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.
This is a very early writing system that predates the Greek alphabet. There has been extensive studies to understand this pre alphabet in both Crete and Cyprus. Knossos is a very important historical site in Crete where these tablets have been discovered on archeological digs.
On Cyprus lectures are given about its importance about its role as a precursor to the Greek language. These lectures are given in Greek at the university of Nicosia in Cyprus but I was able to find out about it because the lecturer is in fact English. There was a magazine article I read about his work and how he came to learn the Greek language over a period of approximately 30 years. I found it fascinating that there is still much to learn about prehistoric times because the information was either recorded in a language that is now indecipherable to us; or was just passed down verbally as they had no means of remembering things in terms of texts.
Linear B is a written language that is in itself predated by Linear A which hasn’t been decoded yet. Linear B was uncovered by English architect Micheal Ventris. He was a Classist and self taught linguist. His specialty was the Mycenaean era of Greece. He sadly died in a car crash very early on in his life otherwise this new field could be much further forward than it is today.
Hola senor, senorita, a todos,
Buenos Dias/Buenas Tardes/Buenas noches,
Como Estes? Que pasa?
Bien, muy bien.
Dos cafe sin leche pero con azucar por favor,
Une cerveza con limon por favor.
Hasta las vista.
Hello guy/girl, everyone,
Good Day, Good Afternoon, Good Night.
How are you? What’s up?
Good, very good.
Come on in.
Two coffees without milk but with sugar please.
One beer with lemon please.
Thankyou very much,
See you later.
This is a museum about the visual word. It demonstrates that the Mayan way of communication is completely different to anything else in the world. There are 31 different dialects and it shows in chart form how and where they evolved. It also demonstrates how the sound has changed over time.
The Mayan language started off being written in hieroglyphic form but with a completely different set of symbols to Egyptian. However when the Spanish invaded this was banned. So all Mayan practices had to conducted in secret or with the Latin language. As a result of this it meant that the ability to read and write was mostly lost until recently. The museum charts the work of anthropologists, enthographers and linguists from around the world but particularly Dresden, Madrid, and St Petersburg in there battle to understand this mysterious code. It was cracked but it took until the 1950s for this to happen. The Mayan language is now written universally in Latin and the hieroglyphs are left as part of there cultural heritage.
The reasoning for this is that the mayans used a vigesimal system which meant that they counted in 20s. This is quite a feat but remember there was no electricity in those days so no internet, television, radio, phones, computers to distract them.
For other number systems see here Alternative number systems.
The Mayan mathematical system was unique using dots and dashes to add all numbers together. They invented zero long before the Arabic zero. The Romans with their numerals never had the concept of zero. The Mayan knowledge of mathematics, physics and astronomy was comparable to the Ancient Greeks.
The Mayan calendar system was also unique in that it had 18 months of 20 days and 1 month of 5 days to create 365 days. The extra days were celebratory. They each had there own name and these were only repeated every 52 years. The date is written in 5 parts. The first 3 in numerals then you get words to represent where you are in that particular cycle.
The Mayan calendar system is similar to the Aztec calendar system so you can get easily confused as they are equally big numbers that seems rather abstract at once glance. You have to have a systematic and mathematical mind to grasp it. A bit like the old system of pounds, shillings and pence was once commonplace but now seems so awkward and obsolete.
There isn’t much in the museum itself anymore as it’s been open for 60 years now. It’s been moved to a new location further north but what is left is still intriguing. The artefacts themselves, the stories and the knowledge contained within. By the way this is in Spanish but you can get an English book if you left them hold your ID for the duration of your stay. It takes about a hour to look at it all.
I have been enjoying a holiday in Mexico to practice my Spanish but I’m also getting a sampler of German and a sprinkling of Russian in addition to the Mayan language.
When you are relaxed it is much easier to retain information and when you speak the language the locals are much more likely to recommend their favourite places and dishes to you. Local knowledge is key as always. Travel agents are good but they can’t possibly have been everywhere or know everything. The internet is no substitute for experience here.
This is Eduardo who I had a chat with as he has previously learnt some Russian and was currently learning German. He had progressed quite well for only having spent 6 months on the language so far. Being from this area he had already mastered Spanish, Mayan and English. He liked to travel a lot to the point each year he would spend 3 months working away but regretted the fact that he always had to do it solo. He admired the fact that me and my husband Sam could share our adventures together.
- You need to get hold of some clear audio (an audiobook) that is at your current level.
- You also next to get hold of the corresponding text (e and physical is the most beneficial but you choose which is the best for you).
- Next you need a recording device, there is one on your phone.
When choosing your text make sure that the subject matter is interesting to you otherwise it will not be as useful to you and you will be wasting your time.
- Have the text in front of you and listen to the audio at the same time.
If you are someone like me this is quite difficult because I absorb information at light speed. I’m not really reading but seem to pick up the gist as quickly as a sponge sucks up water. (Most of the time)
- In this example though we are going for pronunciation practice here. So we’re trying to assimilate as much of the sound in terms of its physical qualities. By that I mean it’s intonation, spacing, pitch, rhythm, accent, emotion etc as possible. All of the different components are important here to get an authentic sound which is what we are aiming for.This is so that we can repeat it into the recorder as accurately as possible. This round is on a phrase by phrase basis.
- Then we try to repeat as much of it as possible listening to the audio recording from the beginning again. This is so that we can get a flow to the whole piece rather than isolating each sentence.
- Next we are going to compare our recorded speech with that of the prerecorded speech to check for differences.
- Finally we repeat the process until we cannot distinguish our own speech from that of the recording. (This maybe optimism as you may get bored if this doesn’t happen quickly).
Again if you are like me, your reluctant to listen to your own voice recordings because what you hear doesn’t sound anything like you think you sound. It’s sounds pretty awful as it’s weak, pathetic and indistinct a bit like a newborn mewling kitten.
This is the link if you wish to learn Russian from Max its creator Shadowing.
If you have been following my blog you will know that this approach is next to impossible to apply in Greek. I have recently found audio books on YouTube but I have had to separately purchase the e and physical books from Amazon. It took quite some time to arrive as even though they were on Amazon UK, it had to be shipped from Germany.
I have started to follow a lady on WordPress un petite bibliophile (this platform unless your reading this on my fb page) who reviews Greek children’s books in Greek. However, without access to the texts themselves; they are of limited use to me for this particular technique. They are simple children’s books but they can still teach valuable concepts. I like to use them for grammar and reading practice. It helps my comprehension and understanding having her texts there to consult.
If you wish to watch and listen to the worlds most expressive Russian check out the above video. It’s a simple story with questions afterwards. There are subtitles to help you out as well as pictures and his actions.
This is a very informative video that I came across on YouTube about how to progress through the different learning levels. Turn the subtitles on because he is Russian but he speaks using the words that are closest to English. He makes more sense than most Russians but that might also be because he is talking about something I’m very interested in.
One of the major mistakes you can do when starting to learn a foreign language is to translate everything back into your native language. This means there will always be a delay in your speech. It could also mean lots of errors are introduced due to different grammar, possession, word order etc.
If you learn pronunciation first before meaning then you will learn what you are reading in your target language rather than your native language. This will help enormously with your comprehension and communication.
However when learning a language like Greek, finding something with subtitles to go along with your audiobook is like finding a needle in a haystack. YouTube has plenty of music videos, audiobooks, news reports, chat shows etc but very rarely do they come with closed captioning. Overdrive is an app that you can use to get access to digital resources from your local library but they don’t tend to have foreign books. They have umpteen language courses but if you want something relaxing you are again stuck. Overdrive allows you to have multiple libraries stored in your app so you have access to a wide variety of resources and they have a new app called Libby too. This however does not fix your problem. So I suggest going onto EBay to buy a Greek version of Harry Potter to go along with the audio book that is on YouTube. Victoria Hislop is another idea along with Nikos Kazantzakis and The Little Prince.
I have recently become interested in learning Italian after watching Sky Arts photographer of the year but need to remember that it takes an absolute age for me to learn a language. I still haven’t learnt either Greek, Spanish or Russian.
I do love the Greek language but I have to be super relaxed and happy to use it so that rarely happens. I usually have alcohol in me too. It’s amusing the other day I just started writing in Greek to my husband using the Latin alphabet (he’s dyslexic so can’t read Greek or write it for that matter) which presents extra challenges because of transliteration. I’m amazed he understood then I write something else which was more difficult but then we became unstuck as he didn’t know how to reply in Greek. Therefore I never got an answer to the second query until he turned up which in fact answered it.
“English response to Where is he?”
Xaxaxa Lipon? Ratao Itan sou spiti?
“Since he is in the pub he obviously ain’t gonna tell me when he is coming home.”
Apologies for bad grammar and spelling but it got the point across.
Recently I have been watching Greek Tedx talks and pop videos on YouTube with the subtitles on but the catch here is that the subtitles are in Greek also. It’s amazing the progress I have made by being able to understand more of what they are talking about than just pure listening. Greek pop videos are usually easy to figure out but going from a gist to understanding the idea behind it purely by seeing more than a 10 second countdown clip and reading the words is pretty cool. Pop music repeats the same simple lyrics so there good for learning but the con is that they don’t use proper language so it’s more slang which still can be helpful.
The Tedx talks are for when I want to step it up although that’s several levels up and I’m not quite ready for understanding these yet. I think maybe I have a 50% comprehension level here.
I’m debating how to progress with my Spanish and Russian studies. I like Latin American Spanish far more than European Spanish which is rather problematic for me considering where I live. I’m hoping extensive use of Netflix and maybe Amazon Prime/YouTube will assist here?
I don’t know enough Spanish to be able to watch purely with native subtitles but the American accents are so off putting when they speak in English. I have very sensitive ears and hearing so the stereotypical high pitched whiny American accent really gets to me. They speak their native language so beautifully but then when it’s dubbed into American English OMG!!!!!
I’m the kind of person that gets bored quite easily if I don’t understand things so I’m basically making a rod for my own back as the saying goes. I’m complaining about something while knowing that this is actually the best way to learn a language. A first world problem as it’s now called.
As to the Russian language this can surprisingly sound beautiful if spoken by the right people. If they sound so mellifluous (honeyed from Greek ;)) then I don’t mind the English subtitles. However, I watched a dual English/Russian pop song today and it was horrific. His voice was bad and the translation showed that while the voice matched the words, the song seemed to be in 2 halves like a he said, she said argument. Why?
This was post was inspired by the fact that I watched a video (another yes I know) and this was about the tricks that polyglots used to learn languages. In it the author said the best way to learn was to talk and to make mistakes. I’m deathly afraid of this but that is the subject for another article as this is getting long as is the subject of reading which I’m again addressing.
Since I love both history and language I thought this video was both amazing in giving new insights and intriguing as it makes you want to learn more.
These are another fantastic resource to use to learn languages with. There are many European programs where the people being interviewed do not speak English but subtitles are provided for your benefit. This can range from a program about the influence font (sizing, spacing, arrangement, case, style and colour of letters) has on us. The show travels from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal to French Canada, the USA and finally the UK to give a wide variety of signs throughout history with a knowledgeable local in each location.
Another program I have watched was set in France and it demonstrated all of the sketches that the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent did during his working career including his cartoon sketches that he did when he needed a break. They interviewed those closest to him and the majority of the program was in French with subtitles.
The most recent program I have been watching is Sky Arts Master of Photography. I believe this is set in Italy as that’s where the challenges take place. Some of the contestants are Italian so you get to hear them interacting with locals during the course of their day. It’s very European as you get contestants from Germany, UK, Switzerland etc. There are subtitles for the Italian but to stop any more linguistic confusion the main content is in English.
Is there any other bilingual programs that you like to watch and would recommend me to check out?
This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.
If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.
Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?
Eight Greek inscriptions
Here is some Greek phrases to analyse while I address some personal issues that prevent me from actively blogging at the moment.
This is a movie on Netflix about the Parthenon marbles. They were taken by Lord Elgin in the 18th century for safe keeping in the British Museum. This is the attempt by some Greek lawyers to get them back. It has lots of Greek conversation on which to practice which is very useful for me. I hope you all enjoy the film as much as I did.
Lose your scarcity mindset and adopt and abundance mentality in your language learning. You’ll learn more, and you’ll stay motivated.
— Read on www.fluentin3months.com/abundance-mindset/
This article details the attitude that is best in order for you to make the most progress in the quickest way which is what we all want – efficiency.
Since grammar is not my strong suit but it is crucial to be able to communicate correctly I have decided to share some videos from a lady who is very good at demonstrating her ability to teach others.
The conversation series
My previous work