April 15th, 2009

musunde hiraite

The simplest davanagari tutorial ever

Since people have given me so many good links for starting to learn Hindi and/or the devanagari script, I thought I'd reciprocate with a site I don't *think* anyone here pointed me to. (Apologies if I'm wrong.)


This site is truly the Idiot's guide to devanagari, complete with stupid mnemonics, enthusiastic encouragement and reassurances, and tiny bite-sized steps. On the one hand, my arrogance is utterly offended by the incredible simplicity of it. On the other hand, I've worked my way through almost all of it, and at this point am slowly and laboriously reading a majority of the printed Hindi words I come across without reference to a chart, including being able to accurately interpret conjucts even when I haven't seen them before. And, I'll admit this here, I did a lot of it while bored in class, which means my concentration, never all that good, was even worse than usual.

This thing is the opposite of intensive, and if cute mortally offends you, you'll hate it. But even though it's not my preferred style at all, it's really working for me, which makes me think it would quite likely work for a lot of different people.

It's very definitely a reading guide, not a writing guide. It doesn't teach stroke order, or how to create conjuncts, or things like that. So far, the recommendation I got here for this Hindi script tutor is the best I've encountered for that. But for character recognition and retention, this stupid site is actually really good.

Private Language

Hey everyone!

I was wondering if you all could help me out.
I'm writing a term paper on private language--that is, the special language that is created between an intimate group of people (e.g. family, friends)--and how it develops, how it is used, how often it is used, and whatever else I find along the way.
Would anyone be willing to share some words, phrases, sayings, acronyms, etc. that you use with a specific group of people? If you can, also include its meaning, origins, frequency of use.
Oh, and include this if it has ever happened: have you ever heard someone outside of your group use your private language and in what context?

Thanks in advance!! :)

Russian valedictions

Hello all,

I'm writing a letter to my host family in St. Petersburg with whom I'll be staying in nine weeks!

So far I only have "Дорогая семья" as a salutation and I'm clueless as what to put as a valediction. "Пока" seems a too informal.

So my request to the community is : bury me in Russian salutations and valedictions!
BR :: the fun never ends

English help

I'd really appreciate if someone could check these sentences for me. We had a mock exam today, but my professor wasn't sure witch tense was correct in these examples. The first verb is what I wrote.

1. If you had asked someone they would have told you that he had been there for years and left/would have left (leave) it at that.

Is there a need to repeat the "would have"?

2. It was surprising that no one noticed his absence. But one morning he just wasn't there. In the village post-office, the center of local gossip, he hadn't been missed/wasn't missed (not miss) for several days.

My professor first said it was "wasn't missed", then he wasn't really sure what is correct, but doesn't "for several days" require perfect tense?

3. Tom was gone, there was no doubting that. Every possible place he could have been had been searched/was searched (search) without finding a trace.

I'm not really sure about this one, my professor said it was "was searched", but thought what I wrote wasn't incorrect and kind of left it at that.

4. There was no sign of disturbance. Everything was just as it should have been/should be (modal+be).

5. The only thing different was that he no longer spent his evenings in the pub as he did/had done (do) before.

Again I'm not sure, but I didn't use the Past Perfect because I didn't think it's used to express routine (and I checked my grammar book, it doesn't say anything about using it for repeated actions). Also, there's the "before" which makes the time pretty obvious.

Thank you.
goat girl

Japanese help (Solved!)

Hello. I am a Japanese student with still sub-par abilities, and I've been asked to translate and interview by a band. It's one of those 20-questions type interviews, so most of it isn't very hard. However, one question has totally stumped me:

14. これだけはムリ!なもの

The answers range from "petting a hedgehog" to "...crabs" to "looking a girl in the eyes for more than 10 seconds". I cannot figure out what the question is.

Also, one of the answers (...okay, so I'll probably have more questions about answers as time goes on, but for the first two members of the band this is the only one I've had problems with).

The question is "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"  I'm linking to an image from the magazine the article is in, so I don't get the kanji wrong: here The first half is "I think I'll be very affluent and making a lot of money", if I'm not wrong? But the second part confuses me. Sort of. The boy is Korean, and they have a mandatory 2-year military draft for every male adult that must be fulfilled before they turn 30. This boy is currently 18. So is he saying "I think I'll.....money. But I'm worried I'll be in the army" or something completely different. Thank you in advance. Hopefully I won't have to bug you too many times more. I've done more than three-quarters by myself, and should be able to do more. Solved! Thank you.
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

French question + language certificate test question

The easy question is about how to write "female" in French. I have this form that I need to fill in, and at "Sexe:" my brain goes pfft and I have no idea what to put. Is it simply "femme"?

The more difficult question relates to language certification. The form I'm filling in is the inscription for the DALF exam, and I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to do it. My French teacher has never had one of her students go through it before, so she can only advise me to a limited extent. So I would like to hear from some people on here who may have taken the exam!

The level I would be going for is C1. I passed the B2 exam last November, with something like 75% (around 15 points for the oral comprehension and around twenty for each of the other parts). So I guess I have nothing to lose in that department; I'll still have my B2 diploma even if I don't succeed in the C1 exam. (In addition to that, taking the exam while still in school makes it free for me, because there is some education board thingy that takes care of the cost. So if I do get the diploma, I'd save quite a lot of money...)

My background in French is nearly seven years of study in school. I'm about to take my final IB exams, and I've been studying French at Higher Level and am most certainly going to achieve the highest grade. I spent three weeks in France a couple of years ago, and I read and write mostly fluently (I'm currently reading Lord of the Rings in the most recent translation, and it's far less difficult than I imagined). The parts of the exam I'm worried about are the oral ones; the listening may well be extremely difficult, and I'm definitely not very confident in my speaking skills (I have them, but I don't like speaking anyway, and so they don't tend to show).

Do you think I should take the exam now, or would it be wiser to wait?

Thanks in advance!
  • txmmj


Hey everyone.

So, recently I made a blog on youtube in Japanese. Basically made once a month or every two months I'm gunna make a video to practice speaking and thinking in Japanese. I hardly EVER get to practice, so hopefully that'll help :)

Anywho, I'd like for anyone who'd like to to watch it. Perhaps you could help me with the parts that sounded awkward/not natural/wrong. No one has told me anything sounded weird or wrong yet, so hopefully one of you can catch something so I can correct myself for the future!

Any questions about things you didn't know what I was saying/trying to say is greatly appreciated nad I will gladly answer 8D



(no subject)

This past Sunday, I again had the experience of interacting with native speakers of a language other than my own, Spanish. It is not required at my place of work for employees to speak English. I took over a shift for Easter Sunday and ended up working with six or so Spanish speakers (Cuban and Haitian Spanish, to be specific). I speak minimal Spanish and mostly Castilian Spanish at that. My coworkers speak minimal English.

I found that I preferred that they talk to me in Spanish than in English. It is much easier for me to observe them speak Spanish and watch their body language than for them to speak English.

Btw, the work went absolutely fine, with very few problems, though very little conversation. I got a nickname, too, which made me lol: muchacha rápida.

I'm wondering, is this true for other people? Do you prefer to have a nonfluent speaker of your language speak their native language or do you prefer them to speak yours? I am bilingual (fluent in English, conversant in German) and I'm wondering if that has anything to do with it.

EDIT: This was not meant to be a question of whether non-native English speakers speak well or are intelligent or are somehow more talented at speaking two languages than native English speakers. My coworkers do not speak English at more than basic communication. My Spanish is enough that I can comprehend very slowly spoken Spanish. The question was whether, in a situation where two groups are almost mutually unintelligible, would you prefer to hear highly accented, highly abstract usage of your native language or would you prefer to listen and watch the others speak their language?

This situation occurs about once a week for me and 'please', 'thank you', 'gracias', 'basura', 'todos', and 'no' are typically the main dialogue.