meifeng's recent posts

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Oghenekevwe wrote:
I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?
Who decides how English should sound like generally?


I generally find that if this is a job ad, it's code to get around discrimination lawsuits. Quite frankly, it's hilarious. My Vietnamese-American friend with limited international exposure constantly tried to "correct" my English accent/pronunciation. One fine day, she met another non-American and I talking, and suddenly realized that there was nothing wrong my accent - I was raised on the British English, and my pronunciation of words reflected that background. 

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Probably because the former USSR was the largest country in the world for a while?

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That's interesting. My immediate gut feeling is to read in primary reading language, in this case, English, then work on the original at a later date. 


But thinking back about my language-learning experience, I think you have a point about reading it in Swedish (or the original language) first, if you can manage it. 


I remember reading Pramoedya's Bumi Manusia/This Earth of Mankind in Indonesian first (class assignment). I came across this very veiled reference (translates to his face darkened), and was wondering what that was referring to. The English version was a lot more explicit (protagonist was pissed off after he found out his girlfriend wasn't a virgin). None of us reading it the Indonesian original at that point actually got the reference, because it was so nuanced, and required some explanation by our teachers. If I had actually read it in English first, I would have completely missed that point. 

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dragonsky wrote:

I agree with you tho, 2 times a week seems just fine. I guess 3 times a week can also speed up the process but anything more than that is overkill...at least for me personally, I am sure there are people that do that 7 days a week probably :D


Interestingly enough, I think that while time put in is important, being intentional in your learning is also important. 


I had a discussion with my former officemate once about Mandarin standards in Singapore (overall, not good). She was surprised to find out that Singaporeans learning Mandarin as a second language took it for ~1-2 hrs/day, 5 days/week for over 12 years, and are still barely fluent in it, despite passing the national exams. 


At the end of the day, you can be dragged to language classes, but if you have no desire to learn, all that is just wasted time. 

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dragonsky wrote:

Ok I'll have to be boring and ask the question probably everyone asks you about their country.....how did you like our country? (Macedonia) :D


I only spent 2 days in Skopje. Skopje feels crazy with all its crazy statues, bridges, and restaurants by the river. I do like the food!


What would you recommend for a return visit to Macedonia?

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SGP wrote:
Because I really believe in the idea of life-long learning about All Things Communication, I already was thinking about starting a log like this for a little while.


Of all the off-topic things, that's an interesting attempt to bring this back to this forum. And also probably the most controversial to date.  

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dragonsky wrote:
So all methods add up to like 2 hours right? Do you do this twice a week or every day?
Thanks for sharing! :)


It suggests at least twice a week.

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I think the article makes some overall valid points, though the points that it makes are not unique to language learning, i.e. being more open, receptive, and learning other cultures. 


Having said that, it really depends on the language for me. As with SGP, I learn French because I like to read. At this point, I don't care that much about French culture. I do use the "learn the language, learn the culture" approach for other languages. 

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Sigh, this is embarrassing. Hopefully next month is a bit better. 




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dragonsky wrote:
meifeng wrote:
dragonsky wrote:
Btw to answer my own question...I was at home haha :D
I got out during the day and had some fun with friends and I came back like 30 minutes before midnight so..yey :D
And as for my goals...well..I kinda want to release a book this year...
Now...I don't claim to be really good storyteller or anything..and I found out that apparently releasing a book is literally losing money and gaining nothing....but I still want to have a physical thing that I can hold in my hands and I can say "Hey..no matter if this is good or terrible....I made it! yey" :D

What's your book about?
I didn't do anything in particular for NYE, except maybe rejoice that buses were free on that day in Seattle!
2018 was fairly decent - I visited 20+ new countries, and decided that my previous job was really not for me.
2019 will involve looking for a new career.

Damn, 20+? That's a lot! Which countries did you visit?
Hmm. well I don't like to talk too much about a thing is not even half close to finishing, and at this point I just view this as a hobby and the tough part will come when I look for publishers in my country (and I asked some people that did that before so they told me basically I should just throw money without expecting anything)
Also, I don't fool my self that I am good or whatever. I just write in my style and I hope at least one other person likes it. I'm happy with little haha :D
Actually it's not a "book" per se, but it's a collection of short stories all set in one universe. Some characters and elements from some short stories appear in the others.
It's happening in 2149 in my country, and it's a comedy/satire. It talks about how life changed in the future, but how the human relations and what not still stays the same despite everything being different. Making fun of the problems of today by putting them in sci-fi setting sorta haha :D


New countries visited this year: South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Macedonia, Paraguay, Bahamas.


I understand. I don't like to talk about the stuff I'm writing about until the process has finished. Good luck - the premise sounds interesting!

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Jade.Xuereb wrote:
I write my own lesson plans fory classes based on hesykkanus for their exams but I stumbled on this site with lesson plan ideas for teaching yourself and language
http://www.language-learning-advisor.com/language-lesson-plans.html


Thanks for sharing - that's helpful. I think it's useful to have specific plans and goals when you're a self-learner. 

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Personally, I don't count languages stuck in A levels. For languages in which I managed to pass the A threshold, I'd estimate it took about 1.5 yrs to gain functional proficiency in Vietnamese. Indonesian took about 2 years. 

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leosmith wrote:
meifeng wrote:
I think being able to read favorite books in their original texts is one of the things that motivates me to learn new languages.

So does Alexander Arguelles, an inspiration to many of us.


Interesting. A lot of my friends run in the Singapore academic cycles - weird that I've not come across this guy.


His alternative system for assessing language reading literacy is also quite interesting for those who are more inclined towards reading.

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Rai.S. wrote:
Mine is the improper use of they're, there and their. :face_palm:


Oh geez - that's also my pet peeve. I can always feel my head exploding whenever people use the wrong one. The worst part is I still have to politely smile, and try not to be too pedantic.

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dragonsky wrote:
Btw to answer my own question...I was at home haha :D
I got out during the day and had some fun with friends and I came back like 30 minutes before midnight so..yey :D
And as for my goals...well..I kinda want to release a book this year...
Now...I don't claim to be really good storyteller or anything..and I found out that apparently releasing a book is literally losing money and gaining nothing....but I still want to have a physical thing that I can hold in my hands and I can say "Hey..no matter if this is good or terrible....I made it! yey" :D


What's your book about? 


I didn't do anything in particular for NYE, except maybe rejoice that buses were free on that day in Seattle! 


2018 was fairly decent - I visited 20+ new countries, and decided that my previous job was really not for me. 


2019 will involve looking for a new career.

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dragonsky wrote:
Среќни празници! (happy holidays)


Ваистину се роди!

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SGP wrote:
meifeng wrote:
I do agree. Spending 51 lessons on the same topic is kinda painful, and there's probably a better way. But as it's not a big priority in my life right now, spending 15 min on Duolingo a day is fairly low effort while making some semblance of progress.

As someone who (also) used Duolingo in the past, there is something I'd like to ask you.
How exactly could one deal with that "remembering which answer Duolingo is looking for" thing?
In case you wouldn't know what I mean (and that is understandable), sometimes there are more correct answers than Duolingo recognizes.
And when one is required to type it (rather than selecting it in a multiple-choice quiz), DL could have the point of view that one's answer is wrong. This used to slow down my learning process one or several time/s. I had to restart the test because of this matter.


Hmm, I haven't run up against that problem for languages that I've learned exclusively with DL, mostly because I wouldn't know other options. 


I think I vaguely know what you mean. I briefly tried using their Vietnamese language one just to see how good it is, and there were definitely questions with multiple answers, and I was ???. I think I didn't go beyond like the first three lessons for Vietnamese. 


I'm not entirely certain, but I believe there's a skip this question option, or it usually repeats the question later in the sequence. They usually give you the full answer when you get it wrong, so you just need to remember the right answer when you see the question pop up again later. 

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And Lingualift ranks its own app highly on its own site  


Thanks for sharing. I have tried Memrise as well, but mostly use Duolingo on the desk top. It'll be interesting to check out some of the other options. HelloTalk seems quite interesting - I remember I used to have foreign penpals. 

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Interesting. Although Latin is a dead language, this article really highlights its continued usefulness from time-to-time. I remember watching spelling bees, and how all those whiz kids will start contemplating root words to try and figure out how to spell some crazy long word.

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Thanks for the share.


Interesting - they use a different scale for language proficiency:


S/R-0 No functional proficiency


S/R-1 Elementary proficiency: Able to satisfy routine courtesy and travel

needs and to read common signs and simple sentences and phrases.


S/R-2 Limited working proficiency: Able to satisfy routine social and

limited office needs and to read short typewritten or printed

straightforward texts.


S/R-3 General professional proficiency: Able to speak accurately and with

enough vocabulary to handle social representation and professional

discussions within special fields of knowledge; able to read most

materials found in daily newspapers.


S/R-4 Advanced professional proficiency: Able to speak and read the

language fluently and accurately on all levels pertinent to

professional needs.


S/R-5 Functionally equivalent to an educated native speaker


My Indonesian/Vietnamese levels are actually closer to S/R-3.


p. 76: "Learning a language also cannot be done in a short time. The length of time it takes to learn a language well depends to a great extent on similarities between the new language and other languages that the learner may know well. The time necessary for a beginning learner to develop professional proficiency in each language—proven again and again over a half century of language teaching—cannot be shortened appreciably."


Take that! For every hack out there that says you can learn it with this "simple trick".


I actually agree with Lesson 5: Learners’ existing knowledge about language affects their learning.


By the time I was learning my 4th language or so, I started mapping new things I was learning to things I already knew to anchor that knowledge. It was a rather efficient method. 


A key takeaway from Lesson 6 is "knowing how to learn". Sometimes knowing what works best for oneself is really important.


Lesson 10. Conversation, which on the surface appears to be one of the most basic forms of communication, is actually one of the hardest to master.


I knew it! 

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dragonsky wrote:
Anyone with a goal of reading more books in the language they are learning? I have a friend that actually learned a lot from re-reading books they read before


I enjoy doing that. I usually do parallel texts, or read books I'm familiar with. For instance, I'm trying to work through Les Miserables in French (kiddy version - not in its full glory). I also love Alexander Dumas, and have a French-learner version, so hopefully I'll get to that as well. 


I think being able to read favorite books in their original texts is one of the things that motivates me to learn new languages. 

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dragonsky wrote:
Damn, you are learning/"upgrading" your knowledge on 4 languages at once? That's impressive!
How is that going for you?


My achievements generally don't catch up to my (big) dreams.  


For instance, I didn't make any language-learning related goals for 2018, and I wanna say, my only achievement is reading about 40 pages of French (it's a primer version of Les Miserables), and I started rudimentary Spanish and learned some Cyrillic to survive my travels to South America and Central Asia. 


What are some of your goals for 2019?  

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I've learned that it's quite okay to use the five (and only five) phrases you know, when you're truly desperate. Some attempt at communication is better than not trying at all. 


I used to try and get some fluency in a classroom setting before subjecting others to my newly-acquired language, but now I've decided a communication-first approach isn't the worst thing, when desperate.

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It's not quite 2019 here yet (I'm in the USA West Coast now), but I shall join in:


1. Vietnamese: work on my colloquial by reading (try to read one daily news article in Vietnamese), and watch a bit of video to improve on my listening. 


2. French: Work on my speaking/listening. Hopefully I will climb out of the A2 purgatory. 


3. Spanish: Just finish the darned Duolingo course.


4. Thai: Work on my reading, specifically, I want to work through Thomas Gething's Thai Basic Reader.


On the note of resolutions, apparently one of the ways of achieving it is by making it public so others hold you accountable. So there, it's now on everyone else to bug me!  

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Hello Hanna!


Nice to meet a Turkish speaker. I love visiting Turkey, and it's definitely a language I'd love to learn in the future. I recently finished reading My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, and look forward to reading more Turkish literature. Do you have any suggestions??

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A large part of my graduate school experience involved teaching undergraduates, and there's really no better way to learn than having to teach, because you're forced to broaden your scope, and yet at the same time, achieve mastery of material. The most challenging part of teaching is when learners start asking very "basic" questions, which makes you start questioning all your assumptions, and then go back to basics to refresh all the information you have forgotten.


On the note of teaching languages as a form of learning, one of the more experiences that actually improved my Mandarin/Chinese tremendously, was when my Mandarin teacher forced me to (in)voluntarily tutor one of my classmates who was failing in Chinese. I had to explain a lot of things to her in simple terms, and that really reinforced my basics. 

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Boy, is that a long (but interesting) article. I'm only 10% through it. 


I think people tend to undervalue sleep, and overvalue ineffective workaholism. Sleep is not wasted time, because it really resets our bodies. 


I always retort to people who tell me, "I can sleep when I die" with "Be prepared to die sooner than you expect then."

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圣诞快乐!(sheng4 dan4 kuai4 le4, mandarin)

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This is quite interesting. This phenomenon is quite pronounced amongst Chinese speakers. Many Chinese speakers had to learn Mandarin (the 'standard' Chinese), but there are several dialects. As a result, I know of several peers who are able to understand their grandparents, who speak a different dialect, but are unable to speak it. They reply in Mandarin, which their grandparents don't speak, but do understand.


Can someone invent a probe to like prod the Broca part of my brain so it's more active??? 

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Hmm... never really thought about it - not familiar enough with Spanish to weigh in. But I'm guessing these letters have a function, even if it's simply historical? Otherwise, we probably can get rid of stuff like Y in English, because it can be spelled "i" or "ie" like kids do these days? 

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Her tips are fairly decent, and not super cringeworthy like some other blogs that claim that it has the magic key. 


I agree with @Rose.Angelie - one of my biggest takeaways from her is the importance of setting goals. Once you're outside a structured system, it's quite easy to float. My other takeaway is, it's tempting to focus on your strengths, but you also need to work on your weaknesses. 

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I personally don't mind the old system - mostly because I finally graduated away from dwarfhood. I thought it was kinda fun.


No real suggestions for a new system. 

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Wow, looks like I missed out on a bunch of stuff over the weekend. Welcome! That's quite an eclectic + exotic list of languages. Why Toki Pona? Where does one even learn that???

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Re: Useful conversations + intensive listening as a learning method


Interestingly, based on one of my friend's description of his learning methods, it appears that that's the way he learns as well. 


He does a lot of language exchange (usually 30 min each with his language exchange buddy) learning with individuals, and has learned German, Spanish, Russian with this method. He recently started trying to learn Italian by listening to radio broadcasts. I have no idea what his level of fluency is, but he is a remarkably good listener. 


By contrast, I spent more of my time being "bookish", and still sound like a retard. 

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Rose.Angelie wrote:
This is pretty funny! Haha
Lack toast and tolerant (instead of lactose intolerant) :joy:
A doggie-dog world (instead of dog-eat-dog world)
Self -depreciating (instead of self-deprecating)
check the full list here:
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/most-misused-phrases-words-english-language-uk-revealed-to-be-pacific-a8098791.html


 


Thanks for the hilarious share! I've still yet to figure out what eggcorns is supposed to be? For the longest, I always messed up deserts vs desserts. Now my mnemonic is, desserts is stressed, spelled backwards. 


Getting off scotch free just sounds sad - you should at least run off with a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

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Michelle.Batan wrote:
we have "mingming" for cats, "tuko" which is gecko and 'hatching" for sneeze :joy:


"mingming" - that's so cute!

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Personally, this is how I learn new languages, and it's a combination of two methods. 


1. On a need-to-know basis:

I have a crap memory (probably small brain), and so, with most things in life, I learn them as I need to know. Language is no different. I learn stuff on the need-to-know basis, and over time, organically, I do end up with sufficient knowledge to operate. Some things organically repeat on the need-to-know, so eventually, it enters my long term memory, because my mind registers that knowing that is quite important.


2. Hobbies/using a hook:

It's no secret that I like to eat, so I wind up with a rather extensive vocabulary revolving food in several languages. Sometimes, when certain languages are fairly similar, e.g. romance languages, I then create mental maps to map certain languages to something else that's already more ingrained in my mind. My friend describes this as the "inkblot" method, where you link new things with things you already know, so it sticks a bit better. 

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Jade.Xuereb wrote:
Here are a few English words which aren't used often but have great meanings IMO
Absquatulate.
To up and leave someone all of a sudden.
Blatherskite
someone who doesn't shut up talking nonsense
Doryphore
some one who constantly criticises others in an annoying pedantic fashion
Erubescent
Flushed /reddened like ... She had erubescent cheeks.
Noctambulist
Another word for a person who sleepwalks


Absquatulate: Isn't that the complicated version of "ghosting"?


I really like Blatherskite. I am going to start introducing it to my circle of friends.  

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Oghenekevwe wrote:
Honestly I will never understand the importance of this, especially here in Nigeria. English is our official language, yet we are made to write this to study abroad. Not only is it really expensive, it's completely unnecessary IMO.


I'm with you. Singapore's education system is also in English. I get really irritated when I get inconvenienced by other countries' ignorance. I actually fought doing these expensive and lengthy tests at my expense when I applied to graduate school. I am glad I fought it, because a year later, Singapore was included in the list of countries that didn't require English tests for applying to that school. 


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Thanks for sharing - shall check it out when I get a chance. Someone else on the forum recommended TV5monde (http://apprendre.tv5monde.com/fr/niveaux/a1-debutant), which I also find useful for practising listening and comprehension (Why do French speak so FAST? ). 

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It is apparently possible. Some Jesuit missionary used it in the 1600s to memorize Chinese when he went to China to evangelize. However, it's incredibly time-consuming, and a bit of overkill sometimes. 

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I think their decision to be left alone should be respected. Not everyone wants a "modern" life, and as much as many of us enjoy being connected to the world, it doesn't mean that others who have other lifestyles don't enjoy life in their own terms. 


In any case, if they do die out, eventually I guess someone can study their language in the historical perspective. After all, that's what some historians do with oracle bones and such. 

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Wow - fascinating article! I wonder if there are words that don't exist in both genders. 

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Ari wrote:
I just found Duolingo too repetitive, like I feel stuck in the same words that I already learned.


I do agree. Spending 51 lessons on the same topic is kinda painful, and there's probably a better way. But as it's not a big priority in my life right now, spending 15 min on Duolingo a day is fairly low effort while making some semblance of progress. 


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This is a tough one. The only thing that comes to mind immediately is, dog's bark in Mandarin. Apparently, dogs go "wang" in Mandarin.  

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Thanks for the post, and tips for manageable tasks to do to improve on listening. 


Listening is definitely not one of my strengths, but recently, I started spending time working on my listening in foreign languages (never too late to start!). I started listening to those short videos on TV5monde for French - I struggle a lot with it, but hopefully, it'll improve over time. 


Looking back at my time learning languages within classroom environments, it's interesting to think about how little listening seems to be emphasized. Aside from the teacher speaking at a modified speed + using level-appropriate language, with some audio recordings thrown in, it seems that the only other "listening" comes from practising conversations with fellow learners.  

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Thai. (taken from https://www.into-asia.com/thai_language/reference/numbers.php)




Chinese numbers (from https://blogs.transparent.com/chinese/chinese-numbers-1-100/):



Vietnamese actually has two sets of numbers, although one set is not commonly used. Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language, but heavily influenced by Chinese, so several terms have an Austroasiatic version, and a Chinese version. In numbers, the Austroasiatic version is more prevalent, whereas the Chinese version is hardly ever used. E.g. 1 = một in Austroasiatic version, but nhất in the Sino-Vietnamese version.



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leosmith wrote:
GL Mei. What countries are you going to?


I was in Argentina. Duolingo was somewhat useful - at least useful enough for me to respond when someone asked me, "bebidas?"

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While I'm not a huge fan of Duolingo, currently, it's the most convenient option for me. I actually started it for my trip to S. America two weeks ago, and since I started it, I figured I might as well finish it. I have ~100 lessons to go before finishing the whole course on Duolingo. This is going to take a while, a long while. I shall post screenshots of my progress from time-to-time. Hopefully someone bugs me if I don't progress:




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TaylorFabio wrote:
I chose conversation but motivation is on my top list of obstacles as well. I find it difficult to even motivate myself to study a language every day and to learn enough where I can converse.


Would it help if you try and remember why you wanted to learn the language? 

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Rai.S. wrote:
I voted for being. I find listening and pronouncing the words of a foreign language really helpful, but I get stuck once I start getting conscious of the proper grammar. Like, if I don't find any resources where I can learn the correct grammar, it's preventing me from making progress or worst, to even continue studying the language.


Personally, I tend to be quite a self-conscious person as well. However, I also believe that in conversation, sometimes, it's better to just be brave, and say whatever you can, best as you can, to communicate. 


I was watching this video about the languages of Singapore, and one thing that struck me on the Malay section - nobody speaks like that. I learned formal Indonesian in school, and when I was in Indonesia, and spoke the way it appeared in the video, people laughed at me. I sounded like an idiot by focusing too much on being accurate; simply responding in short sentences would have been more natural. 




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Phillip.Laplana wrote:
I found the source material. It wasn't a book after all; it was a webcomic.


It's called "Stand Still, Stay Silent." A very nicely drawn Finnish-Swedish webcomic about post-apocalyptic Scandinavia. You can read it here: http://sssscomic.com/


That's a beautiful-looking language tree. 

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leosmith wrote:
I thought it was 10,000 hours.


We are talking about the time it takes forming habits, not mastery... or world domination.

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I voted "listening", with the second being "making time". In my defense, I generally just suck at listening in all languages. Making time is tricky. I think unless I intentionally prioritize it, I have a tendency to forget about it, and before I know it, the day is over, and the day turns into a week. Maybe someone can invent a device that delivers mild electric shocks if you don't do your language lessons on a daily basis?

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TaylorFabio wrote:
Vladyslava wrote:
A friend of mine has this theory, that in order to make something a habit or attain a large goal, one should do a tiny little bit of that activity but every single day. That relates also to language learning. She is trying to read a couple of books in the English language, and in order not to lose motivation, she sets a minimum goal of one page per day. One page seems to be nothing, that's why it is easier to complete this task and tick it on the to-do list.
However, having read one page, you sort of break through the wall of laziness, and you read further and further. I believe this is a very helpful method to build a language learning routine.
8
I have heard that if you do something every day for like 10 days or something it becomes a habit. It usually works so this sounds pretty similar. Then you can add more to it little by little.


I actually heard that it's 28 days.  


I think doing a little every day (realistic little goals), and turning it into a habit helps. I also believe that setting some goals, and involving others in accountability also helps.

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I voted no. It is probably a plus for a language teacher to be native, but a highly-trained teacher can probably do the job. 


My native-Korean friend is a Korean lecturer at a university. She's not an English native speaker, but her side gig involves teaching Korean-speaking students English. That she's a trained-linguist probably helps her explain English to her Korean students who are learning English. In that case, I don't think that her students will benefit any more from learning from a native English speaker given her English proficiency and her academic background.

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Damn, that takes mad skills. 

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Hmm... Well, the video is interesting, though their findings are a bit useless. Don't we all wish we could go live somewhere else in the world for immersion, and learn that way? However, evidently, that's not possible for most people, for reasons of resources. 


I am also a little bit divided. I guess unless you pay a lot of different people to engage you in a variety of topics, you will end up with this over-confidence in your language skills, when the reality of your grasp of the language is quite far from your self-assessment. I do agree that we tend to learn what we use the most on a daily basis, but on the other hand, language lessons are there to make you learn things that you will need to broaden the conversation. So, then, you end up with a different problem. You're continually stuck in this stage of kinda/sorta functional fluency, but you never really advance to idiomatically understanding a language, or assessing the culture behind it.


Having watched the video, I'm not entirely sure how fluent they really are. Of the four languages, I only understand Mandarin. I'd say that while their pronunciation is good, it is fairly evidently that they basically just translated word-for-word, and while what they are trying to say might be understood by a Mandarin-speaker, it doesn't make it accurate. Nobody I know would say, 想法不标准

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I think you only grow old the day you stop trying to learn.  


Kudos to her, and her spirit of continual self-improvement!

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Hmm, at an emotional level, I prefer that indigenous languages be taught, but at the practical level, teaching English is more useful. 


In the 1960s, just right after Singapore/Malaysia split, we pursued different language policies. Singapore went with English as main language of instruction, and it's one of the reasons why it became a global hub for business - good availability of people with good English. Our neighbor, Malaysia, went with Malay first, and it's part of the reason why they haven't been able to develop as quickly. 


Malaysia also has a bilingual policy, so Malay + one other language. 


My Malaysian Chinese friends do gripe about it, because they go to either Malay-English schools or Malay-Chinese schools, and their families end up spending money to pay for English or Chinese enrichment lessons outside of school. At the end of the day, your ability to acquire an extra useful language ended up depending on your family's financial resources. 

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I think it really depends on your learning style. 


I am over 30, so I am in the pencil/pen/paper generation. Writing something down in a notebook makes it memorable for me, but I can see how it might not work for other people. 


To each his/her own, I guess. 

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Now that I am out of my turkey coma, I found this site sometime back. They actually have a list of phrases, and the word in different languages. Here's the one for "Thank you":

https://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/thankyou.htm


And just in case you ever need this phrase, "My hovercraft is full of eels" is also available:

https://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/hovercraft.htm

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"Finnish: Not from the same language family as the other four Nordic languages. Absolute gibberish". 


Boy, I wonder who wrote that? Not a Finn, I am assuming. 


Interesting to know Norwegian is probably the best entry into the Nordic languages. Unless, a Norwegian made the chart, then maybe bias is in play.

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Hmm, I don't have an expert opinion on this, but aren't some deaf people capable of lip reading, and reproducing sounds, i.e. speaking in a language? 

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Hmm... The question is rather broad. Even if you're native, it'd also depend on the level of your language. Can someone who never attended school, and only lived in a small community (and hence, only speak that language particular to that community) teach a language? I doubt so. My Vietnamese friend is from a small village in central Vietnam, where their language is quite unique. Also, she never learned Vietnamese as a written language. Hence, while she's conversationally fluent in Vietnamese, she's actually functionally illiterate - she can't actually spell in Vietnamese. 

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Vladyslava wrote:
Lacoons are gaps in the language, i. e. absence of an analogous structure, word, idiom etc.
Okay, so if one doesn't find an exact match in the target language of translation, translation with explanation would we as good as a proper match?


Did you mean lacune?

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Vladyslava wrote:
So you do believe that any term or word can be translated with sufficient precision? And what about some cultural/other phenomena that do not exist in other cultures? What do you think about the notion of linguistic lacoons?


Sorry for my ignorance, but what are linguistic lacoons? 


I'm not a translator by profession, nor did I major in translation studies, but you probably can get close enough for the most part. For things that are culturally unique, that's what an explanatory note is for, explaining the context of the term. 

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Maybe not untranslatable, but might just take a lot more words to translate. Some of those words gave me a good laugh, though. 


prozvonit Czech call a cellphone once so the other person will call back on their dime


--> Cheapskate


kyoikumama Japanese mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement


--> Tiger mom


jayus Indonesian joke told so poorly that one cannot help laughing


--> Dad joke


 

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Hmm.. I can't decide on this, partly because in Singapore, we have a bilingual language system (I didn't say effective), so by default, you will have a "foreign" language to enter university. The requirements might have changed in recent years, but we had to at least pass our second language to be eligible for university entrance. Having said that, most people will not use their second language. 

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Ah... You. Learning "you" and "I" in Vietnamese was a super trippy lesson for me, and to this day, I still mess it up. "You" and "I" in Vietnamese is situational, so depending on who you are talking to, the term for "you" and "I" changes. 


For example, if you are talking to an older female friend, "you" is chị, which is older sister, and "I" is em, which is younger sibling. 


Conversely, let's say you're an older male, talking to a younger person, then "you" becomes "em", and "I" is anh, which is older brother. 


Interestingly, that's the reason why Vietnamese ask your age fairly quickly - to figure out how to address "you".


Of course, being a female, I've definitely had way older males insist I refer to them as anh (older brother, usually reserved for males ~5 years older), even though, they are more in the age range of chủ or bác (young uncle/old uncle).  

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So claimed the party pooper.

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Jess.PWinkler wrote:
I love to watch cooking shows and hear music in other languages. After I watched football (soccer) in English I can't stand to watch it in Spanish


I watch baseball. From time to time, I hear the Spanish version. I don't actually know any Spanish, but the Spanish announcers definitely sound a lot more enthusiastic than the English ones!

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Bosnian-Croat-Serbian, widely used in Central Asia as well - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.

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It's not you, it's English  

Here's my confession: I hate grammar, so I tend to avoid working on it, even though I know I really shouldn't. 

Now that I got it off my chest, I feel better. 

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Thanks for sharing.


The list is has some disturbing advice, in that it encourages the path of least resistance, e.g. #6, "start with grammar". I get it, we want a sense of achievement to push us forward, but it's also quite bad advice to tell a learner to just avoid all the hard parts of learning a language, i.e. grammar, which, if you really want to achieve a good level of fluency in a language, is something you have to learn. 

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One of the mottos I live by in Chinese is this: 


知足常乐 (zhi1 zu2 chang2 le4) - Know Contentment, Always Happy. 


The key to a happy life is knowing contentment. 

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Hmm... I like eating. It might explain why I know food items in a lot of languages.  

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https://www.iflscience.com/brain/the-language-you-speak-may-change-how-you-see-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR1Vt4NVNcTr3kO5tq-fKRF6doVVTspyRQszneWG1nvbDIwE-A1Hp3YlUbA


This is a rather interesting, if limited study on the relationship between language and what we see. They did a study of using participants from different languages, and asked them what they saw. For some languages, where variations in color did not exist in the vocabulary, the participants did not "see" other colors. 


Another reason to celebrate the diversity of languages.  

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I like the Thai alphabet as well, it looks very pretty. I do get a bit annoyed when certain advertisements try to make the Thai alphabet resemble the English alphabet (well, partly also because it makes it harder for me to read), e.g. when they make the ร look like R, instead of just ร

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Thanks for sharing yet another thought-provoking article. The internet giveth, and the internet taketh away. On the one hand, globalisation, the internet, and the economic realities really favor the emergence of a few global languages, and financially rewards the participation of these global languages. 


But also thanks to the internet, there are pockets for places like the Endangered Languages project to exist, and hopefully preserve languages in perpetuity, even if it is just on the internet. 


Quite frankly, I don't know we can do. At the end of the day, the onus of perpetuating and preserving one's culture really lies squarely in a community's hands, and hopefully, each community will see the value in continuing to teach their own culture and language to their young. 


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I really applaud your systematic approach to language learning, and probably could learn a thing or two about setting goals, and trying to achieve them. 


I guess I never burned out because I never felt pressured to learn XYZ by certain timeframe, though I do get bored sometimes, and leave something, forgetting about it. 


It is tough to balance enjoyment with discipline, which at some levels, is needed, when learning some things that we might not always be fond of, but is crucial.

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There's already a post on this. Perhaps add your contribution there?

https://languagetools.io/forum/t/2352

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If you have a Macbook, it's possible to add these languages, then you'll be able to input these languages. I don't know about @leosmith input methods, but I use hanyu pinyin to generate Chinese characters, and for Thai, you can show a Thai keyboard on Macs as well.

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I like Chinese for its complication. 

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I need text, so usually a reading of sorts, no matter how unnatural. I am so beyond hopeless with listening that I actually need people to write their names down for me before I get it.

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Interesting - thanks for the share. I have noticed this when I check things out on dictionary.com, but I don't believe I have ever been taught that intentionally by any of my English teachers, or other language teachers for that matter. I have seen some language teachers write it from time to time, but none have ever explain the system of notation to me. I wish I had a physical Chinese dictionary beside me to check if it is used in Chinese as well.


As far as I recall, I don't remember seeing these in Vietnamese dictionaries. The way my Vietnamese teacher taught was just to pronounce words, and make us repeat the words after him. 

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I like cuss words. It's always the funniest for me.

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I've been meaning to check out Klingon, but have yet to do it. That would cement my geekhood forever. 

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Interesting article, although given Germany's rise in the last couple of decades, I wonder if there will be a reassessment of the German language. I personally don't think German sounds "ugly", but sometimes, it sounds a bit harsher, just because it has more guttural sounds.  

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I'd personally prefer 1 year in a foreign country - more opportunities for practice. But having said that, it really depends on individuals. When I lived in China/Vietnam, my rule was, no English. I do know of several people who, when they go overseas, they simply form enclaves with people from the same country. In which case, I think it's probably best if they simply stayed at home.

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That's a strange little article. 


It's like saying, yeah, you can be "fluent" in three months if you lower your standards. Quite frankly, given that language proficiency correlates fairly strongly to time-invested, I guess that's the only way to sell a product like "fluent in 3 months"? 

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Fun topic. One of my favorite things about language is how fluid it is, and how borrowing + localization really moves through languages. 


Malay/Indonesian is a highly borrowed language, whereby ~85% of the words are borrowed from other languages. In Malay/Indonesian, the word "pasar" comes from the Arabic word bazaar (so --> market). When I was growing up, I was taught that the Chinese word for market is bā shā. It was much later that I learned that this term is only used by Chinese in Singapore/Malaysia, and as you might have guessed, it's because Malay/Indonesian got adapted into Chinese vernacular by Chinese living in the region. Arabic bazaar --> Malay/Indonesian "pasar" --> Singapore/Malaysia Chinese bā shā. 

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Gotta agree with leosmith on that - if you secured a higher level, chances are, you can just do a refresher, but if you didn't progress too far, it's entirely possible to forget. I learned Italian for ~6 months, German for ~3 months, Russian for ~3 months, but never progressed beyond A for these three. Aside from hello and goodbye, I don't remember much, sadly.

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Currently, I don't really have a target language (although I really should). I am traveling, and so driven by the next group of countries I will visit. My next group of countries are in South America, so working on Spanish on a daily basis. 

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I'd say it was a lot easier when I was taking it for credits when I was in university. I took two language classes concurrently. Personally, I find it easiest when the languages are radically different. I learned Indonesian and Vietnamese at the same time - they were so different that there was no chance of confusing them. 


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Mai wrote:
Thank you for your answers!
Toilet paper is a useful word @meifeng! May be of use knowing it in lots of language :)) so, what did you find out? How is it called in the languages you're learning?
Yeah I guess we're definitely language learning junkies! :))) or sometimes just a small obsession at the beginning :):):)


@Mai, I am thinking of this, but instead of Sudoku puzzles, they will print a new word in a foreign language so you can learn a new word while sitting in the bathroom. Efficiency!

https://www.amazon.com/Fairly-Odd-Novelties-Sudoku-Novelty/dp/B00FQIKZ4C/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_201_lp_t_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=3GD7302J624ZRQRT0Q6J


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I was reading the exhibition display at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in French, but was holding up the line a bit (and getting annoyed looks), so I decided to switch back to English. 


I used to write most of my daily to-do list in whatever language I was learning at that time. 


Recently, I have been thinking about word-of-the-day toilet paper in foreign languages.  

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1-5 hrs/week. Probably takes a lifetime to reach goals at this rate.

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In Indonesian, I like Pramoedya Ananta Toer's Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), part of the Buru Quartet, also available in English (I read them side-by-side when studying Indonesian). It's critique of colonialism, and also critique of the Suharto regime. 


In Chinese, I like Qiang Zhongshu's Fortress Besieged (围城),which is commentary on Chinese middle class society in the early 20th century. 


In Vietnamese, I like Vu Trong Phung's Dumb Luck (Số Đỏ), which is satire of the late French colonial period. 


@Phillip.Laplana recommended a great site - a lot of great classics available for free on Gutenberg's site! 

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Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

Mel.Palogan wrote:
I study Japanese and I can't read the hard ones yet. But I tried reading some easy mangas like Doraemon. Doreamon is a cool cat and I am a big fan lol.


*cough* Next stop, buy Japanese version of video games, and play it in Japanese. Nothing will hone your Japanese skills faster than trying not to die in a RPG game  

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