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Learning English As A Second Language  
User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 491 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1508 times:

A very large number of airliners.net users seem to speak English as their second (or greater) language, and generally speak it quite well, I think. I know that if I tried to speak, say, French or German in France or Germany, it would be nowhere as good!

So for all those growing up in a non-English speaking country:

How did you learn English?

Is English required in your country's schools, and if so, at what age?

Do you "learn" a lot of English by yourself, from English media like movies, books, web sites, or is it all from school, textbooks, etc.

Do you find reading airliners.net or another English web site/book/etc. difficult at all -- do you need to "translate" mentally at all, or is it very natural.

Do you feel that it's right to be using English as a universal language, or would you rather use your native language?

I'm very interested in hearing some of your perspective on this subject.

41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMighluss From Spain, joined Oct 2001, 948 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1439 times:

I'm from Spain, and I learned english in the primary school, but if I speak english is because I'm using it everyday here, in my work, etc.
I don't translate when I read english, I do it naturally, but sometimes is difficult for me, reading something, or writting...(you can see here...).
Now I 'm studying German, and it will be my 4th. language, because in Barcelona (Catalonia), we have two native languages, but after all you are right, english is the universal language now, here, and everywhere.



Miquel.
User currently offlineCarmy From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 627 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1436 times:

Well here in Singapore where I live, everyone learns English as their first language. A large number of Singaporeans speak English at home, and hardly anyone has any problems writing in perfect English. All road signs, notices, letters, are written in English. We've a total of four or five English newspapers, and five English television channels on free to air television. Medium of instruction in all schools is English, and all official documents are written in English. By the way, only British English is used.  Wink/being sarcastic

Besides learning English, all students must learn the language of their ancestry, which for most people in the country is either Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. The country prides itself in being effectively bilingual, where a large proportion of the population have absolutely no problem switching between English and their mother tongue. To further enhance Singaporeans' ability to communicate with the world, the top ten percent of all students graduating from primary school are given the option of taking a third language, which the government offers free of charge. This is to ensure that Singapore will never be hampered anywhere because of language difficulties.

We sit for the same Cambridge O and A level examinations as Great Britain and many other Commonwealth countries, and Singaporean students have continually done well in these examinations, primarily because of their ability to write in flawless English coloured with a unique Far Eastern perspective of world affairs.

Most Singaporeans have no problem with English as the universal language. Their ability to speak flawless English is an advantage which they have over many of their Asia peers. And with Asia fast rising in every way, we view the ability to switch from one language to another flawlessly as an asset.

I don't think anyone in Singapore has any problems reading in English. In fact, many younger Singaporeans may prefer to speak in their native tongues, but writing and reading in English comes more naturally than writing in their native tongue.


User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

I second what carmy says. I speak and write English more effectively and naturally than my native tongue, which is either Tamil or Chinese. I hated Chinese lessons in school.

Actually English, to me, is my native language. Chinese is foreign and strange as far as I'm concerned.



User currently offlineSoren-a From Denmark, joined Sep 2001, 235 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1424 times:

Hi

Here in Denmark English is taught from the 5th grade if I remeber correct (It has been awhile since I was in the 5th grade) and all the way up to the 2nd or 3rd year of high school.

All movies and TV shows on English has danish sub-titles which means that you can pick up quite a lot of English from watching TV (how said TV made you stupid??  Wink/being sarcastic).

Personally I dont find it difficult to read, write or speak English anymore, but as with everything else it was difficult in the beginning, but when you are exposed to english in some form every day you quickly pick it up, and I don't have to "translate" it in my head.

As far as English being the universal language it is ok with me (it would also be a bit hard to change it now  Smile/happy/getting dizzy). I would of couse prefer that the hole world spoke Danish, but I know that will never happen, since we use letters that pretty much no one else does (æ, ø and å), and therefore have not chance of pronauncing (I have yet to meet a non-danish speaking person that can say my name right Wink/being sarcastic).

Regards
Søren Augustesen


User currently offlineMighluss From Spain, joined Oct 2001, 948 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1419 times:

Soren, one question:

Is danish, or other nordic languages similar to German?



Miquel.
User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1416 times:

Interesting -- my ethnicity is Chinese, and I've spend a lot of time in China and Taiwan, and I can speak, read and write Mandarin well, but forget about any European language -- simply because I have no chance to use it!

Yeah, I agree about Singapore -- I have some relatives there, and so I visit there regularly.

Its interesting seeing the diverse cultures using English as their common language, and at the same time, keeping their own language and culture alive.

At the same time, Singlish is pretty interesting.  Smile My Singaporean friends speak perfect English outside of Singapore, like in the US, but revert to Singlish back in Singapore.



User currently offlineSoren-a From Denmark, joined Sep 2001, 235 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1418 times:

Hi

In my opinion Danish and German is not at all similar to German (there might be some similarity in the origin of the words). The succession of words in a sentence is very different. In danish schools Gernam is also taught (from the 7th or 8th grade), but most students find it much more diffucult than English (some even choose to learn FRENCH instead!!!  Wink/being sarcastic).

Danish, Norweigan and Swedish are very similar.
Finnish if very different from dansih, swedish and norweigian, but it might be similar to german although I would guess that it is more like russian (Is the a Finn on a.net that can clarifiy this??).

Regards
Søren Augustesen


User currently offline9V-SVE From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 2066 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1410 times:

Like Docpepz, I hate my native tougue! Chinese! Oh and ya our family doesn't like Singlish, except Me and my brother la. Big grin

By The Way, Carmy, Not everyone uses Brit's English la. Big grin



User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 33
Reply 9, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1411 times:


Q: How did you learn English?
A: school (6 years), CNN, USAToday/IHT, books, travel, living in Ireland for a while.

Q: Is English required in your country's schools, and if so, at what age?
A: My country being Germany, you´re required to take English courses from ages 10-15, 10-16, 10-19, 12-16 or 12-19, depending on the type of secondary school you attend.

Q: Do you "learn" a lot of English by yourself, from English media like movies, books, web sites, or is it all from school, textbooks, etc.
A: Well, I wouldn´t call it "learning" any more, but I use it in everyday life.

Q: Do you find reading airliners.net or another English web site/book/etc. difficult at all -- do you need to "translate" mentally at all, or is it very natural.
A: I don´t find it difficult at all. And I don´t translate it, that would be way too clumsy.

Q: Do you feel that it's right to be using English as a universal language, or would you rather use your native language?
A: Uhh, I believe this is not a question of right or wrong, but rather convenience. English is THE universal language, I´m glad it is, rather than, say, Hindi - because English is very easy to learn for German native speakers, due to the two languages´ similarities.


Daniel Smile




User currently offlineJetboy From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 184 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1408 times:

Actually Finnish is not related to Russian or German. Finnish belongs to the Finno-Hungaric language group and is vaguely related to hungarian.

As far as Danish, Swedish and Norweigian go, to my understanding they belong to the germanic language group and are infact related to german.

And for the questions, i started learnin english when i was in kindergarten and continued studying it in elementary and high school, so that hoe i learned it.
My mother tongue is finnish, but english is almost equally strong, soi have no difficulties in english.

Officialy my school thought finniah as the second language..on 5th garade we were introduced to swedish, 8th grade i chose french and in High School spanish and italian  Smile

cheers jetboy


User currently offlineB737-700 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1402 times:


In Germany you usually start to learn English in fifth grade and continue it until you graduate which depends on the kind of school you attend. I myself have learned English for 9 years now and it's fun to use it. Actually I'm using it everyday (Internet, CNN, Newsweek, ...)

I don't find it difficult to read it here on airliners.net. Occassionally I look up a word or two when I'm curious to know what it exactly means but otherwise not.

Rgds,
B737-700


User currently offlineMatt86 From Germany, joined May 2001, 254 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1402 times:

I'm learning English in school for 7 years now. It was my first foreign language, the second is French (but I hate it...) English is taught in the 5th grade (sometimes in the 7th or 3rd grade) until school ends. One can learn and use english in the internet, on tv, radio, computer and of course in english-speaking countries. I don't find it hard to understand english, but sometimes there are words which I don't understand or someone is talking in an english dialect. English is naturally for me. I think it's the Universal Language and everybody should be able to speak and understand it.

User currently offlineSebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1404 times:

In France, we have to learn 2 foreign languages. Mainly English, German, Spanish.
But school is not the best place to learn to speak fluently with native English speakers.

I learned the most of what I say in Denmark or in France with a Danish Friend. I had some vocabulary from the school, and I could improve my skills with Internet and English or American TV.

The records were important also. Listening to Deep Purple was good, as well as Iron Maiden and many others...
(Cannibal Corpse is less helpful, cos' you don't hear what they say, even if you understand what they mean  Smile/happy/getting dizzy ).


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 33
Reply 14, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1399 times:

Oh, and by the way, English was my third language: I started learning Latin at school two years before I started English. A very sensible approach, because Latin helps so much in understanding languages´ grammatical structures. Plus it helps you with lots of words of the Roman or Roman influenced languages like Italian, English, French, Spanish...

Daniel Smile


User currently offlineTurbolet From Cape Verde, joined Nov 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1391 times:

Hmm... interesting thread.
I live in Malta, but my parents are Czech. Malta has English as the second official language, and to me English has become my first language. I speak Czech as well and basic Maltese, but I find that there are many expressions in English I want to use even when talking Czech at home. In the end, I usually just say it in English.
I speak English most of the day, read English only apart from exceptions and spend a lot of time on chat and discussions, where English is basically the only language spoken. I think I have a richer vocabulary in English than any of the other languages I can speak.
-turbolet


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1392 times:

I might ask for this thread to be deleted because you are making me feel ever so ashamed! Big grin

Good on all of you, no matter where you learnt the language.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineCarmy From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 627 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1385 times:

9V-SVE: Everyone uses British English in Singapore. All official buildings with the word Centre in it is spelled Centre, not Center. All our newspapers spell in British English. All our television stations spell in British English when they've got subtitles. All official government documents are written in British English. All our textbooks up to junior college is in British English. We sit for the Cambridge GCE 'O' and 'A' level papers, which is all in British English.

Bottom line. Everyone uses British English. Period.  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineMighluss From Spain, joined Oct 2001, 948 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1385 times:

It's interesting to see that there are lots of countries using english more than their native language, here in Spain lots of people don't know to speak english, or very few...(I don't speak it perfect at all)...well, Spanish is one of the most used languages too!


Miquel.
User currently offlineCarmy From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 627 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1383 times:

Actually, Chinese is the world's most commonly spoken language, and the language with the most number of native speakers, i.e. people of Chinese descent.

User currently offlineMighluss From Spain, joined Oct 2001, 948 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1382 times:

2nd: English.
3rd: Spanish.

(I think...)



Miquel.
User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1377 times:

If any of you want to learn Singlish, just visit

http://www.talkingcock.com



User currently offlineGdabski From Poland, joined Oct 2001, 423 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1361 times:

Q:How did you learn English?
A: Watching TV

Q:Is English required in your country's schools, and if so, at what age?
A: In Poland you have to learn your first foreign language (in most cases it's English but sometimes you have German, French or even Russian) from the age of 10 but in some schools you have English lessons from the age of 7. A second foreign language may be introduced when you are 13 and has to be introduced at the age of 16.

Q: Do you "learn" a lot of English by yourself, from English media like movies, books, web sites, or is it all from school, textbooks, etc.
A: Because of small salaries the teachers are poor so most of the students take additional foreign language lessons. As for me I think that English media are a good way to broaden your voacabulary.

Q: Do you find reading airliners.net or another English web site/book/etc. difficult at all -- do you need to "translate" mentally at all, or is it very natural.
A: It's very natural for me to read in English but sometimes I have problems with gramatics and spelling when I have to write or say something.

And this was probably my longest post on a.net Confused

Regards,
Gdabski


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 23, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1350 times:

But very well written.


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (12 years 10 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1340 times:

Q: How did you learn English?
A: I learned it at school. It started when I was 13 and I have had it ever since. I am now 20 and therefore have had 7 years of English at school. I will have at least 2 years of English to go. Since recently I am in an international class, were we off course all speak English as well.
I also learned it from TV. Programmes in Holland are subtitle, so you constantly hear English. In other countries, for instance Germany and France, the text is changed into German/French. They therefore have less experience in English, but more fun. Ever heard a Cowboy or Winston Churchill speak German or French?
Next to that I also read a lot of English magazines and books (AirlinerWorld, Air Forces Monthly etc) and read English on the internet.

Q: Is English required in your country's schools, and if so, at what age?
A: In Holland English is required from about your 13th to your 16th/17th. All depends on your education level. Students on higher educational levels usually have to follow English (depending on what you study, law for instance has no use for English).
German is required for at least one year, but I have had it for 5. I have had French for 3 years. That is not required by law, but at some schools it is. Unfortunately it was required by my school. I am very bad at French.

Q: Do you find reading airliners.net or another English website/book/etc. difficult at all -- do you need to "translate" mentally at all, or is it very natural.
A: Not at all, it goes very natural. That is also the reason why I was allowed at the international class.

Q: Do you feel that it's right to be using English as a universal language, or would you rather use your native language?
A: Off course my own language is easier, but it is my understanding that not too many people speak Dutch. I do not expect the world to learn Dutch; there just aren't that many Dutch speaking people.
I am just glad the number one language is English and not Russian or Chinese. Those languages are also spoken a lot. BTW, English is not the only "world" language. In the Balkans there are more people speaking German then there are speaking English. And in the CIS more people speak Russian than English.



Attamottamotta!
25 Hepkat : Actually Soren-a & Mighluss, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch and English are all Germanic languages, i.e., they are all descendents of some old Germ
26 Post contains images Soren-a : Hi Hepkat Thanks for the info about the languages - you learn something new every day Regards Søren Augustesen
27 Banco : It's interesting that all the English speaking countries share a common uselessness when it comes to learning languages. In the UK we are constantly b
28 Sebolino : The funny thing with English: It's true that it's a Germanic language like German or Danish. At the opposite French, Spanish, Italian are Latin. But h
29 Banco : Well, Norman French and real French drifted apart over a couple of hundred years. Norman French was infused with the Anglo Saxon spoken by the majorit
30 Sebolino : >>English has ten times the vocabulary of French, and three >>times that of German. Interesting !!! I don't feel that I have difficulties to express m
31 Banco : I don't think so either. But remember that regardless of how large a language's full vocabulary is, most people actually only know a few thousand word
32 Docpepz : A funny thing happened when my family and I were in France. We needed to get to rue de la something so my dad wound down the window and asked this gen
33 Docpepz : I've always been puzzled as to how the average Hongkonger doesn't speak that much English. I mean, The British were there fore 156 years! WHy didn't t
34 Petertenthije : By my knowledge English has never been considered as an official second language in Holland. Fries is an official language in Holland though. It is sp
35 Sebolino : We have dictionaries of synonyms in French.
36 Carmy : Yah, why is it that a large proportion of Hong Kongers still have difficulty speaking English even though Great Britain has been administering them fo
37 Post contains images Airsicknessbag : >>>Fries is an official language in Holland though. It is spoken in the Northeast of Holland and in the Southwest of Germany. It is a mixture of the D
38 Banco : Sebolino - If that's the case, then I stand corrected. Airsicknessbag - You also have the slightly bizarre (to outsiders) sight of the British Governm
39 Rickster : I started with english at school at the age of 8 until 19 with more ore less good education. Unfortunately my grandparents from both sides never tough
40 Alessandro : Swedes start at 8 years of age to learn english. Swedish have many similarities with english, all TV channel use subtitles when they show english spea
41 Post contains images Banco : And we've got Sven!!!!
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