One detail to consider about Spanish is that each country has it local variation, so there are some words that are totally safe in some countries but have a totally different unwanted meaning in others. For example "coger" means "pick" in Span and "fuck" in Argentina.
(If you say it in Argentina with a Spanish accent the you will not get into troubles, but the people will give a subtle weird look and someone will explain the local meaning later.)
It's definitely very important to realize that Spanish-speaking countries, while nominally speaking the same language, are very different. Spain has an entire verb tense that is not in Mexican Spanish. And unconfirmed example I have heard is pico de gallo. In Mexican Spanish it means something that's not too dissimilar from salsa, yet in some parts of South America, pico means penis. I heard there was an issue with a Nintendo DS game for children that revolved around cooking that assumed they were all the same and had a recipe for pico de gallo!
Every spanish speaker can understand and speak Neutral Spanish. The one taught in schools, universities and spoken in dubbed movies. In the same way every english speaker can understand and speak Hollywood English.
In a way, the dialects of spanish are even more regular than the dialects of english. For instance, the spelling is the same of everybody (regulated by The Real Academia Español) and almost everything is spelling phonetically, so the changes in pronunciation are quite regular. If you understand written spanish you can master any pronunciation just by learning a few regular rules.
There are differences in tenses and plenty of slang, but this can be sidestepped by speaking formally (where the are no variation in tenses and there is little difference in vocabulary).
It would probably be most accurate to say that it's an extra person.
Verbs can be inflected in various languages for gender, number, person [which can include degrees of formality, respect, or social distance], voice, mood, tense, aspect, ergativity [an alternative to voice], evidentiality [how the speaker knows that the thing happened], and other things I'm probably forgetting.
The joys of slang. You could just as easily use the sentence "I need to fit a new doorknob" or "Twiddle that knob there to turn the volume up" in the UK and not get any funny looks. It just so happens that if you said "Can I twiddle your knobs" to a group of sound engineers they might take it the wrong way.
This is good advice. I used to help maintain a bit on the bigger size project on Github and our lead developer I think really wanted to spend time looking over and trying to give quality responses. Which ended up sometimes taking a long time or not at all. Unfortunately, it came off to some people as not caring about their submissions. Just a simple message about being busy and asking them to remind you if you forget works wonders.
"Thanks for sending this in. I'm busy right now but will look into it later. If I haven't responded in a week or two, do me a favor and ping this thread."
This is the same bull*t that is thrown at Castro, Che Guevara, and many others. You can't make a revolution without guns, when the other side has all the power and lots of guns as well. Almost all independence wars (and I say almost, because there's this nice dude Gandhi, but I'm not sure it was an actual war) were fought with weapons, not with flowers and nice thoughts. If you're from the US you should know better, considering that your Constitution clearly states (paraphrasing) that you have a right to bear arms, in case the government tries to take away your freedoms.
Care to elaborate on "all of the bad things"? If there's anything to take away from this discussion on Mandela, it's that there are a lot of misunderstandings about what actually happened, especially if you are primarily informed by American media.
Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. The government of Raúl Castro continues to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile. Although the Cuban government released dozens of political prisoners on the condition that they leave the country, the government continues to sentence dissidents in closed, summary trials. The government has also relied increasingly upon arbitrary arrests and short-term detentions to restrict the basic rights of its critics, including the right to assemble and move freely.
As a third world inhabitant who really saw all the "wonders" of capitalism here, I really don't consider Cuba a bad place to live. Travel restriction? We also have this here because only rich people have money to travel. "Move freely"? We have this only to people who can afford this. Beatings, detentions? We also have these things for people who lives in slums. I already talked with cuban people and people who really traveled to Cuba and the place really isn't the hell described by the american media.
The cuban government pursuit dissidents? How difficult is to identify legitimate dissidents from spies and people financed by enemy nations in a country so attacked by hostile powers? A country that suffers from sabotage, embargo and terrorism with a little help from the CIA (like the apartheid).
From my perspective I can relate Mandela's struggle with Fidel and Che's struggle. A lot of african countries can thanks Cuba for their independence. 300 000 cuban soldiers were sent by Castro to fight for the independence of african countries and 10 000 died there. To ilustrate what I'm saying, this is a speech by Nelson Mandela spoken in 1991:
There's no point in critizicing Castro unless you also acknowledge everything he changed for good, and how the United States in the name of freedom and democracy wants to undo all that. Once you put everything at the same level, then you can start analyzing what's actually best for them.
>There's no point in critizicing Castro unless you also acknowledge everything he changed for good, and how the United States in the name of freedom and democracy wants to undo all that. Once you put everything at the same level, then you can start analyzing what's actually best for them.
I've never made a statement about what is "best for them". That is up to them, or at least it should be. They currently have no opportunity to decide what is best for themselves, and apparently you think this is a great deal, and we shouldn't complain about anyone living under authoritarian regimes.
You're right. For North Americans, Cuba is local, and is discussed far more often. Singapore is definitely not without its issues (http://www.hrw.org/asia/singapore), and you'd be very hard pressed to find a state that doesn't abuse its power to some degree. Some are obviously worse than others.
Not sure why. He's clearly stating his expertise - he's a user, not a computer builder, and he wanted to get that out of the way. After that, he relates his experience as a user, which you can choose to inform with his earlier comment about not knowing the technical differences.