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Some aids in learning a foreign language

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Some aids in learning a foreign language

Obviously one expects to see some similarities of vocabulary between related languages, e.g. Spanish and Italian or German and Dutch, but just as English borrows from various languages so do other languages borrow words. The Japanese borrow perhaps thousands of words from English, but their pronunciation is so different an English-speaking person might not recognize the words as being English.

The French word for ‘story’ in the sense of ‘floor of a building’ is ‘etage ’. The Germans borrow the word and pronounce it slightly differently. The Norwegians do likewise and spell it to conform to their own orthography (writing system) – ‘etasje’. As has been pointed out in past articles, learning the sounds of the foreign language first is up utmost importance. Two unrelated languages have something in common, both Norwegian and Spanish do not have what is termed a ‘voiced syllabant’. That is, they don’t have a ‘z’ sound. ‘Gonsalez’, for example is mispronounced by Americans. Both the ‘s’ and the ‘z’ in the name get an ‘es’ sound.

Here are some hints in developing vocabulary in various foreign languages:
The English word ‘advice’ is ‘conseil’ in French. Think ‘council’
In Spanish it’s ‘consejo’, also think council.
The word ‘agree’ in French is ‘consentir’. Think ‘consent’ In Spanish it’s ‘acordar’. Think being in ‘accord’
The French word for ‘alone’ is seul. Think ‘solo. In Spanish it is ‘solo’. In German it’s ‘allein’. That’s pretty close to ‘alone’.
The French word for ‘answer’ is ‘répondre’. Think ‘respond’. German is ‘antworten’. That’s fairly close to answer.
The French word for ‘ant’ is ‘fourmi’. Ants produce formic acid. Italian is ‘formiga’
The French word for ‘arm’ is ‘bras’. Think ‘embrace’. In Spanish it’s ‘brazo’, Italian it’s ‘braccio’. In German and all the Germantic languages it’s ‘arm’!

Here’s an interesting one, ‘asparagus’. Did you know that the original English word for it was ‘sparrow grass’? Say that fast and it comes out as ‘asparagus’. In French it’s ‘asperges’. That’s close enough to English (if you pronounce it correctly). In German it’s ‘Spargel’
The English word ‘bank’ (where you deposit money, not river bank) is so similar to other languages you’ll pick that one up easily.
To be continued.