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At the beginning of December, I had a discussion with a friend about "fate" and "destiny". Many times these words are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same, and in fact you can believe in one and not the other. Fate - it is like a set order of events, something unavoidable or inevitable, and often with pessimistic overtones. All humans share the same fate - death, and possibly rebirth, depending on your beliefs.

Yet our destinies are different. Destiny - not preset, and arguably within your control on some level. We can change it, or others can come along and be the catalyst for our destiny to be altered.

The topic arose when I began to think about people in my life, those with whom I've allowed myself to get close outside of my family. Ex-boyfriends, friends, even some minor acquaintances, or brief exchanges with people on the street or during travels. Each teaching some lesson, a few of them quite painful, yet opening the pathway forward to another person or cornerstone in life...So, I would say you can choose your own destiny, but not your own fate. This is the main difference, at least to me.

Yesterday, I saw the film "Passengers", and there was an interesting line spoken by Jennifer Lawrence's charcter Aurora - "we are all passengers...we go where fate carries us." Something to think about as we head into 2017...Happy New Year! :)

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word

Do you know what it is? I notice it frequently in comments, and communications with foreign friends. Even the most intelligent and proficient speakers of English as a second language often spell the term wrong. The word is "DEFINITELY", and the most common error is to spell it "definAtely", where an "a" is used instead of an "i". Phonetically, this makes sense, and even native English speakers periodically spell the word wrong.

I was reminded of this today when I began to read a post about studying English via Skype lessons. The blogger mentioned all kinds of tenses - present perfect progressive, past perfect, past perfect simple. I must have learned these tenses in school over 20 years ago, but what the hell do they mean? :) I don't even think about them now as a native English speaker, although the tenses are self-explanatory if you contemplate the basic essence of the words. When I studied Russian for a short time, I wasn't concerned about proper grammar or spelling, because the goal was simply to be able to speak basic phrases during travels and communicate with locals in their native tongue. Some things that still confuse me about Russian:Read more... )
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tonguetwister

I've whined many times about the difficulty of the Russian language. Very long words, often difficult to pronounce. Recently, I started learning basic Georgian phrases for the journey - hello, goodbye, thanks, my name is, how much?, nice to meet you...This language is comprised of many harsh and unusual sounds for a native English speaker, and it's even more challenging to grasp than Russian. Almost any ounce of foreign vocabulary I know is useless for learning Georgian. For instance, if you know English, many Spanish words aren't so hard to comprehend, and even French to some extent. This perception is based solely on my travels in France, and daily communications with native Spanish speakers in my immigration work and life in Northern Virginia, where we have a huge population from Central America. In fact, whites have been the minority in my region for many years.

I'm not concerned about perfection or grammar when learning these languages, just the spoken element so I can try to communicate with locals a bit in their native language. I think it's very important, and you should always make an effort to learn standard, universal phrases when visiting a foreign country.

I always considered English to be a simplistic language, comprised of much shorter basic terms - "hi", "bye," no gender distinctions, etc. Then, I remembered this meme someone sent me a few months ago. Who can understand it? I believe it's an excellent test of English proficiency and comprehension skills. Maybe you can share it with your children or friends who are learning the language for some fun. :)

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I see a constant mistake on Facebook and in comments to posts, when Russians are trying to refer to something as delicious or tasty. They use the term "yAmmy," when the correct word is "yUmmy." I'm not sure if this is a teaching error from Soviet times, but I'm offering a rare English lesson because this mistake is so widespread. A "yam" is a vegetable, similar to a sweet potato.

yam

Also, many people ask me the correct way to refer to black people in the U.S. I simply call them "black," although African-American is also commonly used. NEVER use the word "nigger." This seems to be an acceptable term in Russia, but in the U.S. it's very offensive and derogatory. Also, you will look like a fool if you call them "Negroes." This term is outdated.lesson continued )

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