Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hmong and the impossibilities of tonal languages

I've started taking Hmong language classes and after the first lesson I've learned one key lesson: I cannot repeat the difference between the 7 main tones!

If you happen to enjoy or understand linguistics, check out the very detailed explanations here.

If you want to hear the 'different' sounds and see if you can repeat them, go here. Choose one vowel and listen to each sound across the row for the different tones.

And lastly, pity me. I like to think I'm good at learning new things, but this Hmong stuff is tough! I feel so incompetent!


Chaka said...

But you get to learn how to make prenasalized aspirated retroflex affricates! How cool is that?

Special K said...

Wow. I love your enthusiasm, but I'm afraid to break the news to you--I doubt I will actually learn such a noise. I may hear it. I may even be able to identify it from the postnasalized variety, but pronounce it? Doubtful. I'll keep you posted.

Pirate Jimmy said...

That post title would've been the perfect opportunity for a pun. A hmong the hardest languages to learn is hmong. Or something like that.