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    • Willow

      Welcome to the forum!   09/17/2017

      Please come in from the rain and sit by the fire! We're happy you found us and hope you will feel at home here.  

About This Club

A club to discuss languages and language learning, for all languages, learners, teachers and linguists alike.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. For those wanting to learn any Romance language, here are some general notes about learning these languages. The way to begin, if English is your native language, is by looking at words we get from the language in question as well as learning how to convert the Latin part of English into that language. We can identify Latin derived words in English often by their endings. These endings include: *-ion *-able/-ible *-ant/-ent *-ade *-age Words with these endings are spelled the same in French as in English and often mean the same, just differing in pronunciation. For example, the word 'table' has same meaning in French and English. Every letter of that word pronounced in English is also pronounced in French, but it only has one syllable in French, the <a> sounded as in 'father.' In Spanish and Portuguese words ending in -al are also spelled like in English but with a difference in pronunciation. Words ending in -able/-ible are spelled the same in Spanish as in English and French but the pronunciation is different again, with the <e> on the ending sounding as in 'elavator.' Spanish and Italian both add an -e to -ant/-ent words. Many dialects of Italian, except in the north,* also add the same letter and sound to -al words. -tion becomes -cion in Spanish and -zione in the same Italian dialects that add 'e' to -al words. Words ending -able/-ible in English, French and Spanish end in -abile and -ibile in Italian. In Portuguese, the 'b' in the middle of Latin words becomes a 'v' giving words like provável. Notice how the -able becomes -ável. Similarly, -ible becomes -ível as in possível. In Romanian, -able/-ible becomes -abil/-ibil, like in Italian but without the -e. But words ending in -ant and -ent are spelled the same as in English, just differing in pronouncation. All Romance languages have noun gender, and these same endings also identify the gender of nouns. Nouns are those words that can have 'the' in front of the in English. For example, all nouns ending in -ion in French and Spanish and -ione in Italian are feminine in all Romance languages. This includes Portuguese where -tion becomes -ção and -sion becomes -são, both these Portuguese endnings like like the English word 'sound' but without reaching the <n> or pronouncing the <d>. It also includes Romanian where -sion becomes -sinue or -ziune and -tion becomes -ție. And nonuns ending in -ant, like 'restaurant', and -ent such as 'moment' are also masculine in all Romance languages, this includes Spanish and Italian where an -e is added onto the end. Nouns ending in -ation can also be used to find verbs in the same word family by other conversion techniques. In French, replacing the -aiton with -er gives the from of a verb with the same meaning as 'to' in front of a verb in English. In Spanish and Italian respectively, replacing the -ation with -ar and -are gives the to-form of a similar verb. In Romanian there is a very neat trick where cutting off the -ion from an -ation word gives equivalent of the -ed form of a verb, and then dropping the -t gives the he/she/it form of the verb. *Italian has a lot of dialects the Florentine one being what we know of as "Italian", some, such as Siclian are as different from the Florentine dialect as is Spanish, Sardinian even more so. A lot of words in these dialects end in vowels and these languages have a distinct prosody that has something to do with this. This prosody can be heard in central and southern Italian accents in English and causes vowels to be added onto English words, as in 'I don't understanda, I not speaka good Inglese.'
  3. There are some interesting differences between Romanian and Italian. In Italian, verbs typically end in -are, -ere or -ire. For example, 'descrivere' - to describe. In Romanian, it is nouns that end in -are, -ire or -ere. In Romanian, 'descriere' = description. Same ending, different function.
  4. We all speak different languages in this club. So, I've had an idea so that each of us can get something out of each other. Basically, each new post is for a new foreign word, but we'll go progressively through the alphabet. It is OK to skip a letter if you can't find a word meaning with a particular letter, e.g., Q. If you can't find a word beginning with Z, its fine to go back to A and start again. The word chosen should be a foreign one of a language of your choice and also translated into English. Please only post one new word at a time so others can take part. I also encourage, people to reply with a translation into another language. If we're a few letters along, its still fine to reply with a few translations in one go, for example, f, g, h, but please keep within one post. OK, I'll start Avion (French) = Aeroplane
  5. rzeka (Polish) = river
  6. Another conversion techniquie has to do with -tain verbs. In French, tenir can mean 'to hold' or 'to keep,' as can tenire in Italian, and (it seems) ținu in Romanian. In Spanish however, tenir means 'to possess.' Take a verb ending in -tain in English and replace it with the verb meaning 'to possess' (In Spanish and Portuguese) and 'to hold/keep' (in other Romance languages) gives a verb in that language, often with the same meaning. Then there's the -ment ending. We have this in English in words like 'movement' and 'entertainment'. In French, it is spelled the same as in English, just with a difference in pronunciation. In Spanish and Italian, it is spelled -mente and is pronounced as written, both these languages and most other Romance languages are pronounced more consistantly with spelling. In all these Romance languages, it can be used like -ly in English.
  7. Queso (Spanish) = Cheese.
  8. While we have 'bon' in English in expressions like bon apetit, I intended to look at coverting the Latin side of English into these languages, coverting between different Romance languages is a different matter and less relevant to English speaking learners. Apetit is in fact one of those French words that means what it looks like it means. By the way, the ending -tor stays the same in Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian, becomes -ore in Italian. In French, it becomes -eur. Hence elevateur, docteur, moteur, etc. And these nouns are all masculine. Nouns refering to people and animals that specify their gender tend to take their natural gender, so you only need to learn the exceptions. Also, you'll notice that certain noun endings have specific genders. I forgot to mention that all -age nouns in French are masculine, but most other nouns ending in -e are feminine, even though the -e is not pronounced.* The difference in prounciation of tout and toute (both meaning 'all' but with different genders) is simply that the second <t> in the latter is pronounced. *It does tend to be sounded in songs, the most famous example is in the French song Alouette, which also mentions many body parts. French like to end things in vowels when signing.
  9. A Foreign word for each letter

    Piove (Italian) = Rain
  10. I've also noticed that some words that end in -n in French and other Romance languages end in -m in Portuguese. For example, bon (good) in French is bom in Portuguese.
  11. I agree with @RiRi. There's no such thing as a 'trivial' word. As far as I'm aware, there's nothing in the rules of the game that says that the word has to be different or dissimilar to words in English, so RiRi can post whatever word she likes. Unless @HalfFull decides otherwise. Ok, the last word started with N, so: ochi (Romanian) = eye.
  12. Okay. I acknowledge that this is your opinion. However, I think it's pretty interesting/fascinating that words can be similar across some languages. To me, they're not trivial examples because I think sometimes people don't know that a word in Spanish resembles a word in English (unless they hear it, maybe). So if the chance arises, I will continue posting Spanish words which are similar in spelling and sometimes in pronunciation to the English language.
  13. A Foreign word for each letter

    This word is spelt the same and has the same meaning as in English, so it's a pretty trivial example. The Spanish word for family is another quite trivial example given.
  14. A Foreign word for each letter

    Why did we skip M-Z?
  15. A Foreign word for each letter

    Aantrekkelijk (Dutch) = Attractive
  16. Loco/a (Spanish) = Crazy.
  17. A Foreign word for each letter

    Krankenhaus (German) = hospital
  18. jutro (Polish) = tomorrow
  19. Jaqueca (Spanish) = Headache.
  20. A Foreign word for each letter

    Irritant (Dutch) = Annoying
  21. In response to the initial post, I think it's possible to master a language and still have a non-native accent. I have mastered the English langusge, but I don't sound like a native speaker. Additionally, I didn't start learning the language as an adult. I was fluent by the age of 13. What do you guys think explains my non-native to English accent? I know you guys don't know me personally, but in a general sense, what could account for this non-native English speaker accent?
  22. @HalfFull Okay. Sounds like a good idea. Hijo (Spanish) = Son.
  23. A Foreign word for each letter

    If anyone posts the wrong letter, we'll just carry on from that letter anyway. Geld (German) = money
  24. Native speaking pronunciation of English varies widely, but if a non-native speaker hasn't fully mastered it fully, one can tell from their accent that English is not their native language, but why is that? What is the difference between native and non-native accents and what's the explanation for that? *One is staccato talking. Native speakers of continental European languages often sound as if they put pauses between syllables when speaking English, and I believe they aren't the only ones who do it. You don't get that in native accents in English. *All native accents in English distingish between [v] and [w], most other languages don't make this distiction. Take for example, the words 'west' and 'vest'. Pronouncing <w> as [v] or <v> as [w] or mixing them up marks one as non-native speaking. *The distinction between the TRAP vowel and the DRESS vowel is also standard, even though the pronunciation of each of those two vowels varies between native accents. *Most but not all native accents have the two [th] sounds. And in ones that don't, it either becomes a flat [d], or an [f]. Some Irish do pronounce it like [t] or [d] in all positions. Pronouncing the <th> like [ s] or [z] is distinctly foreign. Native speakers from some English speaking countries and areas may say one of the following: *Wot's da madda wiv dat/'at red bed? [Afro-American Engilsh or Pittsburghese] *Wot's the metta with thet rid bid? [New Zealand and South Africa] *Wot's the mutta with thaht radd badd? [Certain regional accents in England] Native speakers from some places pronounce the <r> in all positions, others only pronounce it only at the beginning of a syllable - including between vowels. There are a few native accents with a trilled <r>, at least at the beginning of a syllable. But 'Vot's ze metta viz zet red bed' is distinctly foreign sounding.
  25. Acutally, we don't train our muscles to produce indivdual sounds but sound patterns. Sound patterns vary from language to language and it can be difficult for adults (apart from gifted language learners) to adjust to pronouncing new sound patterns. It seems like we actually train our muscles to produce not to produce individual sounds but whole syllables. Those with normal speech development learn their native spoken language and train their muscles before they know anything of writing. I believe they think of whole syllables, they don't learn to decompose syllables until they learn to read.