April 15th, 2008

Assimil courses


Has anyone tried the Assimil language courses? Specifically the Italian for Speakers of Spanish and Portuguese for Speakers of Spanish courses? I'm interested in buying them but I wanted some reviews first. Any experience with them would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if you have any recommendations for other courses, that'd be great. I'm specifically looking for Italian and Portuguese geared toward speakers of Spanish.


x-posted to foreignlanguages and learn_italiano

Native Japanese Speakers needed!

I'm doing an honors project for my Second Lanugage Acquisition class that involves interviewing Japanese learners of English. It's due next Monday and I'm having trouble getting the few Japanese people on campus to meet with me. So, I'm resorting to Livejournal. If there are any native Japanese speakers out there who have learned or are currently learning English, I need your help! The focus of the interview is to find out what sort of issues Japanese NSs have learning English. (I'm pretty sure that I actually asked something similar in this community last semester, but I couldn't find the entry.)

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(Probably x-posted.)
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Fun with language: turning "off" an opposite

We had fun with this oddity recently... Although "smooth" and "rough" are opposites, add one adjective to their noun forms and something totally different happens...  

An "orange smoothie" is a fruity yoghurt drink made in a blender.  
But an "orange roughie" is a fish.

I couldn't come up with any others off the top of my head, can you?
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Nitpicky: Italian R

Bear with me, this isn't quite the same as all those other "how do I roll my Rs?" questions. I can roll an R; however, I've noticed that my Italian professor (a native of Florence, if that makes a difference) produces a different sound than I do. It's been a while since I dealt with phonetics, but for lack of a better description, her R roll sounds a little - flatter than mine, or more lateral, whereas mine is sort of rounder and more midline in my mouth.

I guess I have two questions, then: 1) is this a peculiarly Italian sound, and 2) does anyone have any pointers on "flattening" my R? I tried working on it just a little and it actually made my tongue hurt.

Arabic in Africa

Hi everyone.

I have to have a fourth-term proficiency in a foreign language in order to graduate from my university. That's a lot of work, so I want it to be worthwhile. Since I'm going to minor in Afro-american and African studies, I'd like to study one that's common in Africa.

The only one I can take is Arabic. When I typed "learning arabic" into Google, this article came up. It's really discouraging! I struggled in high school learning French, which is a lot easier compared to Arabic.

Can anyone offer any experience learning the language? If it will be useful if I go to (northern) Africa?


"Van mexicanos por casas a EU" is the name of an article I am translating.

I came up with "Mexicans go and get houses in the United States", but I think it still sounds horrible. I am having a hard time finding the right translation for ir por algo. Throughout the article, I first thought EU was referring to the European Union, but no... that's UE (Unión Europea) in Spanish. According to the DRAE and DPD, EE.UU. is the proper way to abbreviate the United States since the normal convention in Spanish abbreviations is to double the letter if it's plural (well, not always, but you get my drift; I'm really tired and my brain isn't working after a long day at work). I also found EUA (Estados Unidos de América), which is probably what the author meant and shortened it to EU. Anyway... I hope it is United States because Las Vegas is mentioned quite a few times in the article.

Mexicans go for houses/homes in the United States?
Mexicans refer to homes in the United States?

Maybe someone can shine some light on this. Know of any really good online Spanish to English dictionaries? Other than www.wordreference.com, dictionary.reverso.net, http://www.spanishdict.com/ - I had a link to another good one like the Collins one, but can't seem to find it now! :(

If you need more context, the article is basically about a project that is attracting national buyers' interest and Mexicans are buying property in Las Vegas despite the real-estate crisis. (I know, that probably made no sense...)

I am also having trouble with this sentence:
Al mexicano le fascina ir a Las Vegas, entre los atributos que valoran están la ubicación, el apostar, la proximidad y el área de restaurantes y compras.

You don't even want to know what I have for that. It's horrible. My translation is too literal. Maybe I should start with "For a Mexican who is fascinated in going to Las Vegas...? Hmm, I just thought of that. I can't imagine it meaning "The Mexican is fascinated in going to Las Vegas...", which is too literal.

(no subject)

So we were translating participles from English into Spanish infinitives, and one of the sentences was "Succeeding is making good decisions." I was having an off-day, and could vaguely remember something like "éxito" for success, so I went ahead and made it a verb, exitar. Apparently, that's actually a very vulgar word. My profe wouldn't tell me exactly what it means, just that it's sexual. So my question is, what's the best English equivalent?

Oh P.S. I'm taking Biblical Hebrew next semester and was wondering how helpful that would be towards learning Modern Hebrew.