Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ask Paca

New blog feature: Ask me a question! It can be language related or anything else. I will do my best. And, if I don't know, I will make something up. Warning: I'm nothing like those language mavens you hear on NPR or other places. I have no idea of the etymology of your favorite word or six synonyms for "serendipity". Look in a thesaurus, dictionary, or ask your writing / English major buddies for that stuff. Though of course I could just make it up.


Courtney said...

do u believe in "god"? or the concept of god, gods, being, spirit, higher power, ...?

moonrat said...

i have one!!!

what ACTUALLY is the most difficult language to learn for a native (non-bilingual) english speaker? and what are the hallmarks of difficulty?

[people always tell me it's chinese, but i say bull$$$$ to them. i've studied not many languages, but at least between japanese and chinese, japanese is 600 times more difficult (and interesting). which has always made me wonder about which other languages might be hidden disasters for an english speaker?]

also... if this is answerable... is there a language that's just the most difficult to learn, period?

ooo i can't WAIT!

Robin S. said...

Oh I'm so glad you're doing this!!!

I have a question about 'accent traveling'.

When we were in Ireland a few summers ago, I heard people say "shar" for "shower" in the same way that people in parts of Louisville (where I'm from) say "shower". Could the remnants of an Irish/Celtic accent remain in a largely Irish neighborhood/region of a city, even though no one around there had ever even remotely seen Eire?

It seems so to me - just asking you for a reality check. Thanks!

writtenwyrdd said...

Paca, you have opened the door to chaos, lol.

I'm curious about language learning windows, myself. Regarding the hardening of the palate and other physical speech issues, where is the optimum time to learn languages like Chinese with sounds we do not make in English from a physical standpoint crossed with the optimal brain stage? Do these cross at all? I seem to recall that theory used to have the optimal periods were very young for the brain, but once the palate hardened up, so did the brain's wiring. Sort of.

blogless troll said...

Is it always better to be safe than sorry? Or do situations arise where sorrow is preferable to safety?

Also, why is it some words will all of a sudden sound really weird when you repeat them over and over? Like "shampoo." Are these words weird to begin with and we just don't usually notice it? Or is something else going on?

Robin S. said...

Building on BT's thoughts, why is it that sometimes when I start to write certain words - what, why, which - are the words that come to mind - they seem spelled incorrectly - even though they're not?

Courtney said...

so when do we get out answers? lol

ChrisEldin said...

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?