1. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico

    About English..

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Marcelo, Jun 26, 2008.

    More problems from this aspiring writer :D

    You see... I'm Mexican. I'm also 14 years old, and I know I have a lot of time to master English. However, sometimes I think I won't be able to. So when I'm reading, I scribble any word whose meaning I don't know. Most of the books I read had like 20 or 30 words but, Mr. Tolkien surprises me yet again! In just a few chapters I have already found 87 words. This discourages me, anyone knows of a better (not necessarily better, but faster) way to learn English?
     
  2. Rebekkamaria
    Offline

    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    La-la-land
    Watch movies without subs/dups, read a lot, check the spelling of the words you're not sure about (thesaurus can be your best friend: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/), talk with your online friends, write a lot, read the grammar book, learn to find other people's mistakes (don't correct people all the time, though) etc. :D
     
  3. PipeandPen
    Offline

    PipeandPen Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Don't be too down about Tolkien can articulate in a very broad vocabulary, but just continue what you're doing.

    Rebekkamarie gave great advice, and I can't think of anything to add to it.
     
  4. Lucy E.
    Offline

    Lucy E. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    4
    Marcelo, from what I've seen of your writing, you have a better grasp of the English language than many native English-speakers do. Rebekkamaria's advice is very good. Also, remember that for every word you write down and look up, your English is improving. As PipeandPen said, Tolkien has a very broad vocabulary and I'd be lying if I said I know what every word he uses means. Crumbs, my ENGLISH TEACHER is Mexican. She learned English when she was sixteen, and by now she's written and published five English novels!
    Keep at it, read a lot, write a lot,
     
  5. JanesLife
    Offline

    JanesLife Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NY :D
    I'm ridiculously bi-lingual, although one wouldn't guess it (in Spain I was called Blanc-ita). I guess we're completely opposite; I grew up speaking English and I am learning to speak Spanish. When reading books, I did the same thing; I wrote down hard words, etc. When you have finished the book, though, you should look back at the words to see which you know and which you don't. When I do this, I stick the hard words on index cards or post-its on my wall. Also, you should read books in English first, and then in Spanish, to see how well you understand them. While this is all important, I found that (and yes, I am ashamed) watching the television and listening to the radio in Spanish (for you it would be English) helped me to grow acclimated to the words. Good luck!
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Yo también soy bi-lingual! Hay muchos de nosotros! Mi idioma nativa es Español. Soy Puertorriqueño.

    Don’t let yourself get too crazy about mastering English! It is a tough language because the rules are crazy, and the spelling makes no sense, but you can do it!

    I have learned English to a degree that has been quoted as being academic and definitely better than standard! You can do it too! You are only fourteen years old (don’t take that the wrong way.) You have so much time to get better! The fact that you love reading and writing tells me already that you are going to come to your adult years with a formidable understanding of the English language.
     
  7. SonnehLee
    Offline

    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    6,112
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Far away from home
    I could understand that! Yay spanish class! I haven't forgotten it all yet.
     
  8. ugu
    Offline

    ugu Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's not you, it's Tolkien. You should probably start with contemporary writers.
     
  9. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    Marcelo,

    The difference between success and failure is usually perseverance. If Edison had given up the first time a filament burned out in his experimental light bulbs, somebody else would have been first to "invent" the light bulb. History is littered with examples that confirm the value of such dogged persistence.

    In your case that means "patience". You are doing everything right. Continue to challenge yourself. Continue to keep notes and study every new word or phrase you find. Take great satisfaction from finding works that test your limits...that means you are growing fast!

    From your comment, I admire your enthusiasm and desire. I can also assure you that if you just keep following your present course, the rewards are not far away. And, as others have said, you already write English better than most. So, be patient young lad. Of course, asking a young person to "be patient" is akin to asking for rain to fall up!

    .....NaCl
     
  10. Amor
    Offline

    Amor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    1
    My friend moved here from El Salvador and she learned English fluently in less than a year, because she was really determined to master the language. She watched English TV, listened to English songs, etc. I always look up words that I don't know in books that I read, so I'm constantly expanding my vocabulary. I'm glad that you're determined, Marcelo =)

    And on a side note, Wrey, I actually understood that without using a crappy online translator! Soy Puertorriqueña tambien yay :]
     
  11. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Online translators are the worst, and I like them that way! I work as an interpreter. A real one, made of flesh and blood. :D If those things really did a good job, I would be out of a job! :eek:
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it will most often be a new writer's worst enemy, since all the words listed as 'synonyms' don't mean exactly the same thing and can't all be used in the same way, so you must always look each word up in the dictionary before using it, to make sure it's going to say what you want it to... and even then, it can still be the wrong word, so only by increasing your vocabulary and knowledge of the meaning and proper use of words, can you be safe from committing major or minor goofs in word choice...

    i can't emphasize the importance of this too much, since one of the most serious problems virtually all the aspiring writers who come to me for help have in common is inapt word choices...
     
  13. Amor
    Offline

    Amor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    1
    o_O Whoahhhh. Well let's hope you're made of flesh and blood.

    I will never again wish that online translators would be better. Yay to their crappiness! =P
     
  14. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    LOL! You've got the poor kid scrambling for a dictionary now!
     
  15. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico
    Yeah, I'll keep doing all those thing. Thesaurus proved to be a good website. And yeah, just two years ago I actually started understanding all the english I heard without subtitles (I was really happy :D), and... Well, as I said I have a lot of time. Thanks! :)
     
  16. InkDancer
    Offline

    InkDancer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Sayville, NY
    As a native English speaker, I once read a Spanish translation of The Lord of the Rings... or should I say, El señor de los anillos. That was like taking steroids for my Spanish vocabulary. The more challenging books you read, the more you'll learn, but the slower you'll go. As long as you're reading what you enjoy to read, though, you'll have the motivation to make it through.

    Once you get to the point where you can go pages without looking up a word, try figuring out the words you don't know from context. That's what native speakers do, and you can learn quite a lot just by paying attention to how words are used.

    Good luck!
     
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,907
    Likes Received:
    10,096
    Location:
    Puerto Rico


    OMG, Inkie! :eek: I have the same book. The grammar and vocab was/is so convoluted and archaic, I just couldn't get through it. I picked it up expecting it to be an entertaining read, and instead I felt like I was back in university. If you read it cover to cover, then you just earned some mad points with me. :D
     
  18. InkDancer
    Offline

    InkDancer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Sayville, NY
    Dude, I read the appendices. :D (I felt I had to... they printed them up in a separate volume, which I bought for the sake of completeness.) You've never lived until you've read an English description of Quenya translated into Spanish. For the sake of complete honesty, though, I did skip "el árbol genealógico del señor Samsagaz." But that's okay, because I skipped it in English too.

    Oddly enough, reading that translation helped when I read through the Bible in Spanish, since so much of the language was the same.
     
  19. Rebekkamaria
    Offline

    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    La-la-land
    Oh, one more advice: get a beta reader and learn from his/her corrections. Let others nitpick your work, let others give you advice and really learn from all of it. My beta-readers have been my best teachers. Those native speakers who have a great understanding of the English language are truly treasures. :-D They can make you see things your English teachers could never make you see.

    Also, I agree with mammamaia that the thesaurus isn't really a synonym source. :-D But these mistakes (synonym mistakes) also make you see the finer sides of this language. I also use both English-Finnish dictionary and a English dictionary to see if the word I'm using is the right one... even after that I make mistakes. :) But it's a part of the learning process.
     
  20. conifer
    Offline

    conifer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    You should start with TV shows: The Simpsons is very good. Just keep watching sitcoms and cartoons for a while and you will get used to English at least a little bit. Don't give up, I didn't speak a word of English a couple of years ago.
     
  21. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico
    I know how to speak english.. And, The Simpsons is the only show that I prefer in spanish. I mean... Homer's voice is so hilarious! And Family Guy, never watch it in spanish, Peter's and Stewie's voices are great!
     
  22. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    actually, i never said that... or meant to have what i said taken that way... roget's is a great synonym source, as well as a super source of 'related' words/expressions...

    a thesaurus doesn't contain any 'mistakes' [if that's what you referred to]... it's some who use it who make mistakes by thinking entries are exact synonyms, when many are 'close, but no cigar' so to speak [which may be what you referred to]...

    not being argumentative, just wanted to clarify what it was i said and meant... hugs, m
     
  23. Rebekkamaria
    Offline

    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    La-la-land
    ^I only meant that Thesaurus isn't a good synonym source for a foreign writer unless she/he uses the dictionary of her own language and does the work of looking for the right answers and finer tones.

    And the mistakes with synonyms were meant to mean the mistakes we foreigners make, not the thesaurus containing mistakes.

    Do I really talk this unclearly? I appologize.
     

Share This Page