It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear…

I’m in to my 4th day of learning Nepali (नेपाली) and before I get all stressed out and start thinking I will not be able to do it I am re-visiting my October 30, post 31 days of randomness to remind myself to “brush myself off” and keep trying.  It was a post I had actually Re-blogged from another very intelligent person.

Please wish me luck. (कृपया मुझे शुभकामनाएँ) Namaste (नमस्ते)

वैसे, 3 दिन पर मैं कोई भी इस बात का नेपाली में नहीं लिखा था.यह गूगल अनुवाद किया है तो मुझे माफ कर अगर लिप्यंतरण समझ नहीं पड़ता है.तुमने क्या उम्मीद ..मैं केवल 3 दिन पर हूँ.

By the way, on day 3 I did not write any of this in Nepali.  It is google translated so forgive me if the transliteration does not make sense.  What did you expect.. I’m only on day 3.

For anyone else who is learning a language.. the below instructions are awesome advice for language learners.  Enjoy.

Looney Toon-y Advice for Speaking a New Language

Learning a new language can be tough, and learning how to get comfortable using that language is even harder!   After you learn how to properly pluralize toilet paper, you still have to gear yourself up to ask a stranger where the bathroom is.  Most of my relatives speak English as a second language, and it didn’t take me long to realize that Looney Tunes teaches you everything you need to know about being comfortable using a newly-learned language.  So here it goes, Advice from the Toons:

Porky Says :  Don’t Panic — If you can’t say it one way, say it another.

Porky the Pig is known for his stutter, but he compensates by replacing words that are hard for him to say with words that are easier.   It’s a simple technique, but an effective one.  Often times, new language learners get so focused on saying one word properly that they don’t just try to complete their thought in a new way.

For example: If you want to find the library, but don’t know the right word for library or don’t feel comfortable saying it, try asking where you can get or borrow a book.

Sylvester Says :  Over Pronounce — Don’t be afraid to over do it.

Sylvester the Cat is known for his spitty, overly pronounced word usage.  The truth is, most languages involve an emphasis that doesn’t come naturally to most new learners.  So whether it’s rolling an R, distinguishing between a B and V, or pronouncing a sound that you’ve never had to make before — just over-do it.  People will understand!

For example: Where I grew up, it’s common for people to drop the H from words that start with an H.  Like “heat” instead of “eat”.  But since you wouldn’t want someone to EAT THE PIE that you just asked them to HEAT, it’s important to over emphasize the sound you know you struggle with.

Bugs Says :  Get Visual — Use props and body language.

Bugs Bunny is known for references that his demographic most certainly does not understand, and using words incorrectly.  Instead of fretting over the incorrect word choice, though, Bugs just points to things around him, pulls out handy reference items, and uses body language to make sure the point gets across.  New language learners often forget to use the world around them as a tool!

For example: If you want to know if a dish on a menu is spicy, but don’t know how to ask– point at the menu and then make the universal gesture for “I just ate something hot!”.  (You know, wave your hand in front of your open mouth and bulge your eyes out a bit.)

Tweety Says :  Repeat — Repeat, repeat, and then say it again

Tweety speaks Birdy as a first language, so when he speaks in English, he often has to repeat what he said.  Sometimes in different ways!  Many new language learners feel embarrassed when someone asks them to repeat something — but remember that quite often, they just didn’t hear you, or maybe didn’t understand that particular phrasing.  Try asking the question in a way that repeats your questions as much as possible.

For example:  If you need directions to the supermarket say the equivalent of, “Can you help me find my way? I’m trying to get directions to the supermarket.  If I go left, will I arrive at the supermarket?”  rather than just “How do I get to the supermarket?”

Daffy Says :  Get Loud — Mumbling is for Natives.

Daffy has a lisp, but it doesn’t stop people from understanding him because he speaks loudly and clearly.  If you’re patient with your speech, assertive in your delivery, and loud enough in volume, you have much greater odds of being understood.  Many new language learners mumble because they’re afraid of making a mistake, but the safest bet is to speak loud enough for people to hear you.

For example: If you’re looking at your feet and mumbling when you ask where the bathroom is, people will probably rely on your body language to fill in the blanks that they didn’t hear.  They’ll assume they’re talking about your shoes, and you will get very confusing advice!

Pepé Says :  Be Proud of your Multilingual Abilities — Language is a beautiful gift.

Pepé is French, and isn’t trying to hide it.  If he doesn’t know the word in English, he says it in French. If he can say it best in French, then he does and explains why.  Language is about communication, and communication is a two-way street.  People are open to learning more about your language if your language gets the point across better.

For example: The French phrase “je ne sais quoi” has been nearly fully adapted into English because it’s simply the best way to say it.


In summary– don’t be so hard on yourself, and take it easy.

Travel theme: Bridges

Ailsa from “Where’s My Backpack” travel themes is “bridges” this week and her personal inspiration was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Click here to see what everyone else has come up with.

SUNDAY POST : Unforgettable

Jakesprinter starts out this weeks Sunday Post theme with the following sentence.

Unforgettable means never to be forgotten, remarkable in a way that cannot be forgotten such as place, events or great memories.

With this sentence I got ready to refresh my memory and attempt to remember a very specific moment in my life that I could highlight with one or two simple pictures.  I guess I am blessed at how many moments that just popped instantly into my head that would qualify to be listed under this one, simple word.

Trying to really narrow this theme down I decided to focus on the absolute ONE most important thing to me.  Friends. The one thing that is most unforgettable to me are the friends that I have made in the past and still carry with me to the present.  I’m good at maintaining contact with my friends and always seem to run into friends that have appeared to have been lost but were just no longer physically close to me.  I love making new friends, but there is really nothing like the old ones.  I’m fortunate to have had so many “lost”  friends re-appear in my life.

However, there was one very dear and important friend that I just could not find.  Out of all of my friends, this was the one person I had always wondered about.  He was someone that was always sitting at the back of my mind. Just sitting there.  A strange, empty weight. Lost to me for almost 24 years I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never find this person again. Yet somehow, magically I found this friend about 6 months ago.  It has been an interesting reconnection with stories of lives lived in the time that has passed since our last meeting.  Unbelievable stories that were at times incomprehensible to me.

Then there were the stories from our shared past. Back and forth went these histories with realizations and different interpretations and perspectives of the people, places and things that each of us had known in our own separate ways.  Interpretations that were at times…incomprehensible to me.  Regardless of the then and the now and the past and the present and all that is and was and.. ok you get it.. It’s been a blast reconnecting and I highly recommend everyone take the time and find an old lost friend.  It has been so worth it.  I hope you enjoy this photo from our recent get-together in Baltimore.

Photo on 2-18-13 at 7.36 PM

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

A related article and a few of my favorite entries this week.

“Sometimes There’s No Friend like an Old Friend” – by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, wrote a great article about old friends being the comfort food of relationships and how to maintain these.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

The daily post’s last photo challenge was HOME.  I thought about being a bit abstract, as in, “where ever I hang my hat is my home” but realized how much work that would be and decided against it.

Considering most of my last 6 years have involved not living in my hometown I decided to focus on my home and family.  I hope you enjoy.

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“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah DessenWhat Happened to Goodbye

ALLLLLLLLLL Aboard – Brooklyn Transit Museum

Ok I’ll admit this song is a bit dramatic for this particular blog, but I do love it and I do love trains AND I did just travel across the U.S. by trains so it still seemed fitting.  It also seemed fitting to visit the Brooklyn Transit Museum in .. ta da.. Brooklyn.  I was told it was only an exhibition that was going to be running for a couple of months.  During my stay in New York I decided I should catch it before it moved out.  I expected to visit this museum and would be in and out in about 45 minutes max.  almost 3 hours later I finally decided to leave.

The museum houses about a hundred years of transit memorabilia. You need to enter through an outside entrance that takes you beneath the sidewalks as if you were entering any old subway.  Once inside you travel through a gallery that takes you step by step through the history of the tunnels and trains of New York and much of it is set up like a1930’s subway station.  There are conductors that demonstrate some of the older train components and you can actually walk through trains from many different eras that sit on a “live” rail.  there were stationary, life-size bus frames from the same era that children could climb through and pretend to drive as well as a learning center that did not happen to be open when I visited where “students” create crafts and do activities related to the subway system.

As you will note from the photos what I found most interesting were the signage from the various periods and eras.  Sadly many of my photos didn’t turn out due to inside lighting so I don’t have many of the actual trains themselves but maybe this blog will entice you to actually visit this museum.

Another interesting historical feature I was at once intrigued and amused with was the ‘Miss Subway’ exhibit on display. (Maybe this is the part that is only going to be there for a few months. I’ve added a link as these pictures I took also didn’t show up very well.

From 1941 to 1976, the MTA hosted its own beauty competition: Miss Subways plastered images of the winner on trains and buses (often placed near ads as a way to draw more attention to them). Decades later, photographer Fiona Gardner and journalist Amy Zimmer sought out former competitors, shooting portraits and recording their stories. The New York Transit Museum hosts an exhibit devoted to the contest: In addition to displaying Gardner’s photos, the show features vintage postcards of the winners and audio of them relating their experiences.—Amy Plitt

I can’t imagine now how a contest like this would rate, but for me it was a very compelling look at a certain period of time regarding thoughts, dress and attitude.

After visiting it I think it might (or must) be something that will be around for quite awhile due to its size and subject matter, I just can’t imagine it being removed any time soon.  Did I mention I sort of LOVE trains?

“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.”
― Edna St. Vincent MillayThe Selected Poetry

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New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is a museum which displays historical artifacts of the New York City Subway, bus, commuter rail, and bridge and tunnel systems; it is located in a decommissioned Court Street subway station in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City. There is a smaller satellite annex in Grand Central TerminalManhattan.

Friday hours 10:00 am–4:00 pm  –  See all
Address: 130 Livingston St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 694-1600
Train Travel Videos –