Tag Archives: life

Supplementing Language Learning

By Caroline Donat

When young children learn languages, they are also learning about how the world around them functions. Everything is new and exciting so learning is fun. When learning a language as an adult however, we often experience more frustrations with the learning process. We know what we want to say but struggle to express it properly. Though we can use the social and occupational skills we have gained in adulthood, bringing back the fresh newness we experience as children can help us with our language acquisition.

International students at USC already face daily immersion into American life. Since this immersion can be shocking, it is hard to resist an opportunity for the comfort of speaking to another international student in your first language. This is okay and perhaps necessary to stay motivated to conduct the majority of the day in English. These small comforts do not need to be sacrificed in order to improve one’s fluency.

If we want to accelerate our language-learning however, we need to take our learning beyond the classroom and literally translate aspects of our daily life. This means carrying out our normal behavior in another language with the openness we had as children, by reading the foreign text on our breakfast food packaging or watching a late-night soap opera (perhaps with the help of subtitles). I say “we” because, even though I am a native English speaker, I am currently looking for ways to obtain fluency in Arabic and Spanish. There is always more that we can do to promote our learning. While we will never find the time to do everything, there are some tricks that we can work into our schedules without rearranging other commitments and priorities.

Newspapers are a great way to not only improve your English (or other language) skills, but to keep up with the local culture. Depending on your free time and interests, you can choose to browse sections about fashion and upcoming performances, or dip into today’s politics. Either way, you will have something to talk about with other English speakers. The best part is that you can fit this reading into your schedule by inserting it during meals, while riding the bus, or waiting for class to start. You can sign up for LA Times to be delivered to your home, download a news app, or pick up a free local newspaper from the boxes on the sidewalk.

Also, listening to music in your new language is an easy way to enhance your learning. iTunes, Apple Music, and YouTube are all popular, but most students prefer Spotify because of all of the songs you can listen to for free. Sign in with your USC email to gain access to your free account! On Spotify, you can view the top songs in the U.S. (and many other countries) or find new music similar to songs that you already like. If you like listening to acoustic indie music, try some Ed Sheeran songs. If you would like to try out RnB, search for music by Miguel. You do not need to pay attention to the lyrics, simply surrounding yourself with the words of your new language can help your comprehension and pronunciation.

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Lessons Learned Through R&B Lyrics

By Rio Jackson

As the American artist SZA once said, “God bless these 20 somethings – good luck on them 20 somethings.” Your twenty’s can be an interesting ride. High school is over and you’re journeying into adulthood. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, adulthood is defined as maturity and “being fully developed”. In other words, you’re a grown-up now and should have this thing called life figured out. But we all know, life is not simple, and our goals do not always go according to plan. With finals here and everyone starting to feel exhausted from studying, I hope I can provide some wisdom to get you through this period. I personally love music, so, I am going to provide a few life tips hidden in the music genres known as R&B and Hip-Hop.

1.Count On Your Friends

“I’ll be there for you
When you’re going through
Times that you may think that you need a friend
You can count on me
Call me when you need”

-Song: Best Friend – Brandy

Life comes with a lot of hiccups and unexpected turns. Friends and supportive colleagues make life challenges a lot less painful. Empathetic friends remind you that the bad times are not permanent. Feeling isolated? Dreading graduating? Undecided about talking to your family? Having work related issues? Identify a friend. You do not need many friends, one good friend will make a difference in your experience in college, and adulthood. Quality friendships are vital in your twenty-somethings. Friends reduce your stress and friends give you a sense of belonging.

  1. Identify Your Problems

“I tried to drink it away
I tried to put one in the air
I tried to dance it away
I tried to change it with my hair
I ran my credit card bill up
Thought a new dress would make it better
I tried to work it away
But that just made me even sadder”

-Song: Cranes In The Sky – Solange

Solange ,who is now a 31 year old Grammy recipient, explained the origin of her “Cranes In The Sky” track in an interview with her sister, Beyonce.  She said that he wrote it in her 20’s when she had self-doubt. This notorious track was able to “put into perspective all of those ugly things” we experience in our twenty-somethings. Like Solange, it is important to identify your pain in order to find inner peace.

You can read more about her interview here: http://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/solange/#page2

  1. It’s Time To Let It Go…

“Just let go
Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
Everything’s gonna work out right, you know
Just let go, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
Just let it go, baby”

-Song: Let It Flow – Toni Braxton

Toni’s voice is soothing and calming and in “Let It Go,” her lyrics speak to letting go of a relationship. However, this song can be relatable to numerous areas in our life outside of relationships. When “things” fail, which sometimes in life they do, let it flow… I’m not saying let it entirely go, but don’t let it weigh you down. When you’re feeling anxious and sad – remember to self care. Keep pushing and move forward! You have your thirties and a long life to look forward to.

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Milk and Honey — The City Remedy

By Dimitris Tzoytzoyrakos

In the past several years, nothing has made as much of an impact onto the poetry world as Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. Having sold over one million copies, her collection of poems is actively being discussed, quoted, and plastered all over social media.

I will preface what I am about to say by stating that my opinion is entirely subjective, as it is with all art.

I believe the extreme popularity of Milk and Honey, while partly due to its feminist subject matter, owes much more of its success to its simplistic, minimalist, and easily-accessible form of craftsmanship.

It is never a good idea to say that art should ever be anything. However, one of the great beauties of poetry is its enigmatic or multi-layered nature of words. Unlike music, painting, or film, poetry is the art of words and strictly words. This limitation grants a heavy burden on the poet, as the words that they choose to construct their work could inhabit a territory of many possible meanings, bringing the poem to a certain degree of subjectivity to the reader. This gives the reader a new responsibility: to interpret the poem.

Interpretation is the root of discussion, argument, and understanding in art. It is what brings readers together to expand each other’s field of perspective and build upon their methods of reaching it.

Rupi Kaur’s language in Milk and Honey (for almost its entirety) does not attempt to suggest multiple meanings or take on an interpretive nature. Rather, her poems and their subject matter are very direct and on-the-nose, leaving the message of her poems out in the open for all to see and to collectively understand.

This of course could be a deliberate choice on her end, but it is easy to see how this style of writing limits the discussions to be had on her poetry, as far as their meaning is concerned.

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