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Words are more connected than you think

When I was growing up, words just seemed random. That was a dog, this was a cat and I just got on with life. It was only much later that I began to notice that the words in other languages seemed strangely familiar. If a word in another language is similar, how did it get like that? Did they take our word? Did we take their word? Or is there another explanation for what’s going on?

Have you ever watched a really old movie? Like a movie from the 30’s or 40’s? Everyone talks differently. Not differently enough that you can’t understand them, but the difference is definitely noticable. Now think about how people spoke in Shakespeares time. “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Each word is a bit different than you might expect. “Wherefore” is not a fancy way of saying “where”. It actually means “why”. Juliet is asking why Romeo is the way that he is. Why did her love have to be in the family and situation he is in. You can analyse the word as meaning “what is it for”, like “What is this thing for”.

How do you learn how to write?

How do I write? How am I doing what I am doing right now?

Honestly, I don’t know. It seemed to just happen one day.

I started this page and then just started posting stuff on it.

I would get an idea and then I would just start writing about it.

Maybe that’s the secret. Just start exploring it.

That’s what I am doing right now. When you read this it will be a full article and there will be lines below this one full of words. But right here, right now, there is nothing ahead of me. I have to bring it into existence.

Chocolatine or Pain au Chocolat

By Camille Masson

When one thinks of the French language, they typically think of Paris, France, and fine food. However, there are many other places where French is used, namely in the Canadian province of Québec. However, there are important differences between Québécois French and European French that can be found in their idioms, phonetic inventory, and grammatical structures. For example, in Québécois spoken French can differ greatly from written French, as written French tends to be more “standard” and will usually follow the guidelines emitted by “L’Académie Française”.

Unfortunately, it is quite frequent for language learners to be unaware of these differences, and this can lead to confusion when the time comes for those learners to practice their French in Québec!

This year, I had the chance to meet one exchange student who was learning French, and a few exchange students from France. Through meeting these students, I realized I needed to adapt my French for both the French learner, and for the students from France even though we both spoke the same language. This experience sparked my interest in sharing a few differences between Québécois French and European French. The differences I will write about here are only a few examples and may vary depending on the context of use. After all, people usually do not speak to their boss the same way they would speak to their friends!

It’s over, Anakin, I have the high ground

“It’s over, Anakin, I have the high ground”

“Tá sé críochnaithe” translates literally as “is her completed”. críochnaithe is derived from críoch which means boundary or end.In Irish the verb always comes first. For adjectives and past participles (like completed) you must use the word “tá” which is cognate with Spanish estar. In Spanish estar is used for temporary states but in Irish its just used for adjectives.If you want to use a copula with nouns, you have to use “is”

“Is fear mé” “I am a man”

“Is bean mé” “I am a woman”

But”Tá mé ard” “I am tall””Tá mé gearr” “I am short”

Irish doesn’t have an indefinite article. If you want to refer to a noun indefinitely you just write the noun by itself with no article.”an” is the definite article. The adjective “ard” (high, tall) comes after the noun, like in Romance languages.”agam” is derived from “ag mé” which means “on me”. Literally it means “is the land tall on me” or “I have the high ground””A Anakin” in the middle is the vocative case. “a” is the vocative particle. “a” causes lenition so “Mary” (in the vocative) becomes “A Mhaire” pronounced like “a wear-uh” (in English style spelling)

Learning through media

I taught myself German and it was a long arduous process. With Swedish I wanted to take it easy and do things a bit differently. So I just watched music videos of Disney songs I knew, watched Swedish vloggers (even if I didn’t understand much) and read Swedish memes. I am still far from fluent but I am starting to get a solid foundation and can read a lot of simple texts in Swedish now. I am having a lot of fun with it.

With this article I wanted to show you some of the things I have found on my Swedish language learning journey that I think will make your Swedish learning experience a bit more fun and you can also take these ideas and apply them to other languages you are learning.

How to learn a language

My journey to running a language media company has been a bit unorthodox. I studied Computer Science at University for years. I first got my Bachelors Degree, then worked as a programmer, then I went for my Masters Degree. After my Masters, I got a job as a programmer, but I got sick a few months in and was booked off work. After 2 weeks off away from work I decided that I was sick of programming and didn’t want to go back. So I resigned and tried to see what else I could do out in the world.

I did odd jobs for my parents and people that I knew. I made a program here and there. Working in my own time was a better experience than being stuck behind a desk. I discovered the online language community in late 2014 and realised that I really liked talking about language. I discovered translation work which brought in a bit of money, which was nice. As I explored the language space online I realised that there was so much out there, but also that there was a lot more stuff that could be done.