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Languages?

posted by Hyperkinetic_Martian on - last edited - Viewed by 297 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?

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    I have a huge amount of respect (and jealousy :p) for anyone who is fluent in more than their mother tongue. And ESPECIALLY for anyone who can think in more than one language.

    I know a bunch of schoolgirl Italian (numbers to 100, months, days, colours, body parts, furniture, food, family, animals, "how are you", "what is your name" etc) but little else, and can't speak in proper sentences.

    Tried to learn some Mandarin before travelling in China, and knew a few useful phrases at the time, but have forgotten it all now. My lovely Asian friends have taught me how to call out "cute guy" in Cantonese though. :D

    I've tried a couple of times to learn Spanish by myself (I have a kind of fascination with South America, and the Galapagos Islands are possibly the best place on Earth). But avistew said it well - languages are for communicating, not practising on your own.

  • I forgot to mention, i plan on teaching myself some kilngon. It's the fasted growing language in the world afterall! Also, Google recongises it as a language

  • @Friar said: I forgot to mention, i plan on teaching myself some kilngon. It's the fasted growing language in the world afterall! Also, Google recongises it as a language

    Opps! I forgot to add that to my list of "languages-to-learn-before-I-die" :p That and the Na'vi language from Avatar

    My apologizes for diverting off topic but I'm really curious: has anyone here used the Rosetta Stone software for learning or a polishing a language? I have been pondering whether or not it would be worth the investment, as I'd hate to end up with a piece of expensive software that doesn't work for me. From what I've heard it teaches through more visual and immersion techniques than through tedious memorization most other software focuses on. Being a visual person, that sounds very appealing but I want to be sure of its effectiveness before taking the plunge with my bank.

  • English is my language tongue, but I am also fluent in Romanian. I used to be fluent in French, but I stopped practicing and moved to Romania for a while, and that kind of screwed me up on that. I also know Latin and a little bit of Spanish. And Pig Latin. Got that one down. :D

  • @Fealiks said: Do you still think and dream in your mother tongue? Really weird to me :p

    As for dreams, that depends. Usually the rule with me is that if the dream has people who speak English, it'll be in English, if it has people who speak French, it will be in French.
    So a dream with Sam and Max would have them in English, but a dream with, say, my brothers, would have them in French.

    As for thinking, one of the most crucial rules is that when you speak another language, you don't think in your language, then translate. You think in the other language.

    It can be weird and confusing, especially when I talk with other billingual people as we tend to go back and forth without always noticing. I remember a conversation we had in French about Harry Potter, until someone said "Sirius Black" and because the name is in English we just switched to English and didn't realise for a while.

    I've also heard conversation in the bus in France between people from North Africa, that had arabic and French words in the same sentence. It's not really a problem when you're both fluent, as often the only word that really describe what you mean exists in only one of the two (or more) language.

    Personally I couldn't not learn more languages. I can't hear someone speak, or read something, and have no idea what it means. I want to know. And I know that a lot gets lost in translation, so to me it's an acceptable option only insofar that you can't learn every single language, but it always comes second to learning the language yourself.

  • I speak english (duh), I can speak some spanish (and puzzle my way through most of the romance languages), as well as being semi-fluent in the languages of PHP, MySQL and Javascript :D

  • @Ashton said: as well as being semi-fluent in the languages of PHP, MySQL and Javascript :D


    Hey, that doesn't count! But if it does... I know Visual Basic 6 (although I forgot most of it now), and enough HTML to make a site that doesn't look totally ridiculous.

  • @avistew said: As for dreams, that depends. Usually the rule with me is that if the dream has people who speak English, it'll be in English, if it has people who speak French, it will be in French.
    So a dream with Sam and Max would have them in English, but a dream with, say, my brothers, would have them in French.

    As for thinking, one of the most crucial rules is that when you speak another language, you don't think in your language, then translate. You think in the other language.

    It can be weird and confusing, especially when I talk with other billingual people as we tend to go back and forth without always noticing. I remember a conversation we had in French about Harry Potter, until someone said "Sirius Black" and because the name is in English we just switched to English and didn't realise for a while.

    I've also heard conversation in the bus in France between people from North Africa, that had arabic and French words in the same sentence. It's not really a problem when you're both fluent, as often the only word that really describe what you mean exists in only one of the two (or more) language.

    Actually, I have noticed the blending of languages before. I have one or two Muslim friends who speak both Arabic (or maybe Gujarati, I'm not entirely sure) and English, and a couple of times when I've heard them talking in Arabic, I've noticed that they'll often speak one or two words or sentences in English and then return back without any hesitation. It's really interesting to me how that works. I guess it can only really be done with nouns and one or two adjectives/verbs because grammatical rules vary so much from language to language.

    Good on you for learning different languages though; I feel that language is one of the biggest barriers we face today. For example, in my old school there were a lot of Muslims who spoke different languages, and at one point in my last year of the school the teachers told them that they were banned from speaking any other language than English. Some people would even say things like "they're insulting me behind my back!". In my opinion, this is extremely bigoted, arrogant and stupid, but that's just something that language does. If everybody spoke one language (which I'm not saying will/should ever happen) then people wouldn't perceive each other as so "foreign" and there would be much less racism and bigotry. You might notice that it's very rare to see an American being prejudice with any degree of seriousness against an Englishman or Australian. I think that this is because it's not skin colour or race that people have a problem with, it's language.

  • @Fealiks said: You might notice that it's very rare to see an American being prejudice with any degree of seriousness against an Englishman or Australian. I think that this is because it's not skin colour or race that people have a problem with, it's language.

    Language and culture, and they feed off each other.
    A lot of problems come from misunderstandings, though. I heard an anecdote (which might not be true) that during one of the World Wars (can't remember which) France told the US "we demand you help", which the US found extremely arrogant and got annoyed with. But the French word "demander" means to ask for, so what was meant is "we're asking you for your help", which wasn't meant as arrogant or anything.

    Using the wrong word (especially in languages with similar words) can cause a lot of problems. Another example is that "supporter" in French is negative, that is, it means "to bear", not "to support". Both have the idea of carrying someone's load, but "bear" or "supporter" means you're being given that load without asking for it, while "to support" or "soutenir" (in French) means you're taking it upon yourself.
    As a result, even though it's close in meaning, the connotation is completely different.

    Sorry if I'm getting carried away, but I find languages fascinating. Another thing I really like is how words from one language make it into another, often changing meaning slightly. There are lots of French words and expressions in English. I'm not counting the obvious "half the freaking language" that comes from old French, I mean words that made it from French into English more recently. Pretty much none of them are used the way they would be in French (except technical terms like in cooking, fencing, dance and fashion, where the words are used in the same way as they are in French).

    The other way around is true too. French takes words from English but has that habit of using the "-ing" forms. So for instance "shampoo" in French is "shampooing". A facelift is called "lifting". And all sports ending in "ball" were found too long and shortened, so that "foot" means "football" (soccer to you Americans), "basket" means "basketball" and so on.

  • @avistew said: The other way around is true too. French takes words from English but has that habit of using the "-ing" forms. So for instance "shampoo" in French is "shampooing". A facelift is called "lifting". And all sports ending in "ball" were found too long and shortened, so that "foot" means "football" (soccer to you Americans), "basket" means "basketball" and so on.

    Do you mean, for example, that "shampooing" is used as a noun? And would it be used like, "I'm going to use the shampooing on my hair" or "I'm going to give my hair a shampooing"?

    This is interesting :D

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