What languages can you speak?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2010 12:31 PM GMT
    And would you say it's difficult to learn? What is it about it that makes it hard?

    I mainly speak English and Cantonese (used in Hong Kong) fluently. I've studied lots of other languages but can't be bothered to list them:

    English: - There are so many various accents like American, Australian, British , South African. There are also a lot of sub-accents, for example in England alone there's: London, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Lancashire, Liverpool, Geordie etc etc. This must make it so difficult for foreigners to understand!

    - English has so many irregular verbs and spellings. Like past tense of 'to mean' is 'meant', 'to bear' is 'bore'...and irregular spellings such as 'bicycle', 'beautiful', 'ceiling', 'foreigner'.

    French
    : - The 'definite article' i.e. the word 'the' has masculine and feminine associations and so for each noun you would need to know it's gender.

    Cantonese: - In China, writing is either traditional (the full version) or simplified. In cantonese generally the traditional form is used and some words have a lot of brush strokes (to remember), even for simple words like 'health'. Also there are rules to writing, you can't just spell any word how you like! This could be difficult for foreigners.

    - Cantonese is mostly a language made up of 'slang'. You would NEVER speak the way you read (unlike English, French, Spanish etc). And the way you speak at times has no connection to how the same sentence is written. So in effect you need to know 2 completely different forms of the same language. There is no rhyme or reason for the foreigner to grasp.

    - Correct pronunciation is mandatory. There are many tones in Cantonese (like 7?? I never learnt the tones) and that is just basically how you pronounce the word...like there's a rising. falling, neutral tone as well as a few others. 2 words with the same phonetic pronunciation but with different tones would mean 2 completely different words! So the foreigner would need to know the exact tones to be understood. However sometimes a wrong word could be deciphered by the context it's used in.

    What do you think about the languages that you can speak? What is difficult about it? I heard German's pretty difficult - the word ordering is similar to Latin.

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  • Nayro

    Posts: 1825

    Jul 15, 2010 12:34 PM GMT
    Dutch, Frisian, English. I do fine in German, allthough its not the best. And even a little French icon_razz.gif (very little)

    I love languages ;) I wanna learn spanish too!

    Ask lostboy what he thinks of learning Dutch, he can provide a better answer for it than I can, I got raised with it icon_razz.gif
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    Jul 15, 2010 12:35 PM GMT
    Daelin saidDutch, Frisian, English. I do fine in German, allthough its not the best. And even a little French icon_razz.gif (very little)

    I love languages ;) I wanna learn spanish too!


    Frisian? I've never come across that before...is it hard?
  • Nayro

    Posts: 1825

    Jul 15, 2010 12:38 PM GMT
    Friesland is a province in the Netherlands. 650k ppl live there, so not that many. the main language in the Netherlands is Dutch, but in this province its Frisian.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Frisian_language for more info icon_razz.gif
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    Jul 15, 2010 1:02 PM GMT
    English, some Spanglish, and fluent Redneck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2010 1:03 PM GMT
    Im fluent in English and french, and i'm a beginner in Japanese, can say simple sentences
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    Jul 15, 2010 2:08 PM GMT
    I once was terrible at languages, and I'm still not very good now. I used to smugly say I was conforming to an alleged quote by GB Shaw: "He who truly knows the English language can never learn another."

    In school I had to take Latin, which I hated & flunked, and chose French for 1 year, which I also flunked. Then I tried Spanish in college -- flunked yet again.

    But then suddenly something "clicked" in my head, about the time I went to Europe to live at age 29, and non-English languages were no longer so strange & daunting to me, and I began to "hear" them. Nor was their proper pronunciation an obstacle for me, as it is for many Americans, once I was surrounded by the local speakers with whom I lived. I've always been a good mimic of voices, if I hear enough of them, not just a teacher reciting a few words in a classroom.

    And so today, without any formal schooling, I know some German, and many more times the French that I had in school (though still not fluent). And oddly I returned to ancient Latin, too, also on my own.

    I don't try to speak it, just read and translate. One of my little pastimes is trying to correct the dreadful Victorian-era translations of classic Roman authors. I prefer lean, strictly literal translations to English, versus the Victorian ones that are as cluttered & overdone as their parlors were.
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    Jul 15, 2010 2:08 PM GMT
    I am fluent in German. I wouldn't say it's terribly difficult.
  • BardBear

    Posts: 533

    Jul 15, 2010 2:51 PM GMT
    I'm considered a native American Sign Language person. I've been signing most of my life. Sometimes people have confused me with being hearing impaired/Deaf.

    Peace,
    Roo
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    Jul 15, 2010 3:07 PM GMT
    @Daein.. I didnt know Frisian had only 650 k speakers... its about the same as Papiamentu then, the native language of Curacao, Aruba and a few other islands

    Im not gonna lie or pretend to boast, we speak alot of languages here in these islands. the majority of people I know know at least 4, and a great many handle 5 or 6 smoothly, mostly cause were at a kind of cultural crossroads with the spanish, the dutch, the english, the french, and the portuguese speakers.... I speak all of those in addition to the native language... then I know some italian, german (learned from my friends), nepali (lived there) some surinamese (grandparents) just a bit of mandarin, arabic and hindi ( common around the Caribbean) and I studied sanskrit (classical indian) for several years... I can catch a bit of latin too, but not in-depth... Not to mention the scores of words and phrases Ive picked up on my travels in other languages such as croatian/serbian, czech, vietnamese, russian etc... but I dont count them as speaking, I understand next to nothing of those...
    I wont go into all the different dialects you can hear on the islands which I sometimes fall into... its just too much
    ...

    Ppl everywhere I meet tend to talk about me as "the guy that speaks all the languages" for obvious reasons




  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2010 4:09 PM GMT
    I speak 7 fluent languages and i can also write in them. (8 if you count Latin as one)

    English- not very hard
    Spanish - native language so known it since i was a muthckin
    German - pronunciation is kinda difficult but overall pretty average difficulty
    Russian - hardest one to learn as of yet
    Portuguese - grandpa taught it to me not very hard
    French - easy just pronunciation
    Italian - so close to spanish it took me less than two months to have it down

    out of them probably Russian is the worst since i haven't had the opportunity to use it in a while.. basically i love to learn new languages and ive been trying to learn Creole and i should be able to have it down in a couple of months. I really want to learn Arabic though sadly yet to have found a person to teach it to meicon_sad.gif
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    Jul 15, 2010 5:48 PM GMT
    same my family speaks spanish and italian.... i either answer them in english or i just talk to them in spanglish
  • AlanGZ

    Posts: 385

    Jul 16, 2010 1:30 AM GMT
    I am fluent in English, French as native tongue, and i know a bit mandarin and spanish ;-)
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jul 16, 2010 1:35 AM GMT
    English, Polish, French. I forgot my Spanish a few years after moving out of Madrid.
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    Jul 16, 2010 1:35 AM GMT
    Japanese and English
  • worley

    Posts: 41

    Jul 16, 2010 1:43 AM GMT
    I am fluent in Spanish, Catalan (both mother tongues), French (I was born and raised in a town 20 miles off the French border and learned it at school since age 6), English (after four years living in Arkansas, I better...) and Portuguese (not really hard when you speak three other romance languages and have Brazil as a favorite travel destination). When I travel to Italy and I am around native Italians, I can understand 80% and speak with difficulties, but I guess if I moved there I would be fluent in three months.

  • Jul 16, 2010 1:58 AM GMT
    English, some Spanish and a little bit of Mandarin.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2010 1:59 AM GMT
    English and Spanish.. Enough Spanish I can hold a conversation with an italian. (just not a PR or Cuban lol)
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    Jul 16, 2010 2:18 AM GMT
    English
    Had a very good tutor, though, I'm losing it a bit... since I've moved to the UK... icon_rolleyes.gif

    Russian
    Ugh... rules, rules, rules, and exceptions... I usually go with my gut with this one.

    Embarrassingly, I prefer, and have gained a better knowledge of English language than my native one... oh well.

    And that's it: two langages. I know only two, will embark on learning another one later. So far I know only two, no third language apart these two. I don't know any third language, just two...
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Jul 16, 2010 2:25 AM GMT
    Good to see lots of other Dutch speakers here.

    English-native
    Dutch-near native
    German-near native

    French, Swedish, Russian, Spanish-basic survival ability
  • dantoujours

    Posts: 378

    Jul 16, 2010 2:27 AM GMT
    Fluent English and French. Starting to learn some Mandarin.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2010 2:29 AM GMT
    english...tag-lish, now learning spanish and korean...thanks to rosetta icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2010 2:32 AM GMT
    I lived in the Arabian Peninsula for 20 years, and I went to a bilingual school for 15 years, so I'm fluent in both Arabic and English. Been slacking off with Arabic ever since I've been in college.
  • NashRugger

    Posts: 1089

    Jul 16, 2010 2:35 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidEnglish, some Spanglish, and fluent Redneck.

    yes, me exactly.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    Hebrew and English fluently.
    Forgot most of my German and French, though neither was ever very good and worst, my brain seems to sort languages as "Hebrew, English or Other" and thus German and French were blended together (if I was speaking in German but couldn't come up with a word... I'd resort to French).