The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

The community lounge for non-Narnian discussions.

Moderators: stargazer, johobbit

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Gymfan15 » May 30, 2017 6:10 pm

It's hard for me to say what materials have been most helpful in my core Chinese learning because I've had private tutors and a lot of them made their own lessons, but I can tell you what standardized materials I have used and what I thought:

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese: This is a series of textbooks that is extremely popular among Chinese learners; I think it's the most common language learning resource here. It's a textbook with a DVD attached with video demonstrations of the dialogues, but you can actually find those videos online. Personally I haven't found the book that helpful but I think if you were learning Chinese on your own and needed dialogue examples, it would be useful. I guess it's popular for a reason? ;)

Memrise: This is a flashcard website that is used for language learning (I'm sure a lot of you know about it) and I've recently started using it for Chinese vocab...it's been SUPER helpful. I've been going through the TOCFL Vocab banks (TOCFL is the name of the proficiency test I took a few weeks ago) and it was invaluable in helping me read and recognize more characters. Nice mix of listening, reading and definitions.

HelloChinese: iOS app that I LOVE. It's free and I like it because it teaches you a lot of grammar and sentences as well as vocab. More like a "game" but it has been extremely helpful for me. You can do it with pinyin or without, if you really want to practice your reading more.

StickyStudy: iOS flashcard app that I bought because of the TOCFL vocab word banks; it's really just a basic flashcard app but it had the Chinese already plugged in and it has a nice format. Good if you want to just drill vocab.

Pleco: This is a Chinese dictionary app that is SUPER helpful if you need to look up words on the go. Probably not the best for non-immersion learning but helpful if you are out and about and you see some Chinese on a sign that you want to translate. This is probably my most-used app but again I live in Taiwan so I'm actually having to look up words on a frequent basis to use. :p

Helpful tip; add the Chinese handwriting keyboard to your phone! I can't write at ALL but it's really helpful for when I see a character and want to translate it but I can't remember the word. I'll just copy the character on my phone and viola! Translation. Google Translate will also translate characters by pointing your phone's camera at it but that's cheating sometimes. ;)

For Youtube channels, I like ChinesePod (https://www.youtube.com/user/ChinesePodTV) and Learn Chinese Now (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtjhXz ... txa7kkAH5Q).
User avatar
Gymfan15
Moderator Emeritus
Giver of Prestigious NarniaWeb Taglines™
 
Posts: 8225
Joined: Jun 28, 2005
Location: The heart and mind of God
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Varnafinde » Jun 01, 2017 3:55 pm

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:
Varnafinde wrote:Some linguists say that Swedish, Norwegian and Danish aren't really separate languages. If we went by the language definitions we use elsewhere in the world, they would be seen as dialects of one language.


Oooh. That sounds like a three-for-one deal to me. :D Among those three languages, is there one that seems like more of a middle point than the others, or are they all equally different? (Trying to figure out which one would offer me the most of an edge over the other remaining two, should I decide to learn one at some point!)


Norwegian would be the middle language there. Both Swedes and Danes tend to understand Norwegian better than the third language. Norway is geographically in the middle, too - this may be some of the reason.
Image
(avi artwork by Henning Janssen)
User avatar
Varnafinde
Moderator
Princess of the Noldor and Royal Overseer of the Talk About Narnia forum
 
Posts: 2220
Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Location: Western Wild
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby hmj97 » Jun 04, 2017 2:52 pm

what resources are you using to learn Chinese, hmj97?

I've only ever used Duolingo and Memrise for languages. I'm surprised there's no Chinese course on Duolingo yet, but there's quite a few on Memrise. I'll have to give some of those language-specific apps a try!
Being an actor means exploring the human psyche, often in its most raw form. It's terrifying at times, but so incredibly liberating. And then there's, you know, the less deep stuff, like getting an agent and going on audition after audition.
User avatar
hmj97
NarniaWeb Regular
 
Posts: 10
Joined: May 16, 2017
Location: South Dakota
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jun 04, 2017 5:55 pm

Varnafinde wrote:Norwegian would be the middle language there. Both Swedes and Danes tend to understand Norwegian better than the third language. Norway is geographically in the middle, too - this may be some of the reason.


I'd love to be able to hear Norwegian and Danish spoken, as distinct from just reading it. :) I'd like to work out for myself just how close both Norwegian and Danish are to English, especially how it is spoken, say, in America, Scotland or Yorkshire. There are basically two main varieties of the many variations of English pronunciation and usage world-wide, and Northern England, especially around Yorkshire, Scotland, Ireland and North American English, as a whole, tends to be rhotic (a Greek-based term for heavy pronunciation of "R" sounds), as opposed to the non-rhotic English that is often spoken elsewhere. If I was on a podcast you would hear the difference, I am sure of it. :D

Where I worked we once had a truck manual for Volvo trucks in Swedish, which had to be updated every so often - in Swedish. And it was a nightmare thing to do given that nobody understood any Swedish. Very likely, it is the least like English of any Scandinavian (Nordic) language. Also, the diacritics can be somewhat offputting. I think these are the sorts of things I've been seeing: ð, å, Ǿ. Apart from the dot on the top of an i we don't have any diacritics in English.

But unfortunately there isn't much demand for either books or CD's here, for any Scandinavian country when I visit our big bookstores. We can get these so-called "earworms" musical brain trainers in popular languages to learn which include French, German, Japanese and maybe Chinese, but not any of the Scandinavian languages. Nor some of the languages commonly spoken here, in particular, Vietnamese. /:)
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 6685
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 29, 2017 9:11 pm

*revives thread she has so woefully neglected*

Lady Arwen wrote:One of my coworkers taught herself Korean, and is now largely fluent. If you're looking at learning that, Rosie, I can bug her and see if she can resource share--although she did start learning about ten years ago, so some of her sources might be outdated.


Ooh, I may ask you to do that! It looks like Duolingo is finally getting their act together and has a projected launch date for the Korean course in beta (or should I say βήτα? :P) in the middle of next month, but if they postpone it yet again, I may poke you about poking your friend. ;))

Lady Arwen wrote:One of the things I find fascinating about Greek is that, unlike most other languages, it is both a parent language to so many other languages, and a living language. So many other languages fall into one category or the other, but Greek is just hanging out, chilling with both crowds. I suppose nowadays you could say the same about Hebrew, but that one took quite a lot of work to revive, and I don't think it has had as much of an impact on the development of other languages as Greek has.


That's a great point! A lot of the time I feel sort of like I'm time traveling when I'm studying Greek, or participating in ancient history somehow. It's a very cool feeling.

(Duolingo also has a Hebrew course.... :D Not sure when I might get started on that since Korean and Russian are next on the list, but I'd love to learn to at least read a bit of Hebrew at some point.)

Thank you so much for that breakdown on the resources you used during your journey with learning Chinese, Gymmie! :ymapplause: Especially the apps and the YouTube channels. Speaking of YouTube channels, I've been enjoying Wikitongues. It's really neat to listen to the different native speakers, especially for some of the more obscure/dying languages.

In other lingiustic news, I hit the 250th day of my Greek streak on Duolingo today, though not without the help of a lot of Streak Freezes. ;)) I'm through about 60% of the modules, and I'm hoping to have finished all of them by the one year mark of beginning the course. (That'll be on October 17th, I think.) Just completing all of the quizzes shouldn't be that difficult to do, but it becomes harder if I'm actually trying to retain some of what I'm learning and not just get through the quizzes as quick as I can. :P I don't really want to move on to other languages until I have a firm grasp of Greek, after all.

I've found that regularly doing the "strengthen skills" quiz helps a lot with retention of what I've learned... I sort of swing back and forth between intensively studying a new quiz set and doing a bunch of the all-around skill strengthening quizzes found on the course's homepage. Plus, the variety you get with doing the all-around quiz helps keep my brain from getting bored. ;))

One of my favorite Greek words that I've learned recently is παραμύθι, or paramýthi. It means fairy tale. :D
—The Rose-Tree Dryad, a.k.a. Rose @};-
Image
NW sister to Melian_Maia, lover of narnia, Elanor and juzuma loves lucy + NW twin to MissRosario
User avatar
The Rose-Tree Dryad
Moderator
 
Posts: 3742
Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Location: A secret garden
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby shastastwin » Jul 31, 2017 6:04 am

Rose's post reminded me that I downloaded Duolingo a while back, but never used it. Inspired, I redownloaded it and then started learning Welsh (and refreshing my Spanish). We'll see how this goes.
"All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you..."
Inexhaustible Inspiration
User avatar
shastastwin
Moderator Emeritus
Saint Schwinn
 
Posts: 9263
Joined: May 09, 2005
Location: Watership Down
Gender: Male

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby SummerSnow » Aug 06, 2017 2:19 pm

I like a lot of different languages. Unfortunately, I seem to like learning them a little less.
Right now, I'm trying to learn Spanish. I learned it in school and thus, it seems like a natural thing to pursue, since I already have started. Unfortunately, I don't find that I love the language, and beyond the fact that it would be practical to know, I'm having a hard time finding a reason to learn it.
I also studied Swedish in school, but I had no particular desire to learn it. I'm debating whether I ought to try learning it now. It's pretty much in the same boat as Spanish. I already know a bit, and it would be neat to know it, but I don't have a particular desire to learn it.

So, beyond that, there's Czech. It's a language that it was never convenient to learn, but I've been thinking about picking it up. I admit I was going to wait until it came to Duolingo (because it's very simple to start out at), but it just keeps on getting pushed back. I have Mango Languages through my school, though. I'm not the hugest fan of it (it is very repetitive, which is good for language learning....but sometimes a bit boring), but it has so many languages. Czech being one of them, and I just had to try it out. I haven't really done much. I'm still debating whether I want to try to focus on that or not.

I'm really interested in Japanese. Unfortunately, I've struggled to pronounce the most basic of words, so it's a bit up in the air right now. To be quite honest, pronunciation is one of the things I most struggle with though, regardless of the language, so I'm not sure why I'm so nervous about that. =P

I've dabbled in various other languages, and I'm definitely interested in many more, but those ones are the main ones I've been thinking about lately.
My lovely avatar was made by Valia!
User avatar
SummerSnow
NarniaWeb Junkie
The WC Submersible Subterfuge Sub
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Jun 30, 2011
Location: The TARDIS!

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Lady Arwen » Aug 09, 2017 6:18 pm

I just recently discovered that Duolingo lets you bet on your streaks with lingots, and I've become much more serious about logging in every day. ;)) I guess it helps that I really like winning. :P Also, if anyone is interested in being "friends" on the site, my handle is RiverWrenSong.

I hadn't noticed the Hebrew course on Duolingo before, Rose, but I may consider checking it out. It would be nice to start differentiating between Yiddish and Hebrew :P Otherwise, I've always thought Hebrew to be a beautiful language, mainly because it moves from right to left, and how cool is that for those of us who struggled through not smearing pencil led for our teachers in grade school???

I'm also curious how Duolingo chooses what languages to develop next. While I'm not surprised to see "made up" languages on the list at all (but not one type of Elvish! tsk tsk), I am a bit surprised to see a lack of "major" languages like Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi (although they're now developing Hindi, so maybe the other two will show up soon).

Summer, I hope you find one you're passionate about soon! It never hurts to work on a language through more than one program, too, so even if Mango might be annoying, it might not hurt using it. Still, with languages, if you can't find a reason to do it regularly, it becomes a bit useless, so best of luck on that one. :)
Avatar made by AITB
User avatar
Lady Arwen
Moderator
The Mermod
 
Posts: 7590
Joined: Sep 14, 2005
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby Gymfan15 » Aug 22, 2017 3:32 pm

I don't know much about Duolingo, because I haven't used them, but I feel like their format might not be very conducive to languages like Chinese, because it requires so much reading and writing? Typing characters is NOT easy...sure, you can learn the pinyin, but you've still got to remember what character means the one you want, and then you have to make sure you spelled the pinyin right because one letter off will get you lost completely.

But yeah, I'd love if there was Duolingo for Chinese, mostly because I'm still very serious about getting more fluent in Chinese and I keep hearing this website as being the best for language learning. Sigh, oh well!
User avatar
Gymfan15
Moderator Emeritus
Giver of Prestigious NarniaWeb Taglines™
 
Posts: 8225
Joined: Jun 28, 2005
Location: The heart and mind of God
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby SummerSnow » Oct 07, 2017 8:35 pm

I found the daily lingots to be helpful as well, Lady Arwen. I'm not really on Duolingo much right now, but I went ahead and added you! So, maybe I'll feel more motivated to do it now. I think the choice of languages might be based on the contributors, but I don't know. It is curious, though, that they don't have some major languages, like you mentioned.

Thank you! They just added Czech on Duolingo, which is super exciting for me! I just am still considering which language I want to pursue right now...which means I have just been not attempting any of them, which is probably not very good. At this point, I might just need to try a language and just treat it like it's fun, instead of trying to pursue it as the language I'm going to learn. At this point, it might be better just to have a fun language and be no worse off than if I hadn't tried to learn it in the first place.


Gymfan15 , I think you're right. They would probably have to get rather creative to work around that problem. Are you using any other programs? Duolingo is really good for basics, and I really like it for casual learning, but it does have a lot of limitations. It is definitely sad when they don't have the languages you want to learn!
My lovely avatar was made by Valia!
User avatar
SummerSnow
NarniaWeb Junkie
The WC Submersible Subterfuge Sub
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Jun 30, 2011
Location: The TARDIS!

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby the4signs[repeat] » Oct 21, 2017 7:38 pm

Hello everyone, what a fun thread idea! ;;)
One of my dreams is when I retire to spend months each year living at language schools in different countries around the world. Or if I become suddenly independently wealthy I will move the timetable up by 20 or 30 years. B-)
In the meantime I have been studying Mandarin by means of Rosetta Stone. What a beautiful language. I am learning it for the perhaps silly reason of wanting to understand Chinese language films without the subtitles. It has been fun though, a few weeks ago I was attending a seminar with some visitors from China. I plucked up the courage to say “hello” in Mandarin and welcome them, -which was quite a rewarding experience. How interesting that Cantonese is so different from Mandarin. I watched a Netflix show called “My Family Doctor” in Cantonese and I understood nary a word!
I studied Spanish in college and visited Mexico several times. I have a basic proficiency (such as asking for the restroom) but I want to take my understanding to the next level. So I hope to start the Rosetta Stone for that language soon as well.
Other languages on my “to learn” wish list:
Icelandic (to read the sagas, visit the country, and it just sounds cool!)
Latin (finish what I started in high school, and read Cicero and Virgil)
German (to honor my ancestry and it would be a handy at work).
Also Gaelic, Hebrew, Old English, French, Greek… the list goes on! :)
Grammatical garden or the Arbour of Accidence pleasantly open'd to Tender Wits by Puverulentus Siccus
User avatar
the4signs[repeat]
NarniaWeb Regular
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mar 09, 2010
Location: On the balcony of my air castle... dusting the railing.
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Nov 01, 2017 9:15 pm

Well, I lost my Greek streak on Duolingo last week. I've been so distracted lately, I wasn't very surprised that it slipped through my fingers. I got up to 307 days! The many times that I used Streak Freezes, however, take away some of the sparkle from that number. :P I'm up to Level 24 now. I think I've read that Level 25 is as high as they go, which is a little puzzling to me because they're only based on how many quizzes you've done, not proficiency with the language.

It's looking like I'll be finished with the course by the end of the year, so that will be great. My current plans are to give Chinese a try after that, provided that it the Beta is fully "hatched" by then. It's at 40% now and has an estimated launch of... 11/16/17? :-? Er, something tells me that's a wee bit optimistic. Last time I checked it said December and I thought that might be pushing it a little. :P Fingers crossed anyway, Gymfan. ;))

In the meantime, I've been trying to pick up the Korean alphabet in between Greek quizzes, which is very cool and such a pretty written language. If there are further delays with the Chinese course, I'll probably continue with Korean after finishing Greek.

Lady Arwen wrote:I just recently discovered that Duolingo lets you bet on your streaks with lingots, and I've become much more serious about logging in every day. ;)) I guess it helps that I really like winning. :P


;)) I also like the timed practice option. I think you can enable that in Settings, if my memory serves me correctly? If you finish a strengthening quiz under a time limit, you get extra points.

SummerSnow wrote:I'm really interested in Japanese. Unfortunately, I've struggled to pronounce the most basic of words, so it's a bit up in the air right now. To be quite honest, pronunciation is one of the things I most struggle with though, regardless of the language, so I'm not sure why I'm so nervous about that. =P


I actually got an email a week ago that Duolingo has Japanese available on its apps and website now, so you might want to check that out! Czech is in Beta now, too. :)

Welcome to the languages thread, the4signs[repeat]! :-h

the4signs[repeat] wrote:In the meantime I have been studying Mandarin by means of Rosetta Stone. What a beautiful language. I am learning it for the perhaps silly reason of wanting to understand Chinese language films without the subtitles.


Not silly at all! I'm a bit envious, actually, because I bet you already had a feel for the language because you had already heard quite a bit of spoken Chinese. I'd be interested if you have any recommendations for Chinese film!

I love the idea of learning Latin at some point as well... Duolingo should get on that. :D
—The Rose-Tree Dryad, a.k.a. Rose @};-
Image
NW sister to Melian_Maia, lover of narnia, Elanor and juzuma loves lucy + NW twin to MissRosario
User avatar
The Rose-Tree Dryad
Moderator
 
Posts: 3742
Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Location: A secret garden
Gender: Female

Re: The Gift of Gab: All About Languages!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Nov 02, 2017 3:05 pm

Latin is a relatively easy language to learn, but you won't get to practise speaking it much. It is still useful as a liturgical language, and much in the English language is based on Latin, especially medical, legal and scientific terminology. But when I learned it in high school I was told repeatedly that continuing it, as I did, until the Leaving Certificate, as our final secondary school qualification was called then, was a waste of time and effort, since by 1964, Latin was considered a dead language by most people here. /:) But at least I can still translate the state motto. (Orta recens quam pura nites - Newly arisen, how brightly it shines)

I'm not so sure about the uselessness of learning Latin, as it is the foundation of several other languages, such as Romanian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, as opposed to English or German. Successful completion of Latin, in particular, as one of my school subjects, allowed me to progress to equally successful completion of an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree, at the very least, as well as being useful in my choice of occupation and a lifelong passion for history. "Veni, vidi, vici", Julius Caesar would have said. (I came, I saw, I conquered).

Have fun, if you decide to learn Latin. ;)
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 6685
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests