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Discussion Group - Page 251 - UniLang

Discussion Group

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linguoboy
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-01, 22:51

Koko wrote:True, but biscotti :shock: ?! Just a moment ago I ate un biscotto col mio caffè. Does biscotto really have to be plural in English? And then there are the drinks: bellini and martini. Why are these plural but mojito isn't?

Do we have to use the word "biscotti" in English at all? We already borrowed it once as "biscuit". Besides, the cookies sold under that name in the USA are properly cantuccini, at least in Tuscany.

Bellini and Martini were originally proper names. The have exactly the same names in Italian. Mojito is just a diminutive of mojo (a type of sauce).
Last edited by linguoboy on 2015-01-01, 22:55, edited 2 times in total.
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IpseDixit
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby IpseDixit » 2015-01-01, 22:54

Koko wrote:Is there a reason we usually borrow plurals from Italian, not the singular like from other Romance languages? I make reference to particularly food words like biscotti, spaghetti, linguine, etc. There are exceptions like bruschetta and gelato, but they are few of the ones I can recall promptly.


Well, in the case you mentioned, the plural form is the most used one in Italian as well. After all it's very improbable that somebody would eat just one spaghetto or one linguina or one biscotto.

There are some words that make less sense though, for example salami instead of salame and zucchini instead of zucchino.

Koko wrote:True, but biscotti :shock: ?! Just a moment ago I ate un biscotto col mio caffè.


Is it something common to eat just one biscotti/o? Over here when we have biscotti we usually eat more than one. Moreover I bet that also over there they sell them in packs, not singularly.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-01, 23:13

The examples I gave were merely examples: they still exemplified what I was getting if not the best. Those which Ipse is confused about confuse me too. In fact, those are the most confusing because for pasta plural does make sense.
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-01, 23:21

IpseDixit wrote:Is it something common to eat just one biscotti/o? Over here when we have biscotti we usually eat more than one. Moreover I bet that also over there they sell them in packs, not singularly.

They sell 'em in packs, but I don't think we eat more than one most times: I usually have one depending on size of the biscotto.

linguoboy wrote:Do we have to use the word "biscotti" in English at all? We already borrowed it once as "biscuit". Besides, the cookies sold under that name in the USA are properly cantuccini, at least in Tuscany.

Biscuit brings a different picture it mind from "biscotti." The difference is pretty distinct, I believe. Plus, biscuits here are fluffy quickbreads, not hard bread-like cookies you dip in your coffee. Biscotti is even distinct from cookie.
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby IpseDixit » 2015-01-01, 23:25

Pasta can be considered a mass noun in Italian, the plural is quite rare. Indeed for most Italians le paste are actually these (if you remember, we already talked about this with Youngfun :lol:).

Koko wrote:They sell 'em in packs, but I don't think we eat more than one most times: I usually have one depending on size of the biscotto.


How big are they over there? :hmm:

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-01, 23:49

IpseDixit wrote:Pasta can be considered a mass noun in Italian, the plural is quite rare. Indeed for most Italians le paste are actually these (if you remember, we already talked about this with Youngfun :lol:).

I remember well that discussion.

How big are they over there? :hmm:

The one I just had was about 10~13 cm. Some are "bite-sized," so they aren't very big. I would totally have tre biscotti per ogni caffè if I had my own no matter the size. I need to get my own… or learn how to make my own. I could pry get a recipe from my mom's cousin or uncle.
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 1:58

Koko wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Do we have to use the word "biscotti" in English at all? We already borrowed it once as "biscuit". Besides, the cookies sold under that name in the USA are properly cantuccini, at least in Tuscany.

Biscuit brings a different picture it mind from "biscotti." The difference is pretty distinct, I believe.

Of course it does--because we already have the word "biscotti"! My point is that there was no need as such to borrow this word at all. We could simply have named them "Italian biscuits" or "coffee bread" or "twice-bakeds" or, for that matter, "Guidos". The name would've spread along with the product and then any other choice would seem as odd to you as "biscuit" does.

That's why your question "Does biscotto really have to be plural in English?" is such a non sequitur. Necessity doesn't entre into it; it's ultimately an accident of history.

Koko wrote:Plus, biscuits here are fluffy quickbreads, not hard bread-like cookies you dip in your coffee. Biscotti is even distinct from cookie.

For you maybe. For me, biscotti are a specific kind of cookie, just like a gingersnap or a snickerdoodle.

IpseDixit wrote:There are some words that make less sense though, for example salami instead of salame and zucchini instead of zucchino.

Spoken like someone who's never planted their own zucchini...

(I'll grant you salami though. Here I think phonotactics might be a factor. English isn't very hospitable to unstressed final /e/. [Cf. tamale, which is pronounced /taˈmali/ and not */taˈmale/.] Moreover, there's already a large existing pool of Italian borrowings in final /i/ for salame to be assimilated to.)
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 2:10

IpseDixit wrote:How big are they over there? :hmm:

The biscotti in American cafés are often gargantuan, just like the muffins, cookies, and scones. I've seen ones that are literally 20 cm or more. (My preferred brand is a modest 7-8 cm.)

ETA: From an article in the current issue of the Economist (a weekly news magazine) about the food business in Italy:
Corsini has also adapted its traditional recipes to please big foreign customers. It makes an orange and cranberry panettone which Sainsbury's sells under its own label, and unusually large cantuccini, traditional Tuscan almond-packed biscuits, for Starbucks--unimaginable in Italy but perfect for the American coffee chain's oversized cups.
Last edited by linguoboy on 2015-01-03, 1:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Ciarán12 » 2015-01-02, 2:11

linguoboy wrote:
(I'll grant you salami though. Here I think phonotactics might be a factor. English isn't very hospitable to unstressed final /e/. [Cf. tamale, which is pronounced /taˈmali/ and not */taˈmale/.] Moreover, there's already a large existing pool of Italian borrowings in final /i/ for salame to be assimilated to.)


I've noticed this before with karate and karaoke and I don't really understand why. We have final /ej/ in both other borrowings (Pompeii, sauté) and in native words (grey, stay, gay, stingray, holiday....) which is what I would expect /e:/ to be Anglicised to, so I find this tendency odd.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Dormouse559 » 2015-01-02, 2:16

I'd say it has to do with stress. In American English, "salami", "karaoke" and "karate" all end in unstressed syllables, and all end in /i/. "Pompeii" and "sauté" on the other hand end in stressed syllables and all end in /eɪ̯/.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 2:19

Ciarán12 wrote:I've noticed this before with karate and karaoke and I don't really understand why. We have final /ej/ in both other borrowings (Pompeii, sauté) and in native words (grey, stay, gay, stingray, holiday....) which is what I would expect /e:/ to be Anglicised to, so I find this tendency odd.

But your examples all have final stress (secondary stress in the case of holiday and stingray, primary for all of the others). There's a strong tendency to place the stress on the penultimate syllable in foreign words of more than two syllables, and this militates against secondary stress in the very next syllable.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-02, 4:25

linguoboy wrote:Spoken like someone's who's never planted their own zucchini.

Yet, tomato, potato, banana, squash, melon, cucumber, arugula. The plural is unnecessary: singular zucchino would've worked just fine, better because how often do you eat more than one zucchini at a time?

As for phonotactics, considering we do have those phonemes, I too find it odd to assimilate final /-e/ to /i/. Sure it's not an English thing to do, but since the words aren't of English origin, to keep as close as possible to the original pronunciation seems more logical. To please the idiots who would see "salame" and read /səˈleɪm/ is stupid: we don't write /ʃɛf/ as "shef" now do we?[*]


[*]another hypothesis that one could come up with
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 4:46

Koko wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Spoken like someone's who's never planted their own zucchini.

Yet, tomato, potato, banana, squash, melon, cucumber, arugula.
I don't know what these examples are supposed to demonstrate. None of these words entred English via Italian.

Koko wrote:The plural is unnecessary:
Did you read nothing of what I wrote regarding "necessity" in this context? British English speakers have no need of the word "zucchini" in any form; they call them "courgettes".

Koko wrote:As for phonotactics, considering we do have those phonemes, I too find it odd to assimilate final /-e/ to /i/. Sure it's not an English thing to do, but since the words aren't of English origin, to keep as close as possible to the original pronunciation seems more logical.

Logic, shlogic. The language does what it does whether this strikes you as "logical" or not. Why should preserving the "original pronunciation" take precedence over preserving the existing sound patterns of the language?

Moreover, you don't seem to understand what phonotactics is and how it relates to phonology. English has phonemic /h/. So why don't we use it in final position in borrowings like Allah or shah? That would be closer to the original pronunciation of these words after all.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-02, 5:33

linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Spoken like someone's who's never planted their own zucchini.

Yet, tomato, potato, banana, squash, melon, cucumber, arugula.
I don't know what these examples are supposed to demonstrate. None of these words entred English via Italian.
Arugula is. And my point was to demonstrate that a word doesn't have to be grown in a plural number to be given default plurality: which is what I got from your comment.

Did you read nothing of what I wrote regarding "necessity" in this context? British English speakers have no need of the word "zucchini" in any form; they call them "courgettes".
Yeah, but that's British English, of course they're going to take something from French rather than the prettier Italian. Afaict they pluralized the French word too. Is the idea of a single "zucchino" so inconceivable that we must make it generically plural?

Logic, shlogic. The language does what it does whether this strikes you as "logical" or not. Why should preserving the "original pronunciation" take precedence over preserving the existing sound patterns of the language?
Because if said language breaks most of its rules anyways, why not make the exception? Don't you know the English language is full of exceptions: the rhyme "I before e except after c" needed to be lengthened to accommodate for "receive, receipt, etc."

Moreover, you don't seem to understand what phonotactics is[...]
I kinda take offense to this: I'm a conlanger. It's kind of my job to know phonotactics, especially if I attempt to make naturalistic conlangs.

As well, I merely said "As for phonotactics" to indicate that I was going back to the previous topic before my quote. Phontactics seemed to be the center of that discussion so I decided it best to refer to that and hope you guys would understand.

[...]and how it relates to phonology. English has phonemic /h/. So why don't we use it in final position in borrowings like Allah or shah? That would be closer to the original pronunciation of these words after all.

Because English phonotactics forbids syllable final /h/, obviously. Plus, it's difficult for a native Anglophone to produce a syllable final /h/, but it's comparatively a piece of cake to produce an unstressed final /e/. Albeit, the /e/ would be realized as [eɪ], but my point still stands.
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 17:16

Koko wrote:And my point was to demonstrate that a word doesn't have to be grown in a plural number to be given default plurality: which is what I got from your comment.
Then you misunderstood my comment.

Koko wrote:
Did you read nothing of what I wrote regarding "necessity" in this context? British English speakers have no need of the word "zucchini" in any form; they call them "courgettes".
Yeah, but that's British English, of course they're going to take something from French rather than the prettier Italian. Afaict they pluralized the French word too.
Um...no. The plural of courgette is courgettes. And there was no imperative for them to take the French word. Similar squashes of the same species are called "[vegetable] marrows" and in South African English the usual term for "zucchini/courgette" is "baby marrow", since these are normally harvested when small.

Koko wrote:Is the idea of a single "zucchino" so inconceivable that we must make it generically plural?
Again with this false idea of necessity! ("must") There's no reason why "zucchini" had to be borrowed in its plural form. There's simply the fact that it was. That's the reality and you have to formulate your ideas about borrowing and language change to take this into account. You're going about it all wrong, starting with preconceived notions about how the process should work and then hitting a wall when you run into an apparent exception.

Koko wrote:
Logic, shlogic. The language does what it does whether this strikes you as "logical" or not. Why should preserving the "original pronunciation" take precedence over preserving the existing sound patterns of the language?
Because if said language breaks most of its rules anyways, why not make the exception? Don't you know the English language is full of exceptions: the rhyme "I before e except after c" needed to be lengthened to accommodate for "receive, receipt, etc."

Once more, this is bass-ackiwards. English orthography never had the "rule" of "i before e". This was someone's well-meaning attempt to create a mnemonic in order to help learners. But like most of these ad-hoc "rules", it can't cover all cases.

But why are you bringing up spelling in a discussion of phonology anyway? The development of a language's orthography is largely independent of its phonological development and responds to very different pressures. (It's much more subject to conscious human tinkering, for starters.) The real rules of English are ones you were never taught because you took prescriptivist courses in the standard language rather than ones founded in descriptive linguistics.

English phonology underwent a historical development that vastly simplified the vocalic system of unstressed syllables. Later borrowings have undermined these simplifications, but they still haven't gone so far as to upend the system. You might as well be asking why the first a in salami is reduced to shwa even though English-speakers have the phoneme /a/.

Koko wrote:
[...]and how it relates to phonology. English has phonemic /h/. So why don't we use it in final position in borrowings like Allah or shah? That would be closer to the original pronunciation of these words after all.
Because English phonotactics forbids syllable final /h/, obviously. Plus, it's difficult for a native Anglophone to produce a syllable final /h/, but it's comparatively a piece of cake to produce an unstressed final /e/. Albeit, the /e/ would be realized as [eɪ], but my point still stands.
What's a "comparative piece of cake" is all relative. Most English-speakers I know are no more successful at producing unstressed final /e/ as they are at producing final /h/. The diphthongised realisation you mention is not unstressed. As I pointed out above, it bears secondary stress (or "tertiary stress" according to some accounts).

Instead of telling us what English-speakers are and aren't capable of, why don't you ask some to pronounce these words the way you think they should be and see what happens. I'm willing to bet most will find the propose spellings unnatural and shift them to a more comfortable realisation.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Koko » 2015-01-02, 20:37

...

I'm actually stumped. Anything I say in argument would just be a failed attempt to making mine truth and disproving you. What I can say is that the English language is a dumb language and that's true because I believe it to be truth.

And I can say something about the borrowings.
Um...no. The plural of courgette is courgettes.
That's not what I meant… Instead of settling for the singular, they took the plural word.

And there was no imperative for them to take the French word.

Of course not, but if you're going to take a word from another language, at least take the one that makes the most sense… Oh dear, I just realized the even though singulars do exist in the vegetable vocabulary, the plural is used most often.

Again with this false idea of necessity!
It was a rhetorical question: in this case the "must" was supposed to indicate that :lol: .

As I've said already, I have honestly nothing to say on the topic of phonotactics. There you win.
 (it) Correggimi per favore (se lo sbaglio è grave, sennò non correggermi perché potrei correggermelo da solo)  (bg) Българският не е руски  (cs) Jsem krásný jazyk. :D ^^

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-02, 22:52

Koko wrote:I'm actually stumped. Anything I say in argument would just be a failed attempt to making mine truth and disproving you. What I can say is that the English language is a dumb language and that's true because I believe it to be truth.

How postmodern! Actually, it's no more true than any other statement of opinion such as "Taylor Smith is a musical genius" or "Global warming is a myth".

Koko wrote:And I can say something about the borrowings.
Um...no. The plural of courgette is courgettes.
That's not what I meant… Instead of settling for the singular, they took the plural word.

No, they took the singular. Since adding s is the most common method of pluralising words in both English and French (and Spanish), French (and Spanish) words are highly unlikely to be borrowed into English in their plural forms.

What you do get, however, are analogical singulars. Tamale is a good example. The Spanish singular is actually tamal. But Spanish has a morphophonological rule which calls for adding /es/ after certain final consonants, including /l/. English has a similar rule, but it doesn't operate after /l/, so English-speakers falsely assumed a singular tamale. Further back, you have the English form pea which came from mistakenly interpreting Middle French peis as a plural form.

Koko wrote:
And there was no imperative for them to take the French word.

Of course not, but if you're going to take a word from another language, at least take the one that makes the most sense…

The "most sense" to whom? There are a number of criteria which influence what form an interlinguistic borrowing might take. You are focusing on one (or two at most) at the expense of all the others.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby yakshk » 2015-01-10, 8:29

Can I write anything here and can get it correct by you guys?

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Dormouse559 » 2015-01-10, 8:32

yakshk wrote:Can I write anything here and can get it corrected by you guys?
Pretty much, yes. :)
N'hésite pas à corriger mes erreurs.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Bittereinder » 2015-01-18, 20:13

Image

Thought I might post this one. It's a poem that's almost the same in English and Afrikaans.

It's an advertisement of Bryanston Parallel Medium School.
Openbaring 21:6
"Verder sê Hy vir my: Dit het klaar gebeur. Ek is die Alfa en die Omega, die Begin en die Einde. Aan elkeen wat dors het, sal Ek te drinke gee uit die fontein met die water van die lewe, verniet. "


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