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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Languages

I am interested in language and play about with them. I like being able to say hello in a language, etc. I use Transparent 101 languages which is about £30.
I am interested in the fun and experiences of others so if folk wish to tell me how they got on please do so. I am reading HU and find others individual experiences realy interesting and enjoyable.
Thanks for puting them.
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  #2  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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I use babbel.com for the last 2 years. It's the most interesting of the online courses I found and has a convenient monthly payment so you can cancel anytime if you don't like it. It helped me enough to understand the basics and communicate for for a trip in Italy/Germany. It has basic and advanced grammar lessons so you don't just strictly memorize words, voice recognition and listening, plus an online community for interacting with other people.

ν.
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  #3  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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I'm a luddite, cue cards and verb tables turn me on.

Except Russian ones, that I'm learning at the moment, Russian grammar is making me floppy.

Birdy
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  #4  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Luddites rule!

I've just finished my second Russian for Beginners night class last night - already I'm developing a (probably) unjustified dislike of Saint Cyril.

Birdy - did you find a suitable Russian course for luddites?

Drew
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  #5  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Priviet Drew,

Niet, I've just got a Russian speaker to write out the alphabet for me, then I printed off a list of the thousand most used words in Russian, so I could practice writing, reading and build up my useful vocabulary quickly and painlessly.

Now I've printed off verb tables and pronouns, which I'm currently learning. Bit of a sukha. I hate grammar.

Hopefully, with a working knowledge of how to conjugate, and a starter of an active vocabulary, the rest will fall into place when I turn up in Russia.

Or maybe not...
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  #6  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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I agree with the Luddites!
Learning Russian now, very difficult...
Sit on the train home from work everynight listening to Pimsleur course going over and over again and again
Although I can now order s and wine up to 10 at a time, so should be OK for my trip

Mark
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  #7  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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To study languages, I like the hard way: grammar and vocabulary, not natural ways. Of course, using it is great, but study hard first. But I love even more when language skills do not work, when you have to go for the mimics: starting to move your arms and legs like chicken walking is great fun and it really helps to close ties with the people. The only pity is that you miss a lot when you don't understand...

Ah, think about a visual dictionary, really helpful. Showing a fried egg picture works everywhere!

Russian is really hard, the alphabet is the easiest part, the grammar and vocabulary are the problem. It requires a veeeery good memory. Nonetheless, it is nice and very rewarding when you manage to say something and they really appreciate your effort.
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  #8  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
But I love even more when language skills do not work, when you have to go for the mimics: starting to move your arms and legs like chicken walking is great fun and it really helps to close ties with the people. .

That's right, mate!

In Kiev, last July I was at the restaurant of the small motel where I was lodging while motorcycling my way back to Italy and wanted to order cow meat.
The waitress spoke only Ukrainian, so saying my order in English, French, Italian and German did not work out (I forgot my pocket dictionary in my room), the waitress didn't really understand what I was asking: so, I mimed horns on my head using the two forefingers and saying "mooooo-moooo"... Well, it worked out!
The waitress laughed loud, but 10 minutes later I was eating a delicious steak...
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  #9  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Quote:
ut I love even more when language skills do not work, when you have to go for the mimics: starting to move your arms and legs like chicken walking is great fun and it really helps to close ties with the people. The only pity is that you miss a lot when you don't understand..
Everyone has to love the interpretive art of song and dance!

Working as an interpreter I've had a 3 Star American general cooing and flapping around a room while I mime flushing a toilet and shaking my head. ('Pigeon' in Arabic is very nearly the same word as 'toilet.')

Incidentally during the same session I also accidentally accused the very important Sheikh of being 'a pigeon fu**er.' Apparently 'pigeon fancier,' doesn't translate that well into Arabic.


I also once stood in a packed Andaluz carniceria and asked 'Please may I have a large penis?' Spaniards laughed at me. I didn't know what was so funny. So I repeated myself. I was still funny. It had to be explained to the silly Englishman. I only wanted a big chicken.

Birdy

Last edited by Birdy; 10 Feb 2012 at 13:40. Reason: I type like a fat handed drunk with a shovel.
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  #10  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Knight of the Holy Graal View Post
so, I mimed horns on my head using the two forefingers and saying "mooooo-moooo"... Well, it worked out!
Beef is one of the big old classicals, as well as oinking to ask for pork steak or bleeting for calf. A good one is a chinese eating with chopsticks to ask for rice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post

I also once stood in a packed Andaluz carniceria and asked 'Please may I have a large penis?' Spaniards laughed at me. I didn't know what was so funny. So I repeated myself. I was still funny. It had to be explained to the silly Englishman. I only wanted a big chicken.

Birdy
Oh man, I'm Andalusian! Yeah, pollo is chicken, but just change the final O for an A and it means "d*ck", so you asked for a "gran poll*", hahaha, really funny, I can imagine! Next time, no kidding, you may order bull testicles and you they will be dispatched, "huevos de toro" (you can see it in a Lonely Planet Documentary about Andalusia, the waiter explains the "tapa" to the presenter: moooo moooo, horns and the he grabs is goolies! Very amusing for us to see it.

In Argentina I said: wait a second, "voy a coger el forro", which in Spain means "I'm going to grab the fleeze", big laughs and I notice, because it means "I'm going to f*ck the condom or the idiot", and still it's the same language!

Ah, best word to create confusion: Why? in the local language. People are chatting about something, you don't get a clue but say "why", everyone stops, stares at you to answer and understand "he's taking the piss out", big laughs!
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  #11  
Old 10 Feb 2012
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In Argentina I said: wait a second, "voy a coger el forro", which in Spain means "I'm going to grab the fleeze", big laughs and I notice, because it means "I'm going to f*ck the condom or the idiot", and still it's the same language!
Hahaha, that is the best! I've spoken to many Spaniards with similar tales of South American confusion, but I think yours takes the biscuit. Aint language great?

Your bull testicle comment reminds me of the best phrase I learned when I lived in Toledo, 'no me toques los huevos.' Poetry.

As for pollo/a, at least from that moment on, I never forgot the word for chicken!

Birdy
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  #12  
Old 13 Feb 2012
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I like the different experiences, www.transparent.com/wotd has a free word a day with a sentance and audio in about 24 languages. My problem is retention I cannot retain what I hear unless I am talking to folk in a fun way. I am not used to the Hubb and like your comments any comments on a brain that can retain language. Maybe it is being 56 my mind is not as flexible as the young ones.
Thanks folks.
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  #13  
Old 13 Feb 2012
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Talk to yourself in a fun way.

Half the words in my head are connected to pictures or little stories.

For example;

The arabic word for 'ferry,' is 'baakhira,' and in my head the word moves like the horn of a big ferry 'baaaah,' and the word sails on like the smoke from its funnel 'kira.'

In Russian 'vopros' means 'question.' The big fat walrus with a cleft lip and a heavy Russian accent sits looking confused in my head an prompts me to the sound of the word.

In Spanish 'cocina' is the kitchen, and in slang 'cochina' means a dirty girl, so I have a filthy looking tramp girl saying the sentence 'I'm 'cookinga' in the 'cocina' and I'm a cochina.'

Just three examples of how it workds for me.

Hope that is some help to you.

Birdy
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  #14  
Old 13 Feb 2012
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I like your style. Dur in French is Hard but I am Dur on a Monday morning, Glum. I have sent a cheque for the meeting at Ripley Yorkshire so hope to see you all there I ride a blue and white suzuki gladius. Rectom in Latin is straight so I see where folk talk from if they like straight talk.
Thakks.
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  #15  
Old 13 Feb 2012
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Haha, my latin doesn't go much beyond 'Caecillius est in horto,' or 'porto, portas portat, portamus,' so I'll have to take your word for that, and assume you are talking 'rectom,' not rectum!

Birdy

PS 56 is still more than young enough to learn. I have a 60 year old friend who has just added Farsi to his knowledge.
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