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Everything posted by Expressionism

  1. The only thing I can recommend is to try to shut off Spanish to some degree while studying/speaking Italian, listening to the language as much as you can, and trying to practice your speaking skills (preferably with a native speaker).
  2. According to snopes, that's not necessarily true -- there's a lack of details (contemporary news accounts, Pepsi actions to fix that mistake, which Chinese dialect this is about) that might mean it's fake, but there's really not enough information either way. The slogan was also "Come alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation", which is a tad bit different with "Come alive with Pepsi". I love that website, it always makes me spend ages laughing really hard whenever I visit it. Me too!
  3. I think it's always a good idea, because you'll get a head start. There are also some things that can be helpful when you're learning another language later in life, like being familiar with certain grammatical concepts or not thinking it's weird that other languages don't mirror your own native language completely.
  4. I'm the same way, I used to peek at online thesis archives to see what my professors' thesis were about or even read articles by them that came up when I was doing research for papers. In part because I was really curious and a tad nosey, but also because it's neat when your favourite professor turns out to research the exact same things you'd be interested in doing research about.
  5. I've interpreted the question as "do you think that reading (books, magazines, etc.) by yourself can help?". I think it can, it'll give you more practice in figuring out unfamiliar vocabulary, how the grammar works, and so on. Depending on what you're reading, you may also come across certain words multiple times and that can help you memorize what they mean if you have trouble remembering them. It's slower than hearing someone speak so you can figure it out at your own pace. It's certainly helped me very much in the past and I really recommend it. That said, unless you're aiming for reading knowledge only, I'd still recommend doing other stuff to practice, like listening to that language, speaking, etc.
  6. About a day or two to get a basic grasp, maybe a bit longer to memorize the order. I've had the reverse experience, I'm trying to learn Russian and there's a lot of letters in Cyrillic that I found really easy to remember because of Greek.
  7. I really like the idea of a study methods subforum, and I agree it would be best if it was a general one. People could still create language-specific threads within it, I assume, and it would be really helpful to get and give advice for studying languages in general.
  8. It's obviously not really very good. Languages aren't mirrored 100%, so phrases may be parsed incorrectly or words/phrases that have a metaphorical meaning may end up being translated literally. If you're reading a piece of text and it's lacking a comma that would make all the difference, for example, you as the reader can figure it out, whereas a computer will just translate it as is and get the actual meaning wrong. It obviously sounds very artificial and not indicated for a classroom setting. Plus, if you're relying on Google Translate to translate your homework answers, you're not practising. Even if you just use it to double-check answers, you'll end up learning things wrong or getting confused. That said, I think it can be helpful sometimes, like when you want to read what a foreign friend said in a blog post or get an idea of what an interesting news article in a language you don't know says. That kind of stuff where it won't impair your learning and it's not really that important to get specific things right, just the general meaning.
  9. I started when I was a toddler. Lessons-wise, I started in elementary school.
  10. Yes, it happens to me sometimes. This is especially true of English, which I use very often to communicate online, watch movies and shows, listen to music, read... the end result is that there are some words I use far more often in English and end up associating primarily with whatever it is they're about. There are also very specialised words I know in certain languages because I've used them to study the subject in question, but am not 100% sure of the translation or I take a while to think of what it is. It's usually fine, this tends to happen when I'm tired, and if I didn't use the word in another language I'd probably just say "huhh... the erm... what's it called..." anyway.
  11. For me the weirdest is accidentally thinking in one language (not even my native one) and then say something that just sounds like a literal translation, or even get out a whole phrase in that language. It usually happens when I've been reading or speaking one of them a lot, but fortunately it doesn't happen very often.
  12. Italian, hands down! Portuguese is a close second. I'd think German would also sound rather frightening when yelling out insults at someone. I agree, rude English words sound really funny to me if I think about them or translate them. I especially love the fact that you can combine them so well to come up with a huge array of 'em.
  13. I don't think that any language is universally the easiest to learn. Which one is actually the easiest really depends on which language(s) you already know and on the person who is trying to learn. Some people get confused by very similar languages while for others, similarities really help. If you want to get more complex than that, I'd also say it depends on what you're trying to use it for. If you're just looking to acquire reading knowledge, then a language that is sufficiently similar to your own that you can easily understand new words is probably the easiest, whereas for other kinds of usages, grammatical features, pronunciation, and so on might make it easier/harder to get right. I'd say English is one of the easiest on average, however. Unlike many other languages, you can feasibly understand and be understood by others even if you make mistakes or have an accent heavily influenced by your first language. It's not like, say, Chinese, where tones can be tricky to get right if none of the languages you already know features them. I don't think the gap between Spanish -> French is that easy. I'd say that from Spanish it's easiest to learn Portuguese or Italian, as French is quite different in terms of pronunciation and spelling, at least on the surface it is.
  14. Thanks for the welcome, everyone! I've studied basic Mandarin in a classroom setting, but I've forgotten most of it by now, so I only remember some things like tones and pinyin. It's not the #1 on my priority list for 2014, but I'd definitely like to study it more in-depth one day because it's a fascinating language. Of course, I'd be glad to! I think it depends somewhat on the demand for it, though, I don't know how many people are interested in those languages. Thank you!
  15. It seems interesting, but it seems like it would be best to combine it with other methods as well. Since this is primarily based on listening and speaking, you'd also have to practice reading and writing, since in many languages, there's some differences between how words are spelled and how they're pronounced. Native speakers also often end up learning about the grammar of their own language, so unless you were just learning to get by on your next vacation, it'd be helpful to learn grammar and such as well. There's also the fact that this doesn't necessarily teach you vocabulary. Of course, the immersion probably helps somewhat, but if you're listening to a recording full of unfamiliar words that don't sound like anything you know so you can't make any educated guesses as to what they mean, you'd probably have to put in the effort of figuring out what they mean. This seems like it would be helpful when trying to improve your accent and your speaking in skills in general, to sound more natural and be able to talk without pronouncing things very slowly and hesitantly, though.
  16. Absolutely. There are a couple of languages that I can understand when reading or listening but I struggle to speak or write them. I think it's because I'm familiar with the vocabulary since it sounds close to languages I already know, or because I've had to read in those languages a lot, but haven't really made an effort to study the vocabulary or grammar in a way geared towards speaking/writing. I've also met someone like the people Denis Hard mentioned: learnt a language at home from parents who were native speakers, never had the need to speak it, and would understand what people said in it but reply back in the language of the country they lived in. Again, I think it's because having passive knowledge of a language is quite different from being able to actually produce sentences yourself; while there's some degree of overlap, the latter requires some more involvement on the part of the speaker.
  17. You're lucky that you're living in a country where your target language is spoken! I thought this was going to be about learning an obscure language spoken only by a handful of people on the other side of the world. You have magazines and books, that's a start. Assuming you have a TV or can watch TV shows online, you could do that. Even if you're not actively watching everything, it'll help you pick up on a few words and phrases and get a better notion of how you should sound when speaking. Even if you don't like Serbian music, you could still listen to Serbian radio shows and podcasts; things like talk shows or anything that relies on conversation is good for this. You could also try to find some audiobooks if there are any. Part of the principle behind Rosetta Stone, if I recall correctly, is to simulate immersion in a language and the experience of being completely surrounded by it and learning through that. You don't have to simulate it now because you're actually doing immersion. Try to think in Serbian sometimes and learn names for basic things as well as phrases. Even if it's weird in the beginning, don't give up, soon you'll realise that you understand and remember more than you think. You could also try to write down phrases or words that you have a hard time remembering or which are unfamiliar to you, and then study them. From a quick search I've found a few resources and a couple of textbooks, you could try to use them if you need some more structure. Something that will definitely help is getting native speakers to talk to. Even if you don't know anyone in your new city, you can use sites like couchsurfing.org or that meet-up site (I can't remember the name as I've never used it) to find people to talk to, even people interested in doing a language exchange or helping you practice. It might also help to find some classes if you can, since even native speakers can make mistakes or have lots of variation in their speech, even if you don't have much money, there may be some options in your area like cheap classes aimed at people who are new in the country. You could also take the structure of courses like Rosetta Stone to guide yourself on what you need to learn. For instance, most textbooks and courses start with greetings, then may discuss nationalities and the verb "to be", and so on. You could apply that structure and sort of create your own course. Generally, just get out there and learn, and try to expose yourself to the language as much as possible.
  18. Almost everyone I know has an account. I personally don't, but I think it sounds neat because of that keyword feature and probably as a way to network and to give people a concise summary of your research interests. At the same time, most people I know also don't use it that much. I like to browse the free papers on there sometimes, haha.
  19. Hey everyone, I'm new here. I'm not sure how much I'll be around, since the forums dedicated to most languages I'm interested in or speak seem to be dead. However, I'm also thinking about seriously studying Mandarin, so I decided to register because there seems to be a lot about it.
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