Spanish Dialect is more than your thoughts

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Another difference in pronunciation lies in the palatal lateral approximant (written with two “Ls” ll) and the voiced palatal fricative (written as y). This phonemic contrast can be understood as /ʎ/ (ll) and /ʝ/ (y). In the past, Spanish used to maintain this distinction. However, the majority of speakers today in Spain and the Americas have merged these two phonemes into /ʝ/. This merger is otherwise known as yeísmo. In Spain, speakers continue to differentiate these two phonemes in rural areas and smaller cities of the north while the same phenomenon is observed in South America and this characteristic suggests that bilingualism is a contributing factor – Quechua languages, Guarani and other indigenous languages possess the /ʎ/ sound in their speech sound patterns. This characteristic shows up in speakers from Peru and Paraguay.

Examples:

hoya “pit / hole” olla “pot”
baya “berry” valla “fence”

Grammar wise, there is only one minor difference. As Spanish is a T-V distinction language, (T-V distinction indexes level of politeness depending on the social status of the addressee) there is an emphasis on how the addresser refers to the addressee. For instance, different pronouns representing “you” (second person singular pronoun) denote different levels of formality. In most varieties, there are only two levels of contrasts – either “formal” or “informal” (or “familiar”). Under the formal usage of the second person pronoun, most speakers of Spanish (as well as other Spanish dialects) and Spanish America agree on using usted (second person singular pronoun) and ustedes (second person plural pronoun). However, when it comes to the informal usage of the second person pronoun, there is a regional contrast. For example, either or vos can refer to the second person singular informal and either vosotros or ustedes can refer to the second person plural informal. For instance, in Standard European Spanish, the plural of (second person singular informal pronoun) is vosotros and the plural of usted (second person singular formal pronoun) is ustedes. On the contrary, in Spanish America, vosotros is not used, thus, the plural of both and usted is ustedes.

Pic source: payatdoor.com

Learn the third most widely language in 5 minutes

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The standard variety of Spanish that is usually taught in classroom settings is otherwise known as Castellano or Español. However in many parts of Latin America, the standard variety is commonly accepted as Castellano, rather than Español. Apart from the standard variety, other Spanish dialects or varieties are also present due to geographical reasons. This does not mean that such dialects are inferior. These non-standard (instead of sub-standard) varieties usually differ in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary while grammar remains intact to a large extent. The different pronunciation and vocabulary merely reflect a different linguistic environment that has shifted away from the linguistic environment that adopts the standard variety.

Languages are subject to change overtime and the linguistic environment and speakers play a major role in influencing language use. Written Spanish does not differ amongst different speakers and the different spoken forms are not portrayed too. Differences can be found between European Spanish and Spanish America. Furthermore, there are also differences within European Spanish and Spanish America respectively. The different varieties that adopt Spanish America can be generally categorized into Mexican, Caribbean, Andrean Pacific (Cuba, Panama), Plata River (Peru, Colombia), Chilean and Central American (similar to Caribbean).

Despite an array of contrasts within the Spanish dialects, there is one extremely striking feature that allows listeners to tell Spanish speakers apart. This is usually known as the maintenance versus the loss of distinguishing these two phonemes /θ/ and /s/. The contrast between these historical phonemes /θ/ and /s/ is retained in northern and central Spain whereas these two phonemes have merged in Spanish America and a huge part of southern Spain. The maintenance of such a contrast is referred to as distinción in Spanish. Speakers of Spanish America produce the merged phoneme as [s] while on the Canary Islands, speakers produce it as either [s] or [], which is unlike /θ/.

Examples:

cinco “five”
ciudad “city”

<to be continued…>

Pic source: learnspanish4life.co.uk

Loanwords in Japanese (II)

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Besides the influence of trade, foreign loanwords in Japanese have other implications too. By using loanwords, the speaker demonstrates being a cut above the rest in terms of education, social status and exposure. English as a universal language invokes the thought and feeling of one being polished and superior since many Japanese perceive Western culture to be more interesting and prestigiEous. Research findings show that ordinary folks usually adopt foreign words, such as English, in order to indicate a higher social status. Another contributing factor that supports the endorsement of foreign loanwords in Japanese may be the desire for novelty. As foreign loanwords tend to represent fresh and modern ideas and products, using such loanwords will enable one to appear well-informed and ahead of times.

It is not surprising to note that the prevalent foreign loanwords in Japanese can be found in the music industry. The fascination with English in the music scene is conspicuous – the titles of Japanese pop songs are very often in English. Let us take a look at just this particular list of loanwords!

Loanwords Katakana
genre (French) ジャンル janru
ballad (French) バラード barado
Black music ブラックミュジック burakkumyujikku
hip hop ヒップホップ hippuhoppu
jazz ジャズ jazu
pop ポップ poppu
rap ラップ rappu
backup dancer バックダンサー bakkudansa
band バンド bando
director ディレクター direkuta
group グループ gurupu
main vocal メインボーカル meinbokaru
member メンバー menba
songwriter ソングライター songuraita
lyric リリック ririkku
melody メロ mero
rhythm リズム rizumu
title タイトル taitoru
tempo (Italian) テンポ tenpo
collaboration コラボ korabo
maxi single マキシシングル makishishinguru
new single ニューシングル nyushinguru
live ライブ raibu
festival フェス fesu
one man live ワンマンライブ wanmanraibu

Pic source: www.tofugu.com

Loanwords in Japanese (I)

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As native speakers mingle with foreigners and in turn, gain exposure to foreign ideas, objects and expressions, it is not surprising that such neologisms begin their foray into the native speakers’ world. Very often, these neologisms undergo very minimal change and in the case of the Japanese language, they are usually represented by katakana. Let’s take a look at some of the loanwords in Japanese:

Loanword Katakana
piano ピアノ piano
computer コンピュータ konpyuta
album アルバム arubamu
very delicious バリうま bariuma (bari is the intensifier – “very”)
arbeit (German – “work”) アルバイト arubaito (“part-time job”)

As we can observe from the above table, apart from a phonological change, loanwords in Japanese may also diverge from their original meaning. Taking arbeit into account, the meaning has undergone a shift – referring to a part-time job instead. With trade relations reviving between Japan and the foreigners especially after the 19th century, Japan’s contact with the outside world grew and so did its vocabulary. Before the 19th century – probably between the 16th to 17th century, Japan limited trading opportunities to the West due to the infiltration of Catholicism and the persistence of converting the locals into Catholics.

During the 5th century, Chinese loanwords were initially written in kanji (Chinese characters). However, as Japan opened herself up to other foreign traders, other loanwords soon began their foray into Japanese. For example, loanwords would come from Dutch and German (medicine) as well as French and Italian (music and food). Generally, loanwords that do not come from the West are written in katakana. Loanwords are Japanized in Japanese as they end up taking on a Japanese pronunciation feature. Two interesting examples of Japanized loanwords occur when Japanese speakers abbreviate new borrowings or create new expressions (coinage) from foreign loanwords.

Loanword Abbreviated
supermarket スーパー supa
departmental store デパート depato
Loanwords Coinage
salary, man サラリーマン salaryman “employee”

pic source: randomwire.com

Loanwords in English

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Language is subject to change overtime. Modern English, as we call it, is actually a blend of various languages! Even the original Anglo-Saxon language consisted of a smorgasbord of different dialects from the West Germanic tribes living on the North Coast.  Did you notice a loanword that has just occurred? Yes – smorgasbord! English borrowed and anglicized the Swedish word smörgåsbord. That explains the slightly different pronunciation in English.

The West Germanic tribes were made up of the Saxons (Germany and eastern Holland), the Jutes (probably from northern Denmark) as well as the Angles (possibly living along the coast and on islands between Denmark and Holland) and the dialects used amongst the different speakers were mutually intelligible. In other words, they could easily guess or understand one another.  English’s closest relatives can be found right across the waters – Holland and Germany. Below is a list of similar looking and sounding words!

    English

Dutch

German

as

als

als

bread

brood

Brot

cow

koe

Kuh

dream

droom

Traum

hear

hoor

Hören

him

hem

ihm

under

onder

unter

Interestingly, English as we see now is a hodgepodge of dialects which explains the similarities shared by it and the other neighboring varieties. With each new power figure or conqueror, there will be new borrowings from the donor language into the recipient language. For instance, William the conqueror and his Norman supporters invaded England in 1066 and brought together with them Norman French which was regarded as the prestigious mode of communication. Although simple daily communication was carried out in English, it was injected with a huge number of French words.

From then onwards, English has been actively absorbing new vocabulary from various sources. For example, vestiges of French, Latin and Greek can still be found in English. In diplomacy, French represents the language of diplomacy across Europe, Latin acts as the language of the church while Greek is the strongest contributor of words related to philosophy and science. Apart from these European languages, The American Indian languages, Australian Aborigine languages and the languages of Africa and India have also donated a tremendous amount of words that refer to species of plants and animals in the world!

 As the number of English speakers increases in societies made up of non-native English speakers, different English varieties spring up. The colloquial English variety of Singapore, otherwise known as Singlish, intersperses English with local dialects such as Malay, Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. Even though English acts as the main mode of communication in Singapore, foreigners will definitely take time and effort to understand Singlish due to the strong influence of local dialectal loanwords and Chinese sentence final particles (la, lor, leh) borrowed into English.

Language is subject to change overtime. Modern English, as we call it, is actually a blend of various languages! Even the original Anglo-Saxon language consisted of a smorgasbord of different dialects from the West Germanic tribes living on the North Coast.  Did you notice a loanword that has just occurred? Yes – smorgasbord! English borrowed and anglicized the Swedish word smörgåsbord. That explains the slightly different pronunciation in English.

The West Germanic tribes were made up of the Saxons (Germany and eastern Holland), the Jutes (probably from northern Denmark) as well as the Angles (possibly living along the coast and on islands between Denmark and Holland) and the dialects used amongst the different speakers were mutually intelligible. In other words, they could easily guess or understand one another.  English’s closest relatives can be found right across the waters – Holland and Germany. Below is a list of similar looking and sounding words!

English

Dutch

German

as

als

als

bread

brood

Brot

cow

koe

Kuh

dream

droom

Traum

hear

hoor

Hören

him

hem

ihm

under

onder

unter

Interestingly, English as we see now is a hodgepodge of dialects which explains the similarities shared by it and the other neighboring varieties. With each new power figure or conqueror, there will be new borrowings from the donor language into the recipient language. For instance, William the conqueror and his Norman supporters invaded England in 1066 and brought together with them Norman French which was regarded as the prestigious mode of communication. Although simple daily communication was carried out in English, it was injected with a huge number of French words.

From then onwards, English has been actively absorbing new vocabulary from various sources. For example, vestiges of French, Latin and Greek can still be found in English. In diplomacy, French represents the language of diplomacy across Europe, Latin acts as the language of the church while Greek is the strongest contributor of words related to philosophy and science. Apart from these European languages, The American Indian languages, Australian Aborigine languages and the languages of Africa and India have also donated a tremendous amount of words that refer to species of plants and animals in the world!

 As the number of English speakers increases in societies made up of non-native English speakers, different English varieties spring up. The colloquial English variety of Singapore, otherwise known as Singlish, intersperses English with local dialects such as Malay, Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. Even though English acts as the main mode of communication in Singapore, foreigners will definitely take time and effort to understand Singlish due to the strong influence of local dialectal loanwords and Chinese sentence final particles (la, lor, leh) borrowed into English.

pic source: encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com

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