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Ardaschir

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
29 messages over 4 pages: 13 4  Next >>
Eric
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 5489 days ago

102 posts - 105 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, French

 
 Message 9 of 29
19 February 2005 at 2:58pm | IP Logged 
Hi Victor,

Not long, I could leave it to the side and come back to it in years to come.

Ardaschir said French or German should be your first choice for learning a language, I am starting Spanish and enjoying it alot, I really feel like I could be fluent in Spanish one day and be able to teach my mother.

If I change from Japanese, the most logical choice is to do French I guess?


Edited by Eric on 19 February 2005 at 2:59pm

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Malcolm
Triglot
Retired Moderator
Senior Member
Korea, South
Joined 5576 days ago

500 posts - 514 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Korean
Studies: Mandarin, Japanese, Latin

 
 Message 10 of 29
19 February 2005 at 7:16pm | IP Logged 
I'm majoring in Linguistics and it's not really what I expected. It's very theoretical, and perhaps a little dry at times. In terms of difficulty, I feel that it's a balance between the arts and the sciences. Sometimes it's ridiculously easy, while at other times it seems as difficult as any of the sciences. It doesn't require essay writing or advanced math.

Perhaps Ardaschir could explain how Linguistics helps with language learning (if it does at all).

Eric: If you're majoring in Linguistics and Spanish you shouldn't have any problems. However, I see no reason why you can't take Japanese as an elective.
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ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5517 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 11 of 29
19 February 2005 at 7:35pm | IP Logged 
Eric,

Linguistics is often viewed as "hard" because it is all too often full of impenetrable jargon and indeed even complex mathematical forumulae. It is full of math and jargon because it isn't about languages any more, it is only theory about Language as an abstract map of the human mind. Noam Chomsky, the leading living linguist, openly dislikes foreign languages, and the only one he really knows is the Hebrew that his rabbinical scholar father taught him as boy. I've studied linguistics to a high level and known many linguists on four continents. There are probably more polyglots among linguists than among members of any other profession, but still, a shocking number of academic linguists have an extremely limited knowledge of foreign languages. I'm in self-imposed exile because I view most of my monolingual linguist colleagues to be the equivalent of zoologists talking about Animals on the basis of the knowledge of a single animal, or botanists talking about Trees on the basis of the knowledge of only one tree. Well, linguistics doesn't get this "hard" and abstract until it gets advanced. The two introductory courses you listed sound like they could be quite accessible and interesting. Also, be on the lookout for a course in something like historical philology. Philology is the only branch of linguistics that will actually help you with the study of languages.

As to your study of languages, why and how did you choose Japanese? You are young yet, and if you have a Japanese girlfriend and like Japanese food and music and art and if you have the opportunity to go live in Japan for a long period of time, you could very well succeed, and with a language like Japanese, the younger you are when you get grounded, the more hope you have for really building it up over the years. However, if you just chose it because you were somewhat curious about it and because it fit into your program of study, and if your teacher is Japanese and most of your classmates are Japanese-Australians, then you are quite likely in for a very rough ride that will probably leave you feeling discouraged not only about learning Japanese but about learning languages in general. For a native English speaker, Japanese is a very hard language, while Spanish is on among the easiest. The structure is not as alien, the alphabet is the same, and most importantly, thousands and thousands of words are either identical to English words or readily recognizable. You are indeed more likely to succeed with your study of Spanish, and in so doing, you will not only be learning Castillian, you will be building invaluable language learning experience that will facilitate your future study of other languages. Japanese will not be so hard for you in a number of years if, in between, you have learned a few other languages.

I don't remember when, where, or in what context on this forum I said that French and German should be your first choice in languages. I might mention the kind of above caveats about studying a hard, exotic language as your first, but if a language like Spanish or any other culturally related and thus "easy" language holds your particular interest, then this should be the language that you study. However, all other things being equal, yes, I do believe that any would-be-polyglot ought to consider putting the study of other languages off for a while and learning both French and German well first. Why? Because there is so much language learning material for all other languages available in these languages, material that may be superior to the material available in English, or material that may not even be available in English. Simply put, their massive practical and cultural value aside, French and German are invaluable resource or reference languages for the study of other languages.
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Eric
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 5489 days ago

102 posts - 105 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, French

 
 Message 12 of 29
19 February 2005 at 7:56pm | IP Logged 
Ardaschir thankyou for your reply.

I have done alot of thinking about this, and I am going to drop Japanese (my course hasn't started yet so we can change majors)

Maths is a worry to me if Linguistics will later on have Maths, as I did not do Maths in school (long story) ... I can add up and do a bit of algerbra and stats but am totally clueless beyond very very basic maths.

I get to pick two majors in my course, one can be Lingusitics, the other major I think I will do French, simply because my university offers a plethora of subjects that revolve around France and Francais, + it is a language I have always wanted to learn but feared it was too hard.

SELF EDIT: I am only going to study one language at University, I just have to decide on French or Spanish.

My heart says Spanish but my Uni offers so many subjects on France and francais, and I can't do both as it's not recommended. (especially with francais being the 'enfant terrible')

Many thanks Ardaschir and everyone for your help, much appreciated.

-Eric (trying to put the first foot in a good place for the other to follow)

Edited by Eric on 19 February 2005 at 8:05pm

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Lafcadio
Diglot
Newbie
Japan
Joined 5485 days ago

29 posts - 29 votes
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 13 of 29
19 February 2005 at 9:49pm | IP Logged 
Hi Eric,
You've done the right thing in dropping Japanese! Ardaschir's advice about the language was good. I've met lots of people who've studied Japanese for four years in university, which usually includes a year in Japan, and they're still usaully a long way from fluency. I really think you need to live here for a few years to make serious progress.
Having said that, I love the language and I'm sure my study of it will continue throughout my life. Unless you love the country and culture of Japan though, it certainly is best avoided in favour of an easier language.   
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victor
Tetraglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 5579 days ago

1098 posts - 1055 votes 
6 sounds
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, FrenchC1, Mandarin
Studies: Spanish
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 14 of 29
20 February 2005 at 1:52pm | IP Logged 
Eric, make sure you know well what you want to take and stick to it. Don't major in a certain language simply because it's known to be "easier" or "harder", or maybe that many courses of that discipline is offered in the university.

Take what you want as you will learn a lot more and have wonderful time learning it.
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Eric
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 5489 days ago

102 posts - 105 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, French

 
 Message 15 of 29
20 February 2005 at 3:15pm | IP Logged 
Thankyou victor, that is very good advice.
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Nephilim
Diglot
Senior Member
Poland
Joined 5406 days ago

363 posts - 368 votes 
Speaks: English*, Polish

 
 Message 16 of 29
25 April 2006 at 3:15am | IP Logged 
Hello Administrator,

Do you have an update on Ardashcir. I remember some months ago that you said he was very busy and may return shortly. I quite miss his lengthy posts. They were always very interesting

Nephilim


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