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Showing posts from 2008

The ABC's of Serbian

I've been concentrating on Serbian for the last few days. One thing I did was make myself a sheet of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet with the cursive form next to each printed letter. I can't write in Cyrillic to save my life, so thought a visual reminder would help. Even though Cyrillic isn't a far stretch from the Latin, it still takes some getting used to.
I imagine native writers don't necessarily make every letter look so neat and fancy. The ultimate goal is to get comfortable enough with writing in Cyrillic to develop my own style and not try to be so "by the book." Or I could just type and let the keyboard worry about it.

Let's be honest, there's really no *need* for me to write in Cyrillic, but it does make the learning experience just a tad more interesting.

In closing, try your hand. I got a 97% in 2 minutes/20 seconds. I don't have the Cyrillic order memorized (it's different from the Latin, which Serbian also uses) so I was like, &q…

Can You Hear Me Now?

I need to figure out how to record myself in the languages I'm learning in order to get feedback, as well as in English. Just an idea for the near future and something I've been meaning to do for a while.

Foreign Correspondence

I've totally been neglecting this blog. I don't want each update to be the same ol' boring, "Today I studied Portuguese object pronouns," so unless I have something useful to say, I refrain from posting. As a blogger, I don't know which is worse: talking about boring things or not talking at all. At least this time I have something a little more interesting to post. In January of this year, I began sponsoring a girl from Haiti through Compassion International. It was sort of by accident, because I had originally expected to sponsor a girl from the Dominican Republic, but at the time they apparently didn't have any urgent need for a sponsor in any of their programs there, so the info I got ended up being for a girl from Haiti. A few months later, I began sponsoring a girl from Brazil and another girl from Nicaragua. I don't know Haitian Creole at all, so have been writing and will continue to write in English with perhaps a sprinkling of Creole thrown …

From Dutch to Duits

I've been concentrating on Dutch recently by reading through and copying the sentences in my Essential Dutch Grammar book to a composition notebook. I'll write the Dutch sentence, the English translation, then a literal translation. This is a good way to learn sentence patterns, which, other than basic straight-forward sentences, are often quite different from English. Some highschoolers from Hermann's sister city in Germany (Bad Arolsen) are coming to town this weekend to perform in a concert. Two of them are staying at my parents' neighbor's house across the alley, and are coming over for a BBQ (I guess - it's been pretty chilly lately.) I told my mom with all the German in this town, from street and shop names to the many German flags flapping in the breeze, they'll probably wonder if their plane ever left the ground: "Are we still in Germany?"

Voice Over

Here's an interesting article explaining Sarah Palin's accent.

Language Refresh

I went to World Market a couple of weeks ago and bought two diaries in which to attempt to write the old-fashioned way: one for Portuguese and one for Bulgarian so far (I would definitely like to get better at handwritten Cyrillic).

Romanian Love

I was looking at my Berlitz Romanian phrasebook this morning and thinking how much I love that language.  *starry eyes*

Dutch and Deutsch

I went to the library this afternoon and checked-out a country profile book about the Netherlands called Holland by Mies Bouhuys. It's pretty dated, copyright 1971, but it's written in English, Dutch and German, so I couldn't resist. Though there are whole pages with text, most is in the form of photo captions, making it a good way to read some Dutch in small doses. Here's a random example, showing English, Dutch and German... ~Giethoorn is a true water village. ~Giethoorn is een echt waterdorp. ~Giethoorn ist ein echtes 'Wasserdorf'.
It's interesting to be able to compare these three related languages, even if the translation is nearly never as straight-forward as the above.

You Say What I Say

I've been making Slavic vocab lists. When learning languages that share a family (and even those that don't), it's helpful to look for alike words and phrases. That is, instead of thinking in terms of a single language, condense and conquer. ;)

Adeus, inverno!

I thought I would write some quick sentences alluding to the warm temps we've been experiencing. These sentences are pretty basic, but it's been a long time since I've attempted to write anything in Portuguese.
O tempo tem estado agradável esta semana.  O sol se põe mais tarde e nasce mais cedo agora que a primavera está praticamente aqui.  Quando está outono no Brasil, está primavera em Portugal e nos Estados Unidos.

The weather has been nice this week.  The sun is setting later and rising earlier now that spring is almost here.  When it's fall in Brazil, it's spring in Portugal and the United States.

An Ear for Languages

Since I thought Polish was Icelandic (of all things), I decided I should hone-up on my listening skills - an area I slack on in all of my languages. I brought along all my Polish books to my sister's and have worked out a plan for the dialogues: ~Listen 5x w/out looking at the transcript (to get a feel for what the speakers are saying). ~Listen and repeat 5x while this time looking at the words (to visually match sounds to letters). ~Listen and repeat 5x again w/out looking at the words. I also like to do the reverse. Instead of waiting for the speaker, then mimicking them, I'll speak first and see if they match me.

A New Learning Idea

I love languages, but I've never been the type to dive head-first into the learning and it's a very frustrating trait to have. I listen passively, I read a paragraph (or worse yet, a sentence) and figure, "That's enough for today," I attempt to write once in a blue moon...oy vey! :)  Honestly though, I don't think it's that trait so much as it is I don't make use of what I've learned, no matter how small the amount, which is a great segue into the next topic...

One thing I've tried a couple of times is to write words, phrases and even brief grammar notes on a dry-erase board. I have a small one on my fridge and really should use this tactic more often, because once the books are closed, I rarely look again at the notes I took that day, but this dry-erase thing causes me to see those writings everytime I walk in de keuken. I can picture myself subconsciously repeating these new words/phrases throughout the day. As they enter into my lexicon mor…

Portuguese Pronunciation (and Dominican Spanish)

Hi all, glad to say it's the second year of this blog, and my motivation for making serious progress in the languages I'm learning is higher than it's been for a while. The only thing I need to do is check my enthusiasm, so I don't get ahead of myself, which is always my downfall.
I know I kept mentioning I would discuss my pronunciation of Portuguese, and will keep it brief by simply saying that when listening to the two BP accents recorded here, I was better able to match the second female contributor (mistakenly placed under the EP text) when speaking along.
Switching to espanhol, here's a little info about Dominincan Spanish you may find interesting...
(The link where I got the following is dead, but wanted to keep the info)...
Dominicans speak a Spanish that they describe as "morcha'o", or cut off.
There is the tendency to simplify certain consonant combinations, especially -ado, and to level c, z, and s such that cazar, casar and cacer might sound s…