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Languages?

posted by Hyperkinetic_Martian on - last edited - Viewed by 293 users

Knowing that my fellow forum members come from all parts of the globe, I'm curious to know what kind of languages you guys speak. How many languages can you speak, ranging from scattered survival phrases to fluency? Any particular tongues you wished you had fluency in?

So far I'm only fluent in English. I know little of Spanish from my high school years and am currently studying Japanese at the university as my minor.

Other languages I hope to grasp within my lifetime are German, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Swahili.

Y tú?

36 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • English is the only language I speak well. I'm really interested in languages, though.

    I've been learning Swedish for the last few years. I only started to get somewhere about a year ago because I couldn't make myself remember the vocabulary. I mostly learned it through reading though, so it's difficult to understand spoken Swedish even when they use words I know.

    As I've mentioned before, I've been watching a German playthrough of Sam & Max Season 1 on YouTube. I started typing out the subtitles into an automatic translator because I was curious about what they were saying, and about how much German I'd pick up from doing that.

    I recently finished watching the third episode, and I while I still know more Swedish words than German, I can comprehend German a lot faster, both written and spoken, and it's still improving. I wanted to keep doing this, but the person who uploaded them switched video quality after the car chase in 103, and now the subtitles are impossible to read in places. I tried getting the next game on Steam because I know it has the German dub, but I can't get it to run in anything but English.

    Also, I learned a little Japanese in school. Not much though. I think half of what I learned during that time was from my brief career as an anime fangirl. All I really retained was the ability to read hiragana. More recently, I've learned katakana as well. I was getting sick of being able to read one but not the other.

    I also know a little Spanish and a little Latin, but not enough to be helpful. French is mostly a mystery to me, apart from the things I can understand because of their similarities to English words.

    I've written too much already, so I'll stop.

  • My first language is English, although i used to be pretty fluent in German aswell (A* in my speaking exam, A overall at GCSE). I'm quite rusty now though. I also know some basic spanish (enough for a B at GCSE), but i'll be darned if i can remember much. Encantar El Pollo Diablo!

  • French is my first language. In school, I took German, English, Spanish and Italian (in the order I took them). As well as some Latin.

    Garman I studied for only 2 years and have nothing left of (I replaced it with Spanish in grade 8), Latin I only took one year of and stopped.
    I'm fluent in English, but lost most of my Spanish and Italian.
    I also took Japanese and got my level 4 diploma (that's the lowest level) but it's been a few years too so I've lost a lot of it as well.

    I constantly think I should go and brush up on one language until I'm fluent, but I start with one and start thinking I'd like to brush up on another one, and in the end I go nowhere fast, which is sad.

  • Dutch is my mother tongue. I know English. We get French and German at school but since I never use those languages in real life I'm afraid I forgot most. I'll probably be able to read some, but certainly not speak and I don't understand hearing it either except for the occassional word. At the moment my wife is learning Turkish and her mother Italian, and I admire them; I don't think I have the patience to learn a new language.

  • My native language is Dutch, and I'm fluent in English. I also understand German reasonably well, and a little bit of French, but not that much. I also did a few years of Latin in high school, but I forgot most of it, and I tried learning Japanese from one of those teach-yourself books, but that just doesn't work for me. If I'd want to learn a new language, I think I'd have to do a real course that has classes and homework and such. The problem is, I don't have the money for that right now (language courses aren't cheap), and I wouldn't know which language I'd want to learn. Italian interests me, but now that I'm reading Russian literature (translated of course), I'm leaning towards that language as well. Ah, so many languages, so little time...

  • @Haggis said: Ah, so many languages, so little time...

    I know! And yet if you learn none, you only end up with less and less time... It's hard to choose, but better study one, any of them, than none...

    My dream was to learn as many different languages as possible. And when I say different, I mean different. Like, not French, Italian and Spanish or something. But Arabic, Russian, Korean, the Inuit language the name of which I forgot... Languages that aren't even close, and all with a different "alphabet" or even a different way of doing things (like Korean does with its letters that are put inside cubes to make syllables).

    The reason is that I realised, the more I spoke a different language (English, mainly), the more I could /think/ differently. A lot of things that have the same name in French don't in English, or vice-versa, so you don't actually think of them as two different things in the language that calls them the same. It's pretty interesting.

    My main problem is similar to yours: I can't really self-learn. And it makes sense, languages are for communicating, and you don't communicate all by yourself.
    As you pointed out, most language courses are expensive. I'd add to that: they're too slow.
    For my Japanese class I did a quite summer course, in which I studied the first year in two months (one month per semester). Then I entered second year directly.
    It was way... too... slow... You have no idea. So slow I'd get bored and stop listening. So slow I just couldn't follow.

    I'd need more adaptable classes, that go faster or slower if need be. But these would be even more expensive, right?

    Also, I forgot to add in my previous post that I took a beginner's class recently in sign language. It was American Sign Language but we also learned some of the British signs, and I already knew a couple French ones. I'd really like to learn more but there was the same problem again: too slow. Plus, they didn't offer anything past beginner's course.

    In a way, I think it's for the best. ASL is like the one sign language that's trying to be different, when most of the others (including the British one) are based on French sign language (which was the first sign language that was systemised).
    I'd rather learn signs that are more adaptable from one language to the next, so that I don't have to relearn signs for every single word.

  • You may find this interesting. I think a lot of people wouldn't have trouble sticking to a process like that, but I found the information quite helpful.

  • I resolved to learn Spanish a couple of days ago. My grandfather's Mexican, as is a close friend of mine, so I figure I'll have plenty of help on hand.

  • I only know English. I can pick up one or two words in French, having studied it (poorly) and I can get one or two in German and Latin, but only because they're so similar to English :P

    I don't see myself ever learning a new language though, unless it's absolutely necessary. I can't actually imagine what it's like being fluent in more than one language. To me, all languages other than English sound completely foreign for the most part, and it's difficult to imagine knowing something other than English. Are they completely separate in your mind? Do you still think and dream in your mother tongue? Really weird to me :p

  • @Fealiks said: I can't actually imagine what it's like being fluent in more than one language.


    Well, sometimes I think in English instead of in Dutch... and though it's very handy being able to speak and understand two languages, it can be confusing as well. Sometimes I am looking for an English word and I can only think of the Dutch translation of it, and what's even weirder: sometimes I can't for the life of me think of a Dutch word, while the English version of the word is readily available. I guess the mind just wasn't designed to handle more than one comprehensive vocabulary...

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