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Everything posted by JohnSword

  1. I do tense up in certain situations which require me to speak my second language. I guess it's partly because I get stressed easily. Also, I'm afraid that I would unknowingly insult the other party if I use the wrong word or phrase. Other times my mind just goes blank while searching for the right words to express what I mean.
  2. I tend to visualize the words in my mind when I'm learning a language. I feel that doing so allows me to remember words better by associating them with visual images. I also find that my mind is clearer after a quick run outside, which certainly helps in learning a language. I guess you can say it's a habit of mine.
  3. I'm still trying to tackle the rolling r's as well. Thanks for the link, I'll definitely make good use of it. I guess the saying holds true, 'practice makes perfect'.
  4. I don't think it's an antithesis. 'Propose' and 'dispose' aren't antonyms. 'Propose' in this case means to put forward an idea or a plan, while 'dispose' is to decide what happens. Doing some further reading, this proverb is actually a translation from "The Imitation of Christ", and puts forth the notion that God ultimately decides a man's success or failure no matter what. As such, I would say my answer is a) hypothesis.
  5. From my personal experience, reading does help tremendously in improving one's language skills. I read I used to be an avid reader in high school, and always received good grades for my English exams. Essay-writing was easier for me because I have a wider range of vocabulary to fall back on. Of course, doing the love for reading also makes language-learning an enjoyable experience. As such, you're more likely to find success.
  6. I was never able to sleep the night before an exam. I guess I'm the type who gets stressed easily. The pressure I put on myself to perform well probably didn't help either. Thinking back, there wasn't really much reason to get all stressed out, since I always make sure to prepare well for an exam.
  7. I remember back in school we used to keep a notebook and jot down any new words we learned. I used to expand my vocabulary by at least 10 words a day. Sadly, I didn't keep up with the practice once I graduated. I probably should start keeping track of how large my vocabulary is, since I'm working on becoming a writer.
  8. I would actually like to learn Malay as my next language. Since I live in a multiracial society, with Malays making up a significant portion, it seems prudent to pick up the language. It'll allow me to better communicate with my Malay-speaking friends and colleagues.
  9. I took a quick look at Wikipedia, and it says that a native language is "the language(s) a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity." As such, it's quite normal for a person to not be that good at his native language if he hasn't used it for a period of time. For example, if a person's native language is Chinese, but he works in an English-speaking environment.
  10. Seeing as how I'm looking to improve my Chinese, your forum will certainly be of big help. I took a quick look at it, and I really like your comprehensive list of online resources for learning Chinese. Hopefully more people will join in the learning experience!
  11. I don't know why, but I can distinctly remember being taught "raining cats and dogs" in elementary school. Maybe it's because the imagery is vivid for a child. Just imagine the sky raining meowing cats and barking dogs!
  12. As someone has mentioned before, the best way to get accurate translations is to find a person who is well-versed in both languages. Of course, such a person might be hard to find. For me, I would do my translations on Google Translate first. Thereafter, I would look at the context and determine whether a translation is accurate. If not, I would try the various forums, where native speakers are always more than happy to help me.
  13. I actually think subtitling is a fun way to learn a language. Translating a language while watching shows you love really helps to sharpen one's language skills.
  14. I used to use "LOL" all the time when I was younger. Now that I'm older, I still use it, just not as much. It kinda makes a conversation seem more casual. And also, since my friends like to send funny messages, "LOL" is definitely suitable in such context.
  15. I took a quick look at the site, and it certainly looks interesting. However, the fact that you have to pay for a membership in order to access its full features will probably deter some from making use of it. Thanks for sharing!
  16. I use English (my first language) much more often than Chinese (my second language). Most of my friends and colleagues speak English, prompting me to do the same. Come to think about it, I haven't had a conversation in Chinese for awhile. I should probably try to fit in situations where I could use Chinese.
  17. I've never been part of a language club, but I would really love to be in one. Nothing is more fun about learning a language than doing it with a group of like-minded friends. Thanks for the excellent suggestion. I'll start looking around for a language club around my area.
  18. Instead of joining content mills such as Textbroker and iWriter, I chose to write articles on my own blog instead. Sure, it's not paid to write per se, but I've been earning loose change through AdSense and affiliate links. At the same time, since I'm writing about things I'm interested in, I tend to stay more focused and motivated.
  19. I don't really restrict my thinking to a particular language. Oftentimes I think in gibberish, since my thoughts tend to get jumbled up.
  20. If a person is really keen to learn a language, nothing will stop him. This is especially true in this day and age, when one can easily gain access to a multitude of online language resources. At the same time, I agree that people who socialize more are able to pick up a language quicker. You don't have to be a party animal though. A good idea is to start an interest group and practice the language together.
  21. I agree it's hard to understand anyone who talks too fast, even if that person is speaking my native language. Believe me, I've had my fair share of such experiences while working in customer service. At the same time, I don't think such people really meant to be rude. It has probably become a habit for them over the years.
  22. Thanks for sharing this site! As a Hokkien Chinese, it's really interesting to hear people speak in other dialects while sharing their stories. Thankfully there are transcriptions and translations available though, since I wasn't able to understand some of them.
  23. I do speak a mix of English, Chinese and Malay, also known as Singlish. It has definitely become a part of our culture here. While I use Singlish when I'm with friends, I always make sure to speak standard English in professional settings.
  24. If you're looking to explore your artistic side while learning how to write Chinese characters, then I highly recommend taking up Chinese calligraphy. As the name implies, Chinese calligraphy or 書法, helps students write better while following the rules of writing Chinese characters.
  25. I live in a multi-racial country as well, so I get to hear many different languages in one day. Since English is our main language, it's naturally the most widely spoken language. With the Chinese being the predominant race here, you can also hear many people speaking in Chinese. Other than that, there is also Malay, Indian and much more.
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