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Author Topic: Anyone learning a new language?  (Read 380 times)

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Offline StrawberrySundance

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Anyone learning a new language?
« on: September 18, 2018, 07:02:27 PM »
Totally random question but is anyone currently learning a new language? If so, what language and how? (school, college, university, friends, family, apps?)

I want to learn Spanish as I travel to Spain a lot with my family, I know some of the basics but I want to expand on that but I'm just not motivated especially with work placements 9-5 and college 9-5 wednesday and thursday :work:

So how do you keep yourself motivated? Anyone got any advice?


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Offline Griffin

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2018, 08:02:19 PM »
I'm not currently learning anything really (at least it's not active / goal-based learning) but I learned German, English and Swedish at school (plus the first two later at the university). I've also taken some elementary courses on Latin and Mandarin, as well as learned Old and Middle English as part of my studies. At one point I tried to learn some Scottish Gaelic on my own, mostly using online materials. It was fun, but like you said, it was pretty hard to keep up the motivation without teaching and scheduled classes. Taught courses have always worked best for me, at least in the initial stages. But you say you already have the basics, so here are some tips and tricks!  ^.^

I think the best way to keep up motivation is to find authentic materials in the language, something that you enjoy: reading (books, magazines, blogs and other online texts), listening to music, watching TV or movies, getting a pen pal... anything that exposes you to the language but is fun so that it doesn't feel like studying. The difficult thing, however, is to find something that suits your current skill level so that it's both challenging and easy enough to keep you motivated.

o For example, I believe there is a pony forum for Spanish speaking people, at least there used to be one years ago! I joined a lot of online communities in my teens when I was just developing my English skills, and I think it was really useful. It's authentic communication, and who cares if you make some mistakes as long as people can understand you. :) That way you also learn a lot of colloquial expressions that you might not learn in a more formal setting, as well as commonly used phrases.

o Look up some films in Spanish (Pedro Almodóvar, maybe? I loved Volver!) and see if you can add Spanish subtitles so that you can both listen to and read the lines at the same time. If your skills aren't quite up to that yet, children's movies are great! I'm sure you can find dubbed versions of Disney films, for example - being familiar with the story helps so much, because you can focus all your energy on the structures and new vocabulary without having to worry about missing something important. This works with books too: when I wanted to brush up my German and Swedish, I read Harry Potter. :D Both translations were available at my local library.

o If you use Facebook, change the language to Spanish from your settings. You'll figure out soon enough what everything means. :lol: Wikipedia is also a great resource - I use it, for example, to look up unfamiliar names of flora and fauna, as you can search in any language and simply click the links to see what it's called in other languages. Wiktionary is a nice tool as well, especially if you have to check how a certain word is inflected.

o If you like cooking, find recipes in Spanish - again, there's an authentic need for knowledge and it's an easy genre with relatively formulaic language and plenty of vocabulary likely familiar to you already. The rest you can look up in a dictionary / google. Generally I advise against stopping to look up every new word when learning to read in a foreign language; it's important to learn to deduce the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context, or simply ignore them if not vital for the meaning of the whole text. But with recipes it's pretty crucial that you understand everything. :D Luckily they are typically short so it doesn't take that much time!

Sorry for the wall o' text, as you may guess I'm pretty passionate about languages! :biggrin: I hope this helps! Luckily you're learning a language that has a lot of speakers so it shouldn't be too difficult to find different materials. Best of luck!
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Offline StrawberrySundance

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 08:32:20 PM »
I'm not currently learning anything really (at least it's not active / goal-based learning) but I learned German, English and Swedish at school (plus the first two later at the university). I've also taken some elementary courses on Latin and Mandarin, as well as learned Old and Middle English as part of my studies. At one point I tried to learn some Scottish Gaelic on my own, mostly using online materials. It was fun, but like you said, it was pretty hard to keep up the motivation without teaching and scheduled classes. Taught courses have always worked best for me, at least in the initial stages. But you say you already have the basics, so here are some tips and tricks!  ^.^

I think the best way to keep up motivation is to find authentic materials in the language, something that you enjoy: reading (books, magazines, blogs and other online texts), listening to music, watching TV or movies, getting a pen pal... anything that exposes you to the language but is fun so that it doesn't feel like studying. The difficult thing, however, is to find something that suits your current skill level so that it's both challenging and easy enough to keep you motivated.

o For example, I believe there is a pony forum for Spanish speaking people, at least there used to be one years ago! I joined a lot of online communities in my teens when I was just developing my English skills, and I think it was really useful. It's authentic communication, and who cares if you make some mistakes as long as people can understand you. :) That way you also learn a lot of colloquial expressions that you might not learn in a more formal setting, as well as commonly used phrases.

o Look up some films in Spanish (Pedro Almodóvar, maybe? I loved Volver!) and see if you can add Spanish subtitles so that you can both listen to and read the lines at the same time. If your skills aren't quite up to that yet, children's movies are great! I'm sure you can find dubbed versions of Disney films, for example - being familiar with the story helps so much, because you can focus all your energy on the structures and new vocabulary without having to worry about missing something important. This works with books too: when I wanted to brush up my German and Swedish, I read Harry Potter. :D Both translations were available at my local library.

o If you use Facebook, change the language to Spanish from your settings. You'll figure out soon enough what everything means. :lol: Wikipedia is also a great resource - I use it, for example, to look up unfamiliar names of flora and fauna, as you can search in any language and simply click the links to see what it's called in other languages. Wiktionary is a nice tool as well, especially if you have to check how a certain word is inflected.

o If you like cooking, find recipes in Spanish - again, there's an authentic need for knowledge and it's an easy genre with relatively formulaic language and plenty of vocabulary likely familiar to you already. The rest you can look up in a dictionary / google. Generally I advise against stopping to look up every new word when learning to read in a foreign language; it's important to learn to deduce the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context, or simply ignore them if not vital for the meaning of the whole text. But with recipes it's pretty crucial that you understand everything. :D Luckily they are typically short so it doesn't take that much time!

Sorry for the wall o' text, as you may guess I'm pretty passionate about languages! :biggrin: I hope this helps! Luckily you're learning a language that has a lot of speakers so it shouldn't be too difficult to find different materials. Best of luck!


Wow! Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it :good:

Back in school I learnt German for 8 months until we got told we couldn't do it anymore and we had to learn French instead, I quite enjoyed German but with French I just wasn't good so I didn't choose it as a GCSE, I would of loved it if we had a selection of languages rather than just one language.

You seem to have learnt a range of languages, that's awesome! I was actually interested in Latin at one point, but I didn't have time for it due to exams :(
 I may have to look into my college and see if they have any courses for next year or even after hours, I think being taught it by someone would definitely be the best as I know I'm being taught correctly and theres no 'I'll do it tomorrow' or 'Maybe later'. Luckily I get Fridays off for studying so I may be able to learn then along with my course.

Ill have a search for that forum or even consider finding a pen pal, it'd be something new and interesting to me and will hopefully keep me motivated, there maybe even a Spanish speaker on here? I'll definitely take a look at Pedro Almodóvar too, I like a movie now and then. I like animated movies a lot so Disney is definitely a go to and I'll have a little shop around amazon or ebay for some books, hopefully the library down the road from me will have some in Spanish. Cooking is one of my hobbies too so using a cookbook in a different language will be a challenge! :hope: ,hopefully I wont burn anything :lookround: I might take a look into some new Spanish dishes too, as we tend to cook lots of meals from around the world in my house haha.


Once again thank you so much for your advice, theres no need to apologise for so much text, it has really helped me! :good: I honestly can't thank you enough  :lol:
 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 08:33:52 PM by StrawberrySundance »
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Offline Pokeyonekenobie

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 09:20:57 PM »
You can see if you have access to electronic databases with your library.  The library I work for offers free access to Mango and Universal Class with a valid library card.  We also have a number of CD and DVD courses of various languages available for checkout.  If your library doesn't have materials in the language you want, you can always ask if they will do an Interlibrary Loan where they borrow the material from a different library for you.  I know we've sent and borrowed stuff from all over the world that way.

Offline StrawberrySundance

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 09:29:30 PM »
You can see if you have access to electronic databases with your library.  The library I work for offers free access to Mango and Universal Class with a valid library card.  We also have a number of CD and DVD courses of various languages available for checkout.  If your library doesn't have materials in the language you want, you can always ask if they will do an Interlibrary Loan where they borrow the material from a different library for you.  I know we've sent and borrowed stuff from all over the world that way.

Thank you! I'll make sure to ask when I pop down  :) There's also another library within the city centre so I'll check there too! :biggrin:
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Offline Harmonie

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 12:57:25 AM »
I need to learn foreign languages, especially ones like German and French in order for me to be able to go to grad school for my degree (musicology), so I'm actually trying right now. I enrolled in an online French class. I didn't want to do online, but then I also didn't want to go through the hassle of getting to a campus, so... At least it being a class will keep me motivated. However, I'm thinking of supplementing it with an app or something that I can easily bring with me to work for breaks. (my textbook, laptop, etc. will not fit in my work locker, so that's all a no-go!)
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 01:57:49 AM »
I’ve been learning French mostly through Duolingo although my true first experience with French was with Les Miserables. :) I fell in love with the musical so much that I picked up the meaning of my first French words this way. Duolingo is useful but it’s talen a long time to feel like I’m actually learning what the words mean. I’ve also made a friend that is fluent in French and we write some sentences  in French  in our messages. I have to use Google translate to understand what she is writing to me but it helps me learn new words. :)

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 05:14:38 PM »
I taught myself Japanese from scratch. I also did French and German at school and then Spanish for A Level. I should warn you that Spanish and French have a lot in common...if you had issues with French, you might or might not have challenges with Spanish.

To clarify, when you say college, do you means sixth form/vocational college or do you mean university? Because the depth of resource material available probably differs between those two. The term 'college' is widely used in the US for university, but you're in England, right? So I wanted to clarify whether that's what you mean.

Either way though there may be language classes or a language club you can join and it would be good to find out.

Language wise I love French, and I did it from year 7 to my first year of university. But what is really important with language learning is to have an affinity with the wider use of the language too. The culture. You need to immerse yourself in things that don't feel like you're working or studying. Films. TV. Music/songs. Of course, you can't learn a complete language without doing any work, but little things like listening to the language for a bit each day (even if you don't understand) helps your brain to acclimatise and improves your listening abilities too. (My A Level French teacher taught me that!)

Ultimately really learning a language takes time. IF you go to Spain a lot, try to find ways in which to use the bits you learn and talk to people there when you visit. There are lots of ways to learn a language, even here in the UK where honestly, language learning options are only really good in big cities (I did not grow up in one of those >.>) so self-study becomes important. But you have to have a certain amount of discipline to keep going.

I learned my kanji by writing them out over and over on the train back and forth from work. I'm a research student now in mediaeval Japanese stuff and I have to read old and modern Japanese for my work - but it all began with those small steps ten years ago. It is a long process, but when you reach that point where you realise you are hearing the language and not needing to think about what it means, it's a great feeling.

Good luck ;D
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Offline StrawberrySundance

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 09:01:36 PM »
I need to learn foreign languages, especially ones like German and French in order for me to be able to go to grad school for my degree (musicology), so I'm actually trying right now. I enrolled in an online French class. I didn't want to do online, but then I also didn't want to go through the hassle of getting to a campus, so... At least it being a class will keep me motivated. However, I'm thinking of supplementing it with an app or something that I can easily bring with me to work for breaks. (my textbook, laptop, etc. will not fit in my work locker, so that's all a no-go!)

An online course definetly sounds like a better option than the hastle of finding a campus and travelling. I was actually thinking about using an app too if I do begin to study another language.


Good luck with your studies, I wish you the best! :good:


Post Merge: September 19, 2018, 09:09:34 PM

I’ve been learning French mostly through Duolingo although my true first experience with French was with Les Miserables. :) I fell in love with the musical so much that I picked up the meaning of my first French words this way. Duolingo is useful but it’s talen a long time to feel like I’m actually learning what the words mean. I’ve also made a friend that is fluent in French and we write some sentences  in French  in our messages. I have to use Google translate to understand what she is writing to me but it helps me learn new words. :)

Ponyfan

I used to have a Duolingo account myself I wonder if I can still remember my username...?
That's awesome how you began to study a different language due to a love for a musical, I've never seen Les Miserables...Its on my movie watch list, I absolutely love musicals  :lol:
I think I only really did the basics on Duolingo as I could never motivate myself to do more, its totally worth another try, I actually have a friend myself whos learning Spanish and has been for a few years now, Ill have to have a talk to him maybe we could talk to each other in Spanish when I get the hang of it haha :lol:

Post Merge: September 19, 2018, 09:29:21 PM

I taught myself Japanese from scratch. I also did French and German at school and then Spanish for A Level. I should warn you that Spanish and French have a lot in common...if you had issues with French, you might or might not have challenges with Spanish.

To clarify, when you say college, do you means sixth form/vocational college or do you mean university? Because the depth of resource material available probably differs between those two. The term 'college' is widely used in the US for university, but you're in England, right? So I wanted to clarify whether that's what you mean.

Either way though there may be language classes or a language club you can join and it would be good to find out.

Language wise I love French, and I did it from year 7 to my first year of university. But what is really important with language learning is to have an affinity with the wider use of the language too. The culture. You need to immerse yourself in things that don't feel like you're working or studying. Films. TV. Music/songs. Of course, you can't learn a complete language without doing any work, but little things like listening to the language for a bit each day (even if you don't understand) helps your brain to acclimatise and improves your listening abilities too. (My A Level French teacher taught me that!)

Ultimately really learning a language takes time. IF you go to Spain a lot, try to find ways in which to use the bits you learn and talk to people there when you visit. There are lots of ways to learn a language, even here in the UK where honestly, language learning options are only really good in big cities (I did not grow up in one of those >.>) so self-study becomes important. But you have to have a certain amount of discipline to keep going.

I learned my kanji by writing them out over and over on the train back and forth from work. I'm a research student now in mediaeval Japanese stuff and I have to read old and modern Japanese for my work - but it all began with those small steps ten years ago. It is a long process, but when you reach that point where you realise you are hearing the language and not needing to think about what it means, it's a great feeling.

Good luck ;D


I think the problem I had with French was the speaking exams, I didn't have the best teacher and I stuttered a lot   ^^; Its definitely worth a try again, the last time I learnt a language was back in year 8, I didn't want to do French as a GCSE due to my issues with speaking exams, I think I was just nervous. I probably would of done a language as an a level, like starting at the lowest level (if that is possible?) but I'm doing a CACHE course in college so I'm studying/placements 4 days a week.


Ah sorry I mean like six form/vocational, sorry about that haha. Ill actually take a look at my colleges website, there may be a club or an opportunity to study after hours, then again it takes me over an hour to get to and from the college. I live in a small city but fortunately the next city over is quite a large populated area with a good college compared to the one in my city, its just the travelling that gets me.
I do travel to Spain a lot with my family but I've never really looked into books/music, its worth a look for something new to read/listen to  :biggrin: Griffin recommended the movie Pedro Almodóvar so I've got one for my list!


Your mediaval Japanese studies sound super interesting!  :biggrin: You're totally right about it being a long process but having a great felling in the end when you dont have to search a phrase or meaning to understand, its totally worth it in the end!


Thank you so much for your advice and help, I really appreciate it! :good:
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 09:29:21 PM by StrawberrySundance »
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Offline Taffeta

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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2018, 07:38:28 AM »
Speaking exams are horrible.  I think the only thing that sorted out my hesitation with speaking Japanese was when I was there fir 3 months and had to use it- at the airport, the municipal office, at the university and to communicate with the family friends who helped me get around  (they had learned English a long time ago when they lived in the uk but had mostly forgotten it) . I kind of had to use it and that made me realise I was capable.

But I still dread being at a conference and having to answer a question on my research in Japanese in front of a whole room. Hasn't happened yet...

Still, probably the more you use it the more confident you will be. Doing my A level in French, we had a weekly meeting with a language assistant from France which was all about conversation and which really helped my confidence speaking in french. Finding someone you can do that with and who won't laugh at mistakes would probably help a lot.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 07:40:49 AM by Taffeta »
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 02:02:54 PM »
No "new" languages yet but I do try to use Duolingo at least once a week to try and keep my Spanish knowledge from disappearing...  though they really could use some work on creating lessons on verb conjugation and proper accents/spelling as that is where I really struggle, too! 
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 11:56:54 PM »
Speaking exams are horrible.  I think the only thing that sorted out my hesitation with speaking Japanese was when I was there fir 3 months and had to use it- at the airport, the municipal office, at the university and to communicate with the family friends who helped me get around  (they had learned English a long time ago when they lived in the uk but had mostly forgotten it) . I kind of had to use it and that made me realise I was capable.

But I still dread being at a conference and having to answer a question on my research in Japanese in front of a whole room. Hasn't happened yet...

Still, probably the more you use it the more confident you will be. Doing my A level in French, we had a weekly meeting with a language assistant from France which was all about conversation and which really helped my confidence speaking in french. Finding someone you can do that with and who won't laugh at mistakes would probably help a lot.


Sorry for such a late reply!

I think speaking exams are what put me off learning new languages  ^^;

Yeah, I've definitely got to find someone who I can speak with, I think that would really help me with speaking haha

Best of luck with your Japanese too, I'm sure if you do have a conference about your research you'll be brilliant! :)



No "new" languages yet but I do try to use Duolingo at least once a week to try and keep my Spanish knowledge from disappearing...  though they really could use some work on creating lessons on verb conjugation and proper accents/spelling as that is where I really struggle, too! 
Sorry for my late reply!

I really need to get Duolingo again haha, I think lessons on verb conjugation and proper accents would be great, it'd be really good practice, there may be other apps etc. that could help in the meantime?

good luck with your Spanish! :happy:
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2018, 06:50:36 PM »
I’ve been learning French mostly through Duolingo although my true first experience with French was with Les Miserables. :) I fell in love with the musical so much that I picked up the meaning of my first French words this way. Duolingo is useful but it’s talen a long time to feel like I’m actually learning what the words mean. I’ve also made a friend that is fluent in French and we write some sentences  in French  in our messages. I have to use Google translate to understand what she is writing to me but it helps me learn new words. :)

Ponyfan

As a long-time Les Miserables fan, I'm actually curious about this. Although the setting of the musical is France, I never really caught any French from it aside from titles like monsieur, baroness, etc.

I guess, there must be some things I've missed. The musical is such second nature to me my brain has probably glossed over French terms aside from the obvious ones above. lol

Actually, when I got to those titles in French class I knew exactly what they meant and didn't have to learn them. I suppose I have Les Miserables to think for that one!

An online course definetly sounds like a better option than the hastle of finding a campus and travelling. I was actually thinking about using an app too if I do begin to study another language.


Good luck with your studies, I wish you the best! :good:

Well, the campus is actually pretty close to where I live. It's just a hassle, especially since I can't drive. Plus now I have a job with weird hours (4am - 1pm) and the classes offered in campus were after my bedtime.

Taking a foreign language online is certainly a bit nerve-wracking for me. We miss out a lot on the verbal learning, and then when something verbal does come up it is scary! Like I just had an exam and there was a section where we had to listen to two people having a conversation in French. I couldn't perfectly comprehend any of it and did really badly on that section of the exam. =(
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2018, 08:25:44 PM »
If you watch or listen to stuff in French regularly then your listening will automatically improve. It is probably the easiest aspect of language to improve with the least work...you can just find a subtitled french show you like and watch it...even on youtube!

@Ponyfan are you watching miraculous ladybug in French? ;)
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Re: Anyone learning a new language?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2018, 11:32:56 PM »
I’ve been learning French mostly through Duolingo although my true first experience with French was with Les Miserables. :) I fell in love with the musical so much that I picked up the meaning of my first French words this way. Duolingo is useful but it’s talen a long time to feel like I’m actually learning what the words mean. I’ve also made a friend that is fluent in French and we write some sentences  in French  in our messages. I have to use Google translate to understand what she is writing to me but it helps me learn new words. :)

Ponyfan

I used to have a Duolingo account myself I wonder if I can still remember my username...?
That's awesome how you began to study a different language due to a love for a musical, I've never seen Les Miserables...Its on my movie watch list, I absolutely love musicals  :lol:
I think I only really did the basics on Duolingo as I could never motivate myself to do more, its totally worth another try, I actually have a friend myself whos learning Spanish and has been for a few years now, Ill have to have a talk to him maybe we could talk to each other in Spanish when I get the hang of it haha :lol:


My favorite version of Les Miserables is  the Broadway version. :) I had a hard time sticking with Duolingo for a while too because the basics got really boring after a while but now that I'm learning more useful words I find it easier to stick to it.



I’ve been learning French mostly through Duolingo although my true first experience with French was with Les Miserables. :) I fell in love with the musical so much that I picked up the meaning of my first French words this way. Duolingo is useful but it’s talen a long time to feel like I’m actually learning what the words mean. I’ve also made a friend that is fluent in French and we write some sentences  in French  in our messages. I have to use Google translate to understand what she is writing to me but it helps me learn new words. :)

Ponyfan

As a long-time Les Miserables fan, I'm actually curious about this. Although the setting of the musical is France, I never really caught any French from it aside from titles like monsieur, baroness, etc.

I guess, there must be some things I've missed. The musical is such second nature to me my brain has probably glossed over French terms aside from the obvious ones above. lol

Actually, when I got to those titles in French class I knew exactly what they meant and didn't have to learn them. I suppose I have Les Miserables to think for that one!




It's been a while since I've listened to or watched Les Miserables but I know they mention the French word for street a couple of times  :) I learned merci in French from the musical since I misheard Marius line when he tells Cosette his name. :lol:



@Ponyfan are you watching miraculous ladybug in French? ;)

Not yet. I did listen to the theme song in French and understood. "I am a cat."  :lol:

I did find myself singing a little Japenese the other day since the Sailor Moon DVDs I watch have the theme song in Japense even in the dubbed versions. :)


Ponyfan
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Thank you  SDS for my avatar and  tailrustedtealeaf for my sig.