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Everything posted by JohnSword

  1. For me, it depends on the context. If I'm chatting casually with friends and family then I would definitely use smileys. I do think smileys add another dimension to a conversation, since you can only convey so much on a device. At the same time, for more serious conversations it would be wise not to indulge in too many smileys.
  2. I live in Singapore, which is multiracial country. While there are many languages spoken, English is definitely the most useful language here, followed by Chinese. The main language of instruction in Singapore is English. Also, understanding English is definitely essential to succeed in the business environment here.
  3. I still think that having a physical dictionary around is useful. While you can easily access online dictionaries nowadays, there are times when your internet connection fails (like mine). Personally I prefer the page-flipping experience. Of course, those physical dictionaries are really a pain to bring around. I remember back in school, I used to learn Chinese and English. As such, I have to lug around 2 dictionaries. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
  4. I used to learn with other students. I find that I'm able to pick up a language better if I have like-minded people to study and practice with. At the same time, some people learn better when he/she learns alone. It's really up to personal preferences.
  5. I haven't done it before since the girlfriends I had before all speak the same language as me. However, if I really do encounter such a situation I would definitely try to learn her language. After all, communication is a big part of a relationship. If you can't convey your feelings properly to your other half, it might result in misunderstandings. Also, letting your partner teach you his/her language sounds pretty fun and a good way to strengthen a relationship.
  6. I can definitely say that it works, given that I was actually able to pick up the Hokkien dialect by listening to my parents speak it when I was young. Even now that I'm older, I would say that listening to a language for a long time is still pretty effective. I've been exposed to Korean for about a year, which has enabled me to pick up a few sentences here and there.
  7. While I'm interested in uncommon languages, I probably go the extra mile to learn them. Every language requires plenty of motivation to ensure success but uncommon languages require a significantly higher level of dedication. You tend to spend lots of time reading and listening but meeting people to practice with is often a rare luxury and this can have a severe impact on your motivation to continue. Also, unless there’s a demand for specialist translators or interpreters somewhere then there’s never going to be a financial incentive for learning the language.
  8. Pictures definitely help when it comes to learning a new language. I'm recently learning Spanish on Duolingo, which provides you with an image for every new word. It's much less boring this way. Of course, different people prefer different teaching methods, and it doesn't really matter which one you choose as long as you work hard.
  9. Music certainly crosses all boundaries. There are many songs I enjoy that are in a language I don't understand. At the same time, I do think that one is unable to truly enjoy a song without understanding the lyrics. I guess it's one of the reasons people learn a language.
  10. You can try reading some children's book to begin with, then moving up to regular novels. You might have problems finding foreign language materials at your library, but most bookstores have at least a few children's books in different languages. If you're looking for an online resource, Project Gutenberg contains thousands of books (in several languages) online that you can download for free.
  11. Language influences culture, so learning a second language helps me to understand how other people think. It also helps me to get a general understanding of our world and the many people and cultures that inhabit it. Also, learning a second language has helped me to understand my own language and culture better through the relationship between the second language and my mother tongue. For instance, studying Spanish has taught me more English as well, because the two languages are quite similar.
  12. I can't imagine learning a language like Elvish or Klingon or Na'vi. I'm just not interested enough in any of those franchises to do that. You'd have to be a real die-hard fan, though I suppose you could learn the basics just for kicks. Are these languages developed enough to actually be used?
  13. I never really wrote anything on my hands before, due to the fact that I have sweaty hands. Nowadays, with people are carrying around their mobile phones all the time, I think writing on one's hands has become quite a thing of the past.
  14. The argument seems fallacious to me. "Failure" suggests an unsuccessful attempt. But we have been suggesting other reasons why some languages might not show an internet presence. Some of these factors (having relatively small numbers of speakers, living in remote parts of poor countries) might themselves be correlated with language endangerment; but the internet itself has nothing to do with it. The bottom line is that there is nothing intrinsic to the internet that prevents anyone from using any language they want on it.
  15. I'm aiming to learn 4 languages in my lifetime. I'm bilingual in English and Mandarin. At the moment, I'm learning Spanish. Once I mastered that language I'll move on to Japanese. 4 is just right for now, since I would probably not be handle any more.
  16. I have an accent, and so do many of my countrymen. You can definitely tell I'm from a particular country from the way I speak. It's quite curious as to how one acquires an accent. Your accent results from how, where, and when you learned the language you are speaking. We can control the way we speak, and do, both consciously and unconsciously. Most people vary their accent depending on who they are speaking with. We change our accents, often without noticing, as we have new life experiences.
  17. I'm pretty sure the two idioms I've mentioned below are self-explanatory: 'The early bird catches the worm' 'The birds and the bees'
  18. A direct translation won't work. I can't for the life of me imagine how '人之初 性本善 性相近 习相远' can be translated into 3-word phrases. Take a look at the 1991 translation of the above line by Herbert Giles: Men at their birth are naturally good. Their natures are much the same; their habits become widely different.
  19. I think it would an uphill task for Chinese to replace English has the international language. English is already deeply rooted in many societies and most businesses. While Chinese is the most spoken language, that is only because China is the most populous country.
  20. I'm learning Spanish now, and I would say that speaking is the most difficult aspect for me at the moment. Writing and reading aren't too bad, since English and Spanish both use alphabets. However, I'm having a hard time mastering the pronunciation, such the rolled 'r'. Hopefully I'll speak better with more practice.
  21. You might pick up a couple of new words here and there from playing games, but I doubt most people play games to learn a language. Of course, there are games like Scrabble which are designed specifically for that purpose, but in the end I think you'll benefit more from sources such as books.
  22. I would happy, since that means I would have one less business rival to worry about. It's true that if your business is located in a non-English-speaking-country, then you probably won't find much use in learning English. However, if you're ambitious and looking to expand overseas, then knowing English is definitely a must, since it's effectively the most widespread language in the business world. So at the end of the day, I would say the importance of English lies in its ability to expand your business prospects.
  23. I'm currently learning Spanish and Japanese. I still have a long way to go, but the process is an enjoyable one. I think learning a new language is a great way to keep your mind in shape. It also eliminates language barriers, and allows you to make friends with people of other nationalities more easily.
  24. Life would certainly be very different without language, but I think we would still find ways to express our thoughts one way or another. Who knows, maybe we would have evolved in such a way that we can communicate simply by touching each other. The possibilities are endless.
  25. I took a quick look at Wikipedia, which says: "Language fluency is used informally to denote broadly a high level of language proficiency, most typically foreign language or another learned language, and more narrowly to denote fluid language use, as opposed to slow, halting use. In this narrow sense, fluency is necessary but not sufficient for language proficiency: fluent language users (particularly uneducated native speakers) may have narrow vocabularies, limited discourse strategies, and inaccurate word use." So yes, I think mastering 1,000 words is more than enough for a person to be fluent in a language.
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