learning a language

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Re: learning a language

Post by nafod » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:36 am

seeahill wrote:
nafod wrote:Ayuda, mi cabina está en llamas !
No, no. llamas means "you call." Por exemplo: i"Como te llama." What do you call yourself? Or "what is your name?"

"Mi cabina esta en fuego" Eso es correcto.

But "en lllamas" can mean the same thing, "in flames." It just seems to me an awkward (google) translation. We need a native speaker to say which is more gooder.

I think.
You sound like my daughter. She has a gift for languages and has taught herself Spanish (and Korean) and we carry on discussions all the time, me furiously Google translating and she heckling me for my mangled linguistics.
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Re: learning a language

Post by SubClaw » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:05 pm

seeahill wrote:
nafod wrote:Ayuda, mi cabina está en llamas !
No, no. llamas means "you call." Por exemplo: i"Como te llama." What do you call yourself? Or "what is your name?"

"Mi cabina esta en fuego" Eso es correcto.

But "en lllamas" can mean the same thing, "in flames." It just seems to me an awkward (google) translation. We need a native speaker to say which is more gooder.

I think.
You think wrong.

"Mi cabaña (cabina means something different in this context) está en llamas" would be the correct form.

Llamas = Flames/(you) call/Weird animals

In flames = en llamas. It's not a 'false twin'.

Burning = ardiendo.

Being "en fuego" does not exist in Spanish.

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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:40 pm

One of the great free Spanish tools is SpanishDict. Unlike many Spanish/English dictionaries, it gives all the various contexts in which the word is used.

And SpanishDict tells me that Subclaw is correct. "llamas" (flames) would be the commonly used word. "Cabina" refers to a small enclosure, like the cab of a truck or the wheel house of a boat. "En Fuego" translates word for word to "on fire." But, as Subclaw mentions, it seems doesn't seem to be used to talk about house fires. "En fuego" is sometimes used as a metaphor. My heart is en fuego.

Anyway, I'm trying to learn and I guess one way you learn is by being corrected when you are wrong.

So Subclaw, what's your background in Spanish?
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Re: learning a language

Post by SubClaw » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:58 pm

seeahill wrote:One of the great free Spanish tools is SpanishDict. Unlike many Spanish/English dictionaries, it gives all the various contexts in which the word is used.

And SpanishDict tells me that Subclaw is correct. "llamas" (flames) would be the commonly used word. "Cabina" refers to a small enclosure, like the cab of a truck or the wheel house of a boat. "En Fuego" translates word for word to "on fire." But, as Subclaw mentions, it seems doesn't seem to be used to talk about house fires. "En fuego" is sometimes used as a metaphor. My heart is en fuego.

Anyway, I'm trying to learn and I guess one way you learn is by being corrected when you are wrong.

So Subclaw, what's your background in Spanish?
One of my parents is a Spanish born citizen (Burgos, to be precise).

Spanish is a very tricky language: it has a very complex grammar, waaay too many synonyms, and irregular verbs galore. To make things worse, Spanish variants are very, very, very different among them. And I'm not talking about accents, their respective vocabularies are much different.

English dialects are convergent. Spanish dialects are divergent.

Feel free to ask me any doubt, I'm happy to help (same goes for any other forum member).

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Re: learning a language

Post by Chris McClinch » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:37 pm

SubClaw wrote:Spanish is a very tricky language: it has a very complex grammar, waaay too many synonyms, and irregular verbs galore. To make things worse, Spanish variants are very, very, very different among them. And I'm not talking about accents, their respective vocabularies are much different.
This is part of how Duolingo pissed me off last night. I used to be fluent, and still pick it up quickly when re-immersed, but need practice to keep it up. Taking their little "what's your starting point?" test to brush back up, I was asked to translate some damn sentence about mushrooms. Apparently the word I've used for 20+ years, champiñones, is "wrong" in the variant they teach.

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Re: learning a language

Post by SubClaw » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:40 pm

Chris McClinch wrote:
SubClaw wrote:Spanish is a very tricky language: it has a very complex grammar, waaay too many synonyms, and irregular verbs galore. To make things worse, Spanish variants are very, very, very different among them. And I'm not talking about accents, their respective vocabularies are much different.
This is part of how Duolingo pissed me off last night. I used to be fluent, and still pick it up quickly when re-immersed, but need practice to keep it up. Taking their little "what's your starting point?" test to brush back up, I was asked to translate some damn sentence about mushrooms. Apparently the word I've used for 20+ years, champiñones, is "wrong" in the variant they teach.
Champiñones, setas, hongos... It's a fucking nightmare.

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Re: learning a language

Post by Chris McClinch » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:45 pm

Hongos was the one they were looking for. Fuck me for using the one you see on menus instead.

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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:37 pm

And back to my review of various learning tools.

The Telenovela Method, a book by Andrew Tracey, is very good. On the surface, it seems like a gimmick, but it is not. You learn Spanish by watching online (mostly Utube) Spanish-language videos. Why do you need the book? Because you will likely not learn anything just watching. He tells you how to watch, how to make your own Anki deck and gives you a wealth of free or inexpensive online sources.

The benefit of watching Spanish movies or other sources is that you hear how people really speak and the words they are likely to use. You hear slang and cuss words. No one ever says, "the pen of my aunt is on the table of my sister."

If you follow the method, you will find that it, too, is hard work. You are not going to learn another language without work. His method is to watch stuff you like but even the author admits that going over Pan's Labyrinth for the 10th time drags a little. He also suggests using physical workbooks. He particularly likes books you can write in, like the Practice Makes Perfect workbooks on grammar and vocabulary. (They also have a website with flashcards on each lesson.)

This is particularly good for me because I simply can't hear Spanish spoken at a normal native speaker's speed. Listening to videos, figuring out the words, and then trying to repeat them along with the speaker on the video may work for me.

I have short circuited the process a bit. Two websites each costing about $10 a month have Spanish videos on a variety of subjects, including music videos. They are translated below the picture word for word in Spanish. Below that is an English translation. On Yabla or Fluent U, you can watch the videos hiding the Spanish words or the English translation or both. Yabla has a feature where you can slow down the words and/or loop a short sequence. Fluent U does about the same. I chose to use Fluent U, but I wish they had a "slow it down a bit" feature. On the other hand, they seem to have lots of videos, from children's songs to big deal professors lecturing about history.

The flashcards on FluentU are integrated so that if you do all the cards from one video, when you look up a new video, it will tell you how much of it you already know.

I have just started this and will let you know whether it works for me. My main goal with this is to hear and understand Spanish as it is actually spoken.
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:41 pm

SubClaw wrote: Feel free to ask me any doubt, I'm happy to help (same goes for any other forum member).
Muchas gracias.
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:26 am

So here's a song with the telenovela method. Scroll down, hear Shankira sing. Then scroll down to the lyrics in Spanish, then scroll down to the English analysis. Like I say, it ain't easy. But I could watch the video a few more times.

Just to clue you in: she likes the guy, a lot. But he wants to have Saturday free to kinda fuck whoever he wants. So she turns him loose. It is a torture (tortura).


http://howlearnspanish.com/2010/11/lear ... a-tortura/
Last edited by seeahill on Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:56 am

And here's Yabla. This one is easier. Once you pick a video, look below the picture. You will see Spanish and English. You can hide them both. But coolest of all: you can slow down a small segment and loop it.

https://spanish.yabla.com/?a=1483

FuentU, which I use, doesn't have a free demo (that I can find.)
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Re: learning a language

Post by Boris » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:06 am

Kind of on topic. After two years of high school and two years of college Spanish I can understand this whole song!


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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:36 am

Boris wrote:Kind of on topic. After two years of high school and two years of college Spanish I can understand this whole song!

Perfect for what we talking about. Thanks. Mi
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:38 am

seeahill wrote:
Boris wrote:Kind of on topic. After two years of high school and two years of college Spanish I can understand this whole song!

Perfect for what we talking about. Thanks. quote]
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Re: learning a language

Post by Sangoma » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:39 am

Related topic, memory. I have been interested in memory development for a while, and recently came across this course: School of Phenomenal Memory I bought this course and so far like it. Very systematic approach to learning to memorise things. Various memorisation systems - Cicero, Russian Doll etc. They have a free ebook on memory where they explain how memory works, why it is so difficult to memorise numbers etc., etc. Of course, instead of training memory every day I do it as I usually do - macrocycles of fall behind and catch up. Anyway, worth taking a look.
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Re: learning a language

Post by Andy83 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:15 pm

Tim. How about translating something you wrote in English to Spanish? Like a short story or something. Then have a Spanish first language person edit and correct.
I think that would work well to teach the way you speak and write in English.
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:35 pm

Andy82 wrote:Tim. How about translating something you wrote in English to Spanish? Like a short story or something. Then have a Spanish first language person edit and correct.
I think that would work well to teach the way you speak and write in English.
That is a very good idea.
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Re: learning a language

Post by Mickey O'neil » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:36 pm

Hahahaha! I like to speak Spanish to my kids by putting random words together.
Boris wrote:Kind of on topic. After two years of high school and two years of college Spanish I can understand this whole song!


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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:44 pm

I've been researching the most efficient and effective way to learn a language. All the answers from authoritative sources boil down to "it depends." We all learn differently, but if you are interested in this subject, blog posts by Andrew Tracey, Benny Lewis and Gabe Wyner are all invaluable. Wyner is nerdish but brilliant and up on all the latest linguistic science. Tracey, who learned Spanish watching Spanish soap operas, offers a whole treasure trove of free or nearly free internet sites that can help you in your language studies. Benny Lewis encourages you to speak with native speakers right now. You can exchange conversations, for free, with a person who wants to learn English on italki. 20 minutes of your English for 20 minutes of his Pashtun or whatever.

To a man, the bloggers eschew Rosetta Stone. And they don't have much good to say about any other structured learning plans: Rocket, Fluenze, Pimsleur. Personally, I like Pimsleur (I'll describe it for you if you'd like). But I think the 90 half hour lessons I did helped my accent and gave me the ability to get around, ask directions and discuss many subjects (on about a 5th grade level). It's the only one I'd recommend. It is expensive.

All these bloggers use the spaced repetition system (SRS) flash cards that are good for building vocabulary. All think Anki, the cross-platform open source system is the best. But Duolingo and Memrise work.

For me, the major problem is that I can not understand native Spanish speakers when they speak at normal speeds. I hear a word, get the gist of something but am often left behind in despair.

So my current plan is the continue to work my vocabulary on Anki. Do a little Pimsluer each day to keep my accent fresh. (I have a grammar workbook that I will use when I am confident I have a 2000 word vocabulary.)

And to work on my major problem --- listening comprehension --- I'm spending $10 a month on FluentU, a computer based program that plays Spanish language videos. The program has word for word Spanish and English subtitles. You can also "loop" a small section of the video so it plays over and over. What I'm doing is watching the video first with no subtitles. Then with Spanish subtitles. Then English. Then I make sure I know exactly what the sentences or sentences mean and that I can pronounce each work perfectly. Then I repeat the looped sentences over and over along with speakers so that I am forced to speak as rapidly as they do. I will let you know if this works.

To see what that might be like, here is similar program, Yabla. (FluentU doesn't have free samples).

https://spanish.yabla.com/
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Re: learning a language

Post by SubClaw » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:06 am

Instead of watching soap operas, better watch the news: no matter which Spanish variation you choose, news anchors' accents are generally neutral.

Would you rather learn English trying to decipher David Tennant's insufferable accent in 'Broadchurch' or watch BBC news and actually learn something?
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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:20 pm

SubClaw wrote:Instead of watching soap operas, watch the news instead: no matter which Spanish variation you choose, news anchors' accents are generally neutral.

Would you rather learn English trying to decipher David Tennant's insufferable accent in 'Broadchurch' or watch BBC news and actually learn something?
The Pimsluer courses teach a neutral accent, the accent of news anchors.50 hours of it and have had more than one native speaker tell me "you speak like an educated man." (I suck at street Spanish.)

There is also a site that provides a weekly news program in "slow Spanish." It costs money, but I'm not sure I want this. They seem to speak about 3/4 speed, but I want the whole enchilada, so to speak.

At the cabin, I don't have internet or TV, but I do have a short wave radio and I spent some time listened to a "slow Spanish" evangelical station. I just don't have a lot of occasion to Chileans on the street that they need to repent in the blood of the lamb.
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Re: learning a language

Post by Protobuilder » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:37 am

I've seen people learn languages in every conceivable manner but what they all have in common is they all keep it relatively simply and they all do it on a regular, repetitive basis. For beginner's, it's all vocabulary. For intermediates, it generally remains vocabulary. For vocabulary, any 'system' that is decent is going to be based on spaced repetition in one form or another. For a free, easy-to-use system, I don't know that there's anything better than Duolingo as long as they have your language. You could use this for a good six months, then integrate something for speaking like italki or writing correction like Lang-8. If you are really serious, get some intensive program either in the target country or a good language program like they offer at Middlebury.

I've never understood the love for Rosetta Stone though if you are studying Spanish or French, it may work. They scaled the hell out of it and it's essentially irrelevant for anything but romance languages and is costly to boot.
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Re: learning a language

Post by Turdacious » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:30 am

Tim, check out AJ Hawke's Quick and Dirty Guide to Languages (or something like that). It's not the whole picture, but will give you a lot of it.
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Re: learning a language

Post by Tirofijo » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:11 am

I'm fluent in Spanish (BA a long time ago, lived in LatAm for six years) and upper intermediate in French (thanks to excellent training from Uncle Sam.)

I've used and can recommend yabla.com and Mango. I've used but don't recommend Rossetta Stone. I'm kind of on the fence about duolingo.

You can only go so far without conversation practice - which is the short coming of all the online programs.

I recently used italki.com to brush up on Spanish. It's a service that hooks you up with native speaker/professors. You buy credits, book a class and then chat over Skype. Prices were from $4 an hour to chat with, say, a Honduran college student to $15 or more for a lesson from a full time professor from Spain on using the subjunctive. Most teachers will keep track of your mistakes and send you a word document with all your errors.

Highly recommended for a cost effective way to practice your conversation skills.

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Re: learning a language

Post by seeahill » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:55 pm

Turdacious wrote:Tim, check out AJ Hawke's Quick and Dirty Guide to Languages (or something like that). It's not the whole picture, but will give you a lot of it.
A book written by a Green Bay linebacker? Actually I found it under A.G. Hawke. Looks good for someone who needs to learn an obscure language fast. I'm trying to learn the 2nd most spoken language on earth and I have some time. I could have used that book 20 years ago when I was going to off beat places all the time.
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