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Re: OT: What is your qualia of consciousness / thought? (WAS: does conlanging change your sense of reality?)

From:Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <>
Date:Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 9:52
2009/4/7 Herman Miller <hmiller@...>

> > That could be one reason I have such trouble with verb-final languages like > Japanese. My thoughts come more naturally in English word order, but with > some flexibility -- not always in the order I end up speaking or writing > them, but more or less. With some practice, the Japanese word order becomes > more natural for Japanese words, so I could probably get used to it if I > spent enough time exposing myself to Japanese (but speech often comes at you > too quickly to understand, and reading is a difficult skill to learn. I've > found the most effective way to learn the writing system for me is to learn > the pronunciation of whole words, not individual kanji characters). >
Dutch is verb-final in subclauses (like German), and although my fellow students in Dutch class (coming from all kinds of backgrounds and native languages) all had difficulties with it, I personally never found it a problem. I never found word order to be a big problem (except in extended sentences with lots of subclauses, but then even the Dutch themselves have problems with them), it's the thing I adapt best to.
> > To some extent, learning non-English words for me is a bit like learning > unfamiliar English words: eventually given enough context it becomes part of > my vocabulary. Most of the time I'm not very aware of this, since I don't > read enough non-English text to become fluent in any language, but in one > case, the Dutch word "over" tends to get translated mentally as German > "über", rather than the English equivalent. On the other hand, any mental > associations between German "wissen" vs. "kennen" and Spanish "saber" vs. > "conocer" are weak at best. >
To me, being immersed in the language is indeed vital to build up a vocabulary. Without immersion, I still can learn grammatical rules very easily, and apply them relatively simply to my sentences, but I can't grow a usable vocabulary. That's why it took me only one month to get to a conversational level in Dutch: I was immersed in the language already. With Greek, it's more difficult since I only speak it a few weeks per year, so my vocabulary tends to stagnate or regress easily. -- Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.