Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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

Post by Jennifer »

[Sigh] I have spent over an hour in intense study ... not even of an entire three-minute cartoon clip in Spanish, but of the first minute and seven seconds of a cartoon clip, and despite repeated hearings and re-hearings, plus assistance from a translator, I can still only get a little more than half of it. Of course, I've known all along that no Spanish or any other dub of an English original is going to be an exact identical word-for-word translation -- especially not for songs, poems and other things with rhyme schemes, but even everyday speech on a show for young children will require changes either to grasp subtle nuance differences, or simply for space/time reasons-- this phrase is altered because it takes longer to say in English than Spanish, that phrase gets altered because it takes longer to say in Spanish than English, etc. The dubbing will be more of an "idea" translation than "word" translation, in many instances.

So: I watched a three-minute video clip, in English, of a scene from Max and Ruby: 7-year-old Ruby and two of her friends in the Bunny Scouts are trying to get their "Winter Bird-Tracking Badge" by seeing and taking photos of five different species of bird, armed with a camera, bird book and bag of birdseed, while Ruby's barely verbal little brother Max is tagging along. Max is frustrated because he keeps seeing two ducks and a goose, but every time he tells his sister "Duck, duck, goose," she thinks he's asking to play the game, and keeps telling him she can't play because she and her friends have to find birds.

I wrote out the complete transcript of the English clip (which takes up less than one side of one page of college-ruled loose-leaf paper; more than half the clip has no talking, merely extremely cute background music playing while extremely cute bunny-people do extremely cute things. Then, transcript in hand, I watched the same clip in Spanish line-by-line, first typing the original English line into an English/Spanish translator, then comparing the Spanish sentence with what I actually heard. Unsurprisingly, most of the Spanish dubbing (at least for the longer, more complex sentences) was at least a LITTLE different from Google Translate's prediction, with some so different I can't understand it at all.

Here's an exact transcript of the first minute and change of the English video, followed by the Spanish translation according to Google translate:
RUBY: We have to look and listen for any signs of a bird.
Tenemos que buscar y eschucar cualquier signo de pajaro.

HER FRIENDS: Yes!
Si!

MAX: Duck duck goose! Duck duck goose!
Pato pato ganzo! Pato pato ganzo!

RUBY: Not yet, Max. We still need to find three more birds.
Todavia no, Max. Aun necesitamos encontrar tres pajaros mas.

MAX: Duck! Duck! Goose!
Pato! Pato! Ganzo!

RUBY: [Gasps] Look what I found! A beautiful red bird!
Mira lo que he encontrado! Un hermoso pajaro rojo!

RUBY'S FRIEND: It's a cardinal!
Es un cardinal!

RUBY: It says they have a very beautiful song.
Dice que tienen una cancion muy bonita.

RUBY'S FRIEND: Now we've seen three birds. Only two more to go.
Ahora hemos visto tres pajaros. Solo quedan dos mas.
And here is my own, best-I can-hear translation of the actual Spanish video clip. Some of the lines or phrases are identical to Google Translate's Spanish predictions, though in many instances I still had difficulty hearing properly -- like, I keep hearing "es un" as "e sun," things like that. Other phrases use different words, but I was able to guess the Spanish spelling in the translator, and they mean essentially the same thing. But for others -- despite my best efforts and multiple re-hearings, I mostly hear garble. Here's my Spanish translation, with each line followed by what Google translate gives back in English:
RUBY: Tenemos que buscar y eschucar [unintelligible] pajaro.
We have to search and listen for [unintelligible] bird.

HER FRIENDS: Si!
Yes.

MAX: Pato pato ganzo!
Duck duck goose!

RUBY: Todavia no, Max. Aun [unintelligible] tres pajaros.
Not yet, Max. We [unintelligible] three birds.

MAX: Duck! Duck! Goose!
Pato! Pato! Ganzo!

RUBY: Mira lo que he encontre! Un [unintelligible] pajaro rojo!
Look what I found! A [unintelligible] red bird!

RUBY'S FRIEND: Es un cardinal.
It's a cardinal.

RUBY: Dice que tienen un hermoso canto.
Says they have a beautiful song.

RUBY'S FRIEND: Que hemos vosta tres pajaros. [unintelligible] un mas [unintelligible] dos.
That we have seen three birds. [unintelligible] one more [unintelligible] two
That's the best I could do with an English transcript, English/Spanish and Spanish/English translators, AND the ability to listen and re-listen as often as I want.

[Sigh] I have a long way to go.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Does anyone know if there are any ... not Spanish/English translation sites, but Spanish grammar checkers, that are free to use? I'm still practicing "translation" of certain cartoon clips available in English and Spanish -- first, watch and transcribe in English, then translate that English into Spanish, THEN see [hear] what the ACTUAL Spanish dub says compared to the literal word-for-word translation of the English original. Of course, it is rare for the Spanish dialogue to be an exact word-for-word translation of the English, and rarer still for me to accurately transcribe a Spanish bit that IS noticeably different from the English. But other times, I am "successful" in hearing and transcribing the actual spoken Spanish despite its differences ... except that the English translation of MY Spanish sentence is grammatically incorrect, only I don't know if it's also incorrect in Spanish.

For example: there was a line in Max and Ruby where the little girl, referring to a bird mentioned in her bird book, said (in English) "It says they have a very beautiful song." When I typed that English sentence into the Eng/Span translator, I got "Dice que tienen una cancion muy bonita." However, the ACTUAL Spanish cartoon said "Dice que tienen un hermoso canto," which translates to "Says they have a beautiful song" -- took out "muy"/very, and also said "hermoso" in lieu of "bonita" and "canto" instead of "cancion."

In English, the phrase "Says they have a beautiful song" makes perfect sense in a context like Ruby's but it is NOT a grammatically complete sentence, because it requires a noun as a subject: "IT says they have a beautiful song" or "THE BIRD BOOK says they have a beautiful song." But, given how Spanish tends to conjugate its verbs far more than English does, I know that at least some of the time, it is acceptable for a Spanish speaker or writer to forgo a noun even when the English equivalent phrase requires one: like, the English sentence "we will try" can be expressed with the single Spanish word "trataremos," which is basically the verb tratar -- to try -- conjugated for the plural future tense. So, while I know the English phrase "Says they have a beautiful song" is not a complete sentence, merely a sentence fragment, I don't know if the exact Spanish translation "Dice que tienen un hermoso canto" is grammatically complete, or not. An English teacher would deduct points from a student essay containing the phrase "Says they have a beautiful song" -- but would a Spanish teacher deduct points from an essay saying "Dice que tienen un hermoso canto?" I honestly do not know.
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

In Spanish, it is literally always grammatically correct to have a sentence without a subject. The only reason you would include one is for clarity, or for emphasis. (e.g I might say "Bailo" meaning "I'm dancing" or "Yo bailo" implying "She's not dancing, I'M dancing!" Either would be grammatically correct.)

There are a number of languages that work this way, called null-subject languages.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Huh! That does ease my mind somewhat -- a lot, actually. I had, in my Pluto background-stream TV (as opposed to the online clips on my computer), been noticing more and more conjugated verbs that were either standalone words, or accompanied by a suspected be-verb or a single-vowel syllable I still can't hear, although a Spanish speaker probably would.

Here's another example from Max and Ruby: "Tenemos que buscar y eschucar cualquier signo de pajaro" was Google Translate's Spanish version of the English line "we have to look and listen for any sign of a bird." What she actually said in Spanish on Nick Jr. was a bit different, though it did still start with "Tenemos que buscar y eschucar...." followed by something I couldn't make out, but I'm pretty sure it's not "cualquier signo."

Thing is, though -- even with Google Translate's recommended Spanish version of Ruby's line on my second computer monitor, I still heard "buscar y eschucar " as more like "buscarios cucar" -- I could mostly hear the sounds this time, but still couldn't hear the pauses/breaks in the right places. Had to replay that one line in Spanish several times, before I could conclude "Okay, there is no word "buscarios," the Spanish IS saying "buscar y es --something ... but after that it's different words before they say "pajaro"/bird, and I can't make those words out yet." (Also, I still hear "pajaro" as "pacaro," pretty much every time. And "Roja" as "roca," and "rojo" as "roco," and so on.)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by dead_elvis »

Ellie wrote: 14 Aug 2020, 10:32 In Spanish, it is literally always grammatically correct to have a sentence without a subject. The only reason you would include one is for clarity, or for emphasis. (e.g I might say "Bailo" meaning "I'm dancing" or "Yo bailo" implying "She's not dancing, I'M dancing!" Either would be grammatically correct.)

There are a number of languages that work this way, called null-subject languages.
Oh man this drives me crazy, because as you point out a lot of verb endings are shared between different possible subjects, so understanding requires a lot of contextual awareness, which to me really ups the concentration required.
Last edited by dead_elvis on 15 Aug 2020, 18:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Well, this is disappointing (though, now that I think about it, maybe not surprising): I recorded many episodes of a show called "Un Nueva Dia" off of cable -- looks like a daily 4-hour newsmagazine covering political, pop-culture and celebrity news from a Latino-americano perspective. The idea, of course, was that watching something with closed captioning would be far more educational for me than the various makeshift lessons I've been cobbling together -- plus, for at least some of the topics I'd already be familiar with the subject matter, and could focus more on their vocabulary and pronunciation than on what actual information they sought to convey.

Unfortunately, turns out there is a loooong delay between when words are said and when the captions go up -- something along the lines of seven or 8 seconds. When I watched the show's opening scenes-- where the various anchors speak over clips previewing the various topics we'll discuss in this episode -- the first spoken-word phrase I definitively recognized was "... del Presidente Trump," but by the time those actual words appeared in the closed-captioning, several seconds later, that little preview clip about Trump had already ended, and a different anchor spoke while the onscreen graphic mentioned "el covid-19."
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

So, I've been looking for ways to practice reading Spanish in addition to listening to it (plus, I figure the former should be much easier, since various words will always look the same in print, no matter how different they sound when various Spanish cartoon characters say them in their varying accents. And with reading, I don't have problems like my continued inability to hear that first letter "a" anytime ANYBODY says ANY form of the verb "ayudar"/to help, or my hearing hard consonants where there should be soft consonants or none at all, and similar difficulties).

I have not yet figured out the right Spanish search terms to find or recognize free online Spanish-language stories equivalent to the super-simple "Easy Reader," "Weekly Reader," "Little Golden Book" or "I Can Read This All By Myself" picture-book lines I remember from my own nursery and preschool years, but I've found the next best thing: websites full of stories parents can read to children at very young ages. Pretty sure most of those websites are aiming toward the padres de helicopteros de granola-organica types.

So what I'll do is, look at a paragraph, try to read (or at least guess) as much of it in Spanish as I can, then cut and paste it into Google Translate (there were a couple promising-looking sites I abandoned because they used obnoxious graphics formats which made it impossible or extremely difficult to cut-and-paste important text), see what Google Translate says in English, and how well my guesses matched. Finally, I'll cut and paste the Spanish originals and their English translations into one of the various computer documents I've been compiling.

Unsurprisingly, I'm already finding lots of interesting (IMO) cases where -- assuming, of course, that Google Translate's English translation is entirely correct (and, for that matter, that the Spanish original is well-written and free of errors) -- I'm sure the denotation is correct, but the connotation in American English is wrong. Here's an example from GuiaInfantil [children's guide] -dot- com, explaining the benefits of reading stories to young children: "... Desde que son muy pequeños, incluso desde que están en la tripa de la madre, los niños deberían escuchar cuentos." If a Spanish speaker wanted to say this in English, using Google Translate, here's how it would sound (emphasis added by me): "...Since they are very young, even when they are in their mother's gut, children should listen to stories."

If I were editing this into something for an American English audience (I occasionally did similar things at the vanity press) -- if the guide wanted to avoid clinical/medical terms like "uterus" I might say "in their mother's belly" or perhaps "still inside their mother," but would NOT mention the "gut" or "guts" --sure, any English speaker would understand that, but the possible connotations of "gut" or "guts" in English aren't quite the warm-cuddly-nurturing vibes which, I'm sure, that GuiaInfantil website is going for, when it urges parents to read stories like "El patito feo, El clásico de Hans Christian Andersen" {brag: I got that without Google Translate's help!} to children age 0-3 years old. And there's other things I'd change about Google Translate's offering, too, before considering it proper professional publication-worthy English.

OTOH ... suppose I actually did pick up Spanish well enough to really "use" it, in speaking or writing. If I wrote that "Desde que" sentence in Spanish, then double-checked it using Google Translate ... hmm, to my English ear that sounds weird, so let's change tripa/gut to something like '"belly" or "tummy" or what have you ... except for all I know, that connotation in Spanish is exactly backwards: calling it "tripa" is fine, but the Spanish word for "belly" or "tummy" sounds off, the same way gut or guts sound "off" in English.

Here's another interesting suspected denotation/connotation difference, though I have no idea how it actually works in Spanish in terms of connotations: "duende" is the Spanish word for "elf," and you'll hear it a LOT if you watch Nick Jr. Latino's Spanish dubs of "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom" -- Mr and Mrs Elf are Senor and Senora Duende, the Wise Old Elf is Duende Sabio {wise elf}, Elf Rescue is Duendes al Rescate, etc. -- where names of the fairies, elves, witches and other magical characters are concerned, NJL's Spanish dubs of "Ben y Holly" are pretty much straightforward word-for-word translations from English into Spanish (except for cases like Duende Sabio, where his Spanish name had to be shortened a bit because the full Spanish translation "duende viejo sabio" takes too long to say, in the time allotted to pronounce "Wise Old Elf" in English. (ETA: Also, while Google Translate's Eng-to-Span will give you "duende" if you look up the standalone word "elf," if you look up "wise old elf" you instead get "elfo viejo sabio.")

Meanwhile, I still watch episodes of Dora La Exploradora, enough to have seen a couple occurrences of a character who recurs, but does not appear in EVERY episode: in the English original, that character is the Grumpy Old Troll, who lives under a bridge and does a little dance and song demanding Dora answer a riddle before she's allowed to cross; in the Spanish Nick Jr. dub, I can't quite make out his full name or most of his song yet (I've only seen/heard him two or three times in all), but it definitely includes "duende" in his name -- the grumpy troll is some type of elf, in at least one Spanish dub/dialect.
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Jennifer wrote: 16 Aug 2020, 11:55 with reading, I don't have problems like my continued inability to hear that first letter "a" anytime ANYBODY says ANY form of the verb "ayudar"/to help, or my hearing hard consonants where there should be soft consonants or none at all, and similar difficulties).
Minor milestone: first time I actually heard that first A. On my DVR I have two copies of the movie "Shazam," the original, and the Spanish dub which HBO Latino airs. And, of course, the closed-captioning for a big-budget movie on premium cable is of far higher quality than the delayed, made-on-the-spot captions for cheap basic-cable daily newsmagazine shows. Yesterday I watched the movie's opening scene (flashback to Christmas 1974, where a young kid had a super-traumatic experience that ultimately makes him grow up to be a supervillain), first in English and then in Spanish with closed-captions, and yeah: when the kid yells "help" or help me in English, in the Spanish dub he yells an ayudar conjugation I don't immediately recall, but I could actually hear him pronounce the initial A. Though it might also be due to him saying it as a single-word sentence, too.

Minor vocabulary/connotation note: the first time I noticed a Spanish character calling for help -- fairly early on, while watching a Ben y Holly cartoon -- a character fell into a mud puddle and was sinking, while calling out "socorro! socorro!", and from the visual context I was not at all surprised to find "socorro" meant "help!" too.
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

Interesting! I wasn't familiar with "socorro" but I assume it's the same etymology as succor. :) I looked it up to clarify when to use it -- "ayuda" is help in any context and "socorro" is only for emergencies or serious situations. (E.g. you'd never say "socorro" if you were asking for help carrying the groceries in from the car)
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Ellie wrote: 17 Aug 2020, 09:52 Interesting! I wasn't familiar with "socorro" but I assume it's the same etymology as succor. :) I looked it up to clarify when to use it -- "ayuda" is help in any context and "socorro" is only for emergencies or serious situations. (E.g. you'd never say "socorro" if you were asking for help carrying the groceries in from the car)
Thing is, though -- in the context of the traumatized kid/future villain at the beginning of Shazam, calling out something which I Immediately recognized as help/ayudar (IIRC, that specific caption was an 8-letter conjugation of the verb) -- that also would have been a definite serious, emergency immediate-danger type of situation -- in many ways, far scarier than the scene in Ben y Holly where someone who fell into a puddle and couldn't get out called "socorro!" (This was early on in my Spanish-watching experiment, well before I learned "ayudar" or _ar conjugations in general, or even noticed/wondered about that mysterious "me judah" phrase I eventually came to repeatedly hear.)

Definitely a difference from English, though -- sure, there are plenty of synonyms for "help," but there's really nothing else that would work, or that even the most advanced-vocabulary, downright-pretentious English speaker would say. I haven't seen that particular Ben y Holly scene in English, but I'm sure that if I did, the fairy who fell into the mud would cry "Help!" or "Help me" as does the kid in the far scarier grownup movie "Shazam."

So now, regarding connotation differences -- it's no mystery why that fairy in Ben y Holly called "socorro" instead of "ayudar" -- but why didn't the kid in Shazam do the same?
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

You can use "ayuda" in any situation where you need help, from mundane to urgent. It's like ayuda=help and socorro=emergency. You'd say "Help me!" if you couldn't find the milk in the fridge and "Help me!" if you were trapped in quicksand. But you'd only say "Emergency!" in the latter case. One hopes. :D
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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I still find it kind of bemusing, in an "almost take this personally" sort of way, that "socorro = help" was among the earliest Spanish words I got entirely "from watching TV" -- sure, I used a translation site to double-check that my assumption was correct, but even when I still could hear nothing but "Hola amigos, blah blah blah blah blah" on any Spanish show, if you pay any attention at all to that scene in Ben y Holly, the onscreen images make it obvious someone is sinking in a puddle, cannot get out, and yelling something on account of that, so even with zero "developed ear" for hearing Spanish rather than English, I had no trouble clearly making out the repeated "Socorro! Socorro! Socorro!" and even guess the correct Spanish spelling (since it's pretty much identical to how you'd pronounce "socorro" if you saw it in English).

So "socorro = help" was one of the very early entries on my handwritten "positive hits" TV-vocabulary list, when the whole list took up less than one side of a loose-leaf sheet ... and IIRC I've only ever heard it one other time and I can't even remember where or when. And knowing that particular version of help certainly did nothing to help me later, when I was trying to figure out "judah/ayudar/help."
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

I don't know if this is something peculiar to me and my own intellectual strengths and weaknesses, or if this would apply to pretty much anybody (with no "gift for languages") attempting to kinda-sorta pick up another language via the half-assed, self-directed method I've been trying, or if it's some other variable (perhaps an odd coincidence like, every song just-so happens to be in the ONE Spanish accent I personally find hardest to handle) but: regarding those bits of Spanish vocabulary I actually "know" well enough that, when I hear it mentioned I Immediately recognize it and know what it means (as opposed to the more commonplace "Hmm, I know I've heard that word before .... dammit, what does it mean again?" and even if I DO manage to recall it, by the time I do there's been another several seconds' worth of dialogue or action I completely missed) ... almost NONE of my "hits" come from certain songs which I know I've heard at least three dozen individual times if not more, since starting this experiment. Like the "We did it!" and "Where are we going?" songs you'll hear on EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Dora the Explorer, or the "Mail is here," "I got mail" and "We're looking for clues" songs you'll hear on EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Blue's Clues, the two or three songs you'll hear on EVERY EPISODE of Go Diego Go ... so far, there's not a single one where I can tell you all the words in Spanish. There's not even a single one where I can say "Well, I don't know what they're actually saying in Spanish, but it sounds like 'me judah' and Steve says it a LOT" -- the songs to me are still mostly unintelligible noise, punctuated by the occasional "I know what that means" or "I don't know what it means or even how to spell it, but at least I recognize the sound."

I would've thought the opposite would apply. Certainly, when we're talking about my own natively understood language of English, songs will enter my memory without my even trying to put them there -- say, there's an ad jingle I never consciously paid attention to, but it airs during every commercial break whenever Jeff has the Weather Channel on for background noise, and I never consciously realized I knew the song at all until the one time I just happen to look at the screen while it's playing, and realize "Huh, I know the words to this song, though I still don't even know WTF this commercial is actually for" ... almost none of those Spanish kid-show songs are sticking to my memory the way various English-language song bits will. I don't think I'm even getting any Spanish mondegreens -- just "blah blah babble noise" for most of it.

There are certain commercials (mainly for other Nick or Nick Jr. cable shows, occasionally for actual products you can buy) which air during EVERY COMMERCIAL BREAK, bar none, on the Nick Jr. Latino Pluto stream. Some commercials are in English, some in Spanish, a couple bilingual. Pretty much every English line from every English commercial is stuck in my head {"Put it in yo' pocket, put it in yo' pocket, POCKET WATCH!!" -- no idea if Pocket Watch is a show, a toy or a downloadable app, but I know that fucking song}, but I barely remember anything from any of those Spanish jingles.
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Based on something I've heard several times in episodes of Wonder Pets (pretty much always said to Ming Ming the patito), telling someone "buena vista" in Spanish can mean the same as saying "good eye" in English -- in other words, "Hey, nice job noticing that thing I might have overlooked."
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

*preens*

Unsure about the exact Spanish wording, but I did catch a "this goes up to eleven"-type joke they made on Ben y Holly. Don't know exactly what it was, but they counted to ten and then either Barba Roja or one of the fairies pointed out that the valve went one higher....
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

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Petty annoyance, bilingual-ed edition: on my TV, when you're watching something with the closed-captions on, you can NOT pause the action to write or type the caption, because when you press the pause button, the "pause" and "where are you in the movie" on-screen graphics completely obscure the captioning. (I now recall that back in Virginia, when we first upgraded to this TV from our old CRT one, I was similarly annoyed to discover that because of this, I could not watch old silent movies on double-speed, because the fast-forward graphic also obscured the captions telling you what people said.)

Despite this, I am still, very slowly and laboriously, going through my Spanish dubbing of the movie "Shazam." At some point in the past few days I stumbled upon another Captain Obvious insight regarding my handwritten list of "positive matches" gleaned from TV shows: rather than just have the one big unwieldy mega-list, do a separate one for each individual program. This is especially useful regarding my Nick Jr. Latino/Pluto programming, where they only show the same handful of episodes over and over again, so it's easy for me to be like "Oh, they're showing the "Witch Competition" episode of Ben y Holly again?" and take the relevant list from the relevant notebook. Unsurprisingly, I'm doing much better at remembering things (especially phrases and clauses, rather than mere individual vocabulary-word nouns and adjectives) when I also have a context in which to remember them -- merely trying to remember the random phrases "on the table" and "it is on the table" is much harder for me, than also remembering "Steve the Blue's Clues host said it in the 'bubble bath' episode." And I am slowly, sloooooowly, starting to get a better handle on some common verbs that way -- like, Steve used the "we" form of it in an episode, but -- hey! Someone else used the "I" form of the same verb in that small bit of Deep Impact I saw, and I'm pretty sure one of Tween Dora's friends used the "you" conjugation....

So I'm going through the Spanish "Shazam" (I'm still barely halfway through the initial opening flashback scene), adding to my list of Spanish words, phrases or short sentences plus their English meanings. Between the captioning-pause limitations and my current problems with my dominant arm and hand, I'm not even trying to collect, like, a complete Spanish-language transcript of the movie -- when Asshole Dad and Asshole Big Brother go on for a couple of paragraphs being abusive dicks to their future-supervillain family member, I'll pay attention to their words and the captions but won't bother trying to "capture" much for my list, except a couple of quick-and-easy one or two-word phrases I can get without having to pause, rewind and replay multiple times -- but my list does have most of the short sentences and phrases spoken in the opening scenes, plus the type of brief screen instructions you'll see on a closed-captioned show (Suena musica en la radio -- music plays on the radio. Se detiene -- it stops.)

But I've already gleaned enough from Shazam plus some other things (including my still-incomplete attempt to write a full Spanish transcript of that three-minute cartoon clip I linked upthread) to notice a ... I won't say "a problem," but "something I personally am having difficulty grasping" -- I am having a HARD time figuring out whether or not a Spanish statement actually "works," not just as a grammatically complete sentence, but even as something which might not pass muster with a grammar-school teacher, but would at least be understood in the context of a casual chat where you're not being graded.

Upthread I mentioned some concern over Spanish phrases lacking a subject noun as all English sentences must, until Ellie assured me that's fine: when the bunny Girl Scout discussed what the bird book said about cardinals -- Dice que tienen un hermoso canto, literally "Says they have a beautiful song" -- not a complete English sentence because there's no noun telling you who or what is saying this, but you don't need that noun in Spanish, because the verb's conjugated form alone conveys this information.

Fine. Makes sense to me, though it will take some getting used to. Furthermore -- regarding the bunny scout's remark about the beautiful song -- although the literal word-for-word English translation of her Spanish is grammatically a mere sentence fragment, if she'd actually said the English words "Says they have a beautiful song," while gesturing toward the page in the bird book -- yeah, her friends and anybody else watching the show would all know perfectly well what she's talking about, despite the English grammar error. Her sentence fragment wouldn't "work" grammatically but in the context of that scene it still "works" to convey all the necessary information, know what I mean? At least, it works if you are watching the cartoon and seeing the action in addition to hearing or reading what she says.

Now, hold that thought and let me mention a line from "Shazam." In the initial scenes, the poor mistreated future-supervillain kid is in the back seat of a car, Asshole Dad and Asshole Big Brother are in the front seat being assholes to him, it's Christmas 1974 and they're all driving to Grandpa's house, and it sounds like Grandpa is an asshole too: the kid in the back is playing with a Magic 8-ball, and his dad yells at him for that -- I don't remember his exact words in the English original, but the gist of it is, "You know toys are not allowed at grandpa's house" or "you're not allowed to bring toys to Grandpa's" or something along those lines (and Asshole Dad doesn't care when the kid protests "But it's Christmas!")

In Spanish, according to the closed captioning as opposed to my own super-limited and always-potentially-wrong Spanish listening/transcription skills, this is exactly what Asshole Dad said: "Dice que sin juguetes con tu abuelo" -- English translation "Says that without toys with your grandfather."

To which my English-trained mind responds: huh? That makes no sense at all -- had I not already known exactly what was going on in that scene (and the entire movie, for that matter), I wouldn't have had any idea what Asshole Dad was talking about, even with the many context clues (without understanding a word of language, you can still tell via tone of voice, body language and such that the two adults are being horrible to the poor kid). I assume HBO Latino's captioning department knows their shit, and that Spanish sentence is correct -- but it doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, especially not translated back into my native English.

And now I wonder about things from my incomplete transcript of the bunny bird-watching cartoon: there's a line in the English original where a girl says "Now we've seen three birds. Only two more to go." In the Spanish dub, I can't get everything yet, but what I have so far sounds like "Que hemos vosta tres pajaros. [unintelligible] un mas [unintelligible] dos." English translation: "That we have seen three birds. [unintelligible] one more [unintelligible] two."

I'd guessed/assumed that, in addition to the obvious gaps in the second sentence, I was probably mishearing the first Spanish sentence as well, because "That we have seen three birds" doesn't work at all in English, not in a proper-grammar school assignment, not even in a casual chat among cartoon-character friends meant to represent seven-year-olds. But then -- "Says that without toys with your grandfather" doesn't make sense in English either, yet obviously it works in Spanish. Somehow. Hopefully I'll get a better sense of it, as I work through Shazam and other Spanish/English comparisons.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

Re: "Dice que sin juguetes con tu abuelo" -- I don't know if it got left off the captions or if some people drop the "se" in informal speech (I'm not that fluent) but it sounds like he was saying "se dice que" which is a case of the "impersonal se." The phrase can be translated different ways in different contexts but just kinda means "it is said that," "everybody knows that," "this is the way things are," etc.

Then because you've established that you're talking about "the way it is" you don't need to have the verbs for "being" (not that this is technically grammatically correct but it's informal speech. Kind of like saying "No pain, no gain" instead of spelling out, "If you do not have pain, you will not have gain.")

[Se] dice que sin juguetes con tu abuelo
That's the way it is: [you are] without toys [when you are] with your grandfather


(edited to add: take all this with a whole-ass salt lick; I'm by no means an expert Spanish speaker)
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Ellie
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Ellie »

I found the Max y Ruby episode with the bird-watching (I think? Where they're all dressed up like purple Girl Scouts?) and I'll try to give that a listen in a bit just to see if I can catch anything. (Doubtful, but I need something to distract me from the work I'm procrastinating on)
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Ellie wrote: 20 Aug 2020, 10:52 I found the Max y Ruby episode with the bird-watching (I think? Where they're all dressed up like purple Girl Scouts?) and I'll try to give that a listen in a bit just to see if I can catch anything. (Doubtful, but I need something to distract me from the work I'm procrastinating on)
I can definitely tell I need to spend some time studying the "Dice - whatever" structure, because in addition to the two examples mentioned here I know I've got at least one or two more in some of my other lists somewhere.

As for Max and Ruby -- yeah, that's a weird show even by the surreal standards of preschool programming in a language you don't know. At first glance, if you ignore the whole bit about "they're rabbits instead of people" I'd say it's the most "realistic" of the shows -- compared to, like, the show about the magic mod British fairies who are half an inch high, and the little girl with the talking backpack whose free-range parents let her roam a land full of talking thieving animals and grumpy bridge trolls, and the girl's slightly older version with the magical charm bracelet where in one episode she somehow transformed into a mermaid who could breathe and sing underwater, and the show where the dog communicates by leaving paw prints suspended in the air because somehow he's the only thing in the UNIVERSE that cannot talk, even the furniture and cutlery and salt and pepper shakers are talking sentient beings for fuck's sake.... point is, sounding sensible and down to earth is a really low fucking bar to cross here, but somehow Max and Ruby still manage to trip over it.

It doesn't help that in many ways it's the show I know the least about -- for the Spanish shows like Blue, Ben y Holly, and Dora and her various spinoffs, the English original versions of those shows are big enough that I've had little trouble finding information about the Spanish versions I watch -- the Spanish description for the upcoming episode of Go Diego Go mentions el bebe perozoso, I use the translator to determine that means baby sloth, find and read the Diego wiki page about the episode where Diego rescues the baby sloth, look up a couple of Spanish vocabulary words likely to appear in the upcoming episode .... oh, and while I'm reading all this anyway, it's definitely helpful to get the additional info that the girl Alicia is Diego's sister, Dora is his cousin, Click the talking camera is the one who tells him about animals in danger, and so on.

But Max and Ruby isn't big enough to have such information available, and most of what I DID find is about the original books rather than the cartoon (which, I gather, differs from the books in many key ways). One thing that kinda started to freak me out** after I noticed it -- the animation is a combination of real photos and drawings/computer renderings, and sometimes it's to scale and sometimes it isn't -- there was one episode I caught on TV where they were in a backyard with a vegetable garden, and for a moment I was shocked by the giant mutant radioactive-size carrots ... until I remembered "wait, they're rabbits, and compared to a rabbit, a carrot garden actually would be that size."

On the other hand, if you do watch that Max and Ruby clip (I linked to the English and Spanish versions upthread, when I included my "transcript", but the Spanish one is here and this is the original English), the birds are not scaled to rabbit-size -- look at the size of the cardinal perched on Ruby's birdseed bag, compared to the size of Ruby herself ... or, for that matter, watch the ridiculously cute scene at the beginning where little Max goes down the slide and then a duck lands on his head. (I often had baby or toddler bunnies in my backyard in Virginia -- an adult duck landing on one of their heads would be like a freaking kaiju in comparison.) Compared to the duck, Max is definitely the size of a human toddler, not an adult rabbit and definitely not a baby bunny.

** Granted, between the undersleeping, overcaffeinating, and prescription-med-taking, I really am in an off kinda mood lately.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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Kolohe
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

It’s kinda amusing as a native English speaker that every video for teaching kids the alphabet uses ‘foco’ (lightbulb) to illustrate f

Also hilarious that w is so rare in Spanish I’ve seen two different teaching videos use Washington.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Made a fortuitous find in a thrift store today: an extremely colorful book called 365 cuentos y rimas para ninos, which even I knew meant "stories and rhymes for children." Can't quite make out ALL of the copy on the back cover without a translator, but did figure out "the book contains a story or rhyme for every day of the year" and "pretty illustrations."

Thumbed through it on the way home -- still a little advanced for me yet, but I could make out a few words and phrases here and there, even some near- complete sentences ("Jorge lived in a big house and [something] with a garden and [something]," and was amused to discover that the book's previous owner apparently bought it for the same reason I did: not to amuse a Spanish-speaking child, but to teach Spanish to someone who doesn't know it -- here and there throughout the book, the owner wrote the English translations over the book's Spanish words.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Kolohe wrote: 20 Aug 2020, 17:58 It’s kinda amusing as a native English speaker that every video for teaching kids the alphabet uses ‘foco’ (lightbulb) to illustrate f

Also hilarious that w is so rare in Spanish I’ve seen two different teaching videos use Washington.
The online Spanish alphabet I found had three words rather than the usual four per letter: w for William (over a cartoon Shakespeare), waterpolo and peso-Welter (welterweight). My guess is Spanish uses W only for foreign words that can't be spelled any other way. (Though I'm surprised they say "waterpolo" rather than "agua de something.")
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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Kolohe
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Kolohe »

There was another YouTuber that used ‘waffles’ even though that seems to be used somewhat randomly interchangeably with gofres. (Like i’ve sometimes seen, especially in Duolingo, ‘los sándwiches’ vice ‘los emparadados’)

And I thought I was going nuts, but now have found out these sons of guns changed the frickin alphabet 10 years ago, which was fifteen years after I took my last formal Spanish lesson

http://www.spanishpronto.com/spanishpro ... habet.html

( I’ve been reviewing the alphabet because I was getting into mental knots trying to transcribe some people’s names) (and code switching at the exact wrong time e.g. mixing up ‘e’ and ‘a’)
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

Last night just before bed I saw my nth viewing of the Diego episode where he rescues a parrot whose wing got caught in a rock crevice, and although I am still far from being able to "follow" that episode just through the language, a lot of things suddenly "clicked" that had not before -- I did catch the parrot yelling a (possibly misspelled) "ayudarme!" or something, while the hungry predator chased it. (The parrot DID pronounce it like "judah," though. I don't think the future-supervillain did at the beginning of Shazam, but I will check it later.) And I finally heard "mi hermana" when Diego mentioned his sister, and repeated mentions of "arco iris" (rainbow) during the audience-participation part where Diego needs to know which of three different-colored bandages he should apply to a spot on the parrot's wing, and a couple other things.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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Jennifer
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Re: Speaking in tongues (the "learning languages" thread)

Post by Jennifer »

I am currently torn, at war with myself, facing a choice of two pathways, and I fear the one I currently want to take, for once I step on that path, the consequences would be immediate and irrevocable: since my Spanish children's stories-and-poetry book has already been "defaced" by the occasional here-and-there English translation scrawled by its original owner on a couple of its pages, shall I go ahead and mark up the rest of the book like I'm a college freshman, with highlights and margin notes abundant? Or shall I leave it as is: most pages pristine, with only the occasional bit of English graffiti here and there to distract an actual Spanish reader of the book?
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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