Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

(and yes, Grylliaders one and all, I know the boat/ship distinction in English is not just based on size, I get enough of that lecturing from David :P)
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Ellie wrote: 04 Aug 2020, 17:07 Listen for "bote" instead; barco is more like English "ship" (a big vessel) and bote is more like "boat (something small like a canoe or sailboat).
Ah, that does sound familiar; IIRC I was getting frustrated from thinking "What, is she talking to or about Botas the Monkey? In context, that really doesn't make sense even though Botas IS there." Thanks!

I'm wondering -- given that Nick's Dora dub is the one pronouncing "pollo" as "pojo" rather than "poyo" -- and also, thanks to mk on Facebook, I recently learned that a certain song lyric I kept hearing on "Go Diego Go" as something like "chachico" or "jah jay go" was actually "Ya llego" -- I wonder if "judah" is a two-syllable word or phrase starting with a double-L. [ETA: or a y] But, once again, my guesses at the Spanish spelling result in nothing the translation sites recognize. (Although, now that you mention it -- I do recall trying "lluda" at one point, getting "rain," but NOT adding it to my written list of correct guesses, because from the context that clearly wasn't it. Whatever "judah" is, I think it has something to do with, like, "solving a puzzle/problem," "attempting to solve a problem," "learning something new," "an accomplishment," "giving or receiving help" .... something Dora the Explorer and Steve the Blue's Clues host have in common, either regarding their own activities in a typical episode, or where their specific "break the fourth wall" relationship to the show's preschool viewing audience is concerned.)

Then again, I still usually hear playa as something like plata or pladta or platda, even though I know there's not "supposed" to be a stop-consonant in the middle of those words -- what I hear as a "d" in judah could be a y, or or j, or a couple other letters which I fairly consistently mishear.
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

"Ayuda" is help so if it was pronounced with the Latin American y-as-j accent, it could definitely sound like "judah"
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Huh, I could've sworn I posted a response here, yet I do not see it now.

"Ayudar" might be "judah" -- that happens to be one of the four -ar verbs I focused on when I started memorizing the -ar verb conjugations (a task I have not yet completed). I chose four verbs likely to be used in the shows I've been watching -- salvar [also used in every Wonder Pets episode title I've seen thus far], facilitar, tratar and ayudar. I did catch Steve saying "trataremos" shortly thereafter. (I also went ahead and added cortar to the list, after seeing both a Wonder Pets and a Tween Dora episode where they had to rescue a dolphin snagged in a fishing net.) But I haven't heard/caught any confirmed uses of "ayudar" since I started focusing on it -- then again, I was also listening for the preceding pronouns before I knew they wouldn't always be said.

As for not hearing that first a -- assuming ayudar IS "judah" -- yeah, not-hearing entire syllables is another problem I'm having. I always hear "lo hicimos" as "lee-SEE-mos."
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

Oh yeah, the missing syllables is one of the biggest things I struggle with in understanding spoken Spanish (what little I know).
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Based on the Spanish online picture dictionary I found (lesson 1, level 1 of an entire free online learn-Spanish program, but unfortunately, I could only get a few levels into it before encountering some that refused to load, so I'll need to find another program), I would guess the letter W is a fairly late addition to the Spanish alphabet, similar to how J is a late edition to ours, and used primarily in words Spanish adopts from other languages. For most letters of the Spanish alphabet, the dictionary has four cartoon illustrations/examples, all of very simple commonplace nouns even a young child is likely to have in their vocabulary (for "a" there is anillo/ring, arco iris/rainbow, arana-with-the-squiggle-over-the-n/spider, and avion/airplane), but for W there are only three, all obviously terms that originated elsewhere: "waterpolo," "William" (over a cartoon image of Shakespeare), and "peso Welter" [lower-case p, upper-case W] which I guessed meant "boxer" or possibly "prize fighter," based on the picture, but it actually means "welterweight."
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Aw, crap. Just caught a couple more Blue's episodes where I heard "me judah"; from what I know of the show and its format, both times could very well mean something like "You'll help me?" or "Will you help me?"

I'd noticed and wondered about "judah" since before I'd learned "ayudar" AND specifically started trying to hear it, and still did not recognize it. This does not bode well.

ETA: Yeah, he just-now said a bunch of stuff with "judah" in it, followed by "me judah?" intoned like a question. Well, at least I'll know this going forward.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by dhex »

Ayudar in reflexive form and truncated. E.g. Ayudame shortened to "yu-da-me"
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Which works in context, except his question-word was definitely "me judah" rather than "judah me."
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

The latter is the more direct command form, but the former should also work in ‘can you help me’ context. (English loves its auxiliary verbs much more than Spanish does)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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All right, I'm taking for granted that "judah," "jude" and similar things IS "ayudar" in some form. (And in the context of where I hear them in Blue's Clues, that definitely makes sense, since the whole point of the show -- based upon my English readings, as I still don't know enough Spanish to get it from the show itself -- is that Steve needs the audience's help to figure out what the clues mean.)

But I just went through this entire ayudar-conjugation chart, and not ONE of the examples would sound like "me judah." I still can't spell in Spanish EXACTLY what Steve keeps saying on Blue's Clues. If I kept hearing "judah me" I'd definitely think it's "ayudame," but ... would it work backwards as "mi ayuda," at least in the context of speaking to very young children? I'm inclined to doubt it, but I can't say so one way or the other.

For all the struggles I'm having with verbs, I am at least picking up more nouns. Had a breakthrough on Ben y Holly, when I realized a certain character's name was not "Ricardo" but "Rey Cardo," King Thistle, and his wife the queen is Reina Cardo. (That said, I doubt I would have accurately guessed the spelling of "rey" to confirm this in the translator had I not known about the "El Rey" cable network.)

I also realized that in another episode I saw a day or so earlier, the pirate Redbeard (Barba Roja) spent the episode looking for "Captain Squid" (capitan calamar), which makes far more sense than my original hearing of "Captain Calm Down" (capitan calimar). (I confirmed all of these names in an English-language episode guide for the show.)
Last edited by Jennifer on 05 Aug 2020, 20:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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"Me ayuda" and "ayudame" both mean "help me" but the former is interpreted as a little more formal/polite.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Heh, here's a bit of -- not cross-posting, exactly, but certainly an unexpected linguistic connection -- since I'd already went ahead and looked up English-language stuff about "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom," to confirm names like "Captain Squid" and "King Thistle" and such, I read a bit further about the show, to learn a few things which would hopefully help my Spanish attempts. TVTropes mentioned one particular character, in the English original, who has a habit of saying things ending with the catchphrase "... and I'm an elf!"

So, I just now went and looked up "elf" in the English-to-Spanish guide, to know what to listen for next time I see the show -- there are four possibilities. The most popular is duende, but there is also elfo, mago, and "ayudante," which apparently is the noun form of "ayudar" -- it means "assistant," "adjutant," "helper" or things like that.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Ellie wrote: 05 Aug 2020, 20:01 "Me ayuda" and "ayudame" both mean "help me" but the former is interpreted as a little more formal/polite.
Arrrgh. So, once again, the Spanish "me ayuda," which presumably has the first syllable pronounced like the English "may" (according to the Spanish-vowel "ah, ay, ee, oh, ooo" rule), sounds like the English "me" to my ears.

How very efficient: the two-word Spanish phrase "me ayuda" contains examples of all three major problems I'm having, trying to understand spoken Spanish even for words I'd recognize if I saw them written down: 1. there's entire vowel-only syllables I don't hear at all; 2. there's vowels I can hear, but hear them 'wrong' according to Spanish spelling/pronunciation rules; 3. AND I keep either mishearing consonant sounds or hearing consonants where they don't actually exist. "Me ayuda" looks like it should be pronounced "May ah YOU dah," not "me judah."

/kicks pebble
Last edited by Jennifer on 05 Aug 2020, 20:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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My guess would be that you're struggling with elisions. Like, "me ayuda" will in a lot of dialects almost certainly just sound like either "meyuda" or "mayuda", and I say that without knowing anything about Spanish specifically. Sort of the same way that in casually spoken English you have to be able to parse "Omina" as "I'm going to".
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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I gather they're more acceptable in Spanish than English? Like, I expect that in the original English Blue's Clues, Steve and the other hosts will say "we're going to" rather than "we're gonna," because "gonna," though perfectly acceptable in MOST spoken contexts, is generally considered improper for things like teachers (or educational children's show hosts) speaking to their young impressionable charges. But in Spanish, perhaps, various spoken equivalents to "gonna" are acceptable?
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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A lot of languages have elisions as more or less formal parts of the grammar. Compare French "je m'appelle Jay" rather than "je me appelle Jay".

Or in latin, where "atque in perpetuum" would be written that way, but read "atqu'in perpetuum". You actually can't read poetry if you don't know that: the meter just doesn't fucking work. ("atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale" has thirteen syllables and otherwise it wouldn't fit the meter.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

I don't know about Latin, but life is too short to learn French reflexive verbs.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Jadagul wrote: 05 Aug 2020, 21:13 A lot of languages have elisions as more or less formal parts of the grammar. Compare French "je m'appelle Jay" rather than "je me appelle Jay".

Yeah, but in French, the actual standard spelling reflects this; FWIW, in my own mostly-forgotten school french classes, we were taught "je m'appelle" rather than "je me appelle." (And I just confirmed, at least on Google translate, if you type "je mappelle" with no apostrophes, it will still accurately give you "My name is.") (OTOH, on a lark I also typed "gonna" into the English translator, and it accurately translated THAT as well. So presumably my problems still boil down to, my Spanish spelling/hearing abilities are REALLY bad.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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On Ben y Holly there's a character called Gaston, a pet ladybug who behaves exactly like a dog. I caught the end credits of an episode where you could hear children singing about "Gaston la mar-ee-keeta." I guessed "mariquita" for the spelling, and the Spanish translator gave back "spoiled," which ... from what I've seen, Gaston is indeed a somewhat spoiled housepet, yet I doubted they'd sing an entire song about how spoiled he is OR compare him to food going bad (I don't know if "spoiled" has the same double-meaning possibilities in Spanish as in English), so I didn't add that word to my list.

Then I found a copy of the song in the original English (veddy British English), and they were actually singing "Gaston the ladybird." "Lady bird" in Spanish is "dama pajaro," but (as I just-now confirmed on Google translate), "ladybug" or "ladybird" as one word is indeed "mariquita," spelled exactly as I'd guessed, but mariquita can also mean "sissy." (Presumably this is similar to how, in English, "chicken" is a certain bird, but can also mean "coward.")

Right now, typing "mariquita" into various sites, I am consistently getting "ladybug" or "ladybird," with "sissy" as a secondary possibility ... but I can NOT get a second "spoiled" for "mariquita." (Granted, I am typing this comment on my "main" computer in my office, whereas last night's initial search of "mariquita" was on the laptop in the living room, where I watch TV.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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The bad word slang for a gay man in Spanish is maricón (I think by now sorta like using the f word in English) (it wasn’t like that when I was I college, but then again, neither was the f word)

Etymologically I think it’s from mariposa - butterfly - which I think is also used as slang for a gay man.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Currently watching Ben y Holly, and I'm understanding a couple of complete sentences, such as "Is this your boat, King Thistle?" and "One gold coin is all we need." Although I still can't properly say or write those sentences back in Spanish without looking it up.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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For reasons presumably involving copyright law, I've noticed that all Spanish-language children's shows I've found online (except those posted directly on the Nick Jr. Latino website) use different dubs/voiceover actors than Nick Jr. Latino puts on its Pluto streams: the episodes of Dora La Exploradora, Wonder Pets/Las Mascotas Maravilla and El Pequeno Reino de Ben y Holly I've found on sites like Dailymotion definitely use different dubs, often choosing entirely different words for their translations (especially for rhythmic, rhyming songs and poems) than NJL.

I don't yet know the sounds of the language nearly well enough to distinguish between accents (except for noticing whether they pronounce the double-L like the English "y" or "j," and one particular character who I suspect speaks with the Spanish version of the English "yarr, me mateys" piratespeak) ... but whichever accent Nick Jr. Latino uses for its airings of Ben y Holly seems easier for me to understand than any other accent on any other show. It's not just a matter of "How many things do they say that I can understand and translate" (my vocabulary and grammar knowledge is still far too limited for that number to be very high, even when I'm reading print, let alone trying to decipher speech); even for things I can't understand yet, I can hear them more clearly, and have a far higher success rate of "Guess the Spanish spelling of a suspected word or phrase, type it into the translator, get a result that makes perfect sense in the context of the show."

The fact that I do better with a typical NJL Pluto episode of Ben y Holly than with Dora or Blue's Clues is especially telling, IMO, because Ben y Holly, though still aimed at preschoolers, is far more advanced than Dora or Blue -- the latter two shows are still trying to teach the audience things like basic colors and shapes, or how to count to ten in their native language, whereas Ben y Holly assumes the audience already knows all this and more, and tells amusing fantasy stories about fairies, elves, and witches. Also, Blue and Dora are far more repetitive than Ben y Holly -- other than the opening theme song, there are no songs you'll hear every single time you watch Ben y Holly, whereas Dora and Blue's Clues both have multiple songs that not only appear in every single episode, but at roughly the same point in every episode's storyline. Even so, I generally get more successful "translation hits" from a single Nick Jr. Latino Ben y Holly song or episode I never saw or heard before, than I've been getting from certain Dora or Blue songs I've already heard dozens of times.

On the other hand, when I found a couple of Ben y Holly episodes online, with different dubbings than NJL uses -- although I chose episodes I had already seen and heard on NJL Pluto, my "successful hit" list was very low, despite the advantage of already having some advance knowledge of what people were saying and doing in that episode.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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This is secondhand information gleaned from one of Jeff's Spanish-speaking coworkers, who said he knows of at least 3 or 4 different Spanish dubs of Dora, and also that most Spanish voice-over work is done in Mexico because that is considered a "neutral Spanish" accent, as opposed to that of Spain or Cuba. When TNT Int'l was a thing (said Jeff's colleague), they sent different translations to Mexico/Central America and the bulk of South America. Also said he always got a kick out of translation dubs for westerns: Mexican characters had neutral accents while white cowboys got Spanish accents, which is a default to denote "sophistication," like an English accent in America.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

I semi-slacked off on my Spanish lessons for the past couple days, being distracted by the bad nerve pain in my arm and back and the various medical visits and such that followed. However, last night I discovered, entirely by accident, that while the Spanish-language kiddie channels we get via Pluto do not have closed captioning available, some of the "adult" channels do. I chanced to catch part of a dub of "Profundo Impacto" (Deep Impact), a movie which I'm already somewhat familiar with, so between that and the captions, it's no surprise I managed to add a lot of things to my written list of "recognized words" before the distractions got too bad for me to concentrate.

But that led to the following well-duh observation: on our cable channels (which, unlike Pluto, CAN be recorded for later viewing) -- I was disappointed to learn we do NOT get the Spanish versions of Nick and Nick Jr., nor does our HBO Latino play Plaza Sesamo or any of HBO's limited kids' programming -- but they do sometimes play dubs of movies or shows I'm already familiar with in English. So at some point in the next week or so, I'll be getting Spanish copies of Shazam and Aquaman (both movies I've watched at least twice since quarantine started), WITH closed captioning AND the ability to pause or rewind as often as I wish. (However, I'm recording all my Spanish stuff in SD rather than HD, since SD takes only about half as much DVR storage space, and these are movies I intend to "keep" for awhile.)

Unsurprisingly, the words and phrases I "pick up" from watching TV are staying in my memory far, far better than things like "verb conjugation tables" I attempt to memorize on their own, with no context. And my ability to read written Spanish, though still very bad, is nonetheless much better than my ability to understand spoken Spanish, even on the shows I find "easier" to understand (Ben y Holly and Zoofari).

Come to think of it -- it could be I find those latter two shows easier to understand despite their relatively advanced content (compared to more explicitly educational stuff like Dora and Blue's Clues) simply because I find Ben y Holly and Zoofari more inherently "interesting" -- Blue and Dora are the type of shows I am watching ONLY in hope of learning a language; I have no interest whatsoever in the English originals, except to help me understand the Spanish versions. But Ben y Holly, and Zoofari, feature content I might find interesting or amusing on its own -- granted, when I'm watching cool animal footage I'd prefer the narration of David Attenborough over a "funniest home videos" guy, but even animal videos narrated by a Bob Saget-type are still more inherently interesting to me than the daily adventures of Dora, or Blue's owner Steve.

ETA: Just had another delayed Captain Obvious insight: early on I started watching episode clips on Nick Jr. Latino's website; only after making this original post did I think "Hmm, I should check the original English Nick Jr. site. Might they not have the same clips and episodes in English?" And -- sho'nuff, for at least some of them, they do! [Squeeeee]
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