Language

No tiene buena pinta

Here's a new (to me) phrase that I read today after reading about Miguel Heras dropping from UTMB:

No tiene buena pinta.

Pinta was a new one for me. The phrase, in total, adds up to: It doesn't look good.

Hindi: masculine and feminine, singular and plural

I've been mixing up masculine and feminine forms--in part, I think, because I learned Spanish before Hindi, and the -a ending in Spanish is feminine. In Hindi, it is masculine. To keep it all straight, these are the general forms (i.e., there are plenty of exceptions) for Hindi words.

Hindi: Fricative Consonants: श, ष, स, ह

The seventh and final group of consonants -- श, ष, स, ह -- is the fricative consonants (WikipediaFricative consonants). As an aerospace engineer, fricatives are easy for me to understand. Fricatives are formed by forcing the air from your lungs into a tight channel and causing turbulence in the air flow; it's like placing a model in a wind tunnel.

śa, /ɕ,ʃ/

ṣa, /ʂ/

Hindi: Approximant Consonants: य, र, ल, व

The sixth group of consonants -- य, र, ल, व -- is the approximant consonants (WikipediaApproximant consonants). The approximants sound similar to their corresponding English consonants, as shown in the transliterations below. Approximants are special because they resemble vowels -- a sort of middle sound between vowels and consonants.

ya, /j/

ra, /r/

Hindi: Labial Consonants: प, फ, ब, भ, म

The fifth consonants -- प, फ, ब, भ, म -- are labial consonants (WikipediaLabial consonants). Labial consonants are articulated with the lips. Labial consonants are easy to say because they are analogous with sounds in the English language. This group of five consonants corresponds with p, b, and m in English. The trick is saying प and फ, ब and भ, with the proper aspiration.

Hindi: Dental Consonants: त, थ, द, ध, न

The fourth five consonants -- त, थ, द, ध, न -- are dental consonants (WikipediaDental consonants). Just like it sounds, the dental consonants are related to your teeth. Dental consonants represent half of the strange d's and t's, cerebral consonants are the other half. Of course, by strange, I mean strange to me.

Hindi: Cerebral Consonants: ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण

The third five consonants -- ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण -- are cerebral consonants (WikipediaCerebral consonants). Apparently, in most phonetic systems, these are known as retroflex consonants, but in this and other languages in the region they are called cerebral consonants. From my point of view, as an American, cerebral consonants require tongue placement similar to the palatal consonants.

Hindi: Palatal Consonants: च, छ, ज, झ, ञ

The second five consonants -- च, छ, ज, झ, ञ -- are palatal consonants (WikipediaPalatal consonants). Palatal consonants are articulated with the top, flat part of your tongue against the hard palate -- the middle of the roof of your mouth. This is easier to understand if you slowly say the j in jump or the ch in change.

Hindi: Guttural Consonants: क, ख, ग, घ, ङ

When starting from the beginning in my Hindi studies, I learned an interesting concept about the arrangement of the Hindi alphabet: there is a reason the letters are in such an order. It is based on articulation of the consonants. I'm no linguist, but my understanding is that the consonants go in groups in this order: guttural; palatal; cerebral; dental; labial; approximant; fricative. Basically, but not entirely, this goes from the back of the throat (guttural) to the lips (labial). I'll lay it out in steps.

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