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Everything posted by Gregor

  1. Excellent idea, but only if you are in for the long haul. It'll be a while before you are good enough for it to be of much use to you. Start with just one and leave the other till you've got the first well under control. I did both - after my degree in French - Hebrew is delicious
  2. My brother (Irish) has lived in France for 30 years and rarely uses English. There are many words that he has forgotten in English and has to be reminded. He speaks English using French grammatical constructions.
  3. It takes a while. If we you are afraid of promouncing words wrong and focus on that then you are likely to miss out of the sense of the passage. After a while as your confisdence grows you won't have to concentrate so much on pronunciation.
  4. I was taught French using English but when I got to university many of the lectures were in French and although it was a bit of an effort to follow it was well worth it and it all made sense. When I teach English I always use English and even the absolute beginners catch on, and I don't know their language anyway!
  5. If anything I find them a bit intimidating! I know what effort needs to go into being successful in speaking a foreign language, and I know how outgoing they are and I'm quite the introvert.
  6. Most certainly. I'm learning Italian and it seems just natural to learn the Italian words for the ingredients I use.
  7. Frequently!! I'm a native English speaker but sometimes I just can't find the English word I need and revert to French or even to Tumbuka which I spoke as a child. At other times a foreign word or phrase just seems to sum up what I want to say far more accurately than it's Englisg approximation.
  8. Oh now it really has to be Italian, wheteher it be spoken or sung. My first introduction was through Opera which probably isn't the best, but once I'd got over that I settled down to really appreciating Italian. I especially like it when Charlotte Rampling speaks Italian.
  9. Subtitles can be hilarious. I have watched many French films with English subtitles where there is little resemblance between what is being spoken and what is being offered in the subtitles - totally different stories so you get two films for the price of one!
  10. If universities are cutting back on teaching foreign languages it shows that they place little importance on them. The sciences and computer technology are more in demand, however technology is universal and is internationally developed, each country is not just doing its own thing so the learning of foreign languages is still important but in a different way than it was before.
  11. Although I think learning a second language is important if my children didn't want to do so there's not a lot I could do about it.
  12. I don't think anyone believes that they have an accent really - we all think we speak completely normally with no trace of accent but of course that cannot be true. Accent is the way we speak. Even the Queen has an accent. All British people have accents when they speak English, whether it is Scotish (for the time being) Welsh, Northern Irish or English. No-one is sterile.
  13. I too have been told that Dutch and Afrikaans are the easiest languages for a native speaker to learn: I've never tried either. I find the romance languages easiest but then that's what I was taught at school. Being similar to English doesn't necessarily mean that a language will be easy to learn of course.
  14. One really ought to learn from native speakers in a total immersion situation but that possibility is not available to most people so we should choose the next best thing. Starting at a young age is important as is tryiong to get at least some access to a native speaker.
  15. Several times. I lived in France for a year teaching English. It was difficult especially financially. The up side was that it was Paris we lived in and our first child was born there. I also lived in the Netherlands which was difficult from the work perspective, and I lived in Malawi as I child - an idyllic childhood, but then I was a child.
  16. I like to read and reread French poetry that I studied at university, especially Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine etc.
  17. Basque is an "isolate" in linguistic terms - not related to any of it's surrounding languages. It is not a form of Spoanish but is a stand alone language and not all that easy to learn.
  18. Although they have a lot of commonality they went off in different directions. Some words mean one thing in French but totally different in Italian - watch what you're ordering from that menu!
  19. I maintain language mostly by reading books and newspapers and also by watching films. Unfortunately the sub titles get in the way
  20. Yes it's a hobby for me - my friends who know think it's rather sad! I'm learning Italian now because I want top be able to read Italian newspapers when I'm on holiday
  21. A maths teacher just couldn't relate to me at all. I got 0% in a test once and just didn't know what to do about that. Don't think he'd ever come across that before. Maybe he felt like a failure because his student did so badly. Very strict but obviously couldn't teach.
  22. For me it would have to be: Self confidence (I CAN do this) Goal (To be able to read a novel in the language) Talking with a native speaker
  23. Never heard of it. From the name it seems rather basic and a bit of a gimmick but I've been wrong before on the odd occasion. What exactly does it do?
  24. I still prefer to own a physical dictionary and to be able to see it sitting on the shelf. However it's usually easier to look up a word on my iPhone. Paper dictionaries also have a limited life span, each new edition being more up to date. I suppose also it depends on how often you are likely to use a dictionary. If you are studying seriously for a degree it's going to be important. When I studied French I used not an English-French/French-English dictionary, but a plain French dictionary that an ordinary French person would use with no English in it at all.
  25. I had a French teacher who inspired me and I went on to do French at university largely because of him.
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