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Everything posted by htr693

  1. Hi everyone! This is something I'm struggling with at the moment. I used to speak french (Canadian, so we learn in school) and then when I was 16 I stopped learning it, and haven't spoken it since. I then lived in Spain for a year, and became fluent in Spanish. Now, my boyfriend's parents are French, and I'm trying to go back and re-learn the language, but I'm finding it harder than I thought because my brain seems to 'flip' into Spanish any time I hesitate on a word. Any tips to help with this? Have you found the same? In some ways the spanish is helpful, and in some ways it seems to be hindering my progress in french.
  2. I agree. I think it would be very difficult to learn without learning how to write and read the language. Even just structurally, it's hard to comprehend without reading it. I always find that envisioning the word in my head when someone speaks allows me to comprehend it further if I have any question as to which word they are saying. It's also important to learn the grammar of a language, and this can really only be done by reading and seeing examples.
  3. Absolutely! It's the funniest thing when it happens. I remember I was in Spain for about a year, and towards the end, when I'd call my family in Canada, I kept saying small spanish words in place of the english ones. I didn't do it for any substantial words, always things like saying 'pues' instead of 'well', things like that. My family thought it was hilarious.
  4. Everyone has an accent. As others have already said, just because you can't hear it doesn't mean it's there. Accent is defined as a distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class. Since we are all from a country, area, and social class, we all have an accent. There are many small differences between places, even if you don't hear them necessarily. Words will be different, slang terms, intonation, cultural speech patterns. It's all fascinating! Check out www.dialectsarchive.com.
  5. Yes yes and yes. Tongue exercises make a world of difference in speech. I am a professional dialect and vocal coach, and the first thing I do with every student is a good mouth warm up. Speaking is about isolating muscles to get the most clarity. It's like going to the gym. You have to warm up, and you have to build strength if you want to see results. The same goes with the muscles of the mouth. You can speak with very little effort naturally. This is like walking. If you want to run a marathon, you have to work your way up to it. So if you want to learn a new language or accent, you have to train your muscles to move differently. There are many tongue and mouth exercises that can help with this. Be sure that whatever you're doing, you're truly isolating the muscles. For example, if you are working on your tongue, be sure that your jaw isn't moving, and your chin is not moving up and down. This can make a huge difference to speech. Give it a go!
  6. A friend of mine once had a book that was half in French and half in English. So one page was French, and the adjacent page English. It was great, because it was easy to read just one 'half' of the book while not looking at the other, but if I got stuck, I could look over and see what the translated version said. I can't remember what book it was, as this was years ago. Has anyone else seen any that are like this?
  7. Yes, many of them. The way in which the verb tenses are labeled is very different in Spain to the textbook I had back in Canada, which, I assume was of Mexican spanish. When I arrived in Spain, there were all these words that I didn't know like 'Indefinido' to describe verb forms. It was very confusing and it took me a day or two to work out what was what. It's all part of the learning process! Now I can't remember what the textbook ones were!
  8. Thanks for posting about this! I was actually about to ask a similar question. There are a lot of TV shows online from Spain as well. There is one called Aguila Roja, which I like. The story is interesting enough, and easy to follow, and it reminds me a little bit of Zorro. Some action involved, so my mind gets a bit of a break. I lived in Spain almost 10 years ago, and have forgotten so much of my Spanish! Things like this really help to keep it up, at least until I am in a Spanish speaking environment again.
  9. I love accents, and currently work with actors as a Dialect Coach. It's very interesting to me, because everyone learns accents in different ways, and at different rates. Some accents seem to be universally difficult to imitate, like Irish. This is because of the intonation. Others are usually easier to teach, like Southern USA dialects. If you're interested in accents, there is a great website you can look at, which has loads of samples of dialects in English from all over the world. www.dialectsarchive.com Enjoy!
  10. I love a lot of William Shakespeare quotes. Here are a few of my favourites: "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" " I am not bound to please thee with my answer." " No legacy is so rich as honesty" "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves."
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