Friday, March 30, 2012

Clock in the Cathedral Lyon France

I simply could not turn down the opportunity to visit a wonderful and dear friend in Lyon; France  i am having trouble with my internet and is  kind enough to let me use her computer/ but  i will be brief. the keyboard is french and letters arent where i think they are ; longer entries  will need to wait until i get back :: but suffice it to say that france is like a dream and everyone has been so nice

today my friend E had to do some library work so i went to the cathedral of st jean;
Inside there was this amazing astronomy clock i was fortunate enough to be there when it chimed
here is a video

day one--- made it okay through the airport in Dusseldorf: so thankful English is an international language qnd thus is on most airport signs: I would never known that AUFJIHIhGRIHDJFQLfjqldjfoqimfienlhkjoijmenqiezjmfifjµ , meant connecting flights; ofcourse i exqggerate; but not by much;
by the way on the tv is what i think is the french version of law and order i have no idea what they are saying, but i just know i love it*
sorry for the typos an d all lowercase: things arent where i expect the, to be on this keyboard and im on vacation
so,e ,ore phtos today from lyon
cathedral of saint jean baptiste

appropriate stained glass for holy week

Thursday, March 15, 2012

LISTENING TO LANGUAGES-PART TWO : What two romance languages sound like to me.nd

I speak intermediate Spanish. I'll try my hand at describing it...
--there's something I associate with immediacy---it SEEMS that Spanish speakers are speaking quickly, though I think this is not always the case. It has the strange quality of being both smooth and a bit choppy at the same time. I like to compare it to being on a boat in a river---there aren't any rapids or whitewater, but you're still flowing along at a steady pace. I always think of dancing when I hear Spanish--like my feet want to move.

Or maybe it's just because of the Gypsy Kings:

I'm also trying to learn French---and I confess the pronunciation has thrown me off quite a bit.

I think French is very elegantly smooth. I honestly think I could be cussed out in French and still think it is a beautiful language. Whereas Spanish makes me want to dance, French has a sound that makes me want to curl up on the couch with a good book and cup of coffee.  If Spanish is a river, then French is a smooth, silky lake. I confess that I didn't really hear a lot of the nasal "n" when I first heard French---and the way they blend words together sounds incredibly poetic, though hard to understand....

If French is poetry, Spanish is rap.

And in case you didn't hear it enough in "Inception"--here is "Non, je ne regrette rein"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

LISTENING TO LANGUAGES-PART ONE : What do languages sound like? I'd like your opinion...and a BONUS feature: Prisencolinensinainciusal!

I'm planning a trip to France to visit a dear friend, and I have suddenly become very obsessed with languages. I'm trying to learn some basic French (I speak intermediate Spanish.) Not really the verb forms or syntax, but the way they sound.

I think as a writer, I'm kind of fascinated by language. I love music, and I think each language has its own special music. But because I am a native English speaker, I cannot hear the way English would sound to someone who does not know English.  Likewise, we have some our own views/ opinions of how other languages sound to us.

Let me say I'm not trying to stereotype anybody, but languages sound different to those who do not speak it.
As pointed out in this clip from "Family Guy"---we do have a perception how another language sounds. Here, I think the point is that Italian is lively, vivacious---and in my personal opinion the perfect vehicle for opera (I felt in love with "La Traviata" and haven't turned back!) Once again, this is not meant to offend.

So I've been in a quest to find out what English sounds like to those who do not speak English as a native. Please, any non-native-English speakers reading this blog, let me know. And do not be offended to say it does not sound pleasant (some phrases I've heard used to describe English are 'dogs barking' and 'music' and sounding like someone is talking with a mouthful of potatoes!)

I also know that accents vary---not just between British English and American English, but in the States, between a Boston accent and a Southern accent (extremes on either end of this are kind of grating)

In my searches I came across this very bizarre---yet impressive---video. This probably gives a good example of what English sounds like to non-native speakers, though I don't think the point of the video was such. It was made in 1972 by an Italian songwriter / comedian, etc. tv host Adriano Celentano. 

I think the point of the video was on communication. I can't look away. Bizarre and yet interesting. Like a cross between Star Trek and Austin Powers. I promise, you'll want to see it twice.

And to those who speak English: the words are all gibberish (well, except for "all right!") . 
To Adriano---you got some smooth moves!

In my next posts, I'll try to describe what other languages sound like to me.
I'd love to hear from non-native speakers what English sounds like to you. And don't be afraid to say it sounds terrible. We know English makes no sense.