learning foreign languages

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Martijn
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Martijn » Tue May 27, 2008 00:54

You can also add a Greek keyboard to your keyboard settings and then switch to that one using left alt+shift. This way, the keys on your keyboard just correspond to Greek characters. Of course, you'll have to get a hang for which key is which character, but it kind of makes sense. (I hope I too am making sense. It's late.)

Note that pronunciation has changed a bit since the ancient times and modern Greek is a different language. Δηννις, for instance, would now be pronounced 'Dinnis'. I know all that because I too intended to learn (modern) Greek once. But I still haven't got much further than (roughly) knowing how to pronounce words. This, despite having been married to a Greek woman for almost two years.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by crystalball » Fri May 30, 2008 11:55

How come you're learning Greek, meepmeep?

Here's a picture of how the Greek keyboard would be laid out if you follow Martijn advice. Once you get the hang of the characters, it should be straightforward but it's probably best to learn them using pen and paper so you can teach yourself how to write them before you start typing them.

I could send you letters in Greek and then you'd have to use a dictionary to decipher them. That's what my dad did with my mum when they first met and she still lived in France and it would take her a week to read each letter. How romantic.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by meepmeep » Fri May 30, 2008 13:41

Martijn wrote:You can also add a Greek keyboard to your keyboard settings and then switch to that one using left alt+shift. This way, the keys on your keyboard just correspond to Greek characters. Of course, you'll have to get a hang for which key is which character, but it kind of makes sense. (I hope I too am making sense. It's late.)
Thanks, I thought of doing that. When I lived in England and had an English keyboard I had that done, but for Swedish.
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by meepmeep » Fri May 30, 2008 13:47

crystalball wrote:How come you're learning Greek, meepmeep?

Here's a picture of how the Greek keyboard would be laid out if you follow Martijn advice. Once you get the hang of the characters, it should be straightforward but it's probably best to learn them using pen and paper so you can teach yourself how to write them before you start typing them.

I could send you letters in Greek and then you'd have to use a dictionary to decipher them. That's what my dad did with my mum when they first met and she still lived in France and it would take her a week to read each letter. How romantic.
Well, the reason is a bit random. I had (very naively) expected that I would have a job by now, but I haven't and to get money my only choice was to do a summer course at the university. However, you are really meant to apply for them in March I think, so when I came to the conclusion I had to do it, the only course left was a Greek introduction. But I guess it will be fun.

I have practiced a bit and have now learnt the Greek alphabet and how the letters are pronounced (sort of). So I guess next step is to start learning a bit of grammar. The course doesn't start for another week and a half so I've got quite a lot of time. And you don't need to know anything in advance, I just thought it would be convenient if I did.

But letters in Greek! Yes! And also, you can test me at Indietracks, by then I will be halfway through my course!
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by crystalball » Fri May 30, 2008 22:32

meepmeep wrote:to get money my only choice was to do a summer course at the university.
Sweden is a very weird, very wonderful country.

Σουηδία, σ'αγαπώ!

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by meepmeep » Fri May 30, 2008 23:07

crystalball wrote:Sweden is a very weird, very wonderful country.

Σουηδία, σ'αγαπώ!
Sweden, something? I'm just guessing!
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Sootyzilla » Sat May 31, 2008 00:29

crystalball wrote:Sweden is a very weird, very wonderful country.
Σουηδία, σ'αγαπώ!

ώ
What's this letter? I don't know exactly what body part it looks like, but it's at least one (and maybe more) of the rude ones.



Greek is a filthy alphabet.

γ
A pert, shaven crotch.

δ
A spermatozoon!
As wrong as it was to do,
Those eyes were made to look into.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by meepmeep » Sat May 31, 2008 00:43

It's omega, gamma and delta. And you've got filthy imagination!
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Sootyzilla » Sat May 31, 2008 00:54

meepmeep wrote:you've got filthy imagination!
Thank you :D
As wrong as it was to do,
Those eyes were made to look into.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Martijn » Tue Jun 03, 2008 08:09

crystalball wrote:That's what my dad did with my mum when they first met and she still lived in France and it would take her a week to read each letter. How romantic.
Ooooh.. so you're half French! Wow! (I will keep on believing you're 3/4 English though.)

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by crystalball » Tue Jun 03, 2008 13:18

The maths don't work at all there, Martijn, but that's the way I like it! I keep saying that I feel English (British?) but I don't really know if you can decide where you are from or whether you just carry bits of national identities around with you and form something of your own. I'm well confused.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by annie » Tue Jun 03, 2008 15:11

crystalball wrote:The maths don't work at all there, Martijn, but that's the way I like it! I keep saying that I feel English (British?) but I don't really know if you can decide where you are from or whether you just carry bits of national identities around with you and form something of your own. I'm well confused.
are you part english, or is it because you've been living here for such a long time? and are you still considering passing the citizenship test or whatever it's called?
after almost four years in the UK, i probably feel more 'belgian' than ever. whatever that means, seeing as i'm only half belgian anyway. but i've realized where i grew up has influenced me a lot more than i might've thought at first. i can't explain how/why though.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by crystalball » Tue Jun 03, 2008 18:04

That's interesting. I am sure that when you move away from the place you grew up, you end up filtering your experience of what it means to come from there and understand it a bit better and embrace it. I dunno why it's never happened to me. I thought it was because I couldn't grasp the concept of national identity but I am not sure now. Maybe I'm just resisting the inherent nationalism that comes with being Greek, and my inability to grasp French irregular verbs never helped me feel French either. I feel at home here and that's all I ever needed, really. Are you thinking of ever going back to Belgium to live, Annie? I am going to apply for British citizenship this year.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by annie » Tue Jun 03, 2008 19:00

crystalball wrote:I feel at home here and that's all I ever needed, really. Are you thinking of ever going back to Belgium to live, Annie? I am going to apply for British citizenship this year.
i've no plans to go back to belgium, no. unless i start disliking the political situation here too much (no matter how much i dislike new labour i'm one of the seemingly few people nowadays who do believe a tory government would be even worse), but then what's been happening in belgium on the political front is such a massive (horrible) joke that it'd be no better. i'd bugger off to france but they had to go and vote for sarkozy didn't they. i do love belgium but it's not like i'm 'proud' to be belgian or anything, if that makes sense. it's just my home country and always will be, even if i don't particularly want to live there.
if (and it's very likely) i stay in the UK i don't see myself applying for british citizenship anytime soon. i would love to be able to vote in the general election (though i do wonder who the hell i could vote for), but it just feels so 'wrong', for some reason. maybe that'll change in a few years. the idea of having to learn what it means to be 'british' (replace with any nationality) and to pass a test really irks me though.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by RITH » Tue Jun 03, 2008 20:19

crystalball wrote:Maybe I'm just resisting the inherent nationalism that comes with being Greek
annie wrote:i do love belgium but it's not like i'm 'proud' to be belgian or anything
Not meaning to say with this anything bad about either country or the people that live in it, but to me it appears there hardly could be a more opposite feeling of national awareness and proudness then between these two (not these two quotes; these two countries!).

I'm just going by the stereotypical clichés here (and I know much more Belgians then Greeks).

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by macdangermouse » Tue Jun 03, 2008 22:26

meepmeep wrote:I borrowed a Greek/Swedish dictionary from the library today, to start preparing fot the Greek course I'm doing at uni this summer and just looking at it has made me scared. It's going to take me days, probably even weeks, to just get the hang of the Greek alphabet! Has anyone got any suggestions on how to do it, like ways I could practice or someting? Just to learn the alphabet, I mean.
Good luck meepmeep. I lived in Greece for nearly a year and didn't learn anything at all. Words aren't meant to have so many sylables....

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by meepmeep » Tue Jun 03, 2008 22:47

Thanks!

Anyway, about the living in different countries/feeling what nationality you are or belong to...I don't know if I felt more Swedish when I lived in England, although I did by all means get annoyed often and feel things were better in Sweden. I especially felt England was unnecessary old-fashioned and bureaucratic. And I missed the more left-wing society that Sweden represented to me. I used to be proud of Sweden. Not of being a Swede (because that would be slightly nationalistic and scary), but for the things that I felt the Swedish society represented. Now that's changing to the worse anyway because of this right wing government that we are currently suffering under and the differences of the countries are becoming smaller, so I really don't think I would care if I lived here or in England, and it wouldn't bother me what nationality poeple thought I was (lots of people used to think I was Irish!).

Nationality doesn't really matter to me, what matters is the society we create together. I don't care if I'm Swedish or English or whatever. But if I was to live in England I would definitely apply to become a citizen asap, to really feel part of what's going on, especially since both Sweden and England accept double citizenship and I could still be a Swedish citizen.

I didn't know you had to do a test to become a citizen in the UK, though. That's a bit weird, isn't it?
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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by RITH » Tue Jun 03, 2008 23:47

meepmeep wrote:I didn't know you had to do a test to become a citizen in the UK, though. That's a bit weird, isn't it?
It's the same in the Netherlands, and I don't think it's such a bad idea. I'm not saying I agree with how the tests are exactly (and I don't know into detail), but in general it's not a bad idea to have a person know the language and some of the country's habits and history when accepting them as a citizen I think.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Martijn » Wed Jun 04, 2008 07:56

RITH wrote:It's the same in the Netherlands, and I don't think it's such a bad idea.
It is not so bad an idea in theory. In practise I've never really seen it work well. I've seen some examples of Dutch citizenship tests and most of the questions were either unreasonable (the equivalent of 'how long does it take by train to go from Liverpool to Sheffield'*), or about some national habit that isn't even considered good by everyone, let alone you want to subtly push immigrants into doing so. Also, currently you have to do the citizenship test at the embassy of your own country, as my former colleague who married a Mexican woman found out. She had to go back to Mexico City (miles from where she lived back there too) to do the test, or she would not be allowed to stay in the country for longer than three months on a tourist visa. Now they live in England.

* the actual question was a multiple-choice one about Amsterdam and Enschede. I've been to both cities, by train, but because of my geographical location, never from one to the other.

I don't think I would ever give up Dutch and/or apply for British citizenship unless I had to (to stay in the UK for instance - we Dutch are known to be pragmatic like that). Much as I don't like many things the Netherlands represent, it is my country, my culture and my heritage after all. I think it's only fair enough to keep a passport that confirms that.

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Re: learning foreign languages

Post by Jono Volpone » Wed Jun 04, 2008 08:48

Martijn wrote:Much as I don't like many things the Netherlands represent
I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I'd be intrigued to know what you don't like about the Netherlands. It is without doubt one of my favourite countries, and the Dutch people are generally really lovely, friendly, and laid back. It is without doubt one of the countries in which I'd most like to live. But I'm naive! What are you not keen on, and how does NL compare to GB for you?
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