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  • Can I be taught?....

    I have always wanted to learn to speak different languages. I would love to learn Gaelic and Latin.
    The biggest problem for me is that I have an unusual accent (because I grew up around European families when I was younger) and it is hard for me to get the pronounciations correct. I pronounce my vowels slightly softer or rounder than normal American English, and have a tendency to roll my letters.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for me that would make it easier to learn one of these languages, besides a speech therapst? I am thinking about books on tape so I can hear it and mimic.
    I am probably just a lost cause.....lol But it would still be nice.....
    Life is short and time flies.

  • #2
    As both Gaelic and Latin ARE European languages, and you say you have an accent which is born of mixing with Europeans - surely you'd find it easier than most Americans?

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    • #3
      I realize this Polwarth....

      The problem is that I didn't just grow up around a set language.

      Perhaps the fault is my own, but I have a really hard time learning to correctly speak another language, without slaughtering it because I want to pronounce everything the way I read it.

      Oh well, maybe I wasn't meant to speak another language.....wouldn't be surprised.
      Life is short and time flies.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TheLostOne
        The problem is that I didn't just grow up around a set language.

        Perhaps the fault is my own, but I have a really hard time learning to correctly speak another language, without slaughtering it because I want to pronounce everything the way I read it.

        Oh well, maybe I wasn't meant to speak another language.....wouldn't be surprised.
        Now you've lost me - totally! You 'didn't just grow up round a 'set' language?'
        What does that mean?

        If you want to pronounce everything the way you read it, then you must find reading English a real obstacle course.

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        • #5
          lol, Polwarth, I can get very confusing, sorry.

          I grew up around European languages, yes. I didn't grow up around a set accent though. I get confused myself with speaking a lot of the time, that is why it is so hard for me to learn another. My accent is really embarassing for me because I can't hang onto a specific lilt. When I get tired it tends to slant towards the UK and when I am awake a bit mixed up Canadian sounding (or so I have been told). I had one psychotic lady yelling at me that I was English and that I should just admit it. I tried to convince her I was American and she got angry and came back a couple hours later to yell at me again. Luckily my manager came in and the lady finally left. It's not as though I like what I sound like.

          Yes at times I do find it hard reading English, we have too many words and a lot of them have multiple meanings and other words that mean the same thing. Ugh, languages are apparently not my best subject, but I still love to learn.

          Do you think I should just let this ship sail? I tried learning Spanish before and the most I was able to get out of it was knowing a couple of words when people atre talking, but not being able to speak simple travelers phrases without slaughtering it.

          You know what, after typing all of this out and reading it myself, I think that maybe it is better I just learn some of it and never try to speak it to other people....lol I would probably just confuse myself more.....

          Language. Whoever thought it up could have made things a bit easier on us beings..... On the other hand, maybe I should just move to another country to learn the language locally....
          Life is short and time flies.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheLostOne
            I grew up around European languages, yes. I didn't grow up around a set accent though. I get confused myself with speaking a lot of the time, that is why it is so hard for me to learn another. My accent is really embarassing for me because I can't hang onto a specific lilt. When I get tired it tends to slant towards the UK and when I am awake a bit mixed up Canadian sounding (or so I have been told). I had one psychotic lady yelling at me that I was English and that I should just admit it. I tried to convince her I was American and she got angry and came back a couple hours later to yell at me again. Luckily my manager came in and the lady finally left. It's not as though I like what I sound like.

            Yes at times I do find it hard reading English, we have too many words and a lot of them have multiple meanings and other words that mean the same thing. Ugh, languages are apparently not my best subject, but I still love to learn.

            Do you think I should just let this ship sail? I tried learning Spanish before and the most I was able to get out of it was knowing a couple of words when people atre talking, but not being able to speak simple travelers phrases without slaughtering it.

            You know what, after typing all of this out and reading it myself, I think that maybe it is better I just learn some of it and never try to speak it to other people....lol I would probably just confuse myself more.....

            Language. Whoever thought it up could have made things a bit easier on us beings..... On the other hand, maybe I should just move to another country to learn the language locally....

            But...... one's accent CAN often changes in life! Or gets modified, is perhaps a better way of putting it.

            If you are an American, then 'English' IS your first language - it would therefore be no more difficult for you to learn another language than any other English-speaker, whether from Canada, USA, Australia or here in one of the countries that make up the United Kingdom

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            • #7
              You are not lost LostOne

              Originally posted by TheLostOne
              I grew up around European languages, yes. I didn't grow up around a set accent though. I get confused myself with speaking a lot of the time, that is why it is so hard for me to learn another. My accent is really embarassing for me because I can't hang onto a specific lilt. When I get tired it tends to slant towards the UK and when I am awake a bit mixed up Canadian sounding (or so I have been told). I had one psychotic lady yelling at me that I was English and that I should just admit it. I tried to convince her I was American and she got angry and came back a couple hours later to yell at me again. Luckily my manager came in and the lady finally left. It's not as though I like what I sound like.
              Originally posted by TheLostOne

              PRgirl: Who was the psychotic woman yelling at you? You don't need to justify to anyone how you define yourself. If she did not want to accept it, that was her problem. People are weird sometimes. Part of my job for years was being a part time translator. I worked for a museum. And I also taught many subjects including English as a Foreign language. I would have to make calls and wait for the lawyer or the judge or other official to get on the line and start recording the conversation. I don't know how many times people would get on there and say to me, "where is the Spanish translator?", I would reply--"I am she. I am the Spanish translator." Then they would argue with me. "You don't have a Spanish accent. You sound like some Diane Sawyer flat American accent without any detectable accent. Are you sure?" Then I would say, "Just give me the Spanish speaker I need to talk to." I did not waste any more time trying to convince somebody that I spoke Spanish. Once the translation finished so many would say, "I would have never guessed you spoke Spanish. I always thought people who speak Spanish have some kind of accent on their English." People got all kinds of dumb stereotypes in their heads about how people are supposed to sound like. Sometimes I wish Scotland.com had microphones so they can hear you speak and stop thinking erroneous thoughts about who the multilingual types sound like. I learned English when I was five years old. I speak like a native speaker. My husband learned English when he was 27 years old he speaks with a really heavy Spanish accent. People get confused. Why? Don't they understand when you learn a language when you are a little kid, you learn well. When you try learning it as an adult. It is an uphill climb. They don't get it. Stand your ground. You are an American who has a slight UK lilt. So what? They need to accept it.


              Yes at times I do find it hard reading English, we have too many words and a lot of them have multiple meanings and other words that mean the same thing. Ugh, languages are apparently not my best subject, but I still love to learn.

              PRgirl: Loving to learn is the best thing in the world. It will solve all language problems in the end. Just keep pounding away. Disciplined everyday. Dedicated to learning something new.

              Do you think I should just let this ship sail? I tried learning Spanish before and the most I was able to get out of it was knowing a couple of words when people atre talking, but not being able to speak simple travelers phrases without slaughtering it.

              PRgirl: LostOne, don't worry. You are in the early stages of the learning. Your brain is still trying to pattern out the grammatical structure of it. Once your brain gets the syntax and you enter into early production you are on your way. One hint to help pronounce Spanish properly is this one. You know in English you emphasize the consonants more than the vowels generally. In English you have typically about 40+ ways of pronouncing those five vowels A-E-I-O-U. Vowels are more varied and not as stable as consonants in English, so in English it is critical to pronounce well the consonants, in order to be clearly understood. For example: I met the cat in the hat. In order for it to be clearly understood in English, one must be sure to pronounce the last consonant. If one only emphasizes the first consonant and the vowel, it becomes unintelligible in English. Ai-may-da-caah-ih-da-haa. Many native Spanish speakers who are just starting out in English love to overemphasize the vowels in English because they are trying to make English fit Spanish pronunciation rules. For in Spanish the vowels are EXTREMELY important and stable and solid as a rock! ONLY ONE way of pronouncing the five vowel sounds. Not 40+. So if you want to be pronouncing Spanish well in the future, look at the words in Spanish and pretend to only see vowels, and use the consonants as softly as possible. For example: El gato tiene un zapato. The most important sounds in Spanish are not the 'l' or the 'g' or 't' or 'n' or 'z' etc. The vowels are the most important. Always. Don't try to make one language fit the rules of another. It is a mistake. Children learn foreign language so well, because they accept the new rules and make mistakes and roll with the punches and have the flexibility of letting the 'syntax' work itself out.

              You know what, after typing all of this out and reading it myself, I think that maybe it is better I just learn some of it and never try to speak it to other people....lol I would probably just confuse myself more.....

              Language. Whoever thought it up could have made things a bit easier on us beings..... On the other hand, maybe I should just move to another country to learn the language locally....

              PRgirl: Many people think immersion in the new language is the best way. Sink or swim. But you can always work on it everyday. And speed things up by watching TV in another language, listening to songs, lyrics, and conversations, and once your 'syntax' is learned you build lexicon with practice. You write well. Don't give up. It is very very rewarding to speak many languages well. It is similar to discovering new worlds of being and it can fill a human being up with delight and enthusiasm.
              “I have learned that you can win the battle over the most powerful of nations, the United States, if you have the moral force behind you.” — Rubén Berríos (about his transforming experience after the sacrifices he had to make for the Navy-Vieques protests)

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              • #8
                somehow I don't understand... we all have accents or a lilt when speaking a foreign language. Natives always can sense it and you are supposed to give it away sooner or later.

                I know a lot of Gaelic speakers who are not native speakers and you can hear it. In fact Gaelic sounds much more natural if spoken by a non American native English speaker. The sound set is just not English.

                With this said, I do not understand your concern at all.

                Latin: oh dear, none lived to tell about pronunication of Latin. so what, do whatever you feel like it.

                If you are serious with Scottish Gaelic, let me know, I may be able to point you into the right direction.

                mar sin leibh
                'S toil leam Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn agus a leughadh agus sgrìobhadh oir 'se an cànan feumail agus àlainn a th' innte.

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                • #9
                  Wow! I have never thought of it like that.

                  PRgirl, thank you! I didn't think about the fact that I am trying to pound my own pronunciations into the other alphabets. No wonder why it is hard for me. Well, that and the educational facilities around here for foreign languages aren't the best. lol So perhaps going back to the very beginning and showing myself that each one is to be treated like an alphabet of it's own, which they indeed are, I can try baby steps and learn it over again. This is great. I will try teaching it to myself with some help from those other sources you were talking about. Sometimes I do watch Spanish television, but I only pick up on a couple of words out of the scene.... Now that I think about it though, if I could pick up on those few words, I have the possibility of learning other ones.

                  Eleana, thank you for the offer. What direction would you point me in that could be found in the U.S.? Although I would dearly love to come over to Scotland and immerse myself in the culture to learn the language... Is there a more practical way?

                  Polwarth, I don't get to speak long enough with people to realize their accents change as well.

                  Thank you all. I now have hope to be able to try this again from a different understanding angle. 3 years of Spanish, no wonder why it didn't work. My concepts of other languages were totally off....lol
                  Life is short and time flies.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Of course you can be taught. My grannie taught me how to speak Gaelic (she didn't teach me how to write it though) and all i could speak was English at the time. Mind you, if you can learn English then you can learn any language (imo). Your accent certainly shouldn't hinder you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tartan Paint that puts you in the situation of many fluent speakers, they can speak Gaelic but have no idea how to read and write... do you still speak it? It makes me so sad to be a student of this wonderful language and all who I meet are either learners like me or very sporadically young people who had the luck to get at least some education in their mother tongue.

                      Thelostone: a could starting point is http://www.acgamerica.org/ where the American Gaelic community meets and you can find study groups, class offers, and such there.

                      Another good place to find other learners all kinds of levels at http://31.freebb.com/gaidhlig/gaidhlig.html.

                      Of course, you will have to dedicate time and effort, like with every language you want to learn.
                      'S toil leam Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn agus a leughadh agus sgrìobhadh oir 'se an cànan feumail agus àlainn a th' innte.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Eleana
                        Tartan Paint that puts you in the situation of many fluent speakers, they can speak Gaelic but have no idea how to read and write... do you still speak it? It makes me so sad to be a student of this wonderful language and all who I meet are either learners like me or very sporadically young people who had the luck to get at least some education in their mother tongue.

                        I never speak it, i never have any need to speak it. I don't claim to be fluent at it but i could hold a conversation or at least follow what's being said. Gaelic is the only language in Scotland that is EU funded which means people can learn it without it costing them any money. The local college night class is currently full and i believe they have more than one class. So clearly people would like to be able to speak it but unfortunately i very rarely meet anybody who can.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          that's a pity that you feel that you don't need it, although I can see why you are saying this, there are too few folk around to speak it. IT takes a while for a learner to find the courage to speak her (like any other language).

                          I know a couple of people who can speak Gaelic fluently and as a small group we do in writing. It's actually a lot of fun just like you had with any other language which is not your everyday life tool. I can write almost fluently, so participating in chats is not problem but because of less of practise, I can't speak it. At least not to a fileantach because he/she might get bored with the attempts of a beginner.

                          I must say that I had lingered around the net for more than three years, but never found another good spirited group of people than those of the Scottish Gaelic internet community. There are good people around everywhere, without doubt.
                          'S toil leam Gàidhlig a bhruidhinn agus a leughadh agus sgrìobhadh oir 'se an cànan feumail agus àlainn a th' innte.

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                          • #14
                            Like most other places everybody speaks English where i live, or something that resembles it! Nobody would understand a word i said if i spoke in any other language. Just recently i went to the local college to enquire about courses, out of curiosity just to find out a bit about them. I wanted to know if people were interested in the courses and like i already mentioned, there was a lot of interest. That was good to hear. We all need to know English but not many of us of us "needs" to know Gaelic (as in everyday tool), so it was pleasing that so many people were learning it anyway. I don't know where you live? Unfortunately if it's near me then you'll be aware that most people couldn't care less about learning it. However I'm not sure how they'd feel about people from all over the world learning it while they can't speak a word of it. I suspect they'd be indifferent about that as well. I'm pleased though, I'm glad you've met people who are kind enough and who have the patience to teach you.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tartan Paint
                              Nobody would understand a word i said if i spoke in any other language.
                              Bu aill leat?

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