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Everything posted by LauraM

  1. Yes, that's a great one. Oscar Wilde was so brilliant and so profound. Here's one of my favorites from him: "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
  2. I think online tutorials can be effective. The key is to find one that is formatted according to how you learn best. Some people prefer to rely on listening skills. Others may prefer to see the written word. Others may want some combination. I tend to like to see the text as well as hear the spoken word as I'm learning. But ideally, I would pick the written word first and add in the audio and/or visual later on. I think what's great is that based on our preferences we can usually find some kind of tutorial online that will help meet our needs at that time. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. We have to have the discipline to practice if we are going to make progress.
  3. Yes, I feel the same way. Maybe it's something about that extra syllable and double "r" sound. It is very grating! Another common error is the mispronunciation and misspelling of "prerogative." People will mistakenly say or write "perogative" instead. "Prerogative" is defined as an exclusive right or privilege that a person or group has.
  4. Another great topic! That's why I enjoy this forum so much. Here are a few of my favorites. "Bend over backwards" means doing everything possible to be helpful: "My aunt is prone to anxiety when she travels and so I always bend over backwards to make sure she feels safe no matter where we are." "A fish out of water" means that you are in a place or in circumstances that are uncomfortable because they are unfamiliar to you: "Born and raised in the city I felt like a fish out of water when I spent a week at a cabin in the woods with no electricity or plumbing." If doing something is "like taking candy from a baby" that means it is very easy to do: "We negotiated a multimillion dollar contract yesterday and it was like taking candy from a baby." Similarly "a piece of cake" also refers to something that's easy to do: "Finishing my homework last night at the last minute was a piece of cake."
  5. The apostrophe is difficult even for native speakers. I frequently see it misused. In recent years, I have noticed that people will use the apostrophe seemingly randomly for words that end in the letter "s" when clearly it is not needed. Here's an example of what I mean. This is incorrect: "The boy travel's with his parents and likes to go on walk's in the park" This is correct: "The boy travels with his parents and likes to go on walks in the park." As for the rules for the use of the apostrophe, this is a great resource. It gives details on the rules and has numerous examples. It's very helpful! http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/
  6. Absolutely. I agree. It does take a special talent. Just as one has an ear for music I think the hyperpolyglot has an ear for languages. Being able to hear the sounds, reproduce them, develop the fluidity in the sentence construction and grammar, is quite amazing. Think of just getting the accent down properly; that is an achievement in and of itself that many do not master. Speaking of amazing, than you so much for the link to the YouTube user zennman2222. Wow, he is absolutely extraordinary! Very exciting to watch and to hear.
  7. Great question. English is my native language and I asked my mother what my first words were and she did not remember precisely. She thinks it was "Mom" or "Ma" or some close equivalent. She did say she remembers that I learned to say "No" very early on. We both laughed about that.
  8. Yes, there are lots of good ones here that made me laugh out loud. It's a fun topic! Here are a few of my favorites. There is "supercilious" which sounds to me very silly although it refers to someone who behaves disdainfully towards others because he or she feels superior to them. Also "perfunctory" because it makes me of funk music but it actually means doing things hastily and superficially. "Rigmarole" also makes me laugh. It refers to something that is overly long, rambling, even incoherent.
  9. This is quite exotic. I agree. What's amazing is that she is making the click sounds so effortlessly. As you are watching her perform, you can't tell how she formulates that unique sound. It's almost as if she has a percussive instrument making those sounds, accompanying her as she sings. As to the larger question, yes, languages do sound different. As a native speaker of English and as a child growing up -- before I studied languages -- it seemed to me that people who spoke other languages spoke so rapidly. English, in contrast, seemed much slower in pace. I heard mostly Spanish and the language sounded so beautiful and poetic compared to English. And the same with French. Our family would sometimes spend vacations in Montreal, Quebec. My father could speak French fairly well and I always noticed the difference between the way he spoke -- more slowly and deliberately -- and the way the residents spoke with such fluidity.
  10. I agree wholeheartedly. Regardless of whether it is a new language I am learning or my own native language (English) grammar is very important for all those reasons. You give a poor impression when you use incorrect grammar. In some cultures it is also a socioeconomic issue. You may be looked upon negatively as uneducated or in some way lower class. On the other hand, you certainly will not leave a negative impression if you have impeccable grammar. At the very least, you will blend in. Poor grammar often stands out, like an out of tune note in an otherwise beautiful symphony. Also, if you don't learn the correct grammar at some point the task will be more difficult because you will have to unlearn the incorrect grammar first before you can learn the proper grammar.
  11. When learning a new language I always find it helpful to force myself to think in that language as much as possible. When I need a word that I don't know, I look it up, and practice using it in that sentence and formulating other sentences. Also, any time I would go out somewhere or be in a different environment I would make note of items and landmarks in my surroundings, jot them down and look up the equivalent in the language. I used pocket dictionaries at the time, but these days using apps or dictionaries on your tablet or smartphone would probably work even better. I think that building vocabulary -- even in your own native language -- has to be a continual, active process like this.
  12. I agree completely on both points. French is also one of the major languages taught in the U.S., alongside Spanish and German. So you would likely draw some U.S. members who are studying the language as well. With French being so popular for study, I think people would take it as a given that it would have its own separate forum.
  13. My first lesson was in high school. It was with a teacher I already knew in a different context as she was a longtime friend of the family. Although she was not a native speaker she had an excellent accent. She was a very compassionate and caring teacher with a lot of enthusiasm for the language and its literature. She inspired me to do my best.
  14. Thank you. I was not aware of this great resource. There is so much of value on the site; I could spend quite a lot of time there. What I appreciate most is that he is helping us to raise our expectations. Telling us we are capable of learning a language in three months, is kind of like telling runners it is possible to run a mile in less than four minutes. Well, once Roger Bannister accomplished this back in the 1950s, thereafter many runners were able to do so as well. And nowadays we don't even think twice about a sub-four minute mile since it has become commonplace, and isn't even an achievement. I also appreciated the article about perfectionism and its negative effects upon is. Yes, definitely bookmarked!
  15. I have known about Esperanto for a while. I really like the overall concept of creating a language just for business communication that would not give any particular nation or cultural group the advantage of being native speakers. It kind of amazes me that it never caught on in any significant way. I hadn't heard about that before. I would still prefer to put my energies towards a language that I would use, especially given the time and effort it takes to tackle languages and to become proficient. Plus with Esperanto there would not be opportunities for immersion and cultural enrichment.
  16. ...You are reading a novel in your native language and mentally translating it to the language you are studying. You keep finding sentences and paragraphs that you think might sound better and/or capture a deeper nuance if they had been written in that other language. I have enjoyed reading the responses here and I echo what others have said about dreaming in the new language. That has happened to me, too. I would wake up feeling gratified even if it wasn't a particularly good dream. I'd think to myself, well, at least I got some practice using the new language!
  17. As a native English speaker in the United States, I must say I agree with this. There is a tendency to take knowing the English language for granted. Yet the irony is that there are a good number of Americans who do not ever really master English as their native language. Grammatical errors and spelling errors are common. Plus some have a tendency to use conversational crutches, i.e. loading up sentences with "like" and "you know" because of the inability to articulate thoughts and feelings. All the while, people in other countries learn English as a second language and are much more motivated to master it. They are able to appreciate the language for the reasons others have mentioned on this thread; it is a way to communicate and connect with others from around the world. I am grateful to know the language, and I am particularly grateful that my parents were insistent that I learn proper spelling and grammar even though, at times, they could be taskmasters!
  18. I found listening to the radio very helpful, too, both actively as well as in the background. I would listen to kinds of radio formats -- talk radio, news, music, etc. -- so as to immerse myself in the language. When I heard unfamiliar words, I would look them up and learn how to spell, pronounce and use them in the proper context.
  19. As I Star Trek fan, I was also fascinated by the Klingon language. I had the dictionary years ago, and I would page through it from time to time, and pick up a few words here and there. I did not have the inclination to go full force in study of it since, after all, it does not have any real application in the world other than within the Star Trek subculture. I did like the sound of it spoken in the movies and the TV episodes. Just out of curiosity, is there anyone here who has tried the Na'vi language from the movie Avatar?
  20. LauraM


    I agree. Slang can be quite colorful and creative, and indeed poetic at times. What began as slang sometimes will eventually become accepted as the standard vocabulary. Languages do evolve over time. What I am calling "evolution" perhaps others might call "corruption." Either way, the language changes as people speak it, over the course of decades and centuries. It's an undeniable fact. We need only remember that we might be proficient in present-day Standard English but yet, we might have a difficult time following the conversation if we were to time travel back to the days of the Middle English of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Likewise a time traveler from that era would have quite the challenge understanding our contemporary English! Some of those changes over the centuries are attributable to colloquialisms, slang, dialects, etc. Language is not static. I think that's what makes it so fascinating, especially when we trace the origins of words and phrase.
  21. I am enjoying these quotes tremendously. It's so uplifting to read so many inspirational words all at once, from such a diversity of authors. Here are a few of my favorites that I've collected over the years: "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." --Zig Ziglar "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." -- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross "The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible." --Arthur C. Clarke "I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often." --Brian Tracy "Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are." -- Bernice Johnson Reagon
  22. I agree wholeheartedly. I think classroom Spanish can be a starting point. How far one excels I believe is based upon motivation and willingness to do the work to learn the language. The motivated person will certainly seek out some kind of opportunity that may involve immersion. I had a strong interest in Spanish when I took classes in high school. For me that was just the starting point. I did an immersion to the extent that I could in those days, as I was not able to travel to or spend any extended time in a Spanish speaking country. I did listen to Spanish language radio and television constantly. I also did a lot of reading, both newspapers and literature. Later, in college, I spent my first year living in the Spanish language dorm. While we were supposed to speak Spanish at all times, admittedly we did cheat at times and lapse back to English. But it was quite helpful that among the students there were several native speakers from a variety of countries.
  23. Hello fellow members of Linguaholic! I am very excited to discover this forum. I've had a long-time interest in languages. I grew up in the Midwest in the USA and I got my start in language study in high school by studying Spanish. I really took to it and did a lot of studying on my own in addition to the classwork. I studied it in college, as well and took some Spanish literature courses. I was, at one point, fairly fluent in the language -- reading, writing and speaking -- and I am now working on regaining the fluency, largely on my own through self-study. I also studied German in college though I never became fluent. I hope to resume my study of German as well as I still have a strong interest in the language. Just being here and reading the discussions is already quite motivating! I look forward to interacting and spending time here.
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