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What impresses you?

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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 41 of 73
17 November 2011 at 2:59pm | IP Logged 
DesEsseintes wrote:

Now, what doesn't impress me at all :

Someone who, say, was born in a country, but can speak one or two other languages because her / his
parents are foreigners.


If they can speak and write both or all languages to a native level I am still impressed. I have seen so many
examples of people not mastering both languages. I spoke yesterday with two Pakistani men and one Tamil
girl, all born in Norway. The girl spoke perfect Norwegian, no trace of an accent. The men spoke with a
slight accent and a simplified vocabulary, and admitted to not being able to write a letter in their parents's
mother tongue. Growing up with two languages does not mean you know both well. You need either talent
or effort or both to do that.
4 persons have voted this message useful



mrwarper
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 Message 42 of 73
17 November 2011 at 3:32pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Growing up with two languages does not mean you know both well. You need either talent
or effort or both to do that.
You need that all the same growing up with just one language ;(
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Arekkusu
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 Message 43 of 73
17 November 2011 at 3:36pm | IP Logged 
DesEsseintes wrote:
1) The ability to make puns in a foreign language. Regardless of the language, or of whether the person spent years in the country or not, hats off to those who can play with words and make jokes out of them. That's also quite close to my definition of "mastering a language".

People who know me would say I'm quite the joker. Making puns is one of my creative outlets. As a result, I make puns whenever I see an opportunity, and I can quite easily make puns in Japanese, for instance. Yet, I'm FAAAR from mastering the language. You can make puns or you can't -- and many people can't do so in their L1 -- but it has nothing to do with mastery. It's simply a question of looking for puns admist the knowledge you already have.
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DesEsseintes
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 Message 44 of 73
17 November 2011 at 3:37pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Growing up with two languages does not mean you know both well. You need either talent
or effort or both to do that.


Don't think I mentioned that.

What I mean is that I like people who set goals for themselves, and who strive to achieve them.

I'd be more impressed by someone who has a job, a family life, friends, etc... and who decides to learn Farsi just because he heard it once in his life, than by someone who grew up in a multicultural environment.

That's all.

Edited by DesEsseintes on 17 November 2011 at 3:38pm

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DesEsseintes
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 Message 45 of 73
17 November 2011 at 3:43pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
As a result, I make puns whenever I see an opportunity, and I can quite easily make puns in Japanese, for instance. Yet, I'm FAAAR from mastering the language.


Or you may simply, out of sheer modesty or lack of self-confidence, be underestimating your capacities in Japanese. ;) No sarcasm intended, just think it over.

Again, that's is simply my opinion, and I may very well be wrong, but having the capacity to play with words is something different. That was also Nabokov's point of view, and main goal when struggling with his English.

Your Japanese might just simply be way better than you are willing to admit.
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Arekkusu
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 Message 46 of 73
17 November 2011 at 4:20pm | IP Logged 
DesEsseintes wrote:
Arekkusu wrote:
As a result, I make puns whenever I see an opportunity, and I can quite easily make puns in Japanese, for instance. Yet, I'm FAAAR from mastering the language.


Or you may simply, out of sheer modesty or lack of self-confidence, be underestimating your capacities in Japanese. ;) No sarcasm intended, just think it over.

Again, that's is simply my opinion, and I may very well be wrong, but having the capacity to play with words is something different. That was also Nabokov's point of view, and main goal when struggling with his English.

Your Japanese might just simply be way better than you are willing to admit.

The only way I could reconcile the two notions would be to significantly lower the bar of what "mastering a language" means.

Unless we use the word "pun" differently.

Yesterday, a Japanese speaker spoke of Korean kimchi (a food item). In Japanese, this becomes kimuchi. Now, kimochi means feeling, and "kimochi warui" means literally "feeling bad". I don't like "kimuchi", so I said "kimuchi warui" meaning that kimchi is bad... but it also sounded a bit like "it feels bad" or "it's unpleasant". Everyone got the joke. Anyone with beginner or intermediate Japanese could have made the joke. Puns can be made easily without mastery.
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DesEsseintes
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 Message 47 of 73
17 November 2011 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
Yesterday, a Japanese speaker spoke of Korean kimchi (a food item). In Japanese, this becomes kimuchi. Now, kimochi means feeling, and "kimochi warui" means literally "feeling bad". I don't like "kimuchi", so I said "kimuchi warui" meaning that kimchi is bad... but it also sounded a bit like "it feels bad" or "it's unpleasant". Everyone got the joke.


We're talking about the same thing then.

That kind of pun requires :

- a dense vocabulary
- some form of "language culture"
- the ability to think rapidly
- the ability to think directly in your target language
- self-confidence in this language
- a good accent, good-enough at least to make you understood immediatly by natives

Arekkusu wrote:
Anyone with beginner or intermediate Japanese could have made the joke. Puns can be made easily without mastery.


Or there might simply exist a huge difference between this forum, and real life. When I wrote "no sarcasm intended", I did mean it.

To make a long story short :

- Many world-class polyglots frequently browse over this board. They're particularly impressive, they're nice, and to top it all off, they're modest. A side effect of their presence may lie in the fact that other members can at times feel intimidated, and doubt their own capacities.

- Heaps of members here dote on debunking people who pretend they can speak "perfectly" a given language : "Oh I have this colleague who spent 4 years in Germany, he thinks he speaks German but really, after 15 minutes I noticed he still had a very slight accent, and he didn't know this or that word" or the run-of-the-mill "yeah, she speaks English and Spanish, but come on - easy languages", etc... (I could have added other examples of those usual nitpicky and unbearable posts, like language families, etc...)

There's one thing you shouldn't forget : that's the Internet...

As a result, I've noticed that on this forum people had a constant tendency to minimize their language skills (unless they eventually manage to express themselves better than a native...), while I do believe that modestly telling people that you can't do something you're actually good at is just as stupid and dishonest as claiming that you can do something that you actually can't. But that's just not how this forum works.

Hence my previous post, your Japanese is simply way better than you're willing to admit on this forum, or to yourself.



Edited by DesEsseintes on 17 November 2011 at 5:04pm

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Bao
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 Message 48 of 73
17 November 2011 at 5:52pm | IP Logged 
Puns often live from phraseology; you take a common phrase and replace a part of it with a word that sounds similar, but betrays the listener's expectations. Because I learn the most common phrases first, I can easily recognize them and when I learn a word that fits, I can make such a pun. (And because I'm an oyaji at heart I don't hold back.)
The pun Arekkusu mentioned presents itself to the avid punster. I know, I made it myself when I learnt what kimchi is and what it's called in Japanese. I remember having made a pun in Mandarin when my active vocabulary was about twenty words.

Of course, I don't want to belittle Arekkusu's skills, but I am very aware that my own Japanese can't be called conversational, and my Mandarin is still stuck at the 'I completed level I of Pimsleur, and picked up a few dozen words here and there' level; eg. complete beginner: I fulfil none of the requirements for CEFR A1. But I love making puns, it's a kind of team sport in my family.


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