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Everything posted by SmartPea85

  1. If you are a beginner, I think the best novels are ones that are written for young adults. They are essentially in the same boat you are, language comprehension-wise, and the concepts/language will be simpler to understand. I have read this short novel called Sin Noticias de Gurb. It's about an alien who has landed in Barcelona, Spain, and trying to find his partner (Gurb) while exploring the city and its strange human inhabitants. It's funny, sweet and interesting. You will most likely have to look up a bunch of words, but you will pick up the gist of the book pretty easily, and learn some great new vocabulary.
  2. Embarazada: Pregnant I had to do a mini skit for one of my Spanish courses in college, and I had to learn that word for one of my lines. Maybe the way it rolls off the tongue, but for some reason that word has always stuck in my head.
  3. It's funny how words come and go with our time and place in history. I've read a good colonial insult would be to call someone a "jackanapes", which appears to refer to someone who's impertinent. Some Old English words we don't use anymore but used to be quite popular: anon (soon) beguile (cheat or trick) collier (coal-vendor) forsooth (certainly or truly)
  4. My favorite is the Greek frog sound: brececececs coacs coacs (brik-ka-ka'kee koo-ah koo-ah) And a bird singing: tsiu tsiu Both very melodic and happy-sounding
  5. At my old high school they offered Latin as a language study program. I think it's useful. Latin is really interesting not only as part of world history, but it is the root of a lot of different languages, so to have a firm grasp on Latin is probably beneficial in picking up other languages. You can tell how close Latin links to "sister" languages in words like: aquatique (french) aquarium (english) agua (spanish) acqua (italian)
  6. I didn't begin learning Spanish BECAUSE of my boyfriend, but my past two boyfriends have been of Hispanic descent, so it just works out pretty nicely that I can practice speaking and vocabulary learning with him now. I am especially grateful, however, because I can speak and understand a little of what his family is saying, especially his grandmother, who is so nice to me but doesn't speak English very well. The fact that we can still communicate is very important to me, and I'm glad that we aren't blocked from each other by a language barrier.
  7. Anyone have any tips or clever ideas to help your students remember the correct spelling and meanings of typically mixed-up homophones like there/their/they're and two/too/to?
  8. What are some examples you know of false cognates that are important to get straight? False cognates are words that sound like words in English but they do not mean the same thing. Some that always used to trip me up: costumbre (custom, not costume) personaje (character, not person) sopa (soup, not soap)
  9. Another great practice idea is to change your Google language setting to Spanish. Then type in a topic and google will automatically direct you to websites in Spanish. You can do a little research and practice reading and comprehending in Spanish. One of my professors made us do this for a research project. It can be a little frustrating, but it's great practice if you stick to it, and it can lead you to so many great informational websites that you might never find if you only searched in English!
  10. Sounds beautiful! It's very interesting to me how different languages have different forms of words/phrases depending on who is saying it, and who they are saying it to. When you say "honorific", does that mean you are speaking to someone out of respect/older/of higher status? I'm thinking this might be equivalent to the Spanish "usted". I like how some languages include this differentiation as part of their language structure and overall culture. It's a little sad that English is not one of those.
  11. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost is a classic Winter & Snow poem: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. There are more snowy poems for you to check out at this great website: www.poetryfoundation.org
  12. Spell-check is one thing, I would be careful of a computer program that corrects grammar. You might find based on the context of the sentence you are trying to say, the program will tell you you are wrong when you are actually right, or give you suggestions that are incorrect. I know even as a native English speaker, sometimes my computer's word document will alert me to fix a sentence that is already correct. As a non-native speaker, it might be even more confusing for a computer to try to predict what you want to say and in the context you are trying to say it in. Better to have a professor or native speaker check your work.
  13. It should be "happened" because you are still asking about an event that did or did not happen in the past, thus the "happen" should be in the past tense. If you are speculating about something in the future or present tense, you might say something like "What would happen if...?"
  14. I think it's important to figure out the literal translation of what you're saying in Spanish. This might help not only figure out what you want to say in the easiest way, but it could also alleviate that extra "es" or "el" in everyday conversation. The reason you don't say "Me llamo es ____" is because you're not literally saying "My name is" like in English. Me llamo means "I call myself" so you would just say "Me llamo Jane" ("I call myself Jane"), not "I call myself is Jane." When you start to understand the structure of the new language and how it's different from your original, it makes things a little easier.
  15. Teaching a child another language is best done AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! I learned in my linguistics class that all infants have the ability to speak any language on earth, they only grow up learning whatever language they are surrounded by. I disagree that flashcards and 15-minute games are the way to go with a child. You have to make the language natural, constant, and fun for them to remember it and want to learn/speak it. Being immersed in the language is the most authentic way for anyone to learn a language. Children have to be taught that the same object can have several different names. If you are teaching your child Spanish, have Spanish pop up in real-life situations at home. Hand them something and ask them, "Can you put this is the basura?" When they say, "What's a basura?" Say, "That's the garbage." From then on you can consistently flip-flop between using the word "garbage" and "basura." Now for your child, they both mean the same thing. This flip-flopping is called "code-switching," and it's what bilingual people sometimes do with each other or themselves because multiple words have the same meaning in their brains. It's a great way to begin vocabulary-building in a realistic way that has personal connection to the child.
  16. Of course all languages sound different, since they have different roots and derivatives from different parts of the world. There are similarities (I'm thinking Romance languages like Spanish and French) but what I call "gutteral" languages like German have completely different sounds. The smallest sound that has meaning is called a phoneme. When you speak any langauges, your mouth literally makes different sounds, putting together phonemes that make sense as you have been taught as a baby. The listener's brain chains together those phonemes and responds to them as "words" or "phrases" that have meaning. In some African languages a click somewhere in the throat is a phoneme. When a person combines this click with other sounds, it creates a word that has meaning. I have no idea what that word is, or even what that sound is in language, because that click is not a phoneme in English. Isn't language fascinating!
  17. "If you don't use it, you lose it." So frustrating! I find this is starting to happen with me, and I hate it! Recently I have been trying to find more opportunities to listen to and speak Spanish, even if they are fewer than in the past. I listen to the Spanish station DJ, I have been getting back into reading books (to myself and out loud to practice pronunciation), and even translating Spanish words in my head during the day. I was thinking about going back to my Spanish professors at my University and asking them nicely if I could just sit in the back of the classroom every few often. Just finding little ways in your everyday life to emerge yourself back into the language will help your brain retain what you once knew so you don't lose it entirely.
  18. I find Puerto Rican Spanish is difficult to comprehend because it seems they speak so quickly I can't distinguish words sometimes! I know native speakers that also speak so quickly they leave of ending sounds of words and blend words together, so it doesn't even sound like individual words I know! I realize we do this in English all the time, but as a non native speaker I now see how confusing this can be! It takes lots of training of your ear to be able to listen to fast talkers and understand the way they are speed-pronouncing even familiar words.
  19. This is such an interesting concept. They are "completely different languages" but they share the same words? I took a trip to Spain in 2010. I did not notice a difference in the spoken language, but we did visit the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, where signs and brochures seemed to be in a strange version of Spanish, which I guess now is Catalan. I always thought it was just a dialect but I went to their official website and their homepage menu gives you the option of reading in catalá or español, so they are clearly separate yet still so similar. Some examples: "Mecenatgne" in Catalan is "Mecenazgo" in Spanish. "Programació" in Catalan is "Programación" in Spanish.
  20. I was taught a few different shoe types, especially helpful for different seasons and events: Botas= boots Tacón alto= high heels Zapatos de tenis= sneakers (tennis shoes) Zapatos de vestir= dress shoes or fancy shoes
  21. I learned saying "perdon" or "permisso" would be appropriate, similar to saying "excuse me" when bumping into someone in a crowd. "Lo siento" is saying "I'm sorry" as a feeling response to some error or situation. I always remember this because the word siento is derived from the word "to feel" so when you say this to someone in a situation it's like you're saying "I feel ya". You are showing empathy as someone else said. You wouldn't say this to get through a crowd.
  22. When I am fully fluent in Spanish I want to travel to many different Spanish-speaking countries and see everything and try everything. I want to feel confident and not shy when talking to waiters, museum attendants, locals, taxi drivers, and anyone else I may run into. There is so much we can learn from other people in this world but language blocks us from understanding them fully. Having that open door to make new connections will be like a gift. Then once I have kids I plan on speaking to my kids in Spanish and have them grow up bilingual. I think this is also a gift to give your children. It expands their knowledge and their understanding as they grow up and try to figure out the world around them.
  23. I tried watching a few telenovelas and Spanish talk shows but I found the action and trying to figure out the plot distracted me from the words, and the actors spoke way too fast for me to catch what they were saying. Depending on the drama of the scene, they may also be whispering, mumbling, or shouting. Sometimes in the car I put on the local Spanish radio station and listen to the DJ and the songs. They also speak quickly, but without the extra strain of watching the actors at the same time, it's somehow easier for me to pick up on the language. With enough practice I can grasp better what they say, especially since most radio DJs and singers end up saying the same things in English. One of my college professors showed us this ready-for-learners "show" that was like a telenovela to help learners learn Spanish in an authentic way from real Spanish speakers: it was a staged "reality show" about 5 or 6 young people traveling together and staying in a big house (like a Real World knock-off). It was corny but the actors probably spoke a little slower and used easier vocabulary. I'm sure you could find this or something like this on the internet.
  24. I am not a native French speaker, but I love some of these ideas. I'm imagining myself traveling through France and what I might have to say to find my way around. Asking where the bathroom is is key, as well as "Could you speak a little slower?" I think asking someone's name and age is good to know for polite chit chat, but on my trip as a tourist in another country I found myself asking these questions over and over, which gave me lots of good practice in another language: "How much does it cost?" "What time is it?" "Where is the ___?" Taxi drivers need directional Words! Left, right, up, down, over, under, around, straight "I would like/I'll have the _______" (Ordering food or asking for something from a store clerk) Traveling in another country can be fun when you know what to say in the right moment!
  25. I believe having good grammar is extremely important in the way you write and the way you speak. I understand there are thousands of different dialects in the English language that derive from different cultures and parts of the country that should not be considered incorrect, but when you use proper grammar you present yourself as intelligent and professional. As a teacher I believe it is part of my job to know proper grammar and be a role model when using it. The kids I teach today are part of the next generation, and I want them to be able to present themselves to the rest of the world with that sense of intelligence and professionalism. That's why it drives me crazy when people write "wat r u doin l8tr?" Are you kidding me!? It takes more effort to come up with that goofy nonsense than to just type the standard form of the sentence. Even things like "I got used of it" or "I did it on accident" make me cringe. Students I can correct, but it's a touchy subject with adults, as you want to avoid making them feel stupid (which is how they sound).
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