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Everything posted by harpy

  1. I started learning German and Dutch two years ago, and if you're thinking I've mastered both languages, it is with sadness as I inform you that my German and Dutch have become much worse. Needless to say, it seems I am having problems retaining my progress from two years ago and remembering everything I've learned. I can't even recite numbers 1 through 10 in German anymore without peeking at my notebook! So, how about you-- how do you retain everything you've learned in the past from your language of choice?
  2. It depends on the language. Since I am learning German and Dutch, I know there are plenty of learning materials and resources available online so I make use of these rather than attend a physical school. It's costlier to learn in a classroom, and personally, I think it's unnecessary to get a private tutor for these two languages since there are a lot of people speaking them, there are a lot of books about these two languages online, and there are also apps that can help you practice the phonetics. However, when it comes to learning Russian, I believe I might have to go to an actual school since Cyrillic has been quite challenging for me to transliterate, and I noticed that the sequence of words in Russian sentences vary from English. There are some languages that can be learned without formal schooling, but I won't deny that there are difficult languages that would need a teacher to master.
  3. I think we've already achieved that goal. When it comes to business and trade, the lingua franca is English. When it comes to entertainment, it varies from country to country. Although it's an unwritten rule, many people know that English is the language of choice if the goal is to create networks and to make money. A few decades ago, people said that the language of commerce would change from English to Mandarin, but even Chinese businesses are making their proposals and advertisements. That says a lot about people's support for English as the language of commerce. Personally, I don't think we should tell people to forget their native tongues and just speak one language all over the world. Our native tongue reflects our native culture, and what a shame it would be if we decided to forget our native tongue in pursuit of money. I think we're going the right path by adopting English as the language of business, but not make a single language, whatever it may be, everyone's sole language.
  4. Lately, I feel I've been slacking off on learning and mastering my Dutch, German, and now Russian, but that's because I don't know a lot of people who can converse in any of these languages. I'm struggling with other academic challenges too and sometimes, I can't fit studying any of these languages into my daily schedule. I kind of feel bad about it, really. Two years ago, I was able to converse in thorough German; a month ago, I met a German speaker, and I could barely say anything intelligible. I am trying to change this though, and I am trying my best to focus all my energy on language learning.
  5. Wow, thanks for this amazing resource. I am curious, though-- can the app identify syntax and will it be able to translate a long sentence or a long paragraph without affecting the context of the paragraph? This sounds great for phrases and shorter sentences, but what if I try to read an entire book, like, a really long one. Will the app be able to translate a huge chunk of text without taking away from the context? You see, I've been trying to learn German, Dutch, and now Russian. My native tongue is English. Syntactically, English is written so differently from German, Dutch, and more so, Russian. Is the app capable of retaining the thought from a long piece of text? That's something I'd really like to know. I truly believe this app can help me.
  6. What is the most difficult language to learn?

  7. I really love names with the name Maria on it like Maria Veronica, Maria Victoria, Maria Isabelle etc. if it's a girl. I would also go with a name taken from the combination of the parents' name, that way it will really sound and spell so unique.
  8. Wow! I heard Latin is not that easy to learn. I would like to know how to speak in Latin but I don't know where to start.
  9. Some people are good at multi-tasking and can handle learning two languages at once. I tried to pull the same effect but I failed miserably. I tried to learn German alongside Dutch in the past thinking they would be similar in syntax and pronunciation; needless to say, learning two languages at once no matter how related they are does not work for me. Trying to learn two things all at once is possible if your understanding of either languages is already high or if you've gone past the initial stages of language learning. Trying to learn two different languages at the same time can be very confusing for the learner and might burn the learner out. I don't want to suffer from language learning burn outs so I focus on one language at a time.
  10. I definitely have an accent when I speak German. A lot of folks I've talked to have told me I sound like a British person attempting to speak French but German words are coming out of my mouth. Simply put, I am near-unintelligible when I speak German, and probably more unintelligible when I speak Dutch. I have been trying to eliminate my accent by listening to songs in German and I tend to watch German movies without English subtitles. I also practice German phonemes on a regular basis; native German speakers situate their tongue in their mouth differently as they speak so I am trying to imitate their mouth movements with phonetics lessons. I know I won't be able to get rid of my distinct accent, but here's hoping I sound more 'normal' the next time I try to explain a thing or two to native German speakers.
  11. I guess reading aloud aims to achieve the following: teach the pupil how to read the word and internalize each phoneme, to make the student experience how it's like to use the word, and to help the student feel less awkward when using the word in a real life setting. I agree with everyone else though, we all learn differently. I tend to learn better when I do something, so whenever I encounter new words, I over-enunciate each phoneme (sound unit in a word) and then I use it in a sentence so whenever I say it for real next time, it won't feel so awkward. I read the word to myself too, but I guess I like hearing myself so I tend to read the word loudly too.
  12. Although I am a native English speaker, I do have issues with spelling and using their, there, and they're from time to time. Their pronunciation isn't helping either! They're practically homophones, so I remember these three guidelines when choosing which word to use in a sentence: There - for place Their - for possession They're - a shortcut (of they are) Normally, I just remember 'there' and 'their' because I mix up those too pretty badly. 'They're' is not difficult to remember. Since it has that apostrophe, I know it's a shortcut of a longer word.
  13. Back in high school, our foreign language options where Spanish, French, and German. Majority of my schoolmates went for Spanish and French. Guess I wanted to feel "cool" and hipster-like back then, I chose to learn German. Haven't stopped learning ever since. I'd read books in German and would translate some of the words. Sometimes, I'd listen to German songs and watch movies in German with English subtitles. In retrospect, choosing German was a pretty dumb move: Spanish is the second most commonly used language in the US, French is widely used in some African countries, and let's face it, it's a pretty romantic language to learn. If I wanted to make use of German, I'd have to move to a German-speaking country-- or to a country that uses Hochdeutsch. I know they use another dialect in Austria and Switzerland. But hey, not complaining, I'm having fun with learning German.
  14. I'm not learning Spanish, but my mother speaks it fluently. She works with Hispanic people and they use Spanish in the workplace. Initially, I wanted to learn Spanish instead of German, but I got started with German at a young age, learning Spanish would have been a 360-degree shift for me. Anyway, when it comes to quotes, my favorite is, "lo que no me mata, me hace mas fuerte." In English, that's "what doesn't kill me, makes one stronger." This quote fuels me whenever I am down; it's my go-to quote when I've had a long, hard day!
  15. I am learning German and Dutch but I do plan to expand my knowledge of European languages in the future. Romanian is most definitely one of the languages I intend to learn. I know nothing about Romanian, although I do a couple of things about the country. Is there a need for me to read a few basic, conversational phrases before I/we learn from you? Also, how do we contact you? (I use Skype)
  16. While we're in the topic of songs sung in another language, I thought I'd remind native English speakers not living in Europe that the Eurovision songs are out. Some of them are sung in a language other than English (unfortunately, most are in English so it's not helping us foreign language learners). You could translate some of the Eurovision 2014 songs for fun. It's a good way to learn new words, improve your pronunciation, and practice your writing skills. Now, to answer your question, the first foreign song that I enjoyed singing over and over again was Wilhelmus-- the national anthem of the Netherlands. Haha, I'm nuts, but I enjoy that song a lot!
  17. I'm learning German and I wish I had the fluency you described. If you consider your German semi-fluent or at an elementary-level, I'd consider mine to be nursery level. I can only speak a few words at a time and my sentence construction is weak-- so weak, that if I got lost in a German-speaking country, I'd probably be requested to talk in English instead. Anyway, I found online German-English dictionaries to be very helpful. I am learning 10 new German languages per day. After learning what the words mean in English and how to pronounce them, I use them in sentences. I would describe what I'd do in German and I'd use my new found word. This has been helpful in my learning experience.
  18. If I could rename myself, I'd go by Cloud, Sky, Grey, Hill, or Art. They sound like names Hollywood stars would give their kids but I find them interesting. They're a diversion from the usual names we hear. I have a common name myself, and would love to have a unique name. Unique names are easily remembered too, which would be plus for an introvert like me.
  19. Do phrases count? If so, I've encountered the following once or twice in my life. I know some of them are borrowed from pop-culture though so they must be pretty popular: Before I knew you, I was pro-life. You have no redeeming qualities. (Ouch!) You're funny... but looks aren't everything. - it tells the person being insulted that he isn't funny, his face is! (Are you) Anne Frank's drum set - Anne Frank had to hide from the Nazis so a drum set would have been useless for her.
  20. An elementary teacher of mine used to describe my seatmate's puppy-eye look whenever he wanted food from another classmate as a "groke". It's a word that's no longer used, but in Old British English, it used to mean asking for someone else's food with a desperate face. The same teacher used to describe the action of fumbling for your things blindly in your bag or pockets as "grubbling". It's like searching for things but without an exact idea where to look.
  21. Thank you, Shamz. I've been posting far too often in the English forums-- can't help it, mingling with the folks there is fun. I do intend to spend more time at the German forums though so I can improve my German. I am also learning Dutch, but one thing at a time, I guess. Some Dutch and German words are almost identical, I don't want to mix up my terms, haha!
  22. Learning German too and our instructor recommended von Goethe's work to us but left a warning: Goethe used a unique kind of German, he was a master at wordplay and beginners attempting to translate his work from German to another language would have a hard time. Although he used Hochdeutsch, people spoke differently in the past, so think of Hochdeutsch plus an archaic vocabulary and you get Goethe. I think we might have more luck with a copy of Aesop's Fables in Deutsch! :grin: Good luck with learning German!
  23. Wow, this is so macabre and cool at the same time. I didn't know the English language had a lot of euphemisms for death. I guess this is only natural, after all, we have so many expressions for life or birth, as well. The first idiom I've encountered for death is in the song by Queen: another one 'bite's the dust' *insert bass line here* If I recall correctly, Davy Jones' locker is also a term for death. Wow, is it just me or do I get my idioms from pop culture?
  24. I never found either writer's works cheesy, but I can't stand Nicholas Sparks. Not anymore. I know he's more of a romance-genre writer but he aims for the feel-good effect (which John Green is guilty of in 'Fault in Our Stars') and fails terribly at it. Sparks has written far too many romance novelettes with the same tragic outcome where someone dies, but before doing so, dead main character gets to express his/her emotions to the subject of his affections. It's as if Sparks has a formula and he sticks to it. He knows the right words that tug at your heartstrings but if you go through all his books, you realize it's the same thing. I'm not saying he's a terrible writer: he's a wonderful writer, but his work is so formulaic, one can predict the ending by page 2.
  25. English speaker, here, and believe it or not, I managed to widen my vocabulary with 4 Pics-1 Word. It's an amazing game, I have to say, but it's also an effective learning tool. It tickled my brain a bit, made me think, and introduced new words to me which I would not have otherwise learned if I relied on my daily conversations with people. Besides, I don't think a lot of people, English-speakers, at least, use highfalutin words on a daily basis. (And to be honest, I think we only use big words to impress hot guys. Hah!)
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