The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How do you say that in...

I would like to learn another language but I fear I will never be successful. I have tried, a few times, to learn enough Spanish to get by but I always fall short. It's a good language and is useful. It will get even more useful in the future as we have a growing Hispanic population. The grammar gets to me, though, much different then English.

I tried German back when I was in my teens... got nowhere, of course. A reasonably efficient language, I think. And I like efficiency, though I am not... efficient, that is.

I admire German, Spanish, and Italian... Russian is simply beyond me, as are Greek and Arabic and most of the Asian languages, French seems to be a nice language but the pronunciation seems lazy somehow. Like it was once formal and clipped but the speakers got lazy over time and began to mumble or slur the words.

I have great respect for anyone who speaks more than one language fluently enough to be understood. One language is just not enough, I think, and knowing two (or more) shows a mental ability I apparently don't have.

A young woman from Switzerland once remarked to a friend of mine that she had studied English for 5 years. My friend responded that he had studied it for 12 years and she seemed to have a better grasp of it than he.

There are various myths about how languages developed in different regions. I am sure there are many theories about language development. I have my own, of course, and it is based on genetics defining how sounds are made (timbre, tone, and so on) coupled with isolation of tribes in man's earliest history, followed by the expansion of tribes into other tribes' territory which results in the blending of words. Word meanings are merely agreed upon sound groupings for an idea... nouns, verbs, etc. Think about it, why does "tree" mean what it does? How does that sound (actually, group of sounds) denote a large thing with leaves, branches, and roots?

Linguists would probably laugh at me and my ignorance.


Paul E. Giroux said...

I was born French but lived in a mostly English town in Canada. Attended bilingual schools (French/English) My fluency left me a few years after I joined the navy. I regret that now. Over the years in Florida I have attempted to learn Spanish, bought the CD set, had various computer programs (still do) but just couldn't master it. The short explanation for me is that French is backward to English and Spanish is backward to French, if that makes any sense.

I was told that learning a new language entails thinking in that language, which I find hard to do if I am translating that language as I speak.

I still envy those that can do it though.

Douglas said...

I have been told, more than a few times, that the best way to learn a language is through immersion. That is, I think, learn it as a child does; everyone around you speaks the "new" language and essentially "teaches" it to you. Yeah, I envy them too.