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Everything posted by Mary84

  1. I'd love to help you with italian. We can start from a little conversation and we can go forward, when you'll feel more confident. I can give you a little advice about movies in italian: Try to watch them with english subtitiles the first time, and then watch them again with italian subtitles. Trust me, it will be a huge help, I did it when I was learning english. So, let's start with some basic conversation. Ciao, come stai? Quanti anni hai? Sei mai stata/o in Italia?
  2. Thank you for your replies, it's interesting hearing different points of view. I'm sorry I couldn't reply before, I was really busy with real life and I had to sacrifice the internet for a while. You gave me some great advice, and I will keep it in mind. I agree with those of you who said that it's important not to pick similar languages. I'm italian and, while learning spanish can be easier for me, I'm also getting a bit confused over several words. They are similar words but the meaning is different, so I need to "forget" for a while my native language while focusing on learning spanish. I'm trying to learn spanish pretending english is my native language, so I'm mostly doing eglish to spanish (and viceversa) translations and exercises. I think I will just stick with spanish for the moment, and when I'll feel confident in my skills, I'll pick a new language.
  3. I'll make the thread this evening then! Now I'm about to go out running some errands but as soon as I'll get back home I'll start it. I think we are going to have some interesting conversations! Slang can be a bit difficult because we don't really have a slang but several different dialects that vary from region to region and even from city to city in the same region. But we have many idioms and we could be working with those too! I'm looking forward to it!
  4. Interesting topic, I love idioms so I've been spending a lot of time trying to know and understand as many as possible. There are a few idioms related to house/household items I can think off the top of my head: - Out like a light (when someone is very tired and they fall asleep at once) - A golden key can open any door ( It implies that money can buy anything) - Saved by the bell (when someone is saved at the last minute) - Tempest in a teapot (when a small event produces a over-reaction) - Elephant in the room (when people avoid an obvious topic because it is a source of embarassment) - Mending fences ( making peace with someone) - Kicking the bucket (dying) I'll make sure to visit this thread from now on, I'm sure there are lots of idioms that could fit in this category.
  5. So far I've had a slow approach when it comes to learning languages, I first learned english and now I'm learning spanish but I'd like to learn some other language like french or german. I was wondering what's you learning method: Do you learn one language at a time or are you able to learn two or more languages at once? I'd like to start learning another language right now but I'm afraid it will get confusing and I'll end up mixing them together. What do you think? Do you mind to share your experiences?
  6. I think it depends on the languages you are learning and how much you like them. I love english so it was very easy for me to learn it because I kept pushing myself to do better every day. Right now I'm learning spanish and so far it's been easy for me because it has some similarities with my native language (the verbs conjugation and the genres of the words for example) but if I were to learn japanese, chinese or any other asian or arabic language, it would be very hard for me. I'm not ruling out the possibility to study them in the future but I think it would be easier learning languages I'm more familiar with.
  7. This is a very interesting question! When I started to learn english, I wasn't really giving it any thought and I read stories and books in both American and British english. As a result now I know both and sometimes if I'm not careful I tend to mix them together. I'm familiar with all the different words from both languages and I must say, I like them both as far as spelling and grammar go. As for the accents, I watch both American and British television but I prefer the British accent though, don't ask me why, there's just something appealing to it.
  8. You're welcome, I'm glad to help when I can! I was thinking about starting a new thread with the most useful italian phrases for tourists and then we could work on it and update it with new stuff every day, it could be helpful for people who want to visit Italy and for people who are learning italian. What do you think? Would you like something like that?
  9. I think it depends on your country and on what you are taking the proficiency test for. When I was learning english, I attended some pronunciation classes and we could choose the test we wanted to take at the end of the course. The teacher explained that if we wanted to apply for jobs/universities in Europe we should take IELTS, otherwise we should go for TOEFL. At the time I took IELTS and I got my C2 level certification but now I'm thinking about taking TOEFL too.
  10. As a kid I was not really interested in learning new languages, it's a passion I acquired growing up. I studied english in secondary school and in high school but it was only on a basic level. After that, alhtough I liked the language, I stopped and I went on with my life until I felt the need to learn english, I wanted to be able to read books and watch movies in their original language. It opened a whole new world for me. Now I'm bilingual, I have many anglophone friends from all over the world and I'm learning spanish. After that I hope I will be able to learn other languages. Learning languages has become a passion and I can say that it opened up my mind to different cultures, it has made me a better person and it has helped me to grow professionally.
  11. I'm not much into telenovelas but I remember as a kid I used to watch this old spanish show, "Un Paso Adelante" and I remember I liked it. It was a show about boys and girls who attended the most important acting and dancing school of Madrid. I didn't watch it in spanish because at the time I wasn't very interested in learning other languages. Maybe I should give it a try now, although I'm not 100% sure I will like it, my tastes changed a lot growing up.
  12. I'm a native italian speaker so if you need any advice about pronunciation, spelling, conversational phrases or anything else, feel free to ask me. Reverserewind did a good job but I feel the need to add that "Ciao" is the informal way to greet someone. You say "ciao" to a friend or to a kid. If you need to address someone in a formal way you should say: -"Buongiorno" (literally good morning/day) up until noon -"Buon Pomeriggio" (good afternoon) up until 5 pm -"Buonasera" (good evening) up until 10 pm Usually most of the people tend to skip the "Buon Pomeriggio", it's not very common to hear. People just go with "Buongiorno" until 4/5 pm even if it's not really correct. "Buonanotte" (good night) is used only if you see someone after 10 pm and only as a mean to say "goodbye". Another way to greet someone is "Salve" it is a middle ground between a formal and an informal greeting. I hopethis will be helpful.
  13. That's what I said! My advice would be to read short stories at first because they are less overwhelming than whole books, and when you have a good vocabulary you can go ahead and read the book. Staright out memorization doesn't work for me for example, I get bored after a while and then I give up. I need to contextualize the word and understand its proper usage, I prefer to learn new words while I'm doing something entertaining, I've found out that it's the best approach for me.
  14. I don't have many chances to talk in english in my day to day life so I try to practise it by myself. I read books, I watch movies and tv shows and I chat with my anglophone friends. When I started to learn spanish, I was very worried about losing my fluency in english so I'm trying to learn spanish as if I were a native english speaker, for example I signed up on Duolingo and I chose english as my native language and spanish as the language to learn. When I read something in spanish on my e-reader I use the spanish-english vocabulary to find out the meaning of the words I don't know and when I watch a movie in spanish, I use english subtitles. That was I get to learn spanish and to strenghten my english at the same time.
  15. While grammar books are very useful when you want to learn a new language, I think you can't rely only on them, it would get boring after a while and you'd give up. I like to vary my methods and I'm always looking for new and stimulant ways that would allow me to learn a language and have fun doing it. So far in learning spanish I've been using duolingo and reading grammar books, short stories and books to improve my grammar skills and build up my vocabulary, once I'll feel confident enough I'll start watching tv shows and music and I'll do the same thing I did when I was learning english: I'll watch a movie/tv show in spanish with italian or english subtitles to understand the meaning and then I'll watch it a second time with spanish subtitles to understand the pronunciation. Audiobooks are a great tool to understand pronunciation too, so it's music.
  16. When I was learning english I found out that trying to read a book made me feel too overwhelmed and I often gave up. After a while I used a different approach, I started to read short stories in english on my computer and I installed a program that would allow me to get the meaning of a word by simply clicking on it. When I clicked on it, a small window would pop up and it would show me first the english synonyms ant then the italian meaning. I found it very useful, that way I was able to read longer stories after a while and understand most of what I was reading. It was a slow process but now I'm able to read a whole book without having to look up any word. I'm using the same method to learn spanish and so far it's working. I think the trick is to pick stories/books that you like so you will be motivated to get to the end of them. I've also found out that e-readers are very useful tools, mine has several in-build vocabularies and it's helping me a lot.
  17. This is a very interesting topic, I love to learn different words in other languages and I didn't know most of the words posted in the thread. There are several beautiful words in every language, it's very hard to pick only one. My favorite spanish words are: -Caricia (it means caress) -Alma (it means soul) -Sangre (it means blood) - Azar (it means chance) - Sobremasa (it is the conversation that takes place after dinner, while still seated at the table, it's such an unique word.) -Estrella (it means star) Spanish is such a passionate language and although it might sound similar to my native tongue, I love the way spanish people pronunce the words. I love many english words too, just off the top of my head I'd say my favorite ones are "ethereal", "epiphany", "nefarious", "redundant".
  18. While I think that being able to communicate with everybody is important, I wouldn't want a universal language. I love languages, they are the foundation of our cultures and it would be horrible if they were to disappear. We've had different languages for centuries and I think it should stay that way. I love my native language and its grammar rules and while I'm fluent enough in english, there are some words or concepts I wouldn't be able to express without italian, some phrases and words are almost impossible to translate in other laguages. Besides, think about all the wonderful literature from all over the world or about all the people who make their living as translators and interpreters, all of them would be without a job if we had only one universal language. I think the right approach toward worldwide communication would be to introduce a second language alongside our own or to teach at least two different languages, starting in primary schools.
  19. I thinks it depends. if you are beginning to learn the language then I'd say it would be better learning the basics from a non-native teacher because, as many of you said, non-native teachers learned the language before us and I think they would be able to understand our struggles and to explain the grammar to us in a better way. But if we are already proficient enough and we have a good understanding of the grammar but we lack fluency, native teachers are the way to go. A native techer can help us improve our pronunciation and our conversational skills and teach us idioms and culture. Basically I'd recommend non-native teachers for grammar lessons and native teachers for conversation lessons.
  20. I've never used Spanishdict so I can't say anything about it. I've been using Duolingo and I think that it's a good site to start learning the language and build a decent vocabulary but then you must move on to something else if you want to be able to go beyond writing a correct sentence. Duolingo can be a great site for beginners, it's easy, funny and it gives you a rather good foundation. Even better if you finish the language tree and then you start it again from the other perspective, like a reverse tree, that way you can learn even more. From there you can start reading books, listening to audiobooks, watching subtitled movies/tv shows. Anything helps.
  21. I'm a native italian speaker and I'm learning spanish. Both languages have the same derivation (latin) but in spite of that they are different in several aspects. While I agree that they are rather similar in structure and if you know one of them learning the other will be easier, they remain two separate languages, each of them with its set of grammar rules, accents, punctuation, pronunciation. Most of the words are very similar in both languages but you must be careful, some words might look similar but they have different meanings. "Diario" for example means diary in italian and newspaper in spanish. It's rather easy to make a mistake if you are not careful enough.
  22. Nowadays the internet offers us many possibilities to learn another language without setting foot out of our country. I think living for at least a couple of months in another country helps more than anything else, you are forced to learn the language if you want to communicate with other people. I think though that as a beginner is better to study the basics of the language you want to learn before going anywhere, that way you'd be able to understand at least a little of what is said and you won't feel too overwhelmed. I've learned english by myself and when I felt I was good enough at it, I rewarded myself with a two months long trip to England. It was an unique experience, I learned many new things and now I'm fluent. Recently I've started to learn spanish and I'm using the same approach.
  23. Hello everyone, I'm Mary and I've always been interested in learning new languages. My native language is italian and I guess I can say english is my second language. Actually I'm learning spanish and then I plan to start studying some other language, maybe french or german. I love being able to communicate with people all around the world and it makes a great difference when I'm traveling abroad. This forum looks like a nice community for people who want to help each other, it's just what I was looking for. I'm looking forward to learn many things from all of you and I'd be glad to help as well.
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