Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning langauges

One of these days every last one of you is going to get tired of hearing about learning Catalan.


The problem is that it absorbs my life, so it appears here too.

I had a Catalan class today, it is quite a different one as it is aimed at helping people who have problems with writing Catalan correctly though they are Catalan speakers. Catalan is not very clear cut.

What was interesting was that I didn't make any more mistakes than the other students. Granted, they are there because they need to be and are having trouble with the language, still they are in their final years of high school, and are native speakers...and I have been at it for two years. (Yeah for me!)

We make totally different mistakes though. Which is interesting. Some things that are obvious and easy for me are very hard for them, I have no problems with confusion with Spanish, as some words are similar. I also have no problem with pronunciation produced confusion, because I pronounce everything wrong.

However, I cannot use pronunciation to assist me with the accents, as it does enormously, instead I get to use the accents to assist me with pronunciation....not really their purpose, but it can be done to some extent.

It is fascination to see what errors we make, and why.....

I do find it endlessly interesting how the insides of people's heads work, how we acquire information.

My nephews are here, and they are bilingual....English and Polish, though their Polish is better. The younger one makes mistakes with word order, normally when he elects for Polish syntax, and he makes classical errors like, 'I blewed the candles out' as he doesn't know the irregular form, he simply follows the grammatical rules. A normal process that all kids do, just it normally happens when they are a litte younger as they have more exposure.

At one point in the class the teacher was doing a dictation (goodness how they love these) , and she said two words that I thought were part of a list. After a bit I realised that she meant one of these three period marks that indicate a pause........ like that one just back there; except I had written it out like a word in the grocery list.... we need some OJ, TP, PB, mustard and uestion marks. We got a good laugh from that one.

Hard work though too. For all of us.

Having TONS of fun with my sister and her kids, and eating WAY too much food, and playing altogether too much. (is that possible?)

Hope you have a great weekend.




J.G. said...

Have you read David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day"? It's got some laugh-til-you-cry essays about his struggles in French class. Highly recommended . . . though not for kids, if you know what I mean.

Beth said...

I don’t think it’s possible to play too much. (As long as the bills get paid and all those other essentials are taken care of...)

I may have already mentioned this to you but re: children/how the brain absorbs new languages: While having his wisdom teeth removed Sam (who is bilingual and who was out of it - full of drugs) freaked out and began shouting in French! The Doctor, nurses and I were amazed. So, certain drugs react with the language part of his brain? Fascinating.

hulagirlatheart said...

I'm with Beth. I don't think it's possible to play too much or have too much fun.

I have to admit I would be intimidated to attempt a new language at this age.

Carla said...

Glad you are having fun with your sister and kids. We all need more of it.

Languages... I don't think my brain is compatible with new languages. Perhaps it's an auditory thing... LOL I do admire that you are doing it.

oreneta said...

JG, I am going to go and put it on my list RIGHT NOW.

Beth, you did mention about your son, amazing isn't it. I remember hearing an interview with a concert violinist who made the -tragic -error of flying with a concussion, and he lost his mother tongue. Can you imagine? is highly underrated amongst adults....I am intimidated too, but it is mostly fun...

Carla, frankly I am a long way from a natural. I am motivated to keep studying by the impressed Catalans who are amazed how well I speak after two and a half years, though I have to admit, I am less thrilled by my progress than that.

dawn said...

I find the inner workings of people's minds interesting too, and it has become more apparent to me since Sirdar's parents were in the accident. It is amazing what people can think and they think it is totally logical as they are saying it even if it is ridiculous. Once you point it out, they say, "I guess you're right", but somehow the next time they say it, they forget and it is their memory. It is like being awake in a dream world, very strange. It is great your sister and her kids are visiting. I makes for fun times for sure.

oreneta said...

Dawn, is astonishing how the brain works....not an entirely logical tool in fact.

She said...

I love reading about you learning the language! I wish I knew more than one language. I studied Classical Greek, but I don't remember much

And I went to Morelia Michoachan Mexico to study Spanish in my 20s, but I don't remember much of it, either!

So, tell me all about it! I'm interested!

Drac said...

I think the fact that I knew English helped me in regards to writing Catalan. As a person who writes in English I am used to words being spelled different than what they sound, and maybe this gave me a mental edge.
I think someone who is used to writing only in Spanish would have a more dificult time of it, as that language is written pretty much as it sounds.

I never tire of your Catalan language related posts.

Drac said...

Oh, and I agree with J.G., David Sedaris is halarious in "me talk pretty one day". I highly recommend it.

oreneta said...

She, I have to confess that I have been embarrassed about my mono-lingual status for a while...and I am glad that the Catalan is coming....slowly....

Drac! Thanks for dropping by! You're right too, I think that the irregular spellings in English do help me cruise through the weirder spellings in Catalan that WOULD be trickier coming from such a phonetic language like Spanish...and I am just going to HAVE to get my hands on that book.