Chocolate & Zucchini, according to the About page, “is a blog written by Clotilde Dusoulier, a 29-year-old Parisian woman who lives in Montmartre and shares her passion for all things food-related — thoughts, recipes, musings, cookbook acquisitions, quirky ingredients, nifty tools, restaurant experiences, ideas, and inspirations.” It shows up here because of Clotilde’s penchant for explaining food-related French idioms; those posts are conveniently listed here. I am unfamiliar with most of them, so it’s a good resource for me; I liked, for instance, “Ça ne mange pas de pain“:

Literally translated as, “It doesn’t eat bread,” it is used to say that a thing or an action can’t hurt: it may never amount to much or be of much use, but if it costs nothing and entails no risk, why not?

It is a colloquial expression that is usually delivered with a shrug, and when spoken, the ne and the de are often swallowed, so that you will hear it as, “Ça mange pas d’pain.”

Example: “Passe un coup de fil à ton médecin, ça ne mange pas de pain !” “Give your doctor a call, it doesn’t eat bread!”

And there’s a widget that allows you to hear the phrase and sample sentence spoken, a nice touch. (By the way, note the space before the exclamation point in the French sentence; that’s an example of French spacing, and that is one of the more thorough and informative Wikipedia articles I’ve read lately.)

If you’re interested in cooking blogs qua cooking blogs, you should of course have Caviar and Codfish bookmarked; it’s run by the impressive Robin Damstra, who cooks on a regular basis for LH commenter jamessal, the lucky dog.

(Thanks for the idioms link, Jon!)


  1. we also say ‘it won’t demand food’ – ‘khool nekhekh bish’ etc

  2. jamessal says

    If you’re interested in cooking blogs qua cooking blogs, you should of course have Caviar and Codfish bookmarked; it’s run by the impressive Robin Damstra, who cooks on a regular basis for LH commenter jamessal, the lucky dog.
    Thanks, Hat! If you anybody wanders over, I heartily recommend the potato salad described in the first post; with a cowboy steak, it was one of those easy meals you just can’t believe is this good.

  3. Glad you found C&Z’s blog. I loved the it doesn’t eat bread idiom—been meaning to slip it into a conversation sometime.
    Thanks for the shout-out! 😀

  4. This reminded me of a Russian idiom: “(что-то) кушать не просит”, used mainly for indicating of getting something “just in case” or “for later use”.

  5. “Shout-out” makes me think of pitch-man, a word I was just reminded of in a BBC obituary on the American Billy Mays. So we have a connection with carnie. There was a 50’s-60’s novel called Carnie (or something like that) by a well-known American author whose name I can’t remember. I had read some novel of his, and considered reading the Carnie one, and maybe even did read it. Can anybody tell me who that author was?

  6. She says “Passe un coup de fil à ton médecin, ça ne mange pas de pain !” at incredible speed. No wonder so many French movies and series on TV5 (the French channel I get in Cologne) have subtitles in French. They’re not intended for the hard-of-hearing, as with those insets showing a person doing sign language. I’ve verified this closely: the subtitles appear only in films where the French being spoken is vernacular.
    One series in particular is about a group of detectives and policeman at a precinct station. It’s slang and argot all the way. I try not to look at the subtitles, but sometimes have no choice if I’m to understand anything of what is said.

  7. policemen

  8. Wow. This brings my blog-reading life full circle…
    Back in September or October of 2004, I was living just outside of Paris. One night I was at a party in the 14th arrondissement, where I met a young woman who had not long before returned from working in the Bay Area, as a programmer if I remember.
    We were talking, and she said she was really getting into blogging, and asked if I knew what a blog was. I think blogs had then just been getting a bit of recognition in mainstream media in the US. I said of course I knew what they were (which seemed to surprise her) but that I never read them. She told me about hers, Chocolate & Zucchini, and then said I should look around at some, that there are blogs on just about anything you might be interested in. Mathematics? Probably. Hey, what about linguistics? Probably. The next day, I looked around a bit. There wasn’t much in the way of mathematics back then, but I did find some language blogs. Been coming here ever since.
    (Looking at her posts, now, it must have been mid-October. The other thing I remember is that whenever I said something in French, she asked me to repeat it in English. Sigh.)

  9. My boss says it too, but I’ve never heard anyone else here saying it. My boss usually says it about (more or less physical) stuff that won’t be in the way if you decide not to throw it away after all, e.g. things in boxes in the attic or adresses in the computer. In Dutch it would be: Het eet geen brood.

  10. Has anyone heard of “keyboarding”? Why do my textbooks teach my students words I have never heard of? Is “keyboard” now a verb? Whatever happened to “typing”?

  11. Whatever happened to (lead) type?

  12. I always use so-called English spacing, with 2 spaces after a full stop. I think it looks better and is easier to read.

  13. Caviar & Codfish also has really great photographs of the food, taken by Robin, that are almost as good as a meal in themselves.

  14. pnafahthi says

    It irritates me, too.
    Yes, it’s the new(ish) word for typing. Typing on the keyboard of a computer is not so fundamentally different from typing on the — come to think of it, isn’t it called the keyboard? — of a typrewriter as to require a new word, you’d think.
    OTOH, I bet there was a time when people grumbled about calling it typing instead of typewriting, and grumbled about calling the devices typewriters instead of typewriting machines, and grumbled about calling the people who use them typists instead of typewriters.
    I’m thinking of getting most of my pet peeves spayed or neutered; there are too many such things in the world.

  15. The lead got melted down for bullets to send to Afghanistan and Iraq. Or maybe fishing sinkers. The compartmentalized drawers they used to be stored in got recycled as those shadow boxes that were hot craft decorating items back in the 80’s.
    BTW, there are still typewriters. They’re used to fill out forms. Offices are not going to throw out the IBM Selectric just because they have computers. And “typing” gets 40X more ghits than “keyboarding”. I feel like writing “typing” on the board today. Who writes these textbooks anyway?

  16. It’s not just a question of being annoyed, wpnafahthi, it’s a question of teaching ESL students words that will help them be understood and also teach them words they will hear native speakers of American English using in real life.

  17. Which word will serve them better depends on who they’re with. I think that schools offer keyboarding classes instead of typing classes these days, so “keyboarding” is the wave of the future. Give ’em both words!

  18. Only last year it was ‘waterboading’ that was the wave of the future.

  19. Aha, tgg/pnafahthi, (did you know fahthi means “empty” in Arabic?) the “keyboarding” conversation in the textbook was about a class in a computer lab. I just googled my own institution and they did offer “keyboarding” as part of a computer class. In the computer class I taught last summer, I used three different online practice programs, all of which had “typing” in the title.
    As AJP says, the old “typing” classes (I took one in 1966) taught you to single space after a word and double space after a period. I still do it, but I think c0mputers interpret it their own way now. There was some discussion here a while back about spacing before and after dashes too, but I’m not really up on all the spacing anymore. It would be nice to know what the changes have been without having to take one of those “this is home position” classes.
    (Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: c0mputers in)

  20. the synonyms for typing in my language is tsokhih(beat..[the keys]) and shivekh (tattoo..[the words], in informal speech

  21. nafahthi says

    I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to hear that fahthi means empty!
    I never had occasion to I pick a screen name (is that the right term?) until a couple of weeks ago, when I started hanging around here. I initially picked my initials as a stopgap measure (as you might get a temporary Crown from the dentist) but I have been meaning all along to get something better.
    I chose nafahthi because it says something meaningful about my online persona (“not as funny as he thinks he is”), while at the same having a good smattering of vowels. The variant “pn…” is one of many that I can imagine. It also had a pleasantly exotic look/sound — where in the world might that name come from? — which seemed fitting for the LH environment.
    (I reverted to tgg once, maybe because you seemed to be Not In the Mood for Joking Around.)
    But *empty*! I was not kidding the other day when I said that zero is my favorite number. I could have added that this is intimately bound up with the fact that the empty set is my favorite set. I am a professor of mathematics, and I happen to have a bit of a reputation for bothering/amusing my students with side remarks about zero and the empty set.
    You have made my day.

  22. tsokhih beat..[the keys]
    That would be similar to tap the typewriter keys, in English, also a drumming metaphor.

  23. na means giving in Russian, colloquially
    tsokhikh is more like knock maybe, tap sounds close too

  24. tsokhikh is for the typewriters, more like, and shivekh is for computers

  25. zero is my favorite number .. the empty set is my favorite set

    Myself, I like deceptively empty neighborhoods, where you can enjoy peace and quiet, but there’s still a lot going on if you feel like going out. Just as the body is covered with bacteria and viruses that you don’t normally bother about, the immediate vicinity of zero is teeming with infinitesimally small (non-standard) numbers. Non-well-founded sets lurk as limits of well-founded ones. What’s so interesting about going to Mars, with all that at hand? [This is not crazy-talk, just a flowery arrangement of mathematical stuff about which I actually know very little].

  26. Grumbly Stu has just announced that he’s to blog daily from now on. I suggest everyone check out his blog (it’s linked in his name, above this post).

  27. (I said ‘daily’, but I now see he wrote ‘regularly’. Oh, well, he’ll just have to work that bit harder).

  28. parvomagnus says

    re keyboarding, I’ve never heard it used casually, in place of “typing”, except for the keyboarding class I took in high school, where we learned typing.

  29. jamessal says

    Grumbly Stu has just announced that he’s to blog daily from now on.
    Something to look forward to, indeed.
    re keyboarding, I’ve never heard it used casually, in place of “typing”
    Me neither.

  30. Throbert McGee says

    “Keyboarding” only seems justifiable as a coinage if you’re talking about (for example) people whose fingers are in some way disabled, such that they have difficulty typing on a computer, playing a piano, and/or using the keypad of an ATM, calculator, or telephone. In other words, only in contexts where a keyboard is being categorized with other finger-operated devices.
    Oh — and as one of the relatively few people who can put Professional Crossword Editor on his résumé, I might’ve found “to keyboard” useful as a clue for TYPE.

  31. nafahthi says

    I should have keyboarded “Not In Joking Mood Apparently”. (Thinking of mutant teenage turtles?)

  32. Throbert McGee says

    Steve Lubman:

    This reminded me of a Russian idiom: “(что-то) кушать не просит”, used mainly for indicating of getting something “just in case” or “for later use”.

    So the underlying meaning is “might as well hang on to it for later use; it’s not as if it’s going to be asking for food”?
    I guess the equivalent, for anglophone pack-rats who have trouble throwing away things that are dirty and dented but still work, would be “hell, it’s not like it needs refrigeration.”

  33. Nijma is Not In Joking Mood Apparently
    NIjma is working split shifts as a substitute while trying to be out of her old apartment by July 1.

  34. parvomagnus says

    hell, it’s not like it needs refrigeration.
    Or, if you’re classy, “it’s not like it needs refrigerated.”
    I’ve never used that. Oh, but I will…

  35. Bathrobe says

    Цохих I can understand — to hit or tap the keys is a pretty universal kind of expression. But шивэх? How does ‘tattooing’ fit in semantically with keyboarding? Is there some aspect of tattooing that lends itself to this kind of idiom? (I understand шивэх originally meant ‘to perforate’.)

  36. Talking of the universe, it’s eleven months now since I’ve been the King of Mars. There may be a celebration next month.

  37. shivekh is b/c it appears first on the screen i guess, the typed letters, so it’s not writing and not on the paper yet (before printing of course), looks like a tattoo perhaps
    i guess
    but could be from perforate too, shivekh – kind of sewing, boots for example

  38. bathrobe says

    Unless the Martians stage a revolt or rebellion before then. Or the goats may stage a coup d’etat….

  39. Thanks for all the comments about keyboarding/typing, and so quickly. It’s nice to have such erudite company confirm my gut reaction but also to know “keyboarding” has a legitimate, if somewhat specialized usage.

  40. tgg/nefertiti/ptah-fathee/crysalis: I have been meaning all along to get something better.
    I shall be waiting with baited breath to see whether you emerge as a butterfly or a swan.
    amusing my students with side remarks about zero
    I joke with the students about food and only food–there is a connection between language acquisition and food. Think of it. What words did you learn first in another language (no, not those words) Yes, it was the food words. [Spanish: taco, enchilada, salsa, pollo, chocolate…Arabic: felafel, hummos…French: cafe au lait, vin rouge]…when you engage the emotions with food, you also trigger some sort of language retention mechanism.

  41. Bathrobe says

    Funny thing is, I always have a hard time remembering the names of foods

  42. Bathrobe, everyone knows there aren’t really any Martians. But you’re invited to the celebrations.

  43. How do you know Mongolian, Bathrobe? I remember i once watched on TV two American missionaries who spent two years in our countryside, their spoken Mongolian was like that of native speakers, without even slight foreign accent, wow, i thought, so it’s doable, because the most difficult thing is correct pronunciation perhaps
    if one can learn Japanese or Korean, our grammar and vocabulary should be okay, plus no kanjis, though our old script is difficult too, for me, at least

  44. Bathrobe, you must live in a place where you eat and you’re hungry an hour later.

  45. there aren’t really any Martians
    Then who is it that speaks all the Martian in the paradise where Sig lives?

  46. Sorry, that’s right. I forgot about the French-speaking Martians. I guess I meant there are no native-English-speaking Martians. Or very few.

  47. So, just out of idle curiosity, does anyone else still “dial” a phone?

  48. nafahthi says

    [I shall be waiting with baited breath to see whether you emerge as a butterfly or a swan.]
    Thanks for the interest, Nijma, but don’t hold your breath. Both butterflies and swans are mute, so not that. Anyway, I was not looking to become a whole new critter — just trying on things to wear with this Hat.
    About Nefertiti — the main reason I tried spelling it with “pt-” was in the hope that someone would ask me whether the p was silent.
    BTW, I hate to be picky, but it would require a complete metamorphosis on my part to stop me from pointing out it’s “bated” (same word as “abated”). Also “chrysalis” (from Greek for “gold”).
    I hope that your July 1 deadline came and went with as little misery as possible.

  49. nafahthi says

    I say “oops, I must have dialed it wrong”, even though it’s really button-pushing. Is there another way to say, in this day and age?

  50. I was going to mention the official use of English there for police lines and so forth, but that hardly qualifies as “native English speaking”. Too, that’s not the same Mars.

  51. nafahthi says

    I meant “pn-“.

  52. it would require a complete metamorphosis on my part to stop me from pointing out it’s “bated”
    I have noticed before your prescriptiveness and total lack of imagination when it comes to language; it’s probably the math talking.
    There’s an old joke: “Did you hear the one about the cat who put some cheese on his tongue and waited by the mousehole with baited breath.”

  53. nafahthi says

    The math does talk, and conversely linguistics counts.

  54. Bathrobe says

    I spent a year in Mongolia, tried to learn the language, and failed miserably for various reasons (I was unable to attain “immersion” conditions because of my work).
    Mongolian pronunciation is not hard at all (although a little tongue-twisting). The Cyrillic orthography is annoying because it has too many finicky rules. The vocabulary is not over-difficult, keeping in mind that learning vocab in any language is very memory-intensive. However, I found the grammar/morphology more difficult than Japanese. The loss of old final ns has wreaked havoc with nominal morphology and I found it mentally hard to deal with both the hidden n‘s and hidden g‘s. (“Why isn’t this the correct form? Because there’s a hidden n. Oh, thanks for telling me.”) But even Mongolians can get mixed up on this. The syntax of “verb modifying noun” I found difficult to master. I think I tried to interpret Mongolian from the simplified perspective of Japanese rentai-shūshoku (連体修飾), but Mongolian is more complex. Laziness in mastering this is rewarded appropriately.

  55. Bathrobe says

    No, I like to eat, but I have difficulty remembering the names of foods. Over the course of time I do commit them to memory, but it is like learning telephone numbers (it usually takes me about a year to memorise my own telephone number).
    Japan is the ideal place for learning food names, because most restaurants have realistic models of the food in the window with a label showing the name and price of the dish. So if you show me the dish, I can probably tell you what it’s called!
    In China it’s much harder. The dishes in restaurants here have such fancy names, and there is such a variety, that it takes a major effort to become familiar with all of them. (I remember chickens’ feet because they call them “phoenix claws” (凤爪) 🙂 Unfortunately that is one of the dishes I don’t normally order.) Then there are all those confusing green vegetables….
    Even in Mongolia, which is not noted for its gastronomic variety, I had trouble learning the names of all but the very commonest dishes.
    So I hate to be the exception to Nijma’s universal rule, but I really do flounder when it comes to learning food names.

  56. Maybe Bathrobe needs a little sake with his tempura and teriyaki or maybe the taxi example is easier. When I tried to learn “left”, “right” etc. in the classroom, I couldn’t remember it. But when I was careening down the street in a taxi commandeered by a friend with a morbid fear of taxi drivers, and a sense of entitlement that reminded me of Kipling’s Mrs. Hawksbee, I learned it in a heartbeat. Yasaur hohn, yameen hohn, DOOGAREE! DOOGAREE!

  57. that’s so great you tried to learn our language, B
    it’s so rare, even a few mixed couples i know the foregn spouses rarely speak it and teach to their kids and they get all defensive when are critisized about letting to forget our ‘chikhnee chimegtei unagan khel – martaj bolshgui soyol’
    i’m not a linguist and am not sure about what ns and gs you are talking about, but i would be happy to tell what i know if you have any questions
    never thought that our grammar is that particularly difficult coz Japanese kanjis were really such a hurdle to master that i quit, it takes a lot of time to look them up all, though my spoken Japanese is relatively not bad, i remember after one year in Japan one day on the bus i suddenly understood what two girls were talking about between them, that was really like as if the ears got unplugged something

  58. Bathrobe says

    I think you’ll find a few guests on Language Hat who are considerably better acquainted with Mongolian than I am 🙂 This blog is very friendly to all languages, not just the “big ones” that many linguaphiles seem focused on.

  59. I misquoted that should be undesnii – national, undes means root, but I like my metaphor too unagan – a horse youngling’s, can’t recall how it is called in English, not calf
    what one learns from childhood
    How would you translate the sentence, it sounds beautiful in my language imo, but when I try to translate sounds like trivial

  60. baby horse is called a foal, i looked up wikianswers,
    yearling, colt (male), or filly (female) sound a little bit older

  61. David Marjanović says

    The Cyrillic orthography is annoying because it has too many finicky rules.

    Do you mean those that were imported straight from Russian?

    So, just out of idle curiosity, does anyone else still “dial” a phone?

    AFAIK the Chinese still do, except it literally means “beat”. (Here we go again.) That said, all of my sources could be outdated. Bathrobe? 🙂

  62. Do you mean those that were imported straight from Russian?
    the rules can’t be imported straight from Russian, b/c completely different languages, grammar, vocab, everything, if to write Mongolian both in cyrillic and latin, would sound the same, b/c it’s just phonetical transliteration

  63. Bathrobe says

    No, 打电话 dǎ diànhuà (‘hit phone’) is fine in Chinese. But to dial a number the word is 拨 bō, with so many meanings that I’m not sure which is the right one in this context.
    I have no idea if the finicky rules in Cyrillic are from Russian. They include limits on the number of consonants that can follow each other (if I remember rightly, more than two and a vowel has to be inserted). The inserted vowel always seems to go in a place where the vowel is not actually pronounced. I don’t know if this is a good example but ойлгосон is pronounced as though it were ойлогсон. Then there is the rule that г can only be followed by ий, not by ы, no matter what the vowel harmony is, etc. There seem to be rather a lot of these finicky rules, and I can never remember them.

  64. Bathrobe says

    Actually, when we talk of an Internet connection, it’s a “dial-up connection” (some people still have them), so “dial” is still pretty normal in English! In Chinese that’s 拨号上网 bō hào shàngwǎng (“dial number go-online”).

  65. i also couldn’t understand many of the English grammar rules, the def/indef articles for example or English spelling, should have declared them the rules finicky too
    finicky or not, they are not imported from Russian let me assure you
    g is a soft consonant so it requires iin, not un
    oilgoson – the correct pronunciation is oil-goson and o is where it needs to be, if to pronounce it oi-log-son, you can’t see the word roots
    it’s from oi – memory, oilgo- understand, oilgo+son understood
    there is no word oilog, though also some consonants require always vowels and some can drop it, i think l is the dropping one, zarimdag giiguulegch (changing consonant)
    i’m not a linguist, it’s just how i feel

  66. David Marjanović says

    They include limits on the number of consonants that can follow each other (if I remember rightly, more than two and a vowel has to be inserted).

    Ah. That one’s not from Russian. It might follow a rule of whatever was considered Standard Mongolian in the 1930s/40s. There’s a closely related language (Kalmyk? Oirat? …have to look it up) where such vowels are pronounced, but not written at all, so that you end up with pretty impressive consonant clusters in the written form.
    I was talking about things like treating palatalization and /j/ as a feature of the following vowel whenever there is one.

    g is a soft consonant

    What do you mean?
    (…This one makes sense in Russian, BTW, where ы never follows к, г, х in the written as well as in the spoken language.)

    or English spelling, should have declared them the rules finicky too

    The spelling rules of English most definitely are finicky, and, worse yet, up to 15 % of the time they don’t even apply at all!
    English is worse than French, worse than Tibetan, worse than Mongolian-in-the-Mongolian-script, worse than both Irish and Scottish Gaelic, worse than any other language that uses an alphabet or syllabary.

  67. g can take a o after it, like galuu – duck, gol -river, but not u, if you see gun – it is actually pronounced gyn – deep/count
    all vowels are divided into male and female forms em egshig er egshig , aou is male, e i y is female for example
    so g takes mostly em egshig ger giigyylegch etc, i don’t know how the rule is called some kind of harmonization, but never u, if to use u it’s just not grammatical and just have to memorize that g is always soft
    why do you need those to be taken from Russian, our grammar rules? yes, the cyrillic script is borrowed from them for the sake of modernization and under much pressure i guess and well, many thanks
    but, sorry, at least our grammar rules we make ourselves
    i’m afraid if you say that again, i will keep refuting it perhaps automatically

  68. The only food idiom I can remember is also French: where the English might say “you can’t get blood from a stone” (we’ve given all we can), “squeezed dry,” is “pressed as lemons”–in French, of course.

  69. Bathrobe says

    The rule about ий following г is one that I remember.
    Normally, under the rules of vowel harmony (em egshig er egshig), the genitive ending of words containing the vowels эѳү is -ийн and for words containing the vowels аоу is -ын. Thus, the genitive of зам is замын. But if the final consonant is г, -ийн is automatically required, regardless of vowel harmony. Thus, the genitive of заг is загийн. This is a spelling rule, not a grammar rule.
    I’m sure it can be explained in some way, such as the fact that this is a ‘hard g’, but it is still a purely spelling rule that is unrelated to Mongolian grammar. I realise that English spelling is terrible, and I also realise that the rules of Cyrillic spelling are really not so hard, but as a non-Mongolian I do sometimes find the Cyrillic spelling rules rather tricky to remember!

  70. a purely spelling rule that is unrelated to Mongolian grammar.
    and i say there is simply no such a word zagun, say that to any Mongolian and people wouldn’t understand you, well, people would automatically correct you in their mind and understand you perhaps
    g takes ao like in garaa – start, goroo – pilgrimage, but never u ы/у, у can be used in some borrowed words like gulash for example
    and i don’t see how it’s not unrelated to my language, if it’s internal harmony requires that spelling
    in fact cyrillic fits better to spell Mongolian, in old Mongolian script it would have been written zaga-un perhaps, but not because it is pronounced that way, but iirc o u õ y are written the same way but pronounced differently
    but if you see the sample writing in here
    the word duugiin is written with -iin even by our traditional script
    i’m not an expert of the traditional script, so i can’t speculate further
    anyway it’s not from Russian

  71. its

  72. wow, i recalled words on gu, guril – flour, gundakh – wither etc
    but that doesn’t change my conviction that zagiin is essentially Mongolian spelling
    the rule of spelling or rather exception of the rule i mean

  73. Bathrobe says

    I’m a little confused. Is zagun meant to be загүн, загун, or загын?

  74. загун or загын, they don’t exist, the correct is zagiin
    if zagaun, then perhaps after a it could be followed by u
    but that’s old transcription by the uigurjin script and reads still zagiin
    zag is saksaul btw

  75. ^spelling

  76. Bathrobe says

    i say there is simply no such a word zagun, say that to any Mongolian and people wouldn’t understand you
    Загийн and замын are pronounced identically, except for the г and м. No one is talking of pronouncing загын as ‘zagun’.
    Anyway, I don’t want to pursue this. I quite like Mongolian and find it fascinating. My point about the spelling is that it is a bit difficult to remember the rules, not that it is bad.

  77. Загийн and замын are pronounced identically
    they are not identically pronounced, one is iin and another one is un, i’ll post in that pronunciation site how to pronounce the words perhaps
    My point about the spelling is that it is a bit difficult to remember the rules, not that it is bad.
    i was just refuting the notion that our grammar rules are imported from elsewhere
    i win!!!/ a joke

  78. John Emerson says

    Does Cyrillic Mongolian spell the silent letters the way Mongolian-script Mongolian does? When I was mostly-unsuccessfully studying Mongolian (to study the Secret History), I looked at the modern language from time to time and the divergence of spelling from modern pronunciation was very striking. (As bad as English? I don’t know. I don’t dare disagree with David at this point.)
    Is Lessing’s big dictionary at all useful for the modern language? It was tremendous fun to leaf through. I love the way ancient Mongol agglutinates words, verbalizing nouns and then nominalizing the resulting verb, etc.

  79. i’m not sure what are those mysterious silent letters i didn’t know about
    can’t read the uigurjin, so can’t tell, i had only 2 wks of the traditonal writing curriculum when was a student, so it’s very insufficient time to get fluent in reading and writing, but i’m determined i will keep trying to learn the script, sometimes i watch on youtube the Southern Mongolian karaoke video clips which dub our songs, it seems pretty useful to refresh quickly what i knew

  80. way up, -not

  81. Bathrobe says

    Would be very interested to hear more about the difference in pronunciation between -ын and -ийн. Since I’m a rank beginner, there are plenty of things I don’t understand properly. However, I’m finding it a little confusing when you use the letter ‘u’ to represent two, maybe three different vowel sounds (у ү ы). Frankly I’ve never heard anyone pronounce Замын-Үүд as ‘zamun uud’.

  82. Bathrobe says

    Does Cyrillic Mongolian spell the silent letters the way Mongolian-script Mongolian does?
    I’m not sure which silent letters you mean. In words like Khan (the Great Khan), for instance, the Classical spelling is something like Khagan, which is Хаан in Cyrillic. So Cyrillic is much closer to everyday pronunciation.
    But Cyrillic still uses a silent final vowel to indicate the pronunciation ‘n’ rather than ‘ng’. For instance, хана (wall) is not pronounced ‘khana’, it’s pronounced ‘khan’. Хан is pronounced ‘khang’.

  83. u i use as у or ы, for y i use y, i think it’s kinda accepted norms of spelling in the latin
    i’ve tried to use forvo, it’s blocked at work and at home the web/cam doesn’t record for some reason, incompatible with the site or something
    i’ll try to find other ways to record
    khana is pronounced khana, with a trace of a after n, if khan it would sound khan – magnificent, without any wovels behind n
    in the old script Ulaanbaatar would have written Ulaganbagatur, so those are silent letters now i understand, perhaps they were pronounced in the past that way, Buriads for example still say ulaan as ulagan, but now all long wovels lost the middle jiirgevch – pads – silent letters

  84. been

  85. vowel

  86. forvo
    i added khana khan zamun zagiin
    hope it helps

  87. Bathrobe says

    I find your comment about an ‘a’ at the end of ‘khana’ interesting. Objectively speaking there is no ‘a’ there, although there might be when people are speaking very slowly and clearly. One of my teachers told me that there was an ‘a’ after ах. She repeated the word a number of times for my benefit, but it simply wasn’t there. (In the traditional script ах is written ах-а.) But the fact that it wasn’t there objectively doesn’t mean that it’s not there psychologically. For instance, if you called out to your elder brother you would say ахаа! So there may be a latent ‘а’ at the end of the word that is very real to Mongolian speakers even when it is not actually pronounced. (Perhaps it’s a bit like a French speaker telling you that there is a ‘d’ at the end of ‘lourd’, which is not there at all — until you encounter the feminine form, ‘lourde’, where the ‘d’ is pronounced loud and clear.)

  88. ahan, if you’d have any questions about how to pronounce any Mongolian words, feel free to ask
    or if you have a blog, i can post the links there maybe
    coz i’m afraid to try our host’s patience hijacking the threads for too long

  89. Bathrobe says

    Nice to hear your voice! I listened to your pronunciation of замын and загийн and there is a definite difference in pronunciation. (I presume that багшийн has a vowel similar to загийн.)
    I had a look at this book on the Internet:
    At page 6 it says:
    “The two non-initial vowels [i] and [ɪ] are phonetically different but do not contrast, since the quality depends on the vowel of the preceding syllable.” I think this is talking about the difference between и and ы. It appears to be a simplification to say that it depends on the quality of the preceding vowel, given that the vowel in зам and заг are the same. What makes the difference seems to be the consonant (м and г).

  90. What makes the difference seems to be the consonant (м and г).
    maybe you are right, i’m not that, you know, well equipped to explain the grammar rules, so can’t comment on that
    if the rule is that that it depends on the vowels, perhaps what is needed is just to memorize the exceptions or hopefully the linguists are working on modifying the rules if the rules are not satisfyingly explanatory or apt
    for example, if zan (character)- then it would be zanu, so it depends on the consonants what suffixes to use maybe, yeah, or perhaps it’s just another exception 🙂

  91. For me, keyboarding is a technical term for transcribing handwritten or printed material into digital form by retyping it, as opposed to scanning it.

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