(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Sun 15 Oct 2017, 18:45

These aren't necessarily rare, but among some of my favorites are: 為, 耳, 歡, 力, 斤, 本, 或, 門, 子, 的, 阿, 甚 and 走.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Iyionaku » Wed 18 Oct 2017, 10:08

I still don't know many Hanzi characters (I'd guess around 500), but there are some symbols I really like, especially because I could memorize them at first sight because they are just sooo cool and/or obvious. My favorites include 教, 街, 数, 象, 品 and 漂.

And of course, there is still this beauty. You might want to use it. I fell in love with it at first sight (although it's not standardized and not included in Unicode):

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Wed 18 Oct 2017, 17:14

Ah yes, biáng. Love that one. It needs to be added to the font!

I love 齉 personally (nàng, meaning "snuffling, speaking with a blocked nose", sounds like onomatopoeia?), and this one is in unicode.
Last edited by KaiTheHomoSapien on Fri 20 Oct 2017, 05:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » Wed 18 Oct 2017, 20:49

Iyionaku wrote: And of course, there is still this beauty. You might want to use it. I fell in love with it at first sight (although it's not standardized and not included in Unicode):

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Ah yes, biáng. Love that one. It needs to be added to the font!
Is this the one that refers to a type of noodle or something?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Wed 18 Oct 2017, 20:52

Yeah, biáng biáng noodles are a local Shaanxi food and they have this complicated character for it:

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by All4Ɇn » Thu 19 Oct 2017, 21:47

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Yeah, biáng biáng noodles are a local Shaanxi food and they have this complicated character for it
A character that's sadly still not in unicode! A friend of mine speaks fluent Mandarin but probably only knows like 5% of the characters used everyday. Even he knew what the character meant as soon as I showed it to him.
Last edited by All4Ɇn on Sun 22 Oct 2017, 22:08, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 03:11

I asked this question years ago, but I don't think I was able to express myself clearly then.

To start, I'll explain what led me to my question. In English, speakers occasionally appear to make a verb agree with the final noun in the subject phrase (or maybe the final noun before the verb) rather than the head of that phrase. I gave as my example last time "A box of nuts and bolts were found". On its own, this looks like a counter-ish phenomenon, akin to "A lot of nuts and bolts were found".

But I have the sense what I'm talking about can extend well beyond that. Just now, I heard someone in an interview on water quality say, "Groundwater from ash basins are not impacting neighbors' wells." In that sentence, "are" is agreeing with "ash basins" instead of the ostensible head of the subject phrase, "groundwater". And "groundwater" isn't likely to be a counter.

I'll note this construction is normal in everyday speech, but you will get marked off if you use either "A box of nuts and bolts were found" or that "groundwater" sentence in English class. Also, while I'm open to a debate about whether this "proximity-based agreement" is actually a thing in English, I'm mainly using English as a starting point for my main question.

So with that, my question is: Is a thing like "proximity-based agreement" attested in natlangs, and if so, are there any where it is accepted broadly or at least in a prestige variety?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Axiem » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 03:30

While proximity-based agreement is a thing I've heard in English, I also tend to associate it with a lower level of education/intelligence. But I also am a bit of a snobbish bitch when it comes to things like that, though it's an attitude I've been trying to stop having.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 03:48

Dormouse559 wrote:I asked this question years ago, but I don't think I was able to express myself clearly then.

To start, I'll explain what led me to my question. In English, speakers occasionally appear to make a verb agree with the final noun in the subject phrase (or maybe the final noun before the verb) rather than the head of that phrase. I gave as my example last time "A box of nuts and bolts were found". On its own, this looks like a counter-ish phenomenon, akin to "A lot of nuts and bolts were found".

But I have the sense what I'm talking about can extend well beyond that. Just now, I heard someone in an interview on water quality say, "Groundwater from ash basins are not impacting neighbors' wells." In that sentence, "are" is agreeing with "ash basins" instead of the ostensible head of the subject phrase, "groundwater". And "groundwater" isn't likely to be a counter.

I'll note this construction is normal in everyday speech, but you will get marked off if you use either "A box of nuts and bolts were found" or that "groundwater" sentence in English class. Also, while I'm open to a debate about whether this "proximity-based agreement" is actually a thing in English, I'm mainly using English as a starting point for my main question.

So with that, my question is: Is a thing like "proximity-based agreement" attested in natlangs, and if so, are there any where it is accepted broadly or at least in a prestige variety?
My impression is that from a generativist perspective, agreement based purely on proximity like this would not considered to be explainable by grammar rules. They can be explained as production errors, like typos in writing.

There are other things that could be characterized as "proximity agreement" that are at least to some degree standard, but they are sensitive to the syntactic structure of the utterance, unlike the examples you gave. E.g. there's "closest conjunct agreement". Actually, in English, the typical prescriptivist answer about agreement in sentences with disjunct subjects is to make the verb agree with the closer (i.e. in a declarative sentence, latter) one, e.g. "Either the bottle or the cups are empty", "Either the cups or the bottle is empty", although the awkwardness of this means that some people just recommend restructuring.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by GrandPiano » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 04:57

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I love 齉 personally (náng, meaning "snuffling, speaking with a blocked nose", sounds like onomatopoeia?), and this one is in unicode.
Just so you know, it appears that it’s actually nàng, not náng.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 05:38

Dàng. I was trying to be all accurate too. [xP] Good to know, though.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 06:38

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Dàng. I was trying to be all accurate too. [xP] Good to know, though.
A perfectly understandable misreading, IMHO (囊, c'mon); I bet natives do it, too. -- Native speaker squeeze up for the weekend; we'll see how well he fares. [}:D]
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 19:28

Sumelic wrote:
Dormouse559 wrote:I asked this question years ago, but I don't think I was able to express myself clearly then.

To start, I'll explain what led me to my question. In English, speakers occasionally appear to make a verb agree with the final noun in the subject phrase (or maybe the final noun before the verb) rather than the head of that phrase. I gave as my example last time "A box of nuts and bolts were found". On its own, this looks like a counter-ish phenomenon, akin to "A lot of nuts and bolts were found".

But I have the sense what I'm talking about can extend well beyond that. Just now, I heard someone in an interview on water quality say, "Groundwater from ash basins are not impacting neighbors' wells." In that sentence, "are" is agreeing with "ash basins" instead of the ostensible head of the subject phrase, "groundwater". And "groundwater" isn't likely to be a counter.

I'll note this construction is normal in everyday speech, but you will get marked off if you use either "A box of nuts and bolts were found" or that "groundwater" sentence in English class. Also, while I'm open to a debate about whether this "proximity-based agreement" is actually a thing in English, I'm mainly using English as a starting point for my main question.

So with that, my question is: Is a thing like "proximity-based agreement" attested in natlangs, and if so, are there any where it is accepted broadly or at least in a prestige variety?
My impression is that from a generativist perspective[...]
I actually think that this phenomenon was a major argument in some generativ paper book about why person and number agreement are fundamentally different. So I guess there is some way this could be derived in some generative theory.
Edit: IIRC, it was in this book.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Znex » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 22:37

Dormouse559 wrote:I asked this question years ago, but I don't think I was able to express myself clearly then.

To start, I'll explain what led me to my question. In English, speakers occasionally appear to make a verb agree with the final noun in the subject phrase (or maybe the final noun before the verb) rather than the head of that phrase. I gave as my example last time "A box of nuts and bolts were found". On its own, this looks like a counter-ish phenomenon, akin to "A lot of nuts and bolts were found".

But I have the sense what I'm talking about can extend well beyond that. Just now, I heard someone in an interview on water quality say, "Groundwater from ash basins are not impacting neighbors' wells." In that sentence, "are" is agreeing with "ash basins" instead of the ostensible head of the subject phrase, "groundwater". And "groundwater" isn't likely to be a counter.

I'll note this construction is normal in everyday speech, but you will get marked off if you use either "A box of nuts and bolts were found" or that "groundwater" sentence in English class. Also, while I'm open to a debate about whether this "proximity-based agreement" is actually a thing in English, I'm mainly using English as a starting point for my main question.

So with that, my question is: Is a thing like "proximity-based agreement" attested in natlangs, and if so, are there any where it is accepted broadly or at least in a prestige variety?
Case attraction happened pretty commonly in Ancient Greek, where words bore the same case as the head noun as opposed to what would be technically expected.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Fri 20 Oct 2017, 22:41

Yeah it did remind me of case attraction, which happens in Latin too. It's basically "number attraction" in English.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » Sat 21 Oct 2017, 06:54

Axiem wrote:While proximity-based agreement is a thing I've heard in English, I also tend to associate it with a lower level of education/intelligence. But I also am a bit of a snobbish bitch when it comes to things like that, though it's an attitude I've been trying to stop having.
For me, it always just sounded like the person had lost track of the sentence part way through. But for a while, I've had the sneaking suspicion it's not necessarily an error. At least, it didn't make complete sense to automatically write it off. Don't want to miss a fun conlang idea if I can help it.

Sumelic wrote:My impression is that from a generativist perspective, agreement based purely on proximity like this would not considered to be explainable by grammar rules. They can be explained as production errors, like typos in writing.

There are other things that could be characterized as "proximity agreement" that are at least to some degree standard, but they are sensitive to the syntactic structure of the utterance, unlike the examples you gave. E.g. there's "closest conjunct agreement". Actually, in English, the typical prescriptivist answer about agreement in sentences with disjunct subjects is to make the verb agree with the closer (i.e. in a declarative sentence, latter) one, e.g. "Either the bottle or the cups are empty", "Either the cups or the bottle is empty", although the awkwardness of this means that some people just recommend restructuring.
Creyeditor wrote:I actually think that this phenomenon was a major argument in some generativ paper book about why person and number agreement are fundamentally different. So I guess there is some way this could be derived in some generative theory.
Edit: IIRC, it was in this book.
I've got to admit I haven't read up much on linguistic theory, but this does seem like something to look into.

The agreement with disjunct subjects is something I hadn't thought about. And it's funny because, as you point out, in regular speech, most people would say the plural sounds better in both sentences.

Znex wrote:Case attraction happened pretty commonly in Ancient Greek, where words bore the same case as the head noun as opposed to what would be technically expected.
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Yeah it did remind me of case attraction, which happens in Latin too. It's basically "number attraction" in English.
Oh, neat, I hadn't heard of that. I did a quick Google search, and this article also talks about "inverse attraction", where the antecedent of a relative pronoun agrees with the pronoun.

It looks like Wikipedia has a page on attraction, both in conjugation and case. But it's light on information.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Sat 21 Oct 2017, 07:39

Lao Kou wrote:
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I love 齉 personally (náng, meaning "snuffling, speaking with a blocked nose", sounds like onomatopoeia?), and this one is in unicode.
Just so you know, it appears that it’s actually nàng, not náng.
Dàng. I was trying to be all accurate too. [xP] Good to know, though.
A perfectly understandable misreading, IMHO (囊, c'mon); I bet natives do it, too. -- Native speaker squeeze up for the weekend; we'll see how well he fares. [}:D]
Yep, he read it náng [>:)] .
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Iyionaku » Sun 22 Oct 2017, 11:48

Lao Kou wrote:
Lao Kou wrote:
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I love 齉 personally (náng, meaning "snuffling, speaking with a blocked nose", sounds like onomatopoeia?), and this one is in unicode.
Just so you know, it appears that it’s actually nàng, not náng.
Dàng. I was trying to be all accurate too. [xP] Good to know, though.
A perfectly understandable misreading, IMHO (囊, c'mon); I bet natives do it, too. -- Native speaker squeeze up for the weekend; we'll see how well he fares. [}:D]
Yep, he read it náng [>:)] .
I will create a new question out of this thread: How common is it to confuse tones for native speakers? Does it occur regularly with rare characters?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Sun 22 Oct 2017, 13:38

Iyionaku wrote:I will create a new question out of this thread: How common is it to confuse tones for native speakers? Does it occur regularly with rare characters?
I don't know how common it is, and I can only speak anecdotally, but I'd guess as it's not only about taking a stab at a character you don't know and getting the tone wrong (of which 齉 is a good example -- either GrandPiano is a master at el obscuro characters about nasal congestion, or he went running to the dictionary like the rest of us and found out it was actually fourth tone), but also about taking a stab at a character you don't know and getting the phonetic component wrong altogether (of which my surname 彄 is an example -- constantly, but understandably misread qū at first blush to the uninitiated rather than kōu.), it's pretty dàng common.

And it needn't be the rare ones. One of my personal peeves in Taiwan was being regularly corrected about 豆豉 (which in confusion with 鼓 was read as dòugǔ (fermented soy beans that are delicious but look like rabbit turds). So sorry, but you're wrong, people. We'll allow dòuchǐ, maybe dòushì in a pinch (Cantonese has 豉油 shìyóu for "soy sauce"), but gǔ? An everyday item, hardly rare. That was a losing battle on the renegade province, so I just let it go, but my point is: Long writing history, lots of characters, hellish dialect variations, cut the natives and yourself a break.

I suspect if my boyfriend stumbled upon this in a text (齉鼻子), he'd divine the meaning, probably misread it in his head, and not worry about it until the next time it occurred somewhere else. Only until one of those language TV programs broadcasts where some smart-alecky professor condescendingly explains how it should be read should we enlighten ourselves with this. If you can remember 齉, more power to you. (Since we've talked about it rather in a way that may reinforce memory, maybe I have a chance -- check me next March :roll: )
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by kiwikami » Sun 22 Oct 2017, 19:08

A quick question about English questions and punctuation, because I've never been certain and it just came up in an email I was writing:

How does one punctuate a sentence that has one clause that is a question, and another clause that adds clarification but is not part of the question proper? I mean cases like "Where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him(?)".

Where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him. <--- Feels most natural, but the lack of a question mark anywhere near the actual question makes speaking it aloud a bit awkward, as I find myself wavering on the proper intonation. That is, I know what the intonation should be, but there's something about the way this is written that seems to suggest it is said flatly rather than as it actually is.
Where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him? <--- This suggests that the second clause has a question intonation, which is incorrect. This feels much worse than the above, but the above is also unsatisfying. Typically I avoid writing these kinds of sentences and just separate them (Where is Gandalf? (For) I much desire to speak with him.); is this the only workaround or is their some standardized agreement on how to do this?
Edit: Substituted a string instrument for a French interjection.
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