You know you're a language nerd when...

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Lur » 2013-02-13, 20:39

johntm wrote:What if there was a language where the only conjugated verb was a "to do/make" verb? And to say something like "I am running" you say "I make run"? So you just need to know the conjugation of that one verb and a bunch of infinitives. Might be an interesting feature of a conlang.

You can do something similar to this in Basque but it's more complicated.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johntm » 2013-02-13, 21:32

kevin wrote:You mean like it works with "to be" in your exmaple sentence "I am running" and all other progressive forms? Do away with all the other forms and use the progressive forms even for non-progressive things, and English is your language. ;)

Sorry, I mean it'd work for any present tense thing (and the make/do verb could be conjugated for tense too). Like "I do run, I am running, I run" would all be expressed by a phrase meaning "I run". Sorry for not explaining that at first, the first thought came to me in French (I woke up and the words "je fais prendre", "I make/do to take" literally, came to mind for no reason at all) and I wondered if a language does this or if anyone thought of making a conlang do this. But you could change it to "I will make run/je ferai courir" for "I will run", etc.
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johnklepac » 2013-02-13, 22:25

kevin wrote:You mean like it works with "to be" in your exmaple sentence "I am running" and all other progressive forms? Do away with all the other forms and use the progressive forms even for non-progressive things, and English is your language. ;)

This is a different use of the word "am." I am not equal to the action of running; running is what I am doing.

Oh, and Lojban and Toki Pona, the only two conlangs I've ever made serious attempts to learn, make use of something like this. The words "cu" and "li" separate the subject from the predicate, and words in those conlangs that can fall in the predicate can generally work - to varying extents - as either nouns, verbs, or adjectives.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby OldBoring » 2013-02-14, 4:17

johntm wrote:And to say something like "I am running" you say "I make run"? So you just need to know the conjugation of that one verb and a bunch of infinitives.[/spoiler]

For the same reason, in Spanish and in Portuguese I use the perfect tense a lot, even when I should use the past simple. The past simple conjugations are very difficult to remember, there are a lot of irregular verbs. The perfect tense is much simpler, you just need to conjugate the verb "to have" and then add the past participle, which most of the times it's regular: either -ado or -ido.

While in Spanish this may work (especially in informal Castillan Spanish), in Portuguese it is incorrect. Because the perfect tense is strictly for actions begun in the past and continuing in the present, similar to the present perfect continuous in English.
But at least I hope to be understood, instead of being stuck because I don't know the conjugation of the past tense.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johntm » 2013-02-14, 4:24

Youngfun wrote:For the same reason, in Spanish and in Portuguese I use the perfect tense a lot, even when I should use the past simple. The past simple conjugations are very difficult to remember, there are a lot of irregular verbs. The perfect tense is much simpler, you just need to conjugate the verb "to have" and then add the past participle, which most of the times it's regular: either -ado or -ido.

While in Spanish this may work (especially in informal Castillan Spanish), in Portuguese it is incorrect. Because the perfect tense is strictly for actions begun in the past and continuing in the present, similar to the present perfect continuous in English.
But at least I hope to be understood, instead of being stuck because I don't know the conjugation of the past tense.

That's one thing I love about French. In speech and informal writing, all you'll ever really use is the perfect tense (which can be interpreted as either past tense). That said, I haven't really used the simple past much, but it's not too hard, just that whole not using it ever (for me) doesn't help. But noticing it when reading and understanding it is easy as hell. And I think I remember all the verbs that use "être" instead of "avoir" as the auxiliary verb.
Looking at Spanish again and I'm finding all the tenses annoying. I mean, future is easy enough (both the future tense and using "ir" to express the future), but all the other ones...not that I'm really practicing it much. I'll get on that at some point. I think some FSI/DLI style drilling might be just what I need.
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby OldBoring » 2013-02-14, 4:44

I'm sorry johntm, what's FSI/DLI style drilling?

In French, I can't conjugate the past simple at all! :mrgreen: I completely forgot it even though in junior high school I learned it.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johntm » 2013-02-14, 4:53

Youngfun wrote:I'm sorry johntm, what's FSI/DLI style drilling?

FSI=Foreign Service Institute
DLI=Defense Language Institute
Both are really similar learning materials that are in the public domain and put out by the US gov't (although the ones in the public domain are from the 1960s and 70s). They're really drill heavy (look up the audio-lingual method) but very good methods of learning languages. I've only used them a little but you could watch reviews of them on Prof Arguelles' youtube channel if you want. I'd link the site with all the free courses but I get a 403 error when I try to access it. But since they're public domain you can torrent them or download them elsewhere on the internet and it's not illegal.

In short, what I was getting at is that I need to do a bunch of drill exercises to really nail them down in my memory.
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Michael » 2013-02-14, 6:16

johntm wrote:Looking at Spanish again and I'm finding all the tenses annoying. I mean, future is easy enough (both the future tense and using "ir" to express the future), but all the other ones...not that I'm really practicing it much. I'll get on that at some point. I think some FSI/DLI style drilling might be just what I need.

Oh, c'mon! There aren't even 20 common Spanish verbs with irregular preterits, and since the preterit is used so heavily in Spanish, you should get these irregular conjugations memorized in no time. That is, if that's what's bothering you.

Speaking of Spanish, my Spanish has been getting a real workout ever since Saturday...
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„Çdo njeri është peng i veprave të veta.‟
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Car » 2013-02-14, 13:10

johntm wrote:DLI=Defense Language Institute


Do you mean the Headstart ones or are there others as well?
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Trebble » 2013-02-14, 13:35

Your vocabulary and understanding of grammar of a foreign language is greater than your native one ...
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Marah » 2013-02-14, 16:36

In French, I can't conjugate the past simple at all! I completely forgot it even though in junior high school I learned it.

Natives barely know how to conjugate this tense so... :mrgreen:
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johntm » 2013-02-14, 18:09

HoItalosPhilellen wrote:
johntm wrote:Looking at Spanish again and I'm finding all the tenses annoying. I mean, future is easy enough (both the future tense and using "ir" to express the future), but all the other ones...not that I'm really practicing it much. I'll get on that at some point. I think some FSI/DLI style drilling might be just what I need.

Oh, c'mon! There aren't even 20 common Spanish verbs with irregular preterits, and since the preterit is used so heavily in Spanish, you should get these irregular conjugations memorized in no time. That is, if that's what's bothering you.

French kinda spoiled me I guess, but I haven't given Spanish a real look lately either. I've been doing some tense shit in Anki but have given it no real effort, which is of course the main problem. When I get some time I'll spend a bit more time on each one, now I'm just kind of reviewing/learning all of the usual Spanish tenses at once.
It's not really the irregular conjugations that prove a huge problem. I never really had much trouble with irregular stuff like that in French (like I said, haven't given Spanish a real look lately but the few irregular stems I know aren't hard), it's just there's a massive orgy of endings and compound tenses in my brain and I have a hard time differentiating some of them.


Car wrote:
johntm wrote:DLI=Defense Language Institute


Do you mean the Headstart ones or are there others as well?

I was talking about the other, more comprehensive ones. I dunno much about the Headstart ones.

Marah wrote:
In French, I can't conjugate the past simple at all! I completely forgot it even though in junior high school I learned it.

Natives barely know how to conjugate this tense so... :mrgreen:

Okay, maybe I feel a little better...
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby JackFrost » 2013-02-14, 18:34

johntm wrote:
Marah wrote:
In French, I can't conjugate the past simple at all! I completely forgot it even though in junior high school I learned it.

Natives barely know how to conjugate this tense so... :mrgreen:

Okay, maybe I feel a little better...

Yeah, you're not alone. Even I struggle sometimes too... We generally only see it in literature books, so we're not used to having to write it down out of memory. I mean, try learning how to conjugate the imperfect subjunctive mood (even rarer) and I reckon you'll find the simple past a bit easier than that. :P

But yeah, in Spanish... there's no excuse since it's as common as the English simple past.
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Dormouse559 » 2013-02-15, 7:58

When you derive an inordinate amount of pleasure from etymology (Wow! Some usages of "butt" in English come from French. That is so cool!).
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Car » 2013-02-16, 11:30

johntm wrote:I was talking about the other, more comprehensive ones. I dunno much about the Headstart ones.


Thanks!

I was taught to be able to recognise the past simple in French only. If you want to become more familiar with it, reading (old) literature, history texts etc. is a good way to do that.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby johntm » 2013-02-17, 10:44

Car wrote:I was taught to be able to recognise the past simple in French only. If you want to become more familiar with it, reading (old) literature, history texts etc. is a good way to do that.

I don't care much to read old literature, so the simple past probably isn't INCREDIBLY important (I'm decent at recognizing it), but since it's nothing incredibly hard I'd feel like I cheated not learning it :?
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Marah » 2013-02-17, 11:59

I don't care much to read old literature, so the simple past probably isn't INCREDIBLY important (I'm decent at recognizing it), but since it's nothing incredibly hard I'd feel like I cheated not learning it

Hum, saying you'll only come across the simple past if you read old literature is not really accurate. It's very well alive in modern literature and in newspapers. If you want to sound educated it's perfectly normal to use it, even orally. Learning the "il, elle / ils, elles" conjugation is useful whenever you have to write an essay or whenever you have to give a talk.
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby Meera » 2013-02-17, 19:28

You know you are a language nerd that when writing an essay/short story for an assignment you purposely make it about the country of a language you are studding and use random words in the native language just to sound smarter. :whistle:
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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby הענט » 2013-02-17, 19:35

Meera wrote:You know you are a language nerd that when writing an essay/short story for an assignment you purposely make it about the country of a language you are studding and use random words in the native language just to sound smarter. :whistle:


I second that. I once had to write an essay about the United Kingdom and made it a thorough explanation on Celtic languages. :)

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Re: You know you're a language nerd when...

Postby JackFrost » 2013-02-17, 19:43

Marah wrote:Hum, saying you'll only come across the simple past if you read old literature is not really accurate. It's very well alive in modern literature and in newspapers. If you want to sound educated it's perfectly normal to use it, even orally. Learning the "il, elle / ils, elles" conjugation is useful whenever you have to write an essay or whenever you have to give a talk.

Eh, I think we all have our own opinion how common is the passé simple and when it's justified to use it (like, I find it very snobbish and unnecessary to use it orally unless reciting some quotes from a text). At least we all can agree it's not completely dead as some may say. :P
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