Sunday, January 08, 2012

Still Here & Foreign Movies

Just checking in to say I'm still around.  Okay, so my goal of posting every day hasn't worked out as planned, but aren't we all a tad overly ambitious when New Years strikes?  :)

I recently moved back in with my parents, and in many ways I think it will be a good thing, though I intend for it to be temporary.  First of all, they get HITN on their TV, which is a Spanish-language network.  I've watched Cuadriga, which is basically one of those Sunday-morning roundtable shows where they discuss news of the week.  I also like Puertorriqueñísimo and Así Canta Puerto Rico, which of course focuses on life and music of Puerto Rico, and even though I'm not normally into cooking shows, I've watched Sazón y Algo Más from time to time.  I really should be posting this to my Spanish-blog...

Another thing is, hopefully my mom and I can work on our Spanish together.  I think it sometimes helps to have a study partner for motivation, even if it is the blind leading the blind.  I also hope my being around will inspire her to get out her German courses, because I think she's probably more into the German than the Spanish.  She bought Teach Yourself German a few years ago, but I don't think she's used it at all (yet.)  Being the language addict I am, I think I actually finally asked her if I could take off the wrapper and look at it...the book, not the wrapper...  ;) 

In closing, I saw I'm not Scared last night, which is an Italian movie.  I think I've seen more movies in languages I'm *not* studying than am!  But that's okay, because I've liked most of them and don't mind subtitles (much better than dubbing.)  I had to laugh when they would say "Mangia!" during mealtime, and in one scene when a little girl becomes exhausted riding her bike in the hot sun and sighs, "Uffa!"  I was like, 'This movie is so Italian.'  :)

My parents told me they had watched The Secret in Their Eyes on TV one afternoon.  That one's in Spanish (Argentina).  I had seen it before and found myself all caught up in it - crime dramas tend to drag me in like that.  I really never pass up a chance to see a foreign movie, and it's not because I want people to think I'm *so* cultured (far from it.)  It's simply because the movies are good and just happen to not be in English.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Serbo-Croatian Resource

A Handbook of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian begins with a short introduction, then jumps into the geography and history of each country and how that history influenced various aspects of each respective language.  I found it interesting to learn about the different paths these countries took and understanding how those paths shaped their cultures.  Dialects are briefly touched on here, and again more extensively toward the end.

Before going on, I should note that despite my title choice for this post, the term "Serbo-Croatian" isn't used anymore.  If wanting to learn any of these languages, the best option is to focus on either Croatian or Serbian.  Learning materials for Bosnian specifically are pretty hard to find.  I checked on Amazon and all I found were a couple of Bosnian-English dictionaries.

Back to the book...

The sound system is covered next.  If you're not into the technicalities of it all (which I admittedly am not), the details can be a tad overwhelming.  Teach Yourself Serbian goes over the most common examples of spelling changes and the sound changes that result in a way that's much easier to take in.  Fortunately, Serbian is very straight-forward when it comes to pronunciation.  The idea is one letter, one sound, and that applies whether reading Cyrillic or Latin.

It's made known from the beginning there really aren't many differences in the grammar of these three languages.  In this segment, which is the longest, all are basically treated as one language with specific distinctions made only when necessary.  I'm weird, I like grammar.  Not in that totally unbending way some people get caught up in, but more because I'm fascinated by the way other languages operate.

We then learn all about vocabulary.  Here is where the languages are said to differ the most.  Examples are given along with a few categorized wordlists.  One thing I've noticed is there seem to be quite a few words for one thing.  I've looked up words in Serbian and have been surprised and confused by the many translations that appear. 

Finally, there's a short reading text that's literally translated with the part of speech or case listed under each word of the translation.  For a language where articles don't exist and case expresses certain things we would use separate words for in English, I found this to be very helpful.

To sum up, this little book is good for anyone seriously studying these languages, but needlessly technical for the casual learner.  I consider myself somewhere inbetween.  The "serious" part of me found myself highlighting facts that the "casual" side of me had wondering, 'What in the world are you gonna do with that info?'  Due to the technicalness - not sure that's an actual word, but we'll just pretend it is ;) - it would perhaps be most appealing to those interested in the linguistics of the Balkan region.

After going over this booklet, I am now more inspired to practice my Serbian, and will hopefully start adding posts to my Serbian language blog soon.  :)

My Excuse

Uh-oh, I just realized I missed yesterday's post.  Already breaking my resolutions!  I guess I'll cheat and count this as my post for the 2nd. 

I've been a bit stressed and wasn't exactly thinking about this blog today (or yesterday if you want to get technical), because my 15-year old cat (look below) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  That would be nadczynność tarczycy po polsku, but I wish I didn't have to say it in any language.

Tomorrow...I mean today...I'll try to write a brief review on A Handbook of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian from the perspective of someone who barely knows this language/these languages and is awful at linguistics, but sin embargo has a deep love for languages, so stay tuned.  :)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 and Languages

Happy New Year!  One of my resolutions is to post to this blog every day.  Yep, you heard right.  Having only added two posts last year, and just as few the year before, I want to bring this blog back to life, because I do feel more motivated when I write here.  I'm cutting it close today though, seeing as it's less than an hour until tomorrow.

My mom has recently talked about getting out her German and Spanish.  I keep telling her she'll make a lot of progress if she studies a little every day, and finds ways to keep it in her memory.  That's easier to do with some languages than others.

As for me, I've been sticking with the same nine languages...
-Spanish
-Portuguese
-Dutch
-Romanian
-Serbian
-Polish
-Norwegian
-Bulgarian
-Lithuanian
(in that order)

I realize that's a lot, but I know there are people who attempt more, so I don't feel too silly, though I do sometimes question the point in learning so many.  There's that saying, "Jack (or Jill) of all trades and master of none."  Even if I advance further in some languages than others, I still enjoy learning, and there's no harm in that.  :)