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About Diprotodon

  • Rank
    Language Newbie
  • Birthday 09/30/1990


  • Currently studying
    Spanish, German, Japanese, Mandarin
  • Native tongue
  • Fluent in
    English, Spanish
  1. Without romaji I don't know how I would have started making the connection between characters and sound. But I am finding it easier, after making that jump, to think of the characters as distinct from the romaji because it's true -- the way I am tempted to pronounce something ( ん was a good example) based on the romaji is often way off. But I am learning on my own without the aid of a teacher, so the romaji is/was really valuable intially.
  2. I am absolutely echoing those that said Ulysses! I LOVE Joyce, and loved that book, but WOW what a mental workout. Now to just get the nerve up to try Finnegan's Wake, hahaha!
  3. I was always just told to err on the side of caution if you were unsure and use usted. I usually do that, and wait to be corrected or given some other sign that tu is appropriate (such as them using it to refer to you).
  4. My main area of specialization in college was horror, and I particularly like studying gothic/horror genres in cultures other than my own and exploring common themes. Spain and Japan have consistently produced work in the genre that I find really interesting and compelling, but the genre itself is not really popular enough to get consistently translated into English -- and I don't always trust that English translations appropriately get all of the subtleties across that I'm interested in studying. I've gotten to the point in Spanish that I can read a novel, watch a movie, etc. (though I still struggle to have very complicated conversations because I second-guess my own knowledge a lot). I'd like to get to the same point in Japanese. I'll be going to get my MA in literature soon, and after that hopefully going after my Ph. D and I'd like to be at that point by the time the latter comes around so I can carry out my own research thoroughly.
  5. I was required to take a second language throughout primary & secondary school, as well as college, but the courses weren't very rigorous. Most of what I've learned (Spanish primarily) has been of my own volition. I don't really blame anyone here, or think that Americans are less WILLING to learn, I think it's just that the skills we do learn are rapidly lost because, unlike most other countries in the world, most of us MOST of the time are not surrounded by speakers of other languages. We have some French speakers in the north and Spanish speakers in the south, and some of them have integrated into our culture, but if you are like me and live in Pennsylvania (or any other state that isn't touching the Mexican border really), there is just no real-world opportunity or need to practice. Most European and Asian countries are close neighbors with countries that utilize other languages, and most European, etc. countries are small enough that you don't really need to travel far to find communities that speak other languages. We just don't have that sort of dynamic here, and it is sort of unique.
  6. I make a point of watching movies in Spanish all the time. I've also bought books in Spanish that I've already read in English, so that, while I'm reading, if I get stumped I can refer back or use context that I'm already aware of to parse out the meaning of something I don't know. It's not quite translation but it's more active than just listening -- and a little less time consuming of course. I also like attempting to read without directly translating because it helps me curb the impulse to simply have an equivalent for every word in Spanish that I see rather than understanding Spanish on its own.
  7. This is really interesting. If you use the personal "a" with an animal that you are not understood to have a personal relationship with, would it be confusing or could it be interpreted as "humanizing" other animals in some way? As someone that's interested in personhood as a concept I find this especially interesting.
  8. I really like Duolingo. I had a friend recommend it to me a couple of weeks ago and I've used it every day since. It hasn't really helped me pick up very many new things in the languages I'm studying (Spanish, German), but it's helped cement things and is great practice. I agree with the above user that commented that it isn't very great with verb usage. This is another reason why I think it is good as a practice tool, if not necessarily a "first glance" sort of learning tool. But that's an important resource to have so I'm still a pretty big fan.
  9. I'm looking into eventually going on to a Ph.D in literature/English, and at most decent universities, a reading comprehension level of two other languages is required for admission, so that sort of jump-started the interest. But I also want to be fluent in languages that I feel will be relevant to my studies because I want to be able to read source material myself without needing to rely on translations. I also want to be able to do useful, important cross-cultural comparisons of the genres I am interested in writing in (primarily horror/supernatural and folklore).
  10. Speaking is, without a doubt, the hardest part for me. I think that's partially due to me being a bit of a perfectionist. I am terrified of making mistakes with a new language, and that's one of the major things I'm going to have to overcome if I want to get a really good grasp on my new languages. On that note, reading is the easiest for me, followed by writing. I can pick up reading a new language VERY fast, but struggle to "come up with" new words and grammar.
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