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What Languages Do You Speak?

AGBF

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 26, 2003
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21,549
The idea for this thread came from a thread in which one member who is not a native English speaker wrote about learning English as an adult here in the United States. I know there are many polyglots on Pricescope. We have done threads like this before but not recently. I would love to hear from everyone, whether or not you volunteered information in the past.

I will go first. I am fluent only in English. I have studied other languages and have varying degrees of proficiency in them.I have not, yet, studied Latin and very much regret that.

Deb :))
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 7, 2013
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6,219
My mother tongue is Cantonese, however, I only speak with my mum in Cantonese via the phone and in person. I can't really read or write Chinese anymore.

I can speak and write a little bit of French.

I can read the menus in Italian and possibly Spanish too. :))

And English is what I use all the time.

DK :))
 

diamondringlover

Ideal_Rock
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Dec 12, 2006
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3,847
I only speak English...took 1 year of Spanish in jr high school and helped my kids with homework in Spanish class so have a tiny basic understanding of some of it but that it is.
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 13, 2004
Messages
3,253
I’m fluent in Chinese (Mandarin). English (read and write).

I can also speak and understand Taiwanese and Cantonese dialects.

Because I lived in South Africa as a child, I can still understand Afrikaans (similar to Dutch), hence had an easy time learning German in my high school years in Hamburg. I can understand Afrikaans and German when I read it or hear it, but cannot converse with any kind of fluency anymore.

I understand some Japanese due to my grandmother and some high school bff’s speaking to me in Japanese, but more like household words here and there, which I can piece together to follow a conversation. Last but not least, I have working Spanish (reading) due to my job requirement to understand LATAM regulations which are not always translated into English.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 1, 2009
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English is my native language. I can understand some Hebrew but am very slow at forming sentences. I took some Spanish in college so have a smattering of that also. I need to practice and get better with both!

I'm picking up tidbits of Romanian thanks to the airplane we are restoring and a little Portuguese thanks to a friend who posts in Portuguese often.

Other than that, I have a few random words in various other languages because DH speaks many and likes to practice every so often by emailing or texting in a different language...
 

Matata

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 10, 2003
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7,141
Native language -- English
Fluent in Italian and German although it's tougher to maintain without anyone nearby to keep me sharp. Speak enough tourist to get by in French, Spanish, Russian.
 

Musia

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 28, 2020
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Hello! I am fluent in Ukrainian and Russian and I was one of the best in my school at learning and using these 2 languages. I always believed I am talented in learning other languages since I was also doing very well in my English class. When I arrived in the US in June 1998 at the age of 33, I experienced the biggest shock in my life. I am still slowly recovering from it. When asked, I was able to talk for hours about Lenin, USSR, Communist Party, Comsomol and Space Exploration. That' all. Not hearing or reading familiar words, not being able to answer any simple question except "Do you speak English/German/Spanish?" or "What is your name?" I felt I was dumb and preferred to be silent. Such a shock and shame! Newer had enough will to study and learn proper English. Bad trait in character. My fault, I know. Reading for me is the easiest and I enjoy good books now. Speaking is still difficult. Writing is the worst!

Other languages that I didn't learn. German was the language my kids studied at school while we were in Ukraine. I know several words. Polish was my late father's native language, his family was from Western Ukraine that was a part of Poland before 1939. He was also fluent in German, he attended and graduated from German School that was near his home town. I learned several dozen words in Polish from him and it is easy for me to understand Polish language. Of course, I would prefer to answer in Ukrainian.

Some little Yiddish. Love this language! I myself am Bubbe Musia for my granddaughters. Yiddish is limited to several dozen words too, unfortunately. Some little Japanese. My older granddaughter is 1/4 Japanese and this language was actually the first one my American born DIL spoke (her mom is just like me, came to the US and newer learned proper English). So now, since this baby is my next door neighbor, we are speaking 3 languages to her. Our plans were for her to attend Japanese daycare starting in September (100% Japanese) and learn everything our local Japanese Cultural Center offers to 2-3-4 y.o.
 
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AGBF

Super_Ideal_Rock
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21,549
English, French and Russian. However I can’t read or write in Russian...
I would not want to tackle that Cyrillic alphabet! The diacritical marks in Czech with the Latin alphabet were challenge enough for me! Brava that you mastered Russian!
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
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May 13, 2018
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I think for languages you haven't attained true fluency in, your skill definitely atrophies over time.

I consider myself a prodigy at language since I picked up learning to read Chinese the old way without phonetics basically in pre-school, and by kindergarten I could read high school texts in Chinese.

Mandarin is my mother tongue, and I can understand and borderline speak 2 more of the 8 Chinese languages, but just not Cantonese. The reason I'm not fluent in the other Chinese languages is that my parents always communicate with me in Mandarin.

I had a couple Japanese best friends and was very much into anime/manga growing up, so I'm familiar with Japanese to sound fluent making the sounds, but not really knowing the grammar formally. In high school I (for fun) decided to take a practice SAT Japanese test without any preparation. I couldn't understand what the heck most the phrases meant, but sounded out each answer choice myself and just guessed based on which answer choice sounded "best". Ended up scoring high 600s and found that amusing.

Spanish I studied for 3 years plus a summer in high school, and I was the top student for which it was not a mother tongue in both the Spanish AP classes. Did a year of Spanish in college, too, but don't have many situations where I use it, so my skill with Spanish went from very proficient to somewhere between proficient and basic. I can understand and read it well.

I was one semester away from completing a minor in Russian and Eurasian studies, and spent a summer traveling in Russia and Kazakhstan in 2017. I was told I write very well in Russian, but of course due to the difficult grammar my speaking/writing speed is very slow! Occasionally I'll watch figure skating Youtube videos in Russian and understand the gist of 75% of the interview.

I dropped out of a couple Korean classes but used to be able to type in Korean. Have learned some touristy phrases in French and German.
 

Musia

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Mar 28, 2020
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@voce my son's former classmate (Ukrainian girl) is just like you. Become fluent in English before she turned 6. Now she is fluent in French, Italian, German and Japanese. She played flute, violin and piano, graduated from Special Music School for gifted young musicians as a pianist and then was accepted to Kyiv State University to study Italian. Graduated with honors. I am keeping in touch with her and my DIL took several lessons in Japanese from her by Skype :)
 

voce

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@voce my son's former classmate (Ukrainian girl) is just like you. Become fluent in English before she turned 6. Now she is fluent in French, Italian, German and Japanese. She played flute, violin and piano, graduated from Special Music School for gifted young musicians as a pianist and then was accepted to Kyiv State University to study Italian. Graduated with honors. I am keeping in touch with her and my DIL took several lessons in Japanese from her by Skype :)
Musia, it's my pet theory that mastering foreign languages requires a good ear, so it's interesting that this talented Ukranian girl happens to be a musician! Yes, this is my confirmation bias for my pet theory.

My own experience is that I could sing J-pop and K-pop fluently before I could speak fluently. I can imitate singing and speech such that I could fool someone into thinking me truly fluent, although this would just be parroting and not true fluency.

From my own observations with trying to improve/correct other people's pronunciation problems (always when they ask, I'm not rude enough to bring attention to such a thing on my own), Westerners are often unable to distinguish the different tones of many Asian languages that is crucial to being able to communicating accurately, and Asians often do not pronounce the consonants of Western languages correctly. So if you have a good ear, you're able to replicate sounds more accurately without an accent that would mark you as a foreigner.
 

Weecam

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 1, 2017
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587
I would not want to tackle that Cyrillic alphabet! The diacritical marks in Czech with the Latin alphabet were challenge enough for me! Brava that you mastered Russian!
Oh no my Russian is very rusty! Not mastered at all. We spoke Russian at home when we were young.
I tried to learn how to read and write when I was in Cegep but one semester just wasn’t long enough lol.
 

dizzyakira

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Sep 25, 2016
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214
My native tongue is Khmer. I'm fluent in speaking basic vocabulary (my parents were uneducated farmers hehe). I can't read or write but would love to learn, although it hurts my brain to look at the characters.

I'm most fluent in English (some days even this is questionable lol). I grew up and attend school in the US. I took 4 years of Spanish in high school and minored in Spanish in university. Unfortunately I joined the army and was sent to Germany so my Spanish is passable and I'm losing fluency every year. My French is enough to get by in France despite being married to a Frenchman for almost 18 years and having in laws who only speak French (I spent lots of time doing gestures lol). I managed to learn almost no German after having lived there for 3 years. I know some words in Thai (was in refugee camp for a few years and grew up watching Thai soap operas).

Oddly enough I was able to learn English in 6 months and was fluent (as fluent as a US born inner city kid in Philadelphia :D ) in a year. I was 8 years old, imagine if I was exposed to many languages from birth!

Oh I know a few words in Cantonese - enough to order dim sum and dumplings. My accent is atrocious and sometimes I get pork instead of shrimp, but whatever! I'm not giving up! Lol

I know some sign language because I was very shy in school and wouldn't speak so my teacher taught me the alphabet and some basics. That I retained, so odd.

I consider myself almost bilingual. Like maybe 1.65 languages. Although when living in Germany I thought I was going crazy and thought maybe I understood German. After a while German started sounding like English but with words all strung together. :-o
 

qubitasaurus

Brilliant_Rock
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Dec 18, 2014
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I spent 5 years learning mandarin, and lived in beijing on off for a few years, my reading and listening was ok. My ability to speak was complete rubbish and people just humoured me for the most part by pretending I made sense when I opened my mouth (chinese people are very sweet about this). Never understood anything other than Taiwanese accent (first teacher) and beijing accent (I remember getting out of the train station in random places like shanxi and hefei thinking id be fine because I spoke enough mandarin to reach the hotel by myself -- couldn't understand a word.). Unfortunately I havent used it almost at all in the last few years and am losing it. I keep wanting to learn again as my daughter is beginning to speak some mandarin -- first language of most of her friends and only language of some of her relatives -- but always feel too busy and too tired to manage these days.
 

Nikki1415

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May 17, 2018
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744
Oh no my Russian is very rusty! Not mastered at all. We spoke Russian at home when we were young.
I tried to learn how to read and write when I was in Cegep but one semester just wasn’t long enough lol.
I learned to read by memorizing the alphabet and opened a book to read, the more you read the easier it gets. My writing is awful because I don't understand the grammar and spelling rules (certain letters can't be next to each other or must always be next to each other), though if I use a translator I can fix the mistakes since I can read.
 

Weecam

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 1, 2017
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587
I learned to read by memorizing the alphabet and opened a book to read, the more you read the easier it gets. My writing is awful because I don't understand the grammar and spelling rules (certain letters can't be next to each other or must always be next to each other), though if I use a translator I can fix the mistakes since I can read.
French is complicated too....masculine, feminine, verb conjugation, sentence structure is backwards to English etc etc! o_O
 
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