Tarvos' новый лог

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DaveBee
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby DaveBee » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:48 pm

tarvos wrote:I'm going to take a break from the linguistic madness that is my life and read another book now, but it's the Origin of Species, in English. I've heard it's hard to wade through, but as it's a work of English non-fiction, I think I can handle it... what about you?
I read an interview recently where that was held up as an example of good writing. Philip Kerr? Not sure.

I'm impatiently (the seller has marked it dispatched!) waiting for a french language copy of Giulia Enders tummy bugs book. I've been meaning to read it anyway (in english) so I learn language and fact-y stuff too!

Today I got a copy of one of Michel Bussi's books from the library. That was chosen just because his books have such pretty covers.:-)
Last edited by DaveBee on Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:06 pm

I read a friend's review on Goodreads claiming exactly the opposite. Honestly I should just lend my copy to my brother (if he hasn't read it already) and see what he has to say about it.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby DaveBee » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:26 pm

tarvos wrote:I read a friend's review on Goodreads claiming exactly the opposite. Honestly I should just lend my copy to my brother (if he hasn't read it already) and see what he has to say about it.
Did you ever read the Water Margin in your mandarin journey? I've got a copy of that on my 'maybe' list, mostly because I have fond memories of the 1970s TV adaptation.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:40 pm

No, not really capable of reading literature in Mandarin yet, sadly :(
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:01 pm

Chugging along in Mandarin, Spanish and Czech as per usual. Mandarin has taken over the top priority now as my Czech has become a whole lot better.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby Atinkoriko » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:57 am

Lurked this for a long time and I've always wanted to ask you, as a native Dutch speaker who's expert at German, how significant is the cognate discount for German speakers who also want to learn Dutch?

Also, at what level should one be in either language before attempting to learn the other? The chance of mixing them up is a primary concern here.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:30 pm

The discount is massive. I've heard of instances where people would need four months of study from German to Dutch and after that they managed to get into Dutch university. It's not just vocabulary, either - Dutch grammar is German's simplified little sibling. Basically Dutch is written like German would be, but without cases and more leeway in some parts of the word order.

Dutch and German speakers can't directly communicate, but most Dutch speakers have studied German and therefore elementary communication between Dutch and German speakers is normally possible, although for complex things some people may resort to English, and others simply end up speaking the other person's language with an accent. Vice versa is a rarer case, but it's not unheard of and plenty of Germans have learned Dutch to a good level rather quickly.

I don't really find that they get mixed up at all, but of course I use some Dutchisms in my German every now and then. Out of the languages I speak German probably isn't even top five. I wouldn't learn both from scratch, I'd pick one and then go for the other, but that's more because it's too much of a time investment. Normally I advocate getting to B1-B2ish levels before moving on to the next language, and here that would also apply.

What you do have to realise is that the pronunciation is what really differs between the two languages. Many Dutch people can guess how you're supposed to speak German by screwing up the vowels and consonants a bit to make it sound more German. The real difficulty is in sounding German when you speak Dutch, or sounding Dutch when you speak German.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:37 am

I'm really working on my Mandarin again now. I feel it's important to keep up with languages I've used a lot in the past, and Mandarin is obviously one of them. The thing with Mandarin is that I got to quite a good spoken level, but an abysmal written one. I'm quite confident in my spoken Mandarin and you'll notice that in conversations, despite the accent and some of the tonal screw-ups I'm easy enough to understand (although the fact I learned my Mandarin in Beijing's environs really shines through - I had a class with a Taiwanese teacher today and she can really hear all the mainlandisms that I use, INCLUDING all the little things, like particles I tack on the end of sentences, more erhua, but also words that I use and particular intonation patterns common to Northern China but absent elsewhere). My written Mandarin is horrible but we're working on reading comprehension as well in order to improve that.

Actually one of my goals now is to get deeper into the more slangy types of the language, into different registers, and into other varieties of the language such as the one spoken in Taiwan. It would be an absolute shame to let such a good base go to waste (I speak quite acceptably). I've got the basics down so it's time to diversify my Mandarin in those directions that would make it as well-rounded as all my other good languages such as Russian or Spanish or English.

And a funny anecdote when I was at a tattoo parlour a few months back and mentioned I had lived in China and learned some Mandarin: the shop owner's reaction was not "wow, you speak Mandarin" but rather "that's useful - you should maintain the language, it will come in handy." Which I think really exemplifies the Dutch attitude to language learning - because Dutch people are much more comfortable adapting to other people and learning foreign languages, having skills in one or two languages is not really that impressive (many people speak a second language and having studied three is not at all uncommon. And some schools even teach Mandarin nowadays). People may be impressed, but they feel languages are useful tools that you can use abroad - and as a Dutch person, the habit and custom is to adapt to others. If that includes learning Mandarin, so be it.

By the way, there are good examples here of people that have done so and derived benefit from it: a Dutch journalist, photographer annex doctor made a tv documentary on the inner workings and cultural particularities of China in a six-parter where he travelled along the Yangtze river. Now, this man had lived in China before and had learned Mandarin well - so well that he conducted all his interviews with Chinese people IN MANDARIN. This led to many situations where people, surprised at the foreigner not only speaking Mandarin but mastering it well, leading them to open up massively and give unique insights into the culture - ones that no anglophone journalist would ever have received without the cultural and linguistic knowledge of this journalist. It really boosted the quality of the production - and something as simple as having worked on your Mandarin effectively caused that result. Of course, he is a clever young man, being a qualified physician as well as a journalist and photographer and speaking fluent Mandarin - but the fact he put in that effort, learned it well, and eventually got more out of his stay in China than most people that live there speaking English in Sanlitun do for years, reveals what the use of knowing Mandarin well is - and how much the Dutch culture should continue to ingrain this mentality into the youngsters. Because he's not the only one to have done this - there are more examples of such journalism in the Netherlands.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:03 pm

Besides Mandarin, I finished the Origin of Species and have now moved on to Alive by Petronela Rotar (which despite the name is written in Romanian, and is actually a collection of blog posts and short stories by the author written first on her blog http://www.acestblogdenervi.ro. They are mostly stories related to her actual life and autobiographical in some way, although I don't doubt she embellished some of it. I also downloaded another book by Cristina Nemerovschi called Sânge Satanic (Satanic Blood) which seems to be right up my alley, but apparently really got under the skin of some uptight old-fashioned Romanians who found it too liberal and antipuritanical, what with its depiction of sexuality and so on.

Rebellion, then. Straight up my alley.

And apparently I can still read Romanian, which is nice. I am also two books ahead on my Goodreads challenge and will probably stay ahead at the current speed (I finished 91 pages or so over the past two days).

I need to add more Spanish to my to-do list.
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Atinkoriko
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby Atinkoriko » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:24 am

Thank you for the great answer, Tarvos.
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