First language of the user who opens the topic

Discussion in 'Comments and Suggestions' started by Pequod, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Pequod

    Pequod Member

    Italiano - Sud
    In the forums where we discuss two languages (e.g.: italian-english or french-english) it would be nice to know beforehand what is the first language of the user who started the topic or the language he or she intend to ask about. This because for me, for example, it's important to help english speakers about italian stuff, but many times I access to threads that are started by italian speakers who ask about english stuff and I cannot do anything for them, because - as you can see - my english is far from being suitable! :)

    So, I think it's really important to know fast *who* is seeking for *what*.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Well, you know what people's native language is: it's written in their "native language" profile field :)
    In the English-Italian forum it's very easy to quickly figure out what the source language and the target language are: the source language is always the language in which the title of the thread is written.
  3. Pequod

    Pequod Member

    Italiano - Sud
    Hi Paul, thanks. Honestly, what I find here (, for instance) is just the name of the user, not his or her first language).

    You wrote: "the source language is always the language in which the title of the thread is written." That's what I guessed, but I have to say that this is not always the case: for instance, this thread.

    So I have to open the thread to see what is about. Nonetheless, I simply adore WR. :)

    Ciao and thank you. o/
  4. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    And here's a thought, Pequod: By opening threads started by Italian speakers asking about English stuff, and reading the answers of English speakers, you can learn some new English stuff. Well, that's what happens to me anyway ... I get just as much pleasure from learning more about other languages as I do from helping others to learn more about English.

  5. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Well, you do need to open the thread to find out what the native language of the posters is.
  6. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Maybe in bilingual forums, such as the English-Italian forum it would be useful to make compulsory writing the target language.
    So if someone writes:
    "Italian: l'altalena dondolava da sola"
    It's non-Italian speaker asking what does that mean.
    "English: l'altalena dondolava da sola"
    It's someone asking how to translate it in English.

    Maybe too complicated?
  7. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    And a Guid New Year to all our readers

    Youngfun writes (#6):
    Yes, both too complicated and too restrictive. Enquiries from members who know their own language well enough, but who seek advice on how to express an idea in the target language, would often find themselves bogged down in discussion of the terms or grammar of the question. One of the great merits of this site is that answers to specific problems come, usually, swiftly and clearly from native speakers or, in the case of classical languages, experienced users. This could not easily be envisaged under such a regimen as Youngfun here proposes.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  8. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Here, when your mouse cursor is positioned just above the title of a thread a pop-up box let you see the first lines of the post.
    It's usually enough to have a good idea of what the post is about, and what the target language is.
  9. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I agree with Scholiast. It would definitely be too restrictive, and possibly counter-productive.

    (1) Youngfun's suggestion doesn't respond to Pequod's original point about the first language of the OP. In your example, Youngfun, indicating a target language doesn't tell you whether the OP is Italian or English, or indeed whether his/her native language is something completely different.

    (2) It seems to assume that all threads are just asking for a translation*, whereas some WR discussions are actually about finer points of language, usage, etc.
    (*or is it suggesting that responses to the non-Italian speaker must be in Italian?! :confused:)

    (3) The liberty in the bilingual forums of being able to post in either of the two languages is very useful, since some members are truly bilingual, some may have only the barest knowledge of one of the languages, and many fall somewhere in between (cf Scoliast's point).

  10. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    We all use the site for different purposes: a traveler wants to know how to say something in his non-native language; a student needs a clarification for an expression in a book, without a translation; a translator needs a precise equivalent in his native tongue; etc. In each category, some people enjoy the opportunity to practice in their non-native language; for others, such a discussion is beyond their skills.

    My favorite threads are those in which members work back and forth to refine their ideas, where native speakers of the source language offer insight into the meaning of the text, and natives of the target language offer suggestions that match those nuances. These contributions can be offered in either language, or in a mixture of the two. Ideally, in the end, together we find good suggestions in the target language, and those suggestions will be useful to the thread starter even if it takes some effort to understand the details of the discussion.

    Keep in mind, too, that the threads are a resource for future readers - they don't belong to the thread starter, but to the community as a whole. Later readers can still benefit from the details of the discussion, even if they were beyond the thread starter's own skills.

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