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Posts posted by babelle

  1. We can't learn a new language unless we find time to learn and practice that language. My day schedule is almost always full so I have to devote at least an hour in the evening. I also use the travel time to and from work to listen to the lessons in audio files. It's true that it will be a great help if you can find a learning buddy. In my case, my son is my learning buddy. He's learning along with me and I'm pressured to study in advance so I can answer his questions (and he just loves to fire questions).  

  2. Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world but that is based on the number of people who speak it as a native language. English is the current lingua franca of the world and I don't think that would change in the coming decades. The ability to communicate well in English is a must if you want to open more career and business opportunities. 

  3. I've never carried a dictionary around before the digital age and even more so now that there are a lot of good dictionary apps that you can use to learn pronunciation, too. Ever noticed how writing styles have also evolved and internet bloggers are using simpler words and shorter paragraphs in their blogs/articles to cater to internet readers? I hardly use the digital apps which are conveniently installed in my tablet/smartphone so I don't think I'd like to bring a dictionary, even pocket ones.

  4. The only way for you to sustain what you have learned is to use it on a daily basis and to continue to enrich your knowledge of the language. Basically, you have to live the language and you have to deliberately seek ways to use it. If you can't find a learning buddy or a native speaker to converse with, you can use the internet to join forums in your chosen language. You can also read short stories and books or listen to speeches in that language.

  5. I've actually started learning Classical Latin, though not for fun. It was for a project that required me to collate Latin conversational phrases. I enjoyed the task and I started to study on my own. I was amazed at the many resources on the internet about Latin, and learning it is feasible so if there's an ancient language I'd like to be fluent at, this would be it.

  6. Learning the native accent is not as important as learning grammar and pronunciation, at least for most languages. Unless you're applying for a job that requires you to have a certain accent, it's better to focus on learning the fundamentals of the language than learning the accent at the same time. As it is, a lot of students are already complaining about complex grammar rules.

  7. Cognates are words that have similar form and meaning in two languages. Learning cognates can help language students build their vocabulary in as little time as possible. However, there are true cognates, near cognates, and false cognates and a student should know the difference. In addition, you'll have to learn their pronunciation as they differ most of the times.

    Here are some of the true cognates I've learned (there are hundreds in most major languages)


    le guide (luh geed)            the guide

    la note (lah noht)               the note

    l'animal (lah-nee-mahl)     the animal

    l'omelette (lohm-leht)        the omelette

    l'orange (loh-rahnzh)         the orange


    German - English

    Banane                               banana

    Apfel                                   apple

    Buch                                   book

    Katze                                 cat

    Athlet                                athlete

    Kaffee                               coffee

    Fieber                               feber

    Haar                                 hair


    Spanish - English

    actor                                 actor

    area                                  area

    civil                                    civil

    explosión                          explosion

    enigma                             enigma

    hotel                                 hotel

    curioso                              curious


    Any cognates you can share with your own language or any other languages you are currently learning?

  8. Ahahaha, @Mary84 beat me to it but my favorite Spanish words are also Estrella (star) and sangre. These words are very special to me since Estrella is my mom's name and sangre is blood which could be romanticized as blood ties. My mother has Spanish-Chinese blood and she was a beautiful and regal lady unlike me LOL. 

    I'll settle for les pierreries instead, which means the jewels, because I've come to associate the word with what my maternal grandmother has left me as my 'inheritance' - a box of pearls, stones, and jewels. They are inexpensive pieces, but they are priceless because my grandmother treasured them.


  9. That would actually differ from school to school and teacher to teacher so I can't speak for the others. My son attended a private preschool and the first sentences he 'learned' were about self-introductions and those were in English, not in the local language. The school emphasized pronunciation, reading, writing, shapes, vocabulary-building, and early math skills and these were again all in English. They also don't teach a particular sentence. Today's parents are under pressure to teach their children basic skills even before they enter school so I've taught my child some nursery rhymes early on. 

  10. The definite article 'the' is also one of the challenges of learning German. It has different forms in the four cases - nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative case and each case has different forms for the singular masculine, feminine, neuter, and plural. If word order is not much of a problem in German, it's because you can easily identify who's doing what to whom because of the the cases and the articles associated with each case. 

  11. I'll consider myself fluent in another language if I can converse confidently with a native speaker of that language in all areas of discussion that I would also be confident to talk about in my own native language. I am more or less fluent in English but I can only be confidently sure about it if I can understand without googling the idioms that native speakers use in their daily speech. Besides the accent, I believe that it's the use of idioms that separate a second language speaker from a native speaker.  

  12. Each language has a unique way of naming numbers. If you can crack it, you will not have to memorize each number from 1 to 99 and beyond. In English, for instance, you only need to learn 1 to 19 and the tens digits starting from twenty if you want to learn to count up to a hundred. That is just 28 numbers but it will give you the power to count up to 100.

  13. It's a difficult question but this all boils down to your motivation or what you want to accomplish with language learning. Opportunity-wise, learning Arabic might open up a whole new horizon for you as there probably would be less English speakers who can speak  Arabic and that could put you in a unique, favorable position. Arabic is not easy, of course. When you learn a language that doesn't use the Latin alphabet, that makes it doubly difficult. But that shouldn't discourage you if your mind is fixed on your goal. Just look at the pot at the end of the rainbow and if that is really worth it, then go for it.

  14. That is the effect of globalization. I suppose countries with weaker economies will tend to focus on strengthening their citizen's proficiency in learning international languages such as English. In my country, English is taught alongside our native language because we need to be globally competitive in order to sustain our economy. A language need not die if the country's leaders only know how to value their nation's heritage and self-identity. 

  15. On 7/29/2016 at 4:16 AM, Norjak71 said:

    Learning the language is hard, but its the accent that always gets me. Its the little things that can separate you from being bilingual and a complete amateur. I've been really trying to learn french, and that is by far the hardest accent to master in my opinion, but the language is beautiful. 

    Same thing here. Just when you think you have learned what there is to learn about a language, then you hear a native speaker talk in a manner that's completely foreign to you. I was lucky to have a college teacher who was a native Spanish speaker so I was able to imbibe the Spanish 'air' but I don't have that privilege with the French language. I've studied liaisons intensively but I am lost, yes, completely lost when listening to a native French speaker. Yes, French is beautiful. 

  16. I'm currently attending a class on the German language becauses I need a certification for German proficiency. I actually prefer to study on my own because I want to have more control on my learning pace. However, I also appreciate the value of being a part of a class because it puts pressure on you to speak the language and also allows you the opportunity to speak and practice the language with the teacher and other learners. So for my German class, I go with the flow at class and then learn some more at home. 

  17. Memorization, in my opinion, is part of the learning process. Memorizing stuff like nouns, verbs, and adjectives takes days or months off the learning time and allows me to focus more on understanding grammar and sentence structure. There's no way around it I suppose but there are memory helpers and tricks. Some use mnemonics (not me though). What I do is memorize around 20 words a day by visualizing. For instance, I visualize a verb and the action it indicates and allow the scene to repeatedly play in my mind.

  18. I've learned the basics of French and Spanish in 6 months and I've been studying both for more than a year but I really can't say that I'm fluent in either language. Each language has its nuances and until I'm fully immersed in a language, I can't claim to be fluent. I took up Spanish in college more than a decade ago and though I've won conversational Spanish contests in school, I lost a lot of my vocabulary because I have no one to talk to in Spanish for years. Thankfully, the internet has been such a vast and great resource for language learners. I don't have to go to Spain or France to hear native speakers of both languages because I can use the internet for that purpose.

  19. Having clear and specific goals motivate me to study a language or any other course for that matter. For example, I'm learning German because I am eyeing a lucrative job in Germany. The faster I can learn, the quicker I can start to apply for that job. On the other hand, I'm also learning French but there's  no rush on this one because I want to enjoy this beautiful and lyrical language.

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