Monday, October 09, 2006

Link of the day: Yami Language Learning Center

I wrote about Yami in this blog over two years ago in this entry. While it is spoken outside of the Philippines, it is, for all intents and purposes, a Philippine language due to its relationship to other Philippine languages, namely to Ivatan and Itbayat spoken in the Batanes Islands north of Luzon. Because of this, I feel (felt) that this has some relevance in my blog.

I ran across a website housed by Providence University in Taichung County, Taiwan. It is called the Yami Language Learning Center. It is basically a Yami language learning site.

The site is divided into three learning levels, beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Each level has 1 book (with 10 lessons each), with the exception of the intermediate level which has 2 books. There is also a grammatical sketch, learning games (with Jeopardy!), a final exam, and a dictionary. Awesome, huh?

What I like is that the dialogs have accompanying MP3 recordings with them. This allowed me to listen to this language for the first time. What I noticed is their pronunciation of /r/. It is retroflex as in Mandarin. Which leads me to wonder if Mandarin has influenced this.

I also noticed a Japanese word that made it to Yami, sinsi. It comes from 先生 (sensei) meaning "teacher."

One more thing I have found interesting is that they included the personal marker "si" in the dialogs. The sentence for example says "mo sinsi, ngongyod a tao si Paloy ang?" and in English it became "Teacher, is si Paloy a real person?" Normally, in the Philippines, the si is left untranslated This was also the case in the link I talked about in my last entry about Yami. They included the si in the Yami man's name, si-Mogaz. Now, I may not be Yami but from my Tagalog point of view this doesn't sound right.

Enjoy the site. I found it fascinating.


wratp2 said...

mo sinsi, ngongyod a tao si Paloy ang?"
"Teacher, is si Paloy a real person?


在Yami language, si是人名前的case marker,如果照您講的翻譯成 Mr. Paloy(我的猜想),似乎是不錯。 但是如果原汁原味,用原本Yami的 si Paloy,是可以表現出Yami原本的風格。

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Elena Delgado said...

I read in this:

That attaching a Si- or a Sinan- also functioned as a particle indicating social status, I guess similar to our Manang/Manong, or Don/Dona, or Ate/Kua, etc.

"Because of technonomy there is always a particle that precedes a person's name. This particle, which indicates the social status of the individual, is separated by a hyphen from the name itself, as in: "Si-Mogaz" or "Sinan-Mogaz." If there are grammatical particles that precede the social status marker, they will not be separated from the social status marker, as in: "Ninan-Mogaz." If the recordings show, however, that the informant separated the particles in his speech, then in transcription the grammatical particle will be separated as well: "ni Inan-Mogaz." The names of legendary characters may be preceded by Simina, which is translated as "the late." "

Elena Delgado said...

Just to add, I believe this personal marker was used very much the same way the Yamis did by ancient Filipinos. remember Si-Katuna? Why do we recall Datu Si-Katuna with the personal marker Si-, why is it still attached to his name regardless of the language being english or Tagalog?

Also, this personal or topic marker like 'ang' is characteristic of other Asian languages like Japanese & Chinese, notice that they sometimes continue using these topic/personal markers still even in English? I think this is the reason why the Yami continue using Si- while we drop it when speaking another language.