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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:32 am 
 

I've realised many people here know a lot about languages. I don't know if it's just the internet feel or something, but I think we could share some experiences here. How do you usually work yourself through languages? Courses, books, forums, total immersion? Do you go for them for usefulness, need, interest on using the language or just for the sake of learning?

I myself learned mostly from the internet, but I think that's pretty much the hardest way. It's just the one to spare money and time. I'm by now fluent in Portuguese, English, German and Spanish, conversational in French, Italian and Esperanto and with some knowledge of Yiddish, Galician and Latin. Previously, I've studied Russian, Bokmal Norwegian, Welsh, Modern Greek and Brazilian Sign Language, but nowadays I can't even count to ten on these.

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invitus
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:24 am
Posts: 54
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:00 am 
 

Maybe learning from the internet is the hardest way in some respects, but memrise, rosetta stone and such must be some of the best things to happen to language learning. I've learned things from memrise at least three times quicker than I would have learned them outside memrise. It's so easy to just stay focused, it really manipulates the brain to reward learning.

In fact, anything that fits the format, I now try to fit into memrise. There's probably some better (more flexible/customizable) tools for learning different kinds of content, but I haven't bothered to research yet, as I'm sure that sometime I will.

The only negative thing about this is that I'm not actually very interested in learning languages myself. Apart from my native language, I only know English and that I learned from using it from an early age. I've tried my best to learn as little as possible during language lessons. With Russian, I'm sure I succeeded. So I have little to no experience of actually learning a new language [academically].

Right now I suspect that I enjoy learning languages and that my brain is good for such a thing, otherwise I wouldn't have learned english that much more easily than my peers. Wouldn't enjoy learning new words as much, too. But I find it hard to put learning languages above learning some other things.

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Manic Maniac
Grammaritically Challengated

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:58 pm
Posts: 182
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:17 pm 
 

ha, I just started taking a brake from crafting a language on Conlang Wikia.
But yeah, I'm struggleing to understand other languages. Linguistics is very interesting to me. I've always wanted to speak languages like Romanian, Russian, Japanese, Latin, & even Sumerian, fluently. & I've also always wanted to created languages of my own.
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OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
Posts: 9793
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:32 pm 
 

I tried Japanese on Rosetta Stone and phone apps and other methods and it did jack shit. It tried to show me vocabulary without any of the base structure or grammar and I was lost. Thankfully my school offers courses so I just got into one of those when the time felt right (last quarter, senior year) and I'm in my second quarter now. There's a ton of stuff to remember and I feel as though the pace is getting faster than I can catch up, but it's far better at learning the language. Methods of learning end up being straight memorization as I cram for tests, but when I'm into it I'll write out kanji and notice that I recalled seeing it before (in music, animes, googlemaps, etc.), which helps me remember it. Same goes for verbs, although those are harder when you have to know what type of verb it is, how it conjugates for present, past, neg-present/neg-past, short form, -te form, etc.
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 2600
Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:57 pm 
 

People who learn more than two languages will never cease to amaze me. I don't know how that's possible.
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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:00 pm 
 

Conlanging is pretty awesome, I've played with some of my own but I never got it serious.

I made this image some days ago, the guys in the local group just laughed, but someone posted it on an international group and I was called a racist, a bigot and an imbecile. It gets easier and easier to get people butthurted.

Spoiler: show
Image


I kind of agree with Invitus, these new memorisation tools are pretty awesome. Plus the internet can provide you PDF books that would otherwise be rare and even some contacts to chat in other languages.

Earthcubed wrote:
People who learn more than two languages will never cease to amaze me. I don't know how that's possible.


Not that hard, it's even easier if you learn one at each time.

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shouvince
Veteran

Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:11 am
Posts: 2762
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:04 pm 
 

Rasc wrote:
I myself learned mostly from the internet, but I think that's pretty much the hardest way. It's just the one to spare money and time. I'm by now fluent in Portuguese, English, German and Spanish, conversational in French, Italian and Esperanto and with some knowledge of Yiddish, Galician and Latin. Previously, I've studied Russian, Bokmal Norwegian, Welsh, Modern Greek and Brazilian Sign Language, but nowadays I can't even count to ten on these.


Looks like you're aiming to become a polyglot! You're right though, the internet isn't a good place to pick up languages but there are now some cool services making it easy for beginners. Check out duolingo.com if you haven't already. Pretty neat website with both speech and text learning. You also have different levels of difficulties, assignments etc.

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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:44 pm 
 

shouvince wrote:
Rasc wrote:
I myself learned mostly from the internet, but I think that's pretty much the hardest way. It's just the one to spare money and time. I'm by now fluent in Portuguese, English, German and Spanish, conversational in French, Italian and Esperanto and with some knowledge of Yiddish, Galician and Latin. Previously, I've studied Russian, Bokmal Norwegian, Welsh, Modern Greek and Brazilian Sign Language, but nowadays I can't even count to ten on these.


Looks like you're aiming to become a polyglot! You're right though, the internet isn't a good place to pick up languages but there are now some cool services making it easy for beginners. Check out duolingo.com if you haven't already. Pretty neat website with both speech and text learning. You also have different levels of difficulties, assignments etc.


Hell yeah :D I did check it, it's great to keep my Italian alive without having to do such an effort. Its exercises are basically mechanical.

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Pippin_Took
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:28 pm
Posts: 600
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:18 pm 
 

I'm also using Duolingo. I lived in Italy for 2 months last year for work and whilst I got pretty good at the basics of conversation (I was able to get by without English from about halfway through - though not in work itself...) I have lost all that now since I didn't keep it up. Duolingo (plus a couple of books) seems a good way to get my Italian back on track, and then work out later on if I feel like taking a class.

Rasc, your array of languages is really impressive! Is it just a love of learning them / or travel? Or do you need languages for work or something?

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severzhavnost
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:16 pm
Posts: 723
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:43 pm 
 

I've taken small steps into learning Scottish Gaelic. When my grandfather passed away, I learned only at his funeral that he was the last in my family to speak it. So learning the language would be a nice way of tribute; plus it's always sad when a part of your national heritage is lost too.
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Unity
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:42 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:54 pm 
 

This topic is right up my alley, since I have a degree in Translation. I'm fluent in Portuguese and English and on my way to becoming fluent in Spanish. I also know some German and have basic knowledge of French. I also know about 40 words in Norwegian (I like Black Metal... xD).
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TallShadowsoftheWind
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:19 am
Posts: 15
Location: Dallas, United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:45 pm 
 

YouTube does a good job of finding language courses but I learn a lot through busuu.com. I'm learning French, Portuguese, and Turkish through Busuu but it does a good job of connecting you with other speakers. A person on there who is helping with my French also started teaching me Tamazight. The Pimsleur courses are easy to find on torrent sites and do a good job. I learned a fair amount of Portuguese through that (though I forgot most of it). No one on here could hope to learn as many languages as you already know. Sounds like you're quite the cunning linguist.
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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm 
 

Pippin_Took wrote:
Rasc, your array of languages is really impressive! Is it just a love of learning them / or travel? Or do you need languages for work or something?


Just something I love, thanks :)

severzhavnost wrote:
I've taken small steps into learning Scottish Gaelic. When my grandfather passed away, I learned only at his funeral that he was the last in my family to speak it. So learning the language would be a nice way of tribute; plus it's always sad when a part of your national heritage is lost too.


That's great to hear about. I see you're from Canada, was he a Canadian Gaelic speaker (I mean, the Gaelic variety that emerged in Cape Breton with Scottish immigrants) or is it just you're family who's Scottish?

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Fromage_Qui_Pue
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:32 pm
Posts: 73
Location: France
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:31 am 
 

Personally i'm learning Spanish at school, English with internet and books and Provençal (an old local language) with internet too.
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severzhavnost
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:16 pm
Posts: 723
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:41 am 
 

Rasc: My grandfather only moved to Canada in the late 1950s, so the Gaelic he knew, he had most likely already learned back in Scotland.

Fromage: good luck with the Provençal! Those other languages of France have always interested me too. I'd like to learn Breton some day.
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DeathForBlitzkrieg
A Dead Man's Robe

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:23 pm
Posts: 2136
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:14 am 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
People who learn more than two languages will never cease to amaze me. I don't know how that's possible.


Reminded me of this comedy gold:

"And English speakers hate this, "Two languages in one head? No one can live at that speed! Good lord, man, you're asking the impossible!" But the Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana."
http://youtu.be/1hJQsvoY6VU (02:00)
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Turner
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1218
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:28 am 
 

i learnt german at university. chose the language because i really wanted to learn another language, and knew a lot of germans through an ex-gf, travelling, etc. i'm fluent now, but it took a lot of hard work and extra-curricular activities. with a language like german (will also apply to learners of dutch and scandinavian languages), you have a problem in that the germans consider english massive cultural capital. if you're white and don't have a slavic accent, good fucking luck avoiding the "let's practice my english" routine. that being said, once you can get past it, even doing mundane, boring shit like ordering things over the phone becomes that little bit fun just doing it in another language. mild jokes become hilarious, bad lyrics become deep poetry, etc. if you've ever wondered why your non-native english-speaker friends post so much bog-standard inspirational shit on facebook, its because second languages have some kind of flair to them.

in short: learning languages is fantastic and gives you a great perspective, but try to learn a language whose native speakers have no interest in english!

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Gypaetus
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:03 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:34 am 
 

I'm trying (kinda) with great difficulty to learn Polish. I'm hoping to surprise my fiance's nan (she's Polish) in a year or two... but... yeah. I've only been seriously looking into it for a few weeks and I'm already full of regret. I'm trying the internet route at the moment because I'm cheap, but I'm already considering forking out the money for lessons.
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Turner
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1218
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:09 pm 
 

the internet can be a good resource if you know what you're looking for, but without a bit of background in basic linguistics and second-language acquisition, you'll find it hard.

also, beware of programs like the rosetta stone; they can really only teach you a very limited functional vocabulary, because their methods are fundamentally flawed. the rosetta stone's big tagline is something like "you didn't do grammar drills as a kid and you learnt your L1 fine, so why do it now??", and this is a massive fallacy: the differences between first- and second-language acquisition are HUGE as regards how language is processed and stored within the brain, and without getting too chomskian, you basically NEED to learn an L2 from within the framework of your L1. this means grammar drills. the rosetta stone ignores this fact, and that gives a bit too much false hope.

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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:02 pm 
 

Fromage_Qui_Pue wrote:
Personally i'm learning Spanish at school, English with internet and books and Provençal (an old local language) with internet too.

That's really cool. I'd learn all these regional languages if I were Spanish or French, you guys are immersed in such a diversity of traditional languages :P As for Spain I already speak, besides Spanish, Galician and Portuguese, which are regional languages in Spain, plus I'll surely learn Basque and Catalan some day and I don't disregard the idea of picking up some Asturian ^^

Turner wrote:
also, beware of programs like the rosetta stone; they can really only teach you a very limited functional vocabulary, because their methods are fundamentally flawed. the rosetta stone's big tagline is something like "you didn't do grammar drills as a kid and you learnt your L1 fine, so why do it now??", and this is a massive fallacy: the differences between first- and second-language acquisition are HUGE as regards how language is processed and stored within the brain, and without getting too chomskian, you basically NEED to learn an L2 from within the framework of your L1. this means grammar drills. the rosetta stone ignores this fact, and that gives a bit too much false hope.


Absolutely. Even though total immersion is a good idea to learn languages, grammar lessons and vocabulary lists are there to spare us some time, plus there's the fact you always tend to apply some phonology and grammar from languages you already speak. Why are there so many immigrants in the US and the UK that can't differ pairs like man/men, thin/fin, they/day or so many others? They just tend to apply the rules of their mother tongues, now that they're hard-wired in their brains. This is also the source of the pictorial image of Asians, Russians and Indians dropping the verb "to be". If you're language doesn't have it, you won't just pick up where to use a concept as complex as "copula", just like English-speakers have difficulty with Romance languages that differ essence from characteristic copula (as in ser/estar).

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dingodango
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:39 am
Posts: 5
Location: California, USA
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:06 am 
 

My native language is English, and I had to take two years of Spanish in high school, though I actually ended up taking four. I'm not fluent by any means, but I can understand a fair bit of it.

Right now I'm learning Japanese at a community college and it's a blast. Some parts of it have been kicking my balls lately, but it's immensely enjoyable and satisfying to be learning a language that's completely different from my first two.

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VariedTastes
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:24 pm
Posts: 140
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:51 am 
 

I've been taking German in school for the past five years now. Originally I took it in middle school to fulfill the obligatory two years of foreign language learning needed to graduate high school, but I found myself enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I wouldn't say that I'm fluent by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm getting there I think. I could certainly survive if I moved to Germany and had everyone speak "Hoch Deutsch" when talking to me. I could order food and stuff, hold a conversation as long as it's not something with abnormal vocabulary, maybe even work someplace. Where I really get tripped up is when people speak in dialects or have thick accents. Incidentally, when I spent a month in Germany, the people I lived with had both very strong accents and spoke in a dialect. If I ever wanted to understand them I had to constantly remind them to speak in standard German. One of my favorite examples was when the people said "let's go". In standard German that would be "Lassen wir uns gehen". They simply said "Geh ma". Needless to say that I felt like I was wasting my time learning German when even the Germans didn't speak it!
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Unity
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:42 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:39 pm 
 

Rasc wrote:
Fromage_Qui_Pue wrote:
Personally i'm learning Spanish at school, English with internet and books and Provençal (an old local language) with internet too.

That's really cool. I'd learn all these regional languages if I were Spanish or French, you guys are immersed in such a diversity of traditional languages :P As for Spain I already speak, besides Spanish, Galician and Portuguese, which are regional languages in Spain, plus I'll surely learn Basque and Catalan some day and I don't disregard the idea of picking up some Asturian ^^

Turner wrote:
also, beware of programs like the rosetta stone; they can really only teach you a very limited functional vocabulary, because their methods are fundamentally flawed. the rosetta stone's big tagline is something like "you didn't do grammar drills as a kid and you learnt your L1 fine, so why do it now??", and this is a massive fallacy: the differences between first- and second-language acquisition are HUGE as regards how language is processed and stored within the brain, and without getting too chomskian, you basically NEED to learn an L2 from within the framework of your L1. this means grammar drills. the rosetta stone ignores this fact, and that gives a bit too much false hope.


Absolutely. Even though total immersion is a good idea to learn languages, grammar lessons and vocabulary lists are there to spare us some time, plus there's the fact you always tend to apply some phonology and grammar from languages you already speak. Why are there so many immigrants in the US and the UK that can't differ pairs like man/men, thin/fin, they/day or so many others? They just tend to apply the rules of their mother tongues, now that they're hard-wired in their brains. This is also the source of the pictorial image of Asians, Russians and Indians dropping the verb "to be". If you're language doesn't have it, you won't just pick up where to use a concept as complex as "copula", just like English-speakers have difficulty with Romance languages that differ essence from characteristic copula (as in ser/estar).


How dare you!! Portugal does NOT belong to Spain!
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Panflute
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 451
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:43 pm 
 

I speak Dutch and English fluently, and Spanish near-fluently. I also know some basic Catalan and German, but it's barely enough to save me beyond buying groceries and ordering coffee.

Dutch is my maternal language and I'm an autodidact when it comes to English; I did have some English classes in high school, but they didn't really help much. Spanish I learned at university, and to be honest I'm happy I had genuine classes in that language instead of having to figure out everything by myself. Having a good basis in terms of grammar and the most frequently used vocabulary gives you a huge advantage. My level of Spanish did dwindle a bit after I graduated and left university, but seeing as I have to speak it quite often these days both at work and with friends, I have reached a reasonable level once more.

My next objective, language-wise, is to learn Russian, as it is a great language that is associated with a culture that I hold very dear.
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Arkhane
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm
Posts: 1570
Location: South Texas
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:57 pm 
 

I'll learn either French or Norwegian... only for the sole purpose of moving to either Norway or Canada though. I just cannot believe how much a proper education in America costs, or even the healthcare here. $5,000 a day for life support? $2,000 for a root canal. 15,000 in childbirth costs? It makes me sick, and I want to get out of this country and its pseudo-freedom.
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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:57 pm 
 

Unity wrote:
How dare you!! Portugal does NOT belong to Spain!


I'm a Portuguese citizen, I'm well aware of that :P But Portuguese is spoken by minorities in Spain, such as in the city of Olivenza/Olivença, some areas of Extremadura/Estremadura and some border areas between Galicia/Galícia and Portugal. Plus there are people who'd consider Galician and Fala mere dialects of Portuguese. I disagree with that position, but, anyways, "pure" Portuguese is spoken in Spain indeed.

Arkhane wrote:
I'll learn either French or Norwegian... only for the sole purpose of moving to either Norway or Canada though. I just cannot believe how much a proper education in America costs, or even the healthcare here. $5,000 a day for life support? $2,000 for a root canal. 15,000 in childbirth costs? It makes me sick, and I want to get out of this country and its pseudo-freedom.


I understand, I'm sure it may feel sickly to live in Amurika sometimes.

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Unity
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:42 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:37 pm 
 

Rasc wrote:
Unity wrote:
How dare you!! Portugal does NOT belong to Spain!


I'm a Portuguese citizen, I'm well aware of that :P But Portuguese is spoken by minorities in Spain, such as in the city of Olivenza/Olivença, some areas of Extremadura/Estremadura and some border areas between Galicia/Galícia and Portugal. Plus there are people who'd consider Galician and Fala mere dialects of Portuguese. I disagree with that position, but, anyways, "pure" Portuguese is spoken in Spain indeed.

Arkhane wrote:
I'll learn either French or Norwegian... only for the sole purpose of moving to either Norway or Canada though. I just cannot believe how much a proper education in America costs, or even the healthcare here. $5,000 a day for life support? $2,000 for a root canal. 15,000 in childbirth costs? It makes me sick, and I want to get out of this country and its pseudo-freedom.


I understand, I'm sure it may feel sickly to live in Amurika sometimes.


Oh, OK then. It really pisses us off when ignorant people assume that we belong to Spain (nothing against spaniards though). But why do you say that "pure" Portuguese is spoken in Spain?
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Rasc
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:19 am
Posts: 193
Location: Brazil
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:07 pm 
 

Unity wrote:
Oh, OK then. It really pisses us off when ignorant people assume that we belong to Spain (nothing against spaniards though). But why do you say that "pure" Portuguese is spoken in Spain?


I know, I've come across some people saying this ignorância.

I mean "pure Portugese" as lects that really belong to the Portuguese language, as practically everyone agrees, in opposition to Fala, Eonavian and Galician, which some people (mainly Portuguese speakers) claim to be the same language.

I disagree with that because of the great distinction from Portuguese time and Astur-Leonese influences imposed onto Fala and Eonavian, and because of Galician singular developments and separate literary tradition.

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Toberium
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 185
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:47 am 
 

I took German for a few years in school, but only a few years later, forgot a lot of it. I didn't really like the way I was taught. I was just told little phrases that might be useful for a tourist, but little thought was given to a grammar. I guess they just assumed we would pick up the patterns.

I'm currently working on learning Hindi/Urdu (in addition to brushing up German and trying at some Arabic. Maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew...), and my experiences in high school sort of influenced the way I'm trying to learn: Grammar first, vocab/phrase memorization second. I should probably not overemphasize any aspect to learning a language though. I'm mainly learning through library/dummy books, websites like http://www.learning-hindi.com/, and YouTube videos. The hardest thing for me is writing in a different script. I might watch a video about how to combine letters in Devanagari script, write it down, only to be told by a foreign friend that I'm drawing it wrong. The way Urdu script (and all Arabic script) connects letters confuses me to no end.

I'm also trying to learn linguistics, but that's another story I guess.

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MutantClannfear
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 12:12 am
Posts: 2269
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:39 am 
 

I'm currently learning Spanish through school and this is maybe my ninth month or so with the language. Not even close to being fluent in it, but I can get the gist of maybe 40% of the Spanish text I happen to stumble across, which is a really exciting feeling. :) Sometime in a month or two I'm also planning on making a very serious effort to learn Czech as part of my own little vanity project.
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Atrocious_Mutilation
KITTY SO PUFFY

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:51 am
Posts: 1686
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:22 am 
 

I'm currently teaching myself Thai with help from my mum. It's hard to say when I started learning it, since I've been exposed to the language from an early age but I only decided to relearn the language late last year. The hardest part about the language is memorising the alphabet and the sound each character makes, and I can read it if I go very slowly, but the grammar is easy so I'm hoping that once I get through the alphabet the rest will come easily.

After that I might try Japanese or some other European language. I studied Japanese in high school and even went to Japan for a brief language exchange but I had to stop to continue studying sciences. As for the European language, I plan on going to exchange in either Quebec, Denmark or Sweden in the coming year so I'd like to pick up the language wherever I go.
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Panflute
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 451
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:04 am 
 

Turner wrote:
i learnt german at university. chose the language because i really wanted to learn another language, and knew a lot of germans through an ex-gf, travelling, etc. i'm fluent now, but it took a lot of hard work and extra-curricular activities. with a language like german (will also apply to learners of dutch and scandinavian languages), you have a problem in that the germans consider english massive cultural capital. if you're white and don't have a slavic accent, good fucking luck avoiding the "let's practice my english" routine. that being said, once you can get past it, even doing mundane, boring shit like ordering things over the phone becomes that little bit fun just doing it in another language. mild jokes become hilarious, bad lyrics become deep poetry, etc. if you've ever wondered why your non-native english-speaker friends post so much bog-standard inspirational shit on facebook, its because second languages have some kind of flair to them.


Haha, the "let's practice my English" response is annoying as hell. I've never experienced it myself obviously due to being Dutch, but I have many foreign (mainly Spanish) friends who are confronted with this whenever they are in a big city. Some of them are really good at Dutch, too. But the Dutch are especially annoying in this sense because we have this self-image that we're all fluent at English (which, trust me, we are not). So when people reply to your Dutch question in English, it's not only a misplaced attempt to cater to you; it's also a demonstration of their 'superior' English language skills. In that sense, it's not so much "let's practice English", but rather "feel free to admire how cultured and multilingual I am".

It also depends on where you are, though. In rural areas this is less likely to happen for obvious reasons, but in Amsterdam, even I have been asked for a light in English by fellow Dutch people.

About the mundane inspirational shit: I'm getting the impression it's more a cultural than a linguistic thing. Apart from the usual pathetic Paolo Coelho quote, Dutch people, thank fuck, don't put too much of this stuff online, probably because we are not very poetic people to begin with. But when I go on the LinkedIn account of my company, which has like 80% Spanish contacts, the wall is flooded each and every day with (alleged) Einstein and Steve Job quotes (often translated into Spanish), and 'solve if ur a genius' math problems.
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Turner
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:36 am 
 

ha, i think you're actually 110% right with the "watch me impress you with my english" rather than the practicing! never thought of it like that, but you're completely right. constantly getting english answers to german questions is infuriating - to the point that i abused some poor girl in starbucks for doing it. i was in such a rage at the time, but i really regretted my outburst afterwards. also got it a lot meeting my ex-gf's friends/relatives - her boss, parents, etc. on the one hand it automatically endears you to people (this was great as regards her mum) but on the other, it's a little shallow.

one thing i had to deal with a lot doing sociolinguistics at uni was the idea of english as a tool of cultural imperialism, and given my experiences above, this really gave me the shits. the linguists that rally against it usually see english on the same level as mcdonalds and US sitcoms - american domination of the world, etc etc. but of all the reading we had to do, we never focused on "ESL speakers as proponents of english", or on the effect that has on the logistical ability of english L1 speakers to learn foreign languages. which imo leaves a really, really large hole in the theory. of course, all sociolinguists are also hardline lefties, so water-tight, objective theories DO generally tend to play second fiddle to moaning about inequality...

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Turner
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:47 am 
 

VariedTastes wrote:
One of my favorite examples was when the people said "let's go". In standard German that would be "Lassen wir uns gehen". They simply said "Geh ma". Needless to say that I felt like I was wasting my time learning German when even the Germans didn't speak it!


i experience this kind of thing a lot, and it makes me wonder exactly who writes the textbooks! to add another example, our textbooks never, ever once in all their "how to go to the shops/order food/etc" scenarios included either of the phrases "was darf's sein?" and "noch was dazu?" - two things you'll hear almost every time you're in a restaurant, bakery, etc. and neither of those is dialectal, either. first time someone said "was darf's sein?" to me, i thought to myself, "this is a particularly philosophical question for a waitress to ask. would you like to take my order instead?"

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Panflute
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:58 pm 
 

Turner wrote:
ha, i think you're actually 110% right with the "watch me impress you with my english" rather than the practicing! never thought of it like that, but you're completely right. constantly getting english answers to german questions is infuriating - to the point that i abused some poor girl in starbucks for doing it. i was in such a rage at the time, but i really regretted my outburst afterwards. also got it a lot meeting my ex-gf's friends/relatives - her boss, parents, etc. on the one hand it automatically endears you to people (this was great as regards her mum) but on the other, it's a little shallow.


One habit I've adopted to get rid of the problem is that I simply claim I don't speak English. Of course, in your case that would've been difficult with your ex's friends knowing you're Australian. It led to some curious situations when I was in Barcelona, but it had a different reason - I spoke Spanish, while some of the more politically engaged people there want to either speak Catalan or English because they see Spanish as an 'imperialist' language (while they're ironically okidoki with English). I speak a bit of Catalan, but not enough to have more profound conversations, so this led to the extraordinary situation of me speaking a mix of Spanish and Catalan to a Spaniard, who talked back to me in English.

Quote:
one thing i had to deal with a lot doing sociolinguistics at uni was the idea of english as a tool of cultural imperialism, and given my experiences above, this really gave me the shits. the linguists that rally against it usually see english on the same level as mcdonalds and US sitcoms - american domination of the world, etc etc. but of all the reading we had to do, we never focused on "ESL speakers as proponents of english", or on the effect that has on the logistical ability of english L1 speakers to learn foreign languages. which imo leaves a really, really large hole in the theory. of course, all sociolinguists are also hardline lefties, so water-tight, objective theories DO generally tend to play second fiddle to moaning about inequality...


It's a tricky discussion, but in general I think there is a core of truth in it. You could also view it like this: the eagerness of non-native speakers of English to use the language every chance they get (or take) is a symptom of their advancing Americanisation. This is an observation I make purely from my perspective as a Dutchman, because we have a rather big habit of viewing English as 'cool' and 'edgy' while latently detesting our own language. It's not just that people speak English a lot, but also that we use an increasing amount of English expressions (while speaking Dutch) taken directly from American television. Cringe-worthy shit like 'oh my God' and 'tell me about it'. This annoys me to no end, and I am a bit of a chauvinist when it comes to English in relation to my own language, in the sense that I despise the former's unnecessary and uncalled for ubiquity. This should never extend to the French mentality of refusing to speak English to tourists, though. It's just as annoying as people replying in English when they notice you have the slightest accent.
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Marag
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:57 pm 
 

Rasc wrote:

I myself learned mostly from the internet, but I think that's pretty much the hardest way. It's just the one to spare money and time. I'm by now fluent in Portuguese, English, German and Spanish, conversational in French, Italian and Esperanto and with some knowledge of Yiddish, Galician and Latin. Previously, I've studied Russian, Bokmal Norwegian, Welsh, Modern Greek and Brazilian Sign Language, but nowadays I can't even count to ten on these.

Where did you learn Galician? I always have been interested in it, even though it's so similar to Portuguese.
I'd like to learn Swiss(Allemanic) German, or an italian language like Lombard or Venetian too, but I never found any online resources that went deeper than saying "look at how crazy those swissmen and their grunting noises are!"

Panflute wrote:
Paolo Coelho

:ugh:

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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:16 pm 
 

Rasc wrote:

Earthcubed wrote:
People who learn more than two languages will never cease to amaze me. I don't know how that's possible.


Not that hard, it's even easier if you learn one at each time.


Unfortunately I took about eight years of Spanish in school and never got very far (and have mostly forgotten it too), so even taking it slow doesn't help.

DeathForBlitzkrieg wrote:
Earthcubed wrote:
People who learn more than two languages will never cease to amaze me. I don't know how that's possible.


Reminded me of this comedy gold:

"And English speakers hate this, "Two languages in one head? No one can live at that speed! Good lord, man, you're asking the impossible!" But the Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana."
http://youtu.be/1hJQsvoY6VU (02:00)



:lol:This is great.
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Rasc
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:35 pm 
 

Happily, all I know about Paulo Coelho is what I read in his daily column in the last page of the newspaper when I was too young to know how bad he wrote and some cassette copies of "Brida" my grandmother gave to me and I listened simply because they were cassettes.

Marag wrote:
Where did you learn Galician? I always have been interested in it, even though it's so similar to Portuguese.
I'd like to learn Swiss(Allemanic) German, or an italian language like Lombard or Venetian too, but I never found any online resources that went deeper than saying "look at how crazy those swissmen and their grunting noises are!"


I used a PDF called Colloquial Galician a friend sent to me. It has no details on pronunciation and it's written entirely in Galician, so I suppose it's class material, but if you read something about Galician phonetics elsewhere and pay attention some pronunciation through videos and music, you'll just get it. If you're any interested on it, just PM me, it's pretty undurground, I never found an available link to it but it's just on my Mediafire account.

About Swiss German, there's something by Eurotalk on it. I never found it online wholly, but never looked for it carefully either.

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Panflute
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:15 pm 
 

Marag wrote:
Panflute wrote:
Paolo Coelho
:ugh:


Yeah, that about sums it up.
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OneSizeFitzpatrick
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:31 pm 
 

I've always wanted to learn Czech since alot of my ancestry dates back to that neat part of the world, but the lack of vowels makes pronunciation near impossible for native English speakers, Russian seems to be so much simpler than all the little offshoot Slavic languages, especially the ones that don't use Cyrillic.
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