Looking for a penfriend

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Courier
Bilingual Newbie
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Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Hi everybody,
My name is Matthias and I'm looking for an Penfriend because I want to improve my English skills. Last Time I had English was in School about 14 years ago. I guess the most problems I have with the language is the ability to write and talk fluent. I think my skill level might be B1 / B2...

My idea is to write short essays (about 200-300 words) and you (penfriend) would correct these texts (with lots of patience :jo: )
Or we just chat about any kind of topic we like...

Maybe is there someone who wants to write with me from time to time?

Kind regards,
Matthias  :freu:




Courier
Bilingual Newbie
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Ok, so here is my first essay. Maybe someone would like to take a few minutes and correct it? Thanks in advance  :D

Guitar
As I was a child I never wanted to play an instrument. When I was in elementary school I had to play the flute and I hated it. I can’t exactly remember why I hated it but I think I didn’t like how this was taught to me.

Later, as a young adult I saw lots of people playing instruments like guitars, pianos or drums. This fascinated me because I think it’s very hard to play an instrument the way it sounds good. It didn’t take long until I bought myself my first guitar and started practicing. Sadly, after a few weeks of playing I lost my interest in it because I made only slow progress. This lends to buring my guitar for a long time.

Instead of playing the guitar I focussed myself on studying. At the time I went to university I met my later wife. With her we have 3 beautiful kids which are all boys. Sometimes to her sorrow, like she says   :) . And as you may suggest there wasn't much time to learn an instrument besides family activities and studying.

Today, life is a little more still. I have a job with mostly fixed working hours and our kids are older now and they don't take as much attention as when they were younger. So, that’s the reason why I have started playing guitar again about a half year ago. I have already learned my first 8 chords (open chords) and some strumming pattern. I have also learned how to change the strings of my guitar. Sometimes when I practiced too long my fingers start to hurt. I think that’s because I play a Western Guitar with strings of steel.

tiorthan
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: Ok, so here is my first essay. Maybe someone would like to take a few minutes and correct it? Thanks in advance  :D

Guitar
When1 I was a child I never wanted to play an instrument. When I was in elementary school I had to play the recorder2 and I hated it. I can’t exactly remember why I hated it but I think I didn’t like how this was taught to me.

Later, as a young adult I saw lots of people playing instruments like guitars, pianos or drums. This fascinated me because I think it’s very hard to play an instrument in a way way that3 sounds good. It didn’t take long until I bought myself my first guitar and started practicing. Sadly, after a few weeks of playing I lost interest4 in it because I made only slow progress. This lends to buring my guitar for a long time5.

Instead of playing the guitar I focused on studying. At the time I went to university.7 I met my later wife. We have 3 beautiful kids which are all boys. Sometimes to her sorrow, like she says   :) . And as you may suggest there wasn't much time to learn an instrument besides family activities and studying.

Today, life is a little more quiet8. I have a job with mostly fixed working hours and our kids are older now and they don't take as much attention as when they were younger. So, that’s the reason why I have started playing guitar again about a half year ago. I have already learned my first 8 chords (open chords) and some strumming patterns. I have also learned how to change the strings of my guitar. Sometimes when I practiced too long my fingers start to hurt. I think that’s because I play a Western Guitar with steel strings9.
Interesting. So, are you learning U.S. Western style guitar playing specifically or are you just using a a Western guitar?
You'll get used to the strings. It's only been half a year so far. I'm speaking from recent experience. I've been playing a couple of instruments since I was a child but I've never played a stringed instrument until about one and a half years ago. And although violin doesn't put as much stress on the fingertips, it still took a while to get used to the strings.

If you have problems with any of my explanations, don't hesitate to ask.

1 - You cannot use "as" here. As is something you use when you have a short event or an event that interrupts something else that is in progress or when you have two short consecutive events. 

What you have here is a period of time "I was a child" that happens while some state "never wanted to play an instrument" persists, so both things are of equal length.

You could use "while" or "when" here. While would be preferred when the duration is important and when would be preferred otherwise. And since the duration of the childhood isn't really the focus here, "when" is probably the best choice.

2 - I'm going out on a limb here (= Ich stelle hier mal eine wilde Vermutung an), and suggest that the instrument you were forced to play was the recorder* (Blockflöte) and not the flute (Querflöte). Children aren't usually forced to learn the flute.

3 - So "the way it sounds good" doesn't really work. "The way" suggests that there is only one particular way it could be done and only one. That's not how playing instruments is perceived culturally. Rather you express this in a way that is equivalent to "any way that sounds good".

Personally, I'd use "to play with a nice sound" or maybe just "to play musically".

4 - "lose interest" doesn't come with a possessive pronoun in between in English. It's not entirely wrong grammatically, but it wouldn't be perceived as idiomatic English.
This is particularly important because the perception of who is the actor and who the recipient of the action would change it would be understood as something along the lines of "ich nehme mir mein Interesse". And while you would now what's meant it is confusing.

5 - I do not know what you were trying to say here and how to correct this.

6 - Only one -s- and there is no "myself".

7 - I'm not sure if you were missing a word here to connect the sentences. Did you try to say that you met your wife at university?

8 - So, people would get what you are trying to say, but "still" is usually associated more with a lack of movement while what you describe is just a lack of unpredictability.

9 - "Strings of steel" is technically correct, but the technical terminology is "steel strings".

(*) The name of the recorder is confusing for many German speakers. But the word has a somewhat weird history.
It goes back all the way to the Middle Ages when England was ruled by the Norman French.

The name recorder goes back to a Norman French verb recorder which meant to remember, to commit to memory but also to play music.

Now, this is where things get slightly weird because the French only ever used the word for playing music, they never used it for any musical instruments. The name of the recorder in French is "flûte à bec" while the flute is called "flûte transversière".
So what did the English do? They named the recorder after the French verb, for no particular reason, and every other type of flute was called floute or whistle.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
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Courier
Bilingual Newbie
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Registriert: 3. Jan 2022 12:21
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

First of all, thank you very mutch for your comprehensive answer. I didn't expect that  :) ! I will try to consider your hints in the future.
So, here are my comments to your answers (please feel free to correct my text):
2 - I'm going out on a limb here (= Ich stelle hier mal eine wilde Vermutung an), and suggest that the instrument you were forced to play was the recorder* (Blockflöte) and not the flute (Querflöte). Children aren't usually forced to learn the flute.
Yes, I meant the recorder. I didn't know that it's called recorder and thats the first time I read that. To be honest, I looked for the word "Flöte" in an online dictionary and "flute" was the first result the dictionary came up with. So I didnt look any further. I was so suprised about that, I think I will remind of it in the future.
3 - So "the way it sounds good" doesn't really work. "The way" suggests that there is only one particular way it could be done and only one. That's not how playing instruments is perceived culturally. Rather you express this in a way that is equivalent to "any way that sounds good".
At the time I wrote this essay I didn't find a better phrase than "the way it sounds good". I think thats because of my limited speech skills. And yes, I didn't want to express it as the only particular way. I was trying to say something more like "... ich denke es ist schwer ein Instrument auf die Art zu spielen, dass es sich wirklich gut anhört".
5 - I do not know what you were trying to say here and how to correct this.
I tried to say something like "Das führte dazu, dass ich meine Gitarre für lange begraben habe" (weil ich nur so langsame Fortschritte im Üben gemacht habe und sich das demotivierend auf mich ausgewirkt hat)
7 - I'm not sure if you were missing a word here to connect the sentences. Did you try to say that you met your wife at university?
Yes, I tried to say "Als ich zur Uni ging, traf ich meine spätere Frau". Ok, if I rethink the sentence I must admit that it sounds odd. Especially in German  :roll:


So thats what I wanted to tell you. I think I haven't used the comment function correct but I hope its understandable.

Im looking forward to read from you. 

ps. I have noticed that I used lot of "Simple Past" with "didn't". Hope thats correct in the most cases. I tried to express finished past.

tiorthan
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: First of all, thank you very much for your comprehensive answer. I didn't expect that  :) ! I will try to consider your hints in the future.
So, here are my comments to your answers (please feel free to correct my text):

Yes, I meant the recorder. I didn't know that it's called recorder and that's the first time I've read that. To be honest, I looked for the word "Flöte" in an online dictionary and "flute" was the first result the dictionary came up with. So I didn't look any further. I was so surprised about that, I think I will remember it in the future.
So a little confusion about words here. Remember is the word you need when you recall something into your own memory. To remind someone of something means to cause a person to remember.

Remind always needs someone you can remind. So even if you make a note of something to cause yourself to remember you'd have to say "remind myself of something"
At the time I wrote this essay I didn't find a better phrase than "the way it sounds good". I think that's because of my limited speech skills. And yes, I didn't want to express it as the only particular way. I was trying to say something more like "... ich denke es ist schwer ein Instrument auf die Art zu spielen, dass es sich wirklich gut anhört".

I tried to say something like "Das führte dazu, dass ich meine Gitarre für lange begraben habe" (weil ich nur so langsame Fortschritte im Üben gemacht habe und sich das demotivierend auf mich ausgewirkt hat)
Ok, in my opinion "bury" isn't really the right choice of words. It would be understood, I guess, but at least in the dialects I know more intimately, it wouldn't be used in that way, normally.

I'd just use "This led me to dropping the guitar for a long time."

Yes, I tried to say "Als ich zur Uni ging, traf ich meine spätere Frau". Ok, if I rethink the sentence I must admit that it sounds odd. Especially in German  :roll:
In that case I'd say "When I was at university I met my wife."

Im looking forward to reading from you. 

After "look forward to" and "looking forward to" you need to have a real noun phrase so you could say something like "I'm looking forward to a reply" since "a reply" is a noun. Or you have to use the ing-form of the verb.

ps. I have noticed that I used lot of "Simple Past" with "didn't". Hope thats correct in the most cases. I tried to express finished past.
That's exactly the right thing to do.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
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Courier
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Thank you for answering so fast! I have a bad conscience that I take so long. Ok; here is my next essay. I'm looking forward to reading from you.

Making Sports
As I was a child I never wanted to do lots of sports. I remember when I was in school, sometimes some of my classmates and I thought about excuses for not participating in our sport lesson. From my todays point of view I think this was very stupid.

Later, when I was a young adult I discovered sports for myself, especially running. I started with small and flat courses about 2-4 kilometers long. Because I hadn’t taken such workouts before, my feets and knees hurt very much at the beginning and my breath sounded like a locomotive. But, after the first few workouts it became easier every single run.

From that point I have increased the length of my courses up to 10, sometimes 15 kilometers. The courses lead through the forest, vineyards or fields, every course with different slopes and heights. I try to do 3 workouts every week. 2 short courses with 6 kilometers length in the time from Monday until Friday and one long course with 15 kilometers at the weekend.

From time to time I think about if I should attend a marathon or at least a half marathon. A half marathon does have a length of 21,1 kilometers (21,0975 kilometers to be exact) and that's not much more from my 15 kilometer courses. Maybe I will register myself for a half marathon in spring or summer in my local area.

I think doing sports helps me to come down from stressful days or events. After I have powered myself out I feel a lot better because my body releases happiness hormones (that’s what my online dictionary stated for “Glückshormone”) . And beyond that, I’m too tired to have any bad thoughts.

tiorthan
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: Thank you for answering so fast! I've felt guilty for taking so long. Ok; here is my next essay. I'm looking forward to reading from you.
First of all, don't sweat it. I'm not even checking the forums every day. Just do things at your own pace.

So, I assume that you wanted to express "Ich hatte ein schlechtes Gewissen, dass ich so lange brauche", so basically you're expressing that you have feelings of regret for a specific action (or inaction in this case).

Verbs in sentences cannot just express action but also state. This is particularly apparent in sentences with "be". For example "The door is red" doesn't describe any action at all.

English has a clear preference for expressions that state actions instead of state. So when you have the choice between two phrases, one expressing action and one expressing state the action-expression is often better. This is particularly important in a case like this where you combine state of mind (to have a guilty conscience) and action or inaction (to take long).

By the way, we use "schlechtes Gewissen" in German, but in English the phrase "bad conscience" isn't used a lot in countries with an English speaking majority. "guilty conscience" is much more common.
Sports
In English you cannot "make sports". Depending on the type of sport you either "play a sport" or you'd say "exercise".
When I was a child I never wanted to play lots of sports. I remember when I was in school, sometimes some of my classmates and I thought about excuses for not participating in our sport lesson. From my current point of view I think this was very stupid.

Later, when I was a young adult I discovered sports for myself, especially running. I started with small and flat courses about 2-4 kilometers long. Because I hadn’t taken such workouts before, my feet and knees hurt very much in the beginning and my breath sounded like a locomotive. But, after the first few workouts it became easier every single run.

From that point I have increased the length of my courses up to 10, sometimes 15 kilometers. The courses lead through the forest, vineyards or fields, every course with different slopes and heights. I try to exercise three times a week, 2 short courses with 6 kilometers length in the time from Monday until Friday and one long course with 15 kilometers on the weekend.

From time to time I think about attending a marathon or at least a half marathon. A half marathon does have a length of 21,1 kilometers (21,0975 kilometers to be exact) and that's not much more than my 15 kilometer courses. Maybe I will register myself for a half marathon in spring or summer in my local area.

I think sport helps me to cope with stressful days or events. After I have powered myself out I feel a lot better because my body releases happiness hormones (that’s what my online dictionary stated for “Glückshormone”) . And beyond that, I’m too tired to have any bad thoughts.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
MistakeSuggestionYou sure that's right?

Courier
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Courier »

Busy at work

In the last few weeks, I have been very busy at work. I am currently involved in two projects where we are going to update some of our systems. Lots of people are working on many tasks and coordination of those people is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort.

Some of us even have to do extra hours to keep the schedule in time. Sadly, that’s a bad sign because doing extra hours may show a bad management strategy. But this is only a temporary state. Normally, my work isn’t very time consuming regarding taking extra hours. Instead it usually has more of the typical  9-to-5 characteristics. For me, changing the workload brings a variety in my daily job routine and keeps it interesting. 

We are working in small teams together and every team has a lot of responsibility for what it produces. There is no strict boss-employee relationship. Instead everybody in the team is equivalent. New ideas or problems are discussed in the team and a solution is being found together.

My tasks in the team are more organizational. I spend the most of the time interviewing people regarding what kind of software they want and in documenting the information. I also have to translate the information from the interviews into a more technical speech so that our engineers can process them further. 

Please note that I didn’t want to go further in detail in this topic because on the one hand it’s private and on the other hand it’s not necessary for improving my English writing skills  :wink:

Bye and have a nice day!

tiorthan
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von tiorthan »

Courier hat geschrieben: Busy at work

In the last few weeks, I have been very busy at work. I am currently involved in two projects where we are going to update some of our systems. Lots of people are working on many tasks and coodinating these people is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort.
I've made two changes here.

The first is merely a suggestion. Where German likes to use static words that simply name objects or name the state that something is in, English prefers to use words that describe action. So English would prefer "coordinating someone" over "the coordination of someone". It's not exactly necessary to always follow this guideline, but keeping it in mind will usually result in a more natural language flow.

Now, the second is actually almost a mistake, as in this sentence you cannot really use "those".

I would assume that you used "those" because you are aware of the basic difference between this/these and that/those. So you would have learned that "this/these" describes things that are nearby, whereas "that/those" describes things that are further away.

However, those words are not really about physical distance but rather the perception of distance. This makes things a lot more difficult, because there is also a perception of distance within language itself. Particularly, when you are talking about different topics within the same text, then certain topics will be more distant within the context than others. For example, I used "those words" in the beginning of this paragraph, because the words I am talking about were introduced in the preceding paragraph. Beginning a new paragraph has created a "break" within the context (in this case my going from the general description of the words to a more detailed explanation of concepts). So we have a form of distance and I've expressed linguistically by using "those" instead of "these". I could have used "these", had I chosen to do so.

So, as you can see there are situations where you do have a choice which word you use. In cases like these you can use this/these or that/those to create contrast. For example when you have two cups directly in front of you, you can say "that one is yours". Even though the cup may not be any further away than your own, the use of "that" conceptually pushes it away from you, or you could also think of it as distancing yourself from the cup.

So, why is "that" not a valid choice in this sentence (I'm using this here to conceptually pull the sentence back)? 

Grammatically it would be fine, but using "and" to connect to otherwise independent clauses does already create a conceptual closeness. But immediately following with "those" results in a very marked contrast which would be understood as you very emphatically distancing yourself from "those people" almost as if you think of yourself as something better.
Some of us even have to do extra hours to stay on schedule
The schedule is the thing that determines what "in time" means. So the schedule itself cannot be not in time.

Normally, my work isn’t very time consuming regarding taking extra hours.
A better way of phrasing this would probably be "Normally, my work doesn't require me to do a lot of overtime." as "time consuming regarding taking extra hours" would be understood but is a very roundabout way of saying this.
We are working together in small teams


In English phrasal verbs cannot be taken apart as easily as we do it in German. So the "together" has to follow the "work" here.
Instead everybody in the team is equivalent.


"Equivalent" is a very judgmental. It's not comparing the team members as people but rather more like you'd compare machines because "equivalent" is really the same as saying "everybody can be replaced by everyone else". Ideally, what you are trying to say is that everybody in the team are peers, i.e. as far as your collaboration is concerned they are all treated equally.

New ideas or problems are discussed in the team and a solution is being found together.

Since you are talking about what your team does generally, you absolutely cannot use the continuous. With the continuous aspect this sentence would mean that you are in the process of finding a solution right now and when that's done you no longer do this. When you talk about general truths you have to use the simple tenses.

My tasks in the team are more organizational. I spend the most of the time interviewing people regarding what kind of software they want and in documenting the information. I also have to translate the information from the interviews into a more technical speech so that our engineers can process them further. 
So you are a requirements engineer or something like that?
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
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Torsten64
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

I could go on to correct the entire essay if you wanted, but keep in mind English is a language of brevity. English hates wordiness (unnecessary verbiage), long words, etc. I could toss out a large number of the words you used as just simply unnecessary and redundant (like „ When I went to University, I met my wife.“ Why not just say „I met my wife at the University“? It says the same thing). 

Anyway, no one in the US uses the word „recorder“ to describe any sort of musical instrument. The word does appear in my translator to mean die Blockflöte but I’ve never heard it in my entire life. And I’m 63. And, if you used it to mean a musical instrument, no one would have a clue what you were talking about. 

Torsten64
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

Happy to be a penpal if you like.  Native U.S. English speaker and speak German too.  :D

Torsten64
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

I’d be happy to offer corrections/suggestions, but I can’t explain English grammar. I only studied German grammar. Like most English-speaking  natives I can only say what sounds right and natural and what doesn’t. 

Schuyler
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Schuyler »

Torsten64 hat geschrieben:Anyway, no one in the US uses the word „recorder“ to describe any sort of musical instrument. The word does appear in my translator to mean die Blockflöte but I’ve never heard it in my entire life. And I’m 63. And, if you used it to mean a musical instrument, no one would have a clue what you were talking about. 
That's very interesting, because speaking as an American myself, "recorder" is very commonly used and the only word I know for "die Blockflöte", which we had to learn to play in school, too. This thing: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51XQEYf1XBL._AC_SL1024_.jpg

I'm curious then what you know it as? Would you just call that a flute, or something else?
Fehler | Vorschlag | [Anmerkung]
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Torsten64
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

Yes Schuyler, it is a word „recorder” that musical people in the US all know. I asked around today with American pianists and they were like “Of course we know what it is you dummy.” So I take back what I said because I’m no musician, but seriously I never heard that word in my while life and I’m a 63 year old US English speaker. Maybe I just hung around dummies me my whole life  :D
Oh, by the way, I’m a US -German dual citizen (my mom is 93 and was born and raised in Mainz). So, I speak German too, but spent most of my time in Ostfriesland, in Jever, 

Torsten64
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Re: Looking for a penfriend

Beitrag von Torsten64 »

I think I’d honestly just call everything a Flöte or flute since I’m no musical genius, but I do love the piano. My favorite is the Bösendorfer. 

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