The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

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iguanamon
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Studies: Catalan
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:27 pm

The storm aftermath has altered my language learning experience. I am reading more and watching DVD's now that I have electricity back. Internet at home for me may be a while to come back though. For now, it's phone tethering at home and sharing an office in town.

My daily podcasts are more limited with slow download speeds. I usually enjoy watching Telemundo and CNN en Español but, that's out now. Even phone calls have been difficult but having power restored to the cell towers seems to have helped.

Portuguese
I've been reading in Portuguese. I always wanted to read "Pride and Prejudice/Orgulho e Preconceito/Orgullo y prejuicio" by Jane Austen and decided I would read it in both Portuguese and Spanish by alternating chapters in each language. I've had a look at the original and the translations aren't bad! Of course there's also an ulterior motive... I want to read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies/Orgulho e Preconceito e Zumbis" by Seth Grahame-Smith. I downloaded a bunch of episodes of Sai de Baixo, the 20 year old Brazilian comedy series, and have almost finished the third season. A 52 minute comedy show demands a good attention span. I speak and write the language daily.

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Spanish
The aforementioned book, listening to Puerto Rican and local Spanish radio, speaking to friends, reading news apps on the phone. Going through my collection of the pre-revolutionary Cuban "La Tremenda Corte" radio shows.

Ladino
Practicing solitreo writing and reading.

Haitian Creole
Getting short shrift at the moment but I received some new books in the mail.

A recent thread about Lingua Francae has got me to thinking about maybe learning a new language. Maybe even a new Iberian one. The obvious and easiest choice seems to be Catalan... but... do I really want to learn another Iberian language? Pelo amor de Deus, no que tô pensando!!!
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:30 pm

This is a busy time of year for me and with the burdens of still dealing with hurricane aftermath (limited internet) and work concerns, I haven't been able to do as much as I would like with my languages. Portuguese and Spanish take care of themselves for the most part. I do enough with both during a normal day to not have any problems with either one. Since I have difficulty streaming or downloading any series, I've been back to my DVD's and watching the HBO series 2nd season of Capadocia from Mexico. I've been alternating episodes with native Spanish audio and Portuguese dub. Crazy, I know, but why not!

Haitian Creole is maintaining. I'm not advancing it and not really backsliding either. I read, listen and only occasionally speak. When things get back to normal here, I'll make more of an effort with it but I am happy with what I can do with the language. Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol, also needs little work to keep maintained.

Twitter is a great resource for me as a language-learner. As I have cultivated a good feed of media, authors, journalists, poets and other interesting folks in all of my languages, I really consider it almost as curated language study. As long as I check my twitter feed regularly, I can maintain contact with my languages easily.

I came across this on twitter via Tablet Magazine Hanukkah Alegre/Celebrating Hanukkah in Ladino. It's a seven minute audio story about a group of Sephardim who get together for "Vijitas de alhad" or Sunday visits in the Washington, DC area for food and converstaion in Djudeo-espanyol. The pictures of all that food makes me wish I was there too!

Speaking of which, during the time I was without electricity, I received Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste's new CD Together Endjuntos, which is a bilingual Ladino/English Sephardic holiday album. Speaking of Hanukkah, bimuelos are a Sephardic Hannukah tradition. The song is pretty much all in English, but why not share it... makes me hungry... and where else are you going to hear a rap infused song about bimuelos!


Catalan
I was in Barcelona for a few days back at the end of September and first week of October. Of course, it was no problem speaking Spanish anywhere but I heard and saw plenty of Catalan all over. Of course there was a lot going on in the city with the referendum too. People were very nice and I learned a lot from talking to folks about what was going on. It's got me to thinking about exploring it a bit and to that end I've started reading Els viatges de Gulliver by Jonathan Swift in Catalan translation and have added in a short, five minute Catalan newscast. I have collected resources over the years. I have plenty of books, a couple of courses and several bilingual texts. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well Portuguese and Ladino serve to help me parse the language, and Haitian Creole helps too. I am up to page 45 in the 105 page pdf of Gulliver. There's a lot I have to look up, so it's slow going. Despite the similarities there's a heck of lot that's different and... well, that's why it's another language! I don't know if I will take Catalan very far. We'll see... but that's how most of my other languages started out and then... well... this time I promise to stop at B2!
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby basica » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:28 am

Cool to see you're learning Catalan :) What are some of the interesting aspects you've found of the language so far in your studies (either in general, or in contrast to the other languages you know)?
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Ogrim » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:57 am

iguanamon wrote:this time I promise to stop at B2!


Please don't. :geek: With just a little bit of effort you can easily take Catalan to C1, at least when it comes to reading and understanding spoken Catalan. It will of course take more work if you aim at a C1 in speaking and writing, because for that you need to practise more than anything else, and there may not be that many Catalan-speakers in your neighbourhood?

Interesting that you find Portuguese and Ladino a help, but I am not that surprised really. When it comes to phonetical developments in particular, Castillian/Spanish is actually the odd one out in the Iberian group, with the loss of initial F in most places, certain diphtongisations etc. By the way, as an anecdote I remember a Romansh speaker telling me that the other Romance language he found easiest to understand was Catalan. So maybe Romansh next? ;)

P.s. I found that audio about the Ladino group in the US really interesting, thanks for sharing!
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:03 pm

basica wrote:Cool to see you're learning Catalan :) What are some of the interesting aspects you've found of the language so far in your studies (either in general, or in contrast to the other languages you know)?

Thanks for dropping by, basica. It's good to see you back here again. What I've noticed about Catalan so far, is that it seems to be a bit more grammatically complex than my other Romance languages. I expected a lot of similarity with Spanish and this is true. I was surprised to see that it also shares a lot in common with Portuguese in vocabulary and even in some aspects of pronunciation, especially the weak vowels and the letter "j". A different aspect from Portuguese and Spanish is using the word/particle "vaig"/"va" (v: "anar") in front of the verb to create the preterite tense. It seems to work kind of like Kreyòl in using the particle "te" with verb to indicate a past action. The reflexive pronouns are different to what I know- "em" instead of "me", for instance. There is also a lot of vocabulary that my other languages can't help me with understanding. My open source dictionary is not as comprehensive as I would like, so, I have to guess with context or look at the original English text. I'll remedy that with the next dictionary.

I'm not "studying" Catalan, yet. I'm just reading and doing a little listening and accepting what I see and hear. This is how I started with Portuguese before I decided to get serious about it. Now, with more than one Romance language under my belt, I can gain a lot by reading and listening. At some point, if I decide to continue with the language, I will probably do a course. Who knows, I may even do the Assimil "El catalán sin esfuerzo" which Professor Arguelles rated as the best Assimil course. I have it. Still, the horrifically slow audio of Assimil is a major turn off for me! I'd probably have to run the dialog through a tts or speed it up somehow. I also have Colloquial Catalan and the online parla.cat. I'm sure I could probably order a series with a Catalan dub/subs on dvd or find one somewhere online. Emk's subs2srs and a basic grammar would be a good alternative to a course, but, he hasn't made installing and using subs2srs easy for non-computer geeks with windows to use. Like I said, for right now, it's enough just to see what I can learn from reading and doing some listening, which is quite a lot.

Yes, I do get a lot for free with my background of related languages. Still, like anyone who thinks that Portuguese will be "a walk in the park" after Spanish (Not!), I know that the devil in Catalan lies in the details. Portuguese was difficult for me at first because I was seeing it through a Spanish prism. It wasn't until I dropped that attitude and started seeing Portuguese as a language in its own right that I made real progress. Then, I was able to leverage my Spanish to help me rather than hinder me. With Catalan, now I have several languages to help me, including my native English. Once you learn Serbian, you may also want to learn a next Slavic language and you'll find
Ogrim wrote:... With just a little bit of effort you can easily take Catalan to C1, at least when it comes to reading and understanding spoken Catalan. It will of course take more work if you aim at a C1 in speaking and writing, because for that you need to practise more than anything else, and there may not be that many Catalan-speakers in your neighbourhood? ...

We are definitely off the beaten path for Catalan immigration here in the English-speaking Caribbean. There are no Catalan-speakers that I know of here. However, I do like traveling to Spain and it could come in handy. In addition, there's the usual- ability to use the language online, plenty of literature, poetry, music and a unique culture. Any culture that can produce somebody like Gaudi is definitely worth a look! You're right. I can and probably will learn to read and listen at a high level. Of course that will be much easier than speaking and writing. Right now, I'd be happy with B2 or even B1 speaking, for my needs.

Ironically, French would be the easiest language for me to learn. One of my friends is a native speaker and another is a French teacher in a local school. I already speak related languages and can already understand quite a bit of written and even spoken French. Why haven't I learned it? Perhaps for some of the same reasons Serpent hasn't learned French despite her language background. I don't know, other than French just doesn't really interest me culturally. Perhaps I might learn it at some point, but not right now. German would also be a language I could speak with people I know. I have two German-speaking friends here. As a former Danish colony, we get Danish tourists here on a regular basis, so, another useful language to know, at least I could speak it locally from time to time. There is a small, but significant, Palestinian community here with whom I could speak Arabic. One of my friends speaks native Gujarati. Practical language opportunities are here for me yet I'm looking at Catalan? Well, I've never really been practical in language-learning except for Spanish.

Part of me feels guilty for not concentrating on improving what I already know. There is always more to learn in the languages I already have. There always will be. That's something that comes hard to accept, but I'm getting there. There is such a thing as "good enough". For a learner who lives outside of a TL country, there is only so far most of us can go with a second language. You start to reach the point of diminishing returns.

Update: Just ordered "L'Escurçó Negre"/"Blackadder", 792 minutes of Catalan dub and subs. They probably won't match but I do know the series quite well. Maybe I'll start a new log- "L'Escurçó Negre"- Learning Catalan with Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson"! Maybe. If not, well, it does have a Spanish dub too and I needed a new set of Blackadder DVD's anyway.
Last edited by iguanamon on Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Ogrim » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:12 pm

iguanamon wrote:Part of me feels guilty for not concentrating on improving what I already know. There is always more to learn in the languages I already have. There always will be. That's something that comes hard to accept, but I'm getting there. There is such a thing as "good enough". For a learner who lives outside of a TL country, there is only so far most of us can go with a second language. You start to reach the point of diminishing returns.


I just have to comment on this because it is a question I've asked myself many times. Why on earth don't I concentrate fully on Russian, which is a language I really want to become proficient in? Or do something to get my German up to C-level, which would not be that difficult? I think we both know the answer to why we keep adding new languages: There is the attraction of something new, and in the case of Romance languages the seduction of something familiar yet different. And why always be practical? Learning Arabic is not practical for me. I am already of a certain age, and by the time I get a "useful" level in Arabic I will probably be retired :D . Sometimes the learning process itself can be just as rewarding as the end goal. Besides, I believe learning new languages, whether they are "easy" or "difficult", is good for your brain.
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby basica » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:55 am

I came across this video on Haitian Creole and thought I might share it here with followers of your log. It's covered a lot of the ground you have in telling us a bit about HC, but perhaps some will enjoy a video about it as well. I have to admit, I do find it very interesting. Maybe not enough to actually learn it properly, but maybe enough to dabble one day, we'll see :)

Anyways, do you think he's covered everything accurately?

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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Expugnator » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:52 pm

Catalan looks really cool indeed, mas...how nice it would be to follow iguanamon's log about an opaque language!
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:57 pm

Here we are again at the end of another year and what a year it's been. It's now three months since my island was devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria. I have electricity but still no internet or cable TV at home. Events like this put things into perspective. Doing without electricity for two months was a hardship. I'm glad to have it back now. Living on a Caribbean island teaches patience in normal times, but these times require a lot more. My language-learning, or rather- my language use, has continued despite my circumstances. Though I can't really download much in terms of series and podcasts, both my dvd and book collection are getting a work out.

Portuguese
My Brazilian friend is back in the US now, but I speak with her in Portuguese on a regular basis. I have plenty of DVD's and books to work through. I recently finished watching Capadocia season 2 in Portuguese dub. I'm over halfway done with Jane Austin's "Orgulho e preconceito", which I've never read in English. I am able to download RFI Brasil's morning podcast and DW Português para África podcast that gives me 50 minutes a day of regular listening, in addition to whatever else I do.

Spanish
Spanish continues almost without being noticed. All I have to do to use Spanish is open my mouth and speak around here. There's hardly a day goes by that I don't use Spanish. No effort is required. I've thought about signing up for a course from the Escuela de Escritores in Spain, but it will have to wait until things settle down here in a few months time. Writing here on the forum is the extent of my "creative" writing since I left university. I'd like to do that again and it would undoubtedly help my Spanish.

Haitian Creole/Kreyòl and Lesser Antilles French Creole/Kwéyòl
I am back into reading the languages and following the news on VOA Kreyòl/Lavwadlamerik. I speak from time to time. The other day, I was listening to, and reading along with, one of the audio stories at Citybooks in French. I was surprised at how much I understood thanks to both Kreyòl and Kwéyòl, plus my other languages. Since I've read so much of the Old Testament Bible in HC, when I get to the New Testament, I have the NT in Kwéyòl/LAFC.
HC NT (Kreyól) Luke 7:8 wrote:Mwen menm, mwen sou zòd chèf, mwen gen sòlda sou zòd mwen tou. Lè m' di yonn: Ale! li ale. Lè m' di yon lòt: Vini! li vini. Lè m' di domestik mwen an: Fè sa! li fè li.

LAFC NT (Kwéyòl Sint Lisi) Luke 7:8 wrote:Mwen sav sa paski mwen menm sé yon nonm ki anba kondwit ofisyé ki anho mwen, èk mwen ni sòlda ki anba kondwit mwen, èk mwen annèk ni pou di yo, ‘Alé,’ èk yo ka alé la menm, èk si mwen di nonm sala, ‘Vini,’ i ka vini la menm, èk si mwen konmandé sèvant mwen, ‘Fè sa,’ i ka fèʼy la menm.”

New International Version Luke 7:8 wrote:For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
So, as you can see, very similar, yet, subtly different. Especially the verb for "to have" which is "gen/genyen" in HC (Kreyòl) and "ni" in LAFC (Kwéyòl). The two languages are, to a large extent, mutually intelligible between native speakers.

Djudeo-espanyol/Ladino
I enjoy this language so much. I've learned to read in Solitreo which makes my third Hebrew script in addition to Rashi and Meruba. I'm especially happy about having learned to read Solitreo (cursive writing based on Rashi script). Being able to read something handwritten over a hundred years ago and have it speak to me today is amazing. I like learning about and following the history of the Sephardim, like this story about the recently discovered lost letter from a Greek Jew in Auschwitz The Paradox of Hanukkah in Greece—and in Auschwitz.
Professor Devin Naar wrote:The Nazis compelled a disproportionate number of Salonican Jewish men to participate in the Sonderkommando in part due to a perception of their exceptional physically fitness, but also because they were isolated. Without knowledge of German, Polish, or Yiddish, Jews from Greece could not easily communicate with other prisoners let alone the immediate outside world.

Someone, a native-speaker or Ladino scholar, should really translate Art Spiegelman's Pultizer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus: A Survivor's Tale into Ladino.
Catalan
I have read my first book in Catalan, Els Viatgens de Gulliver . There's a lot that's familiar and a lot that isn't. Of course, I have a huge head start with this language thanks to Spanish, Portuguese, Kreyòl and even Djudeo-espanyol. "Menester" is used for the verb "to need" in both Catalan and Ladino. Being able to read a book in a language I don't speak is a benefit of my experience. Sure, I had to look up more than my usual share of words and my dictionary only had about half of them. So, the English edition came in handy. I didn't bother to make a parallel text though. Context and my languages base gave me enough to be able to read the story. I probably had 15-20% unknown words- not bad for a language I haven't studied yet.

I downloaded Catalán para Dummies, the audio is free online. It's not as annoyingly slow as Assimil. The course is intended for native Spanish-speakers and focuses on grammar and dialogs in a non-condescending fashion. Despite the title, it looks to give a quite thorough grounding in the basics. If I decide to continue with the language, I'll definitely try the course. The political situation in Catalonia at present seems to guarantee that the language will stay relevant. What better way to understand what's going on than directly via the language itself?
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basica wrote:I came across this video on Haitian Creole and thought I might share it here with followers of your log. It's covered a lot of the ground you have in telling us a bit about HC, but perhaps some will enjoy a video about it as well. I have to admit, I do find it very interesting. Maybe not enough to actually learn it properly, but maybe enough to dabble one day, we'll see :) Anyways, do you think he's covered everything accurately?

Yes, it's a good basic, general overview about the language as far as these types of things usually go. Kreyòl is a rewarding language with more opportunity to speak it locally than most North Americans may think. Large communities exist in South Florida, New York, Boston, New Orleans and Montreal.
Expugnator wrote:Catalan looks really cool indeed, mas...how nice it would be to follow iguanamon's log about an opaque language!

Valeu, Expug! I really enjoy reading your log. I should take a page from you and start learning an "opaque" language in 15 minutes a day. You've got a system going that really makes a lot of sense for anyone who wants to be a polyglot or "hyper-polyglot". Perhaps, if you ever get the time, you should consider writing a guest post on how to do that. What you have accomplished in the time I've been here is incredible. You've got your system to a point now where it is almost impossible for you not to learn any language you choose.
Ogrim wrote:... There is the attraction of something new, and in the case of Romance languages the seduction of something familiar yet different. And why always be practical? Learning Arabic is not practical for me. I am already of a certain age, and by the time I get a "useful" level in Arabic I will probably be retired :D . Sometimes the learning process itself can be just as rewarding as the end goal. Besides, I believe learning new languages, whether they are "easy" or "difficult", is good for your brain.

Yes, this is it- familiar but... different. I would add, that language-learning, in addition to being good for our brains, is also good for our souls. Talking with people in Barcelona back during the independence referendum, even in Spanish, was more rewarding for me because I felt people took their time to speak with me in a more intimate way than if we'd used English. I spoke with people on both sides of the question and both have valid points, which is what makes the situation so difficult. I hope and pray that both sides can find a way to live together again in peace and mutual respect.

To all, thank you for your support in this very difficult year. Peace and blessings be upon you all! Good tidings of Comfort and Joy! Happy New Year! Bòn chans e Bòn Ane, mezanmi!
Last edited by iguanamon on Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby galaxyrocker » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:16 am

Perhaps you've mentioned it somewhere in your log and I've forgotten about it, but do you know why Ladino has three Hebrew scripts that are still in use (on top of a Latin-based on, I assume)? I understand the connection you mentioned between Rashi and Solitreo, but how does Meruba fit in there? Were they all used at different time periods and/or locations, and I'm just wrong in assuming they're all still used (as much as Ladino is used, at least) today? Perhaps, if you're able, a post into the history of writing Ladino would be very interesting.
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