It may not always end with ի

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/04/08 04:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/04/08/571353.aspx


As a follow-up to IStemmer'ed the tide (based in large part on feedback from people via email), I talked in What about search for kids? about a very interesting 'phase' during language acquisition.

In this phase, the child, a particular rule is grokked so well that she will start applying it across the board, even when there is an exception to the rule. Thus the phrase:

He goed to the store.

rather than

He went to the store.

due to a good understanding of the "past tense form of a verb has an -ed suffix" rule.

Parents often find this very disturbing since, prior to the rule being applied the child might have (due to learning by imitation) been using the exception correctly. It gets even worse if the child is corrected -- "Honey, you mean he went to the store?", to which she will say "That's what I said! He goed to the store!".

Hopefully the parents will not be too troubled since this issue sorts itself out soon enough -- the imitation phase gave way to the rule based phase, which will give way to the learning of the exceptions.

(It is amazing how the number of times you need to bite your freaking tongue around parents is directly proportional to how many things you learn about language acquisition!)

In any case....

Interestingly enough, I was embracing my inner child not too long ago in Practical Uses for Replacement Cultures/Locales when I took a simple rule (Use ի as a noun suffix for the genitive form of the noun) and applied it in code. I had actually only spot-checked some of the names, which is I suppose the Internet version of being a small child and applying a rule broadly even when it is easily possible to discern the exceptions.

Doing a more thorough search:

Month # of hits
Հունվարի 11,900
Փետրվարի 16,900
Մարտի 31,700
Ապրիլի 14,700
Մայիսի 9,850
Հունիսի 763
Հուլիսի 579
Օգոստոսի 544
Սեպտեմբերի 10,500
Հոկտեմբերի 10,500
Նոյեմբերի 10,400
Դեկտեմբերի 11,700

I could postulate that the entire country of Armenia speaks a different language during the summertime and thus would not need to use those month names very often. But even I know that this would be a stupid postulation....

So, let's look at the letters; maybe there is some easily discernable pattern:

Month Letters
Հունվարի HO VO YIWN NOW VEW AYB REH INI
Փետրվարի PIWR ECH TIWN REH VEW AYB REH INI
Մարտի MEN AYB REH TIWN INI
Ապրիլի AYB PEH REH INI LIWN INI
Մայիսի MEN AYB YI INI SEH INI
Հունիսի HO VO YIWN NOW INI SEH INI
Հուլիսի HO VO YIWN LIWN INI SEH INI
Օգոստոսի OH GIM VO SEH TIWN VO SEH INI
Սեպտեմբերի SEH ECH PEH TIWN ECH MEN BEN ECH REH INI
Հոկտեմբերի HO VO KEN TIWN ECH MEN BEN ECH REH INI
Նոյեմբերի NOW VO YI ECH MEN BEN ECH REH INI
Դեկտեմբերի DA ECH KEN TIWN ECH MEN BEN ECH REH INI

Hmmm.... nothing is jumping out at me.

Now I am at a slight disadvantage since I am not learning the language enough to know what might be the rule behind these exceptions, and there is no obvious pattern (all three have the same letter just before them, but so does another of the months that has many hits).

Perhaps someone who knows the answer will post a comment (if not, I'm sure I will try to dig into it myself at some point!).

Or maybe I just need to find a small Armenian child and ask them, instead. Of course they might just think I had them right the first time, a fact that they have known about since the last time they goed to Armenia.... :-)

 

This post brought to you by "ի" (U+056b, a.k.a. ARMENIAN SMALL LETTER INI)


# Robert on 29 May 2006 5:06 PM:

Check wiith the admins who filter messages i posted one yesterday.


see happiness - of happiness
      uraxutiun - uraxutian

# Michael S. Kaplan on 29 May 2006 7:06 PM:

Actually Robert, you commented on the other post -- the one that pointed at this post (http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/archive/2006/05/28/608931.aspx).

:-)

# Robert on 31 May 2006 3:07 AM:

Oh.  :-P

# Mushegh on 2 Jun 2006 4:41 PM:

Hmm, as a Native speaker, I just thought it really is strange... There must be a rule for these sorts of things... I am sure.

As for this post, my initial thinking is this. If the noun ends with yun - like the example there urakhutyun then the possesive tense would be urakhutyan. It can't be urakhutyuni (some dialects allow this but not in the official grammar). On the other hand all other nouns usually will end with 'i' but they can also end with yan. For instance. November - Noyember (transliteration!!!). 17th of November will be Noyemberi 17. But, November holidays (per say) would be Noyemberyan toner - ending with "yan". There are two forms.

referenced by

2010/09/09 Latvian. Genitive. Oops.

2008/05/14 Windows is too busy being consistent with the user to be consistent with itself!

2007/08/04 A re-genitive post

2006/09/10 How to overclock a child's Language Acquisition skills?

2006/09/06 IsSortable() == false? Well, sometimes it may be lying....

2006/05/28 No Georgians or Armenians goed to the blog?

2006/04/09 It may not always end with ის or ისა, either

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