Duolingo- The Meat & Potatoes of a Sentence

ASSIGNMENT: Earn 50 XP on the app before next Monday (Apr. 4th). You got this!

Language-Learning Tip

This week, I would like to draw your attention to two very different careers: translation, which is written, and interpretation, which is spoken (read more HERE). Now you are going to choose one of the two and imagine that this is your job. For those of you who settled on translation, pick up a book and try to find at least five words on a page that you know in your target language. Write them down. Look a second time at the same page, and see if you can get close for a few more words.

For instance, you might read, “I would like” and not know that yet; depending on the context, however, this could be simplified to mean, “I like” or “I want” in your target language, which you might remember. Push yourself to find synonyms that could work: you might not know eye shadow yet, but do you know eyes? You might not know delighted, but do you know happy? You might not know truck or vehicle, but do you know car? Train your brain to look for the meat and potatoes of a sentence. When you are learning a language, the goal is to get your point across. It may not be grammatically pretty or as precise as you’d prefer, but if the other person gets the general idea… mission accomplished!

For those of you who chose interpretation, turn on the radio. In your head, listen to spoken English and try to pick out key words that you know in the language you are studying. Say them aloud. Mentally “scan” the sentences you are hearing, and force your brain to search for words you do know. Just as with translation, work on simplifying what you are hearing.

If you had to communicate this to someone, what words do you know that could get the job done? When my students ask, “May I pretty please with a cherry on top go to the bathroom with my friend but take a buddy with me, too?”, I say, “Absolutely not!”–and then proceed to explain that in Spanish class, you need to simplify your thoughts and use words you know: “¡Baño, por favor!” (Bathroom, please!). (Okay, now you can!) Will I have higher expectations (a complete sentence/question) down the road? YES! But in the meantime, let’s start with getting your point across and decreasing the amount of English you are using. If you would like to learn more about translation and interpretation, check out this video below. Have a great week!