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Learning Foreign Languages Thread - September


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This thread is for discussing all things related to learning foreign languages. All foreign language lovers are welcome, no matter what language you are studying or daydreaming about studying. I'll throw out a few ideas, but take it any direction. I'll plan to do a monthly thread, unless I end up just talking to myself 🙂 

What language(s) are you learning? What are your goals?

What resources are you using?

And here is a very important question: What are your favorite non-English Netflix shows?

Maybe I'll do a longer intro later. For now, I'll just say that I am actively working on Danish, Dutch and Latin. My Danish is at a fairly high level, and my Dutch is beginner level. I'd say I'm at High School Level 2 in Latin.

I couldn't think of a clever thread title, so let me know if you think of one.

 

 

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I can't speak to attitudes, but Canadian French is sooooo hard to understand!  🤣 There is a nurse shortage in Switzerland, so we have quite a few French and Canadian nurses.  I'm forever asking Canadi

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I am actively working on learning Spanish and ASL.  Both are currently at what I would call an intermediate level.

I'm not sure what my goals are.  I think that I would like to be able to have a good conversation, not just "I like cookies" and "The weather is hot."

Resources for Spanish: duolingo, Spanish church services on zoom 3 times a week, various youtube channels, reading the New Testament, reading children's literature.

Resources for ASL: Bill Vicars' youtube channel (I've done ASL 1 through 4 twice and I'm about to go through it again with dd14, Jim Bracelin's youtube channel -- Bible studies in ASL with voicing.

 

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I keep trying to get back to my very beginner level Spanish. No va bien. 😂

My recent college graduate just started a job that wants her to improve her intermediate level Spanish. While I obviously can't study with her, we will probably watch some shows in Spanish together, which is . . . something. Her French is better but ironically not needed, but she is still trying to keep it up as best she can. 

I have Learning Spanish from The Great Courses, Thousands of Words You Already Know in Spanish, and a few other things. 

We don't have Netflix, but we have plenty of DVDs with Spanish. Maybe we'll start with Firefly this weekend. 

7 minutes ago, Junie said:

I am actively working on learning Spanish and ASL.    

Oh, ASL is a goal for all of us too, because dh is already wearing hearing aids (and sometimes has trouble even then). 

I'm really, really bad at it, though. 

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48 minutes ago, maize said:

I just posted this on the bilingual education board but will post here as well: free grades 1-6 science textbooks in Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.

And English, which could be helpful for language learners.

 https://www.uen.org/oer/

Thank you!

I just spent a little bit of time looking at the textbooks linked here.  I have determined that my Chinese, German, and Russian are exactly where I suspected -- Level Zero.

 

In the following languages I would need a dictionary for some of the scientific terms at all levels, but I could read the basic information to a certain extent.

In Spanish, I was comfortable up to 4th grade.  I could read the 5th and 6th grade books, but I would need a dictionary for even some of the non-scientific vocabulary.

In French, I was pretty comfortable with the 1st grade text; the 2nd grade text was a reach.

In Portuguese (which I have never studied), I could probably read the 1st grade book with the help of a dictionary.

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FYI, this thread is a spin-off of a discussion we were having in the Book of the Week thread. So if you want to discuss books or audiobooks (English or non-English) hop on over there, too.

Those are really nice textbooks, @maize Simplified language for science isn't easy to come by! As a retired homeschooler, I don't think to look at the Bilingual Board, so I am glad you posted it here.  Eventually, I want to learn Portuguese so I will start squirreling away resources now. 

 

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I once was moderately fluent in Spanish, but years of non-use have me pretty rusty. I can get the gist of things I read, but anything other than rudimentary speech is beyond me now. I could probably get the gist of spoken Spanish if the speaker went slowly enough, but that's not terribly practical.

My goal is to be better able to do conversation practice with my kids. In our extremely low diversity rural area, there's not much necessity (or opportunity for practice) otherwise.

I started with Rosetta Stone (which I would never recommend for a high school student but which I thought would work well as a refresher for me) and it was helping me increase my verbal comprehension some. I sailed through Level 1, but Level 2 is when they introduce different tenses and without direct instruction I'm getting lost. So now I'm doing Visual Link, which is what my kids do. I'm hoping that gives me the verb conjugation practice I think I need.

Edited by Momto6inIN
Eta We don't watch TV, so no Netflix here. I do have Destinos I could watch
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working on spanish.  I focus on a visual/action/feeling for each word - not what the english word is.   I've been doing duolingo since January, not quite halfway through level four (there are seven levels for spanish.)  I'm attending a spanish speaking branch at church - so capable of communication is a must.    I can kinda/sorta/sometimes follow and get the gist - but certainly don't catch all words.

I'm also reading scriptures in spanish - doing fairly well, sometimes.  Usually still need to check at least word in most sentences.  what's annoying is sometimes i feel like I'm checking the same word every time because I just can't get the meaning to stick in my head.  

I'd like to watch things in spanish, with spanish subtitles as well as language track.   

there are also several spanish youtube channels I've found to be helpful.

I've had some speaking time with members in the branch - but i'm still at a very basic speaking level.  I did get a couple spanish/ingles books for my grandson.  I didn't read them when I was there in august - as I was afraid of confusing him too much as his dad doesn't speak spanish and it very keen on teaching him words.  (dd is fluent.)  I'll probably do more when I go back in Nov.

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For anyone doing spanish

Spanishdict.com is an excellent resource.  If you need to translate a phrase, it will break it down word by word.  It draws from three translation algorithms. Though there have been times it's drawn a blank (and times it's given a bad translation) - but bing had it.  (I knew it was correct, as I had the english version to compare.)

it will also break down pronunciation phonetically.   sometimes, I only put a word into it because I want the pronunciation.

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11 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

For anyone doing spanish

Spanishdict.com is an excellent resource.  If you need to translate a phrase, it will break it down word by word.  It draws from three translation algorithms. Though there have been times it's drawn a blank (and times it's given a bad translation) - but bing had it.  (I knew it was correct, as I had the english version to compare.)

it will also break down pronunciation phonetically.   sometimes, I only put a word into it because I want the pronunciation.

We use SpanishDict every day.  It's much more helpful and accurate than other online translators. 

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Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

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I’m working on French through Duolingo, but I took two years in high school so I have an old but decent background beyond that resource. I also have Breaking the Barrier from when I tried to convince my daughters that that would be the best language for them to learn with me as their teacher. I haven’t actively been using it, but I intend to at least finish looking through it at some point.

Ideally, I’d like to CLEP French at some point down the road. I did a decent job on some practice questions, but I’m definitely very rusty.  I understand a lot more text than I can hear, write, or speak.

 

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7 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

I have the advantage of a low risk of ever needing to speak French to a native French speaker who doesn’t know English, lol. But really, I just don’t care.  I don’t get mad when other language speakers don’t use perfect English, so why should I put that pressure on myself?
We recently had a contractor in who kept apologizing for his English, which was a heck ton better than my Spanish (which is only from being alive, not from studying it), but we were able to manage just fine. Slower than if both of us were fluent in one or the other, but manageable.  Rudeness has nothing to do with language.  A non-native speaker can’t help that they’re a non-native speaker!

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36 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

I had a terrible time with this when I was younger--in fact, I basically didn't open my mouth for the first year and a half I lived in France.

Parisians are infamously snobbish and rude to foreigners. That's not common in other places--most people are happy to see foreigners attempting to speak their language and certainly do not expect it to be error-free.

My two suggestions: find a native speaker to practice with, maybe through italki or preply or something. You are paying them to talk to a non-native speaker, they aren't going to think badly of you for making mistakes.

And plan a trip to some French speaking place that isn't Paris.

Edited by maize
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48 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

Yeah, that's hard! My kids are better at this than I am. Sigh. I usually tell them that mistakes are a badge of honor; people who say nothing will make no mistakes.

I loved talking with young children when I was learning German because they would laugh at my mistakes and I usually never forgot their corrections.

But that's why I spent time learning Italian instead of French. The Italians (and Hebrew/Israelis, later) were so honored that I was learning their language!

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47 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

 

I second everything @maize said.  I've lived in France for a year, and in Switzerland for 15... and I've never met a snobbish person re: language errors.  I have met a few who immediately switched to English when they assumed (probably correctly) that their English was better than my French, but I've never met anyone who gave me a hard time about it.  

Having said that, I allowed myself to be virtually crippled by fear of error for a long time.  I finally got lonely enough to get over it.  😄  I have also spent enough time in French  forums to see that the average French-speaker- who might speak with a wonderful accent and no obvious oral mistakes- is functionally illiterate.  

 

 

I speak French, but could stand to improve greatly.  I am learning Latin with the kids.  I'd love to learn German in a life of infinite free time!  

 

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I speak pretty good French and Spanish, so my goal there is to maintain and improve. At various times in my life I've tried learning Arabic -- I think Arabic is a gorgeous language -- but I have never gotten past the early stages. One day I'd like to spend more time on it.

I listen to French radio (rfi.fr) and sometimes watch old French TV shows; I'd like to read more also. I speak to my parents in French sometimes. My husband also speaks French and Spanish, so we use both languages when we want to talk about something without the kids understanding. But I don't know if that really counts as practice, since we also know each other well enough to figure out meaning through a thicket of mistakes!

 

 

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Following. I'm amazed at all the multilingual people here!

I'm learning Spanish, with the goal of being able to converse with the local Spanish-speaking population. Before covid, I attended a Spanish church service each week. I've fallen away from my daily duolingo practice. I'm trying to work through the ULAT lessons. I was hugely motivated in the spring but I've lost my mojo.

I'd like to learn ASL. When I was a newlywed, I lived in a town that had a state school of the deaf. Our church had hearing impaired attendees, signed every service, and offered ASL classes. It was great!...but it was 20 years ago and I remember practically nothing. 

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This is such a timely thread for me! Thanks for starting it.

I just started learning/re-learning Spanish. I'm using Duolingo right now, but I'd like to supplement with other things. All suggestions are welcome!

I speak reasonably good French (I live in Canada and have been studying and using it most of my life), so Spanish comes very easy. My family is moving to Colorado next summer and I anticipate having more opportunities to using some Spanish while there.

My dd is taking a Spanish course at university, and my ds is doing Duolingo Spanish along with me. I think it would be useful for us to try to speak amongst ourselves, perhaps with some assistance (e.g., a tutor, a discussion group, watch videos together, etc.). Any suggestions?

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39 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

Yeah, that's hard! My kids are better at this than I am. Sigh. I usually tell them that mistakes are a badge of honor; people who say nothing will make no mistakes.

I loved talking with young children when I was learning German because they would laugh at my mistakes and I usually never forgot their corrections.

But that's why I spent time learning Italian instead of French. The Italians (and Hebrew/Israelis, later) were so honored that I was learning their language!

Mistakes are a win-win; you remember them and hopefully learn quicker, and they provide great amusement to others! I just said to my dh in Spanish, "I like chocolate and I am chocolate!" 

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I've put my intermeirate Spanish into maintenance mode by listening to the Spanish podcasts Radio Ambulante and El Hilo. Sometimes I listen through twice to improve my comprehension. And when they interview someone in Brazil I suddenly get way more comfortable with my Spanish in contrast!

A few years ago I took my Spanish knowledge and spent a solid year on Duolingo learning Italian prior to a trip to Italy. It was super successful and I hope to get back to regular study of Italian (and more travel) at some point.

For the last few years I've been studying German with my youngest dd. We have a fabulous tutor whom I love, and who we now Skype with once a week. We also use Essential German and watch an internet drama for German learner's. Plus, I'm just over 500 days on my German-learning Doulingo streak.

Technically we also study Latin for a few years, but dd and I are counting the days until that is done. It was, however, a nice way to explicitly learn about cases before seeing them in German.

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6 minutes ago, OneThoughtMayHideAnother said:

How are you, guys, learning Chinese? I'm studying Mandarin right now so that I can stay ahead of my kids and teach it to them. It's the first non-Indo-European language I have ever attempted (other than a brief foray into Arabic in college), and it's kicking my butt. I regularly go from "OK, there's been progress, we've got it" to "this is never going to happen". 

We used to have a tutor who came once a week. Then my younger kids attended a mandarin immersion school for a couple of years.

We really didn't do any Chinese last year so I am trying to pick it back up. One of my kids has been doing duolingo but that isn't going to get him far. I'm looking into hiring a tutor online, maybe on preply. 

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15 hours ago, Penguin said:

This thread is for discussing all things related to learning foreign languages. All foreign language lovers are welcome, no matter what language you are studying or daydreaming about studying. I'll throw out a few ideas, but take it any direction. I'll plan to do a monthly thread, unless I end up just talking to myself 🙂 

What language(s) are you learning? What are your goals?

What resources are you using?

And here is a very important question: What are your favorite non-English Netflix shows?

Maybe I'll do a longer intro later. For now, I'll just say that I am actively working on Danish, Dutch and Latin. My Danish is at a fairly high level, and my Dutch is beginner level. I'd say I'm at High School Level 2 in Latin.

I couldn't think of a clever thread title, so let me know if you think of one.

 

 

What resources are you using to learn Danish? I speak Norwegian and have a very good understanding of Danish. I'd be interested in learning about ways to keep up those languages. For now, I watch Danish and Norwegian TV shows on Netflix and try to use the subtitles minimally. 

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19 hours ago, Penguin said:

What language(s) are you learning? What are your goals?

Latin. Goal: Reading the harrrrd stuff, and ... composition! Aim high!

19 hours ago, Penguin said:

What resources are you using?

Artes Latinae. Halfway through Level II.

19 hours ago, Penguin said:

And here is a very important question: What are your favorite non-English Netflix shows?

What's a 'Netflix'? 😉  We watch the Criterion Channel, which has lots of great French film. The Jacques Tati films are everyone's favorite, though since there's almost no speaking at all, they may not count. Criterion has a 'Saturday matinee' category with films appropriate for families, and about half of them are foreign language.

Great thread!

ETA: Middle Girl swears by Foreign Service International for accent acquisition and super-fast language learning if you already know how to study a foreign language. She's been using it to pick up German this summer. Dated, but high quality and free.

Edited by Violet Crown
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5 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

I have also spent enough time in French  forums to see that the average French-speaker- who might speak with a wonderful accent and no obvious oral mistakes- is functionally illiterate.  

Have you seen this study? "Fifty-six native French speakers, asked to assign the gender of 93 masculine words, uniformly agreed on only 17 of them. Asked to assign the gender of 50 feminine words, they uniformly agreed on only 1 of them. Some of the words had been anecdotally identified as tricky cases, but others were plain old common nouns."

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14 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

Have you seen this study? "Fifty-six native French speakers, asked to assign the gender of 93 masculine words, uniformly agreed on only 17 of them. Asked to assign the gender of 50 feminine words, they uniformly agreed on only 1 of them. Some of the words had been anecdotally identified as tricky cases, but others were plain old common nouns."

Wow!!!  That is truly shocking!  Makes me feel much better as noun gender is my number one issue... 😂  I'm constantly yelling at my kids, "What gender is ____?" when I'm typing emails or letters, they seem to have just picked them up.  

What I see in forums is no ability to conjugate or make agreement, and constant homophone mistakes.  I'm probably blind to seeing gender errors!  

ETA- After reading through the link, I don't think the results are quite as bad as they sound.  What they are basically saying is that in a group of 60, at least one person got the gender wrong on a noun most of the time.  Looking at the small list of nouns, these are high school and college level vocabulary for the most part.  I can see this happening, as the only way to know gender outside of the handful of nouns that follow some semblance of a pattern, is through exposure.  

Edited by Monica_in_Switzerland
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2 minutes ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Wow!!!  That is truly shocking!  Makes me feel much better as noun gender is my number one issue... 😂  I'm constantly yelling at my kids, "What gender is ____?" when I'm typing emails or letters, they seem to have just picked them up.  

What I see in forums is no ability to conjugate or make agreement, and constant homophone mistakes.  I'm probably blind to seeing gender errors!  

I know! The researcher wasn't even trying to study native speakers' command of French genders, but was establishing a control group for French language learners. The native speakers were supposed to have 100% accuracy, with only the time to correctly complete the test needing measurement.

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2 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

I know! The researcher wasn't even trying to study native speakers' command of French genders, but was establishing a control group for French language learners. The native speakers were supposed to have 100% accuracy, with only the time to correctly complete the test needing measurement.

 

I edited and added some info to my post above.  I^m surprised by the results, but now that I've read through the link, I don't think it's quite as bad as it sounds.  

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6 hours ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to let things roll off our backs like water off a duck. She was very rude. Practice saying in French: "I am so sorry to have offended you. I will ask someone who is willing to work with me / grant me some grace." Or a variation thereof.

I remember spending summers in Italy as a kid and people love to teach kids stuff - some people get a kick out of teaching words not necessary to conduct polite conversation...but nevertheless it seems nobody cared when I made a mistake or maybe that's because the Italians are more laid back about these things. With the woman who was rude to you, I would think to myself "at least I may know more French than she does English." I was in Paris as a young adult and used my hands and a smile a lot which seemed to grant me forgiveness. 

I always think people should appreciate a foreigner making the effort to communicate in the local language rather than taking the stance that everyone should speak their language, especially if their language is English. Despite the lingua franca designation, not everyone is fluent or comfortable with it either. 

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6 hours ago, Quill said:

Here’s my question for anyone learning French: how do you accept mistakes? I know that, to learn a language well, you must risk mistakes. You simply have to be okay with the fact that you will say “poison” when you’re trying to say “fish,” will mix tenses, and will forget whether a pencil is a feminine or masculine article. But I also know that the French, as a whole, are proud of their beautiful language and often don’t want to hear me bumble through with my bad accent and wheelbarrow-load of errors. I remember speaking to a lady at the train station in French, and she snapped, “I don’t speak English!” Ugh! It wounds me! I just really hate to butcher the language to a French person.

Additionally, if my daughter is with me, I defer to her far-superior skills. I let her order the pizza, let her request the cheeses, let her ask questions at the market - though I could. Just not as well as she does. 

I really think my perfectionism and my need to be seen as very competent gets in the way of language learning. When I was in France, I constantly had two warring sides in my brain. One side said, “Here’s your chance! You have loved French since middle school and now you can actually speak to French people!” vs. “I forget how to say ‘a piece of’ and I don’t want to just say ‘I desire pie’”. 

Signed, Doomed Perfectionist. 

See, I had the opposite problem in Costa Rica. I bumbled through and barely used the present tense correctly they all gushed about how good my Spanish was, even though I knew it wasn't and I really wanted them to correct me. I'm sure they thought they had to compliment me in order to get a good tip, but I really wasn't looking for false praise. 

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17 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

So now I'm doing Visual Link, which is what my kids do. I'm hoping that gives me the verb conjugation practice I think I need.

I'm struggling to find info on Visual Link Spanish. Their website seems to indicate that it is only for Windows computers? We have a Mac... 

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14 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

See, I had the opposite problem in Costa Rica. I bumbled through and barely used the present tense correctly they all gushed about how good my Spanish was, even though I knew it wasn't and I really wanted them to correct me. I'm sure they thought they had to compliment me in order to get a good tip, but I really wasn't looking for false praise. 

It could be that you had a good accent, despite having grammar and vocabulary errors, and that made it easy to understand you.  I've met a number of native speakers who looked at accent as the measure of speaking both good Spanish and good English.  After all, if it's impossible to understand someone because their pronunciation is so off, then they aren't communicating well, no matter how "correctly" they form their sentences.

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12 hours ago, klmama said:

We use SpanishDict every day.  It's much more helpful and accurate than other online translators. 

Generally - but NOT always.   I know that for a fact because I have an accepted English translation in front of me while reading through the accepted Spanish translation.  (these were translations done decades ago, by humans who had mastery of both English and Spanish) - and there have been times the English translation from spanishdict has been completely different than the accepted translation.  (Bing actually had the accepted translation.) And at least once (recently) when all three of the algorithms it uses didn't know what a word was. (but Bing did.) - so, I use both of them.

As I have been going through the scriptures - I started keeping a record of Spanish words that are very reminiscent of older English words that have either fallen into disuse, or "evolved" in meaning.  English does have a lot of basis in Latin, whether it is direct from the Latin, or came through French (and even some German/German-Latin.).  Spanish is based on Latin more directly. ==

E.g. just a few --

Alimentar = alimentary

castigarlos = castigate

convocar = convocation

 Munifiencia = munificence

 

My challenge, and also a boon, is having an extensive English vocabulary that allows nuance. So, speaking Spanish with a very small child's vocabulary is frustrating.

 

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8 hours ago, maize said:

I had a terrible time with this when I was younger--in fact, I basically didn't open my mouth for the first year and a half I lived in France.

Parisians are infamously snobbish and rude to foreigners. That's not common in other places--most people are happy to see foreigners attempting to speak their language and certainly do not expect it to be error-free.

My two suggestions: find a native speaker to practice with, maybe through italki or preply or something. You are paying them to talk to a non-native speaker, they aren't going to think badly of you for making mistakes.

And plan a trip to some French speaking place that isn't Paris.

Another good place to find someone to talk to is ESL classes - with a native french speaker that wants english practice.   You can trade off.

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My son is reading Paulo Coehlo ‘s The Alchemist in English translation.  I am considering trying it in Portuguese.  But it is likely to be too hard for me to have it be enjoyable / comprehensible at this point.   I might be better off with an older child level book translated into a target language. 

 

Thoughts on how to choose / decide level? 

 

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8 hours ago, maize said:

I had a terrible time with this when I was younger--in fact, I basically didn't open my mouth for the first year and a half I lived in France.

Parisians are infamously snobbish and rude to foreigners. That's not common in other places--most people are happy to see foreigners attempting to speak their language and certainly do not expect it to be error-free.

My two suggestions: find a native speaker to practice with, maybe through italki or preply or something. You are paying them to talk to a non-native speaker, they aren't going to think badly of you for making mistakes.

And plan a trip to some French speaking place that isn't Paris.

The only time I ever needed to use my very low level French was when I was working in Southern France for a month. Not one person was rude about it. I didn’t encounter a ton of English speakers, so most people were patient and kind while I communicated with them. 

8 hours ago, Little Green Leaves said:

I speak pretty good French and Spanish, so my goal there is to maintain and improve. At various times in my life I've tried learning Arabic -- I think Arabic is a gorgeous language -- but I have never gotten past the early stages. One day I'd like to spend more time on it.

I listen to French radio (rfi.fr) and sometimes watch old French TV shows; I'd like to read more also. I speak to my parents in French sometimes. My husband also speaks French and Spanish, so we use both languages when we want to talk about something without the kids understanding. But I don't know if that really counts as practice, since we also know each other well enough to figure out meaning through a thicket of mistakes!

 

 

It’s the language of poetry!  I would love for someone to come up with an Arabic course centered around music; specifically Oum Kalthoum songs. She’s SO clear. 

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8 hours ago, maize said:

I had a terrible time with this when I was younger--in fact, I basically didn't open my mouth for the first year and a half I lived in France.

Parisians are infamously snobbish and rude to foreigners. That's not common in other places--most people are happy to see foreigners attempting to speak their language and certainly do not expect it to be error-free.

My two suggestions: find a native speaker to practice with, maybe through italki or preply or something. You are paying them to talk to a non-native speaker, they aren't going to think badly of you for making mistakes.

And plan a trip to some French speaking place that isn't Paris.

 

I appreciate this post.  I think I may have some French language PTSD . This could help. 

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9 hours ago, maize said:

I had a terrible time with this when I was younger--in fact, I basically didn't open my mouth for the first year and a half I lived in France.

Parisians are infamously snobbish and rude to foreigners. That's not common in other places--most people are happy to see foreigners attempting to speak their language and certainly do not expect it to be error-free.

My two suggestions: find a native speaker to practice with, maybe through italki or preply or something. You are paying them to talk to a non-native speaker, they aren't going to think badly of you for making mistakes.

And plan a trip to some French speaking place that isn't Paris.

Does that French speaking part of Canada have the stereotypical Canadian politeness?  That seems like it could be a safe option

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Wow, I am super happy to read through this conversation!

@Quill It took me a long time to feel this way, but now I cherish my mistakes. Especially if I became terribly embarrassed. Because I typically then never make that particular mistake again. I was shamed by a train conductor in Denmark when I used the wrong gender for a lid. I was asking for a lid for my coffee, and she gave me a smack down. It was forever seared in my memory that a lid is et låg not en låg. Not deferring to your daughter is a tough one. I would have the same problem. 

@Pen A common suggestion is that you use a book you already know, or one that you can also have available in English.  Are you going to return to Portuguese? Or take up a different language? I don't know how easy it is to get Portuguese books in the USA. That's another issue! Some older children's books that are available in MANY languages are the Harry Potter Books, Astrid Lindgren (Pippi or Ronja seem relatively easy to find), The Hobbit, and The Little Prince. Maybe the Little House Books.  Winnie the Pooh. These are off the top of my head.

@Violet Crown I should have said streaming rather than Netflix. That was just sloppy posting on my part. And there you go tempting me with the Criterion Channel again! Truth be told, I don't watch a lot of Netflix myself. I am, however, an avid YouTube watcher. 

@wintermom To me, Norwegian looks like Danish with typos, lol. I imagine the reverse is true for you! I just bought myself an old,  beat-up copy of a Norwegian textbook (Norsk, nordmenn og Norge 1: Textbook for Beginning Norwegian) so I could puzzle through the differences. I don't see any reason why I can't learn to read Norwegian with relative ease. I like this book because it is all in Norwegian and it is visually very old-school. But I don't really know what to recommend to you for Danish. I learned Danish while living in Denmark, and while I own a ton of stuff much of it is only sold from Denmark. You are not a beginner. What do you feel like you are lacking? Listening practice? Reading materials? Maybe I can point you to something useful. 

@Dobby's Sock What brings you to Danish? And thank you for the show recommendations. I have seen Dark, but not the others. 

 

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I am teaching ds2 German.  We have just been using a workbook from Hueber, but I forgot I was also going to use Nico's Weg and started using it this week and he likes it.   He really did not want to learn it, but my older 2 didn't either and so I didn't make them and now they wish I had, so this kid is learning German!   At this level it's easy for me, but I hope to get better at articles/gender teaching him as this is always tricky.  There are all the new electronic words that I need to learn along with him too.   While I was looking for things to use this year I ran across some news sites at intermediate level and I can read those well.  Then I decided I didn't need to read the news in any language. lol  I'd like to find some short stories in this format for me to read.  

To practice I read some of my German friends FB posts and links they post.  Other times I have used duolingo as a refresher for fun.  I haven't watched any Netflix, so I'm going to look into that.

 

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4 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Does that French speaking part of Canada have the stereotypical Canadian politeness?  That seems like it could be a safe option

There are 2 main francophone provinces in Canada; Quebec and New Brunswick. They are beside each other in the eastern part of Canada. There are some major differences between quebecois French and French from France, though, which make going to Canada to practice French a little problematic. There are differences in vocabulary and clarity in speaking. I have a MUCH easier time speaking and understanding French in France compared to Quebec.

As long as you're aware of the differences and potential difficulties, it's a great place to get immersed in a French-speaking region without going to Europe.

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I’m a bit over half way through duo in Italian.  I can make sense of a reasonable amount of written material in everyday language.  News articles, light novels.  Older classics etc I can get some of but not accurately.  Speaking and understanding spoken is a whole different story.  I cannot for the life of me make the gl sounds so duo will accept it.  I’ve tried to listen to podcasts and audio but mostly I only catch and interpret a word or two per sentence.  I tried slowing the podcasts down to half speed but it didn’t help much and it made the podcasters sound drunk.  I think I need a tv series but with Italian written subtitles for a bit.  I also use a handful of other apps including drops, babble and others.  I’ve been told that duo is better for grammar and translation but not as good for learning to actually speak the way italian recently so I’m trying to spread it out.  My long goal is to be able to read and enjoy books in two languages but I’d like to be able to speak it a bit too.  One thing I like is that the spelling is so easy.  We also had an old couple of neighbours who were Italian.  They passed away a couple of years ago but I really love when I come across an odd idiom or bit of grammar and it’s something they used to say but in English.

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I also recently started Hebrew with Duolingo.  I learned as a kid for a while and thing we got present and past tense but had just started future tense when we stopped.  When I first started I couldn’t remember anything and the font seemed different but it’s coming back now.  
 

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Does that French speaking part of Canada have the stereotypical Canadian politeness?  That seems like it could be a safe option

 

50 minutes ago, wintermom said:

There are 2 main francophone provinces in Canada; Quebec and New Brunswick. They are beside each other in the eastern part of Canada. There are some major differences between quebecois French and French from France, though, which make going to Canada to practice French a little problematic. There are differences in vocabulary and clarity in speaking. I have a MUCH easier time speaking and understanding French in France compared to Quebec.

As long as you're aware of the differences and potential difficulties, it's a great place to get immersed in a French-speaking region without going to Europe.

I did some Duo French a couple years ago, didn't get too far.  (enough to realize some of the British spellings that made no sense to me - were actually French constructs.  e.g. "re" when it makes a "er" sound.)  My daughters also had 6 & 7 years of French in school.   

So, I kinda sorta still pay some curiosity to French. I happened across this  youtube vid of the differences between quebequios and metropolitan French.  Part of it was that Quebec was settled prior to the French Revolution.

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