Here's the final post from my Summer in Other Languages readalong, Die Kleine Hexe by Otfried Preußler, with a summary in German, an English translation, and some last thoughts on the conclusion of the book. If' you've been following along, thanks for being with me on this journey! I've really enjoyed it and I hope … Continue reading Die Kleine Hexe: Chapters 16-20
Here’s part three of my Summer in Other Languages readalong of Die Kleine Hexe by Otfried Preußler. Once again, I’ll give a short summary of this section in German, an English version of the summary, and some observations and questions. Die kleine Hexe sucht mehr Menschen zu helfen mit ihrer Verzauberung. Sie hilft Thomas und … Continue reading Die Kleine Hexe: Chapters 11-15
For English speakers, one of the main hazards in learning a language like French or German is the existence of informal and formal versions for the second person (you). This used to be part of English as well -- "thou" was informal, though now it sounds extra formal and archaic to our ears. However, this … Continue reading A formal feeling
How can we travel the world in the time of a global pandemic? Through reading, of course! Last summer, I focused on reading books in other languages - and it was such a great experience, I wanted to do it again. And as with last time, I'd like to invite anyone who wants to join … Continue reading Coming soon: Summer in Other Languages
"You have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul."from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw These words spoken by Professor … Continue reading Can language transform your life?
Fear stalked me for a long time in language learning. When I started learning French as a teenager, I was extremely self-conscious, battered down by criticism of my appearance, and desperately afraid to speak in public. This was not conducive to practicing a new language, where mistakes are inevitable. I limited my utterances to the … Continue reading What am I afraid of?
If you've ever tried to learn German, you know that it has some peculiar features. Some of these don't bother me that much, like piled-up consonant clusters, umlauts, and irregular verbs, but others make me want to tear my hairs out. Here are five of the things that I could definitely do without, auf Deutsch. … Continue reading Five things that bug me about German
By definition, language requires more than one party to be involved; it's about communication and interaction between people, not a solo performance. So it might seem impossible to teach yourself a language. Don't you need a class, or at least a teacher? With the resources available to us today, though, you can come quite far … Continue reading Can you teach yourself a language?
Image: Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Louvre; Roman copy of a Hellenistic original. Source I have a feeling that most of the mistakes I make in French and German have to do with not knowing or not remembering the gender of a noun, and thus the associated changes that have to be made in articles and adjectives. I … Continue reading Should language have gender?
Is it possible to learn two languages at once? I don't know what the research says, but it would seem to me that probably one at a time would be more effective. However, living as I do between the French and German parts of Switzerland, I don't have much choice. I have to speak French … Continue reading Doublespeak