Hi, I’m Kolmiel.
- I personally pronounce that [ˈkɔlmiˌɛl]. Don’t try to read it as Hebrew :) It’s based on that song Call me Al...
- I’m male, born in the late 1980ies, and from Germany.
- My hobbies are intellectual stuff like this, watching football (soccer), and moderate drinking.
- I’m a Catholic. Practising, I suppose.
My edits are mostly on German and Central Franconian including Luxembourgish.
I work on contemporary colloquial German, an intermediate idiom between standard German and traditional dialects. I think wiktionary should be the first dictionary that gives non-native speakers extensive information on this lect, which differs a lot from standard German proper, especially in grammar and syntax, but also vocabulary and pronunciation.
A related intention of mine is to fight the good fight against prescriptivism, which hasn’t been fully won in German linguistics yet, at least not on the popular front. Unfortunately, the German-language wiktionary tends to be even more prescriptivist than traditional dictionaries and grammars. In this regard, I do believe that English wiktionary is already more reliable on German than the German version itself. Of course, it needs to be much expanded.
Further, I’m into etymologies. My particular interest is Low and Central German influences on Modern Standard German. I have also written this introduction to Luxembourgish historical phonology and this introduction to contemporary Ripuarian phonology.
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My Babel list includes those languages of which I have a mentionable active knowledge:
- My mother tongue is German, or more specifically standard German with a Rhenish tint. I didn’t learn the Ripuarian dialect of my native region at home, but I started learning it during childhood and have been very fond of it ever since. I dare call my grasp of it "near-native", though it is probably between that and just "advanced".
- I ascribe to myself an "advanced" understanding of English, Dutch, and Luxembourgish. I can freely communicate in these languages, I make few mistakes when I use them, and I rarely come across a word that I don’t understand. I often have the opportunity to practise my English and Dutch, but not my Luxembourgish. Therefore the latter is somewhat less fluent and natural.
- I have an "intermediate" knowledge of Afrikaans, French, and Arabic. I can read Afrikaans without difficulty, I also understand it and know its grammar well, but I’ve almost no practice speaking it. I learnt French in school and knew it as well as English back then, but it’s become a bit rusty now. I studied Arabic at university level for six years. I can read it more or less smoothly and write it okay. I also understand television pretty well so long as it’s not a 10-words-per-second newsreader. Still my grasp of spoken Arabic altogether isn’t quite what I’d want it to be.
- During my studies I also learnt Persian for three semesters. I know the grammar and a basic vocabulary of some 3,000 words.
Beyond this I have a more passive or theoretical understanding of the following:
- Historic languages: I learnt Latin and Biblical Hebrew in school, but I chiefly remember only the grammar, not so much the vocab. I’m teaching myself some Koine Greek in order to read the New Testament, but very much progress hasn’t been made so far.
- I consider myself relatively well versed in the phonetic development of continental West Germanic, from the earliest attested stage to the modern languages and dialects. My knowledge of historical grammar is more eclectic than systematic, as is that of other historic Germanic languages and the reconstructed predecessors.
- Reading capabilities: I can read reasonably well most varieties of modern Germanic, except Icelandic and Faroese. I can also cope with most Romance languages and Maltese. (I’d like to learn a bit of Italian sometime. And a bit of Russian maybe one day.)
I know very little about anything to do with programming. I just look at existing entries and use the same codes.
I've noticed that some Anglophone users give basic information about their idiolect. I think this is a fun idea. And, less importantly, it might be a useful one, too. So these are mine in both German and English:
- I distinguish /ɛː/ from /eː/, but their distribution is unlike the standard in a handful of words. For example, I say [majoneːzə] (Majonäse) and [ɪtaljɛːnɪʃ] (italienisch).
- I have an additional phonem /œː/ in the words tröten and blöken, as well as some dialectal words (e.g. Pöhle – “bollards”).
- I have a strong tendency to merge unstressed vowels. For example, I once wondered if it's intregant or intrigant, because both ways would be the same to me.
- Being from the Rhineland, I use short vowels in a variety of words with standard long vowels, e.g. Krebs, Krümel, über, Schublade, and many more.
- I vowelize /ʁ/ unless followed by a vowel.
- Standard /aʁ/ and /aːɐ̯/ merge with /aː/. Tat, hart, and Bart rhyme.
- Word-internal [ɔɐ̯] and [ɪɐ̯] become monophthongs [ɔː] and [əː], except possibly in very careful speech: [ʋɔːt] (Wort), [ʋəːt] (wird).
- I generally shorten long vowels before [ɐ̯], so Herr and Heer merge as [hɛɐ̯].
- However, long and short i remain distinct: [ʋiɐ̯] (wir) versus [ʋəɐ̯] (wirr).
- I generally pronounce coda g like ch, for example [fʁaːxt] (fragt) and [leːçt] (legt).
- I never pronounce /pf/ in word-initial position and I sometimes mix up words like Feile and Pfeile.
- /v/ becomes [ʋ]. /ç/ may become [ɕ]. /x/ is quite weak in /axt/, which thus becomes [aht].
- As another typically Rhenish feature, I use voiced final consonants before a following word with an initial vowel: [mʊz‿ɪç] (muss ich), [had‿aʊx] (hat auch).
- I often drop word-final /t/ after a (non-sonorant) consonant, especially in the 2nd person singular verb ending: [geːs] (gehst).
Grammar and syntax:
- I commonly use definite articles with personal names: der Peter, die Anna.
- I rarely use the genitive case in casual speech, certainly not after trivial prepositions such as wegen or während.
- I don't often use a possessive dative (dem Mann sein Auto), but I do occasionally and I find it usual if someone else does.
- I commonly drop weak singular endings in masculine nouns, except those ending in -e: dem Mensch, dem Präsident, but: dem Jungen.
- I never use the subjunctive of the present in speech.
- I find it usual to use an am-progressive with direct object: Ich bin die Suppe am Essen.
- I commonly split up pronominal adverbs, and I use them in reference to people: die Frau, wo ich mit gesprochen hab.
I can’t say much about my English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. My pronunciation is definitely based on RP, which I was taught in school and which is also roughly what all of my (few) Anglophone acquaintances speak. I have my very own strange interpretation of RP, however.
- I’ve re-arranged the more open vowels of RP into the following, pretty symmetrical system with a lot of phonemic length distinction:
- [ä] → strut, hurry — Tends somewhat towards [ɑ], as does the long vowel hereunder.
- [äː] → father, palm, bath, start
- [ɔ] → lot, cloth, orange
- [ɔ:] → thought, north, force
- [ɛ] → dress
- [ɛː] → square — May become [ɛɜ̯] word-finally.
- [ɛ], [ɛː] → trap — The long phoneme occurs regularly in closed syllables before a voiced stop or fricative (e.g. in bad, bag, have) and irregularly in a handful of other words (e.g. in gas, man, plan). This seems similar to certain native phonological processes, but still unique. I have no real explanation. (The two sounds may also be [æ], [æː], respectively, but only when I consciously try to do distinguish them.)
- The other vowels and diphthongs are roughly like in RP, with pour and poor distinct.
- I generally don’t distinguish reduced vowels /ɪ/ and /ə/, merging them into [ə], except in prefixes. Word-final /ə/ becomes [ɐ].
- No yod-dropping: [njuː] (new), [tçuːn] (tune), likely even [sjuːt] (suit).
- /t/ is rarely anything but [t]. I might use [ʔ] immediately before a non-alveolar consonant, but not otherwise. I sometimes voice it to [d] in better, getting, letting, and little.
- I don’t usually devoice word-final fricatives, but word-final stops may at times be devoiced. As in my German, conversely, any word-final consonant is likely to be voiced before a vowel in the following word: [ˈkab‿əfˈkɔfɪ] (cup of coffee).
- I distinguish /v/ from /w/, but since the former will often become [ʋ] (as in my German), both may sound almost alike to native English-speakers.
- Although I can say a th, I sometimes find it preferable to simplify the pronunciations of certain words, e.g. [samfɪŋ] (something), [kləʊ̯z] (clothes), [bɹi:vz] or [bɹiːðəz] (breathes).
Of course, I may simply pronounce a lot of words wrongly. For example, I’m always tempted to use a broad A in mass (in all senses). And it took me years to figure out that realm isn’t pronounced /ɹɪˈɑːm/.