Five Expressions of Enthusiasm and Praise That Have Negative Meanings

It’s always good to hear praise for one’s work, appearance, character or just to hear positive remarks about a situation or thing. Some of these words, however, used to have, or still have, very negative meanings. In the post, I’ll give you five of these expressions and talk about their dark sides.

1. Nice

“He’s got a nice personality,” you might say, when asked by a friend what you think of her boyfriend. Or you might resort to saying, “it’s nice,” when asked what you think a colleague’s singing. It’s the blanket positive adjective of the English language, aside from good. What might surprise you is that it used to mean timid and foolish, stupid, senselessat least in late 13th century English. A century later, people started using it to mean dainty and delicate. Yet another hundred years passed before it acquired the meaning of precise and careful. By the 1800s, it had started being used as a positive word, meaning agreeable or delightful.

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Sustainable Language Learning Practices

Immersion is great for language learning. But how do you make progress when you’re in your own environment?

I’m making this list primarily as an effort to build my own habits, but I’m sharing them with you as well.

I’m a person who dislikes routine. That means I have to find a way to study. A way that doesn’t burn me out, but still allows me have continuous progress. There has to be variety too.

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Awesome Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Language Resources to Enhance Your Learning

It’s inspiring how one person can collect and build such a great body of work at Guide to Japanese. Strangely enough, I found this blog when I was looking for a specific construction on Chinese.

Wikis are immensely useful for collecting and organizing information on languages. The Korean Wiki Project is a great example. I looked for an equivalent for Chinese but haven’t found one yet.

Professor O’s Learn Korean Videos are not only informative but also entertaining. I like the way she uses graphics and different characters to give examples of language use.

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A Korean Student Masters Tagalog: Interview with Jinsoo Choi

I dove into the mass of pillows, blankets, rilakkuma plushies that made up my bed and was thinking about the lazy morning I would have that coming Saturday, when my cellphone rang. It was a friend and organizer of very popular KPop events in Manila. “Hey Niaw! The emcee won’t make it until the afternoon tomorrow! Can you take over as host in the morning of KPOP and Culture Fest?” Despite the short notice, I love hosting events, so I agreed.

Arriving at the event the next morning, I met Jinsoo Choi, my co-host for the morning session. After finding out he’s Korean and wasn’t born in the Philippines, I was shocked by the ease with which he used colloquial Manila-flavored Tagalog, with slang expressions like “SABAW” interspersed into the fluid mix of Tagalog and English that is so characteristic of Manila’s inhabitants. Were it not for his name and distinctive appearance, you would not have known that he isn’t your typical native Manila student.

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Taking the Test

I took another sip of coffee—I’m not sure it was coffee because it tasted like brewed rubber tire—to fight the lingering sleepiness. Yawning, I glanced at the giant wall clock. Two minutes before 9. I shifted nervously in my seat, shuffling my ID, pencils, and admission tickets. I took a deep breath, hoping more oxygen would give me some much-needed vitality. “Okay,” I said to myself. “You’ve prepared for this. Maybe not as much as we’d have liked, but you’re ready. Relax.”

The proctor stepped up to the front and addressed the class. “Hello everyone. Welcome to the HSK Level 3 examination. The first part will be the listening test….”


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Why Learn a Second, Third, or Fourth Language?

It takes somewhere from 720 hours to 1320 hours of learning a language to gain a decent level of proficiency above the survival level. We can argue how we would define proficiency, but the point is this: language learning takes time, effort, and commitment. So why do it at all?

Whether it’s learning a new language from another region of your country or from another country, we all have our reasons for doing so. I’ve compiled my own selection here.


Whenever I stumble across signs in real life, pictures, or movies, product labels, website content, and other content in a language I’m learning and I get to understand some of it, I feel empowered. I gain self-esteem because I know that I’m becoming a better person. I feel that I can achieve more in the world, make my life better, and contribute more—all because of something that I learn and continue to learn.

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