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About kilat

  • Rank
    Slang Poet


  • Native tongue
    English, Swedish
  • Fluent in
    English, Swedish, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese
  1. For me the best motivator for learning a language was when I moved to a country where very few people, apart from the very highly educated elite, spoke English. To communicate in any meaningful way with 99% of the people around me I had to learn the language (Indonesian). I had a private teacher 5 days a week, and was quickly able to start interacting with people around me.
  2. Another Swedish word that has been adopted into English (and has no real equivalent in English) is ombudsman.
  3. I agree with you that 'any language is easy to learn but hard to master' - that's a very good way to put it! I think one reason some people say that English is a difficult language to learn is that in order to speak good English, you really have to practice a lot as in so many instance the language simply doesn't follow a logical set of rules. Because English has been influenced and altered by so many other languages over thousands of years, there is not much uniformity in terms of practical usage of words and phrases that might otherwise be expected to adhere to a basic set of rules. The sen
  4. I agree that it can be annoying when there's no option to choose the country setting on a spellchecker such as the one here, although as someone else pointed you can do it if you're using Word. I guess that since the world is becoming more Americanized, US English is increasingly being used as the 'default' version of the language. I am actually British and grew up speaking and writing UK English, but as a professional writer I also write in US English when needed (I have lived in the US too so I know how to use US phrasing as well as spelling and grammar). I can also write in Canadian English
  5. For each person there is a particular way of learning that works best. Personally, I tend to remember words and phrases more easily if I write them down, and then go over the list again the next day. I do also find that using new words within a few days of learning them helps me to remember them, so if I don't have the opportunity to use them in conversation I'll make a point of writing sentences that incorporate my new vocabulary. I now have notebooks full of random sentences in various languages, each one with a word or phrase underlined. I must say I do have a decent vocabulary in several d
  6. This is interesting - everyone seems to have a different opinion about how to use 'smart' and 'elegant', and difference between the two. For my part, if we're talking about clothing and a person's general appearance, I would tend to use 'elegant' for classy, expensive-looking clothes worn in the evening, for a party or for a special occasion (to a ball, the opera, a wedding, for example), and would use the term for men as well as for women. A man can look very elegant in a tuxedo (US English) or dinner jacket (UK English), for instance. You can look 'smart' in a wider range of clothes, in
  7. Here are some more homonyms: Adder: - Someone who adds up numbers - A type of snake (aka viper) Furrier: - More furry - Someone who works with animal furs, for example making fur coats Spring: - The season that comes after winter - A pool of water that comes from underground - To suddenly jump up of forward - To originate from (to spring from) - A metal coil used to absorb shocks or movement, for example in a mattress or vehicle Bark: - The sound a dog makes in greeting or warning - The tough brown 'skin' on the exterior of a tree trunk Die: - To come to the end of one's life, cease to e
  8. Yes, the "im-" prefix is simply a form of "in-" that has come to be pronounced and written that way because it's easier to say. Try saying "inproper", "inmobile" or "inpossible" and you'll understand why! Whether it's "in-" or "im-" basically depends on the consonant that comes after the prefix in each word, and how people tend to pronounce the word. Like many other aspects of language, spellings and common pronunciations can change over time, so some of these words might actually have had different spellings centuries ago.
  9. To continue the animal theme: "a dog with two tails". I had no idea what this meant the first time I heard it, then someone told me he was as pleased as a dog with two tails when his son was born. Dog wagging his tail = a happy dog. Dog wagging two tails = an incredibly happy dog! I still think this is an odd expression, though!
  10. A few other "see" idioms I thought of: - To see sense - to change one's view to one that is correct or reasonable - To see the light - to realize how things are, gain an understanding or insight into something - To see the light of day - to come into being (e.g. an idea, a policy, an invention) - Suck it and see - (mainly US) try something and see what it's like - Long time no see - self-explanatory (you can say this exact phrase to a friend you haven't seen for a while) - To see eye to eye with someone - to agree, have the same view
  11. Here are a few more weather idioms: - A storm in a teacup - a small matter that is blown up out of proportion - To have a face like thunder - to look very angry - It never rains but it pours - when all your problems are big ones - To be snowed under - to have a lot of work to do - A fair-weather friend - someone who is only your friend when it suits them - To have your head in the clouds - to be a dreamer
  12. There's something about Spanish that sounds very romantic to me. A lot of people would say Italian is the most romantic language, and it probably comes a close second for me.
  13. I find Google Translate can be helpful for single words or short phrases, but I'm always aware that it's better to use a more sophisticated translation program, or a dictionary, and to pay close attention to context. These translation programs work best for languages that I already know quite well, and where I perhaps have forgotten the meaning of a word or a common expression. It does bother me that so many people think online translation programs are capable of translating whole chunks of text perfectly!
  14. The simplest way to tell which one to use - "your" or "you're" - is to remember that the apostrophe in "you're" is there to replace a letter that's missing. It's a contraction of "you are", whereas "your" is a possessive pronoun ("your hair is longer than mine").
  15. An awful lot of native English speakers who should know better make the "lose" and "loose" mistake too, so don't feel bad if you're learning English and you get them mixed up! Try to work on the difference in pronunciation if you tend to say the two words in the same way, and you might find it easier to spell each one correctly too. The key lies in the way the letter "s" is pronounced. "Lose", as in "don't lose your wallet", has a soft "s" that sounds like a "z", while "loose" has a hard "s" like a hissing snake, as well as a slightly shorter "oo" than "lose" does (which can be confusing in i
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