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  1. #21
    Senior Member Nighthawk's Avatar
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    I grew up speaking German and Flemish ... but lived in the USA. My parents emmigrated to the US from Germany two years before I was born. I didn't start learning English until I started school at age 5. As a result, I don't have an accent in any of the languages. Having no formal education in German or Flemish however, my language skills were not so good. I studied 4 years of German in high school and another 4 years in college ... which helped immensely. My Flemish however, is still rudimentary.

    I found German to be more useful when I lived in Germany for 3 years ... not so much now, except to speak with family members. I also worked for a few years translating historical books from German to English. I would probably gain more in my present location through learning Spanish. I do speak a little of that, but only a very little. I speak Flemish only with my mother, as all of the more senior members of my family who spoke it have since passed away.

    English is my primary and best language. German second, then Flemish and Spanish. I find writing German to be the most difficult, as it requires the most precision. I cannot write in Flemish or Spanish at all.

    I chicken out all the time due to lack of confidence in my ability to speak languages properly

  2. #22
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Not really. Since in every normal country you learn English paralelly with your native language.
    Yeah, in some ways it's easier to use english for conceptual writing, since the range of words I can use is not as wide as in my native language.

    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?)
    Certain words lose their non-literal meaning when translated, since figures of speech cannot be directly commuted from one language to the other.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  3. #23
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Thank you all for your posts!


    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.)


    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?)

    Well FDG said most of it already.

    When I am saying normal country I mean county that not a third world banana republic. Also I thought that it is logical to presume that I am not talking about english speaking countries.

    If you are interested in this topic I recommend this thread.


    Languages and psychology

  4. #24
    Senior Member FC3S's Avatar
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    I can speak broken Japanese - don't confuse me for the stereotypical Japanese fanboy. There's a very high chance I can hold a broken conversation with a native. I went as far as learning to lookup Japanese words on the fly - making translations with a dictionary made Babelfish look like a primitive joke.

    I studied the language off and on over the course of seven years. I found a Japanese channel quite by mistake at age 13 and started learning the language from then on. I haven't found it too useful, save for the occasional Japanese video game.
    ESTP - Definition: "Love" is making a shot to the knees of a target a 120 km away, with an aratech sniper rifle and tri-light scope.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #25
    Member songofcalamity's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    Mandarin.

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English, because it is an international language.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    Very useful, I need it to converse with my non-Mandarin speaking friends and for school. I speak to them on an almost daily basis.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    Grammar. Easy? Hmm ... I don't know.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    Speaking ... ahhh probably when I was 12, though it is not so much about the language but about my socializing skills.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    Yeah, because I can't seem to pronounce some words however hard I try to. My friends tell me it's because I have a short (retarded <_<) tongue.

  6. #26
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    Turkish.

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English, German (but my level of English is far better than that of my German)
    Both were part of the curricula of the schools I've been in.


    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    English - almost none in real life, considering where I live, but very helpful in the case of 1) interaction over the internet, 2) trips out-of-country 3) it's language of education in the university I attend, so it naturally helps a lot there
    German - almost none, occasional Internet browsing, reading, also 2

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    English - didn't find anything to be particularly difficult, to be frank
    German - memorization was difficult: the articles that precede each noun, prepositions and how they influence adjective declinations; also, getting used to the different sentence structure; both factors were compounded by my prior familiarity with English. Also, my vocabulary is rather small, but that's not really a structural obstacle

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    English - I suppose I wasn't ever uncomfortable
    German - I'm permanently uncomfortable okay, not really, but I'd rather use English first and move on to German if that fails, because of my differing levels of proficency, so there's a clear preference

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    Plenty of times, mostly while learning German (which was the language of education in my high school). When I'm alone I usually don't chicken out, which is out of necessity, but if I'm with others that can do a better job at communication, I generally stay silent
    Not really.

  7. #27
    Senior Member epp's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    Estonian

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English, a little bit of French, I can understand but not speak Finnish... oh, and I have also studied Russian for 10 years, yet I couldn't speak it even if my life depended on it.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    English is an international language, most of the books in the uni were in English.
    Other languages - I don't use them on a daily basis.

    Also - speaking another language sort of gives you a new dimension in thinking as there are specific ways to express different things in different languages. It is sort of 'deep' to explain as it goes really into 'meta' language. There is an article about that phenomenon - Edge: HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky. And I can assure you - it really works that way, I have experienced it myself. In Estonian (and Finnish) you really do say things in a much different way sometimes, animating and feeling nature much more than in English.

    Just one quick example: 'I am standing in the sun' would be 'ma seisan pikese kes' in Estonian which would literally mean 'I am standing in the hand of the sun'.

    That new dimension that you get when you 'grasp' the logic in another language is... eye-opening

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    English - generally grammar, but more specifically - word order!

    Basically, in Estonian you can use words in whatever order you like, the meaning doesn't really change, although it can add nuances. There are only a few word orders you can't use as it would sound just plain weird. Guess what - usually it's the exact word order that has to be used in English...

    I also don't 'get' the articles as we don't have those in Estonian. I mean, I can STUDY everything else, learn and remember how it's similar and how it's different... with articles it's hopeless, there is nothing to compare the 'logic' to . (So, usually I just don't use them at all :P)

    Vocabulary is easy on the other hand

    I understand Finnish because it's very similar to Estonian. I can't speak it because I've never learned the differences . Sometimes they say you can speak Estonian, just add '-lla' or '-nen' to every word and then you get Finnish. I haven't tried, though

    I won't comment much on other languages as I don't really speak them.

    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    With English it took about 2 weeks to feel comfortable. I was an exchange student in NZL, you see, I HAD to speak English and English only because there were no Estonians around and it was the only way to communicate. After a year I spoke English on the level of a native speaker (I was tested, yes). Not anymore, of course (as you can see yourself), it takes about a day of intense English-speaking without a chance to speak Estonian (and this is extremely important!) until there is a 'click' in my head and I sort of switch back to that level.

    I'm not afraid to speak a foreign language because of my exchange student experience. I know it's just an emotion and there are always different ways make to make yourself understood - and this is THE most important part, not the 'correct' language, mistakes or whatever.

    For example, after my exchange year I was comfortable to order food in a restaurant in Paris when my French vocabulary was about 50 words and I had no idea whatsoever about the grammar . I wouldn't have tried to speak about literature, though

    A smile always helps, too...

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    Before my exchange year? :P

  8. #28
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?
    Finnish.
    What language(s) did you learn? Why?
    English, Swedish and Germany.
    English by choice, everything interesting and exciting seemed to be on that language, judged from the perspective of an 9 year old. It still seems so!
    Swedish was a compulsory language of choice. I loathed it, and got the worst grades possible.
    I picked Germany to improve my score average. It worked, and I got into the high school I wanted.

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?
    I read about as much English stuff as I do Finnish. It's awesome to have so much incredibly interesting stuff in another language. It's a world of it's own, I wouldn't wanna miss it for the world!
    I've spoken a few words of Germany, and it has helped somewhere. Compared to the trouble, the benefit borders on the nonexistent.
    I've despised to use Swedish, but I've sometimes spoken it, and it has helped in a minor way - but nowhere near as much as I'd want, given the time used for it.
    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?
    Mostly everything in English seems easy, especially vocabulary. Complex sentence arrangements, fluency, natural style when writing are the hardest. I often write long sentences, but I fail to assemble the parts of the sentence in the most readable fashion. I speak well and find it a great fun. It's easier to disregard grammar when speaking, and to supplement the communication with tone of voice and things like that.
    Swedish, Germany are almost forgotten. Swedish seems rather easy at the moment, should I choose to learn it. I'd probably catch up with Germany as well.
    About how long did it take for you to feel comfortable speaking in that language?
    About 7 years for English. For the other two, it hasn't occurred yet.
    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?
    With Swedish and Germany, all the time. With English, much less so - in the last few years, never.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #29
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    What is/are your native language(s)?

    Portuguese


    What language(s) did you learn? Why?

    English due to movies mainly at first. But it's part of school curriculum in middle/high school. Japanese basics, because I always liked the language and the culture.


    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?


    Use it on a daily basis for years now. Online mostly. But it will come in handy in the near future when I go abroad.

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?

    English is the simplest language I have come across. I didn't find anything particularly difficult about it.


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


    By the time I was 11 or so, I already felt very comfortable speaking English.


    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?


    Not irl. But I find that speaking in a non-native language can completely change the way you interact with others.

    I'm still not happy about my English as I feel I can't completely be myself as I obviously can in my native tongue. I find I'm not as funny or quick...which sucks since I'm a Ne dominant and am used to being able to quickly articulate the thoughts in my mind. Also, the cultural differences severely limit me.

  10. #30

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    I'm sure we have a few or more on here...

    What is/are your native language(s)?

    Somali (which is really sad because I can't speak it as fluently as I used to), and English

    What language(s) did you learn? Why?

    French and Arabic, French because it is a requirement in Canada plus I think it would be useful to say I speak fluent french when I'm applying for university, Arabic for cultural reasons

    How useful is a second/third/whatever language to you generally? On a daily basis?

    Well actually it is really useful because I taught myself how to speak fluent french by the time I was 13 years old so by the time I reached highschool and I was in the IB (International Baccalaureate program) the advanced french classes were a breeze besides I have my eyes on Mcgill university which is in Montreal =)

    Arabic is useful because I can talk to my mom's side of the family without having to use dramatic arm gestures which is more than I can say for my dad's side of the family <_<

    What aspects of the language did you find difficult? What did you find easy?

    With French it was the grammar I still have trouble with it sometimes despite being able to speak it very well. With Arabic it was learning how to read it and write it because it was a completly different alphabet

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

    With French uhm....6 or 7 years with Arabic 10.

    Was there ever a time you 'chickened out' because you were not confident in your ability to speak properly?

    During this French speech competition at my school I got so nervous =S

    and with Arabic I was in Saudi Arabia and I just stuck to using english because I was afraid I might pronounce something wrong and be laughed at.
    Men are like parking spaces/the good ones are always taken and the ones left are handicapped or to small.

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