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.

6 comments:

wratp2 said...

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

就像中文裡尊稱男性或女性後會加上一個字"君"。

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: http://asian-lp.uga.edu/jpn_html/yami/lang.html

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?

http://tl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datu_Sikatuna

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.