Anybody here into foreign languages?

Discussion in 'Foreign Languages' started by Sim, Apr 30, 2009.

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How many languages do you speak?

  1. I'm a native English speaker and have never learnt a foreign language.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. I'm a native English speaker and have forgotton most of foreign languages I once learnt.

    58.3%
  3. I'm a native English speaker and I speak one foreign language.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I'm a native English speaker and I speak two or more foreign languages.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. I'm not an English native speaker, but I speak no other language besides my native and English.

    16.7%
  6. I am not an English native speaker, but I speak two foreign languages.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. I am not an English native speaker, but I speak three or more foreign languages.

    8.3%
  8. I was raised with two native languages, but don't speak a third one.

    8.3%
  9. I was raised with two native languages and speak another or more foreign languages.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. other (please explain)

    8.3%
  1. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    I wondered whether we have people interested in studying foreign languages on this board.

    Most of you probably speak English as your first language. Did you learn another, or even more than one foreign languages in school, on college or just for yourself? If yes, which language is that? Are you fluent, or have you forgotten most of it?

    And those of you who don't speak English as first language, what is your native language? Do you speak other languages besides English and your mother's tongue?

    Is the cliché true that English native speakers usually don't even bother studying a foreign language, because they expect everybody else in the world to speak English?

    If you speak more than one language, what do you think? Was studying a foreign language hard for you? What do you think of the respective grammars of the languages you studied -- did you find one language much easier to learn than another?


    As for me, German is my native language. I learnt English and French in school. As you can see, although my English isn't perfect, I'm rather fluent in English.

    My French is not as good as my English, but it's decent enough to get along with people in France and to have conversations which aren't too complicated.

    Last year, I have started studying the Polish language, but I am still at the beginning. I know way too few of the Polish vocabulary and grammar to have a conversation, and basically no speaking practise at all. But I'm working on it.


    Judging from my experience, I'd say English is rather easy to learn. The grammar is rather simple, there is hardly any flection of verbs or even nouns. Just the tenses are tricky, since unlike in German or French, English got these progressive tenses. The irregularities when it comes to the pronounciation vs. the written words is a bit tricky too in the beginning. Certain sounds are unusual for German speakers too, like the "th", I easily confuse "w" and "v", or the English non-rolled "r".

    French was considerably more difficult than English for me. The grammar is more complicated, you have different cases for direct and indirect objects and an according flection. But since German is my native language and these things exist in the German language too, it wasn't all that unheard of after all. Many French words are similar as in English or even German, because all of these languages have at least part of their vocabulary taken from Latin. Personally, I find the French pronunciation much easier than the English pronunciation.

    Polish certainly is the most difficult of all languages I have studied so far: There are even more flections and more cases than in German, and for each flection, you have to consider a dozen things -- not just one of the three genders, but also whether an object is considered animate or inanimate, personal or non-personal ... and the cases are hard to determine, since there is much difference to the German cases. Then there are so many pronouns which are hard to memorize and even harder to apply. It will probably take me years to even remotely master all of that -- I'm glad enough already when I recognize them when I read a Polish text. The pronunciation is probably rather difficult for English or French speakers -- there exist not only nasal vowel sounds in Polish like in French (the "en" and "on"), but also a hard and a soft "ch" as in German (which many speakers who have studied German, especially from English speaking countries, hardly ever manage, but replace with an English "sh" or "ch" most of the time).

    So what about you? Any interesting experiences about learning foreign languages to share?
     
    Mirage likes this.

  2. Rebeccaaa

    Rebeccaaa yellow 4!

    I love different languages. I've always been envious of those who can speak more than one.

    I took french and german lessons at school, but I've forgotten most of it now. I've been trying to teach myself italian for almost a year but I suck at motivating myself and actually doing it properly instead of on/off.

    I can't speak for all of us, but from what I gather, yeah this is pretty much the mentality most English native speakers tend to have. I would love to learn another language, but just because I've always wondered what it would be like. If I go to a non-English speaking country (which isn't often, actually) then to be honest, I just hope that most people will know at least a little English. I do try to learn various phrases though, to be polite. I obviously don't expect everyone in the world to speak English, but at the same time I wouldn't learn a language for any other reason than out of pure fascination.
     
    Sim likes this.
  3. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    I speak English and Spanish. Spanish was actually the language I first spoke and spoke it more than English until I started school. I'm interested in learning Italian and maybe French after that.
     
  4. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    I understand you, I feel the same. If I just had more time and energy, I'd love to study even more foreign languages. Chinese would be immensely interesting, because it's so different. But at the moment, Polish takes all the energy I got.

    Probably it's hard for English native speakers to learn the grammar of other languages, since it's usually much more complicated than English grammar.

    If you want to continue with Italian, maybe you find this tip helpful that helped me a lot (in case you don't do it that way anyway): Use small file cards for studying vocabulary -- write the English word on one side, the Italian on the other. Then mix them, take the pile and look at the English word, and when you remember the Italian word, put the card out, when not, put at back at the bottom.

    For me that works very well -- I learn much quicker than by trying to memorize vocabulary lists. Also, it's nice because you can do it now and then, even when you don't have much time ... like when you have nothing to do for 10 minutes, or before going to bed.
    ------
    That's great! Your Spanish skills will likely be very helpful for French or Italian, because of the similarities. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
    Rebeccaaa likes this.
  5. Impact

    Impact Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    In school I learnt French, German and Japanese, but I've forgotten most of all 3 of them. I voted on option 2 in the poll as I'd be half way between option 2 and 3. I know quite a bit of Maori due to it being the 2nd language of New Zealand, but not enough to speak it fluently.

    I don't think the cliché that English speakers don't bother to learn another language is true, as every school I've been to have offered a lot of different language courses, with one if not more being compulsory.

    When I was in school and learning other languages I didn't find French or German too hard to pick up, but Japanese was a completely different story, what with all the different alphabets. Maori was pretty easy, as I never tried to sit down and learn it, just picked it up along the way, and as I'm subjected to it nearly every day, made it easier.
     
  6. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    Every time I hear Italian on TV I can pretty much pick it up and understand most of what is said due to the similarities. My interest in Italian is because my last name is originally from Italy, then Spain, and eventually Mexico.
     
  7. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    I've taken two language courses in school and unfortunately I am left with just a few words in each. I'd like to learn one new language completely though. Hopefully sooner than later.
     
  8. Nixola

    Nixola Boom Boom Pow!

    In my school I learnt a good bit of German. I did it for 6 years and took it to a Higher Level where I got a B for it in my final exam, which I was pretty proud of. I enjoy learning German, but since leaving my school I just havent found the time or means of continuing my learning of it. I hope to take it all the way and become fluent in it, I would say that I would be able to hold a basic converstation with someone in German, nothing fancy or anything. I feel that I'm forgetting it though, which is a shame, but really it's up to me if I want to continue and no forget it. It's my own fault that i'm forgetting it.

    I think that native English speakers do comes across as lazy when it comes to their attitute with learning different languages, whenever we go abroad we always speak English to everyone and expect English back. Of course there are people who do make the effort and try and learn some of the language of the country they are in, but generally since English is such a widely spoken language we just expect people to be able to understand it. Which is wrong.
     
  9. Jaszibabes

    Jaszibabes The Instigator V.I.P. Lifetime

    Most of you probably speak English as your first language. Did you learn another, or even more than one foreign languages in school, on college or just for yourself? If yes, which language is that? Are you fluent, or have you forgotten most of it?

    When I was in middle and high school, I took Spanish. In 5th grade we had to take a half year of French, and a half year of Spanish and then at the end, we had to decide which one we would take further. I chose Spanish. I can remember some.. but most of it, I've forgotten.

    Is the cliché true that English native speakers usually don't even bother studying a foreign language, because they expect everybody else in the world to speak English?

    Nope, not true to me. I'm not sure I know of anyone who thinks like that.

    If you speak more than one language, what do you think? Was studying a foreign language hard for you? What do you think of the respective grammars of the languages you studied -- did you find one language much easier to learn than another?

    Studying a foreign language was more fun than hard. Spanish came easy to me, a lot easier than French. I think Spanish is an interesting language, with quite a few rules. Haha. Although, I would think English would be the hardest language to learn as a second language. It's so complex.. and tedious.
     
  10. Nibbles

    Nibbles meep

    I only started learning English when I was 8 years old. I understand Netherlands and German because my native is so similar.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009

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