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Everything posted by Sarah676

  1. The absolute best way to build vocabulary, I've found, is to spend a lot of time around people who speak the language you're learning. There is nothing that compares to this; if you spend a lot of time interacting with native Spanish speakers, you will get a real idea of which words are the most commonly used and, being in a situation where you're forced to learn so you can make heads and tails of the conversation, your vocabulary will improve very fast. I'm currently studying Japanese and I found that when I spent time in Japan, my vocabulary imprved ten times faster than it does when I'm stu
  2. I don't see why you wouldn't be able to use "hoax" in a formal/official text. I can't think of any words with the exact same meaning as "hoax"; it's a very specific word and I don't think there are any other words that convey its meaning more effectively. So if I were you, I'd go ahead and use it!
  3. You are correct that in this case, both "get on to" and "get through to" mean "to contact, as by telephone". The only difference between the two dentences is that the first sentence is asking "Are you able to contact the suppliers (in the present)?", whereas the second sentence is asking "Were you able to contact the suppliers (in the past)?"
  4. Over the course of my schooling, I've had the opportunity to take Japanese classes from a variety of different teachers, and I've notived an interesting trend where I find it a lot easier to learn from non-native Japanese speakers. I think this is because with native speakers, since they never had to consciously learn the rules of their language (they mostly learned them intuitively as they were growing up), they are not able to explain the rules as clearly as somebody who's had to consciously learn the language when they were older. I imagine this is true not just for learning Japanese, but
  5. I too think calligraphy is very beautiful, but it's also very difficult to do well! When I was attending a Japanese high school on exchange a few years ago, we got to take a calligraphy class and I discovered just how undoordinated I am! Some of the students who had been studying calligraphy for a long time were able to do the most beautiful artwork and it was very intimindating. I'd love to get better at it though!
  6. Hey, thanks for your reply! I think the main thing for me to remember is that things that would be fairly easy for a native speaker - such as writing a 1000-word paper - are a lot harder for non-native speakers because of all the extra work they have to put into using the language correctly. So I'll definitely keep that in mind! Your English is really good by the way!
  7. Does anybody else get confused about when they should use "which" vs when they should use "that"? For example, look at the following sentences: "I'm wearing the dress that I love." "I'm wearing the dress which I love." I personally prefer the first sentence because it feels more correct, but I can't really explain why it's more correct using English grammar rules. So does anybody have a simple explanation of the rules when it comes to using "which" vs "that"?
  8. The word that I often see used as an example of how un-intuitive English spelling is is "Colonel". It looks literally nothing like how it's pronounced, which is of course "kernel".
  9. I hate it when people refer to the toilet as the "potty". I recently moved from Australia to the US and I've noticed that this is a very American thing. My theater director at college today kept saying we were taking a "potty break" whenever we stopped for a break during rehearsals and it was driving me crazy! Actually, there are a lot of Americanisms like that that I find annoying simply because they're not what I'm used to. Another example is the word "restroom". In Australia most people would say "bathroom", so I'll probably always prefer "bathroom" over "restroom" simply because it's what
  10. This is one of those things that I remember being told never to do when I was learning to write as a child, but as I got older I realised teachers just tell you that so you won't get lazy and overdo it. So yes, it's perfectly acceptable to begin sentences with "and" or "but"; however, I'd recommend avoiding doing so if you're not comfortable with writing in English because it can become a bad habit if overused.
  11. My primary motivation was simply that I find the language very beautiful, and when I started learning I found that it "clicked" with me more than other languages have. Now that I'm in the process of learning, what motivates me to keep going is the awesome feeling I get when I reach a new level of understanding. Learning anything is fun if you're interested in the subject matter!
  12. This happened to me with Chinese (specifically Mandarin) as well. I've been studying Japanese for a while now and really enjoy it, so I figured I'd give Mandarin a go as well. Sadly, I found it to be a lot harder than Japanese. The hardest thing for me to learn was the tones - I just couldn't get my pronunciation right and I got discouraged. I hope to take it up again though, when I have more time to devote to it.
  13. I started studying Japanese for two reasons: Because I really like the way the language sounds, and because I have an interest in Japanese culture. I visited Japan for a month and really enjoyed it, and I would love to live there someday. Surprisingly, I'm not a big Manga or Anime fan; I say "surprisingly" because most other Japanese-learners I've met were at least partially motivated by their love of Manga/Anime.
  14. I imagine if your friend stays in your country for an extended period of time, he probably will improve at the language without even trying, simply by virtue of being surrounded by people who speak it all the time. I found that when I visited Japan for a month, my Japanese improved a lot with minimal effort on my part.
  15. I think that when you're studying a language, it's important to have someone you can go to for feedback on your pronunciation, correct use of vocabulary, etc. A new language is not something you can learn 100% by yourself. Obviously a classroom-type setting is good for getting feedback because it provides you with a teacher, along with fellow students you can practice conversation with. That said, you can succeed in teaching yourself a language if you make sure to regularly seek out situations where you can practice conversation and listening skills with others who speak or are learning the
  16. Hi! I thought it would be interesting to see what aspects of Japanese other non-native speakers have found the most difficult to learn. For me, my biggest hurdle so far has probably been Kanji. I hate how even though I know Hiragana and Katakana, when I read most Japanese text I have no idea what it says because it's all in Kanji I don't understand. I'm currently forcing myself to study my Kanji every night though, and slowly but surely I am improving. So what about you guys? What's the biggest hurdle you've faced in learning Japanese?
  17. So is it more common in other languages for the sentences to be structured the other way around? That's really interesting! I'm currently learning Japanese and in Japanese you would say "red car" just like in English. There are other ways in which Japanese sentences are structured differently from English though; for example, where in English you would say "I'm going over there," in Japanese you would say "I'm over there going". Of course, being a native English speaker, I'm more likely to think of other languages as being backwards and English as being "forwards".
  18. Thanks for your advice - I think I will take Mandarin up again. It's true what you say though - this is one of those things where I really can't learn it by myself, at least initially. I'm currently teaching myself Japanese and that's going well, but I did have a teacher for 6 months to get me started, so I think I'll have to do the same with Mandarin.
  19. I think a lot of the people who know multiple languages have had the advantage of growing up in a bilingual home. I have a friend who grew up in America with a Japanese mother and Polish father, so she grew up speaking 3 languages. That's a pretty big head start!
  20. Miya, your explanation was definitely helpful. It's interesting what you say about "kedo" being more "regrettable". I'd never consciously thought about it that way but now that I think about the times I've seen it used, that makes a lot of sense. thanks so much for your help!
  21. Trellum, thanks so much for suggesting Polyglot! I just checked it out and that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for! I imagine it's true what you're saying about native speakers - I visited Japan for two weeks and people were constantly wanting to practice their English with me. It was kind of frustrating because I really wanted to practice my Japanese, but everybody kept insisting on talking to me in English.
  22. For me, it's incredibly rewarding when I reach a milestone/gain a new level of understanding (I'm teaching myself Japanese). The other day I was watching Spirited Away - a Japanese movie - and I was amazed by how many small snippets of dialogue I was able to understand throughout the movie. It really gave me the motivation I needed to keep going with my studies.
  23. Hi! So a couple years ago I started trying to learn Mandarin, but I found learning all the different tones really intimidating and gave up pretty quickly. Now I'm thinking about taking it up again, but I'm unsure how to get over that initial learning hurdle so that I can stay motivated. Those who have successfully stuck with learning Mandarin/Cantonese, how difficult did you find it was to learn all the tones and pronunciation. What advice do you have to someone who's feeling intimidated and doesn't really know where to begin?
  24. Hi guys! So next week I'm going to start working as an ESL tutor at my college, and I'm just wondering if you guys have any tips about how I can be the best tutor possible. Those of you who have learned English as a second language, what things did your teachers/tutors do that really helped you, and what things should I avoid? What did you find most difficult about learning English? Any advice you can give is appreciated.
  25. I agree with the above poster that Shakespeare's plays can be really hard to get through, and a lot of the time you have to read the same line 3 or 4 times before you actually understand what it means. Anything written in old-fashioned, outdated language is difficult I think. I also found it quite challenging to get though all the Lord of the Rings books, though I was quite young when I read them.
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