How to learn a foreign language as an adult
For those of you that speak geek: Spent the last 96 hours figuring out why I only got three clear QAM channels – turns out a weak signal and a kinked coax cable will waste four days of your life.
Picked up a signal amplifier, and some new cable and now I’m in business.
Knee-deep in cables, chili and rum. It’s the only way for a geek to spend Labor Day
Speaking of speaking in a foreign language, Federico Fellini once said that, “A different language is a different vision of life.”
One of the things about being Chinese-American is that a vast majority of my friends are at least bilingual. Heartgirl and KG Betty speak several.
Me? Was always crappy at languages. My French teacher gave me a good grade for the effort. Hate pity so decided to learn how to be a good language student in college. Didn’t work.
Funny thing’s that the guy that teaches me how to break people’s arms also told me how to learn a language way back when.
Part 1 – from R. Dreifuss (doctoral candidate at Columbia U. and general bad-ass)
See, he said, they always teach language the wrong way in school. Every language’s has the same things, the same patterns. Once you learn the patterns, you just need the words to go into that pattern.
Once you have the patterns down, you need only learn the vocabulary that goes into the patterns.
German: “(noun) ist besser als (noun).”
Mandarin: “(noun) bi (noun) hao.”English: “Rum is better than beer.”
German: “Rum ist besser als Bier.”
Mandarin: “Rum bi beer hao.”
Part Two – From Barry Farber
Believe, truly believe, that language isn’t the words you read/write. It’s the words you hear/say.
Take the word Knife.
We say, nigh-feh but it’s supposed to sound like, ka-ni-fee – cause that’s how it’s spelled. Put it another way, the letters k-n-i-f-e just makes a picture that prompts us to say nigh-feh.
More eloquently, the written word is merely the symbolic representation of the language – it is not the language itself.
So stop learning how to read/write and concentrate on learning how to communicate.
I’m illiterate in Chinese, German, and, if you read this blog, English. Doesn’t matter. You understand what I’m trying to say. Which brings me to…
Man, all of this talk about rum…
Location: my front room
Music: Pour rentrer dans les soirées célib à 30 ans