UAL747
Topic Author
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:33 am

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?

UAL
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
dtwclipper
Posts: 6668
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:17 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:40 am

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.
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
knoxibus
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:59 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:45 am

Being French obviously indicates that it is my mother tongue.

In the family we always had a stuff for other languages.

Learned English and German in school, but I mostly forgot all about German, but I want to start it back.

Well as for English, always loved this tongue, I don't know why, it seems to be easier to tell jokes, sing, and express feelings with english rather than french.

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.

Learned Japanese for 2 years, but as with german, without practice, I lost most of it.

For English, well I am an extremist, as I only read books in English (currently James Clavell's "Gai-Jin"), only want to go to the movies if it's subtitled, and same for the series, TV, etc.

And at work, (guess where  Smile from my profile) plenty of foreigners and British, so it's great to keep the level up.
No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
 
airxliban
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:14 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:53 am

Learned English because my father wanted me to be fluent in it

Learned French from home and from school

Learned Arabic from my parents and took a course at AUB

Learned Armenian from my mother and grandmother

Learned Turkish from living in Turkey

Learned Spanish after I had finished all the courses that my high school offered in French as a 10th grader, so I took 2 years of Spanish.


==========================================

Learned Basic as an 8th grader  Wink

Learned C as part of my college engineering curriculum

Learned Java because I took a class in it

Learned SQL and PL/SQL in school and used it while working at Boeing
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
ZRH
Posts: 4371
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 1999 11:32 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:59 am

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.

[Edited 2005-09-07 20:01:19]
 
andz
Posts: 7624
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:49 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:59 am

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
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:01 am

Another language thread... I love 'em!  bigthumbsup 

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?  silly  ). 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...  Sad

Hopefully I'll be able to retake the language studies I left unfinished... and then we'll talk Big grin

Saludos
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:02 am

Took two years of Spanish in high school. Did not speak it again until I went to Hong Kong. Lived two years in Latin America but around too many Gringoes for me to gain any real fluency.

I now wish I'd learned more languages back when my brain was more malleable.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
ME AVN FAN
Posts: 12970
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:05 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:04 am

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 1):
worked and lived in Germany and Switzerland for 5 years

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" ?
 
rossbaku
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:06 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:09 am

Learned French in school.

Learned English because it is my native language.

I'm currently trying to learn Russian because my Dad's wife's family is Russian and so I'd actually be able to use another language other than mine for good use!

RossBaku
 
AR1300
Posts: 1686
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:22 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:11 am

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.

Mike
You are now free to move about the cabin
 
dtwclipper
Posts: 6668
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:17 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:12 am

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.
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
User avatar
ManuCH
Crew
Posts: 2677
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:33 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:15 am

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.

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
Matt27
Posts: 2070
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 9:53 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:26 am

Swedish - mother tongue
English - from school (8 years)
German - from school (6 years)
Spanish - from school (3 years)

I also know some Danish and Norwegian, those languages are very similar to Swedish.

//Mattias
Man ska inte dricka rödvin i en vit hall.
 
AOMlover
Posts: 1191
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 6:03 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:36 am

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
Posts: 5868
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:42 am

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!  Smile

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:00 am

The residents of the continental U.S. perhaps don't realise that they live on what is probably the world's largest monolinguistic island, albeit a shrinking one.

I learned the foreign languages I know by staying home and letting the good people of Finland pay my tuition fees.


[Edited 2005-09-07 21:31:15]
 
AOMlover
Posts: 1191
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 6:03 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:11 am

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
Posts: 1523
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:17 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:20 am

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!

Quoting AOMlover (Reply 14):
but not as easy as you'd think at first sight.

I'd have to agree with your there!! I learnt Italian for about 5 months or so, but I found it too difficult to get my head around!

[Edited 2005-09-07 21:22:37]
 
Marambio
Posts: 1145
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:41 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:27 am

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.

Saludos,
Marambio
Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:31 am

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...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
LFutia
Posts: 3155
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2002 11:04 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:47 am

I've learned dutch all on my own... through various websites ... Audio/video and friends on MSN... i've been learning since January 2002.
Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
 
looneytoon
Posts: 438
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:33 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:11 am

My first language is English.

I learned my Spanish (now fluent) from living 6 years in El Salvador.

I learned Portuguese (also fluent) from living 4 years in Mozambique and visiting Brazil often.

I learned French (semi-fluent) while I lived in South Africa for 4 years while attending school.

I learned Guarani (just talking, its nearly impossible to write/read) because thats what my parents speak to each other and I just picked it up by listening.
LooneyToon
 
MAH4546
Posts: 24522
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:14 am

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.

[Edited 2005-09-08 00:18:00]
a.
 
Boogyjay
Posts: 436
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 1:29 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:24 am

French (fluent) from my mother + living in France.

Turkish (bilingual) from my father + summer holidays in Turkey.

English (quite good) from school + Master Degree this year in the UK.

German (OK) from school + summer holidays in FRA with aunt/uncle.


Tried to learn Spanish with my mexican friend but given up because of lack of time.

Tried to learn Chinese with Chinese friends but given up because of lack of motivation from these friends.

 Wink
 
flyAUA
Posts: 4287
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:12 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:25 am

By having a foreign boyfriend. Easy! That's how I learnt Dutch Big grin

I am trying to learn other languages now by purchasing those beginners kinda books from amazon too.
Not drinking, also isn't a solution!
 
ArmitageShanks
Posts: 3737
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:30 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:39 am

I can speak a little Spanish, but not enough to hold a conversation. I took 3 years of Spanish in school.

I can get buy in German and Dutch, but I can't hold a conversation in those either.
 
LFutia
Posts: 3155
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2002 11:04 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:47 am

Quoting FlyAUA (Reply 25):
By having a foreign boyfriend. Easy! That's how I learnt Dutch

Spreekt u Nederlands echt goed?
Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
 
AsstChiefMark
Posts: 10465
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:14 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:03 am

...by watching every single Star Trek episode ever recorded. Twice.  Smile

Mark
Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Damned MSP...Red tail...Red tail
 
Airdolomiti
Posts: 670
Joined: Fri May 16, 2003 10:05 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:30 am

-Italian: native

-German: from my mom (I only speak German with her, and only Italian with my dad. Being bilingual is a great thing IMO  Smile ), plus 3 years in middle school to learn the grammar properly. I speak it on a daily basis, plus I read German magazines and watch German TV regularly so I can keep up with vocabulary and expressions. Easy to forget less common words when all you talk about is just general day-to-day stuff!

-English: at school (11 years), but learned most of it by myself by travelling,
reading, watching TV/movies in English etc, all of which I still do of course  Wink If I had to be honest, I'd say I'm ever so slightly more fluent in English than in German - got more vocabulary in the former, mainly.

-French: school (5) years and the odd bit of travelling in France (including a student exchange with a school in the banlieue of Paris). I do quite OK, although, since I haven't spoken it in a while, right now I find I need to look up more and more words. But I always pick it all up again quickly once I go to France and am in the native country, and besides, it is a compulsory subject at the University where I'm going, so I'm happy that I will not lose too much of it.


As for other languages that I speak bits of, I learned them by myself just out of personal interest. I intend to take up Chinese, Russian or Spanish (depends on what's on offer) when I get to the 3rd year of University, but that is still some time away!

Federico
 
QANTASforever
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:03 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:35 am

When I first arrived in Australia I could only speak Dzongkha and a little English - now I cannot remember any Dzongkha but I speak English perfectly.

Go figure.

My wife's mother tongue is French so I am almost fluent in that. Unfortunately I never took the opportunity to learn my father's native Icelandic. Something I regret to this day.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
canuckpaxguy
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 2:31 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:46 am

I learned French in school and did pretty well at is since many of the grammar rules are the same as in Greek, which is another language I learned at any early age. To keep fluent, I sometimes listen to French radio or watch the news in French. When I have difficulty understanding, I turn on the closed-captioning function on the TV.

I learned to speak Greek at home and during several family trips to Greece to visit my Dad's side of the family. I learned to read, write (and even dance Zorba) in Greek school every  censored  Saturday morning of my childhood. I try to speak Greek to my Dad as much as possible, and I phone and SMS my relatives as often as possible.

I'm actually pretty good at picking up new languages. I work in a very Italian neighbourhood and I am constantly amazed at how much of it I can understand (and even speak!).

Swearing I can do in many, many languages.
G
 
sw733
Posts: 5298
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 6:19 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 12:48 pm

I learned Hungarian from my grandparents, and used it constantly with my family in Hungary, that's how I learned it. Kinda fun because since my grand parents have passed, I'm the only one in my immediate family (all my family in Hungary are distant relatives...pardon the pun) who speaks any Hungarian.
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:40 pm

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 16):
The residents of the continental U.S. perhaps don't realise that they live on what is probably the world's largest monolinguistic island, albeit a shrinking one.

You are absolutely right... I did not realize that the United States was an island..  banghead  How could I be so dumb?? I mean...we've got that country that's actually larger than us to the North, that shares the world's longest unprotected border...what's it called again? Canada, I think???? I'm pretty sure they speak both English AND French there, right?

And to the south, we've got that somewhat smaller but still fairly sizeable country that speaks...Spanish, I thought? What's that place called again? Mexico? Doesn't that have some huge population as well? 107 million or so these days, I thought...

But what do I know? I'm just a humble geography student, and you are most assuredly the expert on this, Eilennaei...I bow to your superior knowledge...  sarcastic 

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Curtisman
Posts: 938
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:31 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:44 pm

I grew up in Quebec, Canada so that means both english and french were common in my neighbourhood. My mother spoke english to us with some french mixed in. My dad comes from New Brunswick, Canada and speaks Acadian french. He spoke french to us with some english mixed in. On the streets and at school we spoke both french and english.

With doing a lot of travel to Central and South America, and also having several spanish speaking friends, I have picked up a fair bit of spanish. I can get by surviving in places that only speak spanish.

That's it for me!

Len
Citizen of the World
 
Springbok747
Posts: 4007
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:13 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:57 pm

Geez..I suck...I can only speak English and very little Afrikaans...that's it  Sad
אני תומך בישראל
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:49 pm

Quoting USAFHummer (Reply 33):
You are absolutely right... I did not realize that the United States was an island..

I said "monolinguistic island". I did not want to say "a monolinguistic linguistic island" for the benefit of some moderators, as that would been what is known as tautology, and bad style.

I urge you to include some English classes in your curriculum as well, if the figurative use of the word "island" is new to you. A bit less patronising attitude towards the patronage would not be a bad idea either, or get another account for private off-mark remarks, please.
 
kilavoud
Posts: 863
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 7:47 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:05 pm

Courses (school or others).

Using internet for connecting people speaking like a native the language I want to learn.

Watching DVD in the language I want to learn (sound + subtitle).

Using on my computer a dictionary for enriching my vocabulary, my expressions and for correcting my pronunciation (phonetic symbols).

Taking advantage of websites, like "learning English" on BBC World, for enlarging my language experiences.

Speaking the foreign language where it's an official language (for example English in India).

Instead of flitting from one foreign language to another like a parrot to give others the impression I am so exceptionally intelligent, I cultivate the strong desire to progress in one foreign language till I get really really really familiar with it. It may take decades, no problem.

Communicating when flying or in transit airports in the language I want to learn is a bright idea too, isn't it ? And English is spoken now everywhere. That's just great !!

And why not ask A.netters who are native (or just like native) in the language I want to learn to correct what I have just written.

That's what I am doing just right now. An be sure your help will be most appreciated. Thanks a lot !!  smile 


Cheers. Kilavoud.
 
duke
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 1999 9:52 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:13 pm

Languages are a thing in my family. Both my parents, especially my father, have a background with language learning. I first spoke Serbian with them, but growing up in Toronto, learned English quickly at home and at preschool-kindergarten. My parents devoted a lot to this, reading with me, getting me storybooks with tapes etc. By five, I was already learning French. Again, my parents read French books with me and gave me tapes, but I also went to French Immersion at school. So by 6, I knew a Slavic language, a Germanic one and a Romance one, and had French all the way until the end of my university program.

I then studied Latin in high school and university. This was interesting and also tied in to my French. This would, for example, give me great ease should I ever wish to learn Italian.

When I came to Prague in 2003, I did not have time for Czech lessons, however, I learned by a process of active immersion. Since I spoke Serbian, a related language, I started reading, listening, attempting to communicate with people, and once I got a feeling for the language, really doing so. I do ask questions and check words in the dictionary.

As if this were not enough, I started, after less than a year in Prague, to learn German. This is useful to me because 1) it impresses my mother 2) it increases my possibilities for reading and communication. German is not unimportant in Czechia, where there are many German and Austrian business contacts and tourists 3) it helps me detect mistakes of my English students that have already learned German 4) It would be useful when touring this area. When I was in Dresden in 2003, I asked a policeman for help: do you speak English? The answer was no. I am learning the German slowly (I started with a book which gives essential grammar, syntax etc and basic vocabulary in 13 one-week lessons), but now have started to speed it up and have already had a few formal lessons which have helped.

To summarize then, my language skills are:

Serbian - as a native speaker
English - as a native speaker
French - fully fluent
Latin - significant, but I would have to revise it and increase vocabulary
Czech - a good intermediate or upper intermediate
German - elementary but improving

Also Ancient Greek, but my skills in this are very limited. I studied this in high school and university, but it was badly taught in the first and I had other responsibilities. I sort of managed to get through the extremely hard grammar, but getting the vocabulary through my head was very difficult. I eventually washed out, however, I am planning one day to get back to it, at least to learn the somewhat more limited Koine (vernacular) Ancient Greek used in the New Testament.
 
Doona
Posts: 3382
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:43 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:19 pm

My dad is Scottish/Irish, so I've spoken fluent English since I could speak, first with a south-western Irish accent, but after my dad moved to the US when I was ten, I immediatly changed it (Not on purpose though...). Then again, compared to many countries, practically all Swedes are fluent in English. Accent sounds funny though.

Took German for 4 years, and since I've been around alot of Germans (My home town is the main ferry-gateway to Germany in Sweden) so I can speak that pretty well.

Studied Spanish in for two years also, but I cannot remember anything, except this: Yo tengo un gato en mi pantalones. Not sure if it's correct though.

Took a year of Russian in high school, but once again it sorta left my brain after the final test...

I just began my second year of studying Japanese, and I spent my entire summer in Japan. Actually have some fluidity now. Amazing after only a year...

Also, since Danish is very similar to Swedish, and the fact that I watch alot of Danish TV and go over to Denmark alot, I'm also fluent in Danish nowadays... Self-taught, and all. Beat that with a stick!

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
carmenlu15
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:38 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 39):
Yo tengo un gato en mi pantalones

Close! Should be "Yo tengo un gato en mis pantalones".

Now, why would you want a cat in your pants?  confused 
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
Doona
Posts: 3382
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:43 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:41 pm

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 40):
Now, why would you want a cat in your pants

Who doesn't? Anyway, thanks for correcting me on that, I'll try and remember it...

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
flyAUA
Posts: 4287
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:12 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:42 pm

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 40):
Close! Should be "Yo tengo un gato en mis pantalones".

Now, why would you want a cat in your pants?

Maybe he meant 'hole' and not a 'cat'  Silly

Gat means hole in dutch. Plus it would make more sense. But thanks for the laugh  bigthumbsup 
Not drinking, also isn't a solution!
 
kilavoud
Posts: 863
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 7:47 pm

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:46 pm

Doona,

Carmenlu15 se quiere un gato en sus pantalones por une razon que no podemos comprender si no estamos nativo Suecia. Es asi que ya lo comprendo.

Hola. Kilavoud.
 
Pyrex
Posts: 4044
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:24 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:05 am

Quoting Marambio (Reply 19):
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.

Its actually Camões... it is very similar in gramatical terms (as are most Latin languages) but the sound is actually completely different... it is not uncommon for Portuguese to be mistaken for Polish or Russian by some Italians, for exemple...

I learned English when my father had to move to England for a couple of years because of his job when I was six and enlisted me in school (the so-called cold-turkey approach, it really worked). I took three years of French in school and I can understand and read it but I don't think I can say I speak it (though I wouldn't starve to death in France...)

Miguel
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
RobertNL070
Posts: 4159
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 4:29 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:27 am

Totally fluent in English and Dutch.

I must make the time and effort to learn some Spanish ('Iberian' as opposed to Latin-American) this winter.

Regards, Robert  bouncy 
Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.
 
RobertNL070
Posts: 4159
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 4:29 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:38 am

Sorry UAL747, my post was beside the point!

English - mother tongue
French - 6 years at school (sadly neglected)
Dutch - I live here since 1987 - totally integrated. Dutch is not that difficult.

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 16):
The residents of the continental U.S. perhaps don't realise that they live on what is probably the world's largest monolinguistic island, albeit a shrinking one.

Isn't (Latin American) Spanish widely spoken in the U.S.A.? And not to forget for example the Sioun-Catawban, Muskogean and Uto-Aztecan groups of languages.

Regards, Robert  bouncy 
Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.
 
baylorairbear
Posts: 2841
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:25 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:41 am

Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
how did you learn your foriegn language skills?

I had a foreign girlfriend.

BAB
I'm just skipping stones...
 
captaink
Posts: 3987
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:01 am

I am learning to speak proper spanish. I did take it as a subject in high school, but now that i live in Mexico i realize that I was only scratching the surface.. So now I study spanish in UNAM (CEPE) and hope to study for my BSc here in Mexico. I figure at the end of all this, I should be able to speak some spanish LOL>..
There is something special about planes....
 
Doona
Posts: 3382
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:43 am

RE: How Did You Learn A Foreign Language?

Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting Kilavoud (Reply 43):
Carmenlu15 se quiere un gato en sus pantalones por une razon que no podemos comprender si no estamos nativo Suecia. Es asi que ya lo comprendo.

OK, hold on, something about wanting cats in your pants being a Swedish thing...? As I said, can't speak Spanish worth a damn...

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DLFREEBIRD, fr8mech, kngkyle and 42 guests