Language problem solved

I finally figured out why I can’t speak – preciseness of language. I had this drummed into me as a kid. I lived on a farm as a child so had very little contact with people. When for the first couple of years all you speak to are your parents, occasional fishermen, perhaps the vet and your grandparents if they come to visit then of course you can’t speak properly. You don’t have enough practice with forming your words as you don’t even have a sibling to practice with as your the eldest. This is why you try to compensate when your brother turns up and has the same problem. You have already been through the same problem and your trying to rectifying it but your making him codependent on you as he isn’t old enough to talk yet and you are.

In order to speak correctly you need to be able to make mistakes. As a child you need to learn all the different sounds of your language in order to know which are the correct ones. If your not allowed this trial and error process then you stop speaking. Your linguistic and therefore social development is hampered by your parents whose own issues are preventing you from being all that you can be. They are creating major problems for you and themselves by expecting you to be a fully formed adult in terms of communication before that is possible.

I figured this out finally at dinner last night as I was trying to order a lamb chop but the Greek words are no longer on the menu to refresh my memory. I thought it was arnaki as it sounds like little lamb to me based on the words for little and lamb. It’s similar but it’s actually paidaikia. This is one of those many words that are confusing because if you get the stress wrong you order little children paidi akia instead of lamb chops pai diakia. I was also contemplating the fact that his children might be coming to visit us soon so I can’t get away with speaking English as there too young to know any at 6 and 3 I think but I’m not sure as I haven’t meant them yet.

These mini crisis are important as they show up the problems that were created in your childhood that you are no longer aware of as it was so long ago. I was first alerted to this when my husband’s best friend changed partners and started bringing round their children. I had previously avoided all children like the plague because they made me uncomfortable. They reminded me of my own inability to have them. They also represented change which I can’t handle unless I’m in a relaxed, open frame of mind.

Learning languages with autism

I have long wondered how is it that I have dedicated countless hours over the years to this task yet I’m still unable to speak?

I know it’s possible as I can do it in a pinch and I have written about the methods which have allowed many others to do just that.

It turns out that since I’m reticent to speak in English, it applies to all languages and has nothing to do with my intellectual ability at all. I can learn a language, any language and enjoy it. I just don’t like speaking.

Since most conversations are inane repeats of what has been said previously I don’t join in. The point that they are therapy and checking up on people to make sure they are mentally well as well as physically has escaped me until recently. I am entirely capable of talking especially about special interests but my conversational skills right now have descended to word play games with my father in law.

Yesterday I was trying to say to my husband in Greek that since he had got a baked bean stuck in his throat (he had baked beans on toast for his lunch) he wouldn’t be ordering them when he got back to Greece. Mia fazoula parakalo (polite and I enunciated it wrong) but then his dad joined in with strawberries fraoula since it’s a similar word and he was waxing lyrical (mountain strawberries like I have in Greece) about them yesterday dinner time. We ended with me saying that a frauoula was a little German housewife thereby mixing German with Greek which might considered a bit of a heresy considering the history involved here.

On videos you understand without comprehending the lyrics

I love it when you watch a foreign language video and when you finally get to see the English translation you realise you already understand what the song was about through the acting. That to me is the sign of a good song. I love Sergei Lazarov for this reason. I don’t understand Russian but I respect that he is not afraid to bend gender boundaries for a good performance. It’s all her

I also used to like Greek videos for this reason but they are becoming very generic which is so sad. I have previously talked about Greek videos that have spoken to me though so check them out although it’s not letting me recommend them to you right now.

On listening, enjoying but not understanding (Hyperlexia or just Autism?)

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

When you try to control everything, it ends up controlling you

Dovlatov on Netflix

This is a film set in 1970s Russia based on a real life author struggling to get published. It’s in Russian with English subtitles. I love the authenticity this provides and how it correlates with other films I have seen of this era. From what I can remember of when I was previously very interested in Russian films; the 1960’s and 1970’s was a good time for Russian film making as lots of good films that are available on YouTube were made. Since I don’t speak or write Russian here is a list compiled by someone who does

I added this in as a bonus because I like to listen to foreign songs as they tend to be more realistic and you can figure out the gist even though I have no clue what they are saying. Russian songs on YouTube.

As I’m struggling to occupy myself right now due to the enforced isolation; I thought I needed the challenge of watching a Russian program from another era. As you know I love history and languages so why not?

As I sit and write these various articles at different times and moods it reminds me of War and Peace as that’s very clear to me it was written and rewritten several times. It doesn’t flow well in many places to my mind and it appears very disjointed like his own mind and life no doubt. Perhaps that is the beauty that I’m missing. The imperfections as that’s what makes us all real at the end of the day.

It also would be nice if WordPress told you who was reading your blog other than 1 person in Greece reads this etc. Is that the same person all the time? If it’s who I think it is thankyou for the inspiration and recommendations and if it isn’t thankyou anyway for checking out my blog on a regular basis. Thankyou to all the other people who participate in my blog too.

What does Greek have against punctuation?

This is a clip that a friend of mine posted online with Greek and English plus an auto translation below.

What confuses me the most when trying to figure out the Greek language is where do you take a breath? There are no commas, semi colons or full stops. There isn’t even any speech marks, exclamation marks or question marks!

The Greeks also have a love of sentences that start with And. I think this maybe because they are trying to artificially add in punctuation in newspaper articles. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which words belong in which sentence since they run on forever!

Spanish I think may have the opposite problem of using exclamation marks at the beginning as well as the end. Kind of like the Spanish themselves being very enthusiastic.

I haven’t learnt sufficient about other languages like Russian yet, to be able to comment properly; but from what I’ve seen far they don’t seem to have the same issues.

Do you have any issues like this in languages you have learnt?

Best wishes

Angela

Greek language blogs

These are blogs that I’ve started following as in order for me to be able to talk I need to read an awful lot of content from native speakers on varied subjects. I didn’t publish anything for the National Greek Language Day that we just had and I was reminded that I should get back to my language studies again.

Best wishes

Angela

Today’s lesson

I have learnt today that you can block yourself from achieving what your heart desires via the psychological blockages that are present in your brain. This is responsible for over learning and trying so hard but just not getting there. You become so inventive trying to find the reasons for your failure but because you are not attacking the root cause you will never solve the problem. The fact you haven’t the faintest idea why this happens continually is why you will never find a solution no matter how creative you are. The answers you are looking for are located in your brain but all the signposts are lost. In fact there isn’t even a map so you have to stumble around blindly until you somehow come across what you are looking for. There is a quicker way to locate those lost items but it requires you look deep within yourself to discover those items.

I find zoning out watching Netflix in foreign languages or YouTube videos is very helpful to this process. Watching an in-depth program on tv also helps. Anything visual that captures my attention allows whatever is there to bubble up to the surface.

Last dinner we were having dinner and we just start talking in Greek. My husband, myself and my father in law discuss the prawns were eating, how many potatoes we want, etc. While my father in law talks in sentences about how tasty these prawns are even though they are whole (there not deveined I believe is the technical term), my mother in law doesn’t say a word and barely answers how many prawns, asparagus, potatoes she wants. We don’t even talk about the wine which is unusual for us as it’s usually quite a big deal. I liked the fact that because the context was immediate I didn’t really need to translate because it was obvious what was being said. Practice really does make perfect even with impromptu jokes about a common occurrence (the taste of shell on prawns compared to shelled ones).

Best wishes

Angela

Cathedral of the Sea on Netflix

This is a show that came out in 2018 based on the 2006 novel of the same name by the Spanish author and lawyer Ildelfonso Falcones.

He wrote about the building of a very famous cathedral Santa Maria del Mar that was built by the guild of stonemasons in Barcelona. They built it for the Virgin Mary hence the name Saint Mary of the Sea. This took place in the Middle Ages (14th century precisely) so it was a feudal society with no mechanisation. Most of the population were slaves and they lived in dire poverty as they had no property or money of there own. They were simply uneducated and illiterate labourers with no prospects of advancement. This also meant that women had no rights as they were property of first their father and then there husband. They were educated in the art of bringing up children and running a household as that’s all they were expected to do.

It’s originally in European Spanish but you can watch it with subtitles or dubbed into English. I prefer to watch shows in the original language with subtitles as I believe I get a more authentic experience then. I previously mentioned this as part of a much earlier post talking about using bilingual programs on Netflix to help further my progress in learning languages Netflix.

I love history, travel, culture as well as being overly enthusiastic about words. I also like architecture which is as much mathematics and design as well as art and I love reading!

The article on Wikipedia provides a little more insight if you wish to get to know the author, his work or the era better –The Cathedral of the Sea.

Advocating for autism

As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc

Imagina and A Life of Ice and Fire.

This is in addition to Autistic Communication and Autistic Education.

My other books are on How to learn the Greek language, Greek life, More Greek, How to learn languages and finally A Life of Halcyon Days which is a romantic chick lit book set in Greece.

Best wishes

Angela

Can you forget your native language?

Can you lose your native language as an adult?

I’ve been fascinated by adults in Greece who can speak both Greek and English to native levels yet as they get older they stop being able to do both. This has perplexed me in the UK too with people who learnt languages fluently at a young age yet can no longer speak the language.

This isn’t just related to an average person though. If you look at Ricky Martin’s career he speaks with his native accent in Spanish and English but then he moved to the US and gets married to an American. His accent changes so drastically that he can’t even sing his own back catalogue properly anymore!

Luckily this change can be reversed as on his most recent song he is back to sounding how he used to when he was younger.

As the article above suggests it’s all to do with emotions. If you associate positive emotions with a language and a specific purpose then you are more likely to remember it. If however you try to use a language for another purpose like your native language for work purposes in an English speaking country your likely to fail. Too much mental control is required for this to occur.

Best wishes

Angela

On listening, enjoying but not understanding (Hyperlexia or just Autism?)

I’ve just realised that as much as I enjoy listening to the songs by Giorgios Sabanis and especially his Logia pou Kaine (Words that burn) album; I haven’t the faintest idea what he is talking about upon reading the English translations – Giorgios Sabanis lyric translations.

I’ve listened to the lyrics as he has sung them with accompanying written lyrics, even reading them at the same time but there meaning seems to have slipped my mind. I’ve watched the videos to his songs and thought that I had intuited the meaning since there are generally evocative and seem to go well with the song but I haven’t grasped the finer points in the slightest.

This should make me depressed but I see it as another aspect of autism. It is after all a social communication disorder. It took until I was a teenager to start to get the finer points of socialising in English so you could look upon my progress in Greek as though I am a teenager again. If I have to do this with every language I want to learn it’s going to be one painful nightmare repeated over and over again. I really hope this isn’t necessary. The emotional growth is nice but does it have to be so painful each time?

Best wishes

Angela

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/se-sena-stamatise-i-kardia-σε-σένα-σταμάτησε-η-καρδιά-heart-stopped-you.html

My heart stopped with you

This is a song that immediately struck me the first time I heard it. It’s a pop/ rock song but it’s also strangely calming as it’s streamlined. I’ve listened to it countless times and I thought I understood the lyrics as they are quite passionate and evoke your emotions. I therefore thought I knew what the song was about because his speech is relatively clear and distinct. To me it was about love but an all encompassing love that disables you from functioning. It describes the feeling when you are head over heels for someone and it’s just like a bolt from the blue as we say to explain something completely unexpected.

While this is not completely the theme of the song upon reading the actual lyrics, it never occurred to me before despite the fact I have most likely looked up this song before and I’ve certainly tried to analyse its content. I have been passively watching and listening to songs for years with an inkling of their meaning from the emotions that I perceived from the videos but they haven’t been correct. I need to translate the words to get the full picture. My arrogance at my own ability and my naïveté have probably both contributed to this. Plus being selfish and not allowing anyone to critique me as I was too emotional and sensitive myself. I didn’t have enough life experience or emotional maturity to comprehend the message of the song.

The song explains that love is blind as the guy is still stuck on his ex. He can’t get over her as much as he wants to as there are still so many reminders of their relationship. He is still wondering what he has done to lose her. He wants to get back with her as he still loves her and thinks that this will stop the pain he is feeling. He is becoming bitter towards the end and wants to cut out all trace of her from him.That’s certainly different to usual and no wonder I never picked that up.

Have you ever had that before?

Best wishes

Angela

When you try to control everything, it ends up controlling you

With one look – Μ´Ενα Σου Βλέμμα by Γιοργιος Σαμπανης Giorgios Sabanis and the lyrics https://lyricstranslate.com/en/μ’-ένα-σου-βλέμμα-your-sight.html

Pop music doesn’t usually make videos that makes you think about real world issues but this one was so evocative that I had to watch it again and again to get what it truly was about. The words went too fast for me to read initially so I paused it several times and with the help of Google to make sure I was translating correctly, I managed to get the full gist of things.

The first girl’s story,

I thought I was stronger than food. I could put it in me whenever I wanted but also take it out again. Finally I got what fed me to destroy me….

Νόμιζα ότι είμαι πιο δυνατή από φαγητό. Όποτε θέλω το βάζω μέσα μου, όποτε το βγάζω. Κι έφτασα τελικά ο, τι με τρέφει,να με καταστρέψει …

The first guy’s story

I had a passion for and was addicted to social media. This was the only way that I could cope with my life. But this was not living.

Το πάθος μου κι ο εθισμός μου για την εικονική πραγματικότητα, ήταν ο μόνος τρόπος που είχα για να αντέχω την πραγματικότητα. Αλλά η δειλία δεν είναι ζωή.

The second girl’s story

Sometimes he beats me to show me his love. Afterward he asks for my forgiveness. He tells me that he will change. Eventually I changed.

Καμία φορά με χτυπάει, για να μου δείξει την αγάπη του. Μετά μου ζητάει συγνώμη. Μου λέει θα αλλάζει. Τελικά άλλαζα εγώ.

The second guy’s story

I didn’t care how I made the money. I just did it to ensure I had a good standard of living. The resulting guilt and loneliness made all the victories pyrrhic.

Δε με ένοιαζε ο τρόπος. Μόνο να βγάζω λεφτά για να ζω καλά … Με νίκησαν στα σημεία, η ενοχή και η μοναξιά …

Its a distillation of what it is to be Greek but a modern Greek who is worldly so experiences what everyone else in the world struggles with – Food in the form of Anorexia and Bulimia, Internet addiction, Monetary Greed in the form of being a ruthless and cutthroat business man, Gluttony, Loneliness, Domestic Abuse, Depression and feeling subhuman like you have lost yourself and your humanity.

I feel this needs to be part of the Thriving Autistic Adult Series

Best wishes

Angela

Using games to improve your language skills

Just in case you were wondering what happened to the language posts here is one.

I recently went to a birthday party and the guests there were found of using the Sims computer game in foreign languages to learn all of the basic household items. They also liked to play Command and Conquer online with Russian and other eastern block people as it was a good way to learn the language as it was used by the people. My way of naming my Pokemon after Greek animals seemed rather inferior after that. I have thought about changing my devices to foreign languages but that never goes well. I’ve done it by accident and I’ve used items abroad and it’s just too confusing for me. I also came across an Alexa recently so I thought I would see if it could talk to me in foreign languages. This Alexa was new so didn’t seem to be able to even tell me whether she was an Echo, Dot or what version she was. I gave up after asking the same question in 3 different ways and getting the same default responses. So as much as games and technology can help you learn a new language, the best way is always going to be to get out there and to be social as much as you might dislike this method.

Best wishes

Angela

There is a Berlin Wall inside my brain for words

This was installed when I had my accident at 17 and they are very militant in not allowing words from one part of my brain to the other. I learn all the words of a language and retain them but they are not allowed to cross the divide between the conscious and unconscious minds.

My husband just made a joke in Greek which was quite funny. He was saying a bunch of stuff then he says vemata (steps) instead of psmeta (lies) excuse my spelling. So I’m thinking there not the same word and that’s not the word he means or even what he usually says. Then I get what it is he just said so the words are there, there just not allowed out of the fortress often.

I have to find my Reagan so he can say “Tear down this wall Mr Gorbachev!”

Best wishes

Angela

Telling tales in Greek

For Christmas I got this book. It is a children’s book to help English speakers learn the Greek language. It is the tale of the Odyssey and Odysseus. However the Greek that is taught in this book is the original Ancient Greek. This means extra learning of words that they no longer use. It’s interesting looking at the origins of the language though. Some words however remain the same.

The best part of this book is it’s focus on grammar including the most difficult point I have come across so far – the genitive sandwich.

This is very difficult for an English speaker because we don’t really have cases, declension or even gender in our language anymore. We therefore don’t ever need to worry about genderised conjugation or even really conjugating.

English is a hodgepodge of rules that have been adopted from all of the different invaders. This makes it a difficult language to learn because it’s not as pure as older languages are. You do however get compensated by having many cognates with other newer languages.

Another reason for the inherent difficulty in processing Greek from an English speakers perspective stems from the genitive case being the one that you use to indicate possession. In our enlightened times we wouldn’t ever think of saying ‘of Daniel’ to indicate that something belongs to Daniel unless we were referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s anti feminist and very archaic to think in terms like this.

Grammar wasn’t taught much in schools when I was attending in contrast to previous eras. I believe they have changed that now with an emphasis on more exotic foreign languages like Mandarin instead of just European. This means that today’s school children are better equipped to handle the linguistic diversity that is present in the world. At least in my opinion.

Best wishes

Angela

Ebooks vs real books vs audio books

This is an interesting conundrum as there are positives and negatives for all sides. I have addressed this previously in my books here on My author page. I have also written several articles about reading – Different types of Reading, The to be read pile etc. As it’s such an essential skill there is always more to examine so, today I’m going to delve into what happens when I read an ebook as opposed to the real version and add in a little about audiobooks too.

When I had a Kindle and started reading the e versions of books as it was too expensive for me to continually buy the real versions I noticed that I wasn’t enjoying them as much. I’m not one of those that particularly goes in for the smell of old books, the feel of the paper, the weight of the book or the cover design but the fact you can disconnect from the digital world is brilliant. This doesn’t happen if you have stopped working using a screen but progressed to reading using a screen. The book may be fiction and it may be an author or subject you really enjoy but the electric light interferes. Your not relaxed because the photons don’t allow that. You also can’t go to sleep reading an ebook as the light does the opposite in keeping you awake.

I used to think that the reasons I didn’t finish books was because of the style, subject matter, author but the format also has some input into my overall enjoyment. I read the paperback version of Organised Mind by Daniel Levitin. Or tried to read it as I should say because although it’s a very interesting book it was like trying to walk through a quagmire. I gave up. Then I come across the book on Blinkist. I read it very quickly as with all books on there because there designed like that. However, to me it didn’t feel like I was reading the same book at at all. It was summarised so it had all the salient details but as far as I know, by someone else. Therefore, to me, it doesn’t have any of the authors insight or stamp on it. It’s just a collection of words that teach you something, albeit better than the original, but bearing little resemblance to it. I’m really starting to dislike abridged versions of books.

I remember listening to a Jane Austen audiobook and it was enjoyable but since it was abridged it skipped out a lot. Sometimes when traveling my attention is diverted elsewhere so I lose the thread of the story and I found this happening frequently. I think I need all that extra information to keep my focus as it’s a bygone era.

I don’t like listening to audiobooks much as I have sensitive hearing that seems to be affecting me more than when I was younger. I could however just be noticing it more. I know alcohol dampens the senses but it’s not good to use that to cope with noisy situations. Anyways I find I pay less attention to an audiobook but it’s more relaxing that way as I can just switch off.

So in conclusion Real Books are best for absorbing information information, e books if you want a wide variety that doesn’t take up any space and audiobooks if you need a distraction from every day life.

Do you agree with my conclusion?

Best wishes

Angela

An alternative perspective on autism

This article is about an amazing book I have read about autism and this is one of the best descriptions I have come across. It’s certainly the best from someone who isn’t personally on the autism spectrum themselves.

transformingautism.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/eBook-TAP-May-2017.pdf