Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I mostly read the subtitles and try to anticipate what will be said. They're fan-made and sort of overly literal, which is actually a bonus. I can now "hear" common phrases pretty consistantly,. (Noticing a lot of english loanwords peppered in- "tomboy" being one!) Any sentence longer than a few words and I can only catch bits and pieces. Which is to be expected, obviously. My vocab is scant and even if I know every word in a sentence, that doesn't mean I can parse the grammar quickly enough. ANOTHER problem is the frequent use of names as pronouns, so you have to remember each character's name. Which are usually short and mistakable for words. But getting tuned to the sounds is making my reading faster and that's helping the other areas. Still should do some vocab drills though! Half-assed and haphazard is right.
Also argh I learned ร as a trilled [r], knowing it sometimes was pronounced [l], but it seems [l] is more common so I need to adjust for this. The dropping of the 2nd consonants in consonant clusters also vexes me. But OH WELL that's the way language works, there's no "standard."
Been reading on linguistics recently. I'll try to write some posts connecting the things I'm learning to Thai. Some of it is esoteric and more interesting than useful to me, but some of it really helps snap things into focus. Obviously you can learn a language while knowing nonce about how it works: all children aquire spoken language automatically. But as busy adults, I'm starting to think a passing knowledge in linguistics really helps.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In English, tense and aspect are usually conflated. Thai doesn't grammatically mark tense at all, but it has an "extremely rich" system for marking aspect. ARGT outlines 19 "aspectual auxiliaries."
This is an exercise identical to the one I did on pragmatic particles- I've hunted for "real" examples of usage from my Doraemon manga. My standard disclaimer of "I don't know what I'm doing" applies to both my translations and interpretations of my reference grammar's explanations.
This shouldn't be confused with the perfect/anterior usage of แล้ว (see below @ 11.) It "shouldn't", but honestly, I'm finding the distinction difficult to understand in certain contexts. I may have this example backwards.
Anyway, in this form, it indicates a completed event. Sometimes translated in ARGT with "after".
อ๋อ...! นายกินโกหก 800 เข้าไป... แล้วพูดว่าฉันคงไม่ได้กลับมาแล้วใช่มั้ยล่ะNotice the 2nd use of แล้ว, which I believe is the #11 usage. I'm probably overthinking this, because I do seem to grasp the meaning in either use. It doesn't really matter that I can't discern the precise linguistic difference.
"Oh! You drank the Liar 800... and said that I wouldn't return, right?"
This is "used post-verbally for all types of continuous aspect". Other pre-verbal auxiliaries can be used in conjunction- ARGT details กำลัง, ยัง, นั่ง, and คอย.
อยู่ can be used on it's own.
"Why is it sleeping?"
กำลัง _ (อยู่)
"Emphasises a continuous situation"
"I'm thinking the same way!"
ยัง _ (อยู่)
"Indicates no change in a situation."
"Then Perro will still be alive."
3. นั่ง _ (อยู่)
This is used with either stative or "low-energy" verbs and must have a human subject.
"You're absentminded every day."
(This is a bad example, as นั่ง also means "sit" and can be interpreted as a serial verb- this is more probably "You sit here absentminded every day." ARGT notes the ambiguity.)
4. คอย (อยู่)
ไป is a very common verb, but here it's used as a "continuative" auxilery which implies more deliberate continuation than the regular progressive aspect.
ดูไปสิ(There is another usage of ไป, (see #13) but the contexts are so different you can't confuse them.)
8. กำลังจะ _ อยู่
Inceptive. "refers to the phase which leads to, or may lead to, an event."
"You're about to go to school on your own."
9. จวนจะ _
This is similar but "can be used for a less intentional event with inanimate subjects."
10. _ จบ, _ เสร็จ
Terminative- "finish doing". จบ focuses on "completion", while เสร็จ focuses on "the ending of an activity, not necessarily the completion."
พองานเสร็จแล้วจะเอาลงให้นะครับ(I don't see how this differs from just being a resultative sequential verb but oh well.)
"When our task is done, we'll take you down."
11. _ แล้ว
This is what ARGT says: "Perfect/anterior aspect concerns the 'relevance' of a particular situation with respect to the current situation." It translates the examples with the word "have", as in "I have eaten" vs "I ate."
"You had promised Doraemon this."
With stative verbs (adjectives), it "indicates that the critical point has been reached".
"Now I'm serious."
"I know!" ("Eureka!")
Similar to the previously mentioned แล้ว but doesn't fall at the end of the sentence. In some cases emphasizes the fact that a situation has been continuing up to the reference time."
ฉันเลี้งมาตั้งแต่เป็นไข่เชียวนะ13. _ ไป
"I raised it since it was an egg."
When used with "destruction or disappearance" verbs, this emphasizes the destruction or disappearance.
"The elephant is gone!"
14. _ (ไป)เสีย
"Indicates that an event has taken place completely with an irreversible result."
"I couldn't find you for the longest time."
15. _ ไว้
"Indicates a completed event which is considered beneficial in the future."
ปีที่แล้วสัญญาไว้แล้วนี่16. เพิ่ง(จะ) _
"Last year you promised!"
An action that has just happened- "immediate perfect/anterior"
"He's just recieved freedom for the first time."
"have an experience of doing". Basically "ever."
"We once were happy (had happiness) like this."
18. ได้ _
When ได้ is pre-verbal, it basically means "get to do" (the more common post-verbal usage conveys ability.)
แล้วผมก็ได้อพยพไปที่บ้านนอกพร้อมกับครอบครัวIt seems more common in the negative, where it "normally refers to the past time frame." IIRC, it often sort of acts like a general past-tense, which is why I'm not translating the following sentence with "get".
"And I got to evacuate to the countryside with my family.
แมวไม่ได้พูดจริงๆThe translation doesn't really contain any hint of the inchoactive ได้, but its effects is there. If you take ได้ out of the sentence, you get แมวไม่พูดจริงๆ, "The cats aren't speaking truthfully." The inchoactive ได้ defiently alters the aspect, marking the event (the cats lying) as completed.
"The cats weren't speaking truthfully."
19. _ ขึ้น & _ ลง
"Change-of-state" verbs that apply to stative verbs (adjectives). The former means "increase" and the later "decrease", although they act differently on some words.
The wind's strength has increased.
พอสงครามสงบลงThis text appears over a mushroom cloud. Assuming that สงบ acts the same as it's synonym เงียบ, these auxs have an interesting effect. With ขึ่น it "implies that the degree of silence has increased" while with ลง that "the degree of noise has decreased". Seems an apropos way to describe the effect of an atomic bomb.
Then, the war ended. (Lit: got quieter (สงบลง).
Friday, October 17, 2008
This is the first Thai song to get stuck in my head. I found it on eThaiMusic and on first 23 listens I didn't understand anything but the chorus. But yesterday I combed through the lyrics and realized there was only a handful of words I didn't know. Otherwise, after one read-through, I could comprehend the lyrics completely. I think this has been very helpful in connecting the written word to the spoken.
As for the written word: I've gotten to the point where the Doraemon comic book is starting to actually seem like the children's comic book it is. Parts are still challenging, but I'm taking a break from it. I picked up Thai for Advanced Readers for the first time in a while and was surprised to find how much easier it is. I'm confident my reading is good enough to work through it until the end. (I'd made it about halfway before.)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I just discovered Study Stack.
The site is a little clunky, but it's awesome.
It lets you import simple simple data... and generates a bunch of helpful or stupid study aids. It's absolutely *perfect* for studying vocabulary. I've inputed a lot of margin notes.
I have 80+ words in the stack now. I figure I'll weed out words as I learn them (already a few, like หนี, I have down) and add new ones as needed. Also trying to use mnemonics to memorize vocab (never tried this.)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
This post regards pragmatic particles, a topic I had previously pretty much ignored. Bad idea- these are intrinsic to the language. Chapter 15 of ARGT details 14 PPs. They are distinct from speech-level (politeness) and question particles
Since I don't use phonetic transcriptions, and they're a pain to type (all the accents), I'm going to stick with Thai, even though there's a lot of pronunciation variability. On some the initial consonant is sometimes dropped, meaning ล่ะ and น่ะ are both sometimes pronounced อ่ะ.
Also the variations listed in the reference grammar aren't exhaustive.
Also a general "I don't know what I'm doing" disclaimer applies to my translations.
These work with statements/questions, and commands.
1. น่ะ / นะ / นา
Common ground. This particle is extremely common. When it's directly translated in ARGT, they use phrases like "okay?", "you know?", "isn't it?", "right?"
Apparently, the high tone "tends to solicit a response"; the low tone is more forceful.
"I hope they might be taken by a good person."
"What did you do?"
2. สิ / ซิ
"The primary function of this particle is to confirm information with some authority in tone."
This seems to be most common in commands and replies.
"Come help me grab it."
"Emphasizes the excessiveness of the situation as the speaker sees it"
I thought it was just an intensifier (like จัง) but I guess it's more subjective. It can also be used in commands.
"(You) sit around absent-minded every day."
"It's coming directly (at us)."
Similar to เลย, but also can indicate surprise or suspicion-confirmation.
"I've raised it from when it was an egg."
Derived from/shortened form of เสีย, and acts like an aspect marker... unless it's a command, then it's a "mild encourangement" PP.
"If you're hurt, then practice fooling some other people."
These are limited to statements and questions.
6. ล่ะ / เล่า
"Elaboration request," usually used with questions.
"Presents!" (What'd you bring me?!)
คิดเรื่องโกหกอะไรได้ล่ะ7. และ / แหละ
"What fib could you think up?" (mockingly)
(This is where this gets confusing.)
This is derived from แล้ว, and when used with a verb/adjective, it has its original perfect/anterior aspectual usage.
But when used after a "verb/adjective phrase or a noun phrase", it indicates that the noun concept it follows is the "focused element" or the "sole alternative."
"If he isn't better, then it'll stay this way."
"So that we could flee those bombs."
8. ล่ะ / ละ / (and หละ ?)
Similar to #7 (and a homonym of #6), but conveys "the speaker's evaluation of the inevitability of an action."
"We need to go down into the nest."
(ARGT notes that while ล่ะ is derived from แล้ว, it has become a distinct word- this is an example of them co-existing.)
Counter argument; correct assumption. Usually used with a negative statement.
"No, we don't have time to do it that way."
Discovery- points out a critical fact just discovered.
"Doraemon hasn't returned yet."
directing attention- to an object or fact
"(something) that will give me more strength."
Similar to #11, but also used to emphasize "notable amounts" when there is a quantity expression.
"My friends are calling me."
(Since this sentence doesn't contain any quantity, I'm not sure if the "notable amount" meaning applies, but it would fit the context- "my friends are calling me a lot", or something like that.)
13. ล่ะมั้ง / มั้ง
"Maybe he already returned."
These (well, ARGT only mentions one) are only used with commands.
14. ถอะ / เถอะ / เหอะ
"Let it go!"
"Let's go help!"
ARGT further details a common combination, นี่ + น่ะ, which is usually mushed together into:
15. (นี่ + น่ะ =) เนี้ย เนี่ย เงี้ย
อะไรเนี่ยI am now really sick of particles! Next: aspect (which I have mostly finished) and then probably question-word questions.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The first couple pages of the story are difficult- Doraemon produces the "magic leaf", which does the following when you place it on your head: พลังจิตก็จะแผ่ออกมา. I'm pretty sure this a if-then type sentence. If พลังจิต, then แผ่ออกมา. The former means "brain power" and I'm not sure about the second. Something like "spread out" or "emerge"? If I had to guess, I'd say the leaf makes you smarter- expand brainpower, or something. I'm not sure at all, but that's fine. I know I'm going to encounter stuff I just can't make heads or tails of. I'm more worried about building basic vocab at this point.
Anyway, the leaf only works on dogs, and it only works on emo dogs. So they find the most pitiful dog... that's as far as I've gotten.
I'm only positive that สุนัขจิ้งจอก actually refers to a real fox because at one point Doraemon says "สุนัขจิ้งจอกก็เป็นสุนัขประเภทหนี่งน่ะ"- "The sòo-nák jîng-jòk(fox) is just one sort of sòo-nák (~canine). I'm thinking there must be some trickster fox spirit in Japanese folklore?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
These are taken from the Doraemon manga; basically it's a list of the words I had to look up as I read the 2nd story.
เป็นห่วง to worry
สงบ to be quiet
ย้อม to return/retrace
ปน to mix
อาสะวาด disturb/cause trouble