Author Topic: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.  (Read 6568 times)  

Online brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3418
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #100 on: July 15, 2017, 07:30:31 AM »
Writers living in Ireland can claim an artist's tax exemption on their income from sales of their work. http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/money_and_tax/tax/income_tax/artists_exemption_from_income_tax.html
But it rains a lot!
Thank you. I wasn't aware of this. The problem is that the U.S. wants to tax everything no matter where it's earned (major corporations excepted). Going to Ireland in Sept, and people I've corresponded with who live there seem to always mention the rain. Other than some rural areas of Scotland, the UK seems awfully expensive. That would be my SO's first choice. My SO is already an expat, and a linguist, so changing cultures doesn't bother her very much.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Offline Alan Petersen

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3279
  • Gender: Male
  • San Francisco, CA
  • I write high octane thrillers.
    • View Profile
    • High Octane Action Thrillers from Alan Petersen
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #101 on: July 15, 2017, 01:06:16 PM »
Thank you. I wasn't aware of this. The problem is that the U.S. wants to tax everything no matter where it's earned (major corporations excepted). Going to Ireland in Sept, and people I've corresponded with who live there seem to always mention the rain. Other than some rural areas of Scotland, the UK seems awfully expensive. That would be my SO's first choice. My SO is already an expat, and a linguist, so changing cultures doesn't bother her very much.

That's one thing expats learn the hard way. Uncle Sam wants their cut no matter where or how long you live outside of the US. It's sad but some long-time expats are forced into making the difficult decision of renouncing their citizenship and they don't want to but financially they're backed into a corner. Folks who have lived 20-40 years abroad and don't generate income in the US, they don't own property there, and don't go back to use Medicare or anything like that and the Uncle still expects them to pay up.

Offline Brad__W

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Dublin, Ireland
    • View Profile
    • Taslian Empire Books
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #102 on: July 15, 2017, 02:26:00 PM »
Going to Ireland in Sept, and people I've corresponded with who live there seem to always mention the rain.

Sometimes I think it is a myth perpetuated by folks here :) Depending on where you live in Ireland, the rain here is not too much different compared to elsewhere in Europe... over on the west coast you can expect a few drops more than in Dublin or at the base of the Wicklow Mountains. Any time there is more than two drops of rain, it's seen as a wet day ;) What usually happens here is you get four seasons in one day (sunny morning, raining next, perhaps a dash of snow or sleet soon after, followed by a pleasant balmy evening - or a frozen wasteland of ice - depending on the time of year). But after living in the heat and flies of West Australia for more than 40 years, it's great to be living somewhere with a different climate. As my wife always says, a non-stop blue sky gets you down as much as a non-stop grey sky.

As for what others have said for traveling with kid(s), we traveled voraciously with our little one across Europe, Russia and US until she hit about 4 years... then we went home to Australia for a few years before deciding to go back to Ireland. Now she is in school, our travel is curtailed somewhat to avoid disrupting her schooling and limited to the long weekends and holiday periods. Sure I can write anywhere, but it seems Ireland (and Russia) work best for my creative process, and Dublin as a location to use as a springboard to get elsewhere in the northern hemisphere is fantastic. 3 hours to Berlin and Vienna, 45 minutes to London, 6-7 hours to the East Coast USA, and so on, and if you need to defrost, Greece, Portugal or Spain are just a cheap flight away.

I'm not sure if I would see Central America the same way, but that's more of a cultural thing... growing up as an Aussie, Europe was always the place for us to get away to live.

Bradley Warnes | Author Page

Offline schweinsty

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 68
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #103 on: July 15, 2017, 09:13:01 PM »
Oh, fun thread! I'd been wondering about indies living ex-pats--I've seen a few online, but never seen threads about it. I'm planning on moving to Mexico as soon as the writing gives me a livable income--may be a while yet-- rimarily for financial reasons, but I technically wouldn't be an ex-pat--I'm half Mexican, half American, & have dual citizenship, though I've lived in the States since childhood. I can definitely recommend the Mexican healthcare system; doctors are well-trained, and it's cheeeaaaap compared to the US--half the reason I'm planning on moving is the chronic health conditions that make life over here far more costly  (also, dental work is actually affordable in Mexico). And as long as you're careful (don't hitchhike out of Mexico City at 3 in the morning by yourself, for example), there are plenty of safe places to live.

Offline MonkishScribe

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3829
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #104 on: July 16, 2017, 04:08:29 AM »
I'm a language nerd, so I'm curious about those who can say they're fluent in another language after having lived abroad. How long did it take you to reach fluency, and what methods did you use. For a native English speaker, just living abroad isn't enough, of course, especially if you are living in a country where English knowledge is widespread, like most countries in Western Europe.

Online Decon

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4115
    • View Profile
    • Declan Conner, Blog
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #105 on: July 16, 2017, 07:01:02 AM »
I used to work to have to live. Now I live to work... when I feel like it. It wasn't part of my strategy, but that's how it worked out when I moved to Brazil. It still depends on financial circumstances, but it enabled me to retire 7 years before I was officially due. Still, I can't say that it has helped me to earn a living from writing, or that I have increased my output as the beaches, sunshine, and socializing etc have eaten into my time. Back home, I wouldn't have had time to write anything.

If you own a home outright, the cost of living is peanuts here compared to the US or the UK. Also If you have money to bank, the interest rates have been megga during my time here. Average 10% or more over the period. No need to heat a home, so no gas or heating bills etc etc. In fact the monthly utility bills individually are no more than a meal out in many countries.

We're just about to start on a new adventure and to move to Portugal, if for no other reason that they have free healthcare and the cost of living is low, together with a great climate in the south. And of course, living in Brazil for 7 years, I now speak the language.

@Monkishscribe. I was lucky that my wife speaks Portuguese and English, but it took me years to get a hang of the lingo, in part because my life revolves around my office where I write. It's also too easy to discover other expats, or friends who speak both languages and I  ended up talking a mixture of English and Portuguese until I got the hang of it. I'm lazy though. I could have learned the language a lot quicker, but the first thing I did was to sign up for cable TV with all the English speaking channels. Every one is crazy to learn English here, but not many speak it well.

I tried many methods to learn. The first thing was to use sticky notes everywhere at home with the Portuguese names for knife, fork, spoon, door, wall chair, table, bed,  etc. I carried a phraze book everywhere with me. That was about it. The main phrases where to ask for things like. What, where, why, when,  etc.

The good thing is that I can now more or less understand Spanish and Italian.

Bad thing is there is no double tax treaty if I did earn a decent amount in royalites

Good thing with Portugal if you go as a pensioner and get residence, they have a scheme where you pay no tax for 10 years on worldwide income other than is earned in Portugal.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 09:31:53 AM by Decon »


Scorpion ebooks: Full length  thrillers with a sting in the tale. All enrolled in KU & Prime.
Declan Conner | blog

Offline Kay Bratt

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2635
  • www.kaybratt.com
    • View Profile
    • www.kaybratt.com
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #106 on: July 16, 2017, 07:22:17 AM »
I'm a language nerd, so I'm curious about those who can say they're fluent in another language after having lived abroad. How long did it take you to reach fluency, and what methods did you use. For a native English speaker, just living abroad isn't enough, of course, especially if you are living in a country where English knowledge is widespread, like most countries in Western Europe.

I'm not fluent by any means, but after a year of classes and private tutors, I could navigate my life in China quite well without a translator. I had to be very committed, constantly studying the entire 4+ years but it was after a year of intense training that I really turned a curve and could understand and be understood. I took it as a challenge. The university classes were a fail. I learned more by using flash cards on my own, and joining a small class of 3 other women 'like me' and learning situational Mandarin. Ie: first how to navigate an airport, then a post office, directions, then a grocery store, etc.. The lady we hired to clean also helped me a lot with the local dialect words, which were totally different than Mandarin. Out of a group of about 10 friends (all expats), I'd say I was in the top 2 for speaking the local language.

Unfortunately, I've been back to the USA a decade and have no way to use the skills I learned, so I'm sure I've lost massive Mandarin vocabulary by now. I look back and still can't believe I overcame all that I did in China, including the difficult language. It sort of feels like a dream.


Kay Bratt, Capturing the Heart of Humanity | author website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Online Perry Constantine

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2544
  • Gender: Male
  • San Diego
  • Action Fiction Author
    • View Profile
    • Percival Constantine - Action Fiction Author
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #107 on: July 16, 2017, 08:29:57 AM »
Thank you. I wasn't aware of this. The problem is that the U.S. wants to tax everything no matter where it's earned (major corporations excepted). Going to Ireland in Sept, and people I've corresponded with who live there seem to always mention the rain. Other than some rural areas of Scotland, the UK seems awfully expensive. That would be my SO's first choice. My SO is already an expat, and a linguist, so changing cultures doesn't bother her very much.

Does anyone know if the foreign earned income exclusion applies to book royalties? Some people said it does, other people said it doesn't, and I've also heard that if you paid taxes on those earnings in a foreign country, the US won't double-tax you. Basically I've heard so many different things and am not in a place where I'm ready to consult a tax expert on this, but I'm wondering if anyone has and if they've gotten a straight answer.

Alternatively, couldn't you set up an LLC or something in the country where you live and hire yourself as an employee? Because then you would be getting paid by a foreign company and it would qualify for the FEIE.

Online Decon

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4115
    • View Profile
    • Declan Conner, Blog
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #108 on: July 16, 2017, 09:16:56 AM »
Does anyone know if the foreign earned income exclusion applies to book royalties? Some people said it does, other people said it doesn't, and I've also heard that if you paid taxes on those earnings in a foreign country, the US won't double-tax you. Basically I've heard so many different things and am not in a place where I'm ready to consult a tax expert on this, but I'm wondering if anyone has and if they've gotten a straight answer.

Alternatively, couldn't you set up an LLC or something in the country where you live and hire yourself as an employee? Because then you would be getting paid by a foreign company and it would qualify for the FEIE.

Quote
The problem is that the U.S. wants to tax everything no matter where it's earned (major corporations excepted). Going to Ireland in Sept, and people I've corresponded with who live there seem to always mention the rain. Other than some rural areas of Scotland, the UK seems awfully expensive. That would be my SO's first choice. My SO is already an expat, and a linguist, so changing cultures doesn't bother her very much.

Southern Ireland has a decent tax regime for authors if you qualify under their Artist's exemption  scheme. Advance royalties are exempt from tax  also. Not sure that you can get around US tax though unless as you say you can set up a LTD company or something. Try searching tax treaty for the country and see if that helps.

They more or less closed the loophole of renouncing citizenship in favor of another by introducing costs only millionaires can afford.

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/money_and_tax/tax/income_tax/artists_exemption_from_income_tax.html
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 09:39:48 AM by Decon »


Scorpion ebooks: Full length  thrillers with a sting in the tale. All enrolled in KU & Prime.
Declan Conner | blog

Offline MonkishScribe

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3829
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #109 on: July 16, 2017, 09:18:32 AM »
Unfortunately, I've been back to the USA a decade and have no way to use the skills I learned, so I'm sure I've lost massive Mandarin vocabulary by now. I look back and still can't believe I overcame all that I did in China, including the difficult language. It sort of feels like a dream.

Sadly, you use it or you lose it. I was once coming along toward fluency in French, and now I'm back to the awkward stage of fumbling through conversations, on the rare occasions when I have them. Remembering what you had makes you reluctant, which in turn leads to more loss of fluency.

I have a small Youtube channel in Spanish for English language learners, mostly motivational stuff, and it's hard for me to follow my own advice, which is that the number one thing holding many people back is fear of making mistakes. Natives don't really care. In my experience, a few words or phrases gets you compliments.

Online Travelian

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #110 on: July 16, 2017, 09:35:02 AM »
Does anyone know if the foreign earned income exclusion applies to book royalties? Some people said it does, other people said it doesn't, and I've also heard that if you paid taxes on those earnings in a foreign country, the US won't double-tax you. Basically I've heard so many different things and am not in a place where I'm ready to consult a tax expert on this, but I'm wondering if anyone has and if they've gotten a straight answer.

Alternatively, couldn't you set up an LLC or something in the country where you live and hire yourself as an employee? Because then you would be getting paid by a foreign company and it would qualify for the FEIE.
I'm sure the best answer to your question is "ask an accountant" so don't quote me.

But my understanding is the FEIE is related to income tax which applies to all personal income. And royalties count as income. An LLC applies to corporate or self employment taxes. Which is taken off the top.

The FEIE has no bearing on an LLC itself. Only the income that you receive. Whether it be salary from an LLC or net income from royalties without any corporate structure in place.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 09:37:45 AM by Travelian »

Online Perry Constantine

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2544
  • Gender: Male
  • San Diego
  • Action Fiction Author
    • View Profile
    • Percival Constantine - Action Fiction Author
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #111 on: July 16, 2017, 12:55:57 PM »
I'm sure the best answer to your question is "ask an accountant" so don't quote me.

But my understanding is the FEIE is related to income tax which applies to all personal income. And royalties count as income. An LLC applies to corporate or self employment taxes. Which is taken off the top.

The FEIE has no bearing on an LLC itself. Only the income that you receive. Whether it be salary from an LLC or net income from royalties without any corporate structure in place.

So the FEIE applies to any income earned while abroad, so long as you meet either the bona fide residency or the physical presence qualification?

Online brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3418
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #112 on: July 16, 2017, 02:03:49 PM »
The website of any U.S. embassy has a section on taxes and the tax relationship between the U.S. and that country. It may take an accountant to understand it, but it's there.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Online Travelian

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #113 on: July 16, 2017, 02:15:34 PM »
So the FEIE applies to any income earned while abroad, so long as you meet either the bona fide residency or the physical presence qualification?
From what I understand FEIE just reduces taxable income by up to $100K per person. Also per Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_earned_income_exclusion :

The exclusion is limited to income earned by a taxpayer for performance of services outside the U.S. This includes salary, bonus, and self-employment income. Where income relates to services both in the U.S. and outside the U.S., the income must be apportioned.

Online Perry Constantine

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2544
  • Gender: Male
  • San Diego
  • Action Fiction Author
    • View Profile
    • Percival Constantine - Action Fiction Author
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #114 on: July 16, 2017, 05:30:15 PM »
From what I understand FEIE just reduces taxable income by up to $100K per person. Also per Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_earned_income_exclusion :

The exclusion is limited to income earned by a taxpayer for performance of services outside the U.S. This includes salary, bonus, and self-employment income. Where income relates to services both in the U.S. and outside the U.S., the income must be apportioned.

Thanks, that helps clear it up.

Online brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3418
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #115 on: July 16, 2017, 05:56:31 PM »
This appears to apply to an author living abroad:
Self-employment income: A qualifying individual may claim the foreign earned income exclusion on foreign earned self-employment income.  The excluded amount will reduce the individuals regular income tax, but will not reduce the individuals self-employment tax.  Also, the foreign housing deduction instead of a foreign housing exclusion may be claimed.

The question then becomes how much tax do you owe to the country where you live.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Offline Abderian

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1342
    • View Profile
    • JJ Green
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #116 on: July 16, 2017, 06:10:51 PM »
I'm a language nerd, so I'm curious about those who can say they're fluent in another language after having lived abroad. How long did it take you to reach fluency, and what methods did you use. For a native English speaker, just living abroad isn't enough, of course, especially if you are living in a country where English knowledge is widespread, like most countries in Western Europe.

I speak basic Chinese after living in Taiwan nearly six years, which means I can get by in most everyday situations. One myth about learning another language that I debunked was just go out and talk to people. Nah. All that happens is you say your Chinese sentence, the other person replies and you don't understand what they said. End of conversation and embarrassing and stressful after many attempts. The thing that worked for me was learning enough words to have a very simple conversation, then doing language exchanges with friends. Only other people who are also learning a language have the patience to wait for you to remember the words you need. We have one hour of English only then one hour of Chinese only at the next session. At some point along the line, I overcame my stress when speaking Chinese and gradually built up a vocabulary of useful words. In case anyone's interested, Chinese isn't a difficult language to speak (reading and writing are hard). The difficulty comes from the fact that it's very different from English.

Online brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3418
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #117 on: July 16, 2017, 06:23:31 PM »
I speak basic Chinese after living in Taiwan nearly six years, which means I can get by in most everyday situations. One myth about learning another language that I debunked was just go out and talk to people. Nah. All that happens is you say your Chinese sentence, the other person replies and you don't understand what they said. End of conversation and embarrassing and stressful after many attempts.
A friend of mine took his degree in Russian. Upon graduation, he went to Russia. Couldn't hold a conversation. Enrolled in a nine-month immersion program in Siberia, then came back to Moscow and got a job.

What most people consider fluent falls apart on first contact with a native speaker who doesn't speak English. If you've never learned another language, you don't understand how difficult it is. But I've found in most countries that people will respect that you're trying and they will help you out. Note I said "most countries". In languages as complex as Russian and Chinese, what you studied in school may come out as gibberish to a native speaker.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Online Perry Constantine

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2544
  • Gender: Male
  • San Diego
  • Action Fiction Author
    • View Profile
    • Percival Constantine - Action Fiction Author
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #118 on: July 16, 2017, 06:54:49 PM »
I speak basic Chinese after living in Taiwan nearly six years, which means I can get by in most everyday situations. One myth about learning another language that I debunked was just go out and talk to people. Nah. All that happens is you say your Chinese sentence, the other person replies and you don't understand what they said. End of conversation and embarrassing and stressful after many attempts. The thing that worked for me was learning enough words to have a very simple conversation, then doing language exchanges with friends. Only other people who are also learning a language have the patience to wait for you to remember the words you need. We have one hour of English only then one hour of Chinese only at the next session. At some point along the line, I overcame my stress when speaking Chinese and gradually built up a vocabulary of useful words. In case anyone's interested, Chinese isn't a difficult language to speak (reading and writing are hard). The difficulty comes from the fact that it's very different from English.

This was my experience with Japanese as well. The value of immersion and going out and using the language can't be understated, but you also have to study to begin with if you want to do better than just the most basic of smalltalk.

Offline Abderian

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1342
    • View Profile
    • JJ Green
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #119 on: July 16, 2017, 09:53:15 PM »
A friend of mine took his degree in Russian. Upon graduation, he went to Russia. Couldn't hold a conversation. Enrolled in a nine-month immersion program in Siberia, then came back to Moscow and got a job.

What most people consider fluent falls apart on first contact with a native speaker who doesn't speak English. If you've never learned another language, you don't understand how difficult it is. But I've found in most countries that people will respect that you're trying and they will help you out. Note I said "most countries". In languages as complex as Russian and Chinese, what you studied in school may come out as gibberish to a native speaker.


Yep, passing a language course doesn't guarantee you'll understand a native speaker in a real life context. I used to teach English and I've come across non-native English teachers and people with degrees in English who can't hold a basic conversation. Accents, dialects, slang, speed all get in the way. And you're right that what people are taught someimes bears little resemblance to the language as it's used. I have one friend who'll tell me the 'proper' way to say something and another friend who tells me what people actually say, haha.

Offline Abderian

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1342
    • View Profile
    • JJ Green
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #120 on: July 16, 2017, 09:55:17 PM »
This was my experience with Japanese as well. The value of immersion and going out and using the language can't be understated, but you also have to study to begin with if you want to do better than just the most basic of smalltalk.

Japanese is another tough one with the different dialects according to your sex, age and status. Chinese is easier in that respect.

Online kathrynoh

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2290
  • Gender: Female
  • Tokyo, Japan
    • View Profile
    • Kathryn O'Halloran
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #121 on: July 16, 2017, 10:21:08 PM »
I studied Japanese for quite a few years but found most stuff I studied beyond the basic level was pretty useless. Maybe that was just the style of teaching but little of what I learnt was ever reinforced after the lesson was over and it became just piling on of grammar. My Japanese school wouldn't admit it but I think their primary aim was getting students to pass language tests rather than being functional in Japanese.

When I taught English I had a Korean student who'd learnt a few languages and he told me that he just memorised a few basic sentence structures then put all his effort into learning vocabulary then getting a private one-on-one teacher to practice with. That seemed like a much more practical approach.


I blog, usually about stuff unrelated to writing. I write short stories that don't sell and romance (under a pen name) that does.

Offline oakwood

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Gender: Male
  • Scandinavia
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #122 on: July 16, 2017, 10:46:43 PM »
I'm a language nerd, so I'm curious about those who can say they're fluent in another language after having lived abroad. How long did it take you to reach fluency, and what methods did you use. For a native English speaker, just living abroad isn't enough, of course, especially if you are living in a country where English knowledge is widespread, like most countries in Western Europe.

From experience: 6 months - a year to become semi-fluent (meaning being confident enough to venture into the wild and know you will be ok). The trick is to not fall for the knowledge that the person you are trying to talk to probably knows english. Just don't because if then you miss a chance to break through the mental barrier. Stick with trying to speak and understand the native language, let it be a clumsy & slow encounter. Use sign language and just say the foreign words even tho they sound like no language and you're not sure you will offend them, you won't even if you say the wrong thing.

Kids learn languages very quickly if they are inserted into the environment. They do this because they don't automatically choose the simple path of hoping the other person speaks english. They stick to native language and try to do it and mimic because they don't want to appear different from the native speaker. Do as kids. Only use your english in a foreign environment in an emergency.

Also.. sharpen your sense of listening. Try to mimic how the natives pronounce the words without inflecting your own language's pronounciation. Americans are often at fault here, speaking spanish with american intonation when they could probably learn to speak it cleanly by listing more and focusing on the native intonation.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 10:49:01 PM by oakwood »

Offline MonkishScribe

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3829
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #123 on: July 17, 2017, 05:04:57 AM »
Kids learn languages very quickly if they are inserted into the environment. They do this because they don't automatically choose the simple path of hoping the other person speaks english. They stick to native language and try to do it and mimic because they don't want to appear different from the native speaker. Do as kids. Only use your english in a foreign environment in an emergency.

That's not really true. Kids have some advantages in learning, but if you think about it, a child is essentially mute for 2-3 years in an environment of total immersion. A kid can learn over the course of a school year if brought to the U.S. at 5 or 6, but again, they are in an immersive environment. You'd learn quickly too, in that sort of situation.

As far as Spanish goes, the huge overlap of vocabulary means that it gets easier to learn the more advanced your studies. Getting through the initial grammar is a bear, and a lot of simple words have no equivalent in English, but the advanced stuff is almost all Latin based, and related to English. What's hard in the early stages is that it's spoken so fast, and initially sounds like one long, machine-gunned word. I always felt like my mind was just a step or two behind, and if two natives were speaking, forget it.

But, again, it's just a question of contact with the language. More hours in contact, speaking, writing, reading, and listening will always help.

Offline MonkishScribe

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3829
    • View Profile
Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #124 on: July 17, 2017, 05:14:52 AM »
Also.. sharpen your sense of listening. Try to mimic how the natives pronounce the words without inflecting your own language's pronounciation. Americans are often at fault here, speaking spanish with american intonation when they could probably learn to speak it cleanly by listing more and focusing on the native intonation.

I don't know why, but some people simply cannot do this. In some cases, it seems like they feel funny, like it's putting on a fake British accent or something, but in others, they just can't hear the differences, can't roll their Rs, etc. I've met people who can hold a good conversation, but their accent still sounds like they're stuck in the "YO keeyero unuh servessa" stage.

If you've got a good ear, you can have the opposite problem. You're still in the early stages, but because you can reproduce the sounds, people start talking to you at a rapid clip, thinking you're more fluent than you are.