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  1. #11
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Yeah, I didn't know that. Or maybe I did but forgot about that. But it sure explains it!
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  2. #12
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    English (US)

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    -I'm very proficient in Spanish -- I learned it b/c I thought it was interesting, and because speaking it is a valuable skill to have where I live.
    -I know a little bit of Portuguese and Italian (can somewhat understand it, and read it thanks to being Latin-based...but can't produce it). Portuguese I picked up at a job where I worked with a lot of Brazilians. My speaking abilities are pretty much limited to kitchen/cooking related words.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    Depends...at work I can use it a lot. I have taught Spanish before, and have had conferences with parents of Hispanic/Latino students in Spanish. Also, whenever I watch a DVD, I usually put Spanish subtitles on. Socially, though, it's rare for me to use it unless I'm around native Spanish-speaking friends.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    The subjunctive tense (the grammar changes when you're talking about hypothetical situations...and knowing when to/not to use it gets confusing). Also, assigning gender to nouns is something that doesn't come naturally.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    Ummm, 4 years, maybe? My reading and writing are much better than my speaking abilities. I didn't really develop the speaking part until I lived abroad and was forced to use it daily -- my ISTJ methodical brain likes to think things through and not make mistakes.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    I used to be, but nowadays, I realize it's just better to give it a go since learning a language is a constant learning process. I refuse to speak Spanish in Mexican restaurants, though.

  3. #13
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    English and Mandarin.

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English was the first language that I learned because my family speaks it at home. Mandarin I learned through my 12 years in Chinese schools... It is compulsory to learn a second language in my home country.

    Japanese I took 2 years of lessons for when I was 12/13. Dropped out of the 3rd language program because I didn't care for it, but still retained the basics... Want to start again because I regret dropping out.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    Not particularly useful on a daily basis since I moved to Australia. But I find myself being glad that I'm bilingual whenever there are only Chinese translations of books that I want to read/Chinese subtitles.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    The memorisation of characters for Chinese. Having the same sound mean completely different things in different contexts. The grammar, because it wasn't formally taught as "grammar" with sentence structures - I would often translate sentences into Mandarin using English grammar, and it would be wrong.

    What was "easy" was the very analogy-laden nature of the language. As soon as I understood the comparisons, I appreciated it and remembered.

    For Japanese, the hardest part was remembering not to "read" the kanji as Chinese. It's very difficult because I'm a lot more comfortable with Chinese than Japanese, and the kanji and Chinese often have exactly the same meaning.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    I don't remember. We were forced to speak Mandarin in Chinese lessons/read out loud, so it was just something that we did.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    For Japanese, yes. For Mandarin, no.

  4. #14
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)? Finnish

    What language(s) did you learn? English, Swedish, some French and little of Spanish

    Why? Because of the school system in Finland

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis? Hehe, English is very useful in TypologyC.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy? Learning words is boring. Using spoken languages is interesting.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language? Hmmm... quite long.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly? Not in English but YES in other langauges that I learned.

  5. #15
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    What is/are your native language(s)?
    Italian.

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English, because it's almost compulsory to communicate with people from all over the world. French, because it was taught in school. German, school again - could be good for business, although more and more germans speak English. I can also understand some Romanian, and of course Spanish and Portoguese due to the similarity with Italian. Latin, because they forced us to learn it in middle school - found it completely useless. I can also read Danish, but can't understand anything when people speak.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    Very useful. I use it on a daily basis to communicate with people I know.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    All the Latin-based languages were easy; I found german articles to be difficult to remember, since there is no precise rule to discern which article goes with a given word. English is extremely easy, Danish is extremely hard to speak.
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  6. #16
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    What is/are your native language(s)? Estonian

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English - my passion I've been interested in it since my early childhood+it was also mandatory in school but I didn't mind it all
    Russian - mandatory in school; I studied it for ten years, disliked it.
    German - mandatory in school; three years of study, indifferent to it.
    Latin - mandatory in the university; one year, it was pretty interesting; I wouldn't mind taking it up again.
    Spanish - had an interest to it and studied it in the university for a year; loved it.
    Finnish - it's close to my native language and I learned it solely by watching TV; love it.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    English is very useful to me on a daily basis. I generally think in English and I usually seek all the materials that interest me online in English. I sometimes read Finnish newspapers and watch Finnish TV but not on a daily basis. I don't use the other languages at all.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    I've always had a knack for languages, so none of them have been difficult for me. However, the learning depended on my interest in the languages. The mandatory languages I had to study in school were not exactly close to my heart, so I didn't pay much attention to them other than passing the course.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    I guess, after a couple of years. When you know the basics, it gets less uncomfortable when you expand your vocabulary. I've never had any discomfort with speaking in English after I grasped the basics. I can manage in Finnish but I'd have some difficulties with fluency, I've never had that much practice in it.
    Other languages - meh.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    No. It's only natural that you're going to make mistakes. You can get your message across even with very simple words and using body language, so I've never had that fear of not speaking them properly. I've never had that much practice with the mandatory languages I studied so I mostly prefer English after a while. Less hassle.

  7. #17

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    There are a lot of people here whose native language is not English. I'm really impressed with everybody's English. It's not easy to make yourself understood in a foreign language.

  8. #18
    Senior Thread Terminator Aerithria's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    English (Canadian)

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    -I was taught french in school from the beginning, because my parents put me into it. Been learning it for thirteen years. It technically wasn't my choice, but in retrospect I'm glad I was in it.
    -Not that the rest of it's relevant, but I've picked up random snippets of japanese from watching anime and I know the entire ASL alphabet (though not how to actually communicate, heh).

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    On a daily basis, it doesn't really come into play. There are a few people who come into my work who need a french-speaking person to help them, but otherwise there's not much. On the other hand, it's very convenient, living in Canada, to know french, as some positions only open up to bilingual people. It also was interesting to learn, as it introduced me to a new way of thinking.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    Nouns are gendered, which is annoying and difficult to properly learn. Like a table is female, so there's a specific word for 'the' that's used. Other than that, I found the rest of the grammar easy. Actually, thinking about it, I think phone conversations are what kill me. I can talk in french fine to other people, but on the phone I for some reason get mixed up.

    This is probably less relevant, but the biggest difficulty with french actually has more to do with english. Meaning, I know french grammar rules better than english ones, so I often use commas less often than I should or I capitalize the wrong things, etc.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    I'm not sure. I wasn't entirely comfortable with it until high school, but it's difficult to determine at what point that was. Hm.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    I still get nervous talking in french to native french-speakers, heh. It hasn't really stopped me from doing something I want to do, but there are times when at work I'll recognize someone who speaks both english and french fluently, and I'll choose english even though it'd probably be better for both of us if I spoke french.
    [insert funny quote/saying/etc.]

  9. #19
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    There are a lot of people here whose native language is not English. I'm really impressed with everybody's English. It's not easy to make yourself understood in a foreign language.
    Not really. Since in every normal country you learn English paralelly with your native language.

    The only real problem are the difference in thinking style and hidden meannings of words.

  10. #20
    Te > Fi > Ni Shaula's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your posts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Not really. Since in every normal country you learn English paralelly with your native language.
    Please define what a "normal country" is.

    In countries like the US it's not a very frequent occurance that one learns two languages simultaneous growing up unless they're living in a minority community. English is VERY dominant over here so there is hardly a reason outside of business to learn another language. Not to mention English, as some of the other posters have mentioned, is an international language. Therefore there is much less insentive to learn another language. Even in Canada I never heard anyone speaking French outside of Quebec. I imagine that other countries such as New Zealand have similar occurances.

    Europe on the otherhand has many languages in close proximity of each other and schools often mandate pupils to learn specific languages so there is significantly more exposure. (Although learning a second language in the US is encouraged it is optional and often times not always available.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    The only real problem are the difference in thinking style and hidden meannings of words.
    Oh so you mean grammar and semantics? The basic components of all language, that is. Wouldn't that be an obstacle for all persons learning a language and not solely for those who live in a "normal country"? Or do you mean that differences in "thinking style" and "hidden meanings of words" are the only obstacles for people of "normal countries" while people of "abnormal countries" have additional problems? (Such as lack of exposure to the language?)
    Is not to be held accuntable for peeling errors.

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