10 July 2017 @ 12:46 am
for the past few days i've been taking my "summer break" by working on greenlandic stuff... basically all the learning materials suck, so i have to translate from a bunch of random danish materials and then i'm (as best as i can with no coding ability) using shitty tools to break up words + create a semi-functional pop-up dictionary. so ex. "bookstores" —> book'store's and you can hover on each part (book, store, s) and a definition comes up

a large part of the problem is whoever made the existing dictionary was a huge idiot. instead of putting in, y'know, actual individual words, they put in full phrases, so you ONLY find "bookstores", you can't find "book" "store". which becomes a huge problem when the entirety of the language is to put stuff like "and then sadly he went to the bookstore yesterday" into one long "word".

the other problem being the dictionary is waaay too vague. like "suaq means big"...okay, actually it means big in CONCEPT (house —> mansion, mouse —> rat), not big in SIZE (big kid), which i only figured out after looking up a ton of other words that have "suaq" in them (and, by the way, a lot of "words" don't even have meanings listed; the dictionary's apparently a work in progress). then there's the usual problem of NO usage explanations. if you have 2 separate words and both mean "small", one has to have some kind of nuance. or if there's two forms, one the same as the other but with a suffix, obviously there's a meaning difference between them. but nope, not in the dictionary!

anyway i'm working on a pop-up dictionary (has about 400 words in it; the rest are repeats due to sound-changes since the greasemonkey script + firefox add-on i'm using are so low-tech), grammar lessons and basic dictionary (words supplied by the pop-up dictionary). here's what my "workspace" looks like:

if by some magical crazy chance any of you happen to know any greenlanders.... i need them. *cries* the good news is this word-separation + pop-up dictionary idea of mine is fantastic (dunno why i never thought of using the word-replacement tool to separate words like this before, but it was a stroke of genius), so fantastic that i'm actually LEARNING GREENLANDIC without even trying. greenlandic, one of these supposedly-impossible languages to learn and all (actually it's really easy if you just have a good dictionary, since they use incredibly few unique words, same as esperanto - "town" is actually "place-for-your-house", "school" is "study/learn/instruct-place" etc).

when you learn a language, stuff like sound changes, irregular words, stuff too different / complicated compared to your own language are what makes it hard. ex. in greenlandic you have endings on words that mean who did what - "i" ate and "he" ate both have different endings compared to "i ate him", which is yet again different from "he ate me". but when you have a pop-up dictionary and the words are pre-separated for you, all those troubles just melt away. you just see "I him, he I" 20 times and suddenly you've memorized it in a single day without even trying.