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

mr. poopyhead
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Post by mr. poopyhead » Fri May 30, 2008 3:48 pm

Bluefront wrote: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?

Learning/speaking English is an advantage for everyone, since it seems to be a second language no matter where you go.
while what you say is true, that technically there is no real benefit to learning another's language... i think the idea is to show some respect to another's culture... even if they DO speak english...

i think thejamppa put it best...
thejamppa wrote: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.
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Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Sat May 31, 2008 2:35 am

Bluefront wrote: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.
This very true. It's also the reason why I'm only fluent in English and Finnish. I have studied Swedish for 6 years and German for 5. I'm proficient enough to read newspapers in both languages, but let's face it, understanding a language is much easier then speaking it. I'm more fluent with Spanish then German at the moment, because I recently took a Spanish course in university. Despite the fact that my German vocabulary is are much larger.
jaganath wrote:
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.
Not to mention English is lingua franca not only in economics, but also in science, internet and entertainment. Science is important. Internet is really important, but nothing is as important as entertainment. You simply cannot beat Hollywood and especially the music industry. Just look at Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Countries that sang in English or partly English were: Moldova, Azerbaijan, Norway, Poland, Ireland, Andorra, Armenia, Netherlands, Russia, Greece, Iceland, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, Malta, Macedonia, UK, Germany, France.

17/25 finalists sang in English or partly English. There will be a point in future when all finalists will sing in English. Bands know singing in English is the only way to ever have a chance to become big internationally.
Dutchmm wrote: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.

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
English language conservatives are not the only one's worried. For example many Finns are worried, because our language is slowly evolving to Finglish. But that's the nature of languages, they evolve constantly. The world is turning more multicultural and languages are reflecting it. I think that in future, many languages will evolve into pidgin and creole languages with heavy English influences. Something like Spanglish or Singlish. I wouldn't mind, if Finland went the Singapore way and started using English as first language medium in education. Most of books you read in university are already in English.
mr. poopyhead wrote:
Bluefront wrote: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?

Learning/speaking English is an advantage for everyone, since it seems to be a second language no matter where you go.
while what you say is true, that technically there is no real benefit to learning another's language... i think the idea is to show some respect to another's culture... even if they DO speak english...
Cultures don't deserve respect, people do. All you need to do is be polite. I don't expect Bluefront or anyone else to learn Finnish, just for the purpose of showing "respect" to my culture. Personally, I'd rather compromise and speak English with him, rather then expect him to learn useless Finnish language, which he could only use in akward and broken way, which would only serve as a form of amusement for myself.

My sisters spouse is Mexican. He has studied Finnish and I have studied Spanish. We both understand each other to some degree, if we are in a group that is speaking in Finnish or Spanish. But we still use English between us, because it keeps the conversation most fluent.
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jmk
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Post by jmk » Sat May 31, 2008 10:35 am

Finnish, English, Swedish, Hebrew, Estonian, Arabic, German, Greek, Norwegian, Danish...

I first studied the Semitic languages as my major (Hebrew, Arabic), then I changed it to Finnish (Finnish, Estonian). I once counted 34 languages/dialects, in which I have at least learned the basic grammer. I mentioned above also Norwegian and Danish, because it is rather easy to read them when you know some Swedish.

derw
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Post by derw » Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:09 am

French (native), English and German.

I would like to learn Spanish and Italian..

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:59 am

Prior English France and Spanish were world languanges. Thanks to succesful colonization of British empire the main languange soon became English. While China might grow larger languange than english, english is still spoken more widely.

If you want to communicate most of the peoples:
English, French and Spanish are still strong languanges in Europe, America's and Africa.

In few hundred years in current development Chinese and Hindi might become also importantbusiness languanges.

However, as business and economics student, I feel strongly that good languange skill is important for any business man. Its as important as good business intuitio and good negotiation skills. Many deals have gone bad simply because someone accidently insulted another person by not knowing enough culture. This is very serious in Middle-East.

I personally feel that usage translators is always a... uncertainty factor unless translator can be 100% be trusted or is reliable worker that can be quaranteed. And especially in Asian cultures learning custom's and languanges of country will earn you high respect.

Especially in China, if you as westerner can speak China and understant the culture, it will rise your stock in Chinese business men greatly. You also will be remembered easier.
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Post by NyteOwl » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:18 am

Hmmm English (several dialects), French (several dialects), some Gaelic (both Scots and Irish), mediocre Latin, a bit of German and Spanish and smatterings of Italian, Portugese, Russian, Croatian and Japanese. A few words in Turkish, Arabic and Swedish - mostly not for use in polite company :)
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peepo
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Re: But is it good for English?

Post by peepo » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:57 am

Dutchmm wrote: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]

You forgot to mention portuguese, the second most used latin language!
http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm

xev
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Post by xev » Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:18 am

English, Russian, Ukrainian, and good enough Spanish

walle
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Post by walle » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:48 pm

How many fluent languages/dialects do you speak?
Swedish, yet not fluent to be honest despite it being my native tongue, and by that I mean poor vocabulary.

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Post by peteamer » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:20 am

Bluefront wrote:Now I speak only English, but have been forced to understand Eubonics.....a bastardization of English you hear all the time now (awful).
Coming from a 'newbie' American... that's F*****G Hilarious!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


Me?...

Two Languages.....


English and Profane... :wink:

croddie
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Post by croddie » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:30 pm

English. If I were to learn languages to read I would learn greek, latin and german. If I were to learn a language to speak I would learn mandarin. But I am happy to read translations and am unlikely to need to speak to anyone in a language other than english, so learning another language doesn't make sense.

In the UK the government makes learning a second language compulsory (mainly french). I disagree with this policy.

quikkie
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Post by quikkie » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:55 am

(British) English and enough German to order what I want at a restaurant or ask directions. I typically get identified as British and get a reply in English in response to my German request.

When ever I travel to another country I try and learn "hello", "goodbye" and "thank you" in the local language.
Bluefront wrote: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.
I agree with your last sentence, but disagree with your first (based purely on my location). To take a local (to me) example: Germany, Austria, Switzerland - all within a 800 mile radius of the UK and all speak German, granted there are dialect differences but nothing major.

From my personal experience of travelling in continental europe, if a person didn't speak English, they did speak German - the Czech Republic being a suprise example. Generalising a little: the Dutch, Belgians and all the Scandinavian countries are pretty good with German and English too.
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American \= English

Post by victorhortalives » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:27 am

American is another dialect of English ?

Queens English, French and Dutch (Vlaamse variety)

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Post by victorhortalives » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:30 am

quikkie wrote:(British) English and enough German to order what I want at a restaurant or ask directions. I typically get identified as British and get a reply in English in response to my German request.

When ever I travel to another country I try and learn "hello", "goodbye" and "thank you" in the local language.
Bluefront wrote: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.
I agree with your last sentence, but disagree with your first (based purely on my location). To take a local (to me) example: Germany, Austria, Switzerland - all within a 800 mile radius of the UK and all speak German, granted there are dialect differences but nothing major.

From my personal experience of travelling in continental europe, if a person didn't speak English, they did speak German - the Czech Republic being a suprise example. Generalising a little: the Dutch, Belgians and all the Scandinavian countries are pretty good with German and English too.
Belgians don't speak German except in the German Region.

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Re: American \= English

Post by quikkie » Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:53 am

victorhortalives wrote:American is another dialect of English ?
in my opinion yes: different spelling of words, different grammar, different words for the same object.
example: colour vs. color, "write to me" vs. "write me" and aubergine vs. eggplant. Having said that it's not so different to cause misunderstandings between UK and US english speakers.

The benefit of American English is that it's so new the various accents haven't diverged enough to make understanding them difficult. Unlike the UK where a broad glaswegian accent can be incomprehensible to someone from London.
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Post by mexell » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:12 pm

It's still funny how fast you get to learn a new language, at least it's basics. I work in an office where the majority of my colleagues is from Danmark, so I hear a lot of Danish throughout the day. After a few weeks, I recognized the first sentences. Now, after a few months, I can follow conversations and get the sense, sometimes the precise content of written language. But the pronounciation still makes my tongue fold...

Asides, I speak English, German (my mother tongue) and just enough French for making friends and smalltalk.
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Cistron
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Post by Cistron » Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:36 am

croddie wrote:In the UK the government makes learning a second language compulsory (mainly french). I disagree with this policy.
Take away the compulsory language and the UK high-school system becomes the worst on the planet. Hmm, thinking about it, even now it is already extremely bad (besides some private schools with IB or EB).

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