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Advice To An Aspiring Teenage Polyglot?

  Tags: Polyglot
 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
38 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 3 4
catullus_roar
Quadrilingual Octoglot
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Australia
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Speaks: Malay, Hokkien*, English*, Mandarin*, Cantonese*, French, German, Spanish
Studies: Italian, Latin, Armenian, Afrikaans, Russian

 
 Message 33 of 38
19 June 2012 at 4:30am | IP Logged 
Serpent: True, maybe it's just that some (like me) are more hyperactive: After some French, we suddenly feel like reading a Spanish book or writing in German etc. Usually, how much time do you spend on one lesson, if you're using learning materials that are broken up into chapters or lessons? I understand that this depends with the difficulty of the lesson, as well as the intensity of study, but I would like to know if I'm going too fast, which is why I'm having trouble remembering things.

As for shadowing, I can never get the words to come out at the same time as I'm hearing them, because it takes some time for the words to get in through the ears and out through my mouth. Hence, I'm always a few seconds behind the recording, no matter how many times I do it (because it'll take the initial sound to prompt me to remember the phrase). Is this normal?

Thanks for the links, I'll definitely check out this VK.

tarvos: Would you say that it's possible to speak a second language (eg. English) as well as your native language or mother tongue, since you've been studying English for so long? I don't know whether the separation of 'mother tongue' from 'native language' is so distinct in Europe, but here it's very different, probably because the native languages of people in Asia are either Mandarin or English, and the mother tongues are Mandarin-related dialects or regional languages like Malay and Urdu.

Apparently I have this strange habit of talking to myself in TLs, haha. Maybe that's sort of like your thought thing, but out loud. Speaking of accents, do you strive for your native accent (eg. Dutch) when speaking French, or do you go for the Parisian accent?
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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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China
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
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 Message 34 of 38
19 June 2012 at 10:21am | IP Logged 
It's certainly possible for me. I have been using it since I was a child, so anyone who
hears me speak English will think "he's a native speaker" (I have practically zero
accent. That sounds like boasting, but my accent in English is really so faint
intonation-wise and prosody-wise that I've fooled people before. Even linguists). I
would also say that I dislike the notion of "studying" English because I really do not
think, apart from a basic sense of the grammar, studying English has brought me
anything. My English development was much more to do with exposure - I have been
exposed and required to use it from such an early age onwards that for me a thought
process in English is really no different from a thought process in Dutch. You have to
keep in mind that I have watched, spent, and seen an ungodly amount of English, even as
a child - I have spent hours and hours on video games in English, even when I was age 6
or 7. Thus I have always been very used to seeing and speaking it (been on holiday
during that time in the States and Canada several times) that for my part, I don't
experience a difference in expressing myself concerning any subject (and probably in
terms of technical jargon, my English is more advanced than my Dutch precisely because
I have the experience of knowing all these terms in English before I encountered their
Dutch counterparts - I knew how to do multiplication and division in English at the
same time as I learned their Dutch names, for example).

For all practical purposes, I do not consider English my native language because I was
not born in an anglophone country nor is any of my family English (so I would say I am
only a Dutch native speaker and that Dutch is my mother tongue). I do, however,
consider English a language I speak to the same level and degree of fluency. But again,
I attribute the whole thing to exposure not study. I've just used it for so long and so
often that I'm simply not phased by anything when it comes to that language.


Mother tongue in Europe is a different concept because, UK and Ireland excepted,
practically every country has a different mother tongue (in some countries it can even
vary between regions, such as in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland etc.) Because Europe
has also experienced mass immigration, and because movement within the EU is free,
intermarrying is also relatively common, meaning that household with a double lingo are
not unheard of. However, most people here that aren't the result of a mixed marriage
(or marrying someone from an immigrant group like the Turkish or Moroccans, or a
colonial people like, for the Dutch, Indonesians, Surinamese, Antillians), consider
their mother tongue and native language to be the same: Dutch (and I'm sure a German or
a Frenchman would say the same thing). The language(s) of a country are the dominant
ones. English is studied by many but in Germany, France, Italy, etc not everyone is
fluent by any means.

I always strive for an accent close to that of the natives of a country, but my accent
in French is probably still riddled with Dutch (I've never had it formally assessed
though). I will say that the standard of French I adhere to is NOT Parisian, for the
simple reason that my French exposure has for a large part not come from France, but
from Belgium instead. So I would describe the accent that I want to go for as more
"Bruxellois" as opposed to Parisian. This is also because Belgian French is more
melodic and I hate monotone speech (a reason I can sometimes get irritated by Dutch
people speaking English with Dutch prosody, as it is painful to listen to without the
proper melodical nuance that English generally requires).

In Russian and German I simply aim for the standard accent, although my German is still
Dutchified (and so is my Russian). I do use a couple Western German phrases like "ne"
for "nein". I also have a hatred of soixante-dix and quatre-vingts-dix so I use
septante and nonante instead (I do say quatre-vingts).
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catullus_roar
Quadrilingual Octoglot
Groupie
Australia
Joined 3000 days ago

89 posts - 184 votes 
Speaks: Malay, Hokkien*, English*, Mandarin*, Cantonese*, French, German, Spanish
Studies: Italian, Latin, Armenian, Afrikaans, Russian

 
 Message 35 of 38
23 June 2012 at 3:16pm | IP Logged 
tarvos: Have you ever felt an interest for languages which are about to go extinct? I mean, language extinction is like the climate change of the linguistic world. Have you ever felt this obligation to learn at least one of these dying languages, if just to keep them alive a few more years?

I do think septante and nonante are more natural sounding, haha. Before I learned the numbers properly, I came up with 70 being septante and 80 being huitante. I guess it's just cinq --> cinquante, which is a reasonably predictable pattern. I guess it's the irregularities that make a language special though!

As for accents, I think it's interesting to note that a Spanish accent (for me) is very difficult to obtain, while a German accent came much more easily, as did a French one. Maybe it's the proximity to English?

And just an update, I've found a way to dramatically improve my Cyrillic alphabet. I changed all my interfaces into Russian, and even though I don't quite understand the words, I find this urge to read them out every time I see the words. (Eg. every time I get a Facebook notif, the message is now in Russian and I find myself deciphering it for kicks). So yes, finally it has worked!

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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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China
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 36 of 38
24 June 2012 at 2:14pm | IP Logged 
No obligation at all, I do like Breton.
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tommus
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Studies: Dutch, French, Esperanto, German, Spanish

 
 Message 37 of 38
24 June 2012 at 5:14pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
I also have a hatred of soixante-dix and quatre-vingts-dix so I use
septante and nonante instead (I do say quatre-vingts).

I share your annoyance about quatre-vingt-dix, etc. Even after a lifetime of trying to learn French, this construction is still awkward for me. Almost as awkward is the Dutch construction of 2-digit numbers, reversing their order with respect to that in English and some other languages. After many years of studying Dutch, I still have a momentary hesitation each time I encounter or use 2-digit numbers. It seems particularly awkward when you are reading a long number such as 18,245,527 (18.245.527), when things read from left to right except the two digit reversals.

Had you learned your French in Paris (as you learned your English by "using" it), quatre-vingt-dix would be as natural as eenentwintig, and septante would be awkward.

But we all have to accept these things in French and Dutch, accented letters and difference scripts in other languages, English irregular pronunciation, etc. etc. as part of the mystique of "foreign" languages and part of the intrigue of learning them.

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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 3139 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 38 of 38
25 June 2012 at 12:42am | IP Logged 
Yeah, I know, learning a language is all about learning to accept different logic. But if
you can take a little shortcut, why not?


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