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Author Topic: Amsterdam
Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2007 02:19      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Amsterdam
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The Intro
So I spent the last few days in Amsterdam on a three day autumn break. It was great. Plenty of things to see and do even if you don’t smoke marijuana or fuck prostitutes. I have separated this into chapters of no particular order. Read a couple chapters that interest you.

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The SEX, DRUGS, and Amsterdam

Well let’s get right to it. It seems that Amsterdam has a reputation. It is deserved and on the other hand wholly undeserved. There is sex and drugs everywhere but the city has so much more than that to offer and it would be a shame if a person stayed away from this city just because of these things. Just ignore them and have a good time. If you are curious, here is how it all works, not that I did any of this. I was here with my wife. Soft drugs and prostitution are illegal here. The city just chooses to look the other way. This gives them the advantage that they can close any of these coffee houses down at any time. If you want pot, and you are over 18, go into a building with the words “coffee shop” written on the outside. If you want a coffee, go into a building with the word “café” written on it. Pot costs 7 euro a gram. Good shit starts at 15 a gram and you pay about the same but get less as the quality and strength increase. You can smoke the pot you bought at the coffee shop of buy a cup of coffee and sit in the restaurant or out on the terrace and smoke your own. Most coffee shops have bongs at the counter that customers can borrow. You can smoke also in public, as long as it is not too public or in dance clubs. E is also allowed in the clubs, just as long as you only have 1 or 2 pills for personal use and are not dealing. Smart shops sell magic mushrooms, though this will soon end as ‘shroom trips are decidedly more dangerous. Every souvenir shop sells seeds (for pot). The nice upscale flowers shops do also, but who can blame them as it seems that Americans only come to Amsterdam for pot and they specialize in growing plants. (see flower section). Prostitutes cost 50€ for the 15 minute suck and fuck. It probably would be the least romantic thing you have ever done. Not that I have ever shopped for prostitutes, but the ones in the red light district looked better than any I have ever seen on street corners before, though none of them were what I would consider “hot”. My wife noticed that they all had long hair. I found it curious that not one had short hair. The eerie part was walking by the windows that had the red light in it but the chair was empty, ‘cause you knew what was happening right behind the door in the back of the room.

The Museums

I thought that the Van Gogh museums was the best museum I had ever been to. I enjoyed it more than the Met or the d’Orsay or even the Louvre. I tend to enjoy classical art more than modern art, and Van Gogh was one of the first modern painters, but despite this the people who put this museum together put together more than a collection of art but told a story of history. You walk in, first on display is the artwork that Van Gogh would have seen before he started painting, then they show you what he painted after seeing this art work. Then the he made friends like Paul Gauguin, they show his paintings and influence, then they show what Vincent painted. Everything is in chronological order. You can really se how his style developed. Vincent did many self portraits but what I found most interesting was the display his group of friend painters all painted a portrait of each other, with a picture of themselves in the background. What makes this museum great is that it is not just a collection of priceless masterpieces as most art museums are, but it has a purpose and tells a story.
The Rijksmuseum has an excellent collection of Rembrandt. If you like classical art it is a must see. I am lost for words when I look at a Rembrandt and see how well he uses light in his paintings. Even four hundred years later people cannot copy this skill.

The Food
Amsterdam has the best Indonesian food outside of Indonesia. I don’t know why, it just does. It is spicy and sweet and complex with its flavours and it did a number on my stomach, but it was well worth it. One can also buy a decently priced Argentinean steak if one is hungry. The pancake houses are a must. They serve waffles but you would be and idiot not to order a pancake. Sweet or savoury, they are all good. If you want a waffle, go to Brussels. I found these awesome chewable toothbrushes in the bathrooms of many restaurants in Amsterdam and they work pretty well. They come out of a gumball like machine by the sink, you pop the capsule open and chew on the plastic horse pill sized toothbrush and them spit it out. It works very well. DO NOT eat at FEBO. I cannot understand why people do. It is fast, cheap, and horrible. I am also so proud of myself. I never get any decent fried chicken here and Amsterdam has a KFC, but I stuck to my principles of never eating American fast food in other countries.

The Flowers
I am not much into flowers but even I was impressed with the flower market. It floats on a canal alongside a city street and, being fall, they had an unbelievably great collection of bulbs. (which are planted in the fall). I bought a planter for our window sill. In the spring I just have to open it like a can of sardines, pour water in and out comes flowers and strawberries. They actually have flowers there that I would consider cool looking. They all also sell seeds (for pot), but being that they are experts in horticulture, I would say they are better people to buy seeds from than the guy that works the counter at a coffee shop. Anyways, why shouldn’t they make a buck off of the stupid high tourists? I just think, if it is not your thing, ignore it. (Though even though I am quite open minded, I was a little offended when I saw an English mother shopping for pot seeds with her two very young daughters, explaining to them the differences between the seeds.)

The Bicycles
Amsterdam has to be one of the greatest cities for bikes, even better than Basel. There are few hills, and bike lanes and traffic lights everywhere. Don’t bring your own, the risk of it getting stolen is too high, rent one. They also don’t have mountain type bicycles there. This was the first time I rode a “city bike” and I have to say it was unbelievably comfortable. I may actually buy myself one for Basel. I got used to having only three gears. Bikes are the fastest best way around town.

Getting There
If you just happen to be heading there from Switzerland, Citynightline is the best. I have travelled with this train before but this time I went first class. I got a great deal on the nicest room class in the train. It was like a miniature hotel room, private restroom with shower, room service, and all. I had enough room to stretch out my legs in bed even though I am 6’4” and the bed was comfortable, much more so than the beds in the couchette. Star gazing through the skylight while lying in bed on a train is a one of a kind experience. So was the shower. The water really didn’t become very warm, though it wasn’t cold. I think they need to add a propane heater. I could also dine in the restaurant for a late dinner or hang out in the bar. Breakfast is brought to your room, you have a dinning table with two large windows for watching the sun rise, or set.
It is more expensive than flying, but there is absolutely no stress involved and in the end you have either more time in the city or more money in your wallet. The train leaves at 9 or 10 in the evening and you arrive around 8 or 9 in the morning. Most flights, that I have seen, fly either around 5pm on Friday, or 9 am on Saturday, so in the end, if you fly, you either have to pay for a hotel room Friday night, or you lose half of Saturday to stressful travel. I spent three days in Amsterdam but the city night line is perfect for two day weekend trips where you can easily have two full days in the city of your choice but only pay for 1 night in a Hotel. FYI two full price round trip tickets are about 1250 USD.
 -

 -
The Language
The language almost is German. My wife and I can almost understand it, though we could not come close to speaking it. IT is like a dialect of German that is also written, and no harder to understand than what the people speak in Wallis, though Walliserdeutsch is not easy to understand. It doesn’t really matter though. Everyone seems to be able to speak English, and if not, High German. I guess that is what tourist dollars do. Her are some useful phrases phonetically spelled if you ever happen to stop by.

Ahpe teet = breast of a monkey
Ik be grip hat neat = I don’t understand you.
Mine feets is geh stoh len = my bike was stolen
Ik ben under influte van pade stolen = I am on a mushroom trip
Post seagulls = stamps
Dag = hallo
Fet = cool
Var zin mun Klumpen = where are my clogs
Trauhme = marry me
Lekker = tasty
Ek ben drong can = I am drunk.
Moosed ye coma = did you have to come?
Gezelich = cozy

Anne Frank's House (well really it was her father Otto's)((the one in the middle with the big windows)
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And what is a trip to holland without a picture of a Windmill
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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

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hal9000
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Icon 11 posted October 23, 2007 17:11      Profile for hal9000   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Damm i am looking for plane tickets right now.
the first paragrah sold me.........

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2007 19:35      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Amsterdam is a unique city - whatever you like they will have it. I myself used to live in the Netherlands and have visited Amsterdam. But I wish that I could of spent a bit more time in this cutural city instead of the couple hours before my plane left.

A note on the Language section: Like most European countries the schools teach English and then usually French and/or Germany and/or Spanish and/or something else. I don't know their secret but for some reason the children actually learn the languages they are taught. Unlike in North America where the students pick up hardly anything they are taught.

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hal9000
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Icon 3 posted October 23, 2007 22:07      Profile for hal9000   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
thats because most students are lazy and think that education is boring.

If they only knew that its a luxury to have a school to go to and get lunch, and sit in a class room, and have gym, and sometimes a pool, oh and take trips....
Instead of working thier asses off in a field bailing hay or milking cows, or starving...
never mind i digress.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 23, 2007 23:47      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:



A note on the Language section: Like most European countries the schools teach English and then usually French and/or Germany and/or Spanish and/or something else. I don't know their secret but for some reason the children actually learn the languages they are taught. Unlike in North America where the students pick up hardly anything they are taught.

Having a european wife who speaks five languages to some degree I can share the language secret with you.

They teaech them at a younger age.

in canton argau, Ch seven years french and five years english is required before you get out of your secondary education school. THey will switch theat soon and require more english than french.

Then they use thier langiage ability on a regular basis. You could have eight years of french but forget it all in a decade if you never leave the german speaking lands.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2007 06:13      Profile for Swiss Mercenary     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Basel!
Aargau!

Oh poor you stuck up in the middle of all those Swiss Germans! [Eek!] [Wink] [Razz]

Been up to Amsterdam a couple of times now, at least from Geneva the Easyjet flight leaves at 6:30 am and the last return is 9:00pm so we can do a weekend and only spend one night there, or even just do a daily return*. Not too expensive if you book well in advance.

Remember, what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam.

*If you do a daily return do not be surprised if you find yourself being taken aside by the customs and submitted to a full body search, including rubber gloves [Eek!] [Roll Eyes] (No, I am not speaking from experience)

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2007 14:39      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ashitaka: In Canada they start teaching French much earlier then in Europe. To be exact they start as soon as the kids go to school and it is mandatory until grade 9 (When they are 14). I myself took grade 10 french as well and some people I know have taken it till grade 12 and no one can speak it as well as those europeans with only a couple years of language classes.

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2007 14:49      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
C'est nes pas vrai! Ma francais est merde!
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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted October 24, 2007 23:23      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
I don't know their secret but for some reason the children actually learn the languages they are taught. Unlike in North America where the students pick up hardly anything they are taught.

Two problems:

One: the most they offer of any language (in highschool) is, on average, two years. At least that's how it is here in the bit MT. (The exception is Spanish, which for obvious reasons is taught more in-depth. For French, German, and Latin, however, what I said still applies)

Two: Here, foreign languages are a novelty. Over there, they are a necessity.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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skylar
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Icon 14 posted October 25, 2007 04:32      Profile for skylar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oooooh... Amsterdam sounds wonderful, Ashitaka. My boyfriend and I were planning to move there next year at one point, but changed our plans because of potential employment problems. I still have a yen to visit or live there at some point, though, and you've only whetted my appetite even further.

/me counts the pennies down the back of the sofa and starts saving for a trip [Razz]

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted October 25, 2007 12:54      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Plenty of things to see and do even if you don’t smoke marijuana or fuck prostitutes.
But, when in Rome.....
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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted October 25, 2007 13:22      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
C'est nes pas vrai! Ma francais est merde!

Quite so! It should be:
quote:
Ce n'est pas vrai! Mon français est merdique!
(But then, it wouldn't be anymore... [Wink] )

Yeah, some day I'll have plenty of money and will afford touring the world. So many places to see, so little time left because I have to work in order to have the money to go. [Frown] (In Europe, a couple of hours of plane and you can be three countries apart; In North America, you can take a six hour flight and still land in the same country you departed from... [Big Grin] )

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted October 25, 2007 13:48      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stereo wrote:
In North America, you can take a six hour flight and still land in the same country you departed from... [Big Grin] )

That's nothing... at some airports, you can take an eight hour flight and still be at the same airport you started at

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quantumfluff
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Icon 11 posted October 26, 2007 13:16      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And lately you can even get a body cavity search at some US airports - if you're into that.

<rant>
hal9000: You're clearly too young to have seen education from a parent's point of view. Kids are not overall lazy (or at least no lazier than kids in any country). They don't learn foreign languages because the school's don't teach them starting in elementary school, and the schools don't teach it because the government (both state and federal) does not test them on it. The entire curriculum now is focused on very specific tests. Don't blame the kids. You have to blame a society of adult voters who don't place any value on learning to play well with the rest of the world.
<rant>

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 26, 2007 18:48      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
And lately you can even get a body cavity search at some US airports - if you're into that.

<rant>
hal9000: You're clearly too young to have seen education from a parent's point of view. Kids are not overall lazy (or at least no lazier than kids in any country). They don't learn foreign languages because the school's don't teach them starting in elementary school, and the schools don't teach it because the government (both state and federal) does not test them on it. The entire curriculum now is focused on very specific tests. Don't blame the kids. You have to blame a society of adult voters who don't place any value on learning to play well with the rest of the world.
<rant>

So you say that if I've been taught a foreign language since elementary school I should know it? So I guess I must be fluent in French - wow French is 99% English I guess.

But Amsterdam is a great city - I might be going to the Netherlands in March with a day or two spent in the city.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 27, 2007 01:27      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
And lately you can even get a body cavity search at some US airports - if you're into that.

<rant>
hal9000: You're clearly too young to have seen education from a parent's point of view. Kids are not overall lazy (or at least no lazier than kids in any country). They don't learn foreign languages because the school's don't teach them starting in elementary school, and the schools don't teach it because the government (both state and federal) does not test them on it. The entire curriculum now is focused on very specific tests. Don't blame the kids. You have to blame a society of adult voters who don't place any value on learning to play well with the rest of the world.
<rant>

So you say that if I've been taught a foreign language since elementary school I should know it? So I guess I must be fluent in French - wow French is 99% English I guess.

But Amsterdam is a great city - I might be going to the Netherlands in March with a day or two spent in the city.

I think the consensus is that if you have been taught a language sincve a young age and use it, you should know it.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted October 27, 2007 07:07      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
Ashitaka: In Canada they start teaching French much earlier then in Europe. To be exact they start as soon as the kids go to school and it is mandatory until grade 9 (When they are 14).

I believe there are parts of Europe where they start even earlier than that. [Wink]

Oh, and it's "earlier than"! </pet-peeve>

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 07:15      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
Ashitaka: In Canada they start teaching French much earlier then in Europe. To be exact they start as soon as the kids go to school and it is mandatory until grade 9 (When they are 14).

I believe there are parts of Europe where they start even earlier than that. [Wink]

Oh, and it's "earlier than"! </pet-peeve>

Earlier THAN when they are 4/5 years old??

Ashitaka: The point I was trying to get across was that they don't teach foreign language's properly in North America (well at least in Canada). Because while you might be correct in saying that if you use a language than you know it (I think it is more like "If you know it then you can use it"). But I think the problem is that they don't teach you how to speak the language instead they teach you how to use a couple dozen words properly in past, present, future tense and other little exceptions.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 08:59      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, yes. You see stevenback7, kids start learning how to talk in their first couple years of life. [Wink]

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 10:26      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:in response to quantumfluff:
So you say that if I've been taught a foreign language since elementary school I should know it? So I guess I must be fluent in French

No, you may just be a slow learner [Big Grin] . My point was that US society as a whole does not place a high value on foreign language education. If everyone learned foreign languages from a young age, and there was some effort to teach it well, we might see some results.
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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 11:38      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The best time to learn a new language is in the early formative years. Hell, it only makes sense, as that's when you learn your primary language, so why shouldn't you be learning another language at the same time?

And let me not limit the word "language" to mean "spoken, communicative languages;" languages include programming languages, the language of music theory, and all the various jargons of computer science, engineering, physics, and so on. My point is, basically, kids are like little sponges, the earliest years are the most receptive; stop talking down to them.. more than likely they /can/ understand what you're talking about!

Studies have shown that children that grow up in homes where two or more languages are frequently spoken start talking later, but have a greater command of language overall, and can learn new languages later on with greater ease.

Basically, we need to teach kids C, or Spanish, or Latin, or electronics in Kindergarten... early exposure will open the pathway to greater language comprehension later on.

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get rich and you still die"


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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 12:05      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Problem is that kids are taught French as soon as they enter the school system in order for them to learn French as a second language but they aren't taught properly.

I came to Canada in grade 3 only knowing Dutch. In less then half a year I was speaking both fluent Dutch and English. So that is in about a thousand hours of hearing and seeing written English I was able to use the language. While two thousand hours of French class has left me no where near being able to ask a simple question let alone be fluent in the language.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 12:16      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:

Basically, we need to teach kids C, or Spanish, or Latin, or electronics in Kindergarten... early exposure will open the pathway to greater language comprehension later on.

We should teach kids C, lisp, Latin, and Mandarin. Then they would have a good base to learn all major languages, everywhere!

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 12:45      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
...but they aren't taught properly.

I came to Canada in grade 3 only knowing Dutch. In less then half a year I was speaking both fluent Dutch and English...

Okay, okay, yeah.. I see your point. Language "classes" are essentially pointless. You don't learn a language (properly) by sitting in a classroom and learning the new language relative to your native tongue. That's not how you become fluent at a language, because you spend all your time with that language translating stuff in your head back to your native language. You're learning word <--> word relationships; but when you truly know a language you form word <--> concept relationships, which run far deeper than the words themselves.

You can, really, only build word <--> concept relationships by learning the language in a real-world setting, not a classroom. If schools were going to /truly/ teach languages, they would do things like have "foreign language" day once a week or something where all your classes would be in a different language. Of course, this precludes the teaching of whatever subject you're /supposed/ to be learning, as the language barrier gets in the way. A way around this would be to, perhaps, only do review lessons in another language....

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Posts: 2331 | From: Southwest Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2007 13:01      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
MacManKrisK: I agree - and even if language classes just consisted off a teacher teaching something in just that language (i.e French) and not uttering a word of something else (i.e English) then we (the students) would get so much more out of it.

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