1. superdoopersauce
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    superdoopersauce Member

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    Learning another language...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by superdoopersauce, Jul 11, 2011.

    One thing I've noticed about learning German is how much you learn about English... or whatever your mother tongue is. I've taken creative writing classes, journalism classes, and English classes (of course), but nothing has improved my form and structure and word usage like my German classes, both here and in Germany. I started learning German about 3 years ago, and I got pretty intense into it, and now I'm functionally fluent. Reading Kafka's The Metamorphosis in its original language really uncovers a new dynamic that doesn't really come out in the translated version, even though the translation is pretty good. Reading both languages side-by-side also reveals a lot of interesting aspects about the form and structure of certain stories.

    I'd say one of the best ways to master your mother tongue is to learn another language.

    Anyone have a similar experience?
     
  2. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    In high school I had a foreign language teacher say the same thing. He explained learning a second language actually taught you more about grammar in your mother language. So people who are bilingual have an advantage over others who speak only one language.
     
  3. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oooh cool! I've been studying German for about 8 years now and am just finishing my year abroad. I'm not sure about it improving my writing since i'm still planning my novel, but i'm hopping the same will happen to me ^^. Although one thing I don't feel like it's improving is my speaking...Lately I seem to be speaking alot of Denglish with words placed in German tense or generally using the wrong word because in German it sounds right. That said, it may just have to do with the fact that I've been in Germany for the past year ^^. I assume your studying at university too? Are you also planning on taking a year abroad?
     
  4. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I've taken Spanish, French and German, and I can definitely agree. It makes my understanding of English a lot deeper and my appreciation of languages deeper too.
     
  5. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I took 3 yrs of Spanish in school. I did notice that learning in Spanish helped writing. But I think its the way they teach it.

    If you learn the language without a teacher would it help? They teach the language with sentence structure, tenses, and nouns and adjectives.
    Does Rosetta stone teach that way? (Thats not how we learned our first language, like they advertise.)
    I learned German in Germany, without a teacher. I am more confident in what I know in German, but I am better at speaking Spanish.(2 years in Germany vs three yrs of education Spanish and all my youth with Spanish speakers.)

    I learned German and Greek while stationed in those countries.
    Question: Does anyone else think like I do? Say I am speaking in German, and can't think of the word, my mind automatically pops the Spanish word for it in my mind, or less likely the Greek word.(only 1 yr in Greece)
    Like there is only two languages, English and all the others.

    I think I forgot how to count in Greek, at one time I could count to ten in four other languages. Japanese being the forth.(Karate class)
     
  6. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've heard that. I'm not sure if it has for me or not because I haven't done languages seriously since my GCSEs. It does help in terms of grammar and tenses I think though. But I would like to become fluent in another language, probably French or Spanish since I did those at school, so I could read a book in another language.
     
  7. superdoopersauce
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    superdoopersauce Member

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    I also think it's strange that ever since I started writing and reading German, my writing in English has become sort-of Germanic in structure - I tend to go for the longer sentences with sometimes more-than-necessary detail. There's something aesthetically and structurally pleasing about the German language, especially when it comes to story telling and narration. I'm glad that I have the influence of another language, I feel like it widens my scope of understanding and creativity when it comes to writing.

    I just graduated here, and I'm planning on going to grad school in Germany for sociology next year, or maybe I'll leave a bit sooner if I can find a job over there :)
     
  8. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are approximately 100,000 or more words in the English vocabulary.

    There are estimates that an articulate person may know 50,000 words.

    In average every day usage, about 1,000 are used.


    Out of this pool, 20,000 words are derived from Greek origin.


    Many of the words are used in scientific/medical language (Hippopotamus is derived from Hippos and Potamos, literally a 'water horse') or are considered erudite sounding. Many times they occur in compound words (Dodecaphobia)and have either a Greek prefix (Amazon)or suffix, (Systemology)or both (Cosmology). Some of the words are somewhat familiar and basic. Ego is a clinical term but derives from the Greek word for I.

    It is a language spoken by less than .2% of the world's population but is used by many western cultures to make new words, making it ubiquitous.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I lived in Germany for a few years in high school and am fluent in it. Yep, totally see what you mean about the grammatical similarities. Especially with dativ/akkusativ/genitive/nominitive cases and all the gender congugations for various words (der --> dem, die --> der etc)

    Made my freaking head spin.
     
  10. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are many complex words that are Latin and Greek derived, but the bulk of the common words are derived from Old English, which was a tuetonic language, so of course some words will sound and appear similar.

    The days of the week betray germanic pagan origins.

    Monday - Moon day
    Tuesday - Tyr's day, Norse god of war
    Wednesday - Wotan's day, Germanic version of Odin
    Thursday - Thor's day, Norse thunder god
    Friday - Frigga's day, wife of Odin
    Saturday - Saturn's day, not Norse:p
    Sunday - Sun day, not explicitly Norse either but eh...

    The word man is derived from old English Mann I read, are there are many other examples of common words---some Beowulf scholar might have better inputs, I think twelve in Old English was twelfa?
     
  11. Interceptor
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    Interceptor New Member

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    Learning Latin improved my language understanding a lot. English too, since its not my mother tongue.
     

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