Learning languages

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craig1985 said:
OT Susan, but can you please ban ACF? He supports Collingwood, which is similar to liking Bayern Munich, the New York Yankees, or Manchester United :D
ha! And do you have any idea what sports teams I support?

Susan

Although I admit as a youngster to supporting ABTY (Anybody But The Yankees)
 
Sep 18, 2010
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L'arriviste said:
I came to Belgium with bunk-off schoolboy French. I've only picked up courtesy Dutch but due to being uncertain about my future here and living in a majority francophone city, I haven't taken the Dutch further as yet.
Funny, I've been learning Dutch recently. (In case the UK economy goes down the pan - it gives me another option.)

I got some mp3s of a course taught using the Michel Thomas method. I find it quite a good way to learn (no need to take notes), but because I'm quite visual, I just bought a book to learn with as well (so I can get a better idea of how the words look - that improves my memorisation).

The teacher on the mp3s said that Dutch is the easiest language for an English speaker as it's the major language that's closest to English.

The only other language I know (aside from English) is French. That was learned by the "sink or swim" method of moving there. Immersion really is the fastest way.

Steve
 
Jan the Man said:
Ok so I'm interested in picking up a new language this year.

The three options open are Russian, Italian and Spanish. I have no grasp of any of these languages so I would be grateful about your input as to what would be easiest to learn/advantages of each language.
As a native English speaker who has lived in both Spain and Russia I would say Spanish was far far easier to pick up - probably due to a lot of shared vocabulary and a similar grammatical system.

My Spanish was better after 6 months than my Russian after 3 years.

Having said that, because Russian grammar is so dissimilar to English it gives you a much bigger insight into how different languages work.
When I try to read French, German or Italian now they all seem much easier because I just 'know' what each word is doing in a sentence - even if I don't know the meaning of the word itself.

Also, having moved to the Czech Republic two weeks ago, a little Russian is far more useful than a lot of Spanish or Italian!
 
May 6, 2009
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Ok, as we know about the miners in Chile, and this is starting to do my head in, and I'm assuming Libertine is planning on going postal on a lot of news services, but is it correctly pronounced Chil-ee, or Chil-lay, like some news reporters seem to do.
 
craig1985 said:
Ok, as we know about the miners in Chile, and this is starting to do my head in, and I'm assuming Libertine is planning on going postal on a lot of news services, but is it correctly pronounced Chil-ee, or Chil-lay, like some news reporters seem to do.
Chil-lay is good, Craig. Better still: "shee-lay" ;) So did you start JP yet or not?
 
May 6, 2009
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Actually I've been pretty flat out ATM. I'm also reconsidering the idea of learning Japanese, but pick one of either Spanish or Italian, since it would be a lot easier to grasp for me, instead of an isolated language. Now another thing that has me thinking, if Dutch is meant to be the closest language to English, what words in Dutch and English are similar?
 
craig1985 said:
Actually I've been pretty flat out ATM. I'm also reconsidering the idea of learning Japanese, but pick one of either Spanish or Italian, since it would be a lot easier to grasp for me, instead of an isolated language. Now another thing that has me thinking, if Dutch is meant to be the closest language to English, what words in Dutch and English are similar?
OK, here's a few Sporza classics that sound identical:

That is good = Dat is goed.
What is that = Wat is dat?
Thank you! = Dank u!
He wins! = Hij wint!
Cavendish photo finish! = Cavendish fotofinish!

They say it's easyish to pick up. I have a Flemish friend whose brother-in-law is an Aussie. He came here for 14 months and learned to speak almost fluently.

I saw 'cross world champ Stybar on telly last year answering interviews in EN. This year he's fluent in VL! Also look no further than Tyler Farrar and Evergem's finest Robbie McEwen!
 
Pronunciation tips for those weird-looking bits in Dutch (regional differences apply):

NL -> EN
=======
oe -> oo like 'cool'
ij -> ey like 'way'
aai -> ay like 'why'
aa -> ah like 'far'
ui -> no example, sounds like ugh-ee without a gap
g -> (Flanders) is soft, rather like the "hy" in "hyundai", so "Gent" is "Hyent". In West Flanders, it's more like "Hent" ;)
gr -> per rule for "g" and a rolled "r". Stronger sounding in Netherlands. Can be almost imperceptible in Flanders. Match-strikingly rough in Afrikaans.
 
May 6, 2009
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I've spoken to a Dutch poster on another forum that I visit, and he is of the opinion that he could understand Russian (he doesn't speak it) easier then the dialect that the locals speak in West Flanders. Exaggeration aside ;)
 
craig1985 said:
I've spoken to a Dutch poster on another forum that I visit, and he is of the opinion that he could understand Russian (he doesn't speak it) easier then the dialect that the locals speak in West Flanders. Exaggeration aside ;)
I don't understand Dutch very well as yet, but the differences are very musical when listening and waiting for races to pass by. The Flemish sound a lot like people from the British east coast. West Flanders is very difficult because as you rightly say, it's a whole other dialect that has been practised for centuries as a way of differentiating between natives and foreign rulers. Very different to the "orthodox" and many Flemish from other areas have problems with it. It's like us Brits with the whole Glasgow mess and, judging from a documentary I watched the other day about the Australian camel industry, the guys from up in Lajamanu.

Do have a go at Dutch, Craig. I really think you'll enjoy it. :)
 

Barrus

BANNED
Apr 28, 2010
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L'arriviste said:
Just resurrecting this thread to say that my other half and I started learning Dutch with formal lessons this week. My teacher is a scatterbrain Dutch academic. Dat is heel goed! :)
Wait, you live in Belgium, but you couldn't speak Dutch. Walloniër zeker?
 
Barrus said:
Wait, you live in Belgium, but you couldn't speak Dutch. Walloniër zeker?
Nee maar ik ben Engelsman! Ik sprek frans alleen voor het moment ;) The bad news is that, through listening too much to Michel Wuyts on Sporza, I seem to have developed a strong West Flanders burr that I'm finding hard to shake in these first classes.
 
That's nice. I would love to learn Dutch and I think I could pick it up relatively fast (I've never tried to learn it but I understand a decent amount of it when written), but I can't decide between doing that, improving my German, finally putting some serious work into Old English or just saying "to hell with all that" and going for Icelandic.
 
hrotha said:
That's nice. I would love to learn Dutch and I think I could pick it up relatively fast (I've never tried to learn it but I understand a decent amount of it when written), but I can't decide between doing that, improving my German, finally putting some serious work into Old English or just saying "to hell with all that" and going for Icelandic.
Icelandic! Hell yeah! I love the look of Icelandic, all the archaic letters like þ and ð, the complex endings system, it's everything the Germanic languages used to be.
 

Barrus

BANNED
Apr 28, 2010
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L'arriviste said:
Nee maar ik ben Engelsman! Ik sprek frans alleen voor het moment ;) The bad news is that, through listening too much to Michel Wuyts on Sporza, I seem to have developed a strong West Flanders burr that I'm finding hard to shake in these first classes.
Wuyts isn't that bad, I can at least understand him. Although the pronounciations that some of those Belgians have is completely insane (now I need to say that I have an accent of my own, which probably isn't any better to people not from around here)
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Icelandic! Hell yeah! I love the look of Icelandic, all the archaic letters like þ and ð, the complex endings system, it's everything the Germanic languages used to be.
The Icelandic declension is a bit too complicated for my tastes, I think I prefer the somewhat simpler declensions of Germanic non-Scandinavian medieval languages. But it's okay, it's incredibly gorgeous anyway.
 
Apr 7, 2010
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In terms of learning by reading (as a substitute for immersion if that is not an option for you), I might suggest cycling magazines (interesting for two reasons!) and also history books. History books seem to use a more straightforward style, not as much of the stylistic messing around you find in novels or even newspapers.
 
Hey guys can i get some help translating some spanish interviews from the 2009 Vuelta team presentation. They are just a couple of 1min interviews between the host person and the rider. I just wanted to put some subtitles on my video. These are just mp3 files.

http://www.megaupload.com/?f=9GTIVYF2

So if anyone has some spare time could you please PM me a word for word translation of what is said in each of the 1min interviews. Thank you very much in advance.

Cheers
 
Little help.

I have been learning Spanish for about 9 months. At university i take it as a non course related module. As a result i will be having an exam in 1 and a half months. I figure the best way to improve the language for an exam is to visit the country.

I have the means to visit the country for about a week in April. Here is the problem. I have no idea what on earth i could possibly do there.

Anyone able to help give me ideas regarding what kind of activities i could engage in in say Madrid to improve my Spanish?

Cheers.
 
May 6, 2009
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Take your bike and go ride/eventually end up walking the Bola del Mundo and use every opportunity to speak Spanish when you come across other people on the bike. Or do your best durianrider impression and go to Pinto and follow Alberto Contador around when he trains.

In all seriousness, do you have any friends/associates in Madrid that are Spanish and can help you out? Otherwise use every opportunity to speak Spanish when at the supermarket, bar, nightclub etc.
 
craig1985 said:
In all seriousness, do you have any friends/associates in Madrid that are Spanish and can help you out? Otherwise use every opportunity to speak Spanish when at the supermarket, bar, nightclub etc.
i was going to recommend bars, too... go for tapas, bar to bar, until you find someone chatty and willing to talk... better yet if you go when a sports event will be televised, as that is a good ice-breaker.
 
L'arriviste said:
Pronunciation tips for those weird-looking bits in Dutch (regional differences apply):

NL -> EN
=======
oe -> oo like 'cool'
ij -> ey like 'way'
aai -> ay like 'why'
aa -> ah like 'far'
ui -> no example, sounds like ugh-ee without a gap
g -> (Flanders) is soft, rather like the "hy" in "hyundai", so "Gent" is "Hyent". In West Flanders, it's more like "Hent" ;)
gr -> per rule for "g" and a rolled "r". Stronger sounding in Netherlands. Can be almost imperceptible in Flanders. Match-strikingly rough in Afrikaans.
thank you for this!

how are the formal lessons going? private or in a larger class? i think me and my other may have to start... it's frustrating! i can't even follow sporza :eek:
 
May 13, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
Icelandic! Hell yeah! I love the look of Icelandic, all the archaic letters like þ and ð, the complex endings system, it's everything the Germanic languages used to be.
Agreed, Icelandic would likely be a lot of fun. It's just hard to get learning material, and let's face it, the use is fairly limited. How many inhabitants are there? A quarter of a million? How many of those don't speak English? How much great Icelandic literature is there (beside Snorre Sturlason, which I assume is some kind of ancient Icelandic anyway)?

Anyone here speaks Icelandic? Is the reward worth the effort?
 

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