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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:26 pm 
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a ballad for the ages.

the tapes i have are scottish. i'd rather be pretending to learn irish, because i think it's prettier (don't tell 'bang?!), but that wasn't what they had at the stoop sale, so. they did have german, though, so when i give up on this i can lie and say it's because i decided to focus on that.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:12 am 
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linanil wrote:
I think it is just getting used to it. I listened to a Mandarin podcast for 6 months and did some other minor self study prior to us going to China. The only thing it really gave me was the ability to distinguish word breaks which turned Mandarin into a non-jibberish to me even though I couldn't understand a word. I only retained about 3 words though so there was no speaking attempts when I was in China other than Nee-how (hello) and Shhi-Shhi (thank you). At the time, I also knew the word for tree for some reason, but I forget what that is. I also recognized the characters for "China".


I can still skillfully say sentences like "My little brother is very busy" and "My mother is a doctor, my father is a Japanese Chinese teacher" but nothing that would actually help in a daily situation. When I hear Chinese people on the bus I can mostly understand "yes", "no", the verb "to be", and a question particle...

Shhi-Shii looks more like "yes, it is" to me, thank you was transcribed as Xiè Xiè in my book...

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:42 am 
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yeah, Xie Xie is how I've seen it written, I was just going by my own phonetics :)

I'd like to learn more languages and specifically a language for a non Roman alphabet but I'd also like a language for a country I plan to visit... Of course most of those countries use a Roman alphabet.

I loved China but doubt I'd go back. Living on the east coast, I'd mostly want to visit either Africa, Europe or South America. I loved Greece and love their alphabet but English is one of their official languages so learning Greek is of little use for a trip but maybe Greek (I was there for 2 weeks and by the end of the trip, I could definitely read signs that were in Greek) I think Arabic script as well as Farsi are beautiful but it'd be doubtful I'd visit an Arabic country, and especially Iran/Afgahanistan where Farsi might be useful. So yeah, I think if I tried to learn a language with a non Roman alphabet, it'd be with the intent of learning to learn rather than hopes of visiting a country.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:10 am 
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acr wrote:
the tapes i have are scottish. i'd rather be pretending to learn irish, because i think it's prettier (don't tell 'bang?!), but that wasn't what they had at the stoop sale, so.


Noted.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:17 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
acr wrote:
the tapes i have are scottish. i'd rather be pretending to learn irish, because i think it's prettier (don't tell 'bang?!), but that wasn't what they had at the stoop sale, so.


Noted.


obh obh! tha bang?! brèagha! 's toil leinne alba! a bheil sin ceart?

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:04 pm 
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Today's (Korean) lesson went okay. We spent most of the time going over the stuff I wrote last week. My teacher drew little hearts next to the sentences I did well with. In general, lots of little mistakes, but if I wrote something properly—or used an interesting or recently learned construction—she'd say, "I love this sentence!"

Like "맛있어요. 방금 좀 먹었어요!"

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:56 pm 
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I speak German and French pretty well. I've spend six months in each country, and I did okay. They both feel a bit rusty now, though.

I'm currently learning Welsh via podcast and also Swedish, though less regularly. I alternate between the two, really. My Welsh is very rudimentary, but I can read a Wikipedia page in Swedish, although a part of that cones from its similarity to English and German.

I use Tatoeba to expand my vocabulary, and Anki to test myself and would recommend anyone so the same.

Oh, I'm also learning BSL from a couple of friends. I'm going to do a course in September, but in the mean time I'm happy learning haphazardly.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:58 pm 
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Footface, you should at least tell us what it means.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:09 pm 
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linanil wrote:
Footface, you should at least tell us what it means.


It just means "It's delicious. I ate a little bit just now."

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:24 am 
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I'm currently learning German, because I live and work in Hamburg.

I actually took 4 years of German in middle school and grammar basics came back very quickly. Middle school vocab is just not useful in real life, though. I use Memrise for vocabulary (the only reason I chose it over other spaced repetition softwares is that the iPhone app was free) and general immersion for the rest. I have the opposite problem than Footface - my passive comprehension is much higher than everything else. I can sit in meetings at work and understand maybe 80% of the conversation, but when it comes to talking, the only topics on which I have any proficiency are food and my dog.

I am planning on taking classes... at some point. I'd like to gain enough skill not to be placed in a complete beginner class.

My preferred method for learning languages is intensive classes followed by immersion, but who has time for that?


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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:24 am 
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I tried memrise but I don't like studying vocab on the computer (or my phone or whereever). I can only do it properly when I use pen and paper cards.

Immersion is definitely the best way for me, too, but highly unrealistic for most of my language aims.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:28 am 
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Would anyone be interesting in doing a bit of a Skype language swap? International superpenpals?

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:29 pm 
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aelle wrote:
Middle school vocab is just not useful in real life, though.



Or college vocab even - I am running into a little frustration with Italian that the textbook I have is all stuff about taking tests and going to class. And I'm sure most textbooks are like that - the materials I had in my Dutch as a Second Language classes were much better, but I'm not sure how to find something like that (aside from enrolling in classes here, duh, but I'm waiting to find out what part of town we'll live!)


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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:42 pm 
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annak wrote:
aelle wrote:
Middle school vocab is just not useful in real life, though.



Or college vocab even - I am running into a little frustration with Italian that the textbook I have is all stuff about taking tests and going to class. And I'm sure most textbooks are like that - the materials I had in my Dutch as a Second Language classes were much better, but I'm not sure how to find something like that (aside from enrolling in classes here, duh, but I'm waiting to find out what part of town we'll live!)


The class I'm taking here locally uses books from Italy, which is kind of annoying in an ordering sense, but they would also be books you might like and easy to buy. They have two, one is called The Italian Project. They also use Qui Italia. Since most of the people taking these classes would be adults and not in college, it might suit you.

Also, I am using Assimil Italian which is from a company based out of France. I like it. The vocabulary is focused on travel right now but I'm still in the beginning.

I of course had a ton of college Italian textbooks but either I left them at my parents house or donated them long ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:04 am 
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As a linguist*, I'm always bugged by context-free statements like, "Language X is really hard to learn" or "Language Y is easy to learn." I don't think those statements mean anything. All languages are hard, unless you're a baby, in which case they're all pretty easy. (I was taught that the Khoi-San languages—the "click languages" of southern Africa—might be an exception. The sound system is so weird, compared to almost any other language, employing many sounds that no other languages use, that children might indeed have a harder time learning them.)

So I like this chart, based on data collected by the US State Department's Foreign Service Institute. It shows what languages are easier and harder for typical English speakers to learn.

http://voxy.com/blog/index.php/wide-infographics/what-are-the-hardest-languages-to-learn-infographic/?post=3322

I can't tell if I'm glad or sad that Korean is in the "hard" category. (And because I'm in "class" only an hour a week, this chart suggests I'll be proficient in a scant 4 years.)

*I'm not a linguist.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:11 am 
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I went to the weekly Korean meet-up last night in the U-District. (It's the second one I've gone to.) It was really fun. My listening skills are still crepe, but there I was, speaking actual Korean to actual Koreans. And being understood! It's like magic!

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:01 am 
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FootFace wrote:
As a linguist*, one thing that always bugs me is context-free statements like, "Language X is really hard to learn" or "Language Y is easy to learn." I don't think those statements mean anything. All languages are hard, unless you're a baby, in which case they're all pretty easy. (I was taught that the Khoi-San languages—the "click languages" of southern Africa—might be an exception. The sound system is so weird, compared to almost any other language, employing many sounds that no other languages use, that children might indeed have a harder time learning them.)

So I like this chart, based on data collected by the US State Department's Foreign Service Institute. It shows what languages are easier and harder for typical English speakers to learn.

http://voxy.com/blog/index.php/wide-infographics/what-are-the-hardest-languages-to-learn-infographic/?post=3322

I can't tell if I'm glad or sad that Korean is in the "hard" category. (And because I'm in "class" only an hour a week, this chart suggests I'll be proficient in a scant 4 years.)

*I'm not a linguist.


I've seen these before and I wonder if it's similar for German native speakers.

I'm puzzled that Finnish is in the medium category, though. And Polish. Maybe only because they don't have a different writing system?

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:13 am 
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Finnish's placement on the chart seems strange to me, too. There's so much inflection: tons of cases and conjugating! I assume those are tough for English speakers.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:17 am 
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Have you tried listening to something like Korean NPR, Footie? Just to get used to the sound of the language and where word breaks, etc. are?

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:21 am 
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Haven't listened to Korean radio, no. But I watch Korean dramas and listen to K-music. But the radio is a good idea!

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:22 am 
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FootFace wrote:
Finnish's placement on the chart seems strange to me, too. There's so much inflection: tons of cases and conjugating! I assume those are tough for English speakers.


I'm also puzzled by Vietnamese. Isn't that also tonal?


Other news: I have started writing Dutch sentences to actual Dutch people! Emails, facebook, etc. And I had a (20 minutes of me talking + 60 minutes of me listening) conversation with my grandma-in-law, who is adorably Dutch, and it was awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:33 am 
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Gulliver wrote:

I'm currently learning Welsh via podcast and also Swedish, though less regularly.


I can really recommend the SverigesRadio Klartext program on P4 (available as a daily podcast). "Programmet som förklarar nyheterna på ett enklare utsett." It's ten minutes of news and all the anchors speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and speak standard Swedish. Obviously they will have soundbytes of interviews or "man on the street" kind of things, and that's where you get different speeds, accents (lots of Skånska this morning), and styles of speaking, but it's a great way to practice listening comprehension, especially if you're not actually in Sweden or surrounded by Swedish speakers.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:03 pm 
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lutin wrote:
Other news: I have started writing Dutch sentences to actual Dutch people! Emails, facebook, etc. And I had a (20 minutes of me talking + 60 minutes of me listening) conversation with my grandma-in-law, who is adorably Dutch, and it was awesome.


So great.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:29 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Finnish's placement on the chart seems strange to me, too. There's so much inflection: tons of cases and conjugating! I assume those are tough for English speakers.


I would think Greek would be on the easier side, since we already have a lot of greek roots.

But obviously that chart is missing a ton of languages.

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 Post subject: Re: Language Lab: joys (and not) of foreign language learnin
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:31 pm 
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I think Greek vocab is probably easier for English-speakers to learn than, say, Japanese vocab would be. But Greek (or... just Ancient Greek?) is highly inflected. So many endings!

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