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Posts posted by petesede

  1. On 1/6/2014 at 0:12 PM, TheStoryteller1 said:



    I will start.

    un abrazo - hug, embrace


    I learned that when I was trying to email columbian friend, and wanted to write at the end of the letter my usual "hugs and kisses" in his language.

    I found it funny of the difference in english.   In spanish, the word for hug is based off of the word for arm.  So basically wrapping arms around them.   But in english, if you make a verb from arm,  ´ I am arming my son´..  it means to give them a weapon.

  2. That is why the Lone Ranger is so funny, for those who don´t know, his side kick was an indian named Tonto.  Many people believe that it was a bit of hidden racism from the writer.

    The funniest ones for me are the gordo/a and gordito/a..   But basically you can take any part of their appearance, add ´ito´ and it can be used that what, weight, hair color, including skin color which really can be a shock.  Being from the hyper-politically correct USA, it still makes me feel uncomfortable when someone says ´mi negrita´.

    but when they say ´my heaven´ or ´my life´ is sounds much more authentic than if we tried to say it in english.

    Just curious, does anyone know if  ´miel´ works?  I may try it just to see what reaction I get ..

  3. On 9/3/2015 at 9:53 AM, Nbidioma87 said:

    I have found that more often than not, English idioms just do not translate into Spanish. I mean you could verbatim translate it, but native speakers will just look at you in a funny way. I have a perfect and also hilarious example.


    That really is the very nature of idioms and why we call them idioms, because they have a meaning beyond the literal translation.

    In this case, the poster above is very accurate, if you say ´ money saved is twice earned´  they know exactly what you mean, 

  4. On 11/6/2015 at 8:45 PM, KimmyMarkks said:

    When I travel internationally I pick up a few words here and there, but there is never enough time for me to really learn a language; instead just a few phrases.  I think the only way to really learn a language is to immerse yourself in their culture by living in the country.  I know that many schools offer study abroad programs for language majors in which they live in someone's home.  My cousin did this and she came back speaking the language fluently.  Although she will say she learned more slang then proper Spanish.  


    I am the same way, I am only able to isolate a few words enough to learn what they mean, and then I get back home and find out they are mostly slang or local words anyway.   But here is a challenge, just to shock yourself.  When you are home and the next time you have a conversation with someone in your native language, listen to how much of what you and they are saying that is either slang, or proper nouns.  It is very high usually.  We do not speak in proper sentences nearly as much as you would expect.

  5. 22 hours ago, takibari said:

    Last year, I was connected to a school teaching Korean language. Interestingly, the results were varied. There were students who were truly interested in learning the language, but for some reason their progress differ from that of their peers. The students were given the same materials, and the same amount of one-on-one class time with the teacher. From that, I can surmise that there are certainly other factors coming into play why progress of two paying students were different. When the company was just starting out, it offered free classes to some students. There were certainly those who excelled more compared to their peers. As wasting money wasn't in the formula (as the classes were free), then clearly, these students have different motivations and have different learning curves.

    A lot of people just learn better alone, with their own material.  You can put yourself in an environment that is comfortable for you, you can take breaks when you feel you need them.  In your case, it could also just be that some people are uncomfortable learning in a small classroom.  I am like that, I preferred either the huge halls with over 30 students, or studying alone.  I had a few college classes where there were only a handful of other students, and the dynamic just made it uncomfortable.

    I think it mainly comes down to discipline.  Many people do not have the discipline to study on their own, so need a scheduled class-time with a teacher to make sure they spend X amount of hours per week.  Other people have the discipline to study alone and would prefer to relax in bed with a cup of tea and their books.  WIth languages, at least the early stages where you are just building vocabulary with memorization, I prefer to be alone.  When I am ready to add conversations, then you need help.

  6. On 5/19/2016 at 11:27 PM, Baburra said:

    I once saw a movie where a character did exactly this to learn a new foreign language as he was living in a foreign country and wanted to learn to speak the language. Unfortunately my memory of which movie this was is vague because I think it's a very old one that I watched years ago. Still, even then I have pondered that doing so must at least be somewhat effective since you could learn at least the basics and it's not that far off anyway since you are essentially starting to learn from scratch just as kids do. 

    I saw a similar semi-documentary where someone was able to learn a language just from watching the Harry Potter series.  He said a big part of it was just the fact that he had the movies basically memorized in english, so every sentence he was able to translate while the movie was still going on.  For books and movies, that is probably very important.. if you already are very familiar with the books or movies, it makes translating faster and easier.

  7. Watch movies and TV shows that you already have see in english.  That is probably my biggest help right now.   I am addicted to Game of Thrones, so will usually watch an episode Sunday Night, and then again on Monday.. so I see it twice in English... then later in the week, i watch it again in spanish.  If you already know the plot, and know most of the dialog, you don´t get ´lost´ when you fail to recognize a word.

    The other, probably more advanced is soap operas and Telenovelas ( in spanish).  The actors and actresses generally are trained to have very neutral dialects because it is mean for many different countries.  They also speak slowly and use precise syllables.  And finally, the camera usually has a close-up of their face, which many times seeing someone´s mouth can help you understand the sound they are making.  I know for me, my listening skills for Spanish are much worse over the phone when I cannot see the mouth of the other person.

  8. I read the title and I thought someone was paying people to learn a new language!!  Wouldn´t that be cool.

    There probably is some truth to your statement, but there are also many, and better ( in my opinion)  reasons to do it for free.  The biggest for me is just flexible scheduling.  If I want to have a 4 hour marathon study session in the middle of the night, duolingo is always there, I am not sure a spanish teacher would appreciate me calling them.

  9. Acting Like a Child and Leaving your comfort zone 

    I cannot agree more with these two.   Two of the biggest problems adults have when learning a new language is a fear of making mistakes and looking silly.   I sometimes criticize my fellow americans for causing this, because we really are the only culture ( that I know of ) that openly mocks people from other countries who misprounounce words and do it in a derogatory manner.  I think this makes us Americans more hesitant to try other languages, because we think ´they´ will laugh at us also.  Every time I hear a movie or tv show mock oriental people for messing up Rs and Ls, I can imagine there are many people who will never try to speak a foreign language.

    I have spent a lot of time overseas, and I have never, in an  other place but the USA seen that type of mocking.

  10. With the coming of cheap tablets and smartphones, actual physical flashcards have much less use for me.  It is just too easy to use apps that basically provide the same functionality, but without a cost or hassle of making them.  It is also easier to build your vocabulary.  For me personally, I hated making flashcards and trying to think of what words to include on them. ´Ok, I want 100 with this batch´....  meh.. I just use websites now that do all the auxiliary work.

  11. 6 hours ago, lingvo said:

    Is  an input method focused on developing your spanish reading and writing. You make the language yours by sheer repetition instead of doing the boring chore of learning grammar rules and suchs. Not bad at all, but quite time grindy.

    Yeah, I was going to say the same thing.  It sounds like a good way to learn, but really if you are going to devote that amount of time to it, almost any form of learning a language is going to work.   That is a really huge amount of time.  Just take a book and time yourself writing out one page from a novel, then multiply it by how many pages are in the novel, then add another 50% because you will be writing in a different language and looking up some words.   My guess that method would take over 1000 hours of actual work.... where most ´students´ of a language are lucky to put in 300 hours of study time per year of hardcore studying.

  12. 2 hours ago, Baburra said:

    I had a hard time ordering food and asking questions and at the time smartphones weren't that prevalent yet so I didn't have any mobile internet to rely on. Thankfully I could just point at certain items in menus but even then some of them were kind of a gamble, though thankfully I didn't end up ordering anything too weird. If I thought I would be staying there for longer I think I would have just contacted either a translator or a tutor just to help me get started, but nowadays I will probably just rely more on online resources such as this forum. 

    It is very hard to learn food from books because so much of it is local.  Fish is absolutely insane in central america, basically every country has a different name for every type of fish (aside from salmon and tuna).   I can go from Nicaragua to Hondorus and half the food would be the same, but with a different name.

  13. Overall I agree, but you have to pick a sweet spot and not go too young or you risk running into the Dr. Suess  problem.  Can you imagine trying to learn english using Dr. Suess Books?   yeah, stuff like one fish, two fish, red fish blue fish might help, but so many of the books have fake words, which is often the case with books and shows for very young children.  I found that books in the 8-12 age area are great for learning, stuff like Judy Blume ( any excuse to read Superfudge again!!)... or the pippi longstalking books.  But I really would not go much younger than that.

  14. Probably doesn´t count, but where I live we get Game of Thrones about 6 hours before it is available in the USA or internet.   But it is dubbed into spanish, and also subtittlled into spanish.  So you don´t hear the actors real voice, but you can read along in spanish because sometimes it is very hard to understand what they are saying.

    I stopped watching it though because the translations were done so poorly, they took all nuance out of the dialog.  Characters like Tyrion have completely different personalities because his sarcasm and satire are not translated, so you think he is just depressed.

    Although the same is true of comedies.  2 1/2 men, Simpsons and Big Bang Theory are all on tv here in spanish, but the ´funny parts´ are different.  Some of the funniest scenes just do not translate at all.  They laugh more at the obvious, slapstick type humor.

  15. I have had two experiences living overseas.

    The first is living in South Korea for a year.  A few weeks before getting there, I bought a book and learned the alphabet and pronunciation of the different letters and how words and syllables were formed.  I also learned a few basic words and phrases, but not much.  The actual reaction from the people was amazing.  I was in the military, and so few soldiers that go over there for a year bother to learn any of the language besides a couple of words.  I studied pretty hard and by the end of my year was about to understand a lot.  As far as being able to communicate... this is a lesson you will learn anywhere in the world... a decent chunk of people everywhere will know english.  I had a core group of friends, maybe 5-8 people, and there was always one  or two around who spoke decent english.  Besides living overseas twice, I have also traveled a lot to other places, and this is almost always true, especially in tourist areas.. you will almost always find people who can speak english.

    My second experience living overseas is ongoing, I have now been in central america for a few years.  As funny as it seems, I had a bigger headstart on korean than I did with spanish.  I came here only knowing a few basic words.  It is also a bit different.  When I was in Korea I spent most of my free time with university students, people around my same age.  Because of this they were well educated and even the ones who didn´t speak english, did have a few years of it in HS.   Here, I work mainly with very poor people, so nobody really knows english.  This really forced my spanish a little faster.. there was no crutch.  Overall, it really depends on the purpose of the conversations.  I can get everything done and understand everything when the conversations are purposeful.  But when people are debating ideas or abstract stuff, sometimes I still get lost.

    But probably my most honest feeling is that no matter where you are, if you are trying to speak their language, the people appreciate the effort.  You may still get giggles when you mess stuff up, but in korea especially, people were always so impressed that I was learning korean.   I hate to say it, but in the USA, we are the opposite.  For the most part we ridicule people who are learning english and not getting it right, in other countries they are much more impressed with just the effort.

  16. On 4/19/2016 at 2:52 PM, FenWoFon said:

    When it comes to learning a language, asian ones are somehow last on my list, no offense but it seems to bee too hard for me, I do not really think about myself getting into it, however nice topic you made there, thanks for sharing.

    The truth is that it will take you about 30 minutes to understand the construct of words ( each ´block´ is actually a syllable),  it will take you a day to memorize the letters, and another day to learn the more difficult pronunciations.   It took me literally no time at all, less than a week until I could read everything in Korean.   What really makes it fun is that often times you will read a sign, and as you pronounce the words, you realize it is just the korean characters spelling an english word..... so you already know how to pronounce it.

  17. But once you really understand the language, you realize how easily the other person can anticipate the meaning of the word you are using.  There are a million things when learning a language that you are better off just not worrying about.   Sometimes you may say something awkward, but if you worry too much about it, you will slow down how fast you learn the language.. just go with the flow.

  18. I don´t think my problem can be solved.  I think the internet is the problem, or at least text messages on cell phones.   30 years ago, languages were much more formal and what you read in books was ´the language´..  but nowadays, especially with anyone under 30, languages are changing drastically and becoming much less formal and structured.   Slang is getting incorporated into language much faster than it used to in the past.  And for languages like spanish, the actual language is being fragmented very rapidly in latin america.  The amount of expressions and idioms that exist in different regions is amazing.

  19. Yeah, I would not try something like spanish and italian at the same time, it would be too easy to confuse words, and memorizing verb endings would be a nightmare ( already difficult in any language).  I would do Japanese or Korea at the same time as a romance language since there would be no overlap.  I thought learning korean was my favorite because the alphabet just made it so unique, but learning spanish after french was kinda boring..

  20. One thing I found useful and fun is to find your favorite songs on youtube that are subtitled into the language you are trying to learn.  Because you already know the real words, it is easy to follow the foreign language.   If it is a European language, you are almost assured to find your songs translated into any language.

  21. 13 hours ago, Mary84 said:

    When I was learning english I found out that trying to read a book made me feel too overwhelmed and I often gave up. After a while I used a different approach, I started to read short stories in english on my computer and I installed a program that would allow me to get the meaning of a word by simply clicking on it. When I clicked on it, a small window would pop up and it would show me first the english synonyms ant then the italian meaning. I found it very useful, that way I was able to read longer stories after a while and understand most of what I was reading. It was a slow process but now I'm able to read a whole book without having to look up any word.

    I'm using the same method to learn spanish and so far it's working. I think the trick is to pick stories/books that you like so you will be motivated to get to the end of them. I've also found out that e-readers are very useful tools, mine has several in-build vocabularies and it's helping me a lot.

    reading books is great, but after you have a decent sized vocabulary memorized.   Books allow you to learn things like conjugating verbs and word order placement.  But I do not think books are a great way to learn vocabulary.  Nothing other than straight out memorization works for that.  With books, you can know all the words, but then use the setting of the story to figure out the little sentence nuances and what they mean.

  22. 6 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

    The only thing I can disclose is that I'm using the Unity game engine.
    Everything else I use is confidential material I receive from Nintendo, so I can't talk about this part.

    That is pretty cool,  I also am a Unity user, but have used it mainly for a traditional RPG.   I was thinking of how easy it would be to create a Unity game to learn languages in a 3d environment, especially since there is so much free art available.  Of course I would have to throw in an orc too.

  23. On 3/21/2016 at 8:06 PM, MyNameIsFermin said:

    This is like the idea of having the same currency for the whole world. my question is what would that language be? beside the possible implications mentioned above in replies, there are human morals and values involved that won't let us accept a foreign country language as a good thing. its been historically a sign of defeat and submission to embrace a foreign langue over your own, I don't think it would ever happen, even if there was an official language everyone accepted, there still would exist secret language spoken forever.

    You are already seeing it.  Go to any country and you will see that everyone with any amount of money is already trying to learn english.   I think the confusion in this thread is that many people think of the question as forcing the language on a person..  when the reality is that most of the well educated people from Russia, China and Japan are already learning english as a way to improve their economic outlook.  In many poor countries, learning english is your ticket to a new life.  Where I live, a person who can work at an english call center earns way more than an architect, nurse or other professional, and vastly more than a teacher.

  24. I use duolingo, and also I just use plain old memorization.   Every week I write down 100 words I don´t know in spanish, and then just memorize them throughout the week.  I would give my right arm for like a HS or College spanish book, but they just are not available where i am.   Having a good vocabulary is one thing, but the grammar theory makes it easier to take what you learn from one verb and transfer it to another verb.  The rules of conjugation etc.

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