Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Too Can Read Bokmål

Here's a sample entry. 

Sure you can.  Drift back and forth between how a word looks and how it might be pronounced.  Tie together obvious words like Fylogeni and familien with what you think might be in sentences with those terms.  Look around on the page to guess what fire art means.   If you know some German, Dutch, or Old English, then svært and med might jump out at you, and words ending –n or –r might be plural, so substitute “s.”  V is like W, F like V, etc.  Instead of utdødd linjer, in English we might reverse it to “dødd-ut lines,” which we see from context are different from "eksister lines." 

I will tell you that traerne is easier if you just cut it to trae

Plus you have a pretty good guess what must be in there, so you shop around for it. See?  You can sorta kinda read Norwegian.


james said...

The big problem is the treacherous little words that flip the sentence from a positive to a negative or turn an offer into a requirement. And people talk so fast...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Oh I have zero chance of understanding anyone speaking in a foreign language. As bad as anyone you've ever met, I imagine.

Texan99 said...

I've been proofreading a lot of Dutch and German lately, and having the same experience. If you cross your eyes, remember a few common shifts, and think about how the words sound, you can get a good bit. I was reading about the history of medicine and couldn't quite remember the four humors: there was blood, two kinds of bile, and what was that last one? Spleen? I was reading "Schleim," when it occurred to me that that was obviously "Phlegm."

jaed said...

I had the oddest experience once reading a shampoo bottle that had instructions in Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish (it was an import brand). I could just about read the first two, and then ran headlong into a non-Indo-European language in the Roman alphabet, and went into brainlock.

It seriously felt as though my language center had banged into a brick wall. The feeling - "I should be able to sort of read this! Or at least recognize some words!" was so strong, and the results were so far from that... Bzzt bzzt bzzt reading module failure bzzt.


Schleim and phlegm are both so unpleasantly onomatopoeiac, aren't they?