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Thread: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

  1. #41

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    This is what I meant whole time. Now we can finally go back to the original question, why nobody before Vuk enlist this rule, letter for a sound.
    Originally everybody had this 1 letter - 1 sound correspondence.

    When 1000 years ago the Serbian language was first put in writing after the Glagolitic alphabet had been invented, it was following the rule "one letter for one sound".

    But in 1,000 years the sounds change. So everybody had the choice to change the spelling and risk to make old texts unreadable or to keep the spelling and have the writing differ from the speech.

    Most of the time the choice was made to keep as much as possible from the original spelling. This is why English has today this "strange" spelling. 400 or 500 years ago English probably would have conformed to Vuk's ideas.

    Most of the Western European languages "froze" their spellings ~ 400 years ago, when thanks to the printing press, books became widely available.

    400 years ago is 200 years after the printing press was invented in Europe. It took 200 years to make the printing press widespread enough. Then the production capacity in Western Europe became so large around 1600 that the books written with the 1600 spelling were too many to discard.

    In 1600s people still had books from the mid 1400s so they knew that books last for a long time. And they also knew, by reading those books from the mid 1400s that the spelling changes, because the speech changes.

    Therefore after the 1600s the literate people were faced with a dilemma: to reprint the huge amount of books already existing every time the speech changed or to freeze the spelling as it was in the 1600s.

    Because the human brain has no problems with learning which spoken words are associated with which written symbols, it was decided to freeze the spelling and let the brain do the work.

    After all, spelling doesn't even exist in Chinese, and still the Chinese learn how to read and write.

    The advantage of freezing the spelling is the [adult] human brain gains access to a huge "database" of written knowledge spanning over 400 years or more.

    For children learning English it might be difficult initially to write "concussion" instead of "konkushion" but by the time those children become adults, they have got used to the English spelling.

    "One letter for one sound" is only useful for about 100 - 200 years. After that the sounds change and the words must be spelled differently. "Kao" becomes "ko" and many other words change in a similar way.

    So if in 2114 the spelling changes in order to write "ko" instead of "kao" then the texts from 2014 might become hard to read for the people living in 2114.

    This is why most of the other languages decided not to imitate Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic: they want their books from 1600 to be still readable in 2114. Or in 5000.
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  2. #42
    Col. Tartleton's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    English was designed to be written with runes, not letters. There are 29 distinct runes, yet we approximate them with 26 letters, some of which repeat sounds. Not to mention the expansion of the sounds in the language over time. 12 Vowels is better than 6.
    Last edited by Col. Tartleton; May 07, 2014 at 09:45 AM.
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    5 vowel language speaker here. Why are 12 vowels better than 6?

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    Serbian language is unique for being only language with orthography of the written language match that of the spoken language. Or as Johann Christoph Adelung said and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić made the first rule of Serbian:"Write as you speak and read as it is written".
    Vuk is famous for reforming Serbian language by this principle in the first half of 19th century.
    Mu question is how the hell nobody before him in the history of mankind didn't get the same idea?
    Serbian uses the letter ц though? Couldn't that be replaced with тc?

    And I may be wrong, but afaik there are several languages which match one letter to one sound perfectly: Turkish, Finnish, Basque, Vietnamese...
    A new mobile phone tower went up in a town in the USA, and the local newspaper asked a number of people what they thought of it. Some said they noticed their cellphone reception was better. Some said they noticed the tower was affecting their health.

    A local administrator was asked to comment. He nodded sagely, and said simply: "Wow. And think about how much more pronounced these effects will be once the tower is actually operational."

  5. #45

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    5 vowel language speaker here. Why are 12 vowels better than 6?
    12 vowels might be necessary if there are 12 distinct sounds corresponding to them.

    For instance, most of the Romance languages inherited the vowels a, e, i, o, u from Latin. In addition to those, Romanian has two more, thanks to the Slavic influences. They are rendered in writing with ă, â and î.

    Why 3 letters for 2 vowels? For backward compatibility with Latin. â and î sound identical, but they correspond to sounds which were initially a and i in Latin. ă, as you might expect by now, is a Slavic-sounding wovel which replaced the a in the original Latin word.

    So of course it is silly to say "12 vowels are better than 6" or "12 vowels are worse than 6" - it depends on if there are 12 distinct vowels or not in that particular language and on if it was decided to keep some sort of "backard compatibility" or not (like there might be actually 9 vowels, but an additional 3 letters are used for backward compatibility)
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  6. #46
    NikeBG's Avatar Sampsis
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    100 years ago people wrote "kakvo" and pronounced "kakvo". Today they keep writing "kakvo" but most of them say "kvo". In 2014 they might say "ko" (the word in Polish, another Slavic language, is "co", so evolving towards a two-letters form is plausible).
    Actually, we already have the "ko" form as well (one of last year's most popular memes here was exactly "ko? ne!"). Though I should point out these are still highly informal forms of the word and thus not used in official occasions or by well-educated people etc.

    As to the point, my example was indeed not very spot on, since it showed only a change of form (of words). So, if a change, or rather a difference of sound is the "problem", then the answer isn't all that difficult either: Human beings are capable of a whole lot of sounds, in different modulations (not sure if that's the right word). As I previously mentioned, in Bulgarian Cyrillic (as well as Russian Cyrillic, I think) we have both a "long I" (i.e. И) and a "short I" (i.e. Й) - so we can have the same sound, but with a different length. There could also be a difference in "strength" - hence why we in Bulgarian have only the letter Ч for "ch", while in Serbian you also have two (or was it three) more, added by Karadzic. It's more or less the same sound, but with some differences in "hardness". In that regard, we can also name other similar differences - hard Rs and soft Rs, hard Ls and soft Ls etc. Also, in some BG dialects we (they) have what we call "a meaking speech", so f.e. instead of "meko" (soft) they say something like "myeko" (though not exactly, hence why they still mostly use the official "meko" spelling, since neither "meko", nor "myeko" fully reflect the difference). Another, somewhat similar example, is again with something familiar to both of us - medieval (South-)Cyrillic, where they had special letters like the Great Yus (preserved as a letter here until the 1940s reform, although it had completely lost its nasal pronounciation long before that), which is supposedly like an Ъ, but in medieval times supposedly sounded like "On". In other words - a sound, which is hard to be related through a different letter and would indeed deserve its own.
    So we come to the point - considering there are so many sounds that we, humans, can make, and many of them could be considered as deserving their own letter, if we give a letter to each of them, we'd end up with dozens or even hundreds (if not even thousands, especially if we add those ' sounds of the African Bushmen etc) different letters, which would just be far too burdensome to be of any good use.

    Also, in regards to the Karadzica being most "accurate", I can (in a friendly manner) remind you that there are still sounds you're pronouncing, distinct sounds, which you are not at all writing down. F.e., when you want to write "Serbian" in Serbian, you write it as "Srpski", and in this comparison with English, you can see how you drop the English E. And rightfully so, because you don't call yourselves "Серби". The "problem" is that neither you, nor the Latin alphabet have a letter for that specific sound between the S and the R (or between the R and the P), although it's a sound used by virtually all peoples around the world. For English speakers, that's the sound between the P and the L in "apple", i.e. the Bulgarian-Cyrillic Ъ (the Turks also have a letter for it - an "i" without a dot; and I think the Romanian Latin also has a letter for it - one of the As with a diacritic mark on top, which Dromikaites mentioned). So, there you go - there isn't a perfect alphabet and there can't be, at least without overburdening it.

  7. #47

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Copperknickers II View Post
    Serbian uses the letter ц though? Couldn't that be replaced with тc?

    And I may be wrong, but afaik there are several languages which match one letter to one sound perfectly: Turkish, Finnish, Basque, Vietnamese...
    Why would we replace it with two letters, only making things more complex. I am not sure about that, give us example.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    Originally everybody had this 1 letter - 1 sound correspondence.

    When 1000 years ago the Serbian language was first put in writing after the Glagolitic alphabet had been invented, it was following the rule "one letter for one sound".
    I am still pretty sure you don't understand me. Like above give us example of everybody using rule write as you speak and read as it is written. But I highly doubt you can, because there was none before Vuk Stefanović Karadžić . Not Glagolitic alphabet, not Turkish, Finnish , Basque nor Vietnamese.
    George Bernard Shaw wanted to create simple ,phonetic English using Serbian Cyrillic model. He considered Serbian Cyrillic the most perfect writing system in the World and only complete and logical system . In his testament he left portion of his wealth to fund the creation of the new phonemic alphabet for the English language.
    Last edited by Petrucci; May 09, 2014 at 07:45 PM.

  8. #48

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    I am still pretty sure you don't understand me. Like above give us example of everybody using rule write as you speak and read as it is written. But I highly doubt you can, because there was none before Vuk Stefanović Karadžić . Not Glagolitic alphabet, not Turkish, Finnish , Basque nor Vietnamese.
    First of all, since you didn't live 1000 years ago you can't tell me that the Glagolitic didn't follow the 1 letter - 1 sound rule.

    On the other hand we have indirect evidence that was quite likely the case because the Cyrillic alphabet was created by adding special letters to the Greek one, new letters necessary for the sounds which didn't exist in Greek but which were needed by the Slavic languages of that time.

    Therefore it is a reasonable assumption that the Glagolitic alphabet also covered the sounds of that time.

    Also read carefully the post of NikeBG - many Cyrillic letters were eliminated because the sounds they represented had disappeared during the 1200 years since they were first created.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    George Bernard Shaw wanted to create simple ,phonetic English using Serbian Cyrillic model. He considered Serbian Cyrillic the most perfect writing system in the World and only complete and logical system . In his testament he left portion of his wealth to fund the creation of the new phonemic alphabet for the English language.
    George Bernard Shaw had bad ideas like everybody else.

    There is no special advantage to "one letter one sound" rule. Just look at China - they have 5000 years of using a writing system which has no connection to the speaking.
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  9. #49
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    Why would we replace it with two letters, only making things more complex. I am not sure about that, give us example.
    Because there is no point in having that letter, since afaik it represents the sound 'ts'. That is not 'one letter, one sound'. Its 'one letter, two sounds'. Phonetically, there's no need for a separate character for it. The same goes for џ and ч. They're both one letter for two sounds (dzh and tsh, to use the English transliteration).

    I am still pretty sure you don't understand me. Like above give us example of everybody using rule write as you speak and read as it is written. But I highly doubt you can, because there was none before Vuk Stefanović Karadžić . Not Glagolitic alphabet, not Turkish, Finnish , Basque nor Vietnamese.
    And what is wrong with any of those? Turkish and Basque I can't speak for with certainty, but I know for a fact that written Finnish corresponds exactly with what is spoken. There are no extraneous letters or pronounciation irregularities.
    A new mobile phone tower went up in a town in the USA, and the local newspaper asked a number of people what they thought of it. Some said they noticed their cellphone reception was better. Some said they noticed the tower was affecting their health.

    A local administrator was asked to comment. He nodded sagely, and said simply: "Wow. And think about how much more pronounced these effects will be once the tower is actually operational."

  10. #50

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    First of all, since you didn't live 1000 years ago you can't tell me that the Glagolitic didn't follow the 1 letter - 1 sound rule.

    On the other hand we have indirect evidence that was quite likely the case because the Cyrillic alphabet was created by adding special letters to the Greek one, new letters necessary for the sounds which didn't exist in Greek but which were needed by the Slavic languages of that time.

    Therefore it is a reasonable assumption that the Glagolitic alphabet also covered the sounds of that time.

    Also read carefully the post of NikeBG - many Cyrillic letters were eliminated because the sounds they represented had disappeared during the 1200 years since they were first created.

    George Bernard Shaw had bad ideas like everybody else.

    There is no special advantage to "one letter one sound" rule. Just look at China - they have 5000 years of using a writing system which has no connection to the speaking.
    Glagolitic letters had names. What else evident do you need? Az Buky , Vedi..
    In NikeBG post it's not the sound that disappeared but evolution of language and shortening of words.
    @Shaw Of course there is ,it's the only logical and complete system.
    @Chinese And look where that got them.

  11. #51

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    Glagolitic letters had names. What else evident do you need? Az Buky , Vedi..
    Never get into a debate if you have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously.

    Hint: in many languages the letters "have names". For instance the first letter of the Greek alphabet is called "alpha" but represents the sound normally rendered by a in most languages.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    In NikeBG post it's not the sound that disappeared but evolution of language and shortening of words.
    My other advice (beside "know what you are talking about") is "read carefully what other people write". NikeBG gave the example of the "Great Yus", which disappeared because the sound it used to spell disappeared from the language.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    @Shaw Of course there is ,it's the only logical and complete system.
    Go to any Mongolian web page and try to read it. Do you understand it? Still, it's written in Cyrillics. So how come you don't understand it!?!

    Seriously now - the ability to understand a text depends on knowing the language, not the alphabet. This is why you may be able to read out loud a page written in Mongolian, but you won't have any clue about its content.

    Likewise, I can easily read a page in Turkish or Gaelic but that doesn't mean I can also understand what it says.

    What you believe to be a "major advantage" is actually insignificant for any practical purposes. And even Bernard Shaw wrote his plays in English, with the spelling he seemed to hate.

    Why didn't he use a "rational" spelling instead?

    Because he wanted people to be able to understand what he had written. If people can understand, that is all that matters. This is why Chinese writing still exists: a person speaking Mandarin cannot talk to a person speaking Cantonese but they can communicate in writing easily.

    Technically you could learn the Chinese writing and communicate in writing with somebody speaking Cantonese or Mandarin without also learning to speak any to those languages.

    If China would have conquered Europe in the 1500s (say by landing a fleet similar to that of Zheng He's in Portugal or in Egypt and conquering everything starting from there) then each European language would have still existed today. A Swede would still not be able to talk to a Serb, but they would be reading the same newspaper, written in Chinese.

    Communicating in writing and communicating in speech are two very distinct things. They even use very distinct parts of the brain. So "improvements" in writing do not help much.

    It even turns out it is faster to learn a language by speaking it without knowing how to write it. Only after we master the spoken language it is safe to learn how to write in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    @Chinese And look where that got them.
    Could you explain what is wrong with the Chinese writing? Other that foreigners need to make the same effort to learn it as the locals do?
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  12. #52
    NikeBG's Avatar Sampsis
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Copperknickers II View Post
    Because there is no point in having that letter, since afaik it represents the sound 'ts'. That is not 'one letter, one sound'. Its 'one letter, two sounds'.
    I'd have to disagree with this. There is a difference between TS/ТС and Ц, namely in the length of the "compound" sounds. I.e., Ц represents a rapid succession between a very short T and very short S (actually, when I pronounce TS and Ц, my tongue is at different positions, with there being a movement of it in the TS, while virtually no movement in Ц), whereas TS denotes a combination of a long, full T, followed by a full S. Just like there's a difference between AE and Ć, for example (even though Ć is rarely used in English nowadays).
    Now, of course, that difference is hardly noticeable today, especially by speakers of a language which doesn't make that difference, but then again - that's why those languages don't have that letter, while ours does. And hence why, f.e., the official transliteration of Ц (at least in my country) to the Latin alphabet is as the simple TS indeed, even if it's not perfectly correct - Latin simply has nothing better to offer (the worst is the usual transliteration of the aforementioned Ъ to A or U, which represent quite different "sounds").

    And, indeed, Cyrillic had been from the start following this "one letter, one sound" "rule", as it was designed to fit the language it was created for, long before Vuk Karadzic had to update it to reflect the changes of modern Serbian.
    Last edited by NikeBG; May 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM.

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by NikeBG View Post
    I'd have to disagree with this. There is a difference between TS/ТС and Ц, namely in the length of the "compound" sounds. I.e., Ц represents a rapid succession between a very short T and very short S (actually, when I pronounce TS and Ц, my tongue is at different positions, with there being a movement of it in the TS, while virtually no movement in Ц), whereas TS denotes a combination of a long, full T, followed by a full S. Just like there's a difference between AE and Ć, for example (even though Ć is rarely used in English nowadays).

    Now, of course, that difference is hardly noticeable today, especially by speakers of a language which doesn't make that difference, but then again - that's why those languages don't have that letter, while ours does. And hence why, f.e., the official transliteration of Ц (at least in my country) to the Latin alphabet is as the simple TS indeed, even if it's not perfectly correct - Latin simply has nothing better to offer (the worst is the usual transliteration of the aforementioned Ъ to A or U, which represent quite different "sounds").
    That doesn't really answer my point: its still two separate sounds. And still, its an inefficient system, because there are plenty of letters in Serbian that sound different depending on where they are in the word. If you want a truly efficient system for language notation, it should be written in IPA. And my previous point still stands: there are plenty of languages with a similar correlation between letter and sound as in Serbian, e.g. Finnish.
    Last edited by Copperknickers II; May 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM.
    A new mobile phone tower went up in a town in the USA, and the local newspaper asked a number of people what they thought of it. Some said they noticed their cellphone reception was better. Some said they noticed the tower was affecting their health.

    A local administrator was asked to comment. He nodded sagely, and said simply: "Wow. And think about how much more pronounced these effects will be once the tower is actually operational."

  14. #54

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Copperknickers II View Post
    That doesn't really answer my point: its still two separate sounds.
    No, it's a single sound. I speak Bulgarian and Russian, and I can confirm the sound of Ц is different than ts. Even in my native language, Romanian, that sound exists and is also rendered by a single special letter, ţ (a t with a comma underneath).

    When they chose ţ to look like t the choice was dictated by the fact in Latin the word was spelled with a single t (not with a ts). What was t in Latin became sometimes ţ in Romanian, under the influence of the Slavic languages spoken by the Slavic populations assimilated by the Romanians.

    Likewise, in Romanian (and in Turkish) there is a single letter ş, which would correspond to the English sh (as in "English" or "shoe"). That sound is a single sound, not a s+h, and was also adopted from the language of the Slavic settlers (the modern Slavs use Ш when writing it in the Cyrillic alphabet).

    In Latin the words which now have ş used to be written with s, so it would have been a worse choice to write "sh" - first because the sound is nothing like a "s" followed by a "h" and then because in Latin the word was written with s, not with sh.
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  15. #55

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    Never get into a debate if you have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously.

    Hint: in many languages the letters "have names". For instance the first letter of the Greek alphabet is called "alpha" but represents the sound normally rendered by a in most languages.

    My other advice (beside "know what you are talking about") is "read carefully what other people write". NikeBG gave the example of the "Great Yus", which disappeared because the sound it used to spell disappeared from the language.
    I am convinced one letter one sound rule is important and that nobody before Vuk enlisted it. Your arguments about freezing language in times don't make much sense to me and this rule is still the only logical way to connect sounds with letters.
    @ NikeBg post I was referring to kao => ko, although I admit I overlooked great yus example.
    First of all, since you didn't live 1000 years ago you can't tell me that the Glagolitic didn't follow the 1 letter - 1 sound rule.
    Like you can't tell me they did. In the matter of fact I highly doubt you can't confirm any of those language created/frozen 400 years ago followed Vuk's rule.

    Go to any Mongolian web page and try to read it. Do you understand it? Still, it's written in Cyrillics. So how come you don't understand it!?!

    Seriously now - the ability to understand a text depends on knowing the language, not the alphabet. This is why you may be able to read out loud a page written in Mongolian, but you won't have any clue about its content.

    Likewise, I can easily read a page in Turkish or Gaelic but that doesn't mean I can also understand what it says.

    What you believe to be a "major advantage" is actually insignificant for any practical purposes. And even Bernard Shaw wrote his plays in English, with the spelling he seemed to hate.

    Why didn't he use a "rational" spelling instead?

    Because he wanted people to be able to understand what he had written. If people can understand, that is all that matters. This is why Chinese writing still exists: a person speaking Mandarin cannot talk to a person speaking Cantonese but they can communicate in writing easily.

    Technically you could learn the Chinese writing and communicate in writing with somebody speaking Cantonese or Mandarin without also learning to speak any to those languages.

    If China would have conquered Europe in the 1500s (say by landing a fleet similar to that of Zheng He's in Portugal or in Egypt and conquering everything starting from there) then each European language would have still existed today. A Swede would still not be able to talk to a Serb, but they would be reading the same newspaper, written in Chinese.

    Communicating in writing and communicating in speech are two very distinct things. They even use very distinct parts of the brain. So "improvements" in writing do not help much.

    It even turns out it is faster to learn a language by speaking it without knowing how to write it. Only after we master the spoken language it is safe to learn how to write in it.

    Could you explain what is wrong with the Chinese writing? Other that foreigners need to make the same effort to learn it as the locals do?
    I never said being able to read is equal to understanding one language. But it's no brainer you will learn language better and quicker if it follows Vuk's rule.
    Chinese is good example. How many different symbols does Chinese writing system have? 40 000? Not only their symbols are many, but they are also very difficult to write and awfully remind on each other. If people have to learn even 5 000 symbols to be able to communicate well ,there is big chance he will often mix letters.
    For example here's something I found about Chinese:
    The character 男 is composed of the parts 田 (field) and 力 (power). So 男 means "one who works the field", or in other words, "man" or "male
    Does it make any sense to you?
    Of course it doesn't, If it does Chinese government wouldn't try to simplify or romanize or cyrillize their language.
    Last edited by Petrucci; June 01, 2014 at 07:11 AM.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    No, it's a single sound. I speak Bulgarian and Russian, and I can confirm the sound of Ц is different than ts.
    Well, O.K., I'll concede the point that it clearly requires its own letter (technically its rendered as two sounds in IPA, but is sometimes treated as one consonant). But the point still stands about Ч. It's two sounds, it should be written ТШ.
    Last edited by Copperknickers II; June 02, 2014 at 07:37 AM.
    A new mobile phone tower went up in a town in the USA, and the local newspaper asked a number of people what they thought of it. Some said they noticed their cellphone reception was better. Some said they noticed the tower was affecting their health.

    A local administrator was asked to comment. He nodded sagely, and said simply: "Wow. And think about how much more pronounced these effects will be once the tower is actually operational."

  17. #57

    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post

    I am convinced one letter one sound rule is important and that nobody before Vuk enlisted it. Your arguments about freezing language in times don't make much sense to me and this rule is still the only logical way to connect sounds with letters.

    Directly connecting sounds with letters is something of very little value. The truly valuable item is the information expressed in written or spoken words.

    And this is why the majority of the Europeans have decided to "freeze" the spelling: the information contained in the books is much more important than the letter-sound correspondence.

    The Serbs had relatively little valuable information stored in their books at the time of Vuk's reform, because:

    1) There wasn't much accumulated science nor literature in early 19th century Serbia;

    2) There weren't many printed books in Serbian either.

    As such, changing the spelling didn't pose much of a risk of losing valuable stored information.

    The French, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, etc had a lot of information stored in their books already by the 17th century, so they preferred continue to be able to access it. So they froze the spelling as it was then.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    Like you can't tell me they did. In the matter of fact I highly doubt you can't confirm any of those language created/frozen 400 years ago followed Vuk's rule.
    Actually we can bet they did. When Cyril and Methodius created the Cyrillic alphabet what did they do?

    They took the Greek alphabet and then added to it more letters, to account for the sounds which didn't exist in Greek.

    Could they have done something else? Yes, they could have used combinations of the existing Greek letters, like the Greeks do even today. For instance the Greeks use MP to account for the sound B. MPAMPARA reads BARBARA in Greek.

    But instead of using MP ~ B type of tricks, they created new letters. This shows that quite likely 1,000 years ago the Serbian language was following Vuk's rules. Then some sounds disappeared, like the Great Yus. Others changed. 1,000 years is a very long time for a language.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    I never said being able to read is equal to understanding one language. But it's no brainer you will learn language better and quicker if it follows Vuk's rule.
    All the normal human beings learn their language perfectly by the age of 4. That is 2 - 3 years before they start learning how to write it.

    Learning a language has nothing to do with being able to write or read in that language. Actually it seems that it is easier to learn a foreign language if you do not learn how to read and write it until you master its spoken form.

    We may get frustrated with the spelling of a foreign language because [unfortunately] most of the languages are taught with a lot of writing involved. But the purpose of writing is to keep a permanent record of some piece of knowledge, not to help foreigners learn a second language easily.

    Those who really need access to that stored knowledge learn the spelling. Just like the Chinese do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrucci View Post
    Chinese is good example. How many different symbols does Chinese writing system have? 40 000? Not only their symbols are many, but they are also very difficult to write and awfully remind on each other. If people have to learn even 5 000 symbols to be able to communicate well ,there is big chance he will often mix letters.
    For example here's something I found about Chinese:
    The character 男 is composed of the parts 田 (field) and 力 (power). So 男 means "one who works the field", or in other words, "man" or "male
    Does it make any sense to you?
    Of course it doesn't, If it does Chinese government wouldn't try to simplify or romanize or cyrillize their language.
    The Chinese government never pushed the Pinyin too enthusiastically because it has multiple disadvantages which greatly outweigh the advantages.

    For example 男 would be understood as "man" by a Mandarin speaker, by an Uighur speaker, by a Cantonese speaker, etc. Using Pinyin for each of those languages would result in having a different set of letters. 男 is spelled "man" in "Pinyin English", "hombre" in "Pinyin Spanish", "homme" in "Pinyin French", "om" in "Pinyin Romanian" and "čovjek" in "Pinyin Serbian".

    So an Uighur speaker won't be able to communicate in writing with a Cantonese speaker anymore unless they communicate in a language foreign to both of them (Mandarin), like we're doing now using English.

    However by using the Chinese writing, the Uighur and the Cantonese can communicate without ever learning Mandarin. And they would have access to an immense amount of knowledge stored in writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Copperknickers II View Post
    Well, O.K., I'll concede the point that it clearly requires its own letter (technically its rendered as two sounds in IPA, but is sometimes treated as one consonant). But the point still stands about Ч. It's two sounds, it should be written ТШ.
    Nope, ТШ sounds very different than Ч.

    IPA, in spite of all the effort put in creating it is far from being "one sound - one letter". The best way to make judgments about how to render the sounds of a language is to speak that language.

    In Romanian for instance we have a vowel "â" derived from "a" which the English speakers tend to pronounce like "w" from "what". It takes about 3 months of constant practice till they pronounce it properly.

    "Where's the problem?", you may ask.

    Well, there is a problem when they intend to ask for a lemon (Romanian "Vreau o lămâie") and what they are actually heard saying is they volunteer to perform a blow job ("Vreau o la muie").

    Speakers of Russian or Bulgarian never experience this problem because they have the same sound in their language (rendered by the letter "ы" in the Cyrillic alphabet).

    There is no way to circumvent speaking a language. IPA notation comes close, but it is never identical to the actual sounds.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB MareNostrum

  18. #58
    NikeBG's Avatar Sampsis
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by Dromikaites View Post
    Actually we can bet they did. When Cyril and Methodius created the Cyrillic alphabet what did they do?
    Just to correct you that Cyril and Methodius didn't create the Cyrillic alphabet - they created the Glagolitic one. The Cyrillic (which is indeed based upon the Greek) was created by their disciples, in honour of their teachers - probably either by Kliment of Ohrid or by Naum of Preslav (or someone else from the Preslav School, since that's where the earliest appearance of Cyrillic is).

    Otherwise I agree with your post, especially that the early Cyrillic and Glagolitic followed the same rule, since they were still "newborn" and it makes no sense for a new (or reformed) alphabet not to follow it (especially since, as you say, when the Slavic alphabets were created, there was an absolute zero of recorded literature on Slavic). One more historical example in this regard - in the middle of the 14th century, the Bulgarian Patriarch Evtimiy (see? I can hardly transliterate the short "i" at the end) started a language reform, and it's also reported that many "wrong" books were burned at that time. Now, many of them would've been heretical etc., but some scholars believe he might have also burned older, canonical books as well (which would be an utter crime against history), since the old writings from Cyril and Methodius' times (and even newer) were no longer so intelligible and could lead the reader to wrong interpretations of the Scriptures etc. So there's another example similar to Karadzic's - the language has evolved and from time to time the way it's written is "updated", the old books becoming thus even more unintelligible and "obsolete". Simply because, for example, what was back then read as a nasal "Он" was now read as "Ъ" or something else (or the other way around - the letters keep the same sounds, but the words themselves have changed).
    Though I also agree with Petrucci - following the "one sound, one letter" "rule" is IMO much better in the modern age, since it pretty much removes all problems with spelling, especially spelling of names. F.e. I can hardly think of a time when I've heard a (literate) Bulgarian ask another how his name is spelled; and I'd have no problem to spell most Western names on Cyrillic (with Chinese I might have a bit more problems, since they have a few tones of some sounds which our alphabet can't really reflect), but if I transliterate the result back into the Latin alphabet, it would be very different from the way that name is spelled. This is especially true with the Romance languages, French in particular - f.e. Hainaut would be re-transliterated as Eno, which is a quite different spelling (reduced from 7 to 3 letters).
    And this can be a somewhat serious problem, when searching for this or that author whose name/spelling you know only in your own language. F.e. I remember trying a number of variations of what came out to be Toynbee, before I finally just typed his name in the BG Wikipedia and followed the link to the English page to see the actual spelling. And that's actually a rather "easy" name - with the French (and their like) I go straight to the Wiki "trick" or else I have next to no hope in finding out more about the author.

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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Quote Originally Posted by NikeBG View Post
    And this can be a somewhat serious problem, when searching for this or that author whose name/spelling you know only in your own language. F.e. I remember trying a number of variations of what came out to be Toynbee, before I finally just typed his name in the BG Wikipedia and followed the link to the English page to see the actual spelling. And that's actually a rather "easy" name - with the French (and their like) I go straight to the Wiki "trick" or else I have next to no hope in finding out more about the author.
    This sort of problem transliterating names from one alphabet to another is very unlikely to go away any time soon.

    Even when the alphabet is the same the spelling of names might turn out to be tricky.

    My last name gets funny spellings in French and German in-spite of having only standard Latin letters (no special ones like ș, ț, ă, etc). That is because the same letters correspond to other sounds in those languages. For instance the Romanian "u" is rendered in French by "ou", the Romanian "c" is rendered in German by "k", etc.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB MareNostrum

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    NikeBG's Avatar Sampsis
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    Default Re: Serbian language and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

    Aye, that's because the letters aren't bound to the same sounds in the writing systems of the different languages. F.e. the German spelling is much closer to ours (though they have a few such "oddities" as well, like how "eu" is actually read as "oi" etc) and it's also closer to Greek on the "C vs. K" difference.
    Of course, there's also the further confusion between the letters, which are common to those 2-3 alphabets, but are pronounced differently. F.e. we have the Latin letter P, which also exists in Cyrillic and Greek and is our equivalent of the Latin R (or rather the opposite - the Latin version is the equivalent of the Greek). Not to mention that most tormented of letters - the H. In Latin it's what we (Cyrillic and Greek readers) would write as X (which itself has a different meaning in Latin), in Greek (and old Cyrillic) it's something like I (modern-Cyrillic И) or E, while in modern Cyrillic it's actually N (while the medieval Cyrillic version of N was... N as well). Basically, when we look at these three alphabets, it's like three different people (and their children, respectively) are making two or three different pictures out of the pieces of the same puizzle. And when we add the handwritten/Itallic forms of the letters as well, the mess becomes total!

    P.S. Concerning German spellings of last names, it's funny how the Slavic -ov (f.e. Atanasov) often turns into -off in German and sometimes even in English (f.e. John Atanasoff). It's thus also funny how one of our journalists has named his show DickOff.

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