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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:57 PM
Original message
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome...
:-)

This is the first time I've been the first poster in a DU Group!

As many of you know, I'm a Japanese-English translator, but you may not know that I have a Ph.D. in linguistics. However, I paid as little attention as possible to theoretical linguistics and concentrated on historical, so don't ask me about any developments in theoretical linguistics after 1975, which is when I took my general exams.

As an undergraduate, I majored in German and minored in French, with little forays into Latin and Russian. I also studied Spanish in high school, Chinese in graduate school, and made stabs at Norwegian, Latvian, and Hebrew, although I never got very far in any of them.

How about yourselves?
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. heheh... long story
LOVED languages in school. By senior year of High school, I was taking French, Spanish, Italian and German. In college, I majored in Italian and Linguistics, but never graduated. Studied for three years, but got sidetracked by political activities and then found employment in the High Tech field and never went back to linguistics/languages.

So I studied it all a long time ago, but don't remember a ton of it and never used it in real life. But I still find the topic interesting :)

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Squeegee Donating Member (577 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hi.
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 05:24 PM by Squeegee
My linguistics background is rather limited. In college, I took several years of German a semester of Danish and took a freshman linguistics course which focused primarily on "generative grammar."
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gottaB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. hi
How do you say "phatic communion" in Japanese?

:hi:
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ZombieNixon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. No formal education yet, besides High School Spanish classes.
I want to double major in linguistcs and computer science in college. Most of my linguistic background arises from whatever I've taught myself, including Irish, Norwegian and Hindi.

Probably my main interests in linguistics are computational linguistics and a posteori language creation.
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Menshevik Donating Member (674 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. taking russian right now
and damn, it's hard!
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
6. I majored in Linguistics in college
Basically, I was a science fiction and fantasy fan who couldn't handle a physics majuor, and linguistics seemed like the next best thing. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the Old English verb in Beowulf. But I found I couldn't go any further in historical linguistics because I hadn't had enough years of Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, and I always found theoretical linguistics a bit too dry.

Along the way, I did cross-register at MIT to take a course with Noam Chomsky, but he was always (literally) speaking over our heads to the fourth-year grad students in the back row, so I didn't get much out of it. (And he didn't talk politics.)

Currently, I'm very interested in the people who are trying to probe deeper into the past than conventional linguists are willing to go. I also have an interest in current questions of usage, slang, and oddball stuff like Engrish.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. Lydia, you're my kind of gal!
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 09:30 PM by Ellen Forradalom
Earned a 2ime Degr d'Etudes Franaises at the Universite of Grenoble in 1983. (Founding member of DU's Groupe Francophone--come join us, frog-wannabes!)

Studied Hungarian in 1986 at a private school in Budapest and again in 1989 and 1990 at the Debreceni Nyri Egyetem (Debrecen Summer University.) One of DU's Notorious Hungarian Threadjackers: people who turn up in threads and start speaking Hungarian with each other. My username is Hungarian: 'ellenforradalom' means 'counterrevolution.'

Currently studying Biblical Hebrew in a leisurely-paced adult-ed class.

Made stabs at German, Finnish (summer class University of Helsinki '83), Russian, Polish, and Dutch.
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LynzM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. Hrm, I sort of posted this in the poll, but...
Fairly fluent in German, having taken 3 years in college and then lived there for 9 months. Had 5 years of French before college, but haven't used it since, so it's passing but not very good. A little bit of ASL since my best friend in middle school was deaf, and I can make a decent stab at reading romance languages, particularly Spanish. As for linguistics, my knowledge is limited to having read one Steven Pinker Book (The Language Instinct), and being very curious.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. C'est moi!
I started early, in the womb! Heehee. My mom used to read French books and sing to me in French. She only had a few years of HS French. I took Hebrew when I was in Sunday School (Jewish family). I started Spanish in HS, by the time I graduated, I was also taking French. Since my French teacher was Italian, and I was moving way ahead of everyone in French class, she taught me some basics of Italian. While in HS, I also learned ASL on my own because I worked at a restaurant with deaf women (the other workers mainly spoke Spanish), so I would often translate for them. In another restaurant, I picked up Thai from one of our cooks. I also worked at Ikea in the Potomac Mills Mall, and learned some basic Swedish (mainly from knowing French, as most of the products arrived with instructions in Swedish, French, and English). I also taught myself a little Swahili because of my interest in animals (long story).

In college, I took Spanish (got a BA), French, Portuguese, Italian (cognate), German, and linguistics (another cognate). I had a few Arab friends, so I picked up some Arabic phrases. I continued to use ASL and study Hebrew. In my first job, I used ASL (many deaf students) and Spanish. I also got to serve as an interpreter for the Brazilian Men's Olympic basketball team. I also learned to read Greek and Russian.

Now, I rarely, if ever use any of my languages. Hell, half of the people here barely speak proper English (I am in Okla-HELL-ma)! I have been without a job for 21 months, so I really should have used the time to study my languages...oh well, I am stupid.

I am VERY happy to see a room like this. Although, I am sure it won't move very fast! :)
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Astarho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-05 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. Well, about me
Other than 2 years of Spanish in HS, I've had no formal lessons in languages or linguistics but a shelf (several actually) full of dictionaries, grammars and phrasebooks and other related books. I know a few words and phrases in many languages but only something approaching fluency in Spanish. Although the Spanish made it easier to piuck up French when I lived in canada, and has made most Romance languages a little easier. I also managed to teach myself a little bit of Irish, so I can put a sentance together.

I try to pick up any language I come across, but seem to be drawn to obscure dead languages. I also like historical linguistics and languages change (like that book on Vulgar Latin I got the other week).
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-25-05 04:40 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'm a little bit like a college friend who studied
Edited on Fri Feb-25-05 04:42 AM by DemBones DemBones
French and Russian as a freshman and Spanish and Chinese our sophomore year but wasn't even minoring in languages. This amazed some of our fellow students but her explanation was "I want to be ready to say 'Hello, I am a friend" no matter who takes over the United States!" (This was funnier in 1966 because "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" was a hit song then. And the Red Chinese were a real menace; Nixon hadn't made friends with them yet, probably because LBJ was still president!)

I can say "Hello, I am a friend" in Latin, French, Chinese (Mandarin), Russian, Italian, Spanish, German, Tagalog, Cantonese. The first three are the languages I studied in high school and college. I've lived in the Philippines and traveled in Italy seven times.

My greatest linguistic accomplishment? I competed in the Mid-South Latin Tournament two years in a row!

Seriously, I'm interested in lurking while you all talk about linguistics. A bientot.

Edit: Oh, yeah, I read dictionaries and phrase books for fun. But I don't have the kind of collection Astarho does.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-05 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
12. I'm studying linguistics right now... Chomsky, deep structure, learning
the IPA, etc. (not really part of my PhD track, but I fave fallen in love with this subject) I'm reading "Next of Kin" by Roger Fouts right now. ;)

Do you recommend any Summer programs? I'm a musician who wants to become a linguist! :) ... maybe I already am! :D

Anyway, I speak Portuguese and Spanish fluently, but I'm a bit rusty with the German. Eventhough I never studied, I find I can read Italian, French, and Catalan very easily. I learned a little Norwegian when I lived in Skien, and a little Dutch after many trips to Holland. Finno-Ugric languages are very enticing, as is Basque. Music is my FAVORITE language. :)
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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
13. 2 years of high school Latin, 2 years of high school French
3 more years of French in college

1 year of Russian in college

undergrad and grad degrees in German

am fascinated by Dutch (from German and English background)
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-05 06:27 AM
Response to Original message
14. well...
Edited on Tue Nov-08-05 06:29 AM by progdonkey
I grew up in Indonesia, and I soaked the language up very easily, although I'm sadly no longer able to say much of anything in Indonesian. In middle school in Singapore I took three awful years of Mandarin (I wasn't good at the tones, the teachers weren't good at teaching), followed by four years of Japanese. I've just finished becoming fluent in German, and I'm now working on Polish and Norwegian (focusing on Polish, as Norwegian looks like it will be relatively easy with my English and German). I also plan on enlisting in the Navy as a linguist, where I'll probably learn Arabic.

At some point, I need to go back and become fluent in Indonesian, since I get so embarrassed when I tell people I grew up in Indonesia (ie. lived there a total of ten years, split by my three years in Singapore) yet cannot speak anything past about ten words in Indonesian. :dunce:
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nickinSTL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-05 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
15. Speak German, and some French
Lived in Germany for many years, majored in it in college, took 2 years of college French. I'm also able to figure out quite a bit of any Romance or Germanic language, plus transliterate Cyrillic.

I'm fascinated with historical linguistics, particularly Indo-European, and have read quite a bit on it.

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LynzM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-05 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Wilkommen!
There are lots of German speakers here, if you haven't discovered them yet. Hijacking threads in the Lounge is fun! :bounce
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nickinSTL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-05 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Danke sehr!
Hmm, I haven't noticed any hijacked Lounge threads in German...but I've only recently (the last month or two) spent much time in the Lounge.

:hi:
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LynzM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-05 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Keep an eye out for...
MissHoneyChurch, Call Me Wesley, Karenina and Kellanved, for starters... http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... :)
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RedCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
19. My anthro professors coaxed me into linguistics!
I wanted to be a primatologist to defend against the Sunday onslaughts!

I didn't then and still don't now realize the "gift" I had. I was the only college student in the class of 150 the linguistics professor ever called to the board to 'splain things.

Now I feel that while languages have some inherent beauty they also have some inherent tragedy.

Light travels fast and catches the eye faster than sound can reach the ear. The mind reacts rather slowly by comparison and thought is even slower to our early neural reactions. The mere process of gathering info in word format is much slower than the sensory inputs are giving. Then our speech is slower than our thought. Our writing skills even slower.

We need some improvement on our ways of communicating.

Even when we search for extraterrestrial intelligence we do it in such ways that make me ashamed of our best scientists. Do we really expect other beings to communicate with sounds if they have no ear organs? With visual stimuli if they have no eyes? I would bet that our way of communicating is not so frequent. We live in a relatively dark portion of the galaxy and can evolve organs such as eyes, which might be quite harmful to have on much brighter planets. I am going to wild guess and say the aliens are just "itching" to communicate with us. In other words maybe they are sending messages but at a cellular level...

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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
20. Hi Lydia!
I studied French and Spanish in high school, and Italian in college. Never became fluent in any of them, unfortunately. Now I'm toying with the idea of trying Russian or German since we seem to end up doing projects there (my husband worked in Russia for many years; never became fluent). I'm leaning toward German ...

Do you know anyone really fluent in Russian, but is a native English speaker? Or a native Russian speaker who is equally fluent in English? We have a few friends who are interested in having some translation work done, but their work is sometimes heavily scientific. Most of our Russian friends have very passable English, but not good enough to translate a book that could be understood by a native English speaker.

Thanks! :hi:
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
21. Dobro Dosli
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-07-09 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
22. I'm trying to teach myself Spanish and Latin
I also have an amateur interest in American English dialects, historical lingustics (especially with interesting and controversial proposals linking various language families), and language change.

In fact, I am working on a constructed language that is a projection of Upper-Midwestern American English evolved 2000 years into the future called Eridanian; it's an agglutinative language with a complex system of prefixes derived from helper verbs, prepositions, and pronouns fused to word roots. So "you guys will be speaking" is "yalrgenbisbik".
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
23. I just started reading Derrirda. I thought there might be some interest here.
Edited on Fri Oct-30-09 02:10 PM by Jim__
Looking through the threads, I'm not sure there would be. I started reading On Grammatology. In that book, he takes on Rousseau and Sassure and their contention that the main aspect of language is speech. Derrida thinks that writing is at least as important. I'd like to read up on this subject (it's hard to pick up a lot from Derrida). Does anyone know of any books on this subject?
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