Thursday, 9 October 2008

Language Lesson

Now for something more fun...languages!
As some of you may or may not know, I am taking Icelandic language courses along with other courses that are directly related to my program back in Ottawa.
As few of you may know, I am very bad at learning languages even if I am very motivated.

Here I list some difficulties with my Icelandic. In phonetic and phonology classes I would always try pronouncing these in class and then laugh and be glad that English didn't have these, but now this is the real thing!:
  • it's hard to pronounce the trilled [r] and also they have many different types of [l]'s: a voiced and voiceless [l] and then a voice and voiceless velar [l]
  • in general the approximants/liquids are hard.
  • phonologically, there are no voiced stops. the contrast is between aspirated and unaspirated stops.
  • there is a fricative velar, which sounds like [g] except that you never fully close or release. it's the first language where i've encountered that and it's very exciting!
  • they have voiceless nasal stops. they are a bit weird and come at the end so it's a bit difficult
  • there are a lot of consonant clusters that I'm not used to, like þvo. Try saying (thvo) without adding any extra sound between th and v!
With diphthongs and monophthongs together, the language has 13 vowels. That's a lot.

Of course you came here to read this entry and I'm just blabbering on about linguistic stuff. You're thinking, "I want to know some phrases!"
Well, here you go:

Hello - goðan daginn
Goodbye - bless
See you - sjáumst
I like learning Iceland - Mér finnst gaman að læra íslensku

And so on and so forth.

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