Polyglot matters

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    May 23, 2010 4:40 AM GMT
    For language enthusiasts icon_smile.gif

    What languages do you speak (any level) or study? What languages would you like to learn?

    I consider myself a native bilingual of English and Spanish. I was born in Spain and lived there until I was 7. However, my parents are American-born (though Mama is a first generation Spanish-American), so English was their native language. I grew up mainly speaking English at home, although my mother understands Spanish no problem whenever I speak it or her family speaks it. But I had to make an effort to relearn Spanish as I got older because obviously all my schooling was in English. I didn't want to have the grammar and vocabulary of a 7-year-old for the rest of my life, so I studied hard taking Spanish courses in high school and college. I'm glad that my knowledge of Spanish is almost as good as my command of English. I can think freely between the two languages now. Although it's been interesting after having recently moved to San Antonio. Spanish is everywhere, although so is Spanglish haha. Not to mention I sound a bit different from people here since I learned Spanish from Spain.

    I'm also pretty fluent in Russian. I first took interest in Russian when I was around 8 years old because I was fascinated by Russian gymnastics. So by the following year, not only did I take up gymnastics, I tried learning basic Russian. But along the way I got caught up in other things, so I didn't try to study Russian again seriously until I was 17. I did an independent study course in high school to learn Russian and took courses throughout college. I got to study in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia for a semester, and it was a great experience. Since then I still work on adding more words and grammar to my current knowledge of Russian. I would say that my fluency of Russian is just a few notches below my level of Spanish and English.

    Other languages I've taken interest in and played around with: Japanese, Persian, Romanian, Ukrainian, and Korean. I would seriously love to learn Korean and Persian some time soon.
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    May 23, 2010 8:05 AM GMT
    I've studied Russian and Japanese, but I never really practiced speaking like I should have, so I was decent at reading both and understanding it when spoken to me, but translating from english to those languages were difficult. I haven't practiced much in awhile but I want to start getting into it again.
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    May 23, 2010 3:18 PM GMT
    I grew up speaking English, so I had to study all the other languages in school.

    I speak French fluently (I use it at work... Canada, y'know), and i also speak Spanish, Hebrew and American Sign Language. I've taken courses in Mandarin and Japanese, but have forgotten most of it...

    My next project will be Italiano... vino rosso o bianco?
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    May 23, 2010 5:40 PM GMT

    I grew up speaking Dutch, I learned English starting at age 10 or so. By now I would consider Dutch my native language but English my first language. My Dutch spelling and grammar sucks, while my English spelling and grammar is fine (I think).

    Thinking I can do in both, but if you have a feeling for semantics you'll notice that some concepts are just better expressed in one language than another.

    Other than that I speak German, decent Georgian (including reading and writing), some basic French, and some passive understanding of most romance languages. Oh, and I can order beer and curse in Russian and read signs etc. I used to speak some basic Armenian but forgot all of that (kinda lame in retrospect).

    The sexiest language in the world is Portuguese (Continental is sexier than Brazilian) and I'd like to learn that even if it were just for the bedroom. I worked with a bunch of Portuguese people and certainly learned to appreciate those sounds.

    It's interesting though how your mind stores languages - I noticed basically the 'disk space' that was in use for French got 'overwritten' by Georgian. I found myself looking for the French word for such-and-such and instead the Georgian word popped up. Damn, the brain sure is interesting.
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    May 23, 2010 5:48 PM GMT
    I remember when I was little living in Spain, the first time I heard a Portuguese-speaking person was weird. I seriously thought they were a Spaniard with a speech problem! Portuguese is phonologically more complicated than Spanish. It's really hard to understand when listening to it, although I find it a bit easier to understand Brazilian Portuguese. It's like the final syllables in European Portuguese get reduced a great deal. Reading it is not a big problem, though. I can understand about 80% of what I read in Portuguese.
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    May 23, 2010 5:56 PM GMT
    Romanian has to be my favorite Romance language. It's quite unique amongst Vulgar Latin's descendants because Romania is geographically isolated and the language evolved much differently from other Romance languages. Sometimes I describe it as a Slavic immigrant speaking Italian.

    It's pretty different from the other Romance languages, particularly in vocabulary. A great deal of common words are of Slavic, Turkish, Hungarian, Albanian, and German origin. If kind of baffles me how some things in Romanian can look so close to certain words/expressions in Spanish, but other things in Romanian don't resemble Spanish at all.
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    May 23, 2010 6:04 PM GMT
    I speak English and Italian fluently, and find that I think and even dream in Italian pretty often. My French comprehension is good (especially written) while my spoken French is just passable (I can get around and be understood by patient people). I can understand Spanish well, and speak Spanish adequately (having grown up in San Antonio).
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    May 23, 2010 6:07 PM GMT
    UrsaMajor saidI speak English and Italian fluently, and find that I think and even dream in Italian pretty often. My French comprehension is good (especially written) while my spoken French is just passable (I can get around and be understood by patient people). I can understand Spanish well, and speak Spanish adequately (having grown up in San Antonio).


    Ah, the mystery is solved. I see many of your posts but had no idea of your SA background. I just recently moved here having grown up in VA.

    It has been interesting so far to live here knowing I can speak Spanish in many places. Albeit I come across certain words and expressions I still don't know especially since I don't have a Chicano background. However, I've quickly taken to "hijole" haha. It's been a welcome addition to my vocabulary.
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    May 23, 2010 6:17 PM GMT
    Fluent in both Español and English, proficient in Français and Italiano, at some point passable in Nihongo but that's pretty much not the case now.
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    May 24, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    I learned Japanese for a short while when I was little, around 10 or 11. I wanted to learn because my mom had lived in Japan for a while (she's not Japanese, though) and passed on a lot of words and expression to me. I gave it a go and actually got really good at it! My mom was impressed how quickly I learned a lot of words and grammar. But then I became more interested in Russian, so I abandoned Japanese after that.

    Maybe I'll have another go at it in the future.
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    May 24, 2010 4:07 AM GMT
    Anyone familiar with any of the Uralic languages? Those would be Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Saami, and others.

    I think they just sound so cool although they are unbelievably difficult to learn!
  • JayDT

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    May 24, 2010 4:49 AM GMT
    I speak English and French fluently and am conversational in German, Dutch, Portuguese, Hebrew and Spanish. Though I taught myself spanish so my grammar is HORRIBLE!
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    May 24, 2010 4:49 AM GMT
    Fluwent rayudnek, some Spanglish, less English, and perfect Igpay Atinlay.
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    May 24, 2010 4:52 AM GMT
    I guess I'm fluent in french. I was in french immersion for 7 years. I'm considered bilingual. Understanding>writing>speaking. My thought move to quickly for me to be able to use proper grammar in french icon_razz.gif I always screw something up icon_razz.gif
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    May 24, 2010 6:20 AM GMT
    fluent in french ( mother tongue) and english.
    studying spanish now, studied german in the past but i 've forgotten so much. I plan on taking a year re-studying it.
    Then i'd like to move on to italian.

    so many people now speak several languages.
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    May 24, 2010 6:21 AM GMT
    It never hurts to learn the basics of several languages, especially if you're a frequent traveler. Speaking a little of the local language really goes a long way, and people in other countries treat you much differently.
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    May 24, 2010 6:31 AM GMT
    English is my native tongue, but I've also taught myself some conversational Japanese. I learned how to speak Hebrew when I was a kid, but I can really only understand what people are saying now if I'm listening hard, but I can still read it. I'm practically fluent in French since I've been learning and speaking it for roughly the past 10 years everyday. I can also hold a conversation in Mandarin Chinese, and I can write decently well also. Since I'm a linguist, I also know the IPA(which, though not a language, is important to know), and I have a decent understanding of most of the romance languages. I'd still like to learn Russian, Hindi, Arabic, a Bantu language, and maybe a few others.
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    May 24, 2010 6:45 AM GMT
    Well goody, goody for everyone above me! You speak more than one language.

    Well I am an AMERICAN and like most good Americans I speak one language only: ENGLISH - specifically American English - or as I prefer to call it, AMERICAN!

    When I travel abroad I expect everyone else to be able to speak American to accommodate MY needs.

    I am American, goddamnit! There is no need for me to learn any damn foreign languages.

    And before anyone else says it I will say it myself. I DON'T EVEN SPEAK AMERICAN ALL THAT GOOD!
  • mks310

    Posts: 24

    May 24, 2010 1:38 PM GMT
    English, Spanish, French, German..

    some Italian, drops of Japanese.

    I really only feel comfortable conversing in English, German or Spanish..

    In my line of work ( software ) I rarely ever get to swap tongues!
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    May 24, 2010 1:44 PM GMT
    English and Japanese I speak, read and write fluently.
    I am conversational in American Sign Language.
    Spanish I understand, but do not speak very well.
    Russian I can read, but have no idea what I am reading.

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    May 24, 2010 2:58 PM GMT
    34ypgsm.jpg
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    May 24, 2010 4:14 PM GMT
    fastfreddie saidWell goody, goody for everyone above me! You speak more than one language.

    Well I am an AMERICAN and like most good Americans I speak one language only: ENGLISH - specifically American English - or as I prefer to call it, AMERICAN!

    When I travel abroad I expect everyone else to be able to speak American to accommodate MY needs.

    I am American, goddamnit! There is no need for me to learn any damn foreign languages.

    And before anyone else says it I will say it myself. I DON'T EVEN SPEAK AMERICAN ALL THAT GOOD!

    This is satire, right? icon_eek.gif
  • seven_deadly_...

    Posts: 104

    May 24, 2010 7:10 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, I'm the typical American - I really only speak English, although I know some Spanish.

    For those language enthusiasts out there - what are your recommendations for learning a new language? Community college classes, or the Rosetta stone, or...?
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    May 24, 2010 7:16 PM GMT
    seven_deadly_monkeys saidUnfortunately, I'm the typical American - I really only speak English, although I know some Spanish.

    For those language enthusiasts out there - what are your recommendations for learning a new language? Community college classes, or the Rosetta stone, or...?


    Everybody's different. There are many different approaches to learning. You just have to find what's right for you. But you won't know that until you try a few different methods.

    It largely depends on your current ability to learn another language, your interest, and what you want to do with the language.
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    May 25, 2010 12:09 AM GMT
    I took thirteen years of french immersion, and spent half a year living in Montreal. The city is truly bilingual, but, with a bit of effort, I managed to improve my French a great deal.

    I'd love to learn Italian, Spanish and Greek.