Back to the roots and water them with coffee

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guyome
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby guyome » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:29 pm

It looks like you're already settling it quite well, Cavesa. Best of luck to you in your new surroundings!

Did you end up getting your copy of Assimil Hebrew before moving or is it still with Amazon? :D
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:47 pm

guyome wrote:It looks like you're already settling it quite well, Cavesa. Best of luck to you in your new surroundings!

Did you end up getting your copy of Assimil Hebrew before moving or is it still with Amazon? :D


I'm settling in well, for someone staying in a temporary apartment, and without a job (still waiting for one paper, necessary to get a different paper... and I hope to find a job at the end of this infernal chain) :-D

Assimil Hebrew is safely here, with me. I am looking forward to finally opening it, but I want to move my German a bit forward first. Btw, there seem to be more Hebrew learners on this forum than I had noticed ever before! That's amazing!
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guyome
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby guyome » Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:38 pm

I hope you'll get everything sorted as soon as possible then!
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Montmorency
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Montmorency » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:29 pm

On pronunciation difficulties, e.g. Kirche. The one that still stops me in my tracks every time, after all these years, is "München".

First there is the "ü", which is a difficult one for us Brits, at least this Englishman. I take one look at the umlaut, and want to run away, crying. Then I think that's a bit cowardly, and creep back to it, do the pursed-lips thing, and: ok, it's not perfect, but it will do.

OK, so "n" should be easy, right? But it's coming from the mouth in an unusual position for us/me.

Then there is "ch", which just about every language book in Christendom will tell you is "like the Scottish "ch" in "loch", but it ...... well isn't, because it's not following an "o", or even an "i" (and "ich" is bad enough).

It's coming from a consonant that is forcing your tongue to the front-top of the mouth (I forget the technical name - you will know it :-) ), and for the "ch" sound (almost any version) you don't want the tongue anywhere near the front-top of your mouth. (Oh, it's the hard palate, I believe).

I can almost understand why the English renamed it to "Munich". :-)

A friendly German teacher (who was actually a native English speaker, but he was very expert, and had lived in Germany), told me not to worry about it, and if necessary, just say "Münshen". Hardly anyone would notice, and you'd probably get away with it ... :-) Which was comforting, but it still bothered me, and it still bothers me now.
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:23 pm

Montmorency wrote:On pronunciation difficulties, e.g. Kirche. The one that still stops me in my tracks every time, after all these years, is "München".

First there is the "ü", which is a difficult one for us Brits, at least this Englishman. I take one look at the umlaut, and want to run away, crying. Then I think that's a bit cowardly, and creep back to it, do the pursed-lips thing, and: ok, it's not perfect, but it will do.

OK, so "n" should be easy, right? But it's coming from the mouth in an unusual position for us/me.


The "n" is very French like here, I'd say. The Ü is indeed a challenge for many people, but one I have no significant problem with. In general, the German vowels are not that bad. It's the consonants, what's challenging for me, the rythm, the accent within a word or sentence. And also the superlong words.

Really, the French are obsessed with abreviating everything. J'écris une obs sur mon ordi, c'est la cata! But the Germans are not, even though they should. WHYYYY????!!!! :-D


Then there is "ch", which just about every language book in Christendom will tell you is "like the Scottish "ch" in "loch", but it ...... well isn't, because it's not following an "o", or even an "i" (and "ich" is bad enough).

It's coming from a consonant that is forcing your tongue to the front-top of the mouth (I forget the technical name - you will know it :-) ), and for the "ch" sound (almost any version) you don't want the tongue anywhere near the front-top of your mouth. (Oh, it's the hard palate, I believe).

I can almost understand why the English renamed it to "Munich". :-)

A friendly German teacher (who was actually a native English speaker, but he was very expert, and had lived in Germany), told me not to worry about it, and if necessary, just say "Münshen". Hardly anyone would notice, and you'd probably get away with it ... :-) Which was comforting, but it still bothered me, and it still bothers me now.


Well, it shouldn't be hard for me at all, Czech has the "CH" too. But there is a difference and I cannot exactly pinpoint it. So far, I am convinced that a proper "German CH" is a bit of a higher tone (as in music) than a "Czech CH". It looks that I speak better, when I try this. I haven't been able to name any more real difference and I haven't gotten any hint from the teacher that would really apply. I do not have the same problem as you, CH is not new at all. It is the opposite. It's something I didn't suspect as a potential problem at all!

When it comes to Kirche,I think it is the chain of "R", "CH", and the knowledge it's a lost cause anyways. :-D :-D

Curiously, I think my quest for a better pronunciation is leading me to speaking much softer and also higher. Which is a bit unpleasant, as I am trying to avoid the higher registers of my voice (speaking lower within their range makes women sound more reliable and pleasant, and more calm. One of the horrible ways to shut up a woman is "stop highering your voice" in Czech and other languages too, no idea what is the equivalent in English. When you speak in the higher tones, you lose credibility and are treated as if you were hysterical, even when you are right to be upset about something, or even when you are just explaining something with no big emotion. There has even been a research showing that people in movies changed the tones of their voice used for speaking in the last few decades. Men speak the same way, but women speak one third lower. It probably has a lot to do with us going into workplace and doing the same thing many animals do: we try to appear bigger, stronger and more powerful :-D ).

And I suspect (but have not even really scratched the surface yet), that there is a sort of CH in Hebrew too and it might be lower. That will be fun!
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Nogon » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:12 pm

Montmorency wrote:A friendly German teacher (who was actually a native English speaker, but he was very expert, and had lived in Germany), told me not to worry about it, and if necessary, just say "Münshen". Hardly anyone would notice, and you'd probably get away with it ... :-) Which was comforting, but it still bothered me, and it still bothers me now.


"Münschen" is perfectly okay - just pretend that you (or your German teacher) come from Hessen. Check this YouTube clip for example: So schwätze die Hesse
People from the Southern part of Hessen often say "sch" instead of ich-"ch" (not the ach-"ch"). Check at 2:19:
"Eh isch misch uffresch" instead of "Bevor ich mich aufrege". Quite many Hessians use the "sch" not only when speaking dialect, but even when speaking (their version of) "Hochdeutsch". For example the first speaker who tells a short story first in dialect and then in Hochdeutsch - at 0:22 he says "abends ohne Lischt".
So don't hesitate to say "Isch fahr' nach Münschen" - it's not "foreignish", just "hessisch". :lol:
Last edited by Nogon on Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Deinonysus
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:22 pm

The German ich-Laut /ç/ was my pronunciation white whale for a long time. It took me years to get it right. What finally helped was when I realized I had an easier time pronouncing it when it came before an /i/ vowel, like „China“. I think the reason is that /ç/ is a palatal consonant, and the /i/ vowel puts your mouth in the perfect position for a palatal consonant. So I practiced saying „ichi, ichi, ichi“ until I didn't need the final /i/ to get the consonant right.

I don't know any Czech but I listened to recordings of the word "chlap" and there is a big difference from German. The Czech "ch" sound was very smooth, not gravelly at all, very similar to the Latin American Spanish "j" as in "José". The German ach-Laut /x/ is much more gravelly. I couldn't find the exact technical term for this. I've heard people say "more friction" to describe a gravelly version of a fricative and "less friction" to describe a less gravelly version. I think the German /x/ might be slightly further back in the throat than the Czech /x/, but I don't think all the way back like the /q/ in Arabic.

You have a similar issue with the German and French "r" sounds at the beginning of a syllable. The French "r" has lots of friction and I think it's a bit further forward in the throat. The German "r" much less friction and is further back. The Hebrew "r" is almost the same as the German "r" but there's absolutely no friction.

In terms of pitch, to my ears the German "ch" as in „Bach“ has the lowest pitch, then the Czech "ch" in the middle, and the German "ch" as in Kirche has the highest pitch.

You are correct that Hebrew does have a "ch" sound, and it's exactly like the German ach-Laut. The letter ח (khet) always has that sound in Modern Hebrew, and the letter כ (kaf/khaf) can have either that sound or a /k/ sound. It pointed texts, the /k/ version will always have a dot in the middle like this: כּ. It always has a /k/ sound in the beginning of a word, it could have either sound in the middle of a word, and I don't think it can have a /k/ sound at the end of the word, where it takes this special form: ך

The German "ch" in „Kirche“ does not exist in Hebrew.
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Montmorency
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Montmorency » Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:10 pm

@Cavesa, Mrs Thatcher was famous for lowering her voice once she became a serious candidate for party leadership, and then for Prime Minister. (She was famous for a few other things, but we needn't go there ... :lol: ).

My favourite actresses are people like Lauren Bacall, Kathleen Turner, and Honor Blackman, low voices all. (I don't know whether smoking had anything to do with it though...).

Ah yes, the Germans do abbreviate, at least in a certain way. In "Emil und die Detektive" I came across "Schupo" = "Schutz Polizist/Polizei", and there is also Kripo = Kriminalpolizei, and there was the "Vopo" = Volkspolizei in East Germany.
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:12 pm

Montmorency wrote:@Cavesa, Mrs Thatcher was famous for lowering her voice once she became a serious candidate for party leadership, and then for Prime Minister. (She was famous for a few other things, but we needn't go there ... :lol: ).

My favourite actresses are people like Lauren Bacall, Kathleen Turner, and Honor Blackman, low voices all. (I don't know whether smoking had anything to do with it though...).

Ah yes, the Germans do abbreviate, at least in a certain way. In "Emil und die Detektive" I came across "Schupo" = "Schutz Polizist/Polizei", and there is also Kripo = Kriminalpolizei, and there was the "Vopo" = Volkspolizei in East Germany.


Hmm, the Germans still need some lessons in abbreviating. :-D

Yes, I love lower female voices too. Too bad I don't have one, I have a mezzosoprano like majority of the population (which is still cool, tons of repertoire!) , and my speaking voice is perhaps even on the higher end of it. Well, I could have ended worse. A friend of mine has a pleasant but very high voice, and older patients often cannot hear her!

To the politicians as language learning and use examples: our prime minister is now the subject of not only various works describing his normal crimes (mainly frauds of the european and national subventions, but by far not only that. One of his companies poisoned a river last year, and his ministers and his media are fighting to not have it properly investigated). The language ones are funny too (some say he might be the last living speaker of the Old Church Slavonic). There is now a person with a Czech degree, Bc.Benešovský, who wrote his final thesis on Babiš's acquisition of Czech. Analysing his mistakes, their types, the negative transfer from Slovak, and so on. Btw, the result of the analysis was, that the criminal's Czech hadn't improved at all during the first three years of immersion in the country :-D In the second three years, there was a huge progress, the amount of mistakes lowered by 80% (but that still doesn't mean there are few of them). Most probably due to the crime minister's private tutoring lessons with a good teacher. Btw, you can also see a huge difference between the linguistic quality of his speech, when he just reads something prepared by his marketing team, and when he speaks spontaneously. It is sometimes very useful, as you can tell these two apart immediately. Too bad that his own production is so confusing, that even the sign language interpreteres struggle :-D

Should you want to become a politician in a foreign country, please learn its language BEFORE applying for the job. You'll avoid being ridiculous :-D (And please, don't be a criminal either). And if you make the mistake of applying and winning the election before mastering the language, pay for tutoring. :-D

Deinonysus wrote:The German ich-Laut /ç/ was my pronunciation white whale for a long time. It took me years to get it right. What finally helped was when I realized I had an easier time pronouncing it when it came before an /i/ vowel, like „China“. I think the reason is that /ç/ is a palatal consonant, and the /i/ vowel puts your mouth in the perfect position for a palatal consonant. So I practiced saying „ichi, ichi, ichi“ until I didn't need the final /i/ to get the consonant right.

I don't know any Czech but I listened to recordings of the word "chlap" and there is a big difference from German. The Czech "ch" sound was very smooth, not gravelly at all, very similar to the Latin American Spanish "j" as in "José". The German ach-Laut /x/ is much more gravelly. I couldn't find the exact technical term for this. I've heard people say "more friction" to describe a gravelly version of a fricative and "less friction" to describe a less gravelly version. I think the German /x/ might be slightly further back in the throat than the Czech /x/, but I don't think all the way back like the /q/ in Arabic.

You have a similar issue with the German and French "r" sounds at the beginning of a syllable. The French "r" has lots of friction and I think it's a bit further forward in the throat. The German "r" much less friction and is further back. The Hebrew "r" is almost the same as the German "r" but there's absolutely no friction.

In terms of pitch, to my ears the German "ch" as in „Bach“ has the lowest pitch, then the Czech "ch" in the middle, and the German "ch" as in Kirche has the highest pitch.

You are correct that Hebrew does have a "ch" sound, and it's exactly like the German ach-Laut. The letter ח (khet) always has that sound in Modern Hebrew, and the letter כ (kaf/khaf) can have either that sound or a /k/ sound. It pointed texts, the /k/ version will always have a dot in the middle like this: כּ. It always has a /k/ sound in the beginning of a word, it could have either sound in the middle of a word, and I don't think it can have a /k/ sound at the end of the word, where it takes this special form: ך

The German "ch" in „Kirche“ does not exist in Hebrew.


Thanks!!! This is the best overview of "ch" in my languages that I've ever seen. Yes, the Spanish "j/ch" sound is absolutely Czech-like.

I was beginning to think there may even be two German "ch" sounds, depending on what is around it. In many cases, the German one feels smoother and "higher" as a sound. But you are probably right the Czech one might be in between of them, which is the reason of my struggles. I had never thought "ch" would be a problem.

To the previous point: I seem to use much higher tones in German than in my other languages, as the result of trying to sound smoother, less harsh, to put there less friction. Which I dislike. I clearly need more work on this.

Yes, I have encountered the Hebrew kaf/khaf sounds already. It is tricky to learn them. But perhaps at least Hebrew won't make me speak with higher tones in general :-D
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:14 pm

Happy New Year btw.

I am continuing this log. I've signed up for the 365 challenge, it goes well with the German minigroup work. And I also want to complete my SCs, and take one language exam this year. I wanted to do the last point last year, but all the motivation fell apart, when the world changed.

In 2021, I hope to get a better job (a better specialty. But the bar for other qualities, such as awesome collegues, is pretty high after my French experience :-) ), and integrate in a new country. My language learning is supposed to bring joy to my life, important ego boosts, and open some new doors, should my plan not go well enough.
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