Your relationship to languages -- first and second
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15-11-2011, 09:29 PM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
Interesting post, Thammuz!

(15-11-2011 06:13 AM)Thammuz Wrote:  - The use of spaces. Contrary to English, Dutch terms aren't split by a space in most cases. For example, 'langeafstandsloper' is written as a single word. It's a common mistakes that really irritates me. The incorrect use of spaces is enough for me to classify someone as a complete retard (if he's a native speaker). In some cases it's outright confusing, in others it's just ridiculous.

If you write 'langeafstandsloper', you're talking about a 'long distance runner'.
If you write 'lange afstandsloper', you're talking about a 'distance runner that is tall'. (Could be correct in a few cases)
If you write 'lange afstands loper', you most probably have an extra chromosome 21. . . .

Another one to make it clear:
'tweejarige paarden': horses that are 2 years old
'twee jarige paarden': 2 horses celebrating their birthday

As you noted, English doesn't typically have long compounds without spaces. So in writing we don't have that option to resolve ambiguities.

One of my favorite examples is: An Old English Teacher

There are at least three different meanings:

1. a teacher of English who is old
2. a teacher who is old and who comes from England
3. a teacher of Old English

(Differences in stress and intonation can distinguish some of these in speech, however.)


Quote:- Every teacher's nightmare: the 'dt-fout': a few examples:
Ik vind (I find)
Jij vindt (you find)
Vind je dat een goed idee? (Do you think that's a good idea?)
Vindt je vader dat een goed idee? (Does you father think that's a good idea?)

Verbs can have a 'd', 't' or 'dt' in their conjugation. It's not really that hard, but for some it is...

I'm curious: Are vind and vindt pronounced identically? That is, is a d at the end of a word pronounced like a t in Dutch as it is in German? I assume the answer is yes, otherwise native speakers wouldn't be likely to confuse the two forms.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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16-11-2011, 12:58 AM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
(15-11-2011 09:29 PM)cufflink Wrote:  
Quote:- Every teacher's nightmare: the 'dt-fout': a few examples:
Ik vind (I find)
Jij vindt (you find)
Vind je dat een goed idee? (Do you think that's a good idea?)
Vindt je vader dat een goed idee? (Does you father think that's a good idea?)

Verbs can have a 'd', 't' or 'dt' in their conjugation. It's not really that hard, but for some it is...

I'm curious: Are vind and vindt pronounced identically? That is, is a d at the end of a word pronounced like a t in Dutch as it is in German? I assume the answer is yes, otherwise native speakers wouldn't be likely to confuse the two forms.

It's the same, no difference whatsoever.

"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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16-11-2011, 07:19 AM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
I usually introduce myself as being Transylvanian.

So, this calls for a list.

First language: Romanian. It's fun, with a crapload of metaphors, synonyms, awful words and creative swearwords. I'm fluent in all the accents, but I always make fun of the Hungarian one (no offense Zat, but it's really funny).

Second language: English. I first met English at the age of two, and I've been loving it (frequently) ever since. Unfortunately for me, I have an annoying American accent coupled with an Irish one, but I can imitate the standard British accent pretty well.

Third language: French. I can understand it, but I can barely speak it. I should've taken German in middle school. Much more fun.

Fourth language: Latin. The teacher takes her language really seriously. Some of her older students had to repeat a whole year because she wouldn't let them pass. Awful times those...



I'm currently struggling to learn Finnish by myself, but I just can't arse myself to do it properly. Same story with Turkish, Serbian, Farsi, Arabian and almost all languages I've encountered so far.

I like radishes.
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16-11-2011, 07:12 PM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
Damn, I feel pathetic. Looks like being multilingual is almost a given if you're European. Reminds me of a joke a Mexican grad student played on me one time.

Michael: What do you call a person that speaks 2 languages?
Me: Bilingual?
Michael: Yes, and what do you call a person that speaks more than 2 languages?
Me: Multilingual?
Michael: Yes, and what do you call a person who speaks only 1 language?
Me: Monolingual?
Michael: No, American.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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17-11-2011, 01:47 AM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
Well there are couple of reason for that fact GirlyMan. First of all, Americans speak English so you already have one world language by default. Second, in Europe most schools have at least one foreign language as a mandatory class. For me and most Croatians today it is English, I have started learning it in 4th grade of elementary school, today kids start to learn it in the first grade. It is mandatory, you can not choose it, it chooses you.

As for the Americans, you should definitely learn Spanish as mandatory, if you didn't know, more people speak Spanish in the world than English, plus Spanish is already like a second language in USA, so without thinking you should all learn it.

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17-11-2011, 10:01 PM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
(16-11-2011 07:12 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Damn, I feel pathetic. Looks like being multilingual is almost a given if you're European. Reminds me of a joke a Mexican grad student played on me one time.

Michael: What do you call a person that speaks 2 languages?
Me: Bilingual?
Michael: Yes, and what do you call a person that speaks more than 2 languages?
Me: Multilingual?
Michael: Yes, and what do you call a person who speaks only 1 language?
Me: Monolingual?
Michael: No, American.

This would be a good place for the (possibly true) story about the school principal in a small Bible Belt town in the U.S., who, when asked why his school didn't teach any foreign languages, replied, "Around here, we think that if English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us."

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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18-11-2011, 02:03 AM
RE: Your relationship to languages -- first and second
I love learning languages an am kind of an interesting case on priorities.

I grew up and still live in the midwest of the US, but I grew up with some influences from japan in forms of writing and spoken word, not in forms of being taught. I always gravitated towards Japanese, but it took quite a while before I actually pursued it. Then I had the opportunity in high school to learn Japanese, and after about a month I almost forgot English. While I was taught English I managed to primarily pick up Japanese patterns of speech, and after actually learning some Japanese this worsened. I'm still not really that skilled as I don't know enough of the words, but I speak as if it's my first language, and I mispronounce English often in Japanese ways.

I really don't put as much effort into language learning as I wish I would, but I always try to push myself a little more along the path to being more fluent. Except that with Japanese I always have to worry about losing English again =p. When I started learning Japanese after the first week my dreams were all in Japanese, but when I tried to force myself to relearn English that changed. For the most part I currently only 1/3rd of the time think in Japanese even though at this point I haven't used it in years.

I love looking at different languages it's amazing how much of a difference it can make in how someone sees the world.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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