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TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي ) - Page 13 - UniLang

TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-18, 3:18

dEhiN wrote:Though I suppose, and this is coming from the perspective of someone who hasn't started learning Arabic (yet), unless you know for sure which area you're going to travel to, how can you determine which dialect to learn? Also, what if you travel to other parts in your life / Arabic learning journey?

Well, you might (for example) want to talk to people who speak a particular dialect and thus try to learn that one. Also, if you learn one, it's relatively easy to pick up another, so that's not a huge problem. I think somebody said that here, IIRC. :?
TeneReef wrote:This is similar to Tamil. :)

How is this similar to Tamil? Do you mean in that most Tamil classes/courses teach literary Tamil?

He apparently thinks diglossia in Arabic is similar to diglossia in Tamil, but I doubt that it's all that similar. For one thing, in the case of Tamil, Madurai dialect seems to be more or less assumed as a kind of standard spoken dialect, and for another, I'm not sure any of the dialects of Tamil show significant differences in terms of syntax (even though the dialects of Arabic definitely do). :hmm: It's definitely possible to find a course that teaches the written language alongside Madurai dialect (I can think of one off the top of my head; they seem to teach vocabulary in both, and most of the differences between Madurai dialect and the written language appear to be phonological rather than morphological or syntactic), but I've never seen any such resources for any other dialect of Tamil. By contrast, there is no spoken standard for Arabic at all. Egyptian Arabic is widely understood because Egyptian media has been popular throughout the Arab World for decades by now (and apparently Levantine Arabic is also somewhat widely understood by people who speak various dialects), but not everyone understands it. I've never seen a dialect of Arabic being taught alongside MSA in the same way I've seen Madurai dialect taught along with written Tamil, and I don't think that would be possible because the differences between MSA and the dialects are a lot more than just phonology.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Saim » 2014-12-18, 11:19

dEhiN wrote:Though I suppose, and this is coming from the perspective of someone who hasn't started learning Arabic (yet), unless you know for sure which area you're going to travel to, how can you determine which dialect to learn? Also, what if you travel to other parts in your life / Arabic learning journey?


First of all, the vernaculars are all closer to each other than any is to the standard. Learning more than one gives you the same advantages/difficulties as learning Slavic or Romance languages; having lived in Catalonia for a while and speaking Catalan as my daily language has made it very easy for me to pick up conversational Portuguese and Italian when I went to those places for just a couple of days (although obviously I prepared for a couple of months beforehand). I've had a similar experience with Slavic languages although it's more difficult because I don't speak Serbian daily and my Polish is not anywhere near as good as my Spanish, although if I were to live in a Slavic country I'm sure I could do something similar. That's what I'd like to do with Arabic, at least.

Secondly, if you just learn MSA and travel to an Arab country you're likely to be understood but most people will respond to you in the local vernacular. This means that you'll be able to make yourself understood but you won't understand other people. Unless you surround yourself with university professors and journalists it'll be difficult for you to have a real two-way conversation.

Thirdly, if your main interest in Arabic is being able to chat with friends, listen to music or watch TV shows, MSA is mostly useless. Most music and TV (besides the news, documentaries and such) use vernacular speech.

For someone who learns languages to read or mostly through reading then I'd definitely recommend them to learn MSA first. But otherwise, it makes more sense to learn dialect because then you approach MSA it won't seem as alien and you'll have some grounding in actual experience to make sense of it, and you don't even have to learn to speak it, just to understand it, which is always easier!

EDIT: Why do we always end up having long discussions on language learning on Meera's TAC? :lol:
Last edited by Saim on 2014-12-19, 5:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby eskandar » 2014-12-18, 16:40

vijayjohn wrote:I've never seen a dialect of Arabic being taught alongside MSA in the same way I've seen Madurai dialect taught along with written Tamil, and I don't think that would be possible because the differences between MSA and the dialects are a lot more than just phonology.
Well I can't comment on how Tamil is taught as I don't have any experience there, but colloquial Arabic is increasingly taught alongside MSA. Al-Kitaab, the most commonly used Arabic textbook in US universities, is set up to teach Egyptian and/or Levantine Arabic alongside MSA, and there are many programs for foreigners in Arab countries that teach MSA side by side with the local vernacular.
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-18, 21:11

Saim wrote:Why do we always end up having long discussions on language learning on Meera's TAC? :lol:

Maybe because she learns such interesting languages :lol: And also because she can actually say something about language learning. By contrast, whenever anybody asks me about how I learn languages, I'm always like "uhhhhh..." :lol:
eskandar wrote:Well I can't comment on how Tamil is taught as I don't have any experience there, but colloquial Arabic is increasingly taught alongside MSA. Al-Kitaab, the most commonly used Arabic textbook in US universities, is set up to teach Egyptian and/or Levantine Arabic alongside MSA, and there are many programs for foreigners in Arab countries that teach MSA side by side with the local vernacular.

Yeah, I can believe that, but I guess my point is that the differences between the dialects of Tamil and the standard written language are not as great as the differences between the dialects of Arabic and MSA. Again, from what I can tell, in Tamil, the differences are mostly phonological, whereas in Arabic, there are differences not only at the phonological level but also e.g. at the syntactic level. For that reason, in Tamil, it seems to be enough to learn how any given word is written in the standard language and pronounced in one of the dialects. By contrast, learning a dialect of Arabic is not merely a matter of learning MSA and then learning how all the words in MSA are pronounced in that dialect. For example, there are often (if not always) clear differences in terms of basic word order between MSA and the dialects of Arabic.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby dEhiN » 2014-12-19, 5:47

vijayjohn wrote:Yeah, I can believe that, but I guess my point is that the differences between the dialects of Tamil and the standard written language are not as great as the differences between the dialects of Arabic and MSA. Again, from what I can tell, in Tamil, the differences are mostly phonological, whereas in Arabic, there are differences not only at the phonological level but also e.g. at the syntactic level. For that reason, in Tamil, it seems to be enough to learn how any given word is written in the standard language and pronounced in one of the dialects. By contrast, learning a dialect of Arabic is not merely a matter of learning MSA and then learning how all the words in MSA are pronounced in that dialect. For example, there are often (if not always) clear differences in terms of basic word order between MSA and the dialects of Arabic.

Really? The various Arabic dialects differ that substantially not just from each other, but from MSA as well?

And yeah, I would agree with you that, afaik, the differences in spoken Tamil dialects are mostly phonological. I think word choice is the second biggest difference among Tamil dialects.

Saim wrote:EDIT: Why do we always end up having long discussions on language learning on Meera's TAC? :lol:

Because Meera either enjoys it, doesn't seem to care, or has given up on trying to regulate her TAC :D

Also, Saim, you raise some interesting points. Whenever I eventually get around to learning Arabic, I will have to decide my purpose for learning it.

vijayjohn wrote:For one thing, in the case of Tamil, Madurai dialect seems to be more or less assumed as a kind of standard spoken dialect...

As far as I know, that's only when learning Indian Tamil (Tamil Nadu Tamil). That's definitely not the case when either learning Tamil in Sri Lanka, or interacting with the SL diaspora around the world. I think in that case, Jaffna dialect is probably the closest to a "standard spoken" dialect. I'm not sure about Tamil courses outside of SL or India, as the only ones I've seen are at various US colleges, and they seem to teach TN Tamil (Madurai dialect?).
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-19, 6:00

dEhiN wrote:Really? The various Arabic dialects differ that substantially not just from each other, but from MSA as well?

Yes. Absolutely. In fact, as Saim said, the vernaculars are all closer to each other than to the standard.
As far as I know, that's only when learning Indian Tamil (Tamil Nadu Tamil). That's definitely not the case when either learning Tamil in Sri Lanka, or interacting with the SL diaspora around the world. I think in that case, Jaffna dialect is probably the closest to a "standard spoken" dialect. I'm not sure about Tamil courses outside of SL or India, as the only ones I've seen are at various US colleges, and they seem to teach TN Tamil (Madurai dialect?).

Yeah, that's right. In Sri Lanka, it's Jaffna dialect; in India, it's apparently based on the Madurai and Thanjavur dialects.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Saim » 2014-12-19, 7:07

What kind of Tamil is spoken in Malaysia and Singapore? Which variety spoken in Tamil Nadu is it closest to?
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-19, 7:36

You know, that's a good question. I honestly don't know. :hmm: I'm tempted to say it's still the Madurai and Thanjavur dialects, because my understanding is that most of the Tamil people who migrated to Malaysia and Singapore came from India, not Sri Lanka, and Indian Tamil movies seem to be popular there, too...but I'm not sure whether that really means anything.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Saim » 2014-12-19, 8:05

They came from the mainland yes, but I'm not sure which part , and surely in Tamil Nadu there are more dialects than just Madurai and Thanjavur?
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-19, 8:14

Of course, but I also doubt that they all come from just one part of the mainland. :) After all, there are all kinds of other South Asians there, too - Gujaratis, Malayalees, Telugus, Hindi-speakers, Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, and so on.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby dEhiN » 2014-12-21, 4:27

Saim wrote:They came from the mainland yes, but I'm not sure which part , and surely in Tamil Nadu there are more dialects than just Madurai and Thanjavur?

Well according to here:

Ethnic Tamils in Singapore include both Tamils from India and Sri Lankan Tamils (sometimes referred to as 'Ceylonese').


The dialects section of the Wikipedia article on Tamil only seems to speak of dialects in SL and India.

I wonder if due to language influence from other officially recognized languages in Malaysia and Singapore, each country is considered to have its own dialect. This might especially be the case if there was not one particular region that the Tamil population living there now immigrated from.
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Youngfun » 2014-12-21, 4:55

I won't be surprised if Tamil as spoken in Malaysia and Singapore contained Malay, Chinese and English loanwords; in these lands Malay, Chinese, English and Tamil all influence each other heavily.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby TeneReef » 2014-12-21, 21:32

I'd like to reply that the standard of colloquial Tamil has shifted from Madurai to Trichy and Chennai, and when colloquial Tamil is taught, these variants are used, this is not surprising, since the language used in movie dialogs and songs is more of a mix of Trichy and Chennai varieties than the peripheral Madurai dialect.

''Colloquial Tamil'' (by Routledge ) teaches Chennai Tamil
as does ''Reference grammar of spoken Tamil'' by H. Schiffman. :wink:
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-22, 3:14

Youngfun wrote:I won't be surprised if Tamil as spoken in Malaysia and Singapore contained Malay, Chinese and English loanwords; in these lands Malay, Chinese, English and Tamil all influence each other heavily.

I think the tricky thing here is that there have been people migrating from South Asia to Malaysia and Singapore for quite a while (and lumped together as "Indians," regardless of whether they came from India or another South Asian country). As far as I can tell, at least the most recent Indian immigrants travel back and forth between Malaysia/Singapore and India pretty frequently, so I doubt that their languages do have much influence from Malay or Chinese. I don't know whether the situation is different for earlier (especially the earliest) waves of immigrants, though, and I happen to have randomly met someone in Singapore whose parents were each of different ethnicities, and he learned both of their languages (in addition to English and Mandarin, since one of the parents was Chinese, though I forget which dialect he spoke - Minnan? Hakka?). Furthermore, a family friend of ours who was living in Malaysia at the time (with his wife and kids) said that interaction between people of various ethnic groups is limited; (to the extent that this is possible) Indians interact only with other Indians, Malays interact only with other Malays, and Chinese interact only with other Chinese.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Youngfun » 2014-12-22, 4:17

Yeah, probably ethnic groups in Malaysia are more segregated than in Singapore.
It's also normal that the first immigrants (and their descendants) use more loanwords from the other local languages while recent immigrants use more similar vocabulary to their homeland. For example, from what I've seen, Hokkien/Teochew spoken in Malaysia contain more loanwords than the Mandarin spoken there.
And new immigrants try to impose their language variety because they "speak the language in a purer form" instead of learning to speak the way old immigrants speak.

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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby TeneReef » 2014-12-22, 17:01

Youngfun wrote:And new immigrants try to impose their language variety because they "speak the language in a purer form" instead of learning to speak the way old immigrants speak.


It's how SH spread from Portugal to Rio.
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Meera » 2014-12-24, 2:47

vijayjohn wrote:
dEhiN wrote:Thanks Meera; why don't you agree necessarily?

I can understand why she might not agree. Dialects are what people actually speak day to day, so if you're interacting with people from one specific Arabic-speaking country, then learning the dialect they speak is going to be more useful than learning MSA for the purposes of talking to them. In fact, learning MSA can feel like nothing more than an additional complication. I think I've even seen at least one person complaining about that on this forum.


Yeah this exactly why, I agree MSA is important if you want to learn Arabic but to actually talk to people you need a dialect. Anything spoken besides news, relegious programs etc are useully in dialect and not MSA. MSA is really only important for reading.
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby TeneReef » 2014-12-25, 17:26

मैरी क्रिसमस :partyhat:
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Meera » 2014-12-26, 17:36

Shukriya TeenReef!
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Re: TAC Meera 2014 (हिंदी, 日本語 ,عربي )

Postby Aóristos » 2015-01-25, 19:37

vijayjohn wrote:He apparently thinks diglossia in Arabic is similar to diglossia in Tamil, but I doubt that it's all that similar. For one thing, in the case of Tamil, Madurai dialect seems to be more or less assumed as a kind of standard spoken dialect, and for another, I'm not sure any of the dialects of Tamil show significant differences in terms of syntax (even though the dialects of Arabic definitely do). :hmm: It's definitely possible to find a course that teaches the written language alongside Madurai dialect (I can think of one off the top of my head; they seem to teach vocabulary in both, and most of the differences between Madurai dialect and the written language appear to be phonological rather than morphological or syntactic), but I've never seen any such resources for any other dialect of Tamil. By contrast, there is no spoken standard for Arabic at all. Egyptian Arabic is widely understood because Egyptian media has been popular throughout the Arab World for decades by now (and apparently Levantine Arabic is also somewhat widely understood by people who speak various dialects), but not everyone understands it. I've never seen a dialect of Arabic being taught alongside MSA in the same way I've seen Madurai dialect taught along with written Tamil, and I don't think that would be possible because the differences between MSA and the dialects are a lot more than just phonology.

I'd compare the case of Tamil's diglossia to that of Persian's. They both seem to exhibit three vague layers of diglossia: a classical literary style featuring several archaisms, a modern literary style and a modern colloquial form. In both languages, the colloquial form is the most prevalent register.
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