Hi, I’m Kolmiel.
- I personally pronounce that [ˈkɔlmiˌɛl]. It isn’t Hebrew... just 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, sometimes also other Germanic languages.
I work on contemporary colloquial German, an intermediate idiom between standard German and traditional dialects. I think wiktionary should be the first bilingual dictionary to give 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.
I occasionally meddle with non-Germanic languages that I know something about, chiefly ones that few people work on. This includes Arabic, in which I actually have a degree, but on which I don’t want to focus too much around here. Note also that my studies were more humanities-related than strictly linguistic.
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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 currently teaching myself New Testament Greek; here as well I've now acquainted myself with the grammar while my vocabulary remains limited.
- 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 some Russian maybe.
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 information about their idiolects. I thought this was a fun idea. And, less importantly, it might be a useful one, too. So these are mine in both German and English:
Most of the following features are typical of non-formal speech in the Rhineland, western Germany, or sometimes the northern half of Germany at large. A few might be idiosyncracies. Generally, my German is pretty "standard", but certain pronunciations or constructions have been noticed by people from other regions.
- 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 use short vowels in a variety of words with standard long vowels, e.g. Krebs, Krümel, über, Schublade, and many more.
- I merge nasal /a/ into nasal /ɔ/ in words from French, so Chance is [ʃɔ̃ːs]~[ʃɔŋs].
- I have a strong tendency to merge unstressed vowels. For example, I once wondered if it's intrigant or intregant, because both ways would be the same to me.
- Liquids and approximants:
- I vowelise /ʁ/ to [ɐ̯]~[ə̯] unless followed by a vowel.
- Standard /aʁ/ and /aːɐ̯/ merge with /aː/. Tat, hart, and Bart rhyme.
- Word-internal [ɔɐ̯] and [ɪɐ̯] generally become monophthongs [ɔː] and [əː]: [ʋɔːt] (Wort), [ʋəːt] (wird).
- I shorten long vowels before [ɐ̯], merging Herr and Heer. Only long and short i remain distinct: [ʋiɐ̯] (wir) vs. [ʋəɐ̯] (wirr).
- There's also a tendency to vowelise /l/, though chiefly in casual speech.
- After a long vowel it may be lost entirely, particularly after [iː] and [yː], e.g. [ʃpiːt] (spielt).
- Between a short vowel and a non-alveolar consonant, it often becomes [ː] or [ɪ̯], e.g. [hɛːm]~[hɛɪ̯m] (Helm).
- Before alveolars and word-finally, conversely, I often realise /ɪl/ as a stressed syllabic [l̩], e.g. [bl̩t] (Bild).
- /v/ is usually [ʋ].
- I vowelise /ʁ/ to [ɐ̯]~[ə̯] unless followed by a vowel.
- I generally pronounce coda g like ch, e.g. [fʁaːxt] (fragt) and [leːçt] (legt).
- /ç/ becomes /ʃ/ word-initially. Otherwise it may also be fronted to [ɕ], but doesn't merge. It is usually lost before /s/, e.g. [høːstɐ] (höchster).
- I always simplify word-inital /pf/ to /f/, merging Feile and Pfeile. Otherwise /pf/ is [pɸ].
- Equally, I simplify word-initial /dʒ/ to /ʒ/, e.g. [ʒʊŋl̩] (Dschungel).
- In certain individual words, dialectal consonant values may be substituted, e.g. [ˈdʏə̯ʋn̩] (dürfen), [fəːdl̩] (Viertel), [kɔp] (Kopf, in casual speech).
- I often drop word-final /t/ after another obstruent, especially in the second-person singular verb ending: [geːs] (gehst).
- I voice final consonants before an initial vowel in the following word: [mʊz‿ɪç] (muss ich), [had‿aʊx] (hat auch).
Grammar and syntax:
- I always use definite articles with personal names: der Peter, die Anna.
- I rarely use the genitive case in casual speech, and never with everyday 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 in those ending in -e: dem Mensch, dem Präsident, but: dem Jungen.
- I commonly split up pronominal adverbs, and I use them in reference to people: die Frau, wo ich mit gesprochen hab (“the woman I spoke with”).
- I find it very normal to use an am-progressive with direct object: Ich bin die Suppe am Essen. (“I’m eating the soup.”)
- I never use the subjunctive of the present in speech.
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 most of 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 towards [ɑ], as does the long vowel hereunder. (And this is probably why I'm absolutely incapable of hearing any difference between short u and o in North American speakers.)
- [äː] → father, palm, bath, start
- [ɔ] → lot, cloth, orange
- [ɔ:] → thought, north, force
- [ɛ] → dress
- [ɛː] → square — Becomes [ɛɜ̯] utterance-finally.
- [ɛ], [ɛː] → trap — The long phoneme occurs regularly in closed syllables before a voiced obstruent (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.
- 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 do distinguish /v/ from /w/, but since the former will often become [ʋ], they may sound rather similar and the difference may actually be lost following another consonant.
- I’m able to say /θ/ and /ð/, but I sometimes semiconsciously replace them with /f/, /s/, /t/ and /v/, /z/, /d/, respectively, chiefly in some clusters that I find challenging.
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 doesn’t rhyme with calm.