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Nomad
08-31-2010, 09:13 PM
...What I find is puzzeling is how it is possible that there are words that are one gender in singular but the other gender in plural. For example "il mano" (the hand) but "le mani (the hands), "l'uovo" (the egg) but "le uova" (the eggs) :lol:

When did mano become masculine? :confused: I was in Italy from March to July and only heard "la mano". Other body parts, yes - il braccio/le braccia, il ginocchio/le ginocchia, il dito/le dita ecc.
I stand corrected on lo not being a "neutral" article. I guess I was still in der/die/das mode when I wrote that.

fragoletta
08-31-2010, 09:36 PM
When did mano become masculine? :confused: I was in Italy from March to July and only heard "la mano". Other body parts, yes - il braccio/le braccia, il ginocchio/le ginocchia, il dito/le dita ecc.
I stand corrected on lo not being a "neutral" article. I guess I was still in der/die/das mode when I wrote that.

Sorry, my bad, you are right about la mano. :wall: The puzzeling thing here would be that it finishes in on but it is still a femminine...

cruisin
08-31-2010, 09:50 PM
I need you guys in Italy next week!

Right now the most important sentence I know is:

Vorrei due asciugamani, per piacere. Because I know I will need them :lol:

What is the best way to say please? I've learned per favore, per piacere, & prego. I think you can basically say prego for everything and no one will be upset with you :lol:

And #2 is:

Dov'e' il gabinetto or bagno (which is better?)

Actually I know more than that, but not much.

*Jen*
08-31-2010, 09:59 PM
I teach English as a second language, and some of the mistakes my students come out with are pretty funny :rofl: I mainly teach native French speakers at the moment, and some native Arabic speakers with a good command of French.

I can tell from lesson 1 if they know any dutch because they confuse dutch and English a lot.

Anyway, I absolutely think it shapes the way you think. One thing that has stood out for me is the way the French use a passive construction when we'd use an active one, and vice versa. For example, I would say "I was robbed" whereas the french translation is "someone robbed me" (or more specifically, "one robbed me".

The tense issue is interesting too. There is no present perfect in other languages and they have no end of trouble with it. Likewise, as an anglophone I had trouble learning French, because I didn't know how to translate the present perfect. I only started being fluent in French when I stopped translating and accepting things for how they are.

The masculin/feminin thing bugs me too. "UNE boule de..."was my latest mistake. How was I to know that a scoop of icecream is feminin? I just assumed the opposite. I can learn the gender (eventually), but I can't feel it naturally.

The other thing with French is that pronouns are determined by the gender of the thing you're speaking about, not your own gender. If you want to talk about your husband's mother, you say "sa mere", which many mistake to be "her mother" and all my francophone students make this mistake. "My husband, well, her mother"....and change the genders all the time.

mila19
08-31-2010, 10:16 PM
What is the best way to say please? I've learned per favore, per piacere, & prego. I think you can basically say prego for everything and no one will be upset with you :lol:
Per piacere is fine and so is per favore. Prego is usually used as a "you're welcome" as in when somebody thanks you for something, you say prego or when you want to hand somebody something you ask for their attention i.e paying.


Dov'e' il gabinetto or bagno (which is better?)
Bagno is ok. I've always avoided saying gabinetto as usually it indicates you are mainly interested on umm liberating yourself :o and it's slightly more of a man kind of talking. Italian do use a lot also "La toilette" to indicate the bathroom and is slightly more elegant.

cruisin
08-31-2010, 10:35 PM
Per piacere is fine and so is per favore. Prego is usually used as a "you're welcome" as in when somebody thanks you for something, you say prego or when you want to hand somebody something you ask for their attention i.e paying.


Bagno is ok. I've always avoided saying gabinetto as usually it indicates you are mainly interested on umm liberating yourself :o and it's slightly more of a man kind of talking. Italian do use a lot also "La toilette" to indicate the bathroom and is slightly more elegant.

Grazie :)

deltask8er
08-31-2010, 10:56 PM
Having taken some linguistic courses myself, I was hoping the article would go further into color and the associations different cultures have with color.

The article seems to be based on a book to be published soon.

What about people who grow up bilingual?

Reminds me of a joke e-mailed to me a few years ago.


Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

http://hardymika.blogspot.com/2008/10/joke-la-computadora-or-el-computador.html

Although isn't 'computer' feminine in Latin America (computadora) and masculine in Europe (ordenador)?

cruisin
08-31-2010, 11:01 PM
The article seems to be based on a book to be published soon.

What about people who grow up bilingual?

Reminds me of a joke e-mailed to me a few years ago.



http://hardymika.blogspot.com/2008/10/joke-la-computadora-or-el-computador.html

Although isn't 'computer' feminine in Latin America (computadora) and masculine in Europe (ordenador)?

:rofl::rofl:

fragoletta
08-31-2010, 11:23 PM
The tense issue is interesting too. There is no present perfect in other languages and they have no end of trouble with it. Likewise, as an anglophone I had trouble learning French, because I didn't know how to translate the present perfect. I only started being fluent in French when I stopped translating and accepting things for how they are.


Tell me about it! It took me years to understand what perfect tenses were and I'm still not sure I use them right! :lol: And the first time my English teacher explained present continuous I was in 2d grade (we still hadn't covered the tenses in the Bulgarian grammar so that made it even more difficult) and I couldn't understand why they need another present tense. In my language there is one present tense and if you want to specify you just add "now" or "at the moment".

I think the key moment in learning a language is when you start actually thinking in it, like when you are alone and just think about something and you catch yourself you don't think in your native language but in the other one.

JerseySlore
08-31-2010, 11:28 PM
Tell me about it! It took me years to understand what perfect tenses were and I'm still not sure I use them right! :lol: And the first time my English teacher explained present continuous I was in 2d grade (we still hadn't covered the tenses in the Bulgarian grammar so that made it even more difficult) and I couldn't understand why they need another present tense. In my language there is one present tense and if you want to specify you just add "now" or "at the moment".

I think the key moment in learning a language is when you start actually thinking in it, like when you are alone and just think about something and you catch yourself you don't think in your native language but in the other one.

I had an exactly opposite problem when I took Russian. Since Russian has only three tenses, I always felt I couldn't fully express myself.
BTW, do other slavic languages also lack articles?

zhenya271
09-01-2010, 04:03 AM
Nope, Die Zeitung! (although it'll come out as 'der' in the genitive, if I remember correctly.)

Thanks, I should look up those rules and do a little refresher, will be moving back next summer.


I had an exactly opposite problem when I took Russian. Since Russian has only three tenses, I always felt I couldn't fully express myself.
BTW, do other slavic languages also lack articles?

Did you use every Russian student's favorite study aid? Vodka!;) Works wonders for helping to express yourself. Something I always remember my various Russian professors and instructors going on and on about was how rich the Russian language was/is and how there are so many ways to express one meaning. I think I even heard it in a couple of films.:lol:

skateboy
09-01-2010, 04:33 AM
Okay, about the Chinese lack of gender thing: I've got a funny story.

A long time ago, A Chinese woman called me to ask if I would teach violin lessons to her 9-year old child, named Anselm. I had never heard that name before. Over the phone, mom said "she" many times, so I assumed it was a girl. When Anselm showed up for the first lesson, I thought the kid looked more like a boy, but I couldn't tell for sure. Of course, the voice was high, and while Anselm wore pants, there was something androgenous looking about the hairstyle and clothes. Plus, the mom always referred to Anselm as "she."

Cut to the chase: I taught Anselm for EIGHT MONTHS before I knew the gender for sure. I finally figured it out when Anselm showed up to a performance wearing a suit and tie. I ended up teaching him for about nine years, and when he was 16 or 17 I told him the story. Of course, he cracked up laughing.

fragoletta
09-01-2010, 08:44 AM
I had an exactly opposite problem when I took Russian. Since Russian has only three tenses, I always felt I couldn't fully express myself.

Only 3 tenses seem few to me, too. :lol: We may don't have perfect or continuous tenses but we have a specific past tense for when you are telling a story that you weren't present at!



BTW, do other slavic languages also lack articles?

I'm not sure about the other slavic languages (as close they may seem there might be some fundamental differencies) but in Bulgarian we have articles, the thing is that instead of going before the word they go after and are attached to it. For example "more" (sea) becomes "moreto" (the sea) We only have determinative articles (no "a") but for masculine words we have 2 types depending on whether the word is the subject or the object in the sentence. This specific rule is quite hard for native speakers and people keep making errors long after they finish school.

*Jen*
09-01-2010, 08:46 AM
I think the key moment in learning a language is when you start actually thinking in it, like when you are alone and just think about something and you catch yourself you don't think in your native language but in the other one.

That didn't happen until I was very fluent in french, but before then I was dreaming in it. Mainly about how much trouble I had speaking it though :lol:

I remember so vividly the day I realised I could have a conversation in French. I'd been doing intenstive classes and living in a french speaking city for about 2 months, and I had to ask something at the train station. I made myself understood and understood in return and was so proud. The next day I had to go and make a complicated reservation. It took 30 mins, all in French, and at the end I discovered the guy spoke English :wall: But that was the moment I realised that I could have a conversation without preparing it in advance. It was all uphill from there :D

fragoletta
09-01-2010, 09:07 AM
That didn't happen until I was very fluent in french, but before then I was dreaming in it. Mainly about how much trouble I had speaking it though :lol:

I remember so vividly the day I realised I could have a conversation in French. I'd been doing intenstive classes and living in a french speaking city for about 2 months, and I had to ask something at the train station. I made myself understood and understood in return and was so proud. The next day I had to go and make a complicated reservation. It took 30 mins, all in French, and at the end I discovered the guy spoke English :wall: But that was the moment I realised that I could have a conversation without preparing it in advance. It was all uphill from there :D

Dreaming in another language is also a very good sign that you are getting fluent in it. And you probably had that knowledge of the French in you before you had the courage to take a dive! :P