TAC 2016 - Antea

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TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby Antea » 2016-01-02, 10:40

Well, it's time to have a new TAC. So I will continue studying the languages included in my previous one, and maybe I will add new languages, I still don't know :hmm: . There are some languages listed here in which I really have to make an effort if I want to move on from the stage of beginner.

So, here are my languages for this year:

- Portuguese
- Swahili
- Swedish
- Afrikaans
- Hindi
- Russian
- Hawaiian (yes, this is a new one :D )

And I'm looking also to improve my knowledge of German and Arabic.

I'm also wanderlusting a lot for asiatic languages, but I really don't know which one I should choose if I finally decide myself to go for it: Chinese (is this Mandarin or Cantonese :hmm: ), Japanese, Korean? Which one would you recommend me?

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-02, 23:39

Antea wrote:Well, it's time to have a new TAC.

I'd say start instead of have here.
So I will continue studying the languages included in my previous one, and maybe I will add new languages, I still don't know :hmm: .

"I still don't know" is actually fine, but I'd probably say "I don't know yet." If I said "I still don't know," I think that would mean that I'd already tried several times to make a decision but never succeeded.
There are some languages listed here in which I really have to make an effort if I want to move on from the stage of beginner.

I'd also either put quotes around "beginner" here or say "from the stage of a beginner."

And great list! :D
So, here are my languages for this year:

- Portuguese
- Swahili
- Swedish
- Afrikaans
- Hindi
- Russian
- Hawaiian (yes, this is a new one :D )

And I'm looking also to improve my knowledge of German and Arabic.

I'm also wanderlusting a lot for aAsiatic languages, but I really don't know which one I should choose if I finally decide myself to go for it: Chinese (is this Mandarin or Cantonese :hmm: ), Japanese, Korean? Which one would you recommend me?

Note: In English, "Asiatic" can have a negative connotation, so "Asian" is more widely accepted. Also, I'm curious: What do you mean by "is this Mandarin or Cantonese"? Do you mean you're wondering which one to learn? Or you're wondering whether a specific course or (set of) resource(s) teaches Mandarin or Cantonese? Or do you mean "what does the term 'Chinese language' mean in general"?

Well...I would recommend Mandarin since I'm doing it. :lol: Cantonese IMO is hard (it has six phonemic tones), and other dialects are harder to find resources for. Korean's writing system is definitely the easiest, but I find its phonology harder than Mandarin or even Japanese. Most people seem to believe that the writing system of Chinese is hard but the grammar is easy. I personally feel exactly the opposite because I've found plenty of (or even too many!) resources explaining how the writing system works but not nearly enough explaining grammar. Japanese has two alphabets in addition to many of the characters that Chinese has, and it also uses Roman script a lot, but it has lots of loanwords from English (and Chinese). And of course Japanese is the best if you like anime, and Korean is probably the best if you like Kpop. :P I think both Japanese and Korean are supposed to have difficult grammar, but I feel I don't know enough about any of these languages' grammars to actually say which one is the easiest or the most difficult.

So basically, it really depends on what you're looking for. In all honesty, though, Chinese (any variety), Japanese, and Korean are all fun! So I'd recommend trying all of them and seeing which one you like the best! :D

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby OldBoring » 2016-01-03, 4:18

Do Qingtianese, my mothertongue! :mrgreen: The most common language spoken by the Chinese in ¡Paselona! :silly:

But seriously, I would also advise Mandarin, because of several reasons.
  • Because there are more resources about it.
  • There are less tones, and they are easier to distinguish than Cantonese's tones, so the pronunciation is relatively easier.
  • It's more useful for someone who lives in Southern Europe, where there are nearly no Cantonese speakers in the local Chinese community, but a lot of people who speak Mandarin as a first or second or third language, and it's also becoming more and more widespread among all the ethnic Chinese in the world, so at least you'll be more likely to use the language with people. While with Cantonese you'll have a lot of media, like movies, TV series (especially from Hong Kong), TV programmes, songs, etc.
  • Standard Mandarin is a highly standardized language, so it has less irregularities compared to historical dialects that developed naturally. It's even more regular than the dialects of the North, including Beijing dialect — which Standard Mandarin was based on. A similar analogy is Standard Spanish being more regular than e.g. the dialects spoken in Castilla (they do weird stuff like leísmo).
    While Cantonese is pretty much the dialect of Guangzhou / Hong Kong.
  • For the same reason, there is less divergence between spoken and written language in Mandarin. The written language of China was standardized long ago, and based largely on Mandarin. This kind of written language has been historically adopted by all the Chinese, regardless of which Chinese language they speak. So e.g. even in Cantonese speaking areas, formal writing will be done in the Mandarin-based written language. Written Cantonese is not as standardized, so people are more likely to use it only in informal writing, like in forums or text messages / instant messages.

On the other hand, for a language enthusiast, Cantonese is a beautiful language, very poetic, and very very rich in vocabulary, with a lot of idioms and ways to express ideas, often in a humorous or in a beautiful way, that are untranslatable in other languages (including other Chinese languages). Historically it's more ancient than Mandarin. And despite Mandarin slowly becoming the global lingua franca for all the ethnic Chinese, Cantonese is still the strongest and most alive Chinese language apart form Mandarin. Kind of like Catalan in Spain.

Oh, by the way, Hawaiian. Cool!

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-03, 4:22

OldBoring wrote:Do Qingtianese, my mothertongue! :mrgreen: The most common language spoken by the Chinese in ¡Paselona! :silly:

But seriously, I would also advise Mandarin, because of several reasons.

And here you have your answer: do Mandarin, then use a certain online course that OldBoring knows of teaching Qingtianese through Mandarin! ;)

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby OldBoring » 2016-01-03, 4:34

vijayjohn wrote:then use a certain online course that OldBoring knows of teaching Qingtianese through Mandarin! ;)

One day I should translate that course in Spanish, Italian, English, Portuguese, etc. :silly:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby Antea » 2016-01-03, 11:16

Thank you for your answers and corrections :D

vijayjohn wrote:Also, I'm curious: What do you mean by "is this Mandarin or Cantonese"? Do you mean you're wondering which one to learn? Or you're wondering whether a specific course or (set of) resource(s) teaches Mandarin or Cantonese? Or do you mean "what does the term 'Chinese language' mean in general"?


Yes, I was trying to say "what does the term 'Chinese language' mean in general"? Because I know that in China many languages are spoken, so when peope refer only to "Chinese language" I sometimes wonder which language are they really talking about :hmm:

When it comes to learning Asian languages, here people usually learn Chinese. It's " à la mode ", so to say :roll: . So it won't be difficult to find courses or ressources. Even many primary schools here teach Chinese for children as an extracurricular subject.

Vijay, if you don't mind me asking, how many time have you been studying Chinese? I'm thinking of beginning to look into Asian languages first by myself. Do you think that is possible? Or are these languages too difficult to learn them without a teacher? I say "they", because I have not yet decided which one to learn, although I think that it would likely be Chinese :yep:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby OldBoring » 2016-01-03, 13:53

Antea wrote:It's " à la mode "

So with ice-cream?

I think most people mean Mandarin by default when they say "Chinese". And when people learn written Chinese, they usually learn written Mandarin, basically.

Unless in communities where Cantonese is the dominant language, like what happens in some places in South-East Asia, or in the UK, in the Netherlands, etc.

On the other hand, if an ethnic Chinese says "we speak Chinese in my family", that can mean any Chinese language, depending on their family's background.

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-03, 18:33

Antea wrote:Thank you for your answers and corrections :D

Our pleasure! :D
Yes, I was trying to say "what does the term 'Chinese language' mean in general"? Because I know that in China many languages are spoken, so when people refer only to "Chinese language" I sometimes wonder which language are they really talking about :hmm:

Yeah, as OldBoring said, it seems to usually mean Mandarin (though with the exceptions he noted, of course). Although there are indeed many Chinese languages/dialects/whatever, Mandarin is the only one with official recognition at the national level and is strongly promoted in both the People's Republic of China and Singapore over (and at the expense of) all the others, even Cantonese.
When it comes to learning Asian languages, here people usually learn Chinese. It's " à la mode ", so to say :roll: . So it won't be difficult to find courses or ressources. Even many primary schools here teach Chinese for children as an extracurricular subject.

Vijay, if you don't mind me asking, how many time have you been studying Chinese? I'm thinking of beginning to look into Asian languages first by myself. Do you think that is possible? Or are these languages too difficult to learn them without a teacher?

I don't mind at all! :) My dad's Chinese colleague taught my brother and me how to count to ten in Mandarin when I was maybe five years old? On my seventh birthday, I got a short book for helping children start learning Chinese characters and spent a few years trying to go through the whole thing by myself. After that, I kept dabbling in Chinese every now and then for many years until I was about 15; then I started studying it seriously, still on my own. By my second semester of college (so, as an undergraduate), I had learned enough Chinese to convince one of the Chinese teachers at my college that I could skip the first semester and start the second semester right away. Then I took one Chinese course every semester for three semesters, then had to take a break for one semester because there were no other Chinese courses I could take and I had courses in other subjects to take anyway, and finally took one more semester of Chinese. :)

So, yes, it is indeed possible, and you can learn them without a teacher, too! :yep:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby Antea » 2016-01-10, 17:23

That's quite impressive! So I think that maybe I could try by my own at first.

Well, I'm back again after the Christmas holidays, with all the family here, and all the dinners and recipes and so on :silly: . Thank God is over now. So I suppose we could get to our routine, and see if I can study something. Obviously I could do nothing during the holidays, and I go back to my classes even worse than when I left them :roll: .

I'm going to take it easy. First I have to focuse on Hindi and then on Russian. And I have to begin with Hawaiian :yep:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-10, 17:27

Antea wrote:That's quite impressive!

Thanks! :D
So I think that maybe I could try by my own at first.

Go for it! :y:
Thank God it's over now.

First I have to focuse on Hindi and then on Russian.

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-10, 18:04

vijayjohn wrote:
Antea wrote:So I think that maybe I could try by my own at first.

Go for it! :y:

Wouldn't it be better to say "on my own"? I've heard a few others non natives say "by my own" but that always sounds ungrammatical to my ears.
My TAC for 2017.

N:(en) | B2:(fr) | A2:(es)(pt) | A1:(ja)(ko)(sv)(ta) | A0:(de)(fy)(hi)(hu)(it)(pl)(ro)(tr)

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-10, 18:59

Huh, odd, I didn't even think about that. :hmm: But yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm so used to hearing non-native speakers say "by my own" that I don't even think twice about it anymore! :lol:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-10, 22:01

vijayjohn wrote:Huh, odd, I didn't even think about that. :hmm: But yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm so used to hearing non-native speakers say "by my own" that I don't even think twice about it anymore! :lol:

OMG!! :rotfl:

You have no idea how many times I've had that happen! A friend of mine who's been teaching English in China for the past 5 years or so has told me how his English has gone down. I've corrected him on basic stuff. But I've also noticed it too. In fact once, on here, I completely accepted something that is common to non-native speakers as being ok even though my internal grammarian said otherwise. And then another native speaker on here corrected it, and that made me realize "this is a language forum! I should make those distinctions and correct when needed, not accept it as ok because most non natives say it."
My TAC for 2017.

N:(en) | B2:(fr) | A2:(es)(pt) | A1:(ja)(ko)(sv)(ta) | A0:(de)(fy)(hi)(hu)(it)(pl)(ro)(tr)

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby OldBoring » 2016-01-11, 2:08

Once I pronounced clothes as /kloʊðɪz/ so many times, that even my English teacher, a native speaker, began saying it that way, and then he said: “Oh, you change my mind. It's /kloʊθs/”.

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-11, 20:34

This vaguely reminds me of a song that my dad learned in school (I think) when he was growing up. It's a Kannada song, but over the years, my dad has forgotten everything about this song except the first three lines (or rather, like 4-5 words :P). He doesn't even remember that it's in Kannada and thinks it's in Telugu! :lol: It goes roughly like this, with each line repeated twice (I'm only guessing this is how it's spelled or pronounced :para:):

ಯಾರು ಹೋಂಗುತಾರೆ? [jaːɾu hoːŋgut̪aːɾe] (This means something like 'who goes there?')
ನೊಡಿ ನೀ... [noɖi niː] ('Take a look...')
ಕಳ್ಳ! [kəɭɭa] ('A thief!' :P)

Because he doesn't remember anything else from the song, he jokingly added [piɖini aɖini] to the end of that song, which is based on the Malayalam words for 'grab him and beat him up!' But he always used to say my aunt knew this song better and that we should ask her to tell us the real lyrics. When we finally did tell her, it turned out she only remembered my dad's fake version because she'd also heard it so many times and hadn't heard the real version in years. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby OldBoring » 2016-01-11, 23:59

vijayjohn wrote:[piɖini aɖini]

It rhymes!

'grab him and beat him up!'

It reminds me of this: viewtopic.php?p=1035366#p1035366
(See the spoilered part.)

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-12, 2:40

OldBoring wrote:It reminds me of this: viewtopic.php?p=1035366#p1035366

I didn't even have to open the link to know what it was. :lol:

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-12, 4:16

vijayjohn wrote:ಯಾರು ಹೋಂಗುತಾರೆ? [jaːɾu hoːŋgut̪aːɾe] (This means something like 'who goes there?')
ನೊಡಿ ನೀ... [noɖi niː] ('Take a look...')
ಕಳ್ಳ! [kəɭɭa] ('A thief!' :P)

That's Kannada's script? I look quite similar to Sinhalese. And here I was thinking the Sinhala script was unique!
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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-12, 5:01

Yeah, Kannada and Telugu script are both really closely related to each other and also look really similar in style to Sinhala script. :P Khmer script and I guess to some extent Thai script look a bit like that, too.

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Re: TAC 2016 - Antea

Postby Antea » 2016-01-13, 9:09

[flag=]sw[/flag]

I'm studying Swahili these days. I want to finish my book, but once finished I will have to go through it again to review the lessons once again. I'm trying to read some news on internet, although I know pretty well that the vocabulary of newspapers is difficult.

My goal in this language is to attain a good passive knowledge in order to be able to read texts and news. I don't think it will be possible for me to ever get to speak it correctly, but if I could at least understand it, I will be satisfyed :yep:

Are you trying to achieve a level of total fluency in all the languages that you study, or do you have different goals depending on the language? :hmm:


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