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Chung at work / Chung pri práci

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Senior Member
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298 posts - 470 votes 
Speaks: Finnish*, English, German, Swedish
Studies: Danish

 Message 385 of 541
15 October 2013 at 3:53pm | IP Logged 
Just a couple quick notes:

Chung wrote:
"Luultavasti se eilinen roska-auto."
"It's probably yesterday's garbage truck."

Such uses of the word 'se' are very common in spoken language, but are considered "bad Finnish" by the powers that be. As you can see, 'se' acts almost like a definite article in the sentence, which is traditionally labeled as a Swedish influence, at least that's what my Finnish teachers told me in high school. Usages like this have been on the rise in recent decades among the younger generations, due to the influence of English.

Chung wrote:
"Selvä. No, palaillaan."
“OK. Well, let’s talk about it a bit later.” (literally: “We’ll return gradually.”)

It's probably best not to take this too literally. As far as I can tell, this is a rather recent piece of language and probably a derivative of "Palataan asiaan." ~= "Let's get back to it (at a later time)". That's just my hunch, though.

Some similar constructions:
Soitellaan. (I can't think of an equivalent phrase but something along the lines of "Let's call each other every now and then" or "Let's stay in touch.")
Törmäillään. ("I'm sure we'll bump into each other.")

I was flattered to find my name on your 'Whom would you meet' list, by the way. I usually don't get any reactions from you, so I sometimes wonder if you even read my posts. I'm glad to hear my comments are appreciated, even if I'm writing them as much for my own pleasure, as for your benefit. :-)

Edited by sans-serif on 15 October 2013 at 8:35pm

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 Message 386 of 541
23 October 2013 at 4:55am | IP Logged 

I finished Chapter 27 of "Polish in 4 Weeks - II". The dialogue consisted of Waldek giving a tour of a fort to Piotrek. The unit introduced passive constructions, and phrases or structures useful for describing structures or construction but none of them consisted of elements unfamiliar to me.

(From Tori Komix » Archive » Konkurs I miejsce - Gratkovskis)

1) “I met a real smokin’ hot chick. Smart! Interesting! Romantic! And she doesn’t even want iPhones!”
2) “I bought for myself a super humongous yacht, founded a chain of luxury hotels and spend my life on the open seas!”
3) “And I am a model student, I visited China and I’m getting a ton of cash for writing books! – HAIL SIMS!”

- hajs (hajsu) “money” [singular only - colloquial]
- wypasion|-y|-a|-e (wypasion|-i|-e, wypasion|-ego|-ej) “bloated, fat; enormous, large”
- wzorow|-y|-a|-e (wzorow|-i|-e, wzorow|-ego|-ej) “exemplary, faultless, model”

Convention for vocabulary in the comic strip that's unfamiliar to me (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (nominative plural, genitive singular)
VERBS (where applicable using convention of imperfective > perfective): infinitive (1st person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb], 2nd person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb])
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given



I tried to do the exercises on pgs. 41 in the workbook for “Hovorme spolu po slovensky! B – Slovenčina ako cudzí jazyk” which consisted of more practice with verbal prefixes. Unfortunately it was much more difficult than it appeared because prefixed verbs are often removed from the physical sense inherent in the related preposition. The rationale for choosing the correct prefix from the pool of available prepositions is often difficult for me to guess (especially as used to indicate aspect) and up to this point I’ve usually relied on exposure to become familiar with them.


prechádzať > prejsť “to go across” (imperfective > perfective) (cf. pre “for (the sake of sb/sg)”)
písať > napísať “to write” (imperfective > perfective) (cf. na “at, on, to”)
robiť > urobiť “to do” (imperfective > perfective) (cf. u “at”)

The last two are especially troublesome in the sense that how am I to have guessed that the perfective counterpart of one verb uses na while the other uses u? There’s nothing intrisically odd to me in using upísať rather than napísať or narobiť rather than urobiť to indicate perfective aspects of the verb’s basic actions. The problem is that upísať is a perfective verb meaning “to assign” (imperfective counterpart is upisovať) while narobiť is a perfective verb in colloquial register meaning “to do something in excess” and lacks a clear imperfective counterpart.

I liken the frustration arising from this arbitrariness and opaqueness in deriving Slavonic verbs using prefixation to that faced by ESL students who deal with English phrasal verbs where the physical sense of the prepositions have no link to the figurative sense of the phrasal verb (e.g. “to back up” meaning movement in reverse (rather than vertical motion as possibly guessed from “up”) or “to break down” referring to a machine that stops running but “to break up” as a synonym of “to disintegrate”))

I became sufficiently frustrated by the exercises’ assumption that I could somehow deduce which prefix to attach to the basic verb to form the correct prefixed verb that I started to draw up a list of as many as prefixed verbs as I could list using my dictionary on the basis of this sheet on Czech verbal prefixes. For the next little while I expect that a lot of my studying of Slovak will consist of building this list. So far it seems that the rationale inherent in choice of prefix in deriving Czech verbs with prefixes is similar to what I’ve found so far in compiling the list of Slovak verbs with the cognates of these prefixes.

(From S H O O T Y - …som Grogy)

2) “An exercise ball.”
3) “Healthy sitting.”
6) “To put a thumbtack on someone’s ass is a terrible joke!”

- pripínačka (pripínačky) “thumbtack”

Convention for vocabulary in the comic strip that's unfamiliar to me (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (genitive singular)
VERBS (where applicable using convention of imperfective > perfective): infinitive (3rd person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb], 3rd person plural present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb])
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given



I’ve worked through Unit 7 of “Turkish Self-Study Course”. This chapter’s main point in new grammar was the adjective and is use in copula sentences either as an attribute or the predicate



I’ve done the exercises on pgs. 170-3 of “Modern Ukrainian” and so finished Chapter 10. These exercises were in translation using elements encountered thus far in the book and also ones that revisited topics from other chapters. There were also comprehension questions for the dialogues and narratives. I also reviewed my knowledge of kinship terms in Ukrainian since I found out recently that a whole bunch of terms weren’t coming to mind (or had been supplanted by their counterparts in Polish or Slovak).

*Start rant* I’m not a big fan of translation exercises since they take a lot of time and don’t always focus sufficiently on the new topics in grammar that have been introduced. The problem that I find with exercises in translating to the target language is that they blatantly cause me to think in my native language given that the sentence is in English, and a lot of times I end up consulting my dictionary because the assigned sentences use structures or wording that aren’t identical to those in the sentences introduced in the book’s dialogues or narratives. It’s a painfully inefficient way of learning for me. On a related note, and based on my experience in a beginners’ class for Polish, it would almost certainly be much better and more efficient if our Ukrainian teacher designed a syllabus and anchored the course on one textbook with supplementary handouts coming out only occasionally and preferably even these would be geared to the material in that one textbook. For example, our teacher could have chosen “Teach Yourself Ukrainian” as the primary textbook (despite its low quantity of exercises in my view), and design supplementary exercises that complement the material and vocabulary used in that book to compensate for the textbook’s lack of exercises. Instead we get handouts from several textbooks and so the expectations concerning vocabulary and other grammatical points as assumed in the assigned exercises vary noticeably from one sheet to the next even though they’re all about the same grammatical topic. What a pain. *End rant*

I’m also looking into doing some of the drills in Shevchuk’s “Beginner’s Ukrainian” even though it doesn’t go as far as “Modern Ukrainian”. The number of substitution and transformation drills to be with the audio seems high enough to be helpful for me. I’m finding in my Ukrainian class that I’m still too tongue-tied for my liking when responding to questions about basic topics in Ukrainian. Just getting out brief answers orally is painful as I try to clear my mind of the fog of Polish and Slovak that’s settled in my mind.

(From Шкарпетки, увага! via Веселі картинки | Це Прекрасно!)

Sign: “Warning! Dangerous territory ahead!” Sock: “Careful everyone! We’re staying in pairs! Follow [your] partner!”

- напарник (напарника) “partner”
- попереду “ahead, in front”
- слідкувати за (+ instrumental) > послідкувати за (+ instrumental) (слідкую, слідкують > послідкую, послідкують) “to follow, track, trace”

Convention for vocabulary in the comic strip that's unfamiliar to me (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (genitive singular)
VERBS (where applicable using convention of imperfective > perfective): infinitive (1st person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb], 3rd person plural present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb])
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given



Time to do some work soon with those Uralic languages and get back to using “Elementary Turkish” with “Turkish Self-Study Course”.

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 Message 387 of 541
23 October 2013 at 10:43am | IP Logged 
You mentioned the 'fog of Polish and Slovak' in relation to Ukrainian. I'm still wary of starting another language because apart from the time commitment, I'd be afraid that interference (especially from another Slavic language) would be too much for my fragile Polish. I say 'fragile', because in particular, I'd have to firm-up my Polish listening skills in order not to get completely muddled with Slovak or Ukrainian. How do you cope with interference? What are your biggest challenges in this area?

Like the cartoons as always - picked up some new Polish words there, thanks.
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Studies: Polish, Ukrainian, Afrikaans

 Message 388 of 541
23 October 2013 at 6:10pm | IP Logged 
I would also be interested in hearing some of the particular challenges you've had with Ukrainian in relation to Polish and Slovak. Ukrainian is very quickly becoming one of my hit list languages for 2014 and I'm wondering how difficult it would be to keep the two separate.
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 Message 389 of 541
23 October 2013 at 6:12pm | IP Logged 
I don't study such that I focus on reducing interference partially because I've not found an effective way to deal with it apart from restricting my exposure to just one language, or allowing myself to deal only with target languages that are highly divergent (i.e. from different language families or even from groups in the same family but of a higher rank in the classificatory scheme (e.g. Slavonic and Germanic rather than two Western Slavonic languages)).

In this particular case I'm much more at ease using Polish and Slovak compared to Ukrainian. That background is quite firmly set in my mind and to varying degrees it affects my thought process when expressing myself in BCMS/SC, Czech or Ukrainian. As it relates to Ukrainian, this background or fog explains why I often respond in what's supposed to be Ukrainian using words, structures or stress patterns typical of Polish or Slovak. On one hand it's bothersome because I'm more perfectionist than not, but on the other it's not since I'm more interested in developing fluency in Polish and Slovak. Expressing myself in crummy Polish or Slovak bugs me more than doing the same in Ukrainian. All the same I intend to be able to study Ukrainian enough so that I can reliably express myself clearly and idiomatically in everyday situations, and I still can't do that to my satisfaction.

On a related note, I am leaning toward paring down my linguistic commitments after this year because real life goes on, and recently I've grown more convinced that I've spread myself too thinly. This would likely have the incidental benefit of reducing interference since I'd have more time available to study each target language and develop a better sense of what's idiomatic and what's not.
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 Message 390 of 541
23 October 2013 at 9:18pm | IP Logged 
FuenfKatzen: When learning Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian in a tight rotation I get the usual problems with interference caused by differences in vocabulary (e.g. false friends), grammar (prepositions and case endings differ although the similarity among the three is usually apparent) and pronunciation (e.g. Ukrainian has mobile stress whereas Polish and Slovak don't).

What's less obvious at the start is that Ukrainian is a lot messier (or more flexible depending on your point of view) than it appears. In a way it's a bit like having to choose to focus on one variant of English to learn to active fluency. Broadly speaking, there's Eastern and Western Ukrainian with most people in the diaspora using something closer to the Western version (unsurprising since most people in the diaspora descend from peasants who fled the western regions of Ukraine which were under looser Polish or Austro-Hungarian control rather than the eastern regions which were under tighter Russian control). What may be correct or grammatical to someone in the diaspora (even when he/she is well-educated) may be incorrect or ungrammatical to someone in Ukraine (albeit not necessarily incomprehensible).

One example of this messiness are differences in spelling arising from Stalinist intervention. The basic division is that certain graphemes or combinations approved in a compromise struck in 1927 between western and eastern versions was replaced by a Stalinist one in 1936 which made Ukrainian spelling closer to Russian's. The problem was that the diaspora had adopted and still largely stands by the first spelling reform whereas Ukrainians in Ukraine today largely stand by the second one.

A few examples of this split are:

- "Europe" 1927: Еврoпа / 1936: Європа (cf. Russian Еврoпа which sounds much closer to the version from 1936 despite the visual identity of the version from 1927. There aredifferent sound values associated with certain Russian and Ukrainian graphemes that are visually identical]

- "hockey" 1927: гокей / 1936: xокей (cf. Russian xоккей which is what the version from 1936 is mimicking and also observes the fact that the sound represented by Ukrainian г is not found in standard Russian [this sound is pronounced quite similarly to the English "h" in "house"]. X is the closest-sounding approximation in the standard Russian phonemic inventory for that particular sound even though to our English ears it sounds a lot like "ch" in the Scottish English "loch") rather than "h" in "house").

- "class" 1927: кляса / 1936: клас (cf. Russian клас)

Another example that I recently encountered involved declining certain family names. In Western Ukrainian, women whose fathers or husbands names end with -iв, -ïв, -oв, or -ин do not have feminine versions of these names (i.e. -eвa, -євa, -oвa, -инa). As such these women's names don't look like feminine nouns or adjectives, and so on the analogy of other women whose family names have a similar structure, their names do not get declined. However in Eastern Ukrainian, women whose fathers or husbands names end with -iв, -ïв, -oв, -ин do have feminine versions of these names (i.e. -eвa, -євa, -oвa, -инa) (incidentally this particular characteristic is also found in Russian). As such these women's names behave like adjectives, and on the analogy of other women whose family names look like adjectives, their names do get declined (cf. names ending with the adjectival suffix -ський / -ська).


"Anna Lesiv", "Anna Mel'nyk", "Anna Spol'ska"
W. Ukrainian: Анна Лесiв, Анна Мельник, Анна Cпольскa
E. Ukrainian: Анна Лесeвa, Анна Мельник, Анна Cпольскa

"I like Anna Lesiv", "I like Anna Mel'nyk", "I like Anna Spol'ska"
W. Ukrainian: Я люблю Аннy Лесiв, Я люблю Аннy Мельник, Я люблю Аннy Cпольскy
E. Ukrainian: Я люблю Аннy Лесeвy, Я люблю Аннy Мельник, Я люблю Аннy Cпольскy

I encountered this point in "Modern Ukrainian" and I'm left to think that either form is acceptable depending on whom you deal with. The textbook doesn't do more than explain that one is typical of Western Ukrainian, and the other of Eastern Ukrainian. For what it's worth, "Modern Ukrainian" leans more to the codification of 1927, but usually makes comments when forms or structures are divisible as Western (~ diaspora) and Eastern Ukrainian.

There are some interesting comments in this paper on teaching Ukrainian to Australians of Ukrainian heritage. Particularly succint are these passages in the conclusion:

Halyna Koscharsky “Maintaining the Standard Ukrainian Language: A Challenge for Teachers in Australia”. Macquarie University. 2009 wrote:
The reality that most writers of Ukrainian abroad and overseas Ukrainian organizations have remained attached to the polonized variety of literary Ukrainian established in Galicia before 1944 means that the teachers of Ukrainian in the diaspora have to contend with two often conflicting models as they strive to teach a standard form of the language to speakers of dialectal and/or anglicized Ukrainian. In the meantime, Literary Western Ukrainian has become largely obsolete in its home territories of Galicia and Volhynia, replaced by the standard variety from Kyiv after these regions were incorporated into Soviet Ukraine during the Second World War.


...but the reality abroad is that Western Literary Ukrainian remains as vital as ever. Indeed the longstanding preponderance of Western Ukrainians in the diaspora has created a situation in which, overseas at least, the old Galician standard cannot simply be dismissed as a minority or peripheral phenomenon or as an anachronism. On the contrary, after the former Polish Ukraine was annexed by the Soviets, the high profile of Western Literary Ukrainian in the diaspora was strengthened by its close association with anti-Soviet and anti-Russian movements and its being the medium of vibrant literature.

The main point is that there's some variation caused by there being a widely dispersed speech community that took on different codifications (partially for political reasons), and had limited contact for much of the 20th century. I find them interesting but don't get bent out of shape since I try to stay consistent in using what I've learned. The new textbook Ukrainian through its Living Culture: Advanced Level Language Textbook also has some information on the differences in usage in Ukraine compared to that outside Ukraine in an appendix.
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 Message 391 of 541
03 November 2013 at 8:02pm | IP Logged 

I finished the remaining exercises in Chapter 35 of “Finnish for Foreigners”. These exercises comprised fill-in-the-blank and comprehension questions. I was pleasantly surprised by how I well did with the listening comprehension questions although I had to replay the audio a few times to catch the details.

(From Napaustapaus via Musta hevonen - sarjakuva+)

1) “Dinner looks great! I have to take a picture!”
2) “What? I want to take a perfect shot!”

- otos (otoksen, otosta, otoksia) “sample; take; snapshot, photo”

Convention for unfamiliar vocabulary in the comic strip (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (genitive singular, partitive singular, partitive plural)
VERBS: 1st infinitive (1st person singular present tense, 3rd person singular past simple tense, active past participle)
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given



I finished Unit 9 of Davvin 3 whose main topics in grammar were the relative pronoun mii etc. “which” referring to non-personal antecedants and the demonstrative pronouns dát, diet, duot and dot (the demonstrative pronouns are arranged in order of proximity to the speaker from highest to lowest). Here is my understanding of the chapter’s “new” main points (any misunderstandings of the material are mine alone).

1) The relative pronoun mii translates to “which” or “that” with a non-personal antecedant. It can also be declined depending on the case governance in the subordinate clause (e.g. mat “that” (nominative plural), maid “that” (accusative/genitive plural))


Mus lea beana, mii eallá Ánaris. “I have a dog that lives in Inari.”
Oainnátgo duon guokte beatnaga, maid leaba biillas? “Do you see those two dogs that are in the car?”

2) The demonstrative pronouns dát, diet, duot and dot represent a four-tiered distinction based on proximity to the speaker. These can also be declined as required.

dát “this” [closest to the speaker]
diet “this”, “that” [closer to the addressee]
duot “that” [not very close to either the speaker or the addressee]
dot “that” [far from both the speaker and addressee]

These distinctions are also made with adverbs corresponding to “here” and “there”

deike “here” [to the speaker]
diehko “there” [to the addressee]
duohko “there” [to a place that is not close to either the speaker or addressee]
dohko “there” [to a place that is far from the speaker and addressee]

dáppe “here”; “from here” [relative to the speaker]
dieppe “there”; “from there” [relative to the addressee]
duoppe “there”; “from there” [not close to where the speaker and addressee are]
doppe “there”; “from there” [far from where the speaker and addressee are]

Vocabulary of Unit 9

assás (as'sás) (attr.), assái (pred.) (as'sai) – “strong; thick”
bensiidna – “gasoline”
čoavdda – “key”
dáŋka – “tank” (for gasoline)
dievva – “to fill”
divvut – “to repair”
gahččat – “to fall”
heivat – “to be suitable, to fit”
juvla – “wheel”
lohkki – “cover, lid”
muhtter – “nut”
muohta – “snow”
njoarrat – “to pour”
oassi – “part”
olju – “oil”
ortnet – “order”
ruovdi – “iron”
sruva – “screw”



I’ve worked through Unit 8 of “Turkish Self-Study Course” and the exercises on pg. 42-5 (i.e. beginning of Unit 3) in “Elementary Turkish”. In the former, the main points in new grammar were using the adverbs burada “here, in this place”, and orada / şurada “there, in that place” and the existential adverbs (quasi verbs?) var “there is/are” and yok “there is/are not”. In the latter, I was introduced to the plural suffix –lar / –ler and the numerals to 1,000,000. The dictation exercises with the numerals were particularly useful especially considering that I’ve had trouble remembering the forms for 20, 30, 40, 50 and 1000.

In general I’ve had the most trouble remembering the Turkish numerals since the Indo-European and Uralic numerals that I’ve encountered have no obvious resemblance, and I’ve having focused for so long on a certain handful of Balto-Slavonic and Uralic languages means that I’ve become more aware of similarities within each group.

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Polish: zero, jeden, dwa, trzy, cztery, pięć, sześć, siedem, osiem, dziewięć, dziesięć
N. Saami: nulla, okta, guokte, golbma, njeallje, vihtta, guhtta, čieža, gávcci, ovcci, logi

Turkish: sıfır, bir, iki, üç, dört, beş, altı, yedi, sekiz, dokuz, on (Turkic numerals are something else)

11, 12, 20, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90,
Polish: jedenaście, dwanaście, dwadzieścia, dwadzieścia jeden, trzydzieści, czterdzieści, pięćdziesiąt, sześćdziesiąt, siedemdziesiąt, osiemdziesiąt, dziewięćdziesiąt
N. Saami: oktanuppelohkái, guoktenuppelohkái, guoktelogi, guoktelogiokta, golbmalogi, njealljelogi, vihttalogi, guhttalogi, čiežalogi, gávccilogi, ovccilogi

Turkish: on bir, on iki, yirmi, yirmi bir, otuz, kırk, elli, altmış, yetmiş, seksen, doksan

100, 101, 500, 1,000, 1,000,000
Polish: sto, sto jeden, pięćset, tysiąc, milion (recognizably I-E to me)
N. Saami: čuođi, čuođiokta, vihttačuođi, duhát, miljon

Turkish: yüz, yüz bir, beş yüz, bin, milyon

It’s not so much that Turkish numerals are unpredictable but rather the terms used for which I can’t rely on my background knowledge (especially those for 20, 30, 40 and 50).



I’ve started Chapter 11 of “Modern Ukrainian” and completed exercises on pgs. 192-3. For some reason, the author has loaded this chapter with several new topics, including a lengthy introduction to verbs of motion. All of the exercises that I’ve done so far involve getting used to their subtleties and there are still more to go. Even with my background in other Slavonic languages, working on this chapter will take more time than preceding chapters since the notes contain much information on their use; more than I would have expected for an introduction to the subject. A raw beginner could find this chapter particularly difficult without the help of a tutor or instructor because the coverage is overwhelming in my opinion.

Since my last post, I’ve also done the exercises in Chapter 4 of “Beginner’s Ukrainian” and about two-thirds of them in Chapter 5. These are highly suitable to my commute between work and home since there are many transformation and substitution drills in each chapter that are recorded on .mp3, and so I often mutter or whisper the answers on cue while on the bus with the book in front of me. The main points in grammar for Chapter 4 are the nominative singular, numerals 11-19, and sentences that correspond to ones with the copula in other languages (e.g. “Who is this? – This is Ihor” – Хто це? – Це Ігор. (literally “Who this? – This Ihor”)). In Chapter 5, I’ve been introduced to aspect, past tense, nominative plural and cardinal numerals 20-99. As I mentioned in the previous entry, I’m using Shevchuk’s course to review what I’ve seen so far in “Modern Ukrainian” (not to mention “Teach Yourself Ukrainian” which I finished earlier this year) and to do badly needed drills in speaking and listening that are absent in the other courses.

(From Шинкарочка треться, мнеться... via Українські комікси)

- Auntie, give me a pint of beer!
- We do not sell to children up to age 16. Ask that man there. Let him get one for you.”

- тьотя (affectionate form of standard тітка “aunt”)
- кухоль (кухля) “dipper; cup, stein, tankard”
- відпускати > відпустити (відпускаю, відпускають > відпущу, відпустять) “to dispense; discharge, release”

Convention for vocabulary in the comic strip that's unfamiliar to me (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (genitive singular)
VERBS (where applicable using convention of imperfective > perfective): infinitive (1st person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb], 3rd person plural present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb])
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given



The last chapter in "Polish in 4 Weeks" is coming up.

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 Message 392 of 541
03 November 2013 at 8:59pm | IP Logged 

As noted here, I’m compiling a list of verbs that use prefixes in derivation or to indicate changes in aspect.

(From S H O O T Y - …som Grogy)

2) “Young man, may I sit down? – OK, OK. – Awful ignoramuses, these young folk. That’s [just] insolent.”
3) “Sir, don’t you want to sit down too?” [literally: “Uncle, don’t you too want to sit down?”]
4) “Do I look like I need it?!”

- drz|-ý|-á|-é (drz|-ého|-ej|-ého) “cheeky, impudent, insolent”

Convention for vocabulary in the comic strip that's unfamiliar to me (i.e. needed to consult a dictionary)

NOUNS & ADJECTIVES: nominative singular (genitive singular)
VERBS (where applicable using convention of imperfective > perfective): infinitive (3rd person singular present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb], 3rd person plural present tense [imperfective verb] / future tense [perfective verb])
ADVERBS & INTERJECTIONS: no extra information given


In response to this post by Serpent I’ve decided to elaborate slightly on differences between Czech and Slovak as based on the transcripts in “Colloquial Czech” and “Colloquial Slovak” both by James Naughton. The format of the comparison will be somewhat similar to that used in my comparative analysis of the transcripts from “Beginner’s Croatian” and “Beginner’s Serbian” both by co-authors Robert Nebuhr and Aida Vidan. However because of the relative lack of controversy on the validity or strength of differences between Czech and Slovak leading to their conventional treatment as separate languages, the samples taken from Naughton’s books will be fewer since it will be apparent even with this smaller sample that the divergence between Czech and Slovak is higher than that observed within the current successor standard languages of Serbo-Croatian.

In a similar format as I did with BCMS/SC earlier this year, I will use separate entries in the log to put down notes of this exercise so as not to create unduly long entries which contain my notes on my efforts in other languages. These notes comparing Czech and Slovak will range from examples of codified differences to examples of differences that are less clear-cut than presented. Because of the wider divergence between Czech and Slovak compared to that observed within BCMS/SC (i.e. lower redundancy in the former pair compared to the latter entity) I will also list the samples of the Czech and Slovak transcripts used and use those sentences in the respective transcripts that are linked to a common translation (despite the books being written by the same author, some of the Czech transcripts are longer with the characters discussing things that are not covered by the Slovak characters. I suspect that this is because the edition of “Colloquial Czech” that I’m using is newer than my copy of “Colloquial Slovak” and the author made some of the dialogues longer in “Colloquial Czech” for the new edition. Even the first dialogue in “Colloquial Czech” isn’t a perfect thematic match to its counterpart in “Colloquial Slovak” since one of the characters mentions his marital status while the other compliments the newcomer’s ability in Czech. These elements are missing in the corresponding Slovak dialogue.

The Czech sentences are red while the Slovak ones are blue. (...) denotes text that has omitted because its subject matter does not tie back to the common translation thus making it ineligible for grammatical or lexical comparison. In addition to the notes on grammar in Naughton's courses, my supplementary references for this exercise will be Česko-slovenský a slovensko-český slovník, the set of monolingual Slovak dictionaries hosted by JÚĽŠ SAV (Jazykovedný ústav Ľ. Štúra Slovenská Akadémia Vied) and Slovenčina a čeština. Synchronné porovnavanie s cvičeniami by Sokolová et al. I may use other resources if I can find them. There was a potentially useful guide from DLI Czech: Introduction to Slovak for Students of Czech which before the foul-up with SSNs was available. It's a shame that I didn't download it when it was available.

For anyone wanting a sense of the material that I'll touch on, see here for a summary comparing Czech and Slovak. It would be better in my view if this summary had more examples or more commentary on the differences to provide context but it's better than nothing. As a bonus it focuses on structural linguistics rather than sociolinguistics, politics or history of the standardization processes.


Unit 1

Dialog 1 / Dialóg 1

Neil: Dobrý den. Vy jste Věra Benešová?

Jozef: Dobrý deň. Vy ste Viera Ondrušová?

"Good day, are you Věra Benešová? / Viera Ondrušová?"

Cz: den | Sk: deň “day”

The Slovak noun ends in a palatalized consonant whereas the Czech one does not.

CZ: jste | SK: ste “you are” (singular formal, plural)

The initial j- of the Czech version reflects an older convention that is still retained to this day in the standard language regardless of the fact that the verb is pronounced as if the j- were absent (i.e. ste).

In greater detail, the conjugations of present tense of the verb “to be” in Czech and Slovak respectively are:

“I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you are, they are”

CZ: já jsem, ty jsi, on/ona/ono je, my jsme, vy jste, oni/ony/ona jsou
SK: ja som, ty si, on/ona/ono je, my sme, vy ste, oni/ony sú

In addition to differences in the conjugations themselves, Czech uses a neuter pronoun in third person plural (i.e. ona) whereas Slovak does not but only distinguishes in third person plural the masculine animate (i.e. oni) from everything else (i.e. ony) only.

Věra: Ano. To jsem já.

Viera: Áno. To som ja.

"Yes. That's me."

Cz: ano | SK: áno “yes”

The Slovak word begins with a lengthened vowel whereas the Czech one does not.

CZ: jsem | SK: som “(I) am”

In addition to the difference mentioned above comparing Czech jste with Slovak ste the use of the different vowels in the Czech and Slovak verbs here reflect different phonological development in the respective dialects used to standardize these languages. In this case, the ancestral vowel in Proto-Slavonic for this verb form became e in Czech and o in Slovak with the associated difference in pronunciation.

CZ: | SK: ja “I”

The Czech pronoun has a lengthened vowel whereas the Slovak one does not.

Neil: Těší mě. Já jsem Neil Parker.

Jozef: Teší ma. Ja som Jozef Novák.

"It's a pleasure. I am Neil Parker. / Jozef Novák."

CZ: těší | SK: teší “[it] pleases”

Despite the spelling difference, these verbs are pronounced identically. The Czech ě signals that the preceding consonant is to be palatalized. In Slovak, d, n and t are often palatalized when followed by e. In this example, teší is then pronounced as if it were spelled *ťeší even though the actual spelling doesn’t overtly reflect this pronunciation.

CZ: | SK: ma “me” [accusative/genitive form of 1st person singular pronoun]

The difference between the personal pronouns as found in Czech and Slovak goes further than the forms in nominative (see CZ: | SK: ja). The full declensional pattern for the 1st person singular pronoun is as follows:

nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, locative, instrumental

CZ: já, mě/mne, mě/mne, mi/mně, mně, mnou
SK: ja, ma/mňa, ma/mňa, mi/mne, mne, mnou

There is an audible and visual difference in the forms for nominative, accusative and genitive. However the sets of forms in the remaining three cases are pronounced identically despite the visual differences in the dative and locative (see notes to CZ: těší | SK: teší for information on how Czech and Slovak mark palatalization).

Věra: Vy jste Američan?

Viera: Ste Američan?

"Are you an American?"

Neil: Ne, já jsem Angličan. (...)

Jozef: Nie! Ja som Angličan. (...)

"No. I am an Englishman."

The Czech sentence includes the personal pronoun vy while the Slovak one does not although this alone should not be taken that its inclusion or exclusion has any bearing on the degree of divergence between the two. In general, using the personal pronoun here is guided subjectively in that it marks emphasis (i.e. "Are YOU [and not someone else] American?"). It would be grammatical for the Czech sentence to be Jste Američan? as much as the Slovak one to be Vy ste Američan?

CZ: ne | SK: nie “no”

The different spellings yield different pronunciations in Czech and Slovak. As an approximation, the initial sound in the Slovak word sounds somewhat like “ny” in “canyon”, whereas in Czech it does not.

Věra: (...) Máte kufr?

Viera: (...) Máte kufor?

"Do you have a suitcase?"

CZ: kufr | SK: kufor “suitcase”

The spelling difference reflects distinct pronunciations. The second syllable in the Slovak word consists of a full vowel whereas that syllable in Czech consists of vocalic ‘r’ (i.e. r acting as a vowel).

Neil: Ano, mám. (...). Tady je.

Jozef: Áno! Mám. Tu je.

"Yes, I have [one]. Here it is."

CZ: tady | SK: tu “here”

Tu meaning “here” is also used in Czech but it is an informal counterpart to the standard tady. On the other hand, tady is not codified in Slovak, and its use in Slovak would be ungrammatical or taken as a blatant insertion of a Czech term.

Věra: Tak dobře. Pojďme. Auto čeká venku.

Viera: Tak dobre. Poďme. Auto čaká vonku.

"Well, OK. Let's go. The car is waiting outside."

CZ: dobře | SK: dobre “well; OK“

In the past, words with a palatalized r became ř (pronounced somewhat like a quick combination of ‘r’ and then ‘s’ in ‘pleasure’) among most speakers living in what is now Bohemia and Moravia. This change did not occur among those speaking the immediate predecessor of Slovak.

CZ: pojďme | SK: poďme “Let’s go”

There seems to be a difference in pronunciation per the Czech and Slovak renditions on Google Translate but I don’t recall an audible difference when hearing my friends (I admit that my perception was likely affected by my lack of a native’s ear as well as the fact that my friends said this form more quickly or less clearly than under formal circumstances)

CZ: čeká | SK: čaká “[he/she/it] is waiting”

The spelling difference reflects distinct pronunciations. Namely the first syllable’s vowel differs.

CZ: venku | SK: vonku “outside”

The spelling difference reflects distinct pronunciations. Compare the difference immediately preceding.

Edited by Chung on 03 November 2013 at 9:47pm

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