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Confusion when starting the learning journey.


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Hello all,

I have only recently started to learn Spanish.  At the moment I am using Duolingo, a cd course by Paul Noble and an online course by Peter Hanley.  

I had the need to know what the Spanish for "she's funny" was.  I typed this in to one online translation tool and it returned "es graciosa".  I assumed that when I changed it to "he's funny" that it would read "es gracioso" however it returned "el es comico".  At this point, I decided to try another translator and the return was "el es divertido".  I appreciate that the English language has different words for expressing the same information but it's frustrating when something totally different is presented as the answer from what you expected.

I also find from one translator to the next, you can get totally different words:

1) Estudiaba espanol = I was studying

2) Estaba estudiando español = I was studying Spanish

My thoughts are that I should focus on the coursework that I have and not to dwell too much these other confusing issues.  I'm just curious as to how other learners approach this... do you just accept that there are many, many things that you won't grasp until you have put in thousands of hours of practice?  

Any tips and helpful advice would be very welcome and much appreciated.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, the way I see it is that, just like our native languages, there are 'idioms' and different ways of saying things, slang and what-have-you.  I too have found that the online translation tools can be confusing - one thing I find sometimes helps, is taking what it has given you as the translation, and putting that back in to translate it back the other way... so if you type in something in (say) Spanish and get an English translation, try sticking that English translation back in and getting the Spanish output... sometimes that gives you a better idea of what it is trying to say.  Does that help?


I personally don't worry too much (certainly at the stage I'm at with Swedish) with figuring out all these different combinations - I am aware of them, I'm aware that there are different ways of saying the same thing, and the more I delve into the language and learn from different tools and books etc, the more the differences and 'idioms' become clear.  That's why I like to learn from a variety of sources because I feel I get a more 'rounded' knowledge of the language that way.


Hope that helps :)



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