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Coricopat

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About Coricopat

  • Rank
    Language Newbie
  • Birthday 05/05/1990

Converted

  • Currently studying
    French, Japanese
  • Native tongue
    English
  • Fluent in
    Spanish
  1. Thanks for the review, altrouge! I don't think I sound Spanish at all either; rather, I think a few people hear an accent they can't immediately place, so they start making guesses. The c, z, and s merger is definitely the biggest giveaway: I pronounce these all the same way, just as in Latin America, as opposed to Spain. That's interesting what you said about Mexican Spanish sounding soft. I've never felt the Spain accent to sound harsh or aggressive. Perhaps it has more to do with the rhythm of speaking. Spanish speakers do sound more... clipped? Mexican speakers tend to sound more rolling. These are all, I should add, highly precise linguistic terms Listening to the audio file again, I think all my vowels are off, especially the Is and Es, and my Ls slip into English pronunciation. Add that to my earlier observation of my s/c/z sound being off, and I've got a lot of sounds to refine! Oh, well. If I haven't managed to shake off the accent after all these years, I'm not sure I'll ever be able too
  2. This is exactly what I did when learning. I would even go as far as typing in an entire phrase (provided it seemed common enough) to see if it got a decent amount of hits. If it showed up in blogs and newspapers, I went for it. If not, I would try to rewrite it and see what syntax got the most hits. Sometimes, I would Google a longer sentence phrase-by-phrase to see how each part was used by native speakers. Google's auto-suggest feature can be quite helpful for finding a more natural and common way of expressing the same thing. Another interesting thing to do is to type a word or short phrase into Google images. If the results are completely unexpected, you might have accidentally stumbled upon slang or an idiom. So while your sentence is technically correct, a native speaker would get a different impression.
  3. I'm sure mine were something common like mom or dad, too. I am, told, however, that when I was very, very young and not yet able to talk, I came running to my parents saying, "nake! nake!" Eventually they followed me outside, and I proudly led them to a rattlesnake I had found (we lived in the country). So after mom and dad, I think "snake" was my first word. I'm still trying to figure out how a baby barely able to stumble around on two legs was left alone unsupervised long enough to find a rattlesnake!
  4. Thank you for the encouraging words, Kaynil! But here's the embarrassing part... I've been living in Mexico for almost 15 years and haven't managed to shake off the accent. I have no idea what's keeping it, or even how to start sounding more native since I assumed, like you said, total immersion itself would fix my Spanish over time. Apparently not. My comprehension is at 100%, my speech is less comfortable than in English but still good: it's mostly my accent that gives away my non-native status. It's funny you should mention the sudden shift in accent, since I never thought about that! I wonder, is it a regional thing? Here along the border, I've noticed people switch accent very, very frequently. A great deal of people are bilingual and seem to have no qualms about throwing in Spanish words/names in English or vice versa. You see it a lot in commercials, too, where the speaker is speaking in flawless Spanish and suddenly switches to a perfect American-English pronunciation to say the name of the company or use an English loan-word. On the other hand, there are certain words I wouldn't pronounce with an accent since they seem ... naturalized? (e.g., bye-bye, beisbol, pick-up [truck], ride, etc). Now I wonder what the etiquette for this is. Thank you for taking the time to listen and comment!
  5. Hi, everyone. I've been speaking Spanish for a long time, but my accent is still off. People can tell that I'm not a native speaker of Mexican Spanish, and while most immediately identify my accent as American, a few have asked me if I'm from Spain or South America. No matter how clearly I try to speak, I can't seem to shake off this unnatural accent. Below is a recording of me reading the Librivox one-minute test. https://soundcloud.com/coricopat/spanish-test/s-WrzEh (I realize I mispronounced Pamplona... and probably a couple of other words!) I'd greatly appreciate if anyone can tell me what words or sounds in particular sound wrong. I know I sometimes slur over the Rs, and there's something strange about my Ss, though I can't figure out what! Maybe I have some sort of lisp ;-) If anyone else would like to post their own voice samples, perhaps we could critique each other's accent and try to improve it.
  6. Has anyone used mnemonics to learn Hiragana? Mnemonics are a great memory technique for learning and remembering new information with minimal effort. They generally involve taking easily-forgotten bits of informations and matching them up with something funny and memorable—an image, a rhyme, a sentence. In algebra, for example, I was taught to remember the sentence, "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally," where the first letter of each word corresponds to the order of operation. Here's a link to Hiragana mnemonics. These aren't the exact images I used, since the site I learned from seems to be offline, but I think it'll do. There are plenty of similar sites, so if these images aren't helping, a quick google for "hiragana mnemonics" will provide alternate options. Coming up with your own images is even better, so I hear. If you can study these for an hour or so a day, I think you'll have little trouble learning and remembering all the characters within a week.
  7. I was thinking just the same thing! Reading through some help threads, I couldn't help but wonder if people were trying to sound smart by purposefully obfuscating their explanations It's likely that anyone studying English is familiar with English grammar terms, since these are probably used in their classroom. However, people who are studying by themselves, or seeking to refresh their knowledge, might very well not know or remember them. Not only that, but—whether or not people are familiar with these terms—examples are indispensable. Because everyone learns differently, it's not bad to explain something in 3-4 different ways. Different explanations are going to click for different people. Another thing to point out is that learners might be familiar with grammar terms... in their native language. When I was learning Japanese, I knew very well what terms were assigned to different word classifications, but the extent of my Japanese vocabulary didn't go past simple nouns and verbs. Had my friends tried to correct my mistakes with unknown language terms, it wouldn't have gone far!
  8. I would guess most languages have a standard reply to social niceties like "thank you," "how are you," and "excuse me." In Spanish, the response to "gracias" (thank you) is "de nada" (it's nothing). I've heard some English speakers complain about people who reply to a thank you with "No problem," saying they never assumed it was a problem and that pointing it out is rude. I think this is a stretch, and those English speakers must be disappointed to learn that the standard Spanish response basically means "no problem." Of course, it's up to the individual to reply however they want. "Sí, como no, con mucho gusto" (sloppy translation: Yes, how couldn't I?, my pleasure) is what you get from the more political types! Or, I suppose, those wanting to be extra polite.
  9. It's all about immersion, so while it seems extreme, I can definitely see the use for it. It would be similar to abruptly moving to a country with a different language—you would be forced to learn it, like it or not. In addition, you would be learning real, natural language, and not stilted classroom phrases. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. I dare say most of us have school or work that forces us to read and write in our native language continuously, so it's not practical to go full Japanese. I remember changing my browser and operating system languages to Japanese as a compromise, but I simply learned to recognize the symbols and placement without really understanding what they meant. I do love his site as inspiration, however, and I'm happy his method has worked so well for him. I'm sure it's worked well for others, but it's simply too much sacrifice for me. I can give up Avril Lavigne, but you'll have to pry Queen from my cold, dead hands.
  10. I love this website! I, too, forgot it existed. I didn't know there was a grammar quiz and looking around, I see they added a whole slew of new subjects. I'm sure I had an account, but I can't remember it, and it won't accept any of my emails for the password reset. Oh, well. Maybe they delete inactive accounts after a few years? I'll just re-register. From the FAQs: It sounds like it would be a good idea to disable any ad-blocking you might have while you play the game. While they don't say it, most of these ads pay per impression, and if you can't see the ad, they won't get any money. Just something to keep in mind until anyone can clarify this point.
  11. This is mostly what I came here to say. The idea behind Esperanto is certainly lovely, but it failed in the execution. In addition to what you mentioned about the vocabulary, the sounds are too many and too difficult, unless you're a native speaker of Polish (like its creator, Zamenhof). I remember there was another invented language that aimed to use only the most common sounds across the world—something like p/b, t/d, s/z, a, e, o, etc. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it was called and my googling comes up short. The gendering is also needlessly complicated, not to mention easily construed as sexist. All nouns are, by default, male unless a female suffix is added. How easy it would have been to create a sex-neutral language (and there are plenty) and just use male and female suffixes when needed! Here's a pretty harsh piece against Esperanto: Ranto. While I think the author is a little bit too enthusiastic in his distaste of the language, he does bring up valid points. I feel that one of the biggest problems with Esperanto, however, is the impossibility of improvement. As far as I recall, Zamenhof was adamant about the language not changing, so that speakers of any generation would be able to understand each other. But this also means Esperanto is stuck. People have discovered dozens of flaws over the years, and there is no way to officially fix them. That being said, given that it's fairly easy to learn to read and write it if you speak a European language, I don't think it's a complete waste of time. There are healthy Esperanto communities on the internet, and speaking in a "neutral" language with people across the world—people one otherwise wouldn't be able to communicate with—is worthwhile.
  12. Hi, everyone! I'm a native speaker of both English and Spanish and would be happy to help anyone learning these languages. Over the years, I've studied Esperanto, Italian, French, and Japanese, though I never got very far in any of these. Reading and understanding these languages came fairly quickly (especially the Romance languages, since I already know Spanish), but the speaking part was something I could never dominate. I have terrible trouble imitating accents. My studies have fallen by the wayside in recent years, in a way so many language learners are familiar with =) I'd love to get back into learning, and perhaps these forums are just the motivation I need. I look forward to studying together and getting to know all of you.
  13. The classic battle between prescriptivists and descriptivists =) Many of the "rules" of English were invented in the 18th century when Latin-loving grammarians decided English was a vulgar language and needed some sophistication. They insisted on applying Latin rules to English, regardless of how different the languages are, or how pointless the change. Both writers and layfolk alike have, for the most part, disregarded these rules (which would often involve criticism of the grammatical aberrations committed by previous writers like Shakespeare). Since these rules did continue being taught in schools, the only reason to follow them is to not get points docked off your assignment. Otherwise, ignore them, and you'll be in good company. I used to be a proud so-called Grammar Nazi when I was younger. Then I switched to the descriptivists side, which says language is constantly evolving, there's no way or reason to regulate it, and "correct" grammar is described by analyzing the form of native speakers, rather than prescribed by what a few grammarians hundreds of years ago thought was best. As an example—and I don't know how accurate this is—I read that the reason splitting infinitives is wrong is because the Latin infinitive is a single word and hence impossible to split. So it follows that English should treat "to + verb" as one word. Reasoning that is slightly silly, if you ask me =P
  14. I've heard many non-Americans say this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "through" is still the preferred spelling, especially in formal contexts, in the United States. It's not equivalent to, say, colour vs color. I've only rarely seen anyone write the word as "thru" here unless [list type=decimal] [*]It's a road sign (which are commonly abbreviated) [*]It's part of an advertisement (known for their oh-so-hip vocab ;-) ) [*]it's part of a text message (again, commonly abbreviated) As for people not spelling very well nowadays, I think it's a combination of several issues. First, people have never been very good spellers. I've seen some very poorly spelled letters from a couple of generations ago. It's only now that more and more people are communicating via writing that we start noticing it. While most of what we read before was written either by professional writers or journalists, now anyone can get online and communicate (and that's a wonderful thing). Another thing to take into account is you never know how old the writer is. I've seen older people, great spellers and writers, struggle with a keyboard and finally give up trying to correct all their typing mistakes. The opposite is also true: children with poor spelling but great typing skills. Another point is foreign speakers. I know that when I try to write in another language, I can read over my sentences carefully but the errors will simply not pop out at me. Let's not forget people with dyslexia either. While I don't have dyslexia, I have the wonderful habit of checking my writing and seeing what I meant to write, rather than what I actually wrote. People are complex, and I certainly won't judge a person for their spelling. Glass houses and all that!
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