How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?

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How many languages do you speak?

1/2
2
3%
1
14
23%
2
21
34%
3
12
20%
4
8
13%
5
3
5%
6
0
No votes
7+ (I can haz more werdz spoke!)
1
2%
 
Total votes: 61

widowmaker
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How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?

Post by widowmaker » Wed May 28, 2008 6:25 pm

Just curious. Please share with us what languages you speak.

I can speak Cantonese, English, some Mandarin, and abit of French, and Thai.

FYI:Giberish is not a language :wink:

VanWaGuy
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Post by VanWaGuy » Wed May 28, 2008 9:58 pm

Do you count C, C++, Pascal, Fortran, Ruby, Python, PERL, LISP, BASIC, JOVIAL, ... ?

mr. poopyhead
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Post by mr. poopyhead » Wed May 28, 2008 10:31 pm

english and cantonese... and just enough french to survive in paris for a week...

floffe
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Post by floffe » Wed May 28, 2008 10:40 pm

Swedish and English

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Thu May 29, 2008 1:37 am

I can speak Cantonese, English, some Mandarin, and abit of French, and Thai.
very cool! AFAICT it's pretty rare for people to be fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese to a high level. are you from HK or mainland? my brother's flatmate is from HK and he is trying to teach me cantonese, but very very slowly...... :lol:

klankymen
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Post by klankymen » Thu May 29, 2008 2:05 am

American, German and Bavarian, although the latter is my worst of the three....

Cistron
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Post by Cistron » Thu May 29, 2008 4:06 am

klankymen wrote:American, German and Bavarian, although the latter is my worst of the three....
I swop American for English and top up with Austrian and Viennese. I can say "you stink" in Mandarin, counts? ;)

klankymen
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Post by klankymen » Thu May 29, 2008 4:31 am

Cistron wrote:
klankymen wrote:American, German and Bavarian, although the latter is my worst of the three....
I swop American for English and top up with Austrian and Viennese. I can say "you stink" in Mandarin, counts? ;)
Hmmm... I once tried to learn to say "yo mama" in like 30 languages... don't think that's enough. I just wish I could speak English though.... I can in fact do a fairly good viennese impression though.

Riffer
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Post by Riffer » Thu May 29, 2008 5:27 am

English here.

I tried hard to learn French in high school with little success.

I passed a manditory French course in university, but I still can't understand a word when anyone is talking.

I have French for Dummies on my computer. Maybe it's time for a third kick at the can :D

kickaha
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Post by kickaha » Thu May 29, 2008 7:26 am

I speak an understandable (=0.6) Italian and some (=0.4) English.
That is 0.6+0.4 = 1 whole language, right? :D

I also know a bit of French (from middle school) and a very little bit of Mandarin (some 500 words, but I'm forgetting).

qviri
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Re: How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?

Post by qviri » Thu May 29, 2008 9:28 am

widowmaker wrote:How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?
Not enough. My native language and English.

sjoukew
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Post by sjoukew » Thu May 29, 2008 9:33 am

English and ofcourse Dutch, my native language.
I do understand frysk but can't get those words out of my own mouth.
I do understand German a little.

widowmaker
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Post by widowmaker » Thu May 29, 2008 10:09 am

jaganath wrote:very cool! AFAICT it's pretty rare for people to be fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese to a high level. are you from HK or mainland? my brother's flatmate is from HK and he is trying to teach me cantonese, but very very slowly...... :lol:
I'm from HK. I'm not exactly fluent in Mandarin, but I can speak some. I was actually thinking everyone I know living in HK (family and friend) all can speak Cantonese as well as fluent Mandarin. It seems to be quite common in HK as well as in some parts of Toronto.

seraphyn
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Post by seraphyn » Thu May 29, 2008 2:10 pm

Dutch (native), English, German and French. All obligatory classes i followed in high school, so it stuck.

Licaon
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Post by Licaon » Thu May 29, 2008 2:17 pm

Romanian, English, French.. and Moldovan apparently

aristide1
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Post by aristide1 » Thu May 29, 2008 3:32 pm

Not quite 2. English (some would question that but it's just my fingers type whatever they feel like) and Greek adequately, hence 1.6.

aristide1
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Re: How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?

Post by aristide1 » Thu May 29, 2008 3:34 pm

widowmaker wrote: FYI:Giberish is not a language :wink:
You haven't listened to any US presidential addresses, have you?

(No wink here, unfortunately I'm being serious.) :?

frostedflakes
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Post by frostedflakes » Thu May 29, 2008 6:21 pm

Am only fluent in my native language, English. I know some Spanish from school and working in restaurants with hispanics, lol.

Dutchmm
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5 but that's not important right now ...

Post by Dutchmm » Thu May 29, 2008 10:23 pm

English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian

But I once read a letter in The Times which read
My father, who was fluent in 13 languages, used to say that there were only two things you needed to say in a foreign language
  • Another two beers please
    and
    My friend will pay
:lol:

VanWaGuy
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Post by VanWaGuy » Thu May 29, 2008 10:52 pm

Dutchmm,

I think you got the #1 and #3 most important things to learn. I always heard first was beer, second was bathroom. Although getting your friend to pay for the beer would be nice, it certainly would not be as important as finding the bathroom!

Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Fri May 30, 2008 1:22 am

No matter what languages you learn, unless you use them frequently, they get lost. I learned Latin in school......three years of the stuff for unknown reasons. Then I studied German and Spanish for a while.....gone mostly.

Now I speak only English, but have been forced to understand Eubonics.....a bastardization of English you hear all the time now (awful). Thankfully, English has become at least the second language for many/most people. SPCR would be a different place if only a few of us spoke it. Imagine having to use a Google translation of half of what you read here. :roll:

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Fri May 30, 2008 3:07 am

Bluefront wrote:Thankfully, English has become at least the second language for many/most people.
I suppose that's the main reason many (most?) native English-speakers are relatively poor at foreign languages - there's not so much incentive to learn (or at least retain) them when English has become a sort of de facto lingua franca (pardon my Latin).

I can just about get by in French if I have to - I know the essential phrases, such as "et maintenant, comme le chien," and I used to have a bit of German (learnt at school, but long since forgotten due to disuse).

I do feel sort of deprived in a way - people in the Western world who natively speak what might be called a "minority" language usually speak English fluently, but they still have their own "private" language to use when it suits them...

mr. poopyhead
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Post by mr. poopyhead » Fri May 30, 2008 8:02 am

nick705 wrote:I suppose that's the main reason many (most?) native English-speakers are relatively poor at foreign languages - there's not so much incentive to learn (or at least retain) them when English has become a sort of de facto lingua franca (pardon my Latin).
yeah... it's really quite sad that the world has to accomodate us (english speakers) and we're too lazy to return the favour.

i think everyone in the english speaking world should learn english + another language, so that everyone can communicatewith anyone. then when you happen to be in a place where they speak the other language you learned, you can use it as opposed to having the natives speak english.

Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Fri May 30, 2008 8:43 am

Well I'd need to be convinced that a native English-speaking person is at any dis-advantage if he only speaks the one language. Unless you have frequent dealings with a non-English country or person.....what's the big deal?

Actually if you travel, unless you only visit the place that uses your particular second language, you've gained very little with a second language. There are places where you can frequently cross an easy border, and enter a place with a different language. Not so in the USA.

Learning/speaking English is an advantage for everyone, since it seems to be a second language no matter where you go.

widowmaker
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Post by widowmaker » Fri May 30, 2008 9:13 am

At our present course, I wouldn't be surprised if Mandarin became the new English. Everywhere I look I see businesses either outsourcing their work or completely basing their operations in China. If China's economic influence continues to explode, it won't be long before people are compelled to learn Mandarin. I believe that both English and Mandarin will dominate the world of commerce in the future.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Fri May 30, 2008 9:31 am

At our present course, I wouldn't be surprised if Mandarin became the new English.
never happen. mandarin is too hard, tones are too difficult to master, and uses ideograms instead of Roman alphabet (which is at least one advantage of English). has a big advantage in terms of native speakers but actually the big craze is for Chinese people to learn English, not the other way around. most of China's economy is based around manufacturing, you don't need to speak the other person's language to get business done, you just need the technical documents translated (and also a local involved who you can trust to make sure you aren't being ripped off). of course with the rise of China there will be more non-indigenous Mandarin speakers, but it will never be a lingua franca like English.

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Fri May 30, 2008 10:45 am

Let me see:

I can read write and speak more or less fluently : English ( 10 years of study ), Finnish ( native tongue ) and Swedish ( 8 years of study but mandatory studies intend to kill motivation so its barely fluently).

My mom taught me bit häme and karelian dialects but I've pretty much forgotten them... Unfortunately...

I can read write and speak fluently the little vucabulary I have: Russia ( my main limit is vocabularly after 2½ year studies ) Still slightly rusty after few years but in 2nd year in Uni we havechange take course for Basic Russia and Business Russian.

so that is 4 languanges.

I also speak some japanese. Enough so I'd be confident in japan for basic phrases but not fluently... yet. ( That is what you get for watching 5+ years anime in Japanese as main entertainment )

I've learned some hebrew, arabic, Italian and spanish and mandarin china. Enough to at least say: thank you, yes, no and other small common words. When I traveled in Italy, I noticed how much friendlier peoples came towards you when you at least tried to speak Italian.

The greatest respect what you can give for a peoples of country you're visiting is showing that you at least respect enough for learning the basic words. That shows respect towards native peoples.

Dutchmm
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But is it good for English?

Post by Dutchmm » Fri May 30, 2008 11:04 am

What I mean is this:

We know from the history of Latin that there were two distinct forms of the language. The learned Latin is still understood by those of us who had to learn to read it at school. I don't think most of us can speak it, though it is true that Evelyn Waugh sent his despatches from the war ib Abyssinia back to London in Latin so that the telegraph clerk would not be able to tip off his rival correspondents. Sadly for Waugh, the editor assumed that he was drunk, and tossed the scoop in the bin ROFL.

The popular form of the language evolved into modern French, Spanish, Romanian, Ticinese, and Italian. It had, language historians teach us, a much simpler case system (just the nominative and vocative IIRC, and probably a simpler system of past tenses.

Now, suppose the non-native English speakers outnumber the native speakers (ignoring the question of which Native English we speak). What result can we expect? The subtle nuances we native speakers can imply in what we say are bound to go away. I have always found it most difficult to tell a joke from one language in another. Consider how many non-native speakers would understand the following:
  • In an assessment: This employee performs his duties to his complete satisfaction
    or
    This employee has delusions of adequacy
    or
    How do you make an English sentence with 5 consecutive uses of the word 'AND'? There was a pub called "The Pig and Whistle". The owner asked a signwriter to make a new sign for the pub, with a picture and the name. After the signwriter was done, the owner said: "I like the picture, but I should like a bit more space between 'Pig" and 'And' and 'And' and 'Whistle'
Now, leaving aside Hofstadter's 'Ton beau de Marot', how many translations do you read of foreign poetry?

As part of my work for Deloitte, I often have to "review" (read: rewrite) the English language communications of my Dutch colleagues. Apart from their overuse of the passive, I often have to ask them to tell me what they were trying to say in Dutch before I can find a decent English version. It is easier to translate into your own language than from your own language into another. Only those of us who achieve native speaker status in a foreign language (defined by Chomsky as "the ability to create new sentences" in that language) are able to produce outbound translations which have any chance of sounding convincing. And in case Seraphyn reads this post, yes, most Dutch people are less bad at English than most English people are at Dutch. Still, as the Italians say "Traditore Traduttore" = "Vertaler, Verrader" = "Les traductions sont comme les femmes; quand elles sont belles, elles ne sont pas fideles. Et quand elles sont fideles .... " BTW, Who TF said the French weren't wordy?

Synthesis: it will be as linguistically dangerous for English to become the lingua franca of the non-native world as it was for Latin, and as it has economically been for Sterlling and the Dollar (whatever happened to that?).

Mike[/i]

floffe
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Re: But is it good for English?

Post by floffe » Fri May 30, 2008 1:23 pm

Dutchmm wrote:
  • In an assessment: This employee performs his duties to his complete satisfaction
    or
    This employee has delusions of adequacy
    or
    How do you make an English sentence with 5 consecutive uses of the word 'AND'? There was a pub called "The Pig and Whistle". The owner asked a signwriter to make a new sign for the pub, with a picture and the name. After the signwriter was done, the owner said: "I like the picture, but I should like a bit more space between 'Pig" and 'And' and 'And' and 'Whistle'
Those two first ones are great, but I see your point that they could easily be missed by someone who is decent but not good at the language. To be honest I don't really get the point of the third one.

Bengan
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Re: But is it good for English?

Post by Bengan » Fri May 30, 2008 3:23 pm

floffe wrote:To be honest I don't really get the point of the third one.
In swedish: "Far, får får får?"

To answer the original post: My native tounge is swedish, and I'd like to think that I speak fluent English. I also speak german, but only at a very limited level.

/Bengt

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