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Should you first master your own language before learning another?


English: Belarusian as native language among u...

English: Belarusian as native language among urban population in Belarus according to the 2009 census Українська: Білоруська мова, як рідна серед міського населення Білорусі за даними перепису 2009 року. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning on Facebook someone cleverly asked the question whether one should first master one’s native language before learning another. The person asking the question later in the thread comes out in favour of the answer no, one does not have to first master one’s native language before starting another. Quite right too, but I was negatively surprised to see a number of people siding with the proposition. Do they think that they can even measure what it is to “master” one’s native tongue?

I think it is even actually impossible to master one’s own language without learning another. It is impossible to be properly analytic about one’s own native language without stepping out of it. A common denominator among people who use their native language particularly poorly is that they have never undertaken serious study of a second one.

I had a friend from Australia once who was completely ignorant of whether he was using a word in English as a noun or an adjective or an adverb – in English words don’t necessarily change their form to show you what they are. As a result his reading comprehension was a hoot, he made incorrect inferences the whole time from what people wrote to him. You could see that his whole world view was hemmed in by the fact that he didn’t even have a proper grasp of how his tool for thought, ie language, actually worked. It was not until he started learning other languages that his eyes began to open. This is before we even get to the deepening of thought and the opening of the mind that comes ones we are able to understand word origins better, or start to think in the other language or begin experiencing the world through the linguistic apparatus of another people. Read the rest of this entry

Plans for 2013


Please link to me

This channel on YT

I thought I would just round off the year’s blogging personally, rather than just with the machine generated summary in the previous post which is very interesting, maybe more so for me than for the readers, just to give you all my warmest wishes for 2013 and to hope that I may continue to be part of what you look at online in the coming year. Your ratings and comments and hits, both here and on Quoracy.com blog and also on the YouTube channel, on Linked-In and Facebook and several other places are all very highly appreciated and at times of crisis I do derive a certain strength from knowing that I’ve still got my readers,  at least I got my friends:

In the deliciously ironic video to this interesting recent hit, the girl’s friend is a robot, but in my case behind the robot face of the internet and it’s various interfaces are real people who have been willing to share a bit in my life by watching the videos, listening to the voice droning on, reading the posts and the comments. That means a lot to me, and some of you I’ve got to know as well as people I’ve spent time with in the same room, or better.

I didn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to in 2012, partly because I always set my plans too high anyway, but also because I had a bad round of pneumonia in the summer which wiped out July and August. Read the rest of this entry

Announcing the new changes on this blog for 2011!


Google Android

Google Android's WordPress application greatly facilitates posting when away from a computer.

I’ve decided to take up the challenge by the folks over at The DailyPost, and be part of the postaday2011 challenge. That means that at least once a day there will be a new post on this blog, so please subscribe and get ready for what will be hopefully a mix of the entertaining and the thought-provoking, as I have tried to provide so far.

Some days there may be more than one post, but the idea is to not let a day go by without a post.

As readers of this blog could see recently, I have worked out how to do posts here from my Android phone, so that’ll be the main way of doing diary-style blogposts, the Diary of a New Decade series even when on trains and the like. Also I started the ICMTSU series, which has two posts in it so far, and that is  there to chronicle things which would be too ridiculous or strange to make up. For those not familiar with this old Usenet abbreviation, ICMSTU  means “I can’t make this s**t up”.

Another change in 2011 will be that all the YouTube video added in 2011 will be also placed in here as it is uploaded to YouTube. I’ll try to keep that current to within a week. This starts from my last video in 2010, my New Year Huliganov address video, which sets out what the plans are for the YouTube channel , which is here.

Basically a new video appears whenever the preceding one has hit 100, or becomes sure to hit it within days. The older YT stuff will be posted in chronological order, except where occasionally as with the Jimmy series I decide to put them all up at once.

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