Learning the Language

Feb 1st, 2007, 10:52 AM
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>ledared = learned
logos999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 11:38 AM
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"You're as welcome as all get out" doesn't translate gracefully into any other language.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Music is just another language.

katya_NY is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 02:49 PM
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One of my efforts to get back into the German language is reading "Wer die Vergangenheit stiehlt", a translation of Tony Hillerman's book, "A Thief of Time". I pick a familiar subject so that I would not easily get lost in the storyline.

It has been surprising to me how different the book feels in another language. In part, that is because I must slow down and actually understand the meaning of individual sentences, something I might skim over in English. And, in part, it is because commonly used expressions in English do not carry over and must be replaced by different expressions in Deutsch as described by others above.

I also get sidetracked easily by roots of words and how these roots grow into several meanings. Stimme, stimmen, bestimmen, bestimmt, Bestimmung, etc. drives me crazy. It is a bit like a giant crossword puzzle with many of the clues missing.

Yet, I can see how others might find this a waste of effort. Luckily, the compass of life has different a "true north" for each of us.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 03:06 PM
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>It is a bit like a giant crossword
That's the point and so fascinating about learning other languages. With the simple word "sieden" I associate a picture of a pot that "siedet". How can anybody cope without a word that describes this picture. Like you want to make a coup of tea and can't shout across the room. "It does already "sieden", get ot off the stove". People obviously cope without using this word, but just how is it possible to write a recipe without using it. And I'm sure there are many words in other languages that are like that. Fascinating indeed!
logos999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 07:50 PM
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Gary, I would guess you are referring to me with the waste of effort remark (though maybe not). I don't recall saying anything like that--I think what you are doing is quite admirable.

However, I do think the public (or even your parent's money if you were taught privately) money and teacher time and student time could have been much better spent on something other than enabling you to eventually read a mystery in German.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Was the taxpayer's money wasted on the teachers who taught me chemistry and physics? I remember f=ma, but that's about it. Trigonometry? I remember soh cah toa, but I can't say I use it. Biology? I can recite kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, but when my kids took biology in high school they didn't even learn that.

There were kids in my classes who went on and used those things; our class valedictorian is now a rocket scientist. But even those of us who did not go on in science benefitted from learning what we did in school.

I am glad my public school provided the opportunity to learn all those things, in addition to the things I do use: writing, literature, language (both the first one and the second one), and especially music. I am glad the opportunity was given to me to study even those subjects I never used.

Why is a second language a less valuable subject to teach than any of those others? Some students will go on and use the language and some will just reap the intangible benefits. But if it isn't taught, and students aren't exposed to it, those for whom it could be a lifelong interest are deprived of that, and all students are deprived of the opportunity to find out just what their interests might be.

And even reading a mystery in German can provide insight into the differences in the cultural assignment of meaning to words, as Gary describes and to which Logos refers. People who think about these things are valuable assets in a world where it is important for people to try to understand each other. That is money well spent.

Nikki is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:08 AM
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Love the question. And your phrase, "learning the language has once again come alive..."

That sums up my relationship with the French language. Studied it a bit in high school, then one year in college with Pierre Capretz, but, aside from having a pretty decent accent through that later exposure, I never really got a firm command of the grammar and my interest/capacity/accent drifted. I still thought of myself as part-Francophile, but that was largely a sentimental affiliation.

Perhaps seven years ago my dormant interest in French was slightly reawakened after an exchange of houses in Carcassonne. Then, a couple of years after that, the Tour de France claimed me totally, and then I began to really try to learn French on my own in earnest. Most of those efforts have been through websites, some grammar books, lots of reading of French texts, occasional glances at Le Monde etc. For two summers running I have spent a week studying French in residential schools in France.

I must admit that there are times when I have wondered why I seem to be so obsessed with learning the language (my family has raised the question on a few occasions as well...) Sometimes, upon return from France, I am dismayed to realize that my opportunity to actually speak French is pretty limited, so that's a bit discouraging. But then, I seem to fall right back into my habits of learning it! I tell myself that there must be some good reason, besides my enjoyment of working at it that awaits me...or that, perhaps in an earlier life, I was French, and I am just trying to integrate past lives with my present one! But, I now have some opportunities to pursue some work professionally in France, and it just seems like one chapter follows the last, leading somewhere.

So, Gary, I hope that you find satisfaction in learning German, if that's your particular path. Good luck!
letour is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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I learn enough to get around, be polite, and ASK WHERE THE WASHROOM IS!
alphaj13 is offline  

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