Architects of a New Dawn

We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.

A good question. I'm glad I asked myself that. The truth is: I don't know.... not yet anyway.

English is not only my Mother Tongue, it's the only language I speak well enough to hold down a conversation. I know enough Spanish to ask directions to the train station, the coach station and the toilet. Unfortunately, I don't know enough to understand the answers. Consequently, I tend to spend hours in the coach station waiting for a train, I've wasted an entire morning in the toilet waiting for a bus and, needless to say, I got arrested in the train station.

Ideally, of course, members who are already fluent in more than one language will partner someone fluent in different languages but both sharing a common language to facilitate two-way instruction. But how would someone who speaks only their Mother Tongue (as I do) get a foothold with a foreign-speaking partner who speaks only their Mother tongue? If neither can understand the other, how do you make a start?

Let's suppose someone who speaks only Spanish contacted me in Spanish, of course. Although online translations tend to garble sentences, they can usually help to get the gist of a message. I would then be able to rephrase the message, as I understand it, in English (between " " to show it's the translation) then add my reply in English. So initially, we're messaging each other in our own language and getting correct translations back with a message for us to translate as best we can.

As we progress, we will be learning and, as we learn, we attempt to send messages in the partner's language and correct and feedback and so on. It's slow and haphazard but, because we are actually communicating with someone rather than learning through hypothetical conversations, this will give a greater impetus to the learning process.

Partners could message each other privately if they would feel more comfortable doing it that way. Alternatively, as long as both partners are happy to make their errors in public, can do so in an open discussion thread. This would also enable other readers to help out if they can (butting into conversations is fine on open threads... that's why their open threads).

However, the above is the product of a 61-year old mangled brain way past its bed time. I would be grateful for any feedback on this. In the meantime, if English is not your Mother Tongue and you have contacts who may also like to learn other languages, it would be great if you could invite them.

It would also be useful if each of the current members could post a comment on the main page, introducing yourself and telling us (a) your Mother Tongue, (b) the language or languages you would like to learn and (c) any other languages in which you are fluent.

Thank you all for your interest and I look forward to your input.

May fortune grant you Love, Light, Peace, Happiness, Wisdom, Inspiration, Laughter, Joy and, occasionally, Chocolate.

Ron

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Replies to This Discussion

The Lakota people are wise not to confine Love to a word. In our obsession with naming everything, we have taken the vastness of the uncontainable, the infinite mystery of the undefinable and given it the familiarity of human vanity with all the frailties of anger, pride, jealousy and vengeance so it would fit in a box called God. Language has been both our friend and our enemy.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Language creates divisions in its differences but language also provides the bridges. We just have to reach out.
Since I am living in Puerto Penacso - and looking for this to be the "home'" base for the World Peace Posse, I am considering learning Spanish.

I have not made my mind up yet - but this is a chance to explore
I like the idea behind this group. My native tongue is German and I am a linguist, so there, if one has questions or needs clarification or translations...I am here for you. Welcome to all and a blissed 2010!

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