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Everything posted by LauraM

  1. Poetry stands alone, and as such its success or relative success is entirely dependent upon its structure, cadence, imagery, symbolism, and other factors that can and do convey the meaning and the emotional intent of the poet. I think it's true that poetry can be so lyrical and/or so rhythmical that it can be melodic and almost beg to be set to music. Or in fact when reading it we can "hear" the music of the lines. I think the same is true, conversely for lyrics. They can be poetic, but not necessarily and not always. As lyrics are but one component sometimes the real emotional power is conveyed in the melody and the accompaniment. Fascinating topic!
  2. Don DeLillo is a longtime favorite author of mine. I think his novels have been consistently excellent over the years. They are huge, sprawling novels that encompass many characters and really take on major social and historic themes. Quite fascinating and thought provoking. Here are just a few of them, that I read and enjoyed: White Noise Libra Mao II Underworld Cosmopolis Falling Man Another favorite is Lorrie Moore who is primarily known as a short story writer although she has written novels as well. Her work has a mordant humor throughout. Brilliant prose that's a joy to read. Here are the short story collections: Self Help Like Life Birds of America She also has 'The Collected Stories' in one volume.
  3. I've had a long interest in the novels of William Gibson ever since I read his first one, 'Neuromancer.' I've also read 'Count Zero' as well as 'Mona Lisa Overdrive.' I also read 'Virtual Light.' I have catching up to do as I've not read some of his more recent novels. Another favorite author is Samuel R. Delaney, particularly 'Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand.' I've also read some of Harlan 'sshort stories. I read and enjoyed Ursula K. LeGuin's novel, 'The Left Hand of Darkness.'
  4. I think it's important to read some of the classics that are often referenced in life and culture to have a firm foundation. There are many to choose from. Here are few for starters that would be well worthwhile: Charles Dickens - 'Great Expectations,' and 'A Tale of Two Cities.' Jane Austen - 'Pride and Prejudice' Herman Melville - 'Moby Dick' Mark Twain - 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' and 'Adventures of Tom Sawyer'
  5. It's actually quite old. There are examples of the phrase and similar phrases echoing the same basic concept dating back to the 1800s in literature. In recent years, the use of the phrase has been more focused on romance and finding romance and being without a partner and realizing -- or more likely being reassured by others -- that despite the sudden loss there are other opportunities and other people i.e. "more fish in the sea."
  6. I agree. I'm also in the U.S. and I've never heard anyone here use that expression " get on to" although I have heard people from the UK use it. Just a point of clarification. The past tense would usually be "Did you get through to the suppliers?" Or alternatively "Have you gotten through to the suppliers?" This is how people in the U.S. would use it.
  7. Yes, there are many words for "bathroom." As others have pointed out on this thread, some of the variance is based on geographical location -- the U.S. being where "restroom" is the usual term. It's sometimes called a "public restroom" for further emphasis. I think the term "restroom" is used because it is euphemistic. It makes no reference to plumbing, fixtures or what actually takes place in the "restroom." Some of the other terms -- and especially the slang terms -- are just the opposite, they tend to highlight what goes on in the "restroom." I think what's important in this case is to determine which term is preferred, i.e. the most polite, depending upon the country you're in. In a professional setting or with people whom you don't know well it's best to play it safe and use the polite term.
  8. If you have an interest in the classics I recommend the novels of Charles Dickens. Any and all of them are excellent. 'A Tale of Two Cities,' 'Great Expectations,' 'David Copperfield' and 'A Christmas Carol' are probably the best known and most frequently read of the novels. As for contemporary literary works, the short stories of Raymond Carver and the novels of Margaret Atwood and Don DeLillo are excellent. There are many others -- both classic and contemporary -- but these come to mind as being quite readable and vivid.
  9. Immersion in the language to the extent that you're able to do so on a daily basis is very important. As others have recommended -- and I agree -- interacting with native speakers is very helpful. When you are not in such contact, do what you can on your own to spend as much time as is practical to immerse yourself. Listening to Spanish language radio or TV -- even having the sound in the background -- is helpful. In all of these circumstances, look up unfamiliar words you encounter and keep track of them -- actually write them down or input them on computer or mobile device. Yes, even if you're out somewhere or you're conversing with native speakers; they will understand! By doing this you're more directly engaging the brain and getting into the active mode to learn and retain words to be able to use them when you need them in speaking and writing.
  10. Yes. I agree. The word "hoax" is not slang or informal so it would not be inappropriate to use in an official or academic text. "Hoax" is defined as a deception. It can be cruel or malicious or it can be humorous or a joke. As such it's very descriptive and definitive. I would go ahead and use it when and where the context calls for it.
  11. I think it depend largely upon people's motivation to learn and their interest in specific languages. Some people have a passion for language and linguistics and the joy and pleasure is in the learning process and in becoming proficient in various languages. Motivation could also be very specific to life circumstances such as a desire to travel or live in a part of the world where the language is spoken. Or it could be for business purposes, to help one's career and/or to communicate with others in that language who may possibly be in other countries. Obviously if a person does not have a particular passion, enthusiasm or motivation to learn languages it would be a time consuming and laborious process and probably eventually that person will give up the effort. In my own experience I did have an interest in the two languages I studied in high school and college -- Spanish and, to a lesser extent German -- and I was enthusiastic I still have an interest in further language study with those and possibly other languages. But it does have to start -- for me at least -- with a strong interest and passion.
  12. You might want to check out this thread for some tips and pointers. It's been an ongoing topic for several weeks. Many people have offered suggestions and recommended various speed reading books and methods. It's worthwhile to check out for additional ideas. http://linguaholic.com/english-language-general-discussion-thread/are-you-a-slow-fast-reader/
  13. Yes, that's a good point. English has borrowed many words from other languages, and often retaining the original spelling or a close approximation. This accounts for some of the phonetics which do not follow English rules of pronunciation. Just a few such examples: liaison, faux pas (French); catastrophe, pneumonia (Greek) So that accounts for some of the wide variance in spelling versus how a word is actually pronounced. But regardless of the reason, it does make it a challenge to learn proper pronunciation. Yet, at the same time, I think English benefits greatly from the influences of other languages.
  14. Surprising comment, but yet in a way, perhaps not. It could be that these individuals are reluctant to learn English or have no interest in learning and so they choose to disparage the language. There's really no doubt that learning English would be a huge advantage in the business world. Pretty much every kind of commercial endeavor will have international ties of some kind or would benefit from same. The individual who knows the language and thus can communicate across physical and cultural borders would have a clear advantage.
  15. Yes, I agree. Your teacher's recommendation might indeed be specific to your assignment. If it's at all possible and appropriate, you might want to inquire and find out more from your teacher and perhaps get some further guidance. In general it can be cumbersome to write in present tense for the reasons others here have stated. It's easy to find yourself switching back from present to past, if you're not careful.
  16. I think it would be very difficult to maintain a long-term friendship, but not impossible. I have not had or sustained a long friendship in such circumstances but I have been in some short-term situations with people where there was a language barrier. I remember a particular long distance bus trip in which I was sitting beside someone who was quite friendly and she and I communicated mostly through gesture. She seemed like someone I would have liked getting to know better if we had a common language.
  17. As we have explored in the previous topics -- animal idioms and fish and fishing idioms -- there are also quite a few bird idioms in English. I'm sure this is due to our general fascination with birds and with flight. Here are just a few. "Birds of a feather flock together" -- meaning people with similar interests or goals with often associate. A "night owl" is someone who stays up very late; an "early bird" is just the opposite; an early riser. To "chicken out" of something means to avoid doing it because of fear. A "wild goose chase" refers to a futile pursuit or something that would up being a waste of time. Can you think of some idioms using birds? If so, please add to our list.
  18. Yes, you're right. It has gotten very common, but still it is controversial and should be. It's still derogatory and I'm glad that in recent years people have come to recognize it as such. Celebrities and public figures who use the word will suffer backlash for it just as they would for using any other kind of slur that denigrates a specific group or segment of the population. So to the larger issue of the use of slang, while some of it is quite colorful, when learning a new language -- in this case English -- it's important to know what terms and expressions are offensive. Obviously there are some settings where you especially wouldn't want to use offensive slang such as in the workplace or any other professional setting. It might be questionable to use slang generally, offensive or not, in such settings.
  19. Yes, it's perfectly acceptable to start a sentence with "but." The key is to make sure the sentence is a complete sentence and not a fragment. For instance, "but" can be used as a substitute for "however" at the start of a sentence. As in: "But the book meanders so much that as you read it you realize it needs editing." Using "but" at the beginning of a sentence can also add emphasis. As in: "But as is usually the case, he quickly got lost without his GPS." As I see it, this is a matter of using "but" to best advantage, but not overusing it. You wouldn't want to start several sentences in a row with "but," as that would not be effective, and would probably wind up looking and sounding a bit awkward.
  20. I have observed the same phenomena. I do think it has to do with seeing the incorrect usage online. I think people see the incorrect word usage and start to use it and do so without reasoning it out. As as with viral videos and Internet memes I believe the incorrect usage of words spreads rapidly. After all, it's clear that these are two different words with different meanings. It's hard to confuse lose as in "lost" with loose as in "not tight."
  21. I agree completely. Writing, like everything else that we diligently practice, will improve. Our skills as well as our self-confidence will grow with such practice. I think people are sometimes overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of writing. But it just a matter of disciplining and buckling down to do the work. Seeing the progress you make is gratifying. Great resource! Thanks for sharing it with us. We're fortunate to have so many online resources for virtually everything related to language learning and writing. For essay writing tips, this is one of my favorites from Purdue OWL. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/01/
  22. I also prefer the long "o" sound for "roof." The pronunciation of "roof" varies in the U.S. Some people do pronounce it with the long "o" sound. That's how I've always pronounced it. I'm not sure if it varies by region or if it's just individualistic. Same is true for "root" -- some use the long "o" sound and some don't.
  23. I did read Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" but that is the only work of his that I have read. I just happened to mention it the other day in the "hardest English book" thread the other day. Yes, I did finish it, and I did find it challenging but yet very rewarding. This was when I was in college, although in high school I also read some of it. But I got much more out of it at the college level. The language is so different, but at the same time, that's part of what drew me in. It was really fascinating to see the early beginning of the contemporary English that's so familiar to us. Kind of like traveling back in time, and becoming immerse in an entirely different culture and society. I think it's great that the work has survived all these many centuries for us to be able to read it.
  24. That's the only way. Time management. It's a matter of scheduling the time and holding yourself accountable to it as you would any other important obligation or appointment. It's very much like physical exercise; you must schedule in the time and likewise, adhere to the discipline. I do this for all of my pressing tasks that I intend to take care of in the course of a day. Otherwise the time to get something in specific done simply does not materialize. Yes, this definitely works!
  25. Yes, I've also noticed this. I find it detracts from the movie, as it is jarring enough that it reminds me that I'm not getting the dialogue in the original language and I do feel I'm missing something. It's an obvious incongruity. It's also unfortunate when there is way too much compression of the dialogue. Hearing many more words than the subtitles are translating again leaves that feeling of being left out. But still even with these limitations I'm always grateful for the opportunity to see a foreign language film.
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