Kosta.Cirkovic's recent posts

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Right right right, as someone who speaks alright Russian, but more importantly as a native Serbian speaker (Serbian has the exact same "formal and informal speech" system as Russian), I'd really like to help.


So basically, "извините/извини" means both "I'm sorry" and "excuse me", we just use the same phrase in the situations where English speakers would choose between these two phrases. So that kinda makes it simpler, there's only one phrase for you to remember instead of two.


Now for the difference between "извините" and "извини": in Serbian, Russian and many other Slavic languages, there's a difference between speaking formally and informally.


In an informal setting, when talking to friends or family, you should use the second person singular to refer to them. So the equivalent of the English "you" would be "ти", "I'm sorry " would be "извини", "look, please" would be "посмотри, пожалуйста" and so on. The informal speech is also used by young people when talking to other folks their age, even if you don't know them, but usually NOT with people older than 30. It's not really a generation thing, it's just that you're taught to be formal with anyone you don't know well


In a formal setting, so at work, talking to people in the street and so on, you should use the second person plural to refer to them. So "you" would be "ты", "I'm sorry " would be "извините", "look, please" would be "посмотрите, пожалуйста". It's just the plural form of the same thing.


Hope this was helpful!

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ZairaI.Uranga wrote:
Valeria.Fontes wrote:
Besides that, learning English was (and still is) a must have for middle/ top social classes in Brazil, it's an asset, it gives you social status, even though people make it up to be trivial. Seriously, in my experience as a teacher it becomes palpable: high class students learn smoothly, lower class ones frequently have difficulties, specially with pronunciation (and tend to give up).

And that is, sadly, also true in Mexico. Lower-class people tend to have more difficulties learning because of their context. It may be naive from me, but I hope that changes some day, because learning english is a very good tool, and the process of learning a foreign language is very enjoyable for people to be missing out.


Also true here in Serbia. It's tough to learn good English without private lessons since the state school lessons are usually so awful, and of course the middle-and-higher class people will have more access to those. The private lessons usually aren't super expensive, but it still makes a difference. The poorer kids in my high school class usually had to study super hard to get decent grades in English, and by studying for the good grades, I think they just couldn't focus on actually learning the language and ended up with a good GPA, but not great language skills.


I respect the shit out of studying for the grade though, it's hard and it's usually the only way to take you out of the rut you're in.

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those three mean the same. However, they mean slightly different.

I love English because of things like this, I really do :D


Personally, to me these three really do mean the same, but I wouldn't use them in the same setting.


"The company mission" - this one is something I'd use if I were part of the company and explaining to someone what the company stands for. It has that corporate sound to it.


"The company's mission" - I'd use this if I weren't part of the company, but for example if I were writing an article about some company. Sounds less formal and less attached.


"The mission of the company" - I'd use this if I were trying to hit the word limit on an essay haha. To me it's exactly the same as the previous one.


I really hope to hear other's perspectives on this, it's an interesting question for sure.

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Thanks for the comments, guys!


Yeah, I guess that history and politics are the biggest players in this game, and that linguistics comes second sometimes.


Also, Valeria, if you don't mind me asking a somewhat related question: how different is Brazilian Portuguese from Portuguese spoken in Portugal? I'm thinking of taking up Portuguese at uni since I love so much Brazilian music and films. The lector is from Portugal though, and I'd be bummed if I couldn't understand my favourite movies even after studying the language, if the dialects are too different haha.

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Would you educate your child in his/her young age to learn a second language?

If I ever have children, I would encourage them to learn a foreign language for sure.


In Serbia, and most European countries for that matter, it's nearly impossible to grow up these days without learning at least some basic level of English. English language classes start from the very first grade of primary school (6-7 years old), and continue until the last grade of high school (17-18 years old). Even though these classes are usually quite low-quality (classes are large, ranging from 20 up to 40 students per group, teachers are usually uninterested in doing their best because of the low pay), it's really hard not to pick at least something up over those 12 years. We also watch movies and TV shows in English and play video games in English, and we're constantly exposed to the language.


Due to these circumstances nearly everyone knows at least some English and can hold a conversation, and therefore speaking and understanding English is a requirement for basically any type of job where working with people is involved. Speaking English very well, though, opens a lot of other doors: you can teach others (private English lessons are extremely popular, both for children and adults), get a higher position in your company or get employed by one of the many companies that use English as their main operating language. I have basically landed all the jobs I've ever had because of my ability to speak and write in English, and/or translate from English to my native language.


I do think that speaking English is, if not completely essential, at the very least a huge benefit to anyone in the modern world.


IWhen it comes to other languages than English, I feel like in my country, speaking a language like French, German or Russian can be an extremely valuable skill that you can build a whole career from, but it's definitely not a basic requirement like English is. A lot of foreign language university graduates struggle to find jobs in my country, and it's a pity really, as the quality of translation found in books, subtitles etc. can sometimes be god awful, and the knowledgeable young people don't often get a chance to improve those, because the same people hold the same jobs forever.


Anyway I've been rambling a lot now, I hope it's not too boring or difficult to read. Cheers :)

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Grammatically speaking, "might" is the past tense of "may", but they essentially mean the same thing. My English teacher told me a few years ago that "might" conveys a slightly lesser probability than "may", but I'm not too sure about that since I haven't found it in any books or other resources.

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That was really impressive, JaeHong, thanks for sharing. Does the girl actually speak Korean, or did she learn the lyrics by heart? I didn't catch that as I don't speak German. I actually love some Korean songs and I really want to sing them out loud, but it's slightly embarassing since I just can't remember the lyrics in a language I don't understand. But IDIOTAPE is a terrific band regardless. :)


I also remember when a girl from Britain surprised me by singing the entire Serbian winning Eurovision entry from 2007, entirely in Serbian! I was floored, it was cool as heck and her pronunciation was really good even though she doesn't speak Serbian at all. It's wonderful how music can connect people :)


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Disney songs and Disney cartoons in general are a gold mine when it comes to getting immersed in a foreign language. I've watched most of them so many times, it feels like I would understand everything even if it were in Klingon :D Hearing the Pokemon song in tons of different languages was also great fun.


There's something you gotta be careful about when it comes to songs, though, a lot of the times lyrics aren't directly translated from the original language, but are just rewritten to sound good, and the meaning is secondary. For example, the Serbian version of "Let it go" is called "Sad je kraj", which isn't even close to the original meaning, since it means "It's the end" as opposed to "Let it go". So the moral is, I guess, enjoy your songs, but don't use them as a dictionary :D

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Awesome post! I've been asked some weird questions myself when I was on exchanges in Denmark and Finland. Got annoyed more than once haha.


1. The classic. "No I'm not from Belgrade. Yes I study in Belgrade, but I'm from Novi Sad, have you heard of it?" People usually either have no idea, or recognise Novi Sad as "that place with the music festival".


2. Another classic. I never know what to say, like, there are so many words, I can't just say SOMETHING without thinking, tell me what to say! But other than that I don't really mind it.


3. The best remark I got (from an Italian girl) was "Serbian people talking in Serbian sound like they're planning a murder, and then they laugh and I get even more scared"


4. Honestly never got that one. Would be dumb if I did, I don't know 8 million people haha.


5. I got a remark that I look like Nat Wolff, but that one's from my girlfriend and I loved it :D



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So as a resident of the cluster of political nonsense known as the Balkans and a native Serbian speaker, I've spent my whole life talking to Croatians, Bosnians, and Montenegrins, watching their movies and TV shows, reading their books and similar stuff. The catch is, I don't speak Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin, or at least I don't think I do. I speak Serbian. I've never learned these languages, but as a Serbian speaker I understand them perfectly, and those people understand me. In fact, as a Serbian speaker from the north, I'm way more likely to understand a Croatian speaker from Zagreb or Slavonia than a fellow Serbian speaker from the deep south! How does that make any sense?!


I've spent all my childhood wondering why these languages are considered separate, when they are nearly exactly the same. Now I understand that in this exact example politics have made irreversible change to the language family, but there is a ton of examples of very intelligible languages being named separately, and some official "dialects" of one language being very tough to understand for standard or different dialect speakers of that same language. For example, why is Venetian a separate language to Italian or Galician to Spanish, but Swiss German and Latin American Spanish are just dialects of German and Spanish? Why are a Moroccan and an Iraqi both native speakers Arabic, if they are likely to have pretty significant difficulties talking to each other due to how different their dialects are?


What do you think? Do you sometimes disagree with the official definitions? To be honest, to me Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin will always be the same language, even if they are spoken by different nations. Where do you draw the line on what you consider a language or a dialect?

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Language families are amazing! Although I enjoy both processes: the weirdness of similarities and the complete darkness of a distant language.

I completely agree! I took a semester of linguistic typology and it was just fascinating to see the genealogy of different languages, grammatical similarities, shared vocabulary or etymology, and the geographical areas that some language families cover. For example, I'd never think that Turkish and Japanese were in any way related, and yet they are!


IAnd by the way, I forgot to mention that as a Danish learner, I can mostly understand written Norwegian and Swedish just fine, and even spoken is sometimes alright for me. Norwegian, after all, is basically the same as Danish but with pronunciation that makes sense :D

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As a native Serbian speaker, I can say that it was definitely much easier learning Russian (another Slavic language) than Danish (a Germanic language). My Russian is still decent, even though I haven't been actively studying it for nearly four years, because it just works similarly to Serbian and it's easy to switch my brain into "Russian mode" from "Serbian mode" quickly. Much easier than going to "Danish mode", at least.


The case system in Russian is nearly exactly the same as in Serbian, the alphabet is the same, a lot of the vocabulary is either exactly the same words or words with the same Slavic roots. The way Russian people phrase things is also similar to our way of speaking, and it's quite easy. to understand a new word from context if a sentence is built in the same way as in my native language.


A lot of Slavic languages are pretty similar, and we can understand other South Slavic languages decently (some are even completely mutually intelligible), and sometimes get by with Western or Eastern Slavic speakers using words from our language as well.

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In my case, for example, I started learning English before I could even process the benefits of a foreign language. It was a very "accidental" matter, and I was also very privileged. I am very grateful to be able to grasp it to the level I am able today.


I resonate with this. Same as basically anyone from around here, I was surrounded with English since I was a little kid. Most of the cartoons and movies we watched were in English, so we just passively learned to understand the language by watching hours and hours of TV. Then came the English lessons in primary school and the classes my parents signed me up for, and yeah, here I am today. English was a pretty integral part of my life, and I couldn't really imagine how everything would look like if I didn't speak it.


That being said, learning Russian and especially Danish was much different, since it's extremely rare that you come across content in these languages unless you actively seek it. I wouldn't be making any progress at all if I weren't interested in the cultures, and that really is the reason why I even started learning them.

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It does sound exactly the same with the verb "like". Sometimes, though, you can use either one or the other, for example, if you were to use "enjoy", you would only be able to say "I enjoy dancing", and not "I enjoy to dance".


To be frank, I didn't really know what makes the difference in these cases so I just googled it, and the first result says this:


Gerunds are often used when actions are real, fixed, or completed. "I enjoy cooking."

Infinitives are often used when actions are unreal, abstract, or future: "He wants to swim."

Honestly, I think the easiest way is just to learn by heart which verbs use the -ing form and which ones use the infinitive. It starts coming naturally after a while.

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jpormento wrote:
Kosta.Cirkovic wrote:
I was told by a native speaker that Past Perfect is not used in everyday life conversations. Is it so?
Honestly, from my experience with native speakers, it really depends on the speaker themself. Some use it very often and some don't, but it definitely doesn't sound weird when they do. My British and Australian friends use it all the time, the one American guy I know doesn't use it as much. That's probably the reason why I read the first sentence in a British accent and the second in an American one haha.

Ha ha it's good that you have lots of other friends sharing the same language but different accents and usage. You get to have a different perspective on how they use some of the sentences. As for me, I recall using both versions. Not sure how I come up with different usage though.


Haha, yeah, that's the perks of meeting people who play the same video games in my travels. I'm sure they caught at least a bit of my Serbian accent as well. :D

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I feel like it did improve my native language, in the sense that I'm fairly good at speaking and writing because I've practiced speaking and writing so much for the needs of learning my foreign languages. I think some of those skills are universal for all languages, like confidence with public speaking or the sense for writing a good essay.


I also think that having to think a lot while using a foreign language you're learning makes you think more when using your mother tongue as well, and you figure out new and better ways to say stuff. When I learn how things are supposed to work in a foreign language, it just naturally makes me think about the nature of my own language and understand it better.


There's the other side of the coin though, when I accidentally mash up English words into my Serbian or Danish words into my English and end up sounding like a doofus haha. But it's a small price to pay for everything I get out of learning.

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I was told by a native speaker that Past Perfect is not used in everyday life conversations. Is it so?

Honestly, from my experience with native speakers, it really depends on the speaker themself. Some use it very often and some don't, but it definitely doesn't sound weird when they do. My British and Australian friends use it all the time, the one American guy I know doesn't use it as much. That's probably the reason why I read the first sentence in a British accent and the second in an American one haha.

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You're very welcome, hope you enjoy your reading! :)

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I love reading comics to improve my language skills. I grew up on Donald Duck comics and imagine my excitement when I discovered that they're wildly popular in more or less every country in Europe, and especially in Denmark :D


Aside from those, I think the first few Harry Potter novels for example are a great choice, as the writing is beautiful but fairly simple. I also loved reading The Chronicles of Narnia in Russian (only the third book). It's not a very difficult book series, but it's really fun and also just lovely to read. In general, children's books are usually a great tool, especially ones you've read before and liked, since it'll be even easier to follow if you know the story already.


By the way, when it comes to German, my best friend (a German learner for over a decade and now a proficient speaker) swears by Kafka as the best (native German) author to read if you're learning. His writing is apparently straightforward and easy to follow, and quite interesting as well. I've only read "The Process" in Serbian, so I can't really confirm if that's 100% true haha.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my favourite thing in the whole world: a place where you can learn English through watching Pokemon! Literally all episodes of Pokemon ever made are available for free on here, and you can watch them in 12 different languages (so far): English (UK and US), Spanish (European and Latin American), French, German, Russian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Italian, Finnish and Brazilian Portuguese. 


For a Pokemon fan like myself it's incredibly cool to be able to improve my Danish through watching one of my favourite shows ever. And since I've caught most of my early English knowledge from cartoons I used to watch as a kid, I'm really happy I can do that with Danish as well.


Also, I thought this could be really useful for anyone teaching children a foreign language, since I doubt any kid would object to being ordered to watch Pokemon as homework :D


Anyway, here's the link, and if anyone wants to talk about Pokemon on here, I'm open to that :D


https://watch.pokemon.com/en-us/


(the language options are at the bottom of the page, you have to scroll all the way down)

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To add to this conversation, I'd like to present you my latest discovery: Pokemon TV, an official place where you can watch Pokemon in 13 different languages for free! As someone who grew up with Pokemon, this is one of the things I dreamed of, a way to learn a language with Ash, Pikachu and the rest of the squad. I'm currently a few episodes into first season and I'm watching it in Danish, it's super fun. And they have all the episodes ever made, it's awesome.


https://watch.pokemon.com/en-us/

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Sure, I was speaking from my Indo-European perspective. Other Indo-European languages are definitely easier to learn for someone like myself, and a lot of Asian languages are a totally different beast. To be honest, I'm having tons of trouble with Danish already, even though I've learned one Germanic language already, so I can't imagine how tough it could be learning a language so unfamiliar and different.


That's why I've got to try it, though!

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Just wanted to say that I watched the same TED talk from Ms Machova, and while I don't think it's always that easy to just sit and watch Friends in German and not get frustrated about not understanding anything, I can see her point and I do think that the best methods for learning languages (and anything else, really) are those that are both useful and enjoyable. I'd just add that learning isn't always fun, but even the not fun parts can be really satisfying to use once you do learn them.


Here's the TED talk if someone is interested in watching it:



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AppleMae.Soriano wrote:
I am a mother of two daughters ages 7 and 1.
At a very young age, my 7 years old has learned how to speak the English language by watching Youtube.
She even got the intonations correct similar to a native speaker,
Aside from Youtube, I also require her to read English storybooks to train her speaking.
She has also made English vlogs herself without me knowing.
Kids are really smart nowadays. Do you agree?
How about you? What ways do you use to teach your children a foreign language?


Yep, that sounds a lot like how kids learn English here in Serbia. A lot of us spent a significant portion of our childhood days watching Cartoon Network in English (Dexter's Laboratory was some good stuff, man), and after a while we just passively started to understand English words and the cartoons made more and more sense. I also played a lot of video games which were all in English and contained a lot of heavy duty vocabulary. It's genuinely really interesting how kids work, I didn't really speak a lot of English at the age of 9, but I was able to understand what was going on in Warcraft 3, which is a game with a complicated story that definitely doesn't shy away from using big words. Kids are really, really smart, in fact, I really think I was smarter as a kid than now haha.


I can only imagine that today it's even easier to find tons and tons of English-language content for children. When I was teaching kids, I loved playing little games with them like hangman or guess-the-animal, but also encouraged their parents to give them some cartoons in English instead of their native language. It's really effective to surround yourself with the language you're learning, and children take in that information even better than adults.

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jpormento wrote:
I guess Kosta.Cirkovic is a gamer too based on his post lol. I love playing games and watching esports tournaments but only now do I realize that most of those games like League of Legends and Overwatch have lots of Korean players. If I'm not really fond of watching anime, I think I would've choses Korean as well. But right now, I'll stick to Japanese.


Haha, that's right! I don't watch anime series because I just don't have the dedication to watch anything divided into hundreds of episodes, but I love a good anime movie :) Giovanni's Island and Colorful are some of my favourites, and Your Name as well, even though I know it's super mainstream. They really gave me a perspective of how awesome Japanese sounds. That and the Japanese game shows like Sasuke and Viking, have you watched those? I used to idolise those guys when I was a kid haha.


Which esports do you watch, btw? Any favourite teams/players? :D


Sorry if the discussion is too offtopic, by the way, I just got a bit hyped haha.

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I have an Australian friend who uses "cheers" all the time, as "thank you", "goodbye", and of course in its traditional purpose, when drinking. After a few weeks of talking to him every day, I started using the word a lot, it was tough to get rid of the habit haha.

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To add the languages I speak :)


Serbian: laku noć/лаку ноћ

Danish: god nat

Russian: спокойной ночи

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I would also strongly discourage people from using AliExpress or Wish for the same purpose, as a lot of object names are totally wrong  

My last purchase was a lot of card sleeves (for Magic the Gathering cards), and the name I found them under was "Matt Board Games Cards Sleeves protector for magical game the gathering card shield TCG collectioncards". Christ almighty, what a name. :D


But jokes aside, nice suggestion, I'll actually try using that with my students, I think that's a great idea.

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Yep, in total agreement with you guys. I guess there might be some person out there in the world that is capable of learning something and then putting it into use perfectly every time, but most of us will make a ton of mistakes when trying to use a new language. And that's alright, I mean, if someone corrects us, then it's a net positive, right?


I'm actually always a bit surprised when I see fellow language students at my uni sit silent for an entire class because they're afraid they'll sound stupid if they try to speak the language they're learning, and they try to learn only by listening to others speaking and the professors correcting them. Why make the learning process so much harder for yourself?


And honestly, this doesn't only apply to languages, but to basically any skill humans can learn, stuff like programming, playing an instrument, drawing or playing sports is incredibly hard to be good at if you haven't first spent a good portion of time sucking at it and trying hard to improve.

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Forgot to add, the close second would be Chinese, since travelling around China for a prolonged period of time is something I would really, really love to do one day. And I'll probably give it a try next year, as Mandarin is actually a fairly popular language around here.

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Oh man, that's a tough decision, since they're all SO HARD to learn, and they're all so fascinating and lovely-sounding to my ear. But if I had to pick one it would definitely be Korean.


It may be a slightly dumb reason haha, but I'm a huge fan of esports and video games in general, and Koreans dominate League of Legends, Starcraft and Overwatch like it's nothing. I would absolutely love to be able to watch the Korean broadcasts of these tournaments and watch Korean streamers like Faker and my favourite player Ambition and actually understand what they're saying, that sounds so awesome. There's also some Korean music I love like Sanulrim and Idiotape. And of course, I'd love to visit Korea one day. I guess just being interested in a culture makes me very hyped about learning the language one day.


Too bad there's no place to learn Korean around here (except the Korean teacher at my uni, but he doesn't speak English or Serbian and nobody speaks even a lick of Korean among his students! I wonder how that works and I'm kinda scared to take that class haha).

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I believe there is no agreed upon answer, but I would guess that west coast/Hollywood is the most global.

Yeah, I think so as well. There kind of is a General American or Standard American accent, or "broadcast English/news reader English" as some people call it, which is mostly based on the West Coast and Midlands accents. As I've read, the unwritten rule in American TV is that you're not really supposed to sound like you're from anywhere (aka have a strong regional accent).


The Hollywood accent is probably dominant due to the overwhelming popularity of Hollywood movies, shows made and set in California and the general influence of California on the rest of the US and the world.

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I totally agree with the idea. I mean, being able to speak the language one day is why we're learning it in the first place, isn't it?


I see a ton of people being afraid to try to talk in a language they're learning, not just in real-life situations (in foreign countries, for example) but also in class or in a casual environment with fellow learners. I understand the anxiety, but the push really needs to be made to actually make progress. After all, languages are learned skills, and the best way to improve your ability there is to practice, practice, practice.


I guess there perhaps are some people that study diligently using textbooks, movies, dictionaries and whatever materials they can find, and then when they muster the courage to speak it sounds great, but it's just much easier to learn through actually putting the little things we learn to use, it makes them much easier to remember. Sure, mistakes will be made (very often), but as long as there is someone to help correct those mistakes, it's a positive thing and only enhances the good outcome.

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As someone who's been on the internet for the majority of my life, it has always been very interesting for me to see how people from different cultures with different mother tongues write online. It's so interesting, actually, that I've actually become quite adept at guessing which country someone comes from based on some niche internet thing only people from there use. :)


How do concensuses (is that the right plural form?) like these happen, though? For example, why does the whole world use a semicolon and a closed parenthesis to form a smiley face, like this :) while Russian speakers use just a closed parenthesis like this ) ? Why is "xD" or "xd" widely used in Europe, and seen as cringe in America? Why do Brits add an x to the end of every text? Why are emojis in general so wildly popular among my Chinese students, to the point that I don't know what most of them mean? haha


Are there any online "quirks" your language has? Serbian people in general like adding the letter Y (or a bunch of them) to the end of a word for some reason, for example. What about you?

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Just wanna ask - how the hell did you explain a hadron collider just by using gestures and facial expressions??? :D

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This was an interesting listen, for sure. It really never was easier to teach yourself a new language, and it's so much easier than it was even just 30 years ago that it's actually amazing. It's more of a "why not" than an actual reason to learn a language, though. Something being easier than before obviously isn't gonna be someone's motivation if they weren't motivated before. Immersing in a new culture also can't be completely done without learning the language, as learning the language gets you much closer to how people think and function.


In general though, I think he at least should've mentioned how there's an abundance of incredibly high-quality literature in different languages that you would never be able to read without learning a new language (and translations are rarely the same experience as reading the original script, at least in my experience), being able to talk to people who don't share a common language with you (there's bound to be a few billion of those guys) and opening a ton of new professional opportunities for yourself, from the practical viewpoint.

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In my case, I just love trying to immerse myself completely in a new language and make as much of my life as possible revolve around the language. Which can sometimes lead to confusion and funny situations, but it goes with the method I guess :D


For example, right now (aside from Danish classes at university) I'm watching two Danish shows: The Bridge (it's Danish-Swedish, which also helps with figuring out the differences between the two languages) and Doggystyle (just started it and it kinda sucks so I might quit haha) and reading a book of Donald Duck (Anders And) comics in Danish. I also listen to a ton of Danish music. I also like a lot of Russian music and watch some Russian youtube when I have the time, to not completely lose the language while I'm not actively studying it.


It's always said that kids in Serbia learn English by watching cartoons, and I guess I'm trying to do the same, just as an adult and with other languages. :D

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I'm a huge fan of both music and languages and I used to sing in a choir for a long time. We learned songs in a lot of different languages, from my native Serbian to English, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Norwegian, Latin, Macedonian, just to name a few. For me, learning to sing in a new language actually made it much easier to get the hang of pronunciation. I still love to listen to foreign music and just take in the sound of the language, it feels so great to listen to something completely foreign become familiar as I listen to the song repeatedly.


Also, in Serbian musical education, we use both the alphabetical and the Do-Re-Mi notation, with the added fun part that for us it goes C-D-E-F-G-A-H-C instead of C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. B is the name for H flat. I have no idea why, and it usually confuses the hell out of kids who learn the notes for the first time. :D

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In my experience it can sometimes be a bit tough when you travel to a country whose native language you're trying to learn. While staying in Denmark this summer has helped me immensely with my understanding and fluency (it's still far from great, but it's better than it was :D), it was sometimes SO HARD to get Danes to speak Danish to me, since we were all good at English and it was much easier to talk that way. It didn't help me improve my Danish, though!


And sometimes, of course, if they did want to speak Danish to me, I'd have trouble understanding them because of my narrow vocabulary, or they'd have trouble understanding me because of my poor pronunciation. It got better though, and I like to think it still gets better. I'm hoping to go next summer as well, with another year of studying under my belt.

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I believe it's the most basic thing to get familiar with the alphabet if you want to start learning a language seriously. You need to know what you're dealing with, right? I also think it's incredibly important to know what to expect from each letter in the alphabet and learn how they're pronounced in words when learning a non-phonetic script like English. And also, individual letter names are just mentioned far too often in regular speech, so they're basically just additional words you have to learn. If you don't know which letter an "aytch" (I hope that at least looks like the pronounciation of the letter H haha) is, you're gonna have a hard time talking about spelling or abbreviations. 

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People don't use dude anymore? It seems I've been living under a rock :D


But yeah, it can be very funny sometimes, I had a teenage student who was super into the 1990s MTV cartoon Daria (it's an amazing show by the way, fight me lol), and she constantly used slang from the show like "brain" (nerd) or groovy, and calling people "yuppies" and "trekkies". It was super fun.


Edit: to be honest though, I remember it being tough to get "mate" and excess swearing out of my own vocabulary after spending a lot of time with an Australian friend. :D

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I'm a huge fan of podcasts and listen to a ton of them, mostly in English, but I also listen to some Danish podcasts when I have the time and enough brainpower to process the horribly incomprehensible language that Danes speak casually with other Danes haha. They have a huge list of basically every Danish podcast ever recorded on podcastindex.dk, so I'll never run out of material.


The thing with podcasts though is that they're differently rewarding to learners of different levels. For the beginners and pre-intermediate students I believe it is great to be able to hear what the language sounds like when it's spoken naturally by people just chatting to each other, instead of just listening to a teacher talking in an adapted way to their students. The student gets used to listening to the language, telling words apart even if they don't understand every word, listening to the intonation and discerning questions from statements and similar stuff.


For intermediate level to advanced students I think podcast have another great value, which is to teach new words and phrases which are usually understandable in context. A lot of people will listen to podcasts about fields that interest them, and new words or phrases about their hobbies might turn up and be very useful in their daily life.


And yeah, it's pretty strange to me as well that cyclists die in accidents in Berlin, one of the most well-organized cities I've ever been to, and probably the best suited city for cycling I've ever seen. :)

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Hej allesammen!


Jeg har studeret dansk pa universitetet i et år (jeg har lige begyndt min andet år), og ville altid gerne snakke dansk med nogen :) Det er lige meget om i taler rigtigt godt dansk eller i har lige begyndte med at studere, jeg ville godt gerne høre fra jer :)


Hvordan går det, venner? Hvor er i fra, hvad laver du, hvorfor og hvordan studerer du dansk?

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Yuka wrote:
As I learn English more and more, I realize English has numerous interesting metaphorical phrases like Japanese language. For example, people mean they stay late at night for studying by saying "burn the midnight oil". Metaphorical phrases using animals and fruits, veggies such as " eat like a horse", "as cool as a cucumber" and "lemon" imply that we have a completely different image towards such things. For example, in Japan, a pig is regarded as a big eater and veggies and fruits are not used as a metaphor. Instead, we use many phrases relating to our body parts. We say "Your mouth is stiff." to indirectly mean "You always keep a secret" and "My nose is crooked." to mean "It's stinky." Don't you think these phrases sound funny?
If your language has unique metaphorical phrases like these, share on this forum :)


Hi Yuka! :)


First, a fun fact: to "eat like a horse" means to always eat a lot of food, but when you're really hungry, you can also say "I could eat a horse!". That was one of the first phrases that sounded really weird to me when I first heard it. :D The Japanese sayings are also really cool to hear, maybe it will help someday when I talk to my Japanese students again :)


These abstract expressions (they're usually called "idioms") are some of my favourite things to learn when learning a new language. It just feels so nice to know something that usually only native speakers know, it feels like I'm really getting into the culture and becoming a part of the language community. And native speakers are usually impressed when they hear a not-so-common idiom from a native speaker.


Some can get really weird, like "don't beat around the bush" which means "get to the point". I mean, what does that have to do with either beating or bushes?!


In Serbian we have some weird idioms as well, for example "to play piano" means to get arrested, and "to stare at beans" means to try to guess what will happen without any information.

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leosmith wrote:
Kosta.Cirkovic wrote:
A random native speaker without any teaching experience or qualifications except a TEFL degree is obviously going to be worse than someone who actually studied English in university.

I think you made some good points in your post, but I have to disagree with this one. If you mean this is usually the case, then you may be right, but there are many wonderful teachers with just a TEFL certificate, some without even that.


Sure, of course there is a lot of examples of amazing teachers having various backgrounds and education. I was just generalising a bit, in the sense that someone who has been learning a language and how to teach it in and out in uni is likely to be more well-versed in all the nuances and tiny details a complex unit such as a language and its grammar have to offer.


I myself have learned a lot from natives as well as non-natives, and for example with Danish, my native teacher has helped me way more than my non-native one, while with Russian it's kind of been the opposite, so I guess it depends on the individual teacher a lot as well.

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I voted no because I think non-native teachers are very underappreciated at the moment. Here I'm gonna talk about English, but I think most of the concepts I mention here can be applied to any language.


I think being so tunnel visioned to the idea that only natives can be "real" English teachers is hurting the ESL industry a lot, and hurting the students even more. A random native speaker without any teaching experience or qualifications except a TEFL degree is obviously going to be worse than someone who actually studied English in university.


I also think that a huge plus for non-native teachers is that they have had to learn the language from scratch themselves and know a have faced a ton of difficulties that their students will face as well, so they can likely advise them much more precisely than a native speaker who has never faced these problems could.

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The thing I love is to just try and think of random sentences in Danish or Russian when I'm doing the dishes or walking the streets. Basically, anytime I have nothing on my mind, I try to do this, and it makes my brain much more connected to your L2. Sometimes I even start thinking in L2 without realising it, and I guess that's the best part, right?

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It's really, really unlikely that someone who started learning a language after their teens will be able to lose their foreign accent completely without complete immersion (basically, living in a country where you only use that language in your daily life), and for a lot of learners it's really hard.


I've been told by my teachers that being able to get a close-to-native accent is similar to having a good musical ear - you hear something, and you can replicate it quite closely. It's not that closely related to language learning talents.


And yeah, some accents are easier to understand for me than others, but with clear pronunciation any accent is fine I think.

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