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Everything posted by polaroidsredwine

  1. Is anyone ambitious enough to work on studying several languages at once? I tried before, honestly, but I couldn't keep up with it. I started mixing up sentences into weird combinations of the ones I was studying. I think it would be wiser if I just stuck with one or two at a time, and the latter only when I'm comfortable with one of them.
  2. I went to a school that also had a small selection of students that were HoH/deaf. First year there, we had to take a mandatory month of sign language! I wouldn't say it's necessarily a hard language, but I'll echo the sentiments that practice makes perfect. There is also a point about dialect - American Sign Language will be way different than, say, Japanese Sign Language. They may share signs, but the structures of sentences can be entirely different. So, you know, think about what sorts of folks you'll be communicating with when you learn and choose the appropriate sign language.
  3. Everything. Naw, kidding. I just have problems keeping up with staying fresh on my studies. I took four years in school but haven't really devoted time to studying since. It's kind of a shame since I still feel like I know so much, I'm just so rusty from letting it stagnate. I think I need to go find some reader books so I can at least do that when I need to read a novel while waiting somewhere.
  4. I agree. Just continuously work on staying refreshed with the language. Make an effort and devote some time to working in the language so it doesn't stagnate. I used to be darn good at Spanish back in high school, now I'm more inclined to ... well, not be as good.
  5. I'm glad you can get so much use out of this, CeliVega! I hope you can make good use of these materials. Study material for kids often gets overlooked since it's so simple and, well, childish. It's just nice to see some appreciation for this.
  6. I ran into this site a few months ago and thought it was nifty. Basically, it has textbooks, teacher's books, and workbooks. They're free to download and are in .pdf format. http://www.hwjyw.com/textbooks/downloads/zhongwen/ The site is in Chinese. I suppose this could be useful if you want to get kids into learning the language, or even if you're like me and use such material when you're first getting into a language. You would definitely need to supplement these with audio learning.
  7. Everyone's languages have such a fun history. Meanwhile with English, it's kind of boring. Germanic in origin, take loan words from various other languages, evolve from Old-Middle English ... you know, the usual. But we totally used to have some rad characters, okay? Like þ (thorn, which I think is still used in another language) and ȝ (wynn), so there.
  8. I've just signed up! (This is what happens when I don't check in on here frequently.) It's nice to have an entire forum devoted to the language since it can be so tough to get into. Thanks for making it! I hope to be fairly active over there.
  9. The Spanish-speakers I encounter tend to flavor their words with a lot of English, especially if they are first-generation born in the country and grew up as translators for their parents. As a lot of people said, the way people talk is a lot more relaxed. I suppose if I ever entered the business world of speaking Spanish, I'd be fine with how formal I sound, otherwise I sound a little stuck-up. Listening to Peggy Hill butcher Spanish, she practically made it an art form.
  10. Same here! I sound like a complete goof when I roll my r's though. I tend to overdo it, I guess? Like, I can't make it a short noise, I have to overdo it to make it work, otherwise the r won't roll! I suppose that's not such a bad problem to have compared to not knowing how to do it at all.
  11. I just reread The Little Prince. Such a good book, even if it's technically a children's book. Anyway, have a quote from it: "It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom."
  12. Relating to this, I think it depends on how the brain processes things. Reading and comprehending a language is a lot different than speaking it aloud. With reading, you can usually take your time. With speaking, you're more often than not put on the spot and have to toss out a sentence right then. It's a lot more difficult drawing out vocabulary in an instance than having a moment to work it out in your head.
  13. I live in an area with quite a few Spanish-speakers. When I worked retail in a terribly large chain store, a lot of people would walk up to me and start talking in Spanish. Since it was so unexpected, I used to lock up and panic a little. My weird mixed background tends to make people think I've got some Mexican heritage, so ... I'm pretty bad at handling people in general, but the sudden thrusting of Spanish on me used to take my by surprise and ended up making me forget all I knew, haha.
  14. Her videos are definitely an acquired taste. Still, they're fairly engaging and entertaining when I need something to lighten my mood while studying, which is nice. I also like her method of employing new vocabulary! It's very handy having them used in a current events fashion.
  15. Watching telenovelas is one of my favorite things. I loved watching them while I barely had a grasp on Spanish, but now I love watching them even more since I can understand them! I actually used to turn to a Spanish station whenever I was doing homework back in high school, since it provided nice ambience while studying. Somehow though, it always ended up with me absorbed in watching the show instead of doing my work ...
  16. I'd also like to learn more about this series. I think I'll have a go into looking it up. I absolutely despise Remembering the Hanzi. Heisig just adapted it from the kanji edition for Japanese, and it just loses so much of the usefulness from that.
  17. I discovered OMG!美语 about two years ago, I think. The channel is definitely for people who have learned enough Mandarin to understand basic conversation. 美语 basically discusses everyday sorts of topics, like being sick or figuring out to wear. She does talk about some topics related to current events, which is really nice, and I love how she paces her talking. It's a nice way to get in some listening and comprehension, and yes, there are subtitles in English. Click here for the page!
  18. Yes, the complex characters would be a lot more difficult to address in there. It's a nice concept for people who are just starting out though, and I think I would have loved this back when I was learning these characters. I'm a fan of the building blocks method used there, and it's a very friendly and gentle introduction to the language.
  19. What are some of the weirdest things you've done to help you learn a language? I'm sure a few of you have done the sticky note method. You know, you write down vocabulary for household objects on sticky notes and stick them on the appropriate thing, right? I took that a step farther. When I wanted to memorize body parts, I would just write down the words on the corresponding parts of my body. Yes, I was bored the day I did that.
  20. I actually started watching them when I started learning Spanish just to see how much I could comprehend, but then I stuck around because they are so hilarious sometimes. I love ridiculously dramatic acting! But I do think I've learned a little from watching so much, which is a nice bonus.
  21. What, so much focus on learning pinyin, but none on tones? When I first started learning, along with focusing on pinyin, I listened to a lot of audio so that I would have tones engraved in my head. I'd also record myself to make sure I was saying everything right! I think both pinyin and tones are very important to focus on at first.
  22. I agree with all of these tips except for seven. I know a lot of people say to use mnemonics to help remember characters, but with thousands of common characters to memorize, you'd need to build up just as many stories in your head for the characters. Wouldn't that just be really confusing? Well, that's how I see it.
  23. I once did a self-made project of translating some Spanish poetry, just to challenge myself in this issue. It was hard! I got the full play of how the words and sentences flowed together and created meaning and harmony by in Spanish, but then I would change it to English and realize how much I needed to balance between words or overall meaning. Then there was the issue of maintaining the rhythm of the pieces, which was also fun. I think it's a little subjective. For some things, a word-by-word translation works fine, but for others, it's best to take the middle ground and use a mixture of the overall meaning of the piece and that of individual words. It's just a matter of knowing when you're leaning too heavily on one or the other and finding the proper balance.
  24. I only use Google translate on words, rarely sentences. It's difficult to make it a perfect translation tool, what with all the nuances in various languages. I agree that it's best as a helpful tool, not as the be-all end-all answer for translation issues.
  25. I have a friend who's about a decade younger than me and still in school and she doesn't know cursive since they did not have it in her curriculum back in elementary school. Kind of tragic. I think cursive can still be relevant. When taught properly, you learn to write with your whole arm and not just your wrist (at least in the Spencerian method), which promotes more fluid and clear writing. So many people these days have such bad handwriting, it should be a crime. On the bright side, I see booming business for people to do calligraphy and nice handwriting on things like wedding invitations.
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