Tag Archives: Language

LEARNING A LANGUAGE: UPDATED

Here are some tips and trick to learning a language and gaining as much fluency as you can with (supposedly) minimal resources:



Listen to the news channel in the language you are trying to learn- thus combining your knowledge of events around the word with the practise of learning the language. One such example of an international news station being:Image result for euronews logo–  Get into a Spanish television series, or youtuber- this really enhances a more conversational aspect to the language, plus tests listening skills due to the idea youtubers in particular speak much faster than news presenters in general. For Spanish learners:

Image result for hola soy german logoReading news articles, magazines, or even popular books in the language you want to learn will enhance reading capabilities, as well as enable you to find synonyms and understand a more formal side to the desired language.

-HelloTalk- this is a language learning app much like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. You create a profile giving your native language, the language you want to learn and your current level. Then create a post asking if anyone would like to practise with you- anyone that does will message you directly. It is incredibly easy and there are many willing people willing and able to help.

Image result for hellotalk logo

 

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Chapter Thirteen: The Lovely Bones Analysis

It’s in the title really- more elaborate and some rather metaphorically and emotionally ‘deep’ interpretations…

~The Analysis (13)~

  • •”The rumours…wove in and out of the student’s lockers like the most persistent of snakes” 156– reference to ‘snakes’ could simply be referring to the evil connotations of the animal, emphasising on a basic level the evil nature of the rumours compared to the innocence of Lindsey (and supposedly her father)- links to genre of fantasy (good vs evil). Snakes also have reference to Christianity in the Garden of Eden, from which the connotations of evilness and chaos are evoked:
  • The interplay between the serpent and Eve in the Garden of Eden counts among the best-known examples of snakes as symbols of temptation. In this example, the snake’s cunning entices Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, unleashing sin and chaos into the world. However, this imagery is not limited to only the Christian Bible. Snakes in Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures also symbolized chaos.

  • Snakes also refer to a sense of threat, hence it could be symbolising the threat these rumours pose to Lindsey’s otherwise calm exterior (managed through her emotionless outlook)- and hence the temptation to do what she feels she shouldn’t (link to garden of Eden) and loose control. Lockers also symbolise secrecy, as if the threats are threatening Lindsey’s secrecy, the fact that she really is not fine at all.
  • “using my father’s debasement as a varnish of cool they could coat themselves with” – links to idea throughout novel of wanting to be someone other than that who you are (e.g. Abigail wants to be free of motherhood, Len wants to be free of responsibilities & guilt)- Clarissa and Brian want to be cooler than they are accepted to be. Verb “Varnish” links to desire to conceal what is not desirable.
  • “everyone I’d known was growing up”- links to novel’s genre as Bildungsroman, sad truth that she will never grow up.
  • 157 “Buckley went…to borrow in the empty cave of my father’s heart”- caves connote mystery, safety, sanctuary- otherwise a cave symbolises something cold and unfeeling, juxtaposing the feeling one would expect a man to have who has children- could suggest how Jack also has the desire to be someone other than the warm and feeling father he is supped to
  • 158 “Which she washed. Which she folded. Which she ironed…” repetition of ‘which she’ emphasises the monotony of the mother’s life. Seeks to explain to the reader why she despises it so much, desires freedom. Elaborated on by sentence following it saturated with connectives, both complex and a compound sentence- elongates the everlasting, tedious impression of life for Abigail. Makes reader empathise with her rather than hate her when she thinks of Len three lines below.
  • “How odd he might look to an outsider or to my mother” 158 – suggestion of linking Abigail to an outsider, almost defining her as an outsider by placing the noun ‘mother’ after outsider- possible to trace Jack’s thought process: from outsider, to his wife
  • “they wanted him to shut all signs of his grief away, place it in a file somewhere and tuck it in a drawer, so that no one would be asked to open it again” 159- irony of making an abstract noun seem tangible (goes against the definition), emphasises extent of Jack’s grief- it had almost compounded into a physical object
  • 160 “How to swim back to her…she was pulling and pulling away” – recurring motif of the sea, and the movement of sides- ‘pulling and pulling away’ makes Abigail seem like an anchored boat- wanting to drift away but not being able to- tugging on the string that ties her to the ground. As if their whole world was underwater- suffocating.
  • 160 “If my father fell, only a dog and a boy who loved him would see” – we see the other side to Jack, less of the masculine, family supporting figure and more of the vulnerable, scared man he really is.
  • 161 (another rendition of Abigail’s monotonous life) “the towels my mother bleached, the towels my mother hung…the towels she folded”- sense of insignificance about the mother’s life- it is one string of folding towels
  • 162 “Abigail should be doing this” (with regards to fetching things for Lindsey helping her shave her legs”- Stereotypical and unjustified
  • 163 “A fine trickle of blood beginning to spread into the white foam” contrast between blood red and white links to the description of Susie’s skin ‘that had never seen the sun’ and the blood that spilled from her with Harvey’s knife- blood is wholly symbolic
  • 165 “my corpse cut up,  my blank rotting eyes” – gruesome imagery, gothic tone within the novel
  • “The anchor houses…because the anchored the neighbourhood to an original road” 168/9- sense of belonging, sense of a base, a foundation on which to build lives
  • “do you know how alone I have always felt…my mother asked her mother”- the juxtaposition between the formality of the nomination “mother” and the hint of personal revelation in the subject- shows that things are changing, they are growing just like everyone else.
  • “She had never understood places like this- places where her own child had chosen to live” (With reference to living in houses ‘identical in structure’ to another- emphasises how Lynn views being different as a way of life, the prospect of being similar to another person is unrecognisable to her, in-understandable. 170
  • “I’m not involved with anyone. Her mind flew like a bird from one rooftop to the next”- The simile symbolises freedom, like with Len she had she freedom she always desired outside of her role in motherhood- she can finally be free of responsibility and judgement. Proven by “The pragmatic, prim mistress that my mother had always been had gone”
  • “Fireflies gathering in a swarm above his front flower beds” 172 (regarding the signs Lynn witnessed to tell her Harvey was a killer- Fireflies symbolize guidance most obvious sign
  • “The girl was being burned alive, but first, there had been her body, clean and whole” 173 – strange that Abigail refers to this as a “wonderful dream”- as if a death doesn’t remove the fact that they existed initially- hence perhaps this is Abigail coming to accept the death of her daughter- to accept what she was before, not what she was not afterwards.


 

Chapter Eleven: The Lovely Bones Analysis

More perceptive (or quite frankly overly-perceptive, if that is a trait in existence…) interpretations and analysis on Sebold’s THE LOVELY BONES: Chapter 11.



~Chapter 11~ The analysis:

  • Pg 126 “My brother was like a rock with a sheet pulled over him” – evokes thoughts of connotation of the dead via the reference to the noun “rock” signifying a cold, emotionless state (like one who is dead)- the sheet pulled across his body also mimic the process of concealing he body of those who have recently died (as seen in hospital dramas for example). Luring the reader into feeling a sense of sorrow for Buckley, or worry that he may be next to join Susie.
  • “My father marvelled at what a sound sleeper he was- just like me” – dark irony, since the dead are often referred to as‘sleeping’, linking Buckley to the state of Susie may be designed to scare the reader and evoke a sense of fear and vulnerability for him. “Even banging pot lids to see if he would wake up” – emphasises the dormant impression of Buckley, alsmost seems dead himself. This implication of danger for Buckley is confirmed within the next few lines “my father checked him, just to make sure” pg 126
  • “He would find clues…in the green paint coating the shingles, or along the driveway, where two large stones sat, painted white” – repetitive reference and emphasise on the painted nature of the stones lining the outside of Harvey’s house- emphasises a sense of concealment: the paint conceals the surface of the stone just as Harvey’s innocence conceals his guilt. Significance of the emphasise on the white stones:
  • In colour psychology white is the colour of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn’t stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive.

  • Hence from this it is could be considered this is almost inviting Jack to ‘fill in the blanks’, as if inside the house were the answers to tarnish and taint the purity Harvey projects.
  • “I loved the idea that there could be trees in the yard taller and stronger than people” 128 – sense of need for protection, concealment- a barrier to the outside world? Taller could represent her desire for authority and ‘stronger’ her desire for physical or mental strength or ability
  • “I had made a warm spot on the floor of the garage until I cooled” 128 – horrific imagery, uncomfortable to read- culinary connotations- reference to warmth and cooling as if Susie was Harvey’s prey, waiting for her to reach a desirable temperature. Ungraceful, uncomfortable- emphasises tragedy- young girls would want to die gracefully and loved, yet Susie is in a sack in a garage and alone, cooling quietly.
  • Repetition of finite verb “Knew” – “I knew the floor plan” “I knew the bathroom” “Knew how in my house…”- sense of subjectivity: did she know because of the mirrored nature of their houses, hence was this foreboding her destiny- the fact that she was born and grew up in that same house, and it was in an almost identical one next door that she died.
  • “Porcelain was yellow and the tile on the floor was green” 128- odd combination- emphasises eccentric nature
  • “Doll’s houses” – interesting connotations: Note that the doll house is “perfect”. All the walls are papered, there is carpet (represents the perfect childhood Harey never had), but the dolls in the house, the people, are “stiff” — they don’t seem to belong there- they are unable to enjoy the luxury right before them (sense of missed opportunities, outsiders in luxury, insecurity).
  • “Not to alter his pattern…set several clocks…when to open the blinds…when to close them…turn lights on…off…” “He kept things to count, and this counting reassured him” 128 – sense of necessity for structure juxtaposes his spontaneous un-structured childhood- or sense of autism- as if everything had to be exact- need for repetition and hatred for change
  • “He would count them like beads on a rosary” – significance of rosary beads, what are they: (129)
  • Prayer beads, sometimes called rosary beads, are used in the practice of meditation and prayer.

  • The meaning of the Rosary is simply a Catholic prayer based upon the Bible that focuses on the events in the life of Jesus and that of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

  • Emphasises how he felt a sense of tranquillity and calmness from his killings. Juxtaposition to Christianity shows that perhaps Harvey didn’t know what he was doing was wrong
  • “He liked to hold the leather heel and rub it between his thumb and forefinger- a perfect worry stone” – Definition of a worry stone: Worry stones (palm stones, thumb stones) are smooth, polished gemstones, usually in the shape of an oval with a thumb-sized indentation, used for relaxation or anxiety relief. They are used by holding the stone between the index finger and thumb and gently moving one’s thumb back and forth across the stone. Juxtaposed in every way to show how Harvey in himself was almost the complete opposite of the rest of society – rubber is unpolished, it is tarnished, not gem-stone like
  • 131 “He had killed animals, taking lesser lives…” – links to the Christian belief: Early Christians regarded human beings as greatly superior to all other animals. After all, human beings were made in the image of God, and God chose human form for his earthly life. Furthermore, God clearly decreed that human beings should have power over non-human animals. LINKS TO CONTEXT Christianity is the most adhered to religion in the United States, with 70% of polled American adults identifying themselves as Christian in 2014.
  • 131- “the dog wouldn’t judge from the spot” Juxtaposes symbolism of a dog: In Asian wisdom dogs are symbols of: Good Luck, Loyalty, Obedience and Prosperity. – shows how something was seriously wrong.
  • 135 “My father was slowly fitting something together…….it was in my mothers eyes”- juxtaposition between the vast and in-understandable connotations of the ‘ocean’ within Abigail’s eyes and the knowledge Jack has gained from them- suggests a sense of closeness in their relationship, ironic since the sitation is geared around her closeness with Len.
  • Recurring motif of candle- particularly 136- religious symbolism:
    The candle symbolizes light in the darkness of life especially individual life, illlumination; it is the symbol of holy illumination of the spirit of truth. Lit in times of death, they signify the light in the next world, and they represent Christ as the light.- represents how the truth was right beside him (Harvey)
  • Significance of Susie : “I blew that lonely, flickering candle out”- after her annoyance at not being able to help her father, not being able to cast clues- as if she had given up on the hope of being found, she was extinguishing the spirit of truth.


 

Chapter Seven: The Lovely Bones Analysis

This book forms part of my studies for (surprise surprise:) English…hence since I seem to be rebelling again the idea of a theme within this blog, I thought I’d add a bit of analysis within it. Why not. *refrains from using abbreviated hashtags*.

 


 

Side note of significance: The recurring theme of rabbits…in terms of symbolism, it generally goes as follows-

Symbolic rabbit meanings deal primarily with abundance, comfort, and vulnerability. Traditionally, rabbits are associated with fertility, sentiment, desire, and procreation. Rabbit meanings are also closely linked to the seasons, the changes of Mother Earth, and specifically Springtime.

In the previous chapter the rabbits become apparent for the second time- they sought out the gloves of Susie’s left by Lindsey. They “investigated” them. This could be Sebold juxtaposing two things: Susie (symbolised by the gloves), and the rabbits. The rabbits (as noted above) are representative of comfort, fertility, desire, procreation- all of the thing Susie can never have and will never be. Thus perhaps the rabbits represent all that Susie can never have, or they may highlight how far from them she is, in both body and spirit. On a literal level, she if far away. And spiritually, she is too, since she is a ghost and they are living- in two different worlds.


Alright…now onwards with chapter seven: things to point out-

  1. “Like everyone else I was trying to protect him (Buckley)”- he is trapped in his youth and is isolated by the lack of knowledge this brings him. The good of others is isolating him. pg 91
  2. “graphic prints meant to stimulate children” – indication into the lack of parenting- pictures replace the attention parents were supposed to give. pg 92
  3. “Lindsey would tell the night that she had to move on”pg 92 – ironic since this was exactly her coping strategy when she lost Susie. As if she had already grieved/ developed a method before even knowing what would happen. Foreboding? (Since Susie acted as the dead knight…and she was the one who actually died.)
  4. “there was a hole…. inside things I didn’t want anyone else to see” pg 93- here develops the recurring motif of a hole, especially for the purpose of hiding things (in Susie’s case it was her personal objects, in Harvey’s, is was his desire (to kill)). It could be giving a false sense of hope: Susie’s hole beneath her bed was where she kept things she wanted no one to see, yet they were found. Is this Sebold suggesting that what was inside Harvey’s hole beneath the ground will too be discovered?
  5. there is the “stained and bloody twig” that almost killed Buckley. It is ironic that something so insignificant and small (not even a branch or a stick, it is a ‘twig’) could (on the juxtaposing side) cause so much damage. Reader can almost imagine the twig in Buckley’s throat- horrific imagery. pg 93
  6. “Painting toenails” “glitter” “seventeen”- lexical field of youth and glamour- juxtaposes the blood and gory nature of what it so come for Buckley. Also juxtaposes the lack of elegance in Susie’s death. pg 93
  7. “A breeze came up, blowing the fringe on my cutoffs against my thighs”- pathetic fallacy- using the weather to express a calm, tranquil mood. Almost synaesthesia- as if the breeze was audible and the fringe tickling her legs was a sense of touch. pg 94
  8. “Swung” “ran” “slid down the banister” “jumped…the fence”- semantic field of heroism. Scene of saviour.
  9. “Buckley was choking. His body bucking”…strange coincidence that his near death experience sounds similar to the name his parents gave him? Hint at the fate of live? pg 94
  10. When Lynn suggests Susie will have a long life, Susie notes “as usual…was wrong”. As if Susie should of known then that she was not to live a full life. As if when Lynn said something it was always wrong, hence she should have expected to die. Suggestion of a series of clues leading up to her death. Fate? pg 94
  11. “Wow, Nate said…marvelling at how over time red blood turned black” – mimics the scene with Harvey holding the knife he used to kill Susie. Foreboding? pg 94
  12. “Crows were lined up, their beaks holding crooked twigs”. Take note of the symbolism of crows: they’re cunning, symbolise death, war, sign of change (e.g. new beginning / impending death. Could it be relevant there is the mention of a “widow” a few lines prior, and a few chapters on Susie’s grandfather joins her in heaven, presumably leaving someone a “widow” on earth? Hence the impending death may seem insignificant to the reader, but when analysed it could be a clue.

 

 

HACKS: LEARN A LANGUAGE

Whatever the teachers say, learning a language is difficult. I have been learning Spanish for three years at school. I have an A* in Spanish GCSE. I am predicated an A* at A level. I have had teachers breathing down my neck for a third of a decade…and guess what? I’m was not even partially fluent.

Now, however, I realise: teachers can’t teach the language. I do not mean this as brutally and heartlessly as it sounds. Try this: solely drowning in exercise books and worksheets WILL NEVER ENABLE YOU TO BE FLUENT. Solely learning grammar, phrases, tenses…this will make for a very robotic type of fluent.

There are some EXTRAODRINARILY simple ways to become better at your desired language. And guess what? Learning in the following ways will take less time, less effort (due to the passive nature of the tasks), and lead you leaps and bounds on your way to fluency. So try this:

  1. Watch films in the language you want to learn. Getting utterly engrossed in the plot means you m at not even realise the words you pick up. Also hearing the language at its natural pace means you will not be so flabbergasted at the pace of speech in reality.

  2. Watch TV shows. Chose those that you are interested in- watch documentaries to perhaps link your interests and learning with your other subjects or hobbies.

  3. Go onto YouTube. Search for complications, funny videos, snippets from films in the language you want to learn. It’s all about passive learning, and enabling just a little fun in all that is heavy within learning a language.

  4. Read the newspaper. Learn about current affairs as well as the construction of the language; it’s a two for the price of one.

  5. Read magazines. Television guides, for example. Some use these daily- read it in another language, since you will already have an understanding of the context.

  6. Find a foreign music artist. Many have been quoted to say music is a real motivational factor when learning a language. And when so many of us have a smart phone it is easy: download Spotify, search for an artist, put them on repeat.

  7. ESCUCHAR, ESCUCHAR, Y ESCUCHAR! (Or listen, listen, and listen, for you non-Spanish speakers). This I believe to be the best tip- it interlinks numerous of the tips above but the concept is simple: LISTEN TO THE LANGUAGE. It’s simple. Focus on the words. Take in the pace. Another key point: don’t panic if the words seem to roll straight of their tongue and away from your ears. You will not learn the language in a week. Fluency may not come in a year, but what is worth doing is worth doing properly.

So listen to music, watch to videos on YouTube, listen to foreign news channels, turn your settings on your phone into your desired language, read magazines and fliers, turn your internet settings into a different language and have a look around for something you want. Try and integrate your learning into your daily life in a way that is fun, hence learning the language will not seem like such a mind field.



Credit to Learn Real Spanish- a few hours prior to writing this post I was heavily influenced by his tips. The moto ‘escuchar, escuchar, y escuchar’ originated from his videos. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ANYONE WITH A DESIRE TO LEARN SPANISH.

Click here for the website.

Click here for the YouTube Channel.

Another beneficial site for those learning a language is Yabla. Specalist language: Spanish. Link here.