December 11th, 2007

Looking for opinions from learners of Chinese

Hello, all,

I'm about to register for a beginning Chinese conversation class, and I'm trying to decide between Mandarin and Cantonese. Here are the factors affecting my decision:

A. Mandarin, obviously, is more useful globally. Might prove more useful personally and professionally in the long term, although I'm mostly in this for fun.
B. Cantonese is more useful locally (San Francisco, CA), and that makes it a little more immediately interesting to me. There are many more Cantonese speakers in this town (many of whom have no Mandarin at all) than Mandarin speakers. So Cantonese will better enable me to talk to shopkeepers and eavesdrop on the bus.
C. The Cantonese class is slightly, but not much, more convenient--it's being taught in a location fairly close to where I live, while Mandarin is waay across town.
D. I'm not afraid of all those Cantonese tones. I speak a couple of tonal languages already, and my ear is decent.
E. I'll probably take the other in the next few years.

So what do you think? What would you do?

There's also a small chance that I'll take both simultaneously--anyone ever tried that? Is it a terrible idea?

Thanks for your opinions!

EDITED : I think I'm going with Cantonese! Perhaps Mandarin will follow next year or the year after. I'll try to keep the tones straight. Xie xie/m goi (?!) for the tips!

I've got something in my eye

But what on earth is it called??

Y'know, that gritty yellow stuff in the corner of your eye when you wake up in the morning.

Most English speakers (those of my acquaintance, that is) call it 'sleep' ("you've got sleep in your eyes"), and my boyfriend and I have developed a charming habit of calling it 'eye snot'.

Perusing through a Javanese dictionary, I came upon the word 'blobok', meaning 'sleep dirt', so obviously the Javanese have a unique word for it.

How about in other languages?
I have no powers...

(no subject)

Hello everyone. I was wondering if anyone knows the English translation of this word:


It's in a song by Freezerpop called "super-sprøde." While trying to find some help with Google, I read that the word is Danish, but some confirmation and a translation would be excellent. Anyone out there know?

Thanks in advance.

Bilingual Homes

Just out of interest, I'm wondering how many here came from bilingual homes because whenever I go to a language class there always seems to be a lot of people that grew up speaking either two languages or moved at "a good age" to retain their old language and adapt to the new.
Because right now in my French class we have a Punjabi, Arabic, Afrikaans, two Germans, two Serbian speakers. I'm not counting the girl who already speaks French.
And that's in a class of around 16.

And while I don't know all of those people I can say that a good 2/3 speak both English and their language at home.

It would make sense why someone with knowledge of two languages would continue studying a third. At least it does to me. I mean, if you already know two it doesn't seem as an impossible task. But, like I said, I'm just curious how it is in this community, and if you do come from a bilingual home how much do you think it helped you become interested in languages? And how did it affect how you learned your third?
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Language Buddies.

Hello there, first of all, I'd like to apologize for my *long* absence, I had been extraordinarily busy with Medschool.

So here's the reason why I'm actually posting, this probably has already been suggested or there's something already going around but anyway, I thought there's no damage on suggesting it, I am making a proposal to use the various instant messaging services for multilingual practice. As you all know, without practice, a language readily becomes rusty, so I'm mainly looking for anybody who'd gladly practice some languages with me and invite others to do the same, it is also a great way to make friends in my opinion.

So if anybody is interested, I'm up for practices of Spanish (my primary language), English, French and Romanian (boy is it hard to find someone with whom I can practice this one!). Please note that I am currently studying this last two so my level is pretty poor (specially Romanian). I have also studied Latin and Italian but I've nearly forgotten all that I had learned of Latin and my Italian knowledge is very limited but I'm still up for it! Oh yeah, and my email if anybody wants to, is; if you add me, please send me a message regarding the reason why you added me so that I know where you came from heheh. Bye bye!
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Pointless Game: Babelfish Minus Babelfish, or Multilingual Whispers

This is just for fun. The premise is simple: people often like to put text passages through various languages in Babelfish. The results are predictably mangled and rarely very funny. But have you ever wondered what a passage would look like after being translated through a dozen languages or more, with each translation done by a competent translator who has not seen any of the previous translations?

Well, I have :P So I figured I'd get people here to translate a short paragraph to and from various languages. I'm thinking English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and back to English, just because those are the Babelfish languages though they'd obviously have to be reordered (don't know that many people bilingual in Chinese and Dutch) and some languages might be added or dropped depending on whether I can get a translator.

So if you want to participate just comment with the languages you can read and write fairly well. You don't have to be super super fluent since translation errors are just part of the fun, but make sure you can produce readable text. I'll start notifying people in a few days (wait for people to stop commenting + figure out a path through the mess e_e) and after that it'll be... I dunno... some weeks... ? for the translations to come out. Sit tight!

I'll do my best to make this exercise not-boring. Let's see how it goes :B