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Thread: Alphas & Learning Languages

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    Default Alphas & Learning Languages

    Rick's site has a noticeable lack of material in the foreign language section in regards to -dominants (IxTj). While I would like to explore that angle, I would also like to compare the experiences of the INTj and language with other members of Alpha quadra.

    What has been your experience with learning foreign languages? How do you approach trying to learn a new foreign language? What aspects are easiest? What is generally the toughest for you to master? And which foreign languages have you had some level of appeal to learn?

    My languages of appeal:
    - Greek
    - Hebrew
    - Arabic
    - German
    - Old English
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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    Yay INTjs.

    A long time ago I learned a little Hebrew & Spanish. I have also been taught rudimentary German (counting, alphabet, etc.). But my main second language is French.

    Pronunciation by far is the easiest aspect for me; I pick up on it almost instantly. I enjoy speaking but need lots of practice to stay conversational. Anyway my French teacher this year hasn't taught us anything so my French (especially speaking) has deteriorated considerably. I can still get by writing, but I (and I think most INTjs would share this problem) always feel the need for more and more sophisticated words, making writing difficult without a dictionary, unless I'm really creative about it.

    I love French dearly (it is an Alpha language after all) but I only took it because I couldn't take Spanish, which would be much more useful. However I think reading a language's native literature (esp. philosophy) is now just as much a plus for me as conversing with its speakers. Plus I don't plan on moving to any Spanish-speaking country; if I move to any non-Anglophone country it will be France.

    I love learning about languages with unusual grammar, just to get an idea of how they are structured.

    ! I almost forgot. Lojban is a sweet idea, unrealistic though it is. I'd much rather learn that than Esperanto. Accents in all forms are stupid, as well as conjugation - a couple pluses for English. And don't get me started on the subjunctive.

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    Easiest and most exciting for me to learn-vocabulary
    I have the most trouble with-grammer

    Languages I've studied from furtherst in time to closest (some to great extent, others only for fun)

    *Spanish
    *German
    *Latin
    *Russian
    *Japanese
    *Korean
    All Hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyburger
    Easiest and most exciting for me to learn-vocabulary
    I have the most trouble with-grammer

    Languages I've studied from furtherst in time to closest (some to great extent, others only for fun)

    *Spanish
    *German
    *Latin
    *Russian
    *Japanese
    *Korean
    coolness

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    Pronunciation by far is the easiest aspect for me; I pick up on it almost instantly. I enjoy speaking but need lots of practice to stay conversational. Anyway my French teacher this year hasn't taught us anything so my French (especially speaking) has deteriorated considerably. I can still get by writing, but I (and I think most INTjs would share this problem) always feel the need for more and more sophisticated words, making writing difficult without a dictionary, unless I'm really creative about it.
    This is close to my experiences with language. The grammar and sentence construction is fun to learn (). The pronunciation is not terribly difficult either, or at least in my experiences with German. But the problem which you listed - the need for more and more sophisticated words - was a problem which I would typically suffer. I always felt as if I lacked the proper vocabulary to correctly translate my thoughts into another language.
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    from toronto with love ScarlettLux's Avatar
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    Whoa, I never knew this language learning thing was shared amongst most INTjs!

    My one good buddy is an INTj and he's insane with that stuff. A total historical buff too, and religion as well.. amazing information inside that head of his O___o ... Can't believe he knows all these dates.. and.. gah.


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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    @ScarlettLux, mostly the humanities don't hold much interest for me. Hate memorizing dates, at least.

    Though sometimes I'll memorize things for fun, like the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. That is kind of language-related.

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    *jealousy rears up its ugly head*

    In school (not college) I'd always had an interest in languages. I'd collect some of the school books that other kids had already paid for (they gave them to me so ). I'd study them when I could. I could do the written work, but I could never retain the vocabulary. Vocabulary...my downfall.

    I strongly admire people who understand usefully more than one language.
    I also admire people who at least are putting in the effort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScarlettLux
    Whoa, I never knew this language learning thing was shared amongst most INTjs!
    I do not know all (or really any) of the languages listed as it was more a matter of what languages would you be interested in knowing as opposed to what languages you do know, though I will have to learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew shortly, but that is another issue.
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    I have done a couple of foreign languages in college so far. My dad suggested that I take a few of them in college to boost up my resume since I'm majoring in a liberal arts subject. I didn't find it fun initially 'cos I didn't have any motivation (eg. interested in the culture, like a guy who speaks that language, opportunity to speak that language, short-term necessity to use that language) to learn them and I'm not a language person, but I figured out that it couldn't be worse than my Psychology classes and I need to fulfil requirements. I feel that what was easiest for me is probably learning new vocab 'cos all it needs for me is memorization and frequent use. Grammar is fun though.

    Languages I took in college:
    -Japanese
    -German
    -Vietnamese

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    I love French dearly (it is an Alpha language after all) but I only took it because I couldn't take Spanish, which would be much more useful. .
    You think? I love it too. It's super classy.
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    not an alpha, but since my major was applied linguistics, i feel like i'm somehow entitled to post in this section.

    i'm fluent in english, spanish, and catalan. relatively okay with french & really rudimentary in basque (i totally learned whatever basque i know for no practical use at all except mental prowess/heritage reasons/i lived in basque country. same with catalan. i lived in catalonia for a while, so it was necessary to learn.) for whatever reasons, i like catalan better than french because it isn't so "elegant" and has some bite to it (phonetically, i mean.) i also think japanese sounds sort of beautiful and i'd like to learn it one day. plus, japan just seems like an interesting place.

    i also fiddled around very (very!) briefly with arabic and dutch.

    grammar is easiest for me to pick up first, with vocabulary waxing & waning depending on usage. sometimes i compensate for this by circumlocuting everything (e.g. "you know, the thingy with the thingy on it. yeah it's blue.") lately, i'm rusty in everything.

    as far as approaching learning a new foreign language, i tend to like programs such as rosetta stone that force you to think in the target language. they're more interactive and use tons of pictures and such. in my own head, at least, this keeps me from reverting back to "translation" mode where i think there has to be some equivalent word/grammatical structure in english. it's good to start with a clean slate and somehow this keeps my native language (english) and whatever language i am learning completely separate.

    in foreign language classes nowadays, the most common method seems to be to force out as much active dialogue/conversation in the target language as humanly possible (maybe this is good, but i think it can also lead to early burnout in a language. like you can only force so much information down a person's throat before they say they're sick of it and they've had enough.) but yeah, consistent practice, practice, practice, practice, wherever you can get it.

    the toughest things to master are extremely idiomatic expressions. oh, and telling jokes. i remember the really weird and super novel (relative to english) concepts pretty easily. in my own classes, i try to pare it down to the vocabulary/grammatical structures that will be extremely useful but also novel and interesting.
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    i love those fucking monkeys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Kensington
    i love those fucking monkeys.
    <3!!!
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    Took some chinese coarses several months ago... I might pick that up again. Learning characters is a lot like learning magical spells sometimes.

    Plus it's nice to know how to say 'wo yao yong ce suo ahhh!' when you're on vacation.

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    Creepy-Diana

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    .

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    i only speak two, but very fluent in both, reading/writing/speaking. i'm not sure whether i'm not good at languages in general, or whether it's a mental block that i have (i tend to believe i'm not good at languages). in support of the 'i'm not good at languages' stand, is that i only know two, and don't feel especially like learning extra ones, though it sounds nice to be able to. took basic mandarin in university, and though i did well writing/reading what i learned, i wasn't so good at speaking - not pronunciation, i could do that, but stringing a sentence together. i think my problem is that i get too embarrassed of getting it wrong, and so do not practice the speaking part. that kind of supports the mental block hypothesis. also, i remember foreign words easily, remember their spelling rules and pronunciation rules easily - so it is possible that i can do language if i'd try it. and practice, even if native speakers might laugh if i get the grammar wrong or something.

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