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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Teango
Triglot
Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
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Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 577 of 1511
16 March 2013 at 3:56am | IP Logged 
Tarvos, you're a powerhouse of linguistic endeavour! Only you could make comparing Hebrew possessives and Breton pronouns sound like a perfectly normal everyday activity during a morning commute. I salute your unshakeable resolve comrade; may all your language trees bear fruit in abundance this year! :)

Edited by Teango on 16 March 2013 at 3:58am

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tarvos
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 578 of 1511
19 March 2013 at 11:01am | IP Logged 
Jag har haft lite personliga otur och därför har jag inte gjort för mycket med mina språk över helgen, utan en bit svenska och några rumänska ord i Anki. Det var inte för viktigt men det har haft som konsekvens att jag har varit för nervöst och stressat för att lära mig vad som helst. Jag hoppas att jag komma att ostressa lite mer nästa veckor. Men det är också därför att ni inte har haft för mycket uppdateringar här den senaste tiden - jag har varit antingen upptagen eller tråkigt (eller kär, faktiskt...) så kommer ni att få en större uppdatering ikväll.

@Teango, cheers, mate. But even I have my moments where I crack.

Edited by tarvos on 19 March 2013 at 11:05am

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Teango
Triglot
Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
Senior Member
United States
teango.wordpress.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3718 days ago

2210 posts - 3734 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 579 of 1511
19 March 2013 at 6:39pm | IP Logged 
For those "cracker" moments... ;)




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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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China
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Joined 2869 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 580 of 1511
20 March 2013 at 9:46am | IP Logged 
You're a winner, Teango...

I ended up doing less than expected last night, but I completed my Swedish homework, and watched two missing episodes of a Russian documentary I hadn't seen yet. The first one was about the Altai and space junk flying around crashing into people's houses, as well as the reputed healing powers of Siberian shamans. The second concerned the independence of a little republic named Abkhazia.

In that second video some people spoke with some strange Russian accents (Georgian-influenced, maybe?) and it did impede a bit of the comprehension, were it not for trusty Dutch subtitles.

And this morning's commute was spent on Hebrew where I listened to some dialogues and did questions on combining interrogatives and prepositions (where to, where from, with whom, etc.) With that I have finished the book part of unit 2 - I can do some listening and review exercises but that will not be possible before tonight, so if I have wifi I will probably deal with another unit or two in the Routledge course. If not I have my trusty Russian magazine with me and I'll read that.
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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2869 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 581 of 1511
20 March 2013 at 11:56am | IP Logged 
On Grammar

Taken from another thread, but useful to reproduce here: my view on grammar.

The thing with grammar is is that you need to develop some personal understanding of how grammarese works and how you apply this to every language. Iversen has written at length about this and I agree with pretty much everything he has said, although I don't necessarily completely adapt to his terminology; I use what works for me and that's more important.

What grammar is, is simply a way to systematically describe the setup of a language - it's a sentence construction manual. Most people don't want to read the goddamn manual when they're setting up an appliance (in this case the appliance is your brain spitting out a foreign language, let's say Hungarian).

I don't like doing grammar with Anki because what Anki does is in fact a more effective way of brute force memorization (which is useful for vocabulary which, let's face it, requires memorization) but that is not how you should approach grammar unless you are aiming to simply chunk and get a base in the language (I would recommend laying off grammar in the beginning unless you're like me and you have the grammars of seven languages behind you and you can tell direct objects from indirect ones etc, and even *I* ignore most grammar - I use grammar as a tool to explain why I should phrase a sentence in one way and not another. And there are still many details of grammar in certain languages that I cannot always reproduce properly, Russian aspect is a good example).

Grammar is the mathematics of a language and you should approach it as if you were doing mathematics and not as if you were studying vocabulary. Mathematics is not a set of formulae for you to memorise (although you'll need to use some to memorise a few conjugation patterns, for sure) but you can engineer sentence construction to a very large degree. Here are things I look for in the grammar of a new language when I'm studying:

- what groups of words are important? Verbs, nouns, adjectives, prepositions, articles (if you have them!) etc Note that these demarcations DO NOT HAVE TO CORRESPOND WITH English/YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. Make sure to realise that every language in this is an entity unto its own, and each of them prefers a different setup! For example, Romanian may be a romance language but it uses a lot of subjunctive constructions where other Romance languages use an infinitive, and you need to know that this is a Romanian construction expressing the same idea as a French infinitive: (vreau sa prind, je veux prendre; but lit. je veux que je prenne, but this construction cannot exist as such in French!))).
- in what order do you put words? Verb first or last? Prepositions or postpositions? Articles before or after?
- Do words change form? If so, what does a form change mean and when should I use it? What is the semantic implication of morphology. Reciting a table by heart is great, and it's good to memorize the forms, but you should know how to USE these forms and that requires understanding the semantic implication of, for example. a genitive (which implies a sort of possession of an object or some other relationship).
-What semantic MOODS can verbs take? Indicative? Imperative? Subjunctive? Gossip tense?

From this you build your machinery to speak Dutch, English, French, whatever. This machinery will be buggy at first and you'll have to realise that you need to debug this system frequently. Only regular debugging gets you a functioning program. And yes, you'll get frequent error messages but you can still get decent output at the beginning if you know how to build.

It is important to understand what these terms mean and HOW YOU USE THEM IN A PRACTICAL CONTEXT. Memorizing the fact that verb x is perfective in Russian is not enough if you do not know that using a present-tense conjugation for this verb implies a future semantic meaning. It also does not help if you don't know that this precludes using actual future conjugations with perfective verbs in Russian!

Where translations come in here is that they provide a point of comparison with what you are doing in a new language, and that can be quite useful if it's similar in the base language and in the target language. For example if I compare Dutch and German syntax structure, it's very easy to compare them because they're basically two different operative versions of one similar base build. It's just two versions of Apple OS with some differing functionalities according to that language's preference. Then it's a huge help to know one because you can basically fix the details to get to the other. I don't need to be explained a strong verb in Swedish - Dutch has strong verbs so I use a one-to-one correspondence on the topic and then I memorise the vowel changes that are different or illogical.

But sometimes it doesn't correspond. Hebrew conjugates prepositions - there's no point explaining that in English because English doesn't know what that is. You can indicate it by using a dash: of-me, to imply that "of me" is written as one word in Hebrew with the pronoun conjugated using a personal suffix (shel becoming shli), and then you use a bit of deductive logic to work out what Hebrew does (or if you, like me, happened to know that Breton uses that methodology as well then you use THAT as your analogy).

Now, you can do without all this, but it takes much more trial and error and if you can efficiently shortcut with some logic after you've bought yourself a whole set of useful lego bricks (get the lego bricks first! First learn a good decent set of vocab before you start playing and toying, or you will not have ANY context to work with and grammar basically DEMANDS you have context).
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 582 of 1511
20 March 2013 at 6:44pm | IP Logged 
I already voted for this in the other thread, but it's a post which deserves two votes from me.
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tarvos
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China
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5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 583 of 1511
23 March 2013 at 5:51pm | IP Logged 
A linguistic curiosity I came upon today (in connection with Hebrew); in a Dutch
newspaper, I read a column in which the columnist used the sentence "de hele misjpoge
lag al op bed" (the whole family had already gone to sleep). Now the Dutch have the
word "familie" for family, so I wondered what the word misjpoge could mean (it was
italicised as well). I figured it was some sort of slang word (since the column was set
in Amsterdam) and the only place that word can come from if we are talking Amsterdam
slang is of course Hebrew. I then remembered the Hebrew "mishpacha" which indeed means
family and figured out they must be synonymous.

Now, Hebrew words in Dutch tend to carry a very slangy connotation, with a few
exceptions, pretty much always though you would use them in informal conversation
(Dutch columns tend to be quite satirical and this word is invoked for that reason).
Some are really common ("mazzel" "gein" "tof" "smoes"), and using "jatten" for "stelen"
would be an informal way of expressing the same concept. I wouldn't say this in a
meeting with a CEO but among my friends I could definitely use these words (they are in
common use, you don't need to be an orthodox Jew to use these words). Some of these
words can be used especially in combination with thievery (another name for the slang
of some of these words is bargoens, which describes prisoner slang; some of these words
are apparently common in prison?).

However, for example, you can say "Ik ging naar de bajes omdat ik dus wat dingen gegapt
had, ik voel me best wel een schlemiel maar ik heb nog mazzel gehad dat de bajes een
achenebbisj zooitje was, waardoor ik kon ontsnappen."

I leave it up to the reader to identify the Hebrew loanwords in Dutch.

My favourite Hebrew loanword is gotspe by the way (from "chutzpah").
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Josquin
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 Message 584 of 1511
23 March 2013 at 6:47pm | IP Logged 
There are many Hebrew and Yiddish loanwords in German as well: "Mischpoke", "Massel", "Chutzpe", "meschugge", and many others which I don't recall right now. They all have that slangy feeling you mentioned as well. I think even the New Year's wish "Guten Rutsch!" hails from Hebrew "Rosh Hashanah".

If you're interested, there's an article in the German Wikipedia about it.


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