Delay

I’ve been laid out for the past week with a massively bad cold. It doesn’t help that I got the cold the day I started a new job and a week after starting grad school.

In short, with all that plus Christmas, Part II of Dative is going to be delayed for about a week. Hopefully not more. I’ve got food to cook and gifts to wrap, and oh yeah, those pesky reading assignments and job duties. Should be back on an even keel shortly.

Now if only this damn cough would go away..

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8 Responses to Delay

  1. Eric says:

    Labdien! I have a question. I’ve noticed in my Latvian recordings that Latvians tend to drop final /i/s such as Ļoti patīkami which one would expect to be pronounced (in very rough X-SAMPA) [ljoati pati:kami] but rather I hear [ljoat pati:kamI] or in really fast speech almost [ljoat pati:kam]. The same goes for Mani sauc which one would expect to be [mani saUts] but I always hear [man saUts].

    • Cori Rozentāle says:

      Hi Eric,

      This does seem to happen and not just with i endings! But, they aren’t actually dropping the vowels. When I listen to my husband, sometimes I have to ask him to speak more slowly because he seems to almost swallow the endings of some words. If I listen very carefully, I can hear that he *is* saying them, but it is very faint — and if I try dropping them entirely, he catches it every single time. It seems to be most problematic when listening to recordings or telephone conversations, so I think it also may have something to do with recorded speech.

      So, in short.. Follow the Latvian rule of “every letter is always pronounced” – and remember that speaking quickly can result in endings getting short shrift! The more you listen, the better you will become at hearing those nearly-dropped endings; the more you speak, the better you will get at nearly dropping them like a native. :)

  2. Eric says:

    Oh, I forgot to add the question.

    So is this i-dropping common? Are there rules for it?

  3. Eric says:

    Liels paldies for the response! I also happened upon an academic study of Latvian final vowels which gave some criteria on when to drop them and what not. Perhaps most interesting of all was the finding that (founded in a linear relationship between distance of first syllable stress from final vowel and dropping of final vowel), that for Latvian speakers, prosody is more important than grammar. In other words, Latvian’s for the sake of prosodic rhythm in speech will drop inflectional endings and create ambiguity. I found this personally fascinating!

    • Cori Rozentāle says:

      Wow, interesting! I bet that they will do that in poetry and song particularly in order to achieve the desired effect. :) Would you post the link?

  4. Eric says:

    Sure! http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=2712964&jid=LVC&volumeId=7&issueId=01&aid=2712956

    Do you know if Latvians shorten final long vowels? For example, the locative relies almost exclusively off of a distinction in long vowels and if Latvians shortened final long vowels it would seem problematic to distinguish the locative.

    • David Clarke says:

      Almost every sound appears to be shorter when spoken by native Latvians because of the speed of speech. This means the difference in length between a vowel sound and the same vowel with a garumzime is very subtle.

    • Cori Rozentāle says:

      Eric,

      Exactly as David said. Sometimes Latvians’ rapid-fire speech makes it very difficult for beginners to hear the macrons, but believe me, the changing lengths are there and very obvious to their ears. Focus on properly pronouncing every letter, as you gain speed and fluency, you’ll naturally find the balance of short and long as they do.

      My husband tells me that throughout school, he had to do what are called ‘diktāts’ which is basically taking dictation. Students are expected to correctly write what the teacher says or reads and it can be a few pages in length at the higher levels. This helps them “train” their ears (as well as spelling and grammar comprehension, etc.). I occasionally do this myself, and have found it *really* helps me pick up the subtle changes in length. Try listening to some recordings for which you have transcriptions and writing what you hear, I bet it will help you too.

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