February 26, 2006

Persian in a Norwegian Accent

So at the State Tournament, I got to burn a few hours between my 10:00 game and my 2:30 one, and so did Layla. What better way to pass the time than to attempt a new language, preferably an insanely difficult to pronounce one! So Layla taught me a bit of Persian. Both our throats were sore by the time we were done, and several times we laughed so hard we fell to the floor. She almost got dehydrated, because everytime she tried to drink she would laugh at something, so I had to leave the room. God, I love it... one thing essential to foreign languages, and contrary to Stian's comment, I think this may be the real secret; have a sense of humour.

The glottal stop was, predictably, the hardest, but I'm getting somewhere with it, and it should help me with Arabic someday too. Thats a restriction deep in the throat, way below K and G. The other two letters were pretty easy; a flem inducing creature that makes German look pathetic, but is easy if you don't fear choking on your own spittle; and a sort of ZH sound that was almost an insult to my intellegence after the glottal. It's just the ultra soft J in French, or else a voiced SH, I mean, come on...

Then, there was putting them together... O.o Persian has this weird rhythm going of the primary focus being on the first syllable, the secondary emphasis on the last syllable. I managed that ok, but consistantly rushed the syllables in between. People were looking at us funny, but we didn't care, and neither did Lauren, Laura, Kate, Margaret, Bukola, Christy, and Kelling, and they're the only people who matter to me at all. Margaret even joined us for a round of repeating each others glottals like geese... I was impressed at Margaret for knowing what a glottal stop was, but she couldnt seem to put it into practice... kept slipping back into the security of a G.

All was going well, quite well, actually. Layla told me it was scary how I was pronouncing some words, and said I would scare her mother to death if I actually put them into conversation. Then, we hit trouble. About the time Kelling and Kate were playing their tenth card game, Bukola had tired of Mancala, and Margaret and Lauren were attempting a dominoe version of the Roman Colloseum, we found this horrible word... something like "Loall". I couldn't seem to do it. Either I'd do the L's correctly and then give some twilight zone version of o\a, or I'd get the vowel and get a weird L. The L's were what sent us for a turn... First, we thought I was palatizing them, but that wasn't it. Finely, she tried to explain.

"It isn't American." She said. "That's good. It's something else." We narrowed down the possibilities. We eventually reached "Not quite German". That's when we realized the truth; I was speaking Persian with a Norwegian accent.

"It's not that funny," I said, trying to calm a nearly hiccuping Layla.

"Yes, it is, Miranda... You live in Rural Missouri, and you're learning to speak Persian with a Norwegian accent."

1 comment:

Tar Aryndil said...

Aw, that's my girl! :D I'm still a wee lil bit confuzzled by exactly how that happened, but I'm sure you had your reasons ;)

You gotta record me some Norwego-Persian, sweetheart, it'll make my day :D