for it, that the Icelandic
                          > system is a
                          > consistent one. But if the Icelandic school
                          > childeren all need
                          > to know SAMPA and IPA in order to learn to pronounce
                          > their own
                          > language, then that would of course modify ones view
                          > on how close
                          > written Icelandic is to an approximately phonetic
                          > spelling system.
                          >
                          > Note that my remarks were descriptive.
                          > I wasn't "criticizing" either English or Icelandic.
                          > I think it is nice that some languages are
                          > conservative and stick
                          > to old forms.
                          >
                          > Keth
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                          > ---------------------~-~>
                          > Make good on the promise you made at graduation to
                          > keep
                          > in touch. Classmates.com has over 14 million
                          > registered
                          > high school alumni--chances are you'll find your
                          > friends!
                          >
                          http://us.click.yahoo.com/l3joGB/DMUCAA/4ihDAA/GizXlB/TM
                          >
                          ---------------------------------------------------------------------_->
                          >
                          > Sumir hafa kv��i...
                          > ...a�rir spakm�li.
                          >
                          > - Keth
                          >
                          > Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                          >
                          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                          > norse_course-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                          > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          >
                          >


                          __________________________________________________
                          Do You Yahoo!?
                          Yahoo! Auctions - Buy the things you want at great prices.
                          http://auctions.yahoo.com/
                        • Óskar Guðlaugsson
                          Heill Keth, ... admiral) is of course common to all European languages, and thus does not give a good demonstration of the peculiarities of English. I think
                          Message 12 of 23 , Mar 10, 2001
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Heill Keth,

                            > The medieval spelling of imported arabic words, (you mentioned
                            admiral) is of course common to all European languages, and thus does
                            not give a good demonstration of the peculiarities of English.

                            I think you misunderstood; I was giving an example of how the origin
                            of a word could get distorted by spelling change.

                            Anyway, I'd rather not discuss English spelling on this list, so I
                            won't dwell on that subject here. Let's not continue that discussion.


                            > For comparison, I'd like to state that the dictionaries we used for
                            Norwegian in school, did not include any etymologies at all. Nor did
                            they include any phonetic pronounciation guidelines. That is because
                            Norwegian is very much pronounced "as is".

                            I'm not Norwegian, but even if I were, I think I'd be careful with
                            such statements; first, which of the two official Norwegian
                            orthographies (or languages, so-called) do you refer to, Bokmål or
                            Nynorsk? Second, with the myriad Nowegian dialects, how can one make
                            a conclusive statement about Norwegian pronunciation?

                            Most languages have a variety of dialects, which often causes
                            problems in orhography. Spanish orthography, for example, fits to all
                            the dialects, yet to none of them; that is, in most versions of
                            Spanish, there are some two symbols that represent the same sound (or
                            rather, phoneme), yet in another version, the same two symbols
                            represent different phonemes. For example, in European Spanish, "se"
                            and "ce" are generally pronounced differently ("ce" sounding like
                            ON "þe" [Te]), while in American Spanish, they're pronounced the same
                            (both as "se"); meanwhile, in a typical European Spanish
                            dialect, "eya" and "ella" would sound the same (as "eya" [ejA]),
                            while an American Spanish dialect (such as, say, Ecuadorian) would
                            have two different sounds there, pronouncing "ella" as [eZA] or even
                            [edZA] ([dZ] being the "j" in "just"). The point is that in the case
                            of Spanish, and many other languages, the orthography serves all the
                            dialects equally, keeping all distinctions between sounds that are
                            made in the various dialects.

                            What I'm trying to say is that the quality of an orthographic system
                            is not just how well it transcribes "the spoken language" (which
                            spoken language?). Accurate transcriptions ultimately fall prey to
                            the great variety of the spoken language: between generations,
                            between dialects, sociolects, even idiolects (e.g. if we were to
                            transcribe English accurately, which "either" should it be?).

                            > But if the Icelandic school childeren all need
                            > to know SAMPA and IPA in order to learn to pronounce their own
                            > language, then that would of course modify ones view on how close
                            > written Icelandic is to an approximately phonetic spelling system.

                            How did you come up with that? Why not present it in question form
                            first?

                            "Do Icelandic school children need to know SAMPA and IPA in order to
                            learn to pronounce their own language?"

                            Would at best have been a very silly question, but as a serious
                            statement, it baffles me.

                            You see, children learn to speak long before they learn to read or
                            write; they still do so, will do so, and have always done so. Even
                            outside of Norway, they do.

                            As regards SAMPA and IPA, then students of some high schools learn
                            rudimentary IPA at age 17, for one semester; nobody has heard of
                            SAMPA, though.


                            Now, I'm not particularly sensitive about criticism of Icelandic
                            orthography, or of anything Icelandic; erraneous conclusions are what
                            I am sensitive about, however. I wouldn't involve myself in this
                            discussion, except that I have a very hard time containing myself in
                            the face of such error.

                            Óskar
                          • birgit001@aol.com
                            In a message dated 3/10/01 6:55:45 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... The o from women. This is from George Bernard Shaw. Birgit
                            Message 13 of 23 , Mar 10, 2001
                            • 0 Attachment
                              In a message dated 3/10/01 6:55:45 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                              sawilagaz@... writes:


                              letter it is quite possible to
                              write the word "fish" as "ghoti".  The "gh" as in
                              "rough".  The "ti" as in "nation" and I can't remember
                              where the "o" comes from.  But it works.

                              Rob


                              The "o" from women.
                              This is from George Bernard Shaw.
                              Birgit
                            • Angasule
                              ... Not quite true, the problem is that English has many spelling paradigms (French, Anglosaxon, Latin, and a couple of others) so unless one has a good grasp
                              Message 14 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                              • 0 Attachment
                                keth@... wrote:
                                >
                                > HAil Oskar,
                                >
                                > you wrote:
                                > >I find this rather exaggerated; would you care to reason for your
                                > >statement?
                                >
                                > The problem with English is that the pronounciation of a letter
                                > depends on what word it is occurring in. Thus, in English, the
                                > pronounciation of each word has to be learned independently
                                > of the spelling of the same word.
                                Not quite true, the problem is that English has many spelling paradigms
                                (French, Anglosaxon, Latin, and a couple of others) so unless one has a
                                good grasp of the ortography it's hard to know the spelling, but when
                                one invents a word, most people will often get the pronunciation right.
                                There are some (many) ambiguous cases, of course! but it's far from a
                                completely random spelling.

                                > (I think this spelling reform was abandoned later, because it is
                                > really very long ago since I saw any one write night as "nite")
                                I've seen it often, guess it stuck in some places :)

                                > One thing one motices is that the dictionaries they use in America
                                > (e.g. Webster's) all include phonetic pronounciation guides for each
                                > separate word, as well as etymologies.
                                >
                                > The reason for the phonetic information is of course that there
                                > is no other way to find out how to pronounce a word. (except by asking
                                > someone else, who is a seasoned user) The reason for all the etymologies,
                                > is because almost 50% af all English words are actually French imports.
                                > And the meanings of many English words are very hard to learn without
                                > knowing some Latin or some French.
                                I'd say that number is a bit exaggerated :) French words are mostly
                                common in legal terms and such (since French used to be what English is
                                now). I don't follow you on how it's harder to learn the meaning of an
                                English word than it is to learn the Latin or French word... I don't see
                                those loans make it any more difficult (aside from spelling), but on the
                                contrary, made my life way easier when learning French :)

                                > For comparison, I'd like to state that the dictionaries we used for Norwegian
                                > in school, did not include any etymologies at all. Nor did they include any
                                > phonetic pronounciation guidelines. That is because Norwegian is very much
                                > pronounced "as is".
                                Argh! Tell me about Norwegian dictionaries! I couldn't get one with
                                phonetic pronunciation while I was there :/ Anyway, as you say it's
                                pretty regular (except for the cracy o's!), I've just been wondering
                                where does the stress falls, but chatting doesn't really help with the
                                oral skills :)

                                > (and I don't think the Norwegian language is in a unique position
                                > in this regard, either - but that is another discussion)
                                Luckily there are many others :) Spanish, French, Italian, I believe
                                German, Russian, Japanese... seems to be the norm rather than the
                                exception, luckily for us language freaks!

                                > Here a simple example of how the constant spelling reforms work:
                                >
                                > Formerly it was "jeg stod".
                                > However, since the "d" is no longer pronounced, the new spelling
                                > rules say that the correct form is now "Jeg sto".
                                >
                                > Very simple: you just keep changing the spelling so that it always
                                > conforms to the latest habits of pronounciation.
                                The problem this brings is when one tries to read an old text,
                                Icelanders can read the old sagas because their spelling and the old
                                spelling is so similar, but if they had somehow adapted their spelling
                                system it'd be a whole different thing... like reading Chaucer for an
                                Englishman, I guess, or El Mio Cid for a Spanish.

                                > I could give many other examples. But since a few random examples
                                > are hardly statistically significant, the final judgement of the
                                > state of affairs must be left to those who know the two languages
                                > that are being compared. Preferably it should be people who have
                                > lived a considerable time "among the populace" of the countries
                                > that are being compared. Or better: gone through primary school
                                > in the given countries. Since I haven't lived in Iceland, I just
                                > have to take your word for it, that the Icelandic system is a
                                > consistent one. But if the Icelandic school childeren all need
                                > to know SAMPA and IPA in order to learn to pronounce their own
                                > language, then that would of course modify ones view on how close
                                > written Icelandic is to an approximately phonetic spelling system.
                                No one has to learn SAMPA or IPA to speak or write :) I didn't learn it
                                (still haven't, just know some of it) and my English is pretty good, for
                                a non-native.

                                > Note that my remarks were descriptive.
                                > I wasn't "criticizing" either English or Icelandic.
                                > I think it is nice that some languages are conservative and stick
                                > to old forms.
                                Yes, I agree :) I'm against restricting, but I really like it when it's
                                natural.
                                Angasule

                                PD: Keth, I think you're being influenced by your Norwegian, our (I
                                speak Spanish natively, which is as tidy with it's ortography as
                                Norwegian is) tidy spelling systems often bring us trouble with others',
                                in the case of Spanish we get even more trouble, since we only have a
                                handful of vowels (a, e, i, o, u, you have a couple more) so 'æ' sounds
                                like 'a' or 'e', 'å' is 'o', 'y' is 'i', 'u' is 'u' (but not *your*
                                'u'), and then you have the @#$# 'o' of which I won't talk here! :) At
                                least your spelling is nice, and you got the 'right' 'j's (the only IPA
                                thing I grabbed quickly was the [j]... when in Spanish 'j' is [x], oh,
                                well!)
                              • Angasule
                                ... Yup, specially since you re very picky but don t agree what s right! I always get the feeling it s more a non-English spelling that anything ... vowel
                                Message 15 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  robert blank wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Heill Keth
                                  >
                                  > Yes, there was an attempt at a spelling reform in the
                                  > States. It was sometime in the late 70's or early
                                  > 80's. It didn't really go anywhere. However, it did
                                  > seem to make it acceptable to write "night" as "nite"
                                  > and "light" as "lite". Although, this is not an
                                  > official thing.
                                  >
                                  > Its a funny thing, we Americans are very picky about
                                  > how our language is spelled eventhough better than
                                  > half of us can't speak it worth a damn.
                                  Yup, specially since you're very picky but don't agree what's right! I
                                  always get the feeling it's more a 'non-English' spelling that anything
                                  :) mostly I see people mixing the spelling of the schwa (any written
                                  vowel can be a schwa in English!). But in general I like the idea of 'no
                                  correct spelling' most people from USA seem to have.

                                  > I think that
                                  > the reform in the 70's was doomed to failure at the
                                  > time because of our geographic isolation from the rest
                                  > of the world. Much like Iceland. Now with the wide
                                  > spread use of the internet that isolation is on its
                                  > way out. I don't believe that an actual spelling
                                  > change will occure because of any official change. I
                                  > doubt that one day Webster's Dictionary will come out
                                  > and say "Now 'light' is 'lite'. Though it may happen,
                                  > the contraction "ain't" is now in the Dictionary.
                                  I'm from Argentina, and we are often told by other Spanish speaking
                                  countries that we speak 'bad' Spanish... of course, we could say the
                                  same about Spain's Spanish, our dialects have the same quantity of
                                  speakers (around 35 millions) after all! The idea of a Dictionary
                                  *telling* one how to write a word instead of *describing* (according to
                                  what's normal at the time) is what's I believe is called restrictivism
                                  (the other 'side' being called something like 'descriptivism', I guess,
                                  haven't read anything on that in over a year).

                                  > An
                                  > interesting side note to this is the reason there was
                                  > a move to change the spelling in the first place was
                                  > that with the pronuniciation of English depending on
                                  > the word and not the letter it is quite possible to
                                  > write the word "fish" as "ghoti". The "gh" as in
                                  > "rough". The "ti" as in "nation" and I can't remember
                                  > where the "o" comes from. But it works.
                                  That is, of course, completely bogus :) 'gh' has the [f] value in some
                                  words (like 'rough', I believe), but never, AFAIK, at the beginning of a
                                  word (think of 'ghost', 'ghoul'... no more examples come to my mind now,
                                  too much CRPG'ing!), 'ti' is [S] in a few places only, too (I can't
                                  think of other place than the ending -tion, btw, maybe it's a latin
                                  ending originally?). About that 'o', I guess that it depends on how you
                                  were saying the 'i' to start with (btw, I guess you could change that to
                                  'ghtti', I've heard 'ballet' said with a final 'i' :) )! After all,
                                  English has so many dialects, I often tell my friends not to worry too
                                  much about getting their pronunciation correct, after all, in some
                                  dialect they are speaking perfectly :)
                                  Angasule
                                • keth@online.no
                                  ... ? I do not recall making an error ... Well, it was a simple statement of fact. ... There aren t a myriad of dialects in Norway. There are however
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Hail Oskar :
                                    >Now, I'm not particularly sensitive about criticism of Icelandic
                                    >orthography, or of anything Icelandic; erraneous conclusions are what
                                    >I am sensitive about, however. I wouldn't involve myself in this
                                    >discussion, except that I have a very hard time containing myself in
                                    >the face of such error.

                                    ? I do not recall making an "error"

                                    >> For comparison, I'd like to state that the dictionaries we used for
                                    >Norwegian in school, did not include any etymologies at all. Nor did
                                    >they include any phonetic pronounciation guidelines. That is because
                                    >Norwegian is very much pronounced "as is".
                                    >
                                    >I'm not Norwegian, but even if I were, I think I'd be careful with
                                    >such statements;

                                    Well, it was a simple statement of fact.


                                    >first, which of the two official Norwegian
                                    >orthographies (or languages, so-called) do you refer to, Bokmål or
                                    >Nynorsk? Second, with the myriad Nowegian dialects, how can one make
                                    >a conclusive statement about Norwegian pronunciation?

                                    There aren't a "myriad" of dialects in Norway.
                                    There are however regional languages.

                                    Maybe it has changed now -- young kids hardly read books any more.
                                    But when I grew up and learned to read, there wasn't ever a problem
                                    with prononciation - An A was an A was an A - If you get my meaning.
                                    So when we were confronted with the picture of a cock, and we
                                    had learned the sound of A, E, H and N, we read H-A-N-E : Hane! :)
                                    simsalabim. no problemo!


                                    >Most languages have a variety of dialects, which often causes

                                    In Norway there aren't any "dialects" but only regional languages.
                                    That means that pronounciation of the same words depends on the region
                                    you are from. But it isn't really the pronounciation of the letters,
                                    but rather the whole tonal quality that you speak with.

                                    But one or two letters differ - true enough.
                                    There are two kinds of R for example. But we just acknowledge
                                    they are interchangable, and pay little attention to it, except
                                    that it tells where a person is from. Then there are also some
                                    differences in the pronounciation of "U" - in some places it is
                                    more rounded, in other places less.

                                    But that is no problem, because you can always pronounce
                                    "straight from the book".

                                    Then there are also "levels" of language.
                                    But then you have to write everything differently.
                                    And then there is of course Bokmål, Riksmål and Nynorsk,
                                    where Riksmål dominates the book and newspaper media.

                                    Nevertheless, there is no problem with pronounciation.
                                    The writing is more or less phonetic.

                                    No, the problem is not one of pronounciation, but rather what
                                    words to use. (fremmedord eller norske f.eks.)


                                    >problems in orhography. Spanish orthography, for example, fits to all
                                    >the dialects, yet to none of them; that is, in most versions of
                                    >Spanish, there are some two symbols that represent the same sound (or
                                    >rather, phoneme), yet in another version, the same two symbols
                                    >represent different phonemes. For example, in European Spanish, "se"
                                    >and "ce" are generally pronounced differently ("ce" sounding like
                                    >ON "þe" [Te]), while in American Spanish, they're pronounced the same
                                    >(both as "se"); meanwhile, in a typical European Spanish
                                    >dialect, "eya" and "ella" would sound the same (as "eya" [ejA]),
                                    >while an American Spanish dialect (such as, say, Ecuadorian) would
                                    >have two different sounds there, pronouncing "ella" as [eZA] or even
                                    >[edZA] ([dZ] being the "j" in "just"). The point is that in the case
                                    >of Spanish, and many other languages, the orthography serves all the
                                    >dialects equally, keeping all distinctions between sounds that are
                                    >made in the various dialects.

                                    Of course Spanish exists over large regions of the world.
                                    But I don't worry about it. It's a nice language and I am
                                    sure I'll pick it up when I get there.

                                    (Latin languages generally have a nice set of vowels.
                                    That is why Italian Opera is so pleasing to listen to.
                                    Spanish song is also very pleasing)
                                    (and so is Swedish song btw - they too have a very nice set
                                    of vowels)


                                    >
                                    >What I'm trying to say is that the quality of an orthographic system
                                    >is not just how well it transcribes "the spoken language" (which
                                    >spoken language?). Accurate transcriptions ultimately fall prey to
                                    >the great variety of the spoken language: between generations,
                                    >between dialects, sociolects, even idiolects (e.g. if we were to
                                    >transcribe English accurately, which "either" should it be?).

                                    I think you make things hopelessly difficult.
                                    Actually, it is as simple as singing a song.
                                    English too can be easy. What I was talking about was, however,
                                    how well the written language matches the spoken language.

                                    How difficult is it to ride a bike?



                                    >> But if the Icelandic school childeren all need
                                    >> to know SAMPA and IPA in order to learn to pronounce their own
                                    >> language, then that would of course modify ones view on how close
                                    >> written Icelandic is to an approximately phonetic spelling system.
                                    >
                                    >How did you come up with that? Why not present it in question form
                                    >first?

                                    It was an if-sentence.


                                    >"Do Icelandic school children need to know SAMPA and IPA in order to
                                    >learn to pronounce their own language?"
                                    >
                                    >Would at best have been a very silly question, but as a serious
                                    >statement, it baffles me.

                                    I think you are'nt used to if-statements.
                                    If-statements aren't silly, they are expressing how one thing
                                    depends upon another.


                                    >You see, children learn to speak long before they learn to read or
                                    >write; they still do so, will do so, and have always done so. Even
                                    >outside of Norway, they do.
                                    >
                                    >As regards SAMPA and IPA, then students of some high schools learn
                                    >rudimentary IPA at age 17, for one semester; nobody has heard of
                                    >SAMPA, though.

                                    Thank you! Well, in my school days we were not required to know
                                    anything about phonetic alphabets, although we had both French,
                                    English and German, as well as two kinds of Norwegian. And yea ;)
                                    we even had a term of Old Norse.

                                    Keth
                                  • Óskar Guðlaugsson
                                    ... Yes; and there are no cars in Norway, only automobiles. Óskar
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      --- In norse_course@y..., keth@o... wrote:

                                      > There aren't a "myriad" of dialects in Norway.
                                      > There are however regional languages.

                                      Yes; and there are no cars in Norway, only automobiles.

                                      Óskar
                                    • Óskar Guðlaugsson
                                      ... Heill Angasule, (or heil ? Real name?) ... (according to ... restrictivism Actually, prescriptivism :) ... guess, haven t read anything on that in over
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        --- In norse_course@y..., Angasule <angasule@p...> wrote:

                                        Heill Angasule,

                                        (or "heil"? Real name?)

                                        > I'm from Argentina, and we are often told by other Spanish speaking
                                        > countries that we speak 'bad' Spanish... of course, we could say the
                                        > same about Spain's Spanish, our dialects have the same quantity of
                                        > speakers (around 35 millions) after all! The idea of a Dictionary
                                        > *telling* one how to write a word instead of *describing*
                                        (according to
                                        > what's normal at the time) is what's I believe is called
                                        restrictivism

                                        Actually, "prescriptivism" :)

                                        > (the other 'side' being called something like 'descriptivism', I
                                        guess, haven't read anything on that in over a year).

                                        Very right. You've made good points here :)

                                        > > An
                                        > > interesting side note to this is the reason there was
                                        > > a move to change the spelling in the first place was
                                        > > that with the pronuniciation of English depending on
                                        > > the word and not the letter it is quite possible to
                                        > > write the word "fish" as "ghoti". The "gh" as in
                                        > > "rough". The "ti" as in "nation" and I can't remember
                                        > > where the "o" comes from. But it works.

                                        > That is, of course, completely bogus :) 'gh' has the [f] value in
                                        some
                                        > words (like 'rough', I believe), but never, AFAIK, at the beginning
                                        of a
                                        > word (think of 'ghost', 'ghoul'... no more examples come to my mind
                                        now,
                                        > too much CRPG'ing!), 'ti' is [S] in a few places only, too (I can't
                                        > think of other place than the ending -tion, btw, maybe it's a latin
                                        > ending originally?). About that 'o', I guess that it depends on how
                                        you
                                        > were saying the 'i' to start with (btw, I guess you could change
                                        that to
                                        > 'ghtti', I've heard 'ballet' said with a final 'i' :) )!

                                        This is an excellent point regarding the "ghoti" deal; I didn't want
                                        to argue about English spelling, so I left it unsaid.

                                        -tion, btw, is a Latin ending. The 'o' is from 'women', as Birgit
                                        pointed out. Shaw's use of 'ti' as [S] is completely "bogus", since
                                        it never gets pronounced that way outside of the -tion environment.

                                        Óskar
                                      • Angasule
                                        ... Angasule *is* my real name, for now :) if you want my legal name, that d be Matias D Ambrosio (should ve been Matías... too bad those guys can t spell
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Óskar Guðlaugsson wrote:
                                          >
                                          > --- In norse_course@y..., Angasule <angasule@p...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Heill Angasule,
                                          >
                                          > (or "heil"? Real name?)
                                          Angasule *is* my real name, for now :) if you want my legal name,
                                          that'd be Matias D'Ambrosio (should've been Matías... too bad those guys
                                          can't spell even a common name... anyway, more nordic this way, I
                                          believe :) ).

                                          > > what's normal at the time) is what's I believe is called
                                          > restrictivism
                                          >
                                          > Actually, "prescriptivism" :)
                                          Ah, well, my memory isn't one of my best qualities, I'm afraid!

                                          > > (the other 'side' being called something like 'descriptivism', I
                                          > guess, haven't read anything on that in over a year).
                                          >
                                          > Very right. You've made good points here :)
                                          Being argentinian I pretty much have to repeat this everytime I talk
                                          about Spanish (yes, even some argentinians think we speak 'wrong'
                                          Spanish...).

                                          > This is an excellent point regarding the "ghoti" deal; I didn't want
                                          > to argue about English spelling, so I left it unsaid.
                                          It's just a common misconception which I wanted to point out, didn't
                                          mean to get so off-topic. I guess this emails were a good intro of what
                                          I am... I often ramble on topics I like, I'm sorry! :)

                                          > -tion, btw, is a Latin ending. The 'o' is from 'women', as Birgit
                                          > pointed out. Shaw's use of 'ti' as [S] is completely "bogus", since
                                          > it never gets pronounced that way outside of the -tion environment.
                                          Thought so :)
                                          Angasule
                                        • birgit001@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 3/11/01 12:40:06 PM Pacific Standard Time, ... common in legal terms and such (since French used to be what English is now).
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Mar 11, 2001
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            In a message dated 3/11/01 12:40:06 PM Pacific Standard Time,
                                            angasule@... writes:


                                            >The reason for all the etymologies,
                                            > is because almost 50% af all English words are actually French imports.
                                            > And the meanings of many English words are very hard to learn without
                                            > knowing some Latin or some French.<

                                            >>I'd say that number is a bit exaggerated :) French words are mostly
                                            common in legal terms and such (since French used to be what English is
                                            now). <<

                                            Heil öll,

                                            Actually, 50% is about the number that I have found in my years of study, as
                                            well.  In legal and scientific terms, the latin-derived words stick out a lot
                                            more, since they are often long and multi-syllabic, but there are shorter
                                            words like "mirror" and anything with "real", for example, that came from
                                            French.  For a German learning English, they really stick out, believe me.

                                            One of my favorite pieces is a short story by Poul Anderson in his book All
                                            One Universe, p. 99-104, called "Uncleftish Beholding".  He wrote this piece
                                            of popular science in a timeline in which the Norman Conquest never happened,
                                            so there is not a single latin-(or greek-) derived word in the story.  For a
                                            German, it is actually not too hard to read, because we actually use
                                            "waterstuff" (Wasserstoff) as the word for hydrogen.  I assume that it is
                                            similar to an Icelander, because in modern Icelandic, even new words are
                                            given an appropriate name in Icelandic instead of using the foreign word
                                            (computer = tölva (number + völva, right?)).
                                            Greetings,
                                            Birgit

                                            Here is the beginning, to give you a taste:

                                            "Uncleftish Beholding.

                                            For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but
                                            could only guess.  With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today
                                            we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the
                                            workstead and in daily life.
                                            The underlying kinds of stuff are the firststuffs, which link together in
                                            sundry ways to give rise to the rest.  Formerly we knew of ninety-two
                                            firststuffs, from waterstuff, the lightest and barest, to ymirstuff, the
                                            heaviest.  Now we have made more, such as aegirstuff and helstuff.
                                            The firststuffs have their being as motes called unclefts.  These are mighty
                                            small; one seedweight of waterstuff holds a tale of them like unto two
                                            followed by twenty-two naughts.  Most unclefts link together to make what are
                                            called bulkbits.  Thus, the waterstuff bulkbit bestands of two waterstuff
                                            unclefts, the sourstuff bulkbit of two sourstuff unclefts, and so on.  (Some
                                            kinds, such as sunstuff, keep alone; others, such as iron, cling together in
                                            ices when in the fast standing; and there are yet more yokeways.)  When
                                            unlike clefts link in a bulkbit, they make bindings.  Thus, water is a
                                            binding of two waterstuff unclefts with one sourstuff uncleft, while a
                                            bulkbit of one of the forestuffs making up flesh may have a thousand thousand
                                            or more unclefts of these two firststuffs together with coalstuff and
                                            chokestuff. …"

                                          • Selvarv Stigard
                                            ... I m glad you used quotes around bogus because Shaw never intended it as a real lesson in pronounciation - it was just a satiric comment on the ridiculous
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Mar 13, 2001
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              I can't remember who wrote:
                                              >>>An
                                              >>>interesting side note to this is the reason there was
                                              >>>a move to change the spelling in the first place was
                                              >>>that with the pronuniciation of English depending on
                                              >>>the word and not the letter it is quite possible to
                                              >>>write the word "fish" as "ghoti". The "gh" as in
                                              >>>"rough". The "ti" as in "nation" and I can't remember
                                              >>>where the "o" comes from. But it works.

                                              Angasule replied:
                                              >>That is, of course, completely bogus :) 'gh' has the [f] value in some
                                              >>words (like 'rough', I believe), but never, AFAIK, at the beginning of a
                                              >>word (think of 'ghost', 'ghoul'... no more examples come to my mind now,
                                              >>too much CRPG'ing!), 'ti' is [S] in a few places only, too (I can't
                                              >>think of other place than the ending -tion, btw, maybe it's a latin
                                              >>ending originally?). About that 'o', I guess that it depends on how you
                                              >>were saying the 'i' to start with (btw, I guess you could change that to
                                              >>'ghtti', I've heard 'ballet' said with a final 'i' :) )!

                                              Óskar added:
                                              >This is an excellent point regarding the "ghoti" deal; I didn't want
                                              >to argue about English spelling, so I left it unsaid.
                                              >
                                              >-tion, btw, is a Latin ending. The 'o' is from 'women', as Birgit
                                              >pointed out. Shaw's use of 'ti' as [S] is completely "bogus", since
                                              >it never gets pronounced that way outside of the -tion environment.

                                              I'm glad you used quotes around "bogus" because Shaw never intended it as a
                                              real lesson in pronounciation - it was just a satiric comment on the
                                              ridiculous variation in pronounciation rules from numerous linguistic
                                              influences upon the English language. And if we added Oscar Wilde's and
                                              Mark Twain's commentaries along with the rest of Shaw, this could go even
                                              further off-topic than it already is... ;->

                                              -Selv

                                              --
                                              Selvårv Stigård
                                              selvarv@...
                                              List Administrator: Loki, Nidhstang, NordStudie and Redheads
                                              Server Administrator: RagnarökR.com free hosting for Heresy and Anarchy
                                              "The only difference between me and a madman, is that
                                              I am not mad." -Salvador Dali
                                            • arnljotr
                                              This is an old thread, but I feel that I should give an example of a dialect in Scandinavia that still has the nasalized vowels alive and kicking. That dialect
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Aug 30, 2002
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                This is an old thread, but I feel that I should give an example of a
                                                dialect in Scandinavia that still has the nasalized vowels alive and
                                                kicking. That dialect is called 'dalska', and is one of the so
                                                called 'dalecarlian' dialects spoken in western Svealand in central
                                                Sweden.
                                                E.g. english 'thursday' and german 'Donnerstag' is called 'tuosdag'
                                                with the dipthong 'uo' nasalized (in dalska, 'uo' is cognate with
                                                ON 'ó').
                                                Other examples:
                                                The preposition in dalska that means the same as english 'on'
                                                (ON 'á') is a nasalized 'o', and the prefix 'un-' in has the
                                                equivalent 'uo-' in dalska, and it is of course nasalized.

                                                For more about dalska, look at the site:
                                                http://www.geocities.com/jepe2503/temp_subdir/dalska.html

                                                Another funny thing in dalska: the differentiation between ON 'v'
                                                (like in the pronoun 'vit') and "soft" 'f' (like in the verb 'hafa')
                                                is kept in dalska. The ON examples have the dalska equivalents 'widh'
                                                (nasalized 'i' and the 'dh' meaning a fricative d) and 'åvå'.


                                                /Arnie



                                                --- In norse_course@y..., "Óskar Guðlaugsson" <hr_oskar@h...> wrote:
                                                > --- In norse_course@y..., Haukur Thorgeirsson <haukurth@h...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > > Old Norse had nasal vowels (as French does) but they were not
                                                marked
                                                > > in writing so we don't know where they were. No descendant of ON
                                                has
                                                > > preserved those nasals. This is one of the things that make it
                                                > impossible
                                                > > for us to obtain a precise reconstructed pronunciation of the
                                                > language.
                                                > >
                                                > > It is, for example, quite possible that the ó in Þórr was a nasal
                                                > vowel.
                                                >
                                                > Yes... this deserves more explanation than you give it :)
                                                >
                                                > The old nasal vowels are not quite as hard to guess as you say.
                                                >
                                                > "Þórr", for example, almost certainly had a nasal vowel at some
                                                point;
                                                > cf German version "Donner", and English "thunder" (a cognate to the
                                                > name); the "n" there disappeared and left a nasal quality to the
                                                > vowel.
                                                >
                                                > The best examples are the prepositions "í" and "á"; their English
                                                > cognates are "in" and "on". Since the English cognates have "n", it
                                                is
                                                > very likely that "í" and "á" were originally nasalized, transcribed
                                                > [i~:] and [a~:].
                                                >
                                                > The Runic alphabet did, NB, have a special rune for the
                                                nasalized "a".
                                                >
                                                > I should warn students that nasalized vowels is not anything they
                                                > should worry about; it requires a great amount of etymological
                                                > knowledge to be able to pronounce ON with nasalization in the right
                                                > places, which is not anything we intend for you to learn here.
                                                Don't
                                                > worry about it :)
                                                >
                                                > Óskar
                                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.