Spam comments

I am getting a lot of spam comments. I will try to block the IP address of the spammers but it takes too long to erase these comments. i will just leave then and hope people just ignore them.


Word and phrase lists

A person posted a list of “51 key English phrases” on a Chinese language forum based here in Vancouver. Here are the last few jewels from that list.

dying art 这是已失传的手艺

gentlemen agreement 君子协定

I’m trying to make ends meet 我尽力要使收支平衡

prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them.富贵结朋友, 患难见真情

if you wish to be the best man, you must suffer the bitterest of the bitter. 吃得苦中苦, 方为人上人

it is better to fight for good than to fail at the ill.宁为善而斗, 毋屈服于恶

he who has hope has everything. 怀有希望者, 便拥有一切

self-trust is the first secret of success.自信心是成功的首要关键

the secret of success is constancy of purpose.成功的秘绝在于目标坚定有恒

success grows out of struggles to overcome difficulties.成功源于努力去克服困难

experience is the extract of suffering. 经验是受苦的结晶

My comment was:

I have learned to speak nine languages and have put some effort in to two more, Korean and Portuguese. I have tried learning lists of expressions and phrases. It does not work.

Listen and read a lot. There is not shortcut. Notice words and phrases from your listening and reading. Write them down. When you talk to native speakers, mostly listen. When you listen to radio and TV, write down the key phrases and words. Try to use these words and phrases, a few at a time.

Language learning is all about real communication. It is not about picking up cute phrases you can use like decorations in an otherwise sub- par command of the language. In my experience, phrases studied out of context cannot be learned and are quickly forgotten. I do not even believe the phrases are useful unless I have heard them myself in context.

Language learning is not an academic exercise. It is not about rote memory. It is not about splitting hairs over obscure points of grammar. It requiires a lot of exposure. It depends on a relaxed attitude, a willingness to communicate and a level of commitment which, unfortunately, is rare here.

As pointed out in the National Post a few days ago in their lead editorial, we have a lot of highly educated immigrants in Canada who are functionally illiterate in English and French. No amount of government money will change this. A profound attitude change on the part of 90% of the immigrants is needed. I do not see it happening.