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taanisi/aniin!  The language I'm working on now also has vowel length
distinction, and after Cree it wasn't even something I had to think about.
 But thinking about what you said about unfamiliar phonetics - when I was
studying Korean I found that the unfamiliar phonetics had a strong effect
on me long after I felt I had mastered the phonology.  I had an unusually
hard time memorizing vocabulary, and my gut instinct is that it was
because the phonology was just so different from languages I had learnt
before that my memorization skills didn't seem to be able to get a grip on
the words.

The hardest thing with the current language is the phonology - both having
an ear for it, and even more importantly, being able to produce the sounds
so I can be understood.  Even after I thought I had it down, I still get a
confused expression every once in a while when I'm almost sure I've said
the word perfectly.  The fact that the only person I'm talking to is
almost deaf doesn't help either :P

-dale-

> Personally I think the thing that would make a language hardest for me
> would be unfamiliar phonetics and phrase structure. I'm pretty used to
> the kind of pervasive impedance Dale commented on from French and I
> doubt it would bother me, in fact I'm starting studying Cree/Ojibwe
> and my first difficulty isn't with the suffixes but with vowel length
> distinctions. I think once I got it down semantic space would be my
> next issue. Generally people are more forgiving of errors in the
> complex components of thier language, ei. No one ever tells me I
> mis-accorded a past-participle, because it's so obvious to a native
> speaker what I meant to say that it's not worth it.
>
>
> On 3/31/11, Roger Mills <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> On Mar 31, 2011, at 10◊13 AM, Adam
>>> Walker wrote:
>>>
>>> > Imagine you are plunked down in the middle of an
>>> unfamiliar land with
>>> > unfamiliar customs speaking a language you have never
>>> before heard.  There
>>> > are no teaching materials available to you and the
>>> language may not even be
>>> > written.  What would make this language you have
>>> encountered especially
>>> > difficult to learn?  I'm not talking about
>>> generalities; I'm talking about
>>> > you personally.
>>>
>> Hard to say, as I'm "tainted" by too many years of linguistics/phonetics
>> etc. But offhand, I think difficult sounds would be a problem-- clicks
>> (no
>> real exposure, and I can't integrate them into speech-flow); uvular
>> trills;
>> proper hearing of the diff. between vl.aspirated and plain vl. as well
>> as
>> vl.unasp vs. plain voiced. Oh, and tones. Never tackled Russian or other
>> Slavs, but I suspect the aspect system would be difficult for me.
>>>
>>> > If, in your response, you could list languages in
>>> which you are fluent and
>>> > ones with which you are familiar enough to provide you
>>> some assistance in
>>> > learning language X, that would be great.  Also
>>> if you care to explain WHY
>>> > feature Y would make language X difficult for you to
>>> learn under the stated
>>> > conditions, that would also be great.
>>>
>> English. Spanish-- spoken a little rusty but I can still read anything;
>> and
>> I can fake Portuguese. Indonesian-- spoken more rusty, and reading it's
>> difficult; German (linguistic material only), Dutch, French (most
>> topics)
>> reading only; Italian very rusty. Most of those are not helpful in
>> learning
>> non-western langs., but I suspect Indonesian would be useful in learning
>> other Asian langs. (pro-drop, no tenses/cases etc. and I think many of
>> them
>> are even more isolating than Indo., which does have some tricky verbal
>> and
>> derivational morphology.)
>>
>
> --
> Sent from my mobile device
>