Ashley

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So glad that learning Japanese let me translate such exciting tweets from Nintendo Japan "ニャニャニャ! ネコマリオタイム" (nya nya nya! [it's] Cat Mario time!) without sticking it in Google translate. :laughing: Couldn't read the rest though :heh:, but it felt good being able to read a bit of it, still a bit daunting with long sentences.

Need to put in more time learning more grammer but not really had the motivation to do it recently, feel like I could be a lot more further if I did. 

 

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I've decided to shelve the Japanese for the time being and am focusing mainly on Italian at the moment. I'll probably go back to Japanese in the future after my Italian has progressed a lot further. Italian is quite fun and it's a nice sounding language. :D

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1 hour ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

I've decided to shelve the Japanese for the time being and am focusing mainly on Italian at the moment. I'll probably go back to Japanese in the future after my Italian has progressed a lot further. Italian is quite fun and it's a nice sounding language. :D

È una lingua simpatica.  

I'm in maintenance mode at the moment (rounding on 600 days on Duolingo) but someone did ask for some advice in Primark the other day and I had a brief conversation in Italian with them.  First time I've done so with a stranger (in this country anyway).

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On ‎25‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 6:31 PM, Ashley said:

È una lingua simpatica.  

I'm in maintenance mode at the moment (rounding on 600 days on Duolingo) but someone did ask for some advice in Primark the other day and I had a brief conversation in Italian with them.  First time I've done so with a stranger (in this country anyway).

We can practise speaking Italian the next time we meet up! :D

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5 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

We can practise speaking Italian the next time we meet up! :D

Non posso aspettare mi amore!

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Buuuuuump! How are we all doing?

Now that the Summer break is here, I'm planning to do about an hour of Dutch practice each day, with sporadic conversations thrown in throughout the day. My biggest struggle was with the word order, but I've got my head around most of it now and can work out (most of the time!) where each word should go and which parts need to come first, etc. Duolingo has changed quite a bit since I've last used it, so I'm just catching up with that and hopefully can balance that along with Memrise. We're going to see @Eenuh's family in a month, so need to get the practice in! 

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I discovered that Duolingo's new ranks things allows you to test to the next rank, which gives you 10x XP for each remaining test in that area (i.e. if you have 5 left until the next rank it gives you 50) so I've been using that to get lots of XP in the earlier stuff.  So...good in that regards.

I messaged an Italian friend asking if he'd be happy to give some specific lessons (mostly on the grammar stuff that Duolingo doesn't do too well) and he said he would, just finding it difficult to find time to do that.

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5 hours ago, Ashley said:

I discovered that Duolingo's new ranks things allows you to test to the next rank, which gives you 10x XP for each remaining test in that area (i.e. if you have 5 left until the next rank it gives you 50) so I've been using that to get lots of XP in the earlier stuff.  So...good in that regards.

I messaged an Italian friend asking if he'd be happy to give some specific lessons (mostly on the grammar stuff that Duolingo doesn't do too well) and he said he would, just finding it difficult to find time to do that.

I'm working my way through the Dutch course again and have cleared the first 7 areas, so they're up to level 5. Will work my way through the rest of the course in good time! Just cleared the Dutch 3 course on Memrise, so have just started Dutch 4. There's 7 of those, plus I've also added another one which contains the 5000 most common used Dutch words, which is quite a good course as I still need to build up my vocab. 

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I've been having a think today about gaining qualifications for languages and the usefulness of it, how to go about it, etc. I've got a GCSE in Spanish and an A Level in French, but the reality is that my Spanish has improved a lot since then, I am pretty good with Dutch now and am learning Italian. It would be quite useful to actually be able to put some qualifications down to recognise this. Plus, it's also quite useful to know what "level" I can use that particularly language. 

The trouble is, I don't really know where to start. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this? Is there really any point to it? Is it expensive? 

The other side of it is that @Eenuh will most likely need to do some sort of exam to pass the British Citizenship test. To, ahem...prove that she has a suitable enough knowledge of English. So...how? 

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23 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

I've been having a think today about gaining qualifications for languages and the usefulness of it, how to go about it, etc. I've got a GCSE in Spanish and an A Level in French, but the reality is that my Spanish has improved a lot since then, I am pretty good with Dutch now and am learning Italian. It would be quite useful to actually be able to put some qualifications down to recognise this. Plus, it's also quite useful to know what "level" I can use that particularly language. 

The trouble is, I don't really know where to start. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this? Is there really any point to it? Is it expensive? 

The other side of it is that @Eenuh will most likely need to do some sort of exam to pass the British Citizenship test. To, ahem...prove that she has a suitable enough knowledge of English. So...how? 

I don't know what test they need for that but most student VISAs use IELTS now. Obviously mostly geared to be done in foreign countries but there will be places to do it here. 

Regarding you (as you always come second), maybe the local colleges or the unis? Quite often you can take a class, or failing that you can pay to take an exam when it's next on. 

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Am in Belgium for about 2 weeks. Time to put my learning into practice and impress. :D 

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On 22/07/2018 at 10:41 PM, Fierce_LiNk said:

The trouble is, I don't really know where to start. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this? Is there really any point to it? Is it expensive? 

The other side of it is that @Eenuh will most likely need to do some sort of exam to pass the British Citizenship test. To, ahem...prove that she has a suitable enough knowledge of English. So...how? 

For Europe, and its languages, they have standardized levels for this (A1 / A2 / B1 / B2 / C1 / C2). Years ago I looked into this myself, and I should look into it again honestly. Languages are generally useful, can't go wrong with learning one (and getting official certificates for it).

Anyway, it varies per language and country where you can take officially organised exams. Generally you can look for international operation organisations promoting their language. Had a quick look. I forgot all the details, but what I quickly picked up:

English: yes look for IELTS tests like Ashley mentions.
Spanish: I think you're looking for DELE exams.
Italian: not sure what the exams / certificates are called , but you should look for a local branch of the societa dante alighieri. Here they offer courses, though I think you can only take the actual exams in Italy?
German: Again, not sure what the actual exams / certifications are called, but you should look for your local branch of the Goethe Institut.
French: same thing. Not sure what the exams are called, but check the alliance française.

Doesn't mean other schools don't offer courses that will prepare you for these official exams, but you may as well start with the organisations which officially promote the language.

Oh and no, I have no idea what the Dutch equivalent is.
 

Edited by Sméagol
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I will be visiting Taipei next year and I am not that sure whether to focus on learning Mandarin or Hokkien. How true it is that Taiwanese only knows basic English word? 

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On 7/23/2018 at 4:41 AM, Fierce_LiNk said:

I've been having a think today about gaining qualifications for languages and the usefulness of it, how to go about it, etc. I've got a GCSE in Spanish and an A Level in French, but the reality is that my Spanish has improved a lot since then, I am pretty good with Dutch now and am learning Italian. It would be quite useful to actually be able to put some qualifications down to recognise this. Plus, it's also quite useful to know what "level" I can use that particularly language. 

The trouble is, I don't really know where to start. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of this? Is there really any point to it? Is it expensive? 

The other side of it is that @Eenuh will most likely need to do some sort of exam to pass the British Citizenship test. To, ahem...prove that she has a suitable enough knowledge of English. So...how? 

1

I've been looking into doing the Japanese GCSE and A-Levels, not because it would be particularly useful, just as a bit of fun. From what I've seen it's a few hundred pounds to enter the exams independently, you just need to find somewhere that will be holding the test you want to take and get booked up for it.

In terms of usefulness, I'd say mileage will vary. You can't go too far wrong with the proper piece of paper if you want to use it in the UK, but may not be applicable everywhere. With Japanese at least, I'd say it's basically meaningless as there is a proper internationally recognized exam (JLPT) which gives the real working level of the language - I'm sure other languages probably have the same thing but I've never looked into it.

That being said, I've found qualifications to be pretty meaningless when it comes to language, I know people who on paper are way better than I am but have trouble actually talking to anyone. I kind of go by if I can talk to someone in the language I must be doing OK.

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On ‎22‎/‎07‎/‎2018 at 10:06 PM, Ashley said:

I don't know what test they need for that but most student VISAs use IELTS now. Obviously mostly geared to be done in foreign countries but there will be places to do it here. 

Regarding you (as you always come second), maybe the local colleges or the unis? Quite often you can take a class, or failing that you can pay to take an exam when it's next on. 

Cheers for the post, duuuuude. I'll look into the local colleges and see what's on offer there. 

On ‎13‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 8:15 PM, Sméagol said:

For Europe, and its languages, they have standardized levels for this (A1 / A2 / B1 / B2 / C1 / C2). Years ago I looked into this myself, and I should look into it again honestly. Languages are generally useful, can't go wrong with learning one (and getting official certificates for it).

Anyway, it varies per language and country where you can take officially organised exams. Generally you can look for international operation organisations promoting their language. Had a quick look. I forgot all the details, but what I quickly picked up:

English: yes look for IELTS tests like Ashley mentions.
Spanish: I think you're looking for DELE exams.
Italian: not sure what the exams / certificates are called , but you should look for a local branch of the societa dante alighieri. Here they offer courses, though I think you can only take the actual exams in Italy?
German: Again, not sure what the actual exams / certifications are called, but you should look for your local branch of the Goethe Institut.
French: same thing. Not sure what the exams are called, but check the alliance française.

Doesn't mean other schools don't offer courses that will prepare you for these official exams, but you may as well start with the organisations which officially promote the language.

Oh and no, I have no idea what the Dutch equivalent is.
 

Thanks for that, that's really helpful. I've heard of the standardised levels before, but I had/have no idea how you go about obtaining them. It's one of those things that I wish was a little bit clearer, or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. I'll look and see what the Dutch equivalent is! :D 

On ‎14‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 6:53 AM, will' said:

I've been looking into doing the Japanese GCSE and A-Levels, not because it would be particularly useful, just as a bit of fun. From what I've seen it's a few hundred pounds to enter the exams independently, you just need to find somewhere that will be holding the test you want to take and get booked up for it.

In terms of usefulness, I'd say mileage will vary. You can't go too far wrong with the proper piece of paper if you want to use it in the UK, but may not be applicable everywhere. With Japanese at least, I'd say it's basically meaningless as there is a proper internationally recognized exam (JLPT) which gives the real working level of the language - I'm sure other languages probably have the same thing but I've never looked into it.

That being said, I've found qualifications to be pretty meaningless when it comes to language, I know people who on paper are way better than I am but have trouble actually talking to anyone. I kind of go by if I can talk to someone in the language I must be doing OK.

I know what you mean by the last paragraph of your post. Part of me is thinking "what is the point?" But the other part of me thinks that it would be really useful to have on your CV. However, maybe I'm overthinking things and just simply having Dutch or Spanish or Italian on your CV is enough and you don't necessarily need the grade/level/qualification. I'm probably not going to need it, unless I decide that I'm going to move abroad or something. Hmm. I'm in the same sort of predicament with music stuff and am wondering whether or not I should do the formal grades. Part of me can't be arsed, but the more sensible part of me thinks that maybe having the qualification is useful. Does it sound better to say "I am B1 in Dutch" rather than "I can speak Dutch", for example? Hmm. 

I'll look into it a bit more and if it becomes too expensive or time consuming, I'll do something else. I'm going to carry on learning the languages anyway and the goal is that I'll be able to speak (+read, write, listen) to the languages...I guess the piece of paper is just a physical representation of that.

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I think if it's just a CV boost something like "proficient in speaking, reading and writing Dutch" would be fine but if it is related to the job then you'd have to get more specific. Or attach a Dutch version of your covering letter to prove it 😋

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I'd agree with that too. If you want a job related to the language then get the relevant certificate, otherwise only bother if the work to get it actually improves your language level.

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On 8/14/2018 at 6:53 AM, will' said:

I've been looking into doing the Japanese GCSE and A-Levels, not because it would be particularly useful, just as a bit of fun. From what I've seen it's a few hundred pounds to enter the exams independently, you just need to find somewhere that will be holding the test you want to take and get booked up for it.

In terms of usefulness, I'd say mileage will vary. You can't go too far wrong with the proper piece of paper if you want to use it in the UK, but may not be applicable everywhere. With Japanese at least, I'd say it's basically meaningless as there is a proper internationally recognized exam (JLPT) which gives the real working level of the language - I'm sure other languages probably have the same thing but I've never looked into it.

That being said, I've found qualifications to be pretty meaningless when it comes to language, I know people who on paper are way better than I am but have trouble actually talking to anyone. I kind of go by if I can talk to someone in the language I must be doing OK.

As someone who has taken both GCSE Japanese and JLPT exams (at level 4/N5) as an independent candidate, I can tell you that the GCSE exam is better if you want to push your Japanese in all skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening and comprehension) at that level. In comparison, I found the JLPT system a bit stiff and limited. It's not an exam that gives you a 'real working level of the language'. It assumes that because they can test your reading, grammar and listening skills that your writing and speaking (which are not tested) will be ok.  This 'tries' to address things here - https://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/candolist_speaking.html

Edited by sumo73

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1 hour ago, sumo73 said:

As someone who has taken both GCSE Japanese and JLPT exams (at level 4/N5) as an independent candidate, I can tell you that the GCSE exam is better if you want to push your Japanese in all skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening and comprehension) at that level. In comparison, I found the JLPT system a bit stiff and limited. It's not an exam that gives you a 'real working level of the language'. It assumes that because they can test your reading, grammar and listening skills that your writing and speaking (which are not tested) will be ok. 

I totally agree on the JLPT front, when I was studying Japanese it was really just to make sure that I had a recognised qualification in it.

The GCSE/A-Level is not really to help with any study, I just think it would be funny to add to my current ones so many years later. How did you go about doing the GCSE? Any advice as to how to register and actually make it happen?

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For citizenship IELTS is basically useless. It expires after two years. If you want to study or are looking for a job it's useful, otherwise not so much (academic or general IELTS exams respectively). 

CAE or FCE is what you want to be doing for citizenship as they don't expire and are more rigorous test of a person's ability in English. 

Edit: I'll expand a little more. While the IELTS academic exam tests a person's ability in English, it's also focuses a lot on the student's preparedness for studying in the UK, i.e. understanding how to write an essay or argue for and against something. This is where most students can have problems, as their level of English can be very good, but coming from a different education system can influence getting a high score if they don't understand how "academic" English works.

The general IELTS test is similar but geared towards working life, so it involves writing letters, understanding bills, making general enquiries etc. Like I mentioned before though, both these tests come with a 2-year lifespan, so if you're not in a position to move forward with your job or uni application, you'll end up wasting a lot of money.

FCE and CAE are the official Cambridge exams of English for B2 and C1/2 levels respectively. Having a varied and in-depth knowledge of English is vital for passing those and they are by far much more useful when applying for citizenship. 

Happy to answer any other questions. 

Edited by Nicktendo

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On 8/24/2018 at 2:29 PM, will' said:

I totally agree on the JLPT front, when I was studying Japanese it was really just to make sure that I had a recognised qualification in it.

The GCSE/A-Level is not really to help with any study, I just think it would be funny to add to my current ones so many years later. How did you go about doing the GCSE? Any advice as to how to register and actually make it happen?

It's been a few years since I did the exam but you can find a lot of stuff via the main examining board Edexcel. (https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/japanese-2017.html). Although the exam has changed a bit from when I did it it's still worth having a look at older past papers to judge your level. Search around and you should be able to find them, pm me if needed.

I also contacted them about finding a local examination centre as I was no longer at school and got a list from them. I contacted many places but only got a few replies saying they couldn't help me. At the time I had private 1-2-1 Japanese lessons and my teacher suggested a place in London (IIEL) which takes people on as external candidates. I filled in a form and paid the money for the exam. Later on I went to London twice to take the exam (speaking test was separate from the main test) and a few months later got my results.

This might be useful - http://www.jpf.org.uk/language/exams.php

Lastly if you based out of the UK, the IGCSE in Japanese will be stopped in Nov 2021. - http://www.cambridgeinternational.org/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-igcse-japanese-foreign-language-0519/

Edited by sumo73
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Finally decided to sign up to an actual course for 12 weeks starting a week on Tuesday. Hoping it'll help me cement some more of the grammar and give me a chance to practice some more.

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My wife was making me feel guilty about laying in bed for half an hour while she gets ready for work, so I decided to spend the time learning a language.

Choose Portuguese, since we'll be going on holiday there in August, and have been using DuoLingo every day for the past three weeks. It's pretty fun. I don't know how much I'll continue with Portuguese after the holiday, but I might try a different language after that.

The one annoying thing about Duolingo is that it only offers Brazilian Portuguese. I don't know how different they are, but I'm hoping it won't make too much difference for what I'm using it for.

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