LINGUIST List 2.614

Mon 07 Oct 1991

Qs: French orthography, bananar, etc.

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Michel, Orthographic to phonetic French
  2. , bananar
  4. And Rosta, [one of you]rs
  5. Michael Kac, Query

Message 1: Orthographic to phonetic French

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 1991 20:39 EDT
From: "Michel <>
Subject: Orthographic to phonetic French
I am planning to transcribe about 4,000 lines of French poetry -- the text
of Victor Hugo's masterpiece _Dieu_ (note modest title) -- into
phonetics... and would like the computer to do much of the work for me.
If not I suppose I will have to create it myself. Here is how I imagine
doing it. Please criticize!
Step 1: Scan the text into WordPerfect and proofread
Step 2: run a frequency list so that repeated words do not need to be
	transcribed phonetically twice
Up to here things are clear. The next steps are where I would like
Step 3: Find in the linguistic literature... WHERE???... if there are
	robust (not fail-safe but useful) sets of correspondences between
	spelling and pronunciation in French. (Beyond the obvious.)
Step 4: Find out whether there are robust rules for SYLLABIFICATION
		(I remember reading about problems with this... in an
		article published 15-20 years ago and read 10 years ago
		at least...)
		Would it be of any use?
Step 5: Deal with liaison and enchainement
	One solution I envisage is to search for all PAIRS of words and
	try to create rules for those pairs that do occur.
Step 6: Deal with the phonetics of end of line to beginning of next line...
		Which would be considered performance under ordinary
		circumstances but which has to be dealt with here
Step 7: Put all this together
Step 8: Establish links in a database between the text and its
Any help on any of the steps would be most welcome.
I would, of course, be most curious to know if anyone has already done this
kind of work.
Michel Grimaud
Dept of French
Wellesley College
Wellesley MA 02181
Tel. 617/235-0320 (extension 2404)
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: bananar

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 91 13:05:54 EDT
From: <waoneilAthena.MIT.EDU>
Subject: bananar
I am trying to locate a short, ten-minute movie that I saw on two occasions
in Cambridge MA several years ago. It is a parody of a language lesson
in which this very straight-faced person is teaching the intricacies of the
Spanish verb bananar 'to banana'. At one point in the movie, the guy drags
out a large banana and a small one and has them usted-ing and tu-ing one
another. I want to use the film in a course on bilingual education that I
am presently co-teaching at Wheelock College in Boston. Any help with
pinning down the title, producer, etc. will be appreciated.
							 Wayne O'Neil.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: trema?

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 91 15:49:19 -0400
Subject: trema?
A recent post on coding schemes for African languages referred to a diacritic
called a `trema'. Can anyone tell me what this is?
Aaron Broadwell, Dept. of Linguistics, University at Albany -- SUNY,
Albany, NY 12222
"Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. Twice
would have been quite enough." -- Confucious
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: [one of you]rs

Date: Thu, 03 Oct 91 23:14:01 +0000
From: And Rosta <>
Subject: [one of you]rs
The other day I heard someone say:
 1a Is this book one of yours?
meaning "Does this book belong to one of you?". Though initially
gobsmacked by this utterance, on reflection I reckon I could utter
it, as a possibly preferable alternative to:
 1b Is this book one of you's?
though I prefer (2b) & (3b) to (2a) & (3a).
 2a *This is one of your/our/their book.
 2b This is one of you's/us's/them's book.
 3a *Sophy's picture of your/our/their frame. [not a picture of a frame]
 3b Sophy's picture of you's/us's/them's frame. [not a picture of a frame]
First question: Who *can* accept (1a)? (And (2a), (3a)?)
Second question: How do you analyse & explain them?
And Rosta
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 5: Query

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 91 17:50:34 -0500
From: Michael Kac <>
Subject: Query
Are there any languages which have some kind of morphological marking
of verbs to distinguish collective vs. distributive interpretation? E.g.
in an analogue of *John and Bill carried a piano upstairs* a way of mor-
phologically distinguishing the sense in which John and Bill each carried
a piano upstairs from the one in which the two of them did it together?
Michael Kac
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue