Learn A Foreign Language By Following Simple But Effective Tips Reference Information To Ease Your Chinese Character Study Learning Spanish And The Verb Gustar Learning Spanish Part 6 What S The Best Way To Learn Spanish Verb Formations

In this article I will illustrate the importance of learning a second language for the broadening of one’s life and opportunities.

Knowing a second language has it’s benefits and the importance of learning a second language is vastly underestimated.

The importance of learning a second language is greater today than ever.

As the world keeps shrinking with greater advances in communications technology and modes of travel, people are moving around both physically and in cyberspace at an ever-increasing rate. Immigration and tourism are growing rapidly in many countries. You may live in a country with one “official” language but chances are that many other languages will be spoken in that country.

But how do you set about learning a foreign language?

Here are some tips.

1. Make sure you enjoy it. Make it fun. It will make the learning process easier for your brain.

2. Don’t get stressed out if you can’t remember words or phrases. Slowly it will all begin to fall into place.

3. Allocate enough time to study. Promise yourself you will study for “x” hours per week. If you are a student, or you work, don’t put too much pressure on yourself by thinking you will be able to study more than you actually find comfortable. This will be counter productive because you won’t enjoy it and you will become stressed (see points 1 and 2 above)

4. Learn with someone. It will be easier, and you will each have a “practice partner”

If you live in an area where your next door neighbors’ primary language is not your own, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to speak their language also? You can get to know them on a more personal basis, get invited to more parties and more easily ask for help if you need it. Of course, if you don’t care to talk to your neighbors or you live in an area where everyone speaks the same language, this would not apply. But what if you are the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time on-line? The Internet brings the world to your desktop! Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to chat with someone on the other side of the world in their own language?

If you are a single man or woman looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, why limit yourself to only those who speak your own language? The perfect one for you may speak a different language! Many relationships like this are made but are problematic because of the lack of communications. Having a good knowledge of the other’s primary language is a tremendous help.

If you own a business or work in sales, the importance of learning a second language should be evident. Knowing another language allows you to develop international business contacts, prepare advertising targeted to markets that speak another language or do sales work in neighborhoods with mixed languages. Expanding your market is one of the best ways to increase business, so why not learn the language of the market you are interested in? You have probably read stories of advertising screw ups where a product name or advertising copy did not translate well. You can prevent this type of thing from happening by learning the language.

The importance of learning a second language for business opportunities goes for employment opportunities as well. Having at least one other language on your resume is a big plus. It means that you are more valuable to the employer because you can help with more customers, deal with more business contacts or help prepare more targeted advertising.

Try and work out how you would say everyday occurrences in the new language. For example, you have to phone and ask for an appointment at the doctors. When finished, try and work out how you would have said it in the second language you are learning. Find out, write it down, then teach your practice buddy. Teaching is the best way to learn.

Second language benefits are numerous.

Chinese characters seem the most difficult part for foreign friends to learn the Chinese language. In my opinion, the main reason for that may be Chinese characters look very different from their quarter parts in the Roman languages: each character represents not only the pronunciation, but a certain meaning. Many a complaint comes from that Chinese characters are so unlike each other that you have to learn them one by one, and there are so many to memory, and that when encountering a new character, the previous knowledge of other ones helps little, you can neither pronounce it directly nor guess what it means. Actually, there really are some connections between Chinese characters, all composed in a defined way. You are unable to discover that probably because the numbers of the characters you know are too limited, or you didn’t learn them in the Chinese perspective.

Chinese characters are the writing system to record the Chinese language. With a history as long as 8,000 years at least, it’s perhaps the oldest surviving writing system in the world. An old Chinese legend said that Chinese characters were invented by Cangjie, a historian official under the legendary emperor, Huangdi in 2600 BC. Obviously, the fable cannot possibly be true, for the creation of a great writing system made of so many characters are such a huge project, too huge to be one single person’s accomplishment. But perhaps Cangjie really made some contributions in the existing Chinese writing system: instead of the inventor, he might be a collector and collator of scattered Chinese characters in ancient China. Thanks to many a contributor like Cangjie and the common people using and spreading characters, a complete well-developed writing system had finally come to birth. The indisputably evidence is Chinese character inscriptions found on turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty (1766-1123 BC), formally called Oracle bone script. Of the 4,600 known Oracle bone logographs, about 1,000 can be identified with later Chinese characters, and the other unidentifiable ones are mostly the names of people, places or clans.

In view of formation, written Chinese is a script of ideograms. Xu Shen, in the Eastern Han Dynasty (121 AD), was a distinguished scholar who had attained unparalleled fame for his etymological dictionary entitled Shuo Wen Jie Zi, whose literal meaning is “explaining written language and parsing words”. In Shuo wen, Chinese characters are classified into six categories, namely pictogram, ideograph, logical aggregates, pictophonetic compounds, borrowing and associate transformation. However, the last twos are often omitted, for the characters of these categories have been created before but somehow borrowed to represent another meaning, or detached into separate words. Generally, Chinese characters fall into four categories in view of their origin.

Pictograms (Xiang4 xing2 zi4)

Pictograms are the earliest characters to create, and they usually reflect the shape of physical objects. Examples include the sun, the moon, a woman, fire. From this picture-drawing method, the other character forming principles were subsequently developed. Over a long history, pictograms have evolved from irregular drawing into a definite form, most simplified by losing certain strokes to make ease of writing. Therefore, to see the actual picture of what it represents, you must have a lot of imagination as well as knowledge of the origin of the character and its evolution. However, only a very small portion of Chinese characters falls into this category, not more than 5 percent.

Ideograph (Zhi3 shi4 zi4)

Also called a simple indicative, Ideograph usually describes an abstract concept. It’s a combination of indicators, or adds an indicator to a pictograph. For example, a short horizontal bar on top of a circular arc represents an idea of up or on top of. Another example: placing an indicative horizontal bar at the lower part of a pictogram for wood, makes an ideograph for “root”. Like pictograms, the number of this category is also small, less than 2 percent.

Logical aggregates (Hui4 yi4 zi1)

It is a combination of pictograms to represent a meaning, rather like telling a little story. A pictograph for person on the left with a pictogram for wood on the right makes a aggregate for “rest”. This story-telling formation is relatively easier to learn, yet most of aggregates have been reformed into phonetic compounds, or just replaced by them.

Pictophonetic compounds (Xing2 sheng1 zi4)

Also called semantic-phonetic compounds, just as the name implies, it combines a semantic element with a phonetic element, taking the meaning from one and the phonetics from the other. For instance, the character for ocean with a pronunciation of yang2 is a combination of a semantic classifier which means “water” with the phonetic component yang2, referring to goat or sheep on its own. This last group of characters is the largest in modern Chinese, making up around 90% of all Chinese characters.

The superiority of phonetic-compounds over the first three categories lies in its unique phonetic components, for many an object and concept are hard to express through photographs or ideograms, and its association with the character pronunciation helps Chinese vocabulary extends much faster than logical aggregates. Therefore, most newly created characters take this more scientific formation approach.

However, over the centuries evolution, the Chinese language has undertaken such a great change, that most pictophonetic compounds don’t pronounce as its phonetic elements any longer, and the semantic components appear even not relevant to its current meaning. Only when knowing the origin and evolution of the character, you can understand its formation. For example, the phonetic-compound for cargo or goods takes the character for shell as the semantic element, and that’s because shells used to be a medium of exchange in ancient China, like the currency.

I do hope the above information can be of some help in your study of Chinese characters. Please tell me what you think about it, so I could be a better help in the future writing. Thank you!

If there’s one verb that gave me a lot of trouble when I first started learning Spanish grammar that verb was “gustar.”

Many of the Spanish lessons and Spanish classes that I took in order to learn Spanish only confused me even more

about the use of “gustar.” “Gustar” means “to be pleasing to” or “to find pleasant.” But in many instances, Spanish

speakers use it the same way that we use the verb “to like.”

For example, in Spanish you don’t literally say:

“I like the dog.”

In Spanish you would say:

“Me gusta el perro”.

That literally means “the dog is pleasing to me.”

Actually, it means “it pleases me the dog.”

It may sound strange to your English-hearing ears. But you will get

used to it. Let’s try it.

I like the house.

Me gusta la casa.

I don’t like the car.

No me gusta el carro.

You like the table.

Te gusta la mesa.

He likes the screen/monitor.

Le gusta la pantalla.

We like the bridge.

Nos gusta el puente.

They like to lie.

Les gusta mentir.

If you want to say “I like the dogs,” a couple of changes have

to take place. Can you guess what those changes are?

Of course dog (“perro”) must now become plural (“perros”).

But the article (“el”) must also become plural (“los”).

And the verb must change from third person singular (“gusta”) to

third person plural (“gustan”).

Let’s try it:

I like the dogs.

Me gustan los perros.

You like the lakes

Te gustan los lagos.

She likes the streams

Le gustan los arroyos.

We like the rivers.

Nos gustan los r
In my last article I started to talk about a Spanish textbook called ‘Pasos’. This was the textbook I used when I first started learning Spanish. When I started studying from it I didn’t use it to its full potential. This was really down to time constraints and the fact I was about to embark on a long trip to central and South America. I wanted to finish the book before I set off.

The point of the article was really to warn others against falling into the same trap if possible. This particular Spanish textbook and others like it are full of quizzes and exercises that are designed to test the reader’s ability to retain and understand the information that is being taught. I didn’t spend enough time working through the various chapters or attempting all of the exercises. In hindsight I know it would have been better to spend as much time as I needed in order to cover everything that the book had to offer.

In this article I want to talk some more about the same Spanish textbook, in particular about how it dealt with teaching Spanish verb formations. Learning how to form Spanish verbs can be very frustrating for native speakers of English. This is because they are formed very differently. In Spanish it is often not necessary to use subject personal pronouns (I, you, he, she etc) with verbs like it is in English. Look at this simple example:-

I live in England. = Vivo en Inglaterra.

Notice in Spanish no word for ‘I’ is used. This is because much of the time the way that a Spanish verb is formed will automatically indicate what subject personal pronoun is being referred to (I, you, he, she etc). At first this can seem very confusing and then later on it can still seem very confusing! The difficulty is that there are so many different ways that one single verb might be formed. Not only does the verb change depending on which subject personal pronoun it is used with but it also changes depending on what verb tense is being used (present, past, future etc).

Unfortunately, you will have to learn how Spanish verbs are formed even to have a very basic conversation. There is no escaping it!

Spanish verbs can be split into those that are regular and those that are irregular. The benefit of learning how to form Spanish regular verbs is that once you know how to form one verb in one particular tense you can apply the same formation rules to all regular verbs. You only need to know how to form the verb once!

So, what are the best ways to go about learning how to form Spanish verbs? There are without doubt a lot more regular verbs in Spanish than there are irregular ones so learning the formation rules that apply to regular verbs is probably a good start. Some of the most very common verbs in Spanish are irregular however, so sooner or later you will have to study these too!

The Spanish textbook I was using started to introduce verb formations right from the very beginning but didn’t include any detailed explanations about them until perhaps half way through the book. I was putting sentences together using different verb formations without really knowing why. Of course a sentence without a verb is not much of a sentence so being subjected to them right away was unavoidable.

To begin with it is probably a good idea to start making sentences with verbs by concentrating on remembering what the verb in it’s infinitive form means rather than trying to learn how it is formed in different tenses.

Infinitive verb examples – (to live = vivir / to eat = comer / to talk = hablar)

You are still learning, simply by remembering what lots of different verbs means. Later on at a point, which best suites, you, you can begin to look at different verb tenses and formations. For me, the Spanish textbook I was using didn’t explain in sufficient logical detail how verbs were formed. I was keen to understand this quite early on in my studies. My textbook approached the subject on a piecemeal basis, which seemed a little too disjointed for me. I would have preferred to learn about verbs as a separate topic rather than having them introduced them bit by bit!

Whichever way you decide to learn about verbs, one thing you will almost certainly want in your possession is a verb conjugation (formation) book. This is a book that will tell you how every conceivable verb in the Spanish language should be formed in all tenses. (Some books are more in depth than others!)

Verb conjugation books and more about what my basic level Spanish text book taught me is what I intend to continue talking about in my next article.

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