I was watching Richard Simcott’s interview with Lindie Botes on best ways/methods to start in Korean and Richard Simcott said something that I thought was very interesting. He mentions that when learning romance languages or Slavic languages the main obstacle is learning the conjugations/cases and then it’s sort of translating. But the more distant the language the less this can be done. Specifically he mentions Chinese, Japanese, and Korean but instead with those languages they have templates or patterns to express certain ideas and the those structures are then modified with words and other things to express ideas. He talks about Turkish how this pattern rule applies as well but not as strict. Anyways does anyone else find this phenomenon to be true if so with what languages and is this because culturally ideas are expressed differently in these more distant languages or is it because these languages are built more with these patterns in mind?
I understand the point and it makes sense as a practical piece of advice, if you don’t take it too far ,but it doesn’t mean there is a difference in the way those two sets of languages work. It only has to do with how uch you can rely on your “gut feelings” about the language.
That is, grammar is always a matter of patterns in the language. There is no difference between, say, English and Chinese in that respect. What happens is that languages that are closer tend to have similar patterns, which allows learner fluent in one language to “guess” patterns in closely-related languages. Such intuition or gut feeling breaks down for languages that are less similar, which forces you to check what pattern would be appropriate for every possible situation (or sets of them) without the benefit of simply transferring a pattern from your native tongue to your target language (this is the “translation” that Simcott mentions):
This is especially true if you move away from “typical” European languages. They are more similar to one another than you may realize (not only because most are genetically related but because of many centuries of interaction). Have a look at this video about “Euroversals”:
Even in the case of related languages, be careful to notice the cases where the analogies break down, which are more common than Simcott seems to acknowledge. Since you’re studying Spanish, let me give you an example.
You know that Sp. for “I want to eat” is “Quiero comer”, so you may guess that “I want you to eat” would be “Quiero tú comer”. However, that would not work, Spanish uses the pattern “Quiero que comas”. However a simple pattern translation tends to work more often than not.
On the other hand, almost every pattern that you make up on the basis of English is guaranteed to fail when applied to, say, Korean. So, before building any new sentence you have to find out what the appropriate pattern would be.
[Edit] As a further example from a less closely related (though still European) language, take an absolutely harmless-looking expression:
I walked in the park with John. You can “translate” this pattern without any problem into Spanish, French or German:
Paseé por el parque con Juan, e. g.
In Russian, however, that pattern falls apart. The idiomatic way to say this is:
Мы с Иваном гуляли по парку. Literally “We with John walked in the park”. In general Russians say “We with someone” where other European languages would say “Someone and I”. It is this kind of “pattern mismatch” that builds up as you learn more distant languages, to the point where you cannot take virtually any familiar pattern for granted.
I can see exactly what you mean I would have said te quiero comer or quiero comerte or your example quiero que comas is the last one I thought of because I need to work on my subjective usage lol. Also your walked through the park example i would have said caminé por el parque con John or atravesé el parque con john are these bad or just awkward cuz i used my english brain to much? Also that russian example you found through exposure but when and when not to use that idiom pattern to express that idea also is there a problem going through native content vs language learner vs english subtitled to find these patterns or templates?
like in english lets say there are 200 general patterns once these are known its just vocabulary that plugs into these patterns once these are established ideas and words can be used through them is this correct? generally whats the best way to acquire natural useful patterns when I read since korean has absurd amounts of particle usage which adds alot of moving parts which make the patterns harder to see any advice for this?
There are many more patterns than 200, only if you are fluent in a similar language you can get away with only learning explicitly about that much and guess the rest, you don’t have that luxury in other languages.
There are different ways to learn the patterns. My personal approach is:
- Read some introductory material about grammar (grammar is the science of language patterns) early on and refer back to it often as I begin reading.
- Paying attention to sentence structure as I read and try to understand what patter is being used, looking up new ones that I don’t quite understand.
- Rinse and repeat. The idea is to learn the patterns in real contexts, at the same time that you learn vocabulary, by mindful exposure (i. e., reading/listening while you pay attention to the language structure).
“Caminé” is the most direct translation and it is correct. However, in this context it seems the person is “strolling”, walking for pleasure, which is what “pasear” means. In modern English “stroll” is not such an usual verb, but in Spanish it is common.
“Atravesar” means “to go through”. It is not a good translation of “walked” in this context
Both “te quiero comer” and “quiero comerte” mean “I want to eat you”
Notice that this “mindful exposure” method is not different for languages closer to your mother tongue than for more distant languages. The idea is the same, the difference is that you’ll encounter less hard to parse patterns in the former.
It’s really the same as for vocabulary. When you learn a related language, you can count on picking up quite a few words based on your native language. You are much less likely to be able to do so when the languages is more different. However, you still must pay attention to the words and try to understand how they are used. It’s the same thing with grammatical patterns.
When I said like 200 an example of an English one is like I think (or words/patterns)
________ or like if then statements that you can change tense etc. But if you count like idioms like break a leg, Achilles heel, silver bullet and things of this nature yeah def in the thousands. Do people in English say some weird stuff that your like that’s interesting? Thanks for the advice will keep studying thanks Ftornay!