Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 October 26

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Language desk
< October 25 << Sep | October | Nov >> October 27 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Language Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

October 26[edit]

Jhalan and Lohoni[edit]

Copied from Humanities RD Rojomoke (talk) 08:27, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Which languages does the name Jhalan and Lohoni come from? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:46, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Lohoni seems to be a Nepali surname. Jhalan is a name that occurs in Hindi and perhaps also in neighboring languages such as Nepali. Note that Jhalan is also a place name in Pakistan and a word in other Indo-Aryan languages. Marco polo (talk) 15:43, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

The reason I asked this question is because there is white girl who has this name and I kind of guessing she is kurdish. Could it be Kurdish? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I also found evidence that Lohoni is a Kurdish surname. I suspect that the two surnames (Nepali and Kurdish) are unrelated and coincidentally the same. The reason that I did not mention that Lohoni could be Kurdish is that Jhalan is definitely South Asian and not Kurdish. Possibly this person is of mixed Kurdish and South Asian descent. Marco polo (talk) 17:16, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Stereotyped accents in Spanish[edit]

I'm watching the Latin American dub of The Simpsons, and I notice that Apu's speech is characterized by arbitrary pluralization of nouns, adjectives, and even adverbs. Basically whenever a word ends in an A, he tacks on an S. Is this something that most Spanish-speakers associate with Indians? If so, why? In English there are many stereotypes associated with Indian speech, but rampant pluralization is not one of them.

A related question: Since the English subjunctive is so much weaker than the Spanish, and since English is somewhat unique among European languages in the decrepitude of its subjunctive, do Spanish-speakers perhaps associate anglophones with some sort of "indicativization"? Would an anglophone character in a Spanish-language film be depicted as comically negligent or abusive of the subjunctive? If so, are there any examples of this, perhaps on YouTube? LANTZYTALK 15:44, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Will be interested to hear on this from native Spanish speakers. My instinct is no, because I'm thinking of the parallel in French. French uses the subjunctive more than English but not as much as Spanish. An English speaker is stereotyped by accent, possibly also by gender errors, not by subjunctive errors which would instead be associated with non-standard French dialects. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:40, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not just for Indians. There was also a character on Univision's Sábado Gigante el sargento Godines, who tacks on [s] to words, as in this video where he says things like "la ley-s" and "problema resuelto-s". Not quite sure what the effect on a native speaker is. My guess is that he sounds like a simpleton (perhaps a parody of police officers; he often did over-the-top kind of stuff when he used to be a regular on the show).--el Aprel (facta-facienda) 03:58, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The stereotypical New York trucker guy on Futurama also does this. rʨanaɢ (talk) 04:21, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
"Gets movin'! Those newspapers won'ts deliver themselveses! Only the Sunday edition can dos that." -- the Great Gavini 05:02, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The Greek character Spiro in My Family and Other Animals does this too: "Gollys, Mister Jerrys, I don't thinks your mothers is going to likes this!" —Angr (talk) 07:55, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I can't believe I forgot about Sal. "Has youse ever seens bigfeet?" But in his case, I suspect his addition of esses to everything is just a generalization ad absurdum from the word "youse". It's a nerdy, absurdist language game being played by the writers, rather than an attempt to stereotype an existing accent. I wonder if the Apu effect is similarly derived from a single infamous "pluralized" word, since generalized into a language game. LANTZYTALK 12:04, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The odd thing is that the original Apu doesn't speak bad English at all, he just has an Indian accent. Actually, I think there is a stereotype (or perhaps it's just my impression) that people from India speak English too correctly, by modern colloquial standards. The other trait I notice in Indian English is unusual stress placements. Lfh (talk) 16:11, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Interesting question. I tend to think there's a general usage of additional esses in Spanish (at least, in the Latin American variety) for Indian characters, though, to be fair, the few Indians I have heard speaking Spanish don't seem to show that trait. I do think that the general tone Apu shows (the matter of esses apart) is a fair exhibit of their accents, though (of course, in a humourous way; please don't read xenophobic positions in my remark).
More generally, regarding poor Sargento Godines, both excessive or defective esses could mark illiteration. In Rioplatense Spanish, both eating the final esses, as well as adding erroneus esses in verbal conjugations, as in "¿vistes?" instead of viste (Have you seen), are prototypical characterization of two types of uneducated speakers.
Regarding "Anglosaxon" speakers of Spanish, I would say that there's no specific characterization based on subjunctive patterns. (Hey, even we native speakers can't get it right!). However, the enourmous difference in the difficulty of each conjugation scheme is indeed used frequently to mark English traits: So you may hear yo quiere buscar hotel with strong, anglosaxon inflections as an example of what I'm speaking about (Note quiere instead of quiero, third-person for first-person form).Pallida  Mors 09:53, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
That seems very sensible now that I think about it: If gringos butcher both mood and person, obviously they're likelier to be made fun of for the latter, since it's the more elementary error. I suppose a subtlety like misuse of the subjunctive doesn't even register until a speaker has reached a certain level of proficiency. LANTZYTALK 11:37, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
By the way, Pallida, you write that "eating the final esses" is the mark of an uneducated speaker, but I thought it was basically a universal trait in Rioplatense Spanish (not to mention Cuban Spanish, and lots of other coastal varieties). Indeed, I would have assumed that if an Argentine didn't eat most of his esses, he'd be perceived as peculiar, or a foreigner. Or are there actually Argentines who adhere to a conscientious, "essful" pronunciation? LANTZYTALK 12:04, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, is that your impression? I, being a Rioplatense speaker, would say that the average rendering of a final s in this dialect is normally a complete final sibilant sound. Debuccalization of that sound is not unsual, in regions like Santa Fe, but not widespread. And generally speaking, fully silencing the sound is normally considered a trait of inculture. The difference between a Rioplatense final s and the Caribbean debuccalization/muting is very remarkable, to my ears. But a non-Rioplatense Spanish speaker may have a different view. Pallida  Mors 18:11, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Going solely from movies, music, and reruns of Cha Cha Cha, my limited and uneducated impression is that the Argentine terminal ess is not necessarily a sibilant, although it is almost always present as some sort of fricative. It's rarely erased completely. So sometimes it surfaces as [x], sometimes it's almost [ɸ]. But as I say, these are vague impressions, and they're probably not unique to Argentine pronunciation. LANTZYTALK 01:49, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, yes, that's a sensible reflection. On second thoughts my expression "a complete final sibilant sound" looks clearly as an overstatement :) I was looking for a good audio sample, but couldn't find much in Wikipedia. Pallida  Mors 08:38, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

English speech speed[edit]

I have been asked to write short news items for a small community radio station. My items will be allocated 2 minutes of airtime. Unfortunately nobody at the station can tell me how many words (or syllables) fit into 2 minutes at normal "newsreader" speed. The few practice pieces I have written have been all over the place from 95-157 seconds. Roger (talk) 15:58, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

See Words per minute#Speech and listening. Lexicografía (talk) 16:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Roger (talk) 16:39, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Liberman, AM; Cooper, FS; Shankweiler, DP; Studdert-Kennedy, M (1967). "Perception of the speech code". Papers in Speech Communication (PDF). Acoustical Society of America. pp. 75–105. 
rʨanaɢ (talk) 16:44, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

"Spouting forth"?[edit]


Translating Under Orders by Dick Francis, I encountered the sentence, "Never mind stastics statistics, there were lies, damn lies, and the spouting forth from single-issue lobby groups."

I hope someone tell me what "the spouting forth" means.--Analphil (talk) 17:51, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Most likely it's a grammatical error. "The" seems out of place; of course I don't know much of the context but it seems a word like "such" would fit much better. Lexicografía (talk) 17:56, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
It's a phrase used to describe pompous speech, especially that delivered by people who don't know what they're talking about (in this context, anyway). Imagine a fountain and you'll get the idea. --TammyMoet (talk) 18:09, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah. How is the sentence parsed grammatically then? Does "spouting forth" act as a noun? Lexicografía (talk) 18:34, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's why it takes "the". --Anonymous, 22:15 UTC, October 26, 2010.
I got the picture. Thanks.--Analphil (talk) 18:32, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
"Spouting" is a gerund and "forth" is an adverb that modifies it. In English, every gerund acts as a noun. Looie496 (talk) 17:29, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
And it paraphrases the well known quotation "Lies, damned lies, and statistics". Alansplodge (talk) 17:59, 28 October 2010 (UTC)