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Alina K

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Alina K last won the day on August 12 2018

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About Alina K

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    Language Newbie


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    English, French
  1. There's a huge topic right here that you'll find useful: But actually I agree with L: it all really depends on your needs and desires. Don't just aim on languages that are easy to speak or write, aim on those that will open you doors in a better place. If you don't have any particular passion for one or another language or plans to move in a specific country (like Italy or Russia) then consider improving your English. Currently, it's the best investment. The better you speak it, the better you usually perceived abroad whether you're a tourist, a student or an immigrant.
  2. I know, Google Translate makes me cry too Just now I try not to use machine translation for sentences and texts. It's probably because of my previous painful experience with the GT of 2008-ish. Translating chunks and individual words in Context Reverso and Linguee (it's amazing resource, 100% agree) works much better for me. With a context, I can at least be sure in translation and usage.
  3. I think Google have many more resources to develop this kind of product. And they might not even feel the concurrence from the DeepL side... Honestly, first time I've heard about DeepL was just a week ago - from you. And till DeepL develops translation from/to other languages, it won't be in the same row with GT, or Microsoft, or Yandex Translator. DeepL is the first in its own niche, but GT is still no.1 "popular" translator. So they may just develop in parallel. In any case, it will be interesting to see
  4. That's exactly what I meant. German, Dutch and English are basically same language branch. French, Spanish and Italian are pretty close to them as well (at least to English, in terms of vocabulary). Polish stands out, of course... And I honestly don't know what made the DeepL developers think that Polish is easier (?) or more popular (?) than Russian, for example. Latin script? In any case, just imagine how much data they will have to process and store to launch the explosive combo "English-Chinese". Or, worse, "Russian-Chinese".
  5. Wow, that's an interesting remark, L! I've never thought about constructed language here, thank you for this one. And it's exciting that even Espéranto is built upon the linguistic "foundation" of its creator: Slavic-based phonology, Romano-Germanic lexical base, plus some Yiddish influence. Maybe if Zamenhof had a chance to learn an Asian language he would introduce certain elements from there. Who knows? I'm wondering if the human brain is able to create something new without relying on the previously acquired knowledge.
  6. I agree with you. A language should be learned for a reason and not because it is easy. It makes sense to learn English because it's a global language and a modern lingua franca. But what's a point to learn something you're not going to use (even if it's easy), right? However, I wouldn't say that English and Spanish are the easiest ones. There's a post on exactly this topic that weighs quite a few interesting factors determining what would be the easiest language for you to learn: http://linguapath.com/easiest-language-to-learn/. Plus, I guess it all depends on your point of reference. If you grew up in China and learned Mandarin as a child, Spanish and English would give you a hell of hard time. However, if you're from Europe, there's a high chance that the structure of your mother tongue is very similar to these two languages. In this case, you can consider them easy for sure.
  7. Well, speech recognition systems work fairly well for the "standard" varieties of languages. I guess it will take some time to teach AI to recognize deviations from these forms, such as dialects or foreign accents. Here's just a video on the topic: As for me, I still try to have some interesting conversations with my Google assistant in French, but the only progress we've made so far is setting an alarm. So, yeah, there's still a long way to go. And I have indeed never heard of DeepL before. But I checked it with songs lyrics and it seems to translate them very well...at least in the comparison with the usual Google Translate results I can't wait when they add more languages!
  8. Hey Nargis, I think Pimsleur courses may be very helpful in this case but it's a kind of a "costly" solution. Plus, many language learning apps like Memrise or Rosetta Stone now have a speech recognition system that compares your prononciation with the prononciation of a native speaker. If you fail to produce anything similar, you have to say it again, and again, and again...until it matches. Though, it can be very frustrating You can also find an English speaking blogger or a public figure whose style and prononciation you like. It can be someone like Tim Ferriss or David Allen who give lots of conferences and make lots of podcasts/audiobooks/webinars. And then just listen a lot of this person. Quite often you'll unconsciously adjust your speech to imitate his/her style. And you can learn a lot of new vocabulary this way.
  9. That's truly fascinating! Sumerian is not just extinct, it seems to have left no traces to any other living language. So I guess your best shot is to familiarize yourself with works of linguists like John Hayes Or Marie-Louise Thomsen who did studied the language. It won't be the most exciting reading but you'll get a good overview of the structure and the history of the language. Plus, there is a ton of external links, research papers, books and even Sumerian dictionaries in Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_language?wprov=sfla1 I hope you'll find it useful!
  10. Natural ambience is often overestimated. You can live in a country and have absolutely 0% interest to its language. There are thousands of Russians living in Thailand in their own little bubble and nobody even came up with the bright idea of learning Thai. However, you can easily create Immersion environment at home if you reinforce the use of your target language at every opportunity. All that these unfamiliar expressions signify is just a little gap in your vocabulary. So just read more in English instead of using resources in any other language. And your problem with slang can be solved with one season of Misfits Also. It's completely fine to not understand something. An average native English speaker needs 10 years to learn vocabulary on an "adult" level. If you're polyglot, you need 10*x years (x here is the number of languages) to acquire each on the native speaker level. So just relax, nobody here is perfect
  11. For sure, speaking any foreign language is a huge advantage, whether it's English, or Mandarin, or Haitian Creole. Otherwise anglophones could just relax and wait when the rest of the world learn English I think the "value" of a language always depends on specific needs of an individual. If I'm planning to study in Athens, I better learn some Greek. If I'm packing for pilgrimage to Tibet, I would rather speak Tibetan. English is the most valuable for the majority of people not because it is better in any way, but because of its status of international language. So you're right, if one day the situation changes, it will make sense to learn another lingua franca. P.S. Thanks for your warm welcome! It's always great to join like-minded community
  12. English is a lingua franca of XXI century. And in my opinion, it should be the primary competence of every single millennial to speak it. If you don't speak English in our time you're handicapped, same like if you never learned to use a computer and Internet. It's not deadly, you can survive without it for sure, but a huge chunk of good stuff will necessary get past you. Just compare how many awesome books there are in English that are not translated (and will never be) to other languages. And I'm not talking about fiction; I'm talking about practical books on fastly developing subjects: marketing, business, investment, programming and SEO, personal development, skill acquisition - I can continue forever. English opens you doors to the whole world (unlike Chinese, by the way). There is not much difference between the total number of speakers of these two languages: it's around 1,1 billions both (Ethnologue, 2017), but there's a difference in the quality of these speakers. With Chinese you can connect to a single nation solely. With English - to everyone who managed to learned it; and I'm sorry but it's around 750 millions of L2 speakers from all around the globe! If you don't plan to travel, it's not gonna touch you anyway, so you may not speak English very well. But you should have at least reading competence. 100%
  13. I agree with nkaretnikov, Français Authentique is the best resource for beginners in French, honestly! I listened to this channel for like an hour a day and after two weeks I was able to shift to other native French YouTubers. It's great to start with just one speaker, so you can get used to his style, his prononciation and his vocabulary. This is the problem when you try watching French movies, for example, and there is a nice little blend of an African accent, a street slang, an accelerated speech and high-end vocab. Also, I don't know within what time you want to learn French, but if you are a native English speaker it shouldn't take too long for you: just 600-700 hours. And it's the actual data from the official study conducted by Foreign Service Institute. You can read about their estimated language learning timelines here: http://linguapath.com/how-many-hours-learn-language/ If you're beginner, the first step is probably to pick up as much new vocabulary as possible. You're already using Duolingo, so I guess you're working on it. When it comes to reading, I would prefer to find something more interesting than RFI :D maybe it's just my problem, but I find reading news incredibly boring. The best option is to find french blogs or podcasts on a topic you're interested in, like sports, hobbies, personal finance etc... It's not easy to find these resources when you're just starting speaking a new language, but it is worth it on a long run! You actually discover that a foreign language can be a source of information just like our first language, so you get +80k to motivation ;)
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