UAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2235 times:
I've always admired Europeans for their language skills. It's so interesting that there are so many different languages in an area with relative size to the United States. Anyway, to my point, how did you learn your foriegn language skills? Was it by being exposed to a foreign language in daily life, the classroom, or that you just have the interest. I speak 3 languages, well, 2 fluently, (French and English) and I speak fundamental Mandarin Chinese. In fact, I just used my Chinese a minute ago when the Chinese food delivery lady came to my door. We chatted a bit in Mandarin, she is from Taipei.
Back my point, I learned French by studying in school from a young age. I speak French rather fluently. I studied Mandarin in college, and I spent time living in Beijing, studying at Beijing Shou Du Da Xue (Beijing Capital University).
Secondly, I need to brush up on my Mandarin skills. Does anyone have any recommendations? It's rare that you find someone in Oklahoma City who speaks it, unless you go to the Asian district. Often times, and I know this sounds weird, I have conversations with myself in French and Chinese, just to keep the skills up. For instance, I went to Home Depot two days ago and I made myself talk about what I wanted in French. LOL, the reaction to ANY foreign speaker in OK is funny. People look at you when you speak French and ask you where you are from. Sometimes I do it just to make people feel weird. But, seriously, I need to keep my language skills in check. What do you do to stay fluent?
Dtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2230 times:
Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter): how did you learn your foriegn language skills? Was it by being exposed to a foreign language in daily life, the classroom, or that you just have the interest.
I speak fluent German, and I am told by native speakers, it is accent free, quite an accomplishment for an American.
I took German Lit. as a Major at NYU.
Spent two summers at the Goethe Institute in Germany (Schwaebisch Hall & Prien am Chiemsee)
I took an opportunity to do an apprenticeship in s.e. Germany for a summer.
I then worked and lived in Germany and Switzerland for 5 years.
ZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5563 posts, RR: 38 Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2208 times:
In school and traveling abroad. Here in Switzerland the kids have to learn at least two foreign languages. In my Canton (state) the pupils learn the first foreign language from second grade and the second from fourth grade.
Andz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8359 posts, RR: 11 Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2208 times:
I learned Afrikaans when I arrived in South Africa in 1975 because I had no choice, at the time both official languages (A and English) were compulsory school subjects. I took immigrant classes for a year and picked it up pretty fast.
I learned German when a company I worked for offered us lessons for free, the course was Deutsche fuer Erwachsene (German for adults) that concentrated on the practical daily use of the language rather than the structure that is taught in school.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
Carmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4748 posts, RR: 33 Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2205 times:
Another language thread... I love 'em!
I started learning English in preschool, and though I never took any courses besides the regular school program, I progressed well enough, up to the point of holding a fluent conversation by the end of elementary school.
Of course, I continued learning, and took a translation course after graduating from high school. Nowadays, English is a must for anyone looking for a decent job, and my good command of language surely has helped me in that sense... Besides translations as part of my job, I practice written English a lot by posting here (oh really? ). My spoken English could use a little brush-up, though, but it's still at a good level.
Other than that, I took up German a couple of years ago but had to drop it (no time, no $$$...). I didn't have a chance to practice it enough, so I've forgotten most of it. Same goes for the kaqchikel I learned as part of the translation program...
Hopefully I'll be able to retake the language studies I left unfinished... and then we'll talk
Being a pioneer in any field is not by itself a guarantee of continued success - Pan Am, anyone?
AR1300 From Argentina, joined Feb 2005, 1740 posts, RR: 3 Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2191 times:
Well, as it seems obvious I speak spanish as it is my mother tongue.We are jewish, so we speak hebrew, as it is a regular thing in our lives, starting to learn it from the kinder.
And about english, i went 7 years to a private school and I had a mentor back at home, twice a week.Then I moved to Chicago for three years, so I mastered it there.
The little arabic that I know, is from my GP being Egyptian, and they insist in talking to us grankids in arabic, and sometimes in French.But French sounds like ''tre,tre,tre'' to me.I don't get a blasted word.
Dtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2188 times:
Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 8): just was wondering how you got along with Bavarian and Swiss dialects, which are more or less (or rather less and more) different from "standard German" ?
I of course learned "Schrift Deutsch" as you say in Switzerland, but I was aware of dialect from day one.
I understand a little Berner and Basler dialect, and somewhat more Schwaebisch and Bavarian.
I made every attempt not to let my German be "corrupted" because it sounds really dumb (or so I was told) to try and speak dialect. As you know, most people will work with you and speak in "high German".
My accent did however become flavoured a bit with southern German, as I found out when I moved to Dusseldorf.
ManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 2995 posts, RR: 49 Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2182 times:
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My mother tongue is Italian because I live in the italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
My parents both speak German and French because they come from the german-and-french speaking part of Switzerland. They speak both languages when talking to each other, so that's how I learned these 2 languages.
And my uncle lives in the US. I was allowed to spend a month every sommer with him. That's how I learned English...
And by the way, in our schools we are taught all these 4 languages. But that's a little bit overkill IMHO ... if you didn't learn them somehow before, it's hard to become fluent in all of them, just by learning them at school.
AOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1299 posts, RR: 12 Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2157 times:
English from school (9 years), idem for Italian (7 years).
The Internet, especially forums like this one, helped me a lot improve my English skills.
I chose Italian because I live in a Mediterranean area, and I also have Italian ancesters. Plus it's a very beautiful language, but not as easy as you'd think at first sight.
LH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 55 Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2155 times:
My grandparents were from Québec and from a very young age they would speak to me in French. Though, now with no one really to speak to I'm starting to lose some of my oral abilities though through reading a lot and listening to Québécois radio and tv and music I keep my reading, writing, and listening skills in good form.
My dad started teaching me German when I was young and I started getting good at it, but we didn't keep it up and I've lost most of my German aside from basic salutations, needs, etc.
Quoting Knoxibus (Reply 2): Lived in England for 4 years so it made it easier for me to master it, and try to get rid of that filthy french accent.
You know, a lot of people find a gentle French accent to be quite sexy!
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
AOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1299 posts, RR: 12 Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2143 times:
My mother speaks fluent Mandarin, I should've realized before that it would've been an awesome opportunity for me to learn Chinese. Better late than never, if I ever move to China I know where to seek support.
British767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 284 posts, RR: 22 Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 2138 times:
The only foreign language I am learning is German. I have been learning it for 7 years now, and about to start studying it at university for another 4 years. School laid down the foundations and gave me a basic knowledge (and also complex grammar) of the language, but I found that I have learnt a lot of my German, and gained some confidence by being in Germany itself, and speaking in a conversation with natives (although speaking to shopkeepers and so on didn't help my confidence at all!). I would say I am about 50% fluent or so.
I went on a German exchange to a town called Kassel in 2002, and my German was really, really limited. But after being in the country for a mere 6 days I managed to learn the whole thing regarding the perfect and imperfect tense from my exchange partner! This to me was proof that being in the native country really does help!
Marambio From Argentina, joined Oct 2004, 1158 posts, RR: 27 Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2092 times:
Well, let's say languages are something I have always liked.
Of course I am a fluent Spanish speaker, as it is my mother tongue. I'd rather say my mother tongue is Lunfardo, the somewhat dialected Spanish we speak in Argentina, but oh well.
I speak French at an almost-native level. I have been learning Molière's language since the age of 3, and I am about to pass my Baccalauréat exams (the Epreuves anticipées, actually) in less than two months. For those who may know the French school system, I picked the série Littéraire.
As for English, I started learning it at the age of 12, at a private institute here in Buenos Aires. My performance was certainly improved by occasional trips to both the US and the UK. Last year I passed Cambridge's First Certificate of English, and I'm looking forward to passing the Certificate of Advanced English next December. Overall, I still find my English to be plain average, and I am really trying to get rid of the damn accent.
I am now taking Portuguese classes at school in order to obtain more credits for the Baccalauréat. Even though Camõens' language is very similar to Spanish, that is also its main problem - it is somewhat natural to end up speaking in Portuñol, a half-Spanish, half-Portuguese hybrid.
Although I never took an Italian course, I can speak it somewhat fluently, due to the strong link it has got with Lunfardo. The latter, according to some linguists, looks more Italian than Spanish sometimes.
German is widely spoken in my family, thus I can understand and read it without big trouble, yet my speaking is horrible. I will take some German classes somewhere in the near future.
Finally, my mother has lived in the Netherlands for the last two years, so I managed to pick up some Dutch while visiting her. For sure I cannot have a fluent conversation, but I can read it without too much hassle. Lately I have read some texts in Afrikaans, and I understood half of them because of its similarity with Dutch.
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USAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53 Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2085 times:
Took my required 3 years of a language in high school...I took Spanish...I was contemplating taking Norwegian here at college, just cause I wanted to learn another language that was a bit less traditional than the standard offerings of French/Spanish/German etc. but unfortunately I don't have enough spare credits anymore to allow that...
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MAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 31773 posts, RR: 73 Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2060 times:
Spanish was my first language, so I became native to that. When I started school, I started learning English, and some Swedish, when I first went to school. Naturally, English became my "best" language, even though it wasn't my first. I took some German in high school, which I vaguely remember I learned Italian and Portuguese in college, as well as two years of Hindi. Italian and Portuguese came very, very easy to me simply because they are so familar to Spanish.
Living in Miami, keeping up my Spanish speaking is a breeze. I use it on a daily basis. I also get to practice my Portuguese, and to a lesser extent my Italian, in Miami quite frequently, as both are commonly spoken around here in downtown and Miami Beach. Practicing my Hindi is the most difficult. I watch a lot of Bollywood movies, and, when I'm living in Chicago, head to Devon Street. I don't practice my Swedish and German, both of which I am terrible at.