Ease of learning

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ladybird
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Ease of learning

Post by ladybird » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:22 pm

Serious question here folks (and a bit of soul-bearing as well).

I dropped out of the education system at the age of 15 and never went back. I have spent the years since then raising my family and I can honestly say I didn't regret my decision to leave school.

However, since I have been learning italian, I have realised that I don't know as much about my own language as I should.

For example, I think my writing, spelling, etc are reasonably good and I know what verb, adjectives, nouns etc are and what their basic function is.

But things like independant clauses, transitive verbs and other such delights have me scratching my head in confusion. I am learning along the way, because I am a stubborn cuss and won't admit defeat, but it's not been easy.

Which brings me to my question..is it possible for someone with limited knowledge of the workings of their own language to learn a second language?

Or would you suggest that they perhaps take a course to brush up on their native language skills first?

I would really like to hear your opinions on this, thanks.
Life is for living and learning.

TrentinaNE
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Post by TrentinaNE » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:55 pm

Ciao, ladybird.

I think the answer varies by person -- my parents (who emigrated from Italy in their 20s) learned to speak, read, and write English reasonably well by listening and absorbing. I'm fairly sure they couldn't tell you the difference between independent and dependent clauses, or even direct vs. indirect objects, but they (perhaps instinctively) learned how these structures are used in English.

On the other hand, when I began studying Spanish in 9th grade (age 14), the school instituted a special before-regular-hours class to teach kids about English grammar so that they could understand what was going on in their Spanish or French lessons. This was a public (state) school to which I had transferred after 8 years of parochial (Catholic) education, where the nuns made darned sure we learned grammar and arithmetic, if little else. :wink: So the "special" grammar classes were a boring repetition for me, but seemed rather essential to many of my classmates.

That said, I think a good Italian/English reference book probably will suffice for your purposes. I like this one that I purchased last year: Master the Basics: Italian by Marcel Danesi. Or click on some of the links that Mindy has provided for other suggestions.

In bocca al lupo!
Elisabetta
(Le correzioni sono sempre ben accette!)

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leenico
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Post by leenico » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:59 pm

Ciao Ladybird!
Which brings me to my question..is it possible for someone with limited knowledge of the workings of their own language to learn a second language?
I hope not. It's so long since I've been to school that most of what I have learned is largely forgotten. That's not to say that while I was in school my focus was in learning. :lol: I think you you can learn a language sufficiently well without knowing all of the grammar. After all, didn't you learn your own native language without excessive schooling? Don't tell me that you were any different than I was. :lol: Of course the more you know, the better a position you will be in, and as you advance your interest in grammar will probably increase. Both in your own language, and that of the one you are trying to learn. I am going to include a link which I haven't read entirely myself, but I think it might be helpful.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_learn_a_language
Il cuore dello stupido è nella sua bocca, ma la bocca del saggio è nel suo cuore.

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leenico
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Post by leenico » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:04 pm

Elisabetta! I went to Catholic grammar school also. Didn't those triangular cross sectioned rulers hurt when they wacked you across the back. I can still feel it. :lol:
Il cuore dello stupido è nella sua bocca, ma la bocca del saggio è nel suo cuore.

TrentinaNE
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Post by TrentinaNE » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:07 pm

leenico wrote:Elisabetta! I went to Catholic grammar school also. Didn't those triangular cross sectioned rulers hurt when they wacked you across the back. I can still feel it. :lol:
I was a docile little lamb, Lee, but it sure looked like it hurt when other kids got "whacked." :wink:

Elisabetta
(Le correzioni sono sempre ben accette!)

Roby
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Re: Ease of learning

Post by Roby » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:44 pm

ladybird wrote:Serious question here folks (and a bit of soul-bearing as well).

I dropped out of the education system at the age of 15 and never went back. I have spent the years since then raising my family and I can honestly say I didn't regret my decision to leave school.

However, since I have been learning italian, I have realised that I don't know as much about my own language as I should.

For example, I think my writing, spelling, etc are reasonably good and I know what verb, adjectives, nouns etc are and what their basic function is.

But things like independant clauses, transitive verbs and other such delights have me scratching my head in confusion. I am learning along the way, because I am a stubborn cuss and won't admit defeat, but it's not been easy.

Which brings me to my question..is it possible for someone with limited knowledge of the workings of their own language to learn a second language?

Or would you suggest that they perhaps take a course to brush up on their native language skills first?

I would really like to hear your opinions on this, thanks.
Ladybird,

Don't worry! We all can help you with this as well. There is a Come si dice in inglese section. You can post any English related questions there.

Here is a link that will be helpful to you regarding English

http://www.englishclub.com

Never feel ashamed of what knowledge you have of the language, we will help you all we can.

As for learning another language, it can still be done. Just have faith in yourself and never be afraid to ask questions.

Roby
Last edited by Roby on Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:22 pm

It's ironic that you mention this...

But in the US there was a story on the National Public Radio about a program in Durham, North Carolina USA where there is a large immigrant population from Mexico, Central and South America. Many of these immigrants never had any traditional schooling and so they come to the US and have a great difficulty learning the language because, of course, priorities for them have been different.

But the interesting thing was...is that this program first educates and schools these men, women and children in Spanish first and then English later after they have learned the concepts of their native language first. It might sound strange, but according to the expert they interviewed she said that knowing their own language and mechanics would make it easier for them to learn a second, third or even a fourth language.

There were experts from both sides saying that one didn't need the other, but I found the argument compelling.

I don't think it's ever too late to learn more grammar in your native language. There are a lot of great and simple/easy to use texts that can help. I think for many people, sometimes just seeing someone explain the workings of grammar makes them go "oh yeah!" because they see it all the time and use it -- they just don't know what the exact term for it.

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disegno
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Post by disegno » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:29 am

Studying Italian has opened my eyes to the complexities of my own native English language. It has helped me to appreciate grammar structures in both languages. Back in elementary school, diagraming sentences wasn't all that much fun. But, now I want to understand more about the English language and how it applies to Italian.

I found a great book called "English Grammar for Students of Italian" (Sergio Adorni, Karken Primorac) which helps to answer key questions about grammar English and how it applies to Italian. I think you might enjoy it too. :D
Chi canta a tavola e fischia a letto e' matto perfetto.

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ladybird
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Thanks everybody

Post by ladybird » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:19 am

Hi all

Many thanks for your replies.

I recently asked another forum member for advice on suitable italian grammar books, he very kindly sent me a list that he thinks may be helpful.

I do have confidence in my ability to learn, but tend to worry that I may make mistakes. I'm afraid that goes back many, many years to when I was at school (I'm in my forties now).

Anyway, I digress..

I seem to be learning as I go along, which suits me fine, but I will certainly check out your suggestions.

Just a final thought..I went to a convent grammar school as well, I detect a trend among us :D
Life is for living and learning.

Karin
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Post by Karin » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:58 am

Hi Ladybird, hi all,

Ladybird, I'm sure you will find out many interesting things about your native language when studying Italian. I always think of grammar as something that gives a structure to information you want to convey and/or share. For me half of the fun is that though the ideas people express are basically the same, every language /culture wraps them up differently. And for me this is half of the fun of being in this world, to find as many different wrappings as possible. Just take it easy and enjoy!

Besides, let me tell you a strictly protestant grammar school for girls is not much fun either. :roll: I've been to one!

Buona giornata e ciao,
Karin

Roby
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Re: Thanks everybody

Post by Roby » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:58 pm

ladybird wrote:Hi all

Many thanks for your replies.

I recently asked another forum member for advice on suitable italian grammar books, he very kindly sent me a list that he thinks may be helpful.

:D
Hi Ladybird,

Here is another list of recommended Italian resources to assist you in your quest to learn Italian.

http://impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44

Roby

Massimo
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Post by Massimo » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:22 pm

Ladybird, it's motivation that counts. There might be difficulties at times, but you'll get over them if you're motivated in learning Italian. And if at times you feel you cannot handle it, come here and talk to us, we'll all be here to help you, or at leat we'll try to.

And you can take this as a good chance to improve your skills in your own language. As they say in Spanish "no hay mal que por bien no venga", which I believe can be translated as "there's no bad situation coming without a good reason"
Massimo

Want to learn or practice and improve your Italian? Visit : http://www.learnitalian.at.vu

giro
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Post by giro » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:01 pm

disegno wrote:Studying Italian has opened my eyes to the complexities of my own native English language. It has helped me to appreciate grammar structures in both languages. Back in elementary school, diagraming sentences wasn't all that much fun. But, now I want to understand more about the English language and how it applies to Italian.

I found a great book called "English Grammar for Students of Italian" (Sergio Adorni, Karken Primorac) which helps to answer key questions about grammar English and how it applies to Italian. I think you might enjoy it too. :D

If you want my copy you can have it.

giro
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Post by giro » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:03 pm

Oops. Didn't notice Ladybird was in England. If anybody else wants it they can have it.

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DesertCat
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Re: Ease of learning

Post by DesertCat » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:05 am

ladybird wrote:Which brings me to my question..is it possible for someone with limited knowledge of the workings of their own language to learn a second language?
I believe it's possible. It just might require more work on your part. I also recommend "English Grammar for Students of Italian" because you can look up any grammar concept (what is a possessive pronoun, what is the future tense, etc) and it will explain how it works in English and then Italian. Even if you aren't familiar with the terminology you'll find that you are likely familiar with the usage.

I also just bought Modern Italian Grammar / A Practical Guide by Anna Proudfoot and Francesco Cardo. I have only spent a little time with it but it seems to be the same style but more detailed. I think it will prove to be useful also.

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