Portuguese Brain Melt

Image result for lemony snicket in portuguese Related image

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I don’t know why I’ve been sucked into another language when I already had plans to study Urdu, Farsi, Manx, Slovene, Croatian and Bajoran, but there’s something about Portuguese that I can’t let lie.

I can’t let it lie so much that I bought a Lemony Snicket book in Portuguese, plus an Angie Sage book, plus ‘So long and Thanks for all the fish’.

Already I can get through Portuguese text quicker than I can with a Cantonese book. I’m on page 79 of the Lemony Snicket book after 2-3 weeks of reading 1 hour a day.

Technically, that’s quite slow, very slow…but I’m a beginner. And I’m also the kind of reader who wants to understand every word so I’ll spend a lot of time with the dictionary.

Do other people do that?

I’m not sure.

Obviously I forget most of the words, and I can’t speak much at all, but I like the process of it.

Been watching a lot of polyglot vids on YouTube recently and have realised that about 62% of them are full of shit. Not completely full of shit, but they seriously exaggerate their levels. E.g. they will say they can understand a movie, or they will say they can understand almost every word except for a few, knowing that they will never be tested on this. Continue reading

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Kwok Fu Shing + shop of gold

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Even though I’ve lost my teacher, I still thought my Cantonese was pretty stable, lying somewhere between upper beginner and lower intermediate, but

it turns out my mother in law is the ultimate leveller of expectations.

Obviously, I can’t understand 75% of what she says,  she’s

too fast

too anxious and

uses vocab way beyond my level, but last week, when I saw Kwok fu Shing on TV I turned to her, confident I could direct the conversation to a place I could have vocab for, and asked if she liked him.

I got the first part of her answer,

she thought he was okay, quite handsome

but then her answer kept going and going and going and I heard some words I knew, like Mainland China, Kwun Tong, basic verbs etc. but overall I was pretty lost.

Why was she talking about Kwun Tong?

Did Kwok Fu Shing grow up there?

Why was she doing a firehose action with her hands? Continue reading

The eternal battle [Me vs Cantonese]

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This isn’t horror or sci fi but

I’ve always been interested in languages and

the idea of including them in sci fi/horror more often, mostly cos I’ve rarely seen them done well

e.g. most characters are like Hoshi or Uhura from New Star Trek who are already fluent, which to me takes the interesting part out of it, as if you really wanted to write a decent horror story about a vampire and that vampire is from Hungary then wouldn’t it be creepier if that vampire didn’t speak English

but some kind of old Hungarian

and if the characters are visiting a village in Hungary then what better way to isolate them than having all the villagers speak only Hungarian

no English speakers at all.

Why don’t many films try this?

Why set a sci-fi horror movie in Russia if you’re gonna have all your Russian characters speaking English, even to each other?

It makes no sense.

The Devil called Cantonese

For the last two years I’ve had one Cantonese lesson a week and that’s it.

One lesson about 90 minutes long, nothing else, except sometimes when my adrenaline’s up I’ll watch old HK movies on youtube and ask my wife, what did he say, what did she say, what did they say, over and over until she gives up and finds a version with subtitles. Continue reading