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Old 01-28-2009, 10:38 AM   #91
hidari
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See? It is a wonderful hobby.
However, if you have different hobbies and no wish to learn a new language, and your mother tongue is English, then why bother? There is no benefit, except perhaphs, training your memory.
Agreed on one level Astra: most people are well off with their native tongue. I have taught English for more than a Decade in Russia, Japan and Germany. Many people do not even need English to make it through the day in most of their jobs:

However: for me Language really is Culture: And especially someone like you Astra who is lucky to have grown up with more than one language should know the benefits.

For example: I have listened to live comedy at a show in Irkutsk that was very funny and only in Russian. Plus, most of the jokes were about events happening in Russia in the year 2000.

I have been in countless occasions in several countries where knowing the language helped me to enjoy the experience a little more than being monolingual.

Maybe you are right: Learning a language does not help you learn more about the culture:

BUT for me it does. IF you really learn the language and just listen to the people on the street. You can get as much from them as many books you will read.

PS And for me the best bonus of having another language in my head: The ability to experience Novels, Poetry, Plays and Music in the original language: nothing better....
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:43 AM   #92
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See? It is a wonderful hobby.
However, if you have different hobbies and no wish to learn a new language, and your mother tongue is English, then why bother? There is no benefit, except perhaphs, training your memory.
Hm. It is not essential in the same way that learning CPR is not essential-- not everyone needs to do it to get by in everyday life. However, the benefits of learning additional languages are fairly well documented, including a deeper understanding of one's first language, better understanding of other cultures, access to a broader range of information sources (many of which have different biases or points of view than those in one's first language), etc. Bilingual children appear to have advantages in learning to read, possibly because they are already familiar with the idea of expressing the same concept in different forms.

So I would say it's a bit more than a "hobby" for many people. Not everything we enjoy is done merely for its entertainment value.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #93
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\For those who don't know the language, the above really is extremely "elegant" classical Latin; the people who write the articles know the language very well, and have very clever ways of expressing modern concepts.
Harry, I'm curious-- do you think they should have declined Obama's name?
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:30 AM   #94
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Unfortunately, I disagree with you guys.
I firmly believe that if English is your first language and you don't have to learn a foreign language for yuor career. Then, unless it is your hobby, you don't need to spend time on learning a second language for broading your knowledge of different cultures. There are way too many other sources and they are less time consuming.
I know people who know only English but they know so much more about different countries and cultures than me. Why? Instead of spending hours/days/weeks/years on memorising new words and struggling with new grammar rules, they travelled, read certain books, watched certain TV shows, etc. They used their time in a more efficient way than I did.
That's why I always disagree with a general opinion that Americans and English people should learn other languages.
So, I believe we come to a point where cannot each an agreement and I can say: let's agree to disagree
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:37 AM   #95
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Harry, I'm curious-- do you think they should have declined Obama's name?
Hmmm - interesting question; you mean treat it like "mensa"? As it happens, his name could be declined, but what would you do with "U2" or "Garth Brooks"? I suspect that in practical terms, their policy of not declining proper names is the correct one, although you noted, I presume, the use of "Aedes Albae" (in the accusative form) for "White House"?
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:38 PM   #96
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Hmmm - interesting question; you mean treat it like "mensa"? As it happens, his name could be declined, but what would you do with "U2" or "Garth Brooks"? I suspect that in practical terms, their policy of not declining proper names is the correct one, although you noted, I presume, the use of "Aedes Albae" (in the accusative form) for "White House"?
From a practical point of view, I have to agree with you. And it's not like I would know how to do the declensions correctly (or even recognize them) anyway. The only language I've actually studied that had declensions was Sanskrit, and that was rather a long time ago. (I remember that at that time, the idea of modifying someone's name because of the grammatical role it held in the sentence seemed really jarring. I've had some time to get used to it since then.)
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:26 PM   #97
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Astra, I do take your point, however not everything (in fact a great deal) of what we learn in school is not required to be productive. Chemistry and physics have offered me very little. Advanced mathematics too. There's no reason to apply special rules to languages that mean they must be useful.

You could make a reasonable argument that children should focus more on literacy and numeracy in school, basic sciences and then move on to business or craft orientated learning, only moving on to advanced mathematics, languages, specific sciences etc if they chose to specialise in it.

Ultimately though I think the process of learning is beneficial in itself.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:47 PM   #98
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@Halk:
As a former maths teacher, I strongly ressent the implication you make that any sensible human being could go through life without knowledge of advanced mathematics, as they obviously form the very basis of any intelligent thinking.

However, as a sensible human being, I have to agree with you.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:42 AM   #99
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I just want to make a precision here. A banana has both genders. All plants have, too. They are androgyns. So if you better see an orange like a female, you can. But she is a male too.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:31 PM   #100
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Since this thread been posted in again I feel I can reply to Alfy!

Alfy I agree with both of the opposing views you presented. Mathematics is incredibly important and underestimated, but there's few direct applications of it. Since this topic is about language I feel I should say that mathematics is the language the unverise uses.

Last edited by Halk; 12-26-2010 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:24 AM   #101
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Zelda, dear:
Be careful about 'throwing stones in glass houses': your puncuation may not be exactly perfect..
French and English are somewhat in a very long term relationship anyway, why shouldn't there be some trades and swaps?
Viva la liseuse..
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ha HA !!! it is a cunning ploy of the académie to turn the tables !! we will now bastardise english into oblivion, so that french can rise again as the most beautiful and poetic language in the world !

but seriously, it really does drive me crazy when, for example, the french women working at the french agency in france tell me to please use "boollette poynz" (bullet points) on the list in that document i'm designing for them. i want to shout at them (in french, of course) "for god's sake, they're called puces !!!! you sound like a bunch of pretentious morons !!!!"
it also drives me crazy when i see big companies with french branches sending over american executives in high-level positions who don't even make a pretense of learning to speak french, and oblige the entire damned company of french employees in france to speak english to accomodate them. in a way they can't complain about globish ; they've really asked for it.
on the other hand, it also drives me crazy when i hear english spoken / written by native anglophones who are apparently practically illiterate and have no idea what punctuation is.
i guess i'm sort of a purist, regardless the language.
vive l'éloquence !
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:02 PM   #102
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It's a pity that the esperanto community (i.e. the hardliners) actually BLOCK further development and finishing of the work, while there are more than enough hints Zamenhofs work was still in progress - instead they behave as if every one of his rules and decisions were carved in stone.

the most indigestible golden apple in the conlang/artlang communities.
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