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Everything posted by LauraM

  1. I think self-learning has advantages and disadvantages as well. It's really difficult to generalize as it does depend to a great extent upon the individual's learning style and level of commitment. When you are learning on your own you have to have much more discipline to stay focused and committed to your studies. That will mean setting aside time to study and practice using whatever resources are helpful. But if you're on your own, you do have to be persevering in setting and keeping to your schedule to meet your goals. Classroom learning or even having a tutor or a language partner can be helpful too, as you have other people to hold yourself accountable to. But yes, I can relate to and understand self-learning. It's been helpful to me to learn this way with other subjects, not just languages.
  2. Yes, I can relate to what you're saying. Especially this: Yes, it can be very intimidating when one is first starting out in learning a new language. It can also be overwhelming. I think the key is to establish a consistent schedule; set aside time for study on a daily basis. Also recognize that it will take time to become proficient. It is an ongoing process. You might also want to get some help from others. We have a "Language Exchange" section in the forum here where you might be able to find someone. I know also there are lots of resources online both for finding language study partners as well as for practically everything else imaginable that would help your language study. We are fortunate nowadays to have so many resources available online for language study, some of which are free of charge. Likewise, there are so many apps these days too. But yes, I can understand how it may feel intimidating at the beginning. But I do stress again the key is to establish daily, ongoing study and practice.
  3. I also enjoy short stories. Over the years, there have been several short story collections that I have read numerous times. I think it's really exciting to find a short story author who does put out entire collections. While the stories stand alone, they are sometimes connected thematically. Here are a few of my favorite short story collections, that I highly recommend. Lorrie Moore: "Self-Help" and "Like Life" Raymond Carver: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" Also, the "Collected Stories" which was published posthumously Richard Ford: "Rock Springs"
  4. Those are good questions. I can see why there would be confusion. First of all, I think a closet is different because it's not really a piece of furniture; it's more like a small room and not something that can be moved. So we would speak about where the closet "is" or "is located." For example, the closet is down the hallway to the left. As for the others, a rug lies on the floor. You could also put a rug on the floor. And then once it's been put on the floor it lies on the floor. A chair is on the floor even though it can be moved. Likewise, a table also is on the floor. However, like the closet, the more pertinent details is where the chair or the table are located relative to other objects in the room. Thus the chair is by the window, for example. I hope this is helpful.
  5. Learning a language is an ongoing process, and with daily practice you will improve. Listening to something that you find enjoyable could be a starting point. It might be news or sports broadcasts -- which you can find online, as live stream audio. Or you might have an interest in movies or in television programs. I think the key is to find something enjoyable as that will help you stay motivated. Also set aside a set amount of time; an hour, two hours, half an hour. Be consistent. Schedule in the time to listen. As you improve you will feel more encouraged to continue. I hope this is helpful.
  6. I would not go so far as to say a degree in English literature is "useless." I do think that from a pragmatic, career perspective it might not be an obvious asset unless one wants to pursue a career in academia at the college level or perhaps even as a teacher in grade school or high school -- you would have to get a teaching certificate for that, of course. But it does harken back to the days when having a liberal arts education had much more value for the development of character and perhaps too as a springboard for lifelong learning and a passion for attaining knowledge. With college being so expensive nowadays it's really become much more difficult to justify the expense if there's not a tangible reward, as in being able to get a job to pay off all those student loans!
  7. Yes, the Dr. Seuss books were some of my favorites as a child, especially these: "The Cat in the Hat" and "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" How the Grinch Stole Christmas" "Green Eggs and Ham" "Horton Hears a Who" These are the ones that I remember in particular. Later on, as an adult I did revisit some of these and his other books and appreciated them even more for the use of language. That's what's so exciting about great children's literature; as an adult you can see the nuances and enjoy the works on a much deeper level.
  8. The word you are referring to is considered a swear word in the English language; there's not much debate about that. We have had some discussions here about the concept of "swear words" but the focus has been more on the cultural and social phenomena of words that are not considered acceptable in polite society rather than debating about this word or that word. It is interesting, I think, that the concept of "swear words" or "foul language" or whatever one wants to call it is common in many cultures and societies. And as to why people use such language -- to be shocking, rebellious, break the rules, etc. -- also seems to be somewhat similar, too.
  9. catsup vs ketchup I was curious about this too, as the two words are used interchangeably although "ketchup" is much more common. I did some research and found out that both "catsup" and "ketchup" are derived from the Chinese word "ke-tsiap" -- which is a type of pickled fish sauce. Thus, it's a variation in the spelling. Over the years, "ketchup" has become much more common and typically perceived as the preferred usage. "Catsup" is more common in the U.S. than in the UK. Interesting topic!
  10. I'm enjoying this thread so much. It's quite inspiring to read all these various quotes. Very motivating and uplifting. I hope we can keep this thread going. Here are a few more of my favorites: "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." -- Henry Ford "Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." -- Beverly Sills "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -- Winston Churchill "It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is best from the top." -- Arnold Bennett
  11. Yes, "selfie" is getting to be not just a word but a huge pop cultural trend. It's really getting a lot of attention in the media as celebrities and public figures group together and take selfies. That famous selfie that Ellen DeGeneres and the celebrities took at the Oscars seemed to really skyrocket the trend. But even people who are not famous it seems are getting more and more into taking selfies and posting them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I think it could just be the beginning with the "selfie" phenomena. As for "Tweep" it simply means someone who uses Twitter a lot.
  12. Grammar can get esoteric at times due to the numerous terms that are used to describe various parts of speech and other mechanics of sentence structure. I think it is important to learn the terms, and as needed to brush up on them. There are some good resources online. A comprehensive site which covers grammar and much more is Purdue University's OWL -- which stands for Online Writing Lab. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ What I really like about the site is how they have made it so user friendly and beyond that actually fun to use. I'm always learning something new every time I visit. It's one of my favorite resources.
  13. Yes, good point. That's very motivating. There may be practical reasons to learn a language which can be strongly motivating; knowing that you will be moving to a region or country where the language is spoken is, obviously, quite a practical reason, indeed a necessity. Thus a very strong motivation. Having a passion for the language and the culture and the people is also motivating. Sometimes a person feels drawn to a language and its culture; perhaps for the literature or even for the movies. Or a person may enjoy the sound of the spoken language or perhaps the richness of the vocabulary; the idioms and expressions of the language. I do think it's essential to have a strong passion for the language as that will carry you through the difficult times, as you're undergoing the rigors of studying grammar and increasing vocabulary. Otherwise it can be drudgery! So for me, first and foremost, the passion for the language is essential.
  14. I have corrected the title of the thread and your original post to avoid any additional confusion. As for the question I would think that a minimum of $15 per hour would be acceptable and upwards of $20 or $25 would also be acceptable depending upon the person's experience and education. I think anything less than this would be unfair to the teacher or tutor who should be properly compensated for their efforts.
  15. Yes, this is an idiom, not colloquial; you can even find it in the dictionary. Barburra explained it quite well. To be "beside oneself" is a way to describe an extreme emotional state, so extreme that a person is actually out of control. It can be any strong emotion, negative or positive. You can be beside yourself with joy, for instance. So happy and so excited in your happiness that you almost don't know how to express it. I think that's the best way to be beside oneself!
  16. I read the original version also. The first time I read it was a teenager closer to Anne Frank's age and it made a strong impression on me. I was quite haunted by it, to think of all that she went through and of her tragic end. No other word for it but haunting. I'm so glad that the book was published, even if her father did sanitize it in the original version. It is such a powerful narrative of that era especially now, so many decades later when it's easy to forget such atrocities. But her words serve to remind us. In that sense it is autobiography at its finest even though it was never meant to be such. She was a teenager keeping a diary.
  17. When I was learning Spanish I found books to be the most helpful. I used both textbooks and workbooks. I found it very helpful to have my own books as this gave me the freedom to write notes in the margins, to underline or highlight helpful passages and to use Post-It notes and book marks so that I could refer to various sections. Same with dictionaries; I always liked having books, and similarly being able to write in them and underline. I found that it helped me both to focus and to remember what I was studying and learning. I agree that the Internet offers vast resources these days that we didn't have even five years ago. I think this is making language learning much easier but at the same time, I still believe that having physical books is also very important too.
  18. If you are interested in finding a 'virtual' language partner, there is now a special section in the forum for just that purpose. This idea had been discussed in this and other threads and thus by popular demand the Language Exchange Corner was set up. The link is here: http://linguaholic.com/language-exchange-corner/ I think it's a great idea and it's one of the advantages of the Internet that it makes these kinds of connections possible.
  19. The spelling of the two words -- messages and massages -- is quite similar and I can see why there would be confusion. It's also a situation in which a spell check will not help you. Obviously the meanings of the words are quite different, but so is the pronunciation. It's probably one of those cases in the English language -- and there are quite a few -- where one just simply has to be aware of the two words and the possible confusion and make an effort to double check and make sure the right one is used.
  20. Yes, I definitely enjoy writing in the language that I'm learning. I think learning writing skills is crucial to language study as it really forces us to engage in learning the basics of grammar and building vocabulary. It is quite different from speaking, where there's the challenge of thinking and responding quickly. I also enjoy the challenge of translating from one language to another. And it is definitely a challenge.
  21. There are lots of idioms in the English language with money and concepts surrounding money -- wealth, fortune, poverty, etc. Here are just a few of them. "Poor as a church mouse" -- Extremely poor. "Born with a silver spoon in one`s mouth" -- To be born into wealth and privilege. "On the money" -- To be exactly right or precise about something as in: "His prediction of a cold winter was right on the money." "Pay through the nose" -- To pay too much for something, usually with the implication that it was not worth it. as in "They paid through the money for front-row seats at the concert and still had a poor view of the stage." Let us know some of the idioms you can think of regarding money.
  22. I had this challenge, too, when learning Spanish. I did a lot of practicing, yes, but what also helped me greatly was listening to native speakers -- television, radio, in person, etc. I worked towards getting just as much immersion as I could manage. I think that really helped, along with the practicing. Yes, it does feel awkward at first. It's something that a non-native speaker is not used to doing, and so I think part of the challenge is building up confidence. Again, practice is very important. Also helpful is to record yourself and to listen and strive to improve based on what you hear. Video in particular is very helpful.
  23. Yes, I did use writing to help me learn languages, Spanish in particular. I was studying a lot of Spanish and Latin American literature in college and I sometimes felt inspired to try writing simple stories and character sketches. I also tried poetry from time to time. I think it would be great to incorporate writing stories in the classroom or other language-learning settings; online tutorials, one-on-one tutoring, etc. While it may feel a bit intimidating at first I think it would be very helpful towards increasing vocabulary and solidifying the rules of grammar.
  24. I think I have always had a vivid imagination, as far back as I can remember. In other words, way before I knew the meaning of the word "imagination." I greatly enjoy becoming immersed in a great novel or story that uses language that is rich and vivid in imagery. That can be just the springboard for envisioning what I am reading. It's escapism in the best sense because it can be intellectually and emotionally enriching.
  25. I had heard "tweep" before and I knew it had to do with Twitter. I thought that collectively "tweeps" were the people who follow you on Twitter. That's pretty close to what it actually means. According to the dictionary -- now that it's actually in the dictionary! -- the official definition for a "tweep " is someone who uses Twitter to send and receive Tweets.
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