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Aquarius
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:17 am
Posts: 587
Location: Czech Republic
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:38 pm 
 

You may say to yourselves why this topic, when there already were threads about languages here, in which people have mentioned their bilinguality. Ok, I know that there are many billingual speakers on MA, but I want to learn more about them. I am very interested in foreign languages and as a big fan of bilingualism, I have many questions.
Foremost, I would like to address all people whose parents speak different languages and who grew up in bilingual background.
So, what is it like to be a bilingual speaker?
For example, you can speak French and English as a result of bilinguial education at home and I was wondering if you take both languages equally as native ones.
From my point of view, bilingual people will probably prefer more frequently used language in their lives, which, of course, can vary depending on circumstances.
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OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
Posts: 9673
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:44 pm 
 

English native-speaking, learned french through middle / high school and was never really interested in it. Understood the gist of the grammar and all that but again having no genuine interest in it plus being a terrible middle school student / ok high school student killed my grades in the classes.

Now in college I'm taking Japanese this quarter which I actually have a genuine interest in learning. Learned hiragana, numbers, time, greetings, but now I'm doing the grammar and at this time I just don't get it. Guess that's something I'll have to work on.

Oh my family's Pakistani so Urdu is the main language my parents use when talking with each other. They tried to teach me it when I was younger and then they just dropped it. They did make me learn to read Arabic for the Qu'ran, which I did but then easily ditched once I dropped Islam.
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Xlxlx
May contain traces of nuts

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5314
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:28 pm 
 

Spanish native speaker, started studying English in high school. Soon to take an international exam from Cambridge University.

I've always been interested in languages, their history, and their inner workings, and I jumped at the chance of learning English, which as of now, I even prefer over my native tongue. I'm also highly interested in learning other languages, and I even started attending a Portuguese course this year, but I had to abandon it due to monetary reasons.

No bilingual parents or anything, though I'd love to have English-speaking relatives. I only get to actually speak the language when I go to the institute.
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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1486
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:03 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Spanish native speaker, started studying English in high school. Soon to take an international exam from Cambridge University.

Please elaborate, that sounds like something I can ace the shit out of.
Xlxlx wrote:
I've always been interested in languages, their history, and their inner workings, and I jumped at the chance of learning English, which as of now, I even prefer over my native tongue.

Oh, man we sure disagree there, I mean I really like English, pero el español es tan sexi.
Xlxlx wrote:
I'm also highly interested in learning other languages, and I even started attending a Portuguese course this year, but I had to abandon it due to monetary reasons.

You mean Portuguese from Portugal or Brazillian Portuguese? Perhaps I could interest you in a cheap and very, very good Brazillian Portuguese textbook which has helped me a whole lot.
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Xlxlx
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5314
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:26 pm 
 

@Nochielo; I'm preparing to take something called the CAE exam, or Certificate in Advanced English. As its name implies, if you manage to pass the exam, you obtain a certificate that validates your advanced knowledge of the language. Also, if you get an A (which is not that easy, from what I understand), you automatically get the Proficiency Certificate, which states that you have the same level of English as a native speaker. However, I'm already assuming that I won't get an A this year, and I'll prepare for the Proficiency exam next year :-P As for what you have to do to qualify for the test, well..... You might want to consult Cambridge's website or something. I'm preparing for it because I attend an English institute with connections to Cambridge and have the appropriate level to take the test, but you might be able to do it through the internet.

What sold me on English as a language was reading literature in English. Just the classics, you know; Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Doyle, etc. Sure, I like Spanish and stuff, but English as a language is just so classy :-D

I was trying to learn Brazillian Portuguese, and that book sounds, indeed, highly interesting. Thanks for pointing me out in its direction. I'll see what I can do to get it.
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Last edited by Xlxlx on Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Acrobat
Eric Olthwaite

Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:53 am
Posts: 6536
Location: Fortress Northallerton, North Yorkshire
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:44 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Also, if you get an A (which is not that easy, from what I understand), you automatically get the Proficiency Certificate, which states that you have the same level of English as a native speaker.


You probably know a lot more about English grammar than a native speaker, but saying that you're on the "same level" is just weird. Maybe if they're testing your knowledge of idioms, too. :P

Quote:
What sold me on English as a language was reading literature in English. Just the classics, you know; Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Doyle, etc. Sure, I like Spanish and stuff, but English as a language is just so classy :-D


In literature, sure, but not as a spoken language!
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Xlxlx
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5314
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:54 pm 
 

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
Xlxlx wrote:
Also, if you get an A (which is not that easy, from what I understand), you automatically get the Proficiency Certificate, which states that you have the same level of English as a native speaker.

You probably know a lot more about English grammar than a native speaker, but saying that you're on the "same level" is just weird. Maybe if they're testing your knowledge of idioms, too. :P

Hey, the certificate says that, not me :-P However, idioms, colloquialisms and such are all taken into account. People who obtain the Proficiency not only speak English very fluently; they speak it like an actual native, with an accent and everything. Hearing a Proficiency holder speak is no different from listening to a Brit or an American.
ANationalAcrobat wrote:
Quote:
What sold me on English as a language was reading literature in English. Just the classics, you know; Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Doyle, etc. Sure, I like Spanish and stuff, but English as a language is just so classy :-D

In literature, sure, but not as a spoken language!

Perhaps, but hey, I like the way it sounds and shit, amongst a series of different factors. I don't know :lol:
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Metantoine
The XVI, dominar to over 258714 subjects

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 8618
Location: Québec
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:00 pm 
 

My mother tongue is obviously French and I was educated in this language and while we have English classes in school, I think they're pretty bare-bones if you don't take intensive or "immersion" classes. My mother had a boyfriend whose kids were anglophones during like 4 or 5 years when I was a teenager, this helped a lot. But I definitely had an interest, it's quite primordial to learn English here even though you can basically live in French. I can't really practice a lot since all my entourage is francophone but I do chat in English everyday in the Metal Archives IRC channel, this also was helpful. I have no problems understanding movies without subtitles and reading books in English but I'm not quite used to speaking (as John Sunlight, Dystopia4 and some others can confirm!)

I wanted to learn Russian since I wanted to do a master's degree in Russian history but since I switched to high school teaching, I gave up on that. I was also quite poor at it!

xlxlx, you're a disgrace to your ancestors! They fought against the British and this how you reward them?! :-D I never heard your accent but grammatically, you're obviously quite strong. What will you do with that certification? What kind of institute will you join? I guess you could become a teacher!

And what do you mean by "they speak it like an actual native, with an accent and everything", there's many different English accents throughout the world, maybe you mean you'll have an "international" English accent a bit like Swedish dudes have.

Good thread by the way.
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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1486
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:05 pm 
 

@Xlxlx Native level? That's laughable, tons of people here are head and shoulders above native level, yourself included. Nevertheless, I could try and see what I can do, would be a nice addition for my portfolio if I could take it and pass it. I got a perfect score in my test to become one of the English tutors at college, so I am confident that, with some more work, I can ace it.

Nah, man, Spanish is it for me, I like the way it sounds, the way it rolls off the tongue, the accent, how it looks in written form... it's a beautiful thing. My only complaint is that we have so little worthwhile literature (in my opinion) that it frustrates me. For example, Quiroga aside, where are our horror authors?

About the book, it is really a great tool, you get two perspectives on the language, so for anyone fluent in Spanish and English it becomes easy to understand what the author is getting at. I haven't even finished it and I can already do surprisingly well in written form. Surprisingly well as in I thought it would take a lot longer than I thought to get to the level I'm in, I wouldn't be surprised if some would tear through the book and come out proficient speakers.
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Xlxlx
May contain traces of nuts

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5314
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:11 pm 
 

Nochielo wrote:
@Xlxlx Native level? That's laughable, tons of people here are head and shoulders above native level, yourself included. Nevertheless, I could try and see what I can do, would be a nice addition for my portfolio if I could take it and pass it. I got a perfect score in my test to become one of the English tutors at college, so I am confident that, with some more work, I can ace it.

Well, yeah, that's precisely the point. I mean; sure, you might know that your English is great, and be perfectly right in your assessment, but having such a certificate in your curriculum vitae is always great. Also, I always appreciate the compliments, thanks :-D

And yeah, I'm not really big on Spanish literature. I haven't read Quiroga though. Might have to look into that.

I'll send you a PM, mate. I don't wanna derail the thread.
Metantoine wrote:
xlxlx, you're a disgrace to your ancestors! They fought against the British and this how you reward them?! :-D I never heard your accent but grammatically, you're obviously quite strong. What will you do with that certification? What kind of institute will you join? I guess you could become a teacher!

Eh, fuck the Malvinas, I'm tired of hearing about them! :-P

My accent is basically corny posh (you can blame my teachers for that). I bet ANA would laugh his ass off if he heard me :lol: As with the certification, well, I'm planning on studying either teaching or translation. Translation seems like the logical option for me though, as you can still teach by having that certificate, at least here, and you don't have to deal with the annoying pedagogical subjects :-P That's a long term plan, however, as I pretend to study social communication first.
Metantoine wrote:
And what do you mean by "they speak it like an actual native, with an accent and everything", there's many different English accents throughout the world, maybe you mean you'll have an "international" English accent a bit like Swedish dudes have.

And yeah, that's kind of what I meant, pretty much. I'm aware of the existence of different English accents (we have a Scottish teacher at the institute, and she sounds nothing like the others), but here, you learn to speak with either a generic American or English accent.

And I echo your sentiment; this is a great thread :beer:
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Deviante
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:59 pm
Posts: 615
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:42 pm 
 

I would say I am fluent in 3 languages and can get around in one more language. My mother tongue is Finnish, as both of my parents are just Finnish-speaking Finns, but English has always just kind of been there, too, because my mom decided to put me into an English-orientated kindergarten. Hearing the language a lot from such a young age (2½ and onwards) helped me develop my oral fluency for sure, little by little, and it didn't really feel like a "foreign" language in the sense languages usually do, when you pick them up in your (pre-)teens or later. Of course, I don't have that many memories about my actual oral fluency around the age of 3, but I do remember being able to communicate somewhat well by the age of 6. My mom's attitude sure helped as well, as she had me learn colours and other things at home, too. I've never actually asked her, but I do think she (sort of) wanted me to become bilingual in the same way as kids whose parents speak different languages as their mother tongues are.

After starting elementary school, I never really paid too much attention during the English classes, though I was always interested in the classes if our textbooks happened to have something interesting going for their texts. I was already somewhat "self-sufficient" in English by that time in that I could play SNES-games and all that while learning new words all the time. That kind of "video games and immersion" -esque way of doing things has gotten me this far. I like speaking English aloud and wish I had more chances to do so. As of now, I probably speak it once or twice a week, with some exchange student friends of mine. I don't consider English my mother tongue #2, but it's close. I get told I have a very "British-y accent" by people (not to offend you Brits, I know there are dozens of different varities to the accents, but it's what I get told!)

In addition to these 2 languages, I would consider myself to be fluent in Japanese. I started learning it at 12, slowly but surely going through their basic alphabet-systems of sorts (Kana), only learning a bit by bit until the age of 15. At that age I started watching anime and started getting into Japanese music, too, not to mention the fact I realized I could take a few basic courses of Japanese in my high school. So I did, and the more I learned about the language, the more I started to self-study because the lessons were too cookie-cutter for me. By the time I graduated from HS, I was looking at the options - and long story short - got into the only Uni in Finland where you can major in Japanese. (The official branch is Japanology, which is a 3-year program including not only the language but history courses, calligraphy and other things like pop-culture courses and tea-ceremony courses, too...!).

I am rambling too much, but let's just say that I work as a freelance translator right now, have a Japanese fiancee and am probably nailing an embassy-related job the moment I get my damn graduation thesis over with. I like playing around with the language, so in addition to my thesis, I procrastinate via fansubbing anime and translating Mahjong-articles/book segments to English for fun.

The 4th language I can speak but not command is Swedish. I understand it very well when being spoken to (eg. could probably understand most topics if I watched news in Swedish), but absolutely SUCK at formulating sentences. Mainly because of lack of effort, but I don't dislike the language. This is even more far-fetched, but because I understand Swedish semi-well, I can at least get by somewhat in Norway and Denmark, even without English. But that has to do with passive stuff too, I can't actively produce a single word in Norwegian. Norwegian seems easier to "guesslate" by far, though.

Lastly, a tip of sorts to language learners who are perfectionists and not satisfied with 'understanding the language': step out of your comfort zone. I truly think that that is the only way to master all facets of your target language, including the speaking of said language. Reading, listening and writing are all commendable feats, but your brain is surprisingly slow on the uptake when it comes to formulating sentences, with the structures of sentences possibly differing from your mother tongue, there being idiomatic expressions etc. in the mix. Even if you knew what something meant upon reading/hearing it (without guessing), sentence-formulation is a different deal altogether and should not be ignored. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are not ready to be passionate about it and possibly stutter and get brain lags in front of the native speakers of said language, you are not trying hard enough to master it. This is also why some of the people in my Uni class who have passed the same tests as I still can't seem to get anything said when conversing with Japanese people, because they are embarrassed to make mistakes and gladly change the language to English when speaking. These are dudes who can understand Japanese newspapers when reading, too. So it's definitely dependant on one's attitude and bravery.

Sorry for the bible of a post, heh.
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SadisticGratification
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:00 pm
Posts: 406
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:12 pm 
 

I can speak very elementary Irish as well as being a native English speaker, while I do like the English language. I find it very expressive and fluid compared to what little I know of Irish I do in some ways yearn for an Ireland where Irish is our native language but alas it's not, unfortunately that's what 700 years of colonial English rule will do to a country. I do hope to learn it someday properly and I'm a professional software developer and from what I've learned from my colleagues learning a programming language is in some ways like learning a written/spoken language just you know without the compilation errors :P

I do envy countries like France, Germany, Spain... basically anywhere that has a language of their own that they speak with each other. They have a stronger cultural identity that in many ways gives them a uniqueness in the western world. If you're from the States or Ireland or the UK or Australia etc... you're just another English speaking country and while we do all have our own identities we do share a hell of a lot. In Ireland we have what are called Gaeltacht areas which are cultural spots where the main language is Irish, I guess in many ways how in Canada there are French speaking areas. It keeps the language alive and I do want it to stay that way, it helps us stand out from England. We're a very small country with a tiny population and we get dwarfed by our bigger and more successful neighbours to the east, theyre better than us in pretty much every world sport(well except maybe Rugby and Boxing) they have a much larger population with a much larger world influence. But in saying all that I think Ireland stands out well in the world and does have it's own unique ways that other western countries don't have.

I think it's really cool how Metantoine is actually a native French speaker (would never have thought so, I knew you were a fluent French speaker but not that it was your first language) it gives you a stronger affinity to your home country I guess :)

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AcidWorm
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:37 pm
Posts: 2737
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:24 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Spanish native speaker, started studying English in high school. Soon to take an international exam from Cambridge University.

I've always been interested in languages, their history, and their inner workings, and I jumped at the chance of learning English, which as of now, I even prefer over my native tongue. I'm also highly interested in learning other languages, and I even started attending a Portuguese course this year, but I had to abandon it due to monetary reasons.

Now bilingual parents or anything, though I'd love to have English-speaking relatives. I only get to actually speak the language when I go to the institute.


:edit: was not aware cambridge university has qualifications that you can take around the world for English...
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MetalCuresHeadaches
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:35 pm
Posts: 579
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:33 pm 
 

Would love to be a bilingual speaker (English native), especially since I work in Florida, where the Spanish-speaking community is huge and bilingual skills are a high mark on a resume, and from 6th to 11th grade I tried to learn it, but I just cannot roll my tongue to save my life.
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SadisticGratification
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:00 pm
Posts: 406
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:50 pm 
 

When did you start learning English?

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Metantoine
The XVI, dominar to over 258714 subjects

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 8618
Location: Québec
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:01 pm 
 

Damnit: AcidWorm edited his dumb post and I removed mine since I fucked up the quote, sorry.

What I said to SadGra:
Quote:
Thanks for the kind words, Sadistic, I guess my English isn't so bad after all!


When I was a child, I guess, I don't remember when I started though, primary school? It was rudimentary classes anyway. I got a lot better after high school and I think I'm really starting to master the language since 2 or 3 years thanks to IRC ;)
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SadisticGratification
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:00 pm
Posts: 406
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:06 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:

When I was a child, I guess, I don't remember when I started though, primary school? It was rudimentary classes anyway. I got a lot better after high school and I think I'm really starting to master the language since 2 or 3 years thanks to IRC ;)

That's quite impressive, because whenever I chat with someone who is not a native speaker of English no matter how good they are you can always tell with a few words but I must say I genuinely thought you were a native speaker. Same with a few of the other guys on this forum, only for their location being displayed under their username I would have just assumed they were native speakers.

I always find that non native speakers are much stronger with grammar and syntax of English. I mean I know what a noun is and I know what an adjective is etc... but when it gets to the real technical side of things I don't know the - lack of a better phrase - theory side of it yet I can use all these particular rules without being aware of them wherease non native speakers learn these rules (the better ones at least) and their English becomes quite proficient.

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Marag
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:55 pm
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Location: down there where chaos prevails
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:51 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
What sold me on English as a language was reading literature in English. Just the classics, you know; Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Doyle, etc. Sure, I like Spanish and stuff, but English as a language is just so classy :-D

One word dude:CERVANTES.
English has some pretty good literature, but so does spanish.



I'm a native portuguese speaker, and I knew elementary german when I was little kid but forgot it through years of disuse. Starting in primary school I had english classes, but they were bare-bones, and I wouldn't be here at all if they were my only experience with the language. Much of what I know I learned by myself. I have no problems reading & writing in english, I can mostly understand movies without subtitles(though it depends), but I'm not used at all to speaking it.

My trips to Chile and Argentina awakened my interest in properly learning spanish.

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SolracV
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:37 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:20 pm 
 

Spanish native speaker here, and I actually learned some English while watching cartoons! Then on 2nd grade my parents decided to put me on an English-only school to, well, further improve my English. The only downside of this, though, is that my Spanish isn't as great now; I can speak and write well, but sometimes I seem to forget definitions and commit minor errors.

I'm also starting to learn Italian and considering in making a minor in languages.

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Nocnitsa
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Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:38 pm
Posts: 6
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:10 pm 
 

Other than English I speak Polish and bits of Russian. I'm in the process of learning Spanish for my job because we have a lot of Spanish speaking customers.

I learned Polish at a very young age because it is what my mother prefers to use and my grandmother (who we lived with) pretty much refused to speak English. I didn't speak English on a regular basis until I started elementary school and Polish is still primarily what we use at home.
My father is from Belarus. He speaks Russian but also knows English and Polish, so I know very little of Russian. I tried to learn it more in depth a few years ago but got derailed, so I hope to learn it soon.

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Yahko
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:27 pm
Posts: 235
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:39 pm 
 

I speak Russian, Hebrew and English. Its not an uncommon trilingual combination because there are close to 1.5 million Russians in Israel, and in Israel you study English from grade 3 until you finish high school. I currently live in Canada and although I'm speaking Russian at home with my parents I cant really read or write properly. I do lose some reading and writing in Hebrew as well. If you dont use it - you lose it.
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IntoNevermore
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:31 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Venezuela
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:16 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Spanish native speaker, started studying English in high school. Soon to take an international exam from Cambridge University.

I've always been interested in languages, their history, and their inner workings, and I jumped at the chance of learning English, which as of now, I even prefer over my native tongue. I'm also highly interested in learning other languages, and I even started attending a Portuguese course this year, but I had to abandon it due to monetary reasons.

Now bilingual parents or anything, though I'd love to have English-speaking relatives. I only get to actually speak the language when I go to the institute.


Best of luck with that Martin! :D

I pretty much self taugh english myself, middle/high school in Venezuela is crap to learn other languages, in my school they gave english and italian, I know nothing of italian and as I said, I learned what I know of english by myself, reading spanish/english dictionaries, watching movies, playing Pokemon and Final Fantasy, I couldn't get the spanish versions of those games, so if I wanted to play them I needed to learn some english, and I'm still learning new things every day.

(My pronunciation is very horrible though)
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Thexhumed
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:26 pm
Posts: 492
Location: Chile
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:35 am 
 

Spanish is my native language. Learned English at the University. What can I add to the discussion? When I'm in an English environment, whether it's music, browsing the internet, or talking with gringos (I'm from Chile, btw) and my mind processes and thoughts occur in English, my personality kind of changes a little bit, I tend to "Americanize" myself a bit. I try to use more vocabulary, spit witty-ish comments, sound nasal, etc. (I do not abuse of the words "awesome" and "like", so give me that)

I know it's a stereotype of some sort, and some of you might be thinking that I'm just try-harding, but the other day I read that we do this unconsciously to empathize with our interlocutor, same happens with accents. Kind of cool, isn't it?

Well, just my $0.2

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InnesI
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:19 pm
Posts: 219
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:58 am 
 

My native language is Swedish and I started learning English in 4th grade (which is when you're 9-10 years old). Since my interests have required knowledge of the English language and since I always had an easy time learning it I am very much fluent both in writing and in speaking. I started learning German when I was about 12 years old but unfortunately I lacked the interest at the time as well as other media to keep up with it. So today I know basic German, I can guess what the basic blueprint is in a regular conversation but not much beyond that.

As far as the language I use and for what I go between Swedish and English in most things I do. I have also lived in England for about a year so that might have strengthened this even though it was there before as well. As I said I have a lot of interests that require knowledge in English so when I deal with those things or think about them I often do so in English and it comes very natural to me. I also train martial arts where some of my friends are from other countries and I often go back and forth between Swedish and English while speaking to them.

The times I use Swedish exclusively are in everyday situations. Relations with family and friends or at work.

Even though I'm fluent in English there is no doubt Swedish is my native language. Even in an English speaking setting I sometimes realize that I say something in Swedish just out of habit. But then again, the first month back after I moved back to Sweden I kept saying "Sorry" to everyone I accidentally bumped into which is misplaced in Sweden both linguistically (wrong language) and culturally (most often Swedes won't say anything if the bump is small and accidental while the Londoner will apologize for every little bump).

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Darkwolf18
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:39 am
Posts: 142
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:31 am 
 

I have a question regarding this very subject.

I'm a native English speaker, and am conversational in, and may as well be fluent in, Russian. I've also though of picking up another language in addition - I used to be near-fluent in German but as Yahko said, you don't use it, you lose it. I ditched it when I got serious about Russian. I still know a fair amount though, but when I try to put a sentence together in German, Russian words come in since it's my "Main" second language now. I'm worried if I pick up another language to learn, it may "Overwrite" my Russian, how can I stop this from happening? In the meantime I've decided to get as good at Russian as possible.

Edit: messed up and started a new thread. Can a mod please merge it to the main thread?


Last edited by Darkwolf18 on Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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yentass
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Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:28 am
Posts: 899
Location: Israel
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:04 pm 
 

Yahko wrote:
I speak Russian, Hebrew and English. Its not an uncommon trilingual combination because there are close to 1.5 million Russians in Israel, and in Israel you study English from grade 3 until you finish high school. I currently live in Canada and although I'm speaking Russian at home with my parents I cant really read or write properly. I do lose some reading and writing in Hebrew as well. If you dont use it - you lose it.

Same here, except I wouldn't consider English as a language I'm fluent in and that I CAN read and write in Russian pretty well (as that's the language I prefer my literature in, something that certainly helps negating the "don't use it - you lose it" bit).
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:32 pm 
 

English, but I did take six years of german throughout highschool and college, so I consider myself more than apt at that, since I didn't just sleepwalk through it or choose the more common option (spanish) like many do.
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Turner
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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
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Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:57 pm 
 

i'm an english native speaker, also speak german fluently... or at least my understanding is pretty much 100% - my speaking marks me as a foreigner instantly. i have to actively keep my use of the language up so i don't lose it, though, as i started learning it at university. i read a lot of books, watch a lot of streaming tv (RTL II YESSSS), and have a number of friends i'm in contact with over skype/facebook/email/etc.

as thexumed said, my personality's also different in my other language - i'm really quick-witted in english and a lot of my bullshit is based on wordplay and the like, and i simply don't have this ability in german. when i'm speaking english i tend to control the conversation a lot, whereas in german i'm much more likely to sit back and let someone else do it.

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Atrocious_Mutilation
KITTY SO PUFFY

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:51 am
Posts: 1685
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:36 am 
 

I'm an English native-speaker by technicality. It's the only language I'm fluent in but it wasn't the first language I learned. One of my parents is Thai and I was fluent in Thai not English from a young age until moving to the West. I forgot Thai in place of English and I haven't been fluent in Thai since then. I've been encouraged to learn Thai for a long time since forgetting it but I didn't have the motivation for it. However, I've finally taken an interest in it and I hope to relearn it for when I revisit the country.

I studied Japanese in middle school and halfway into high school before stopping due to timetable clashes. From when I stopped, I was familiar with kana including some kanji, time, greetings and basic sentences. I wasn't particularly good at it and some concepts went, through my head but even after all that time I still remember the basics of the language. It seems like a fairly interesting language so I'd be interested in picking up where I left off when I have the time.

I'm also interested in learning more languages. I plan on going on exchange to Scandinavia or Quebec some time during my university studies, so I hope to pick up a Nordic language or Quebec French while I'm overseas. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to pick up while I'm there, but here's hoping I'll be proficient in it. :P
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Jackoroth
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:55 pm
Posts: 317
Location: Roxburgh Park
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:43 am 
 

Just English here, the schools here never really push students to actively learn a new language, I mean there's classes usually for Japanese and Italian but they are only about two years long and you probably couldn't get too much out of them anyway.
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somefella
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Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
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Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:35 pm 
 

I'm a Chinese guy living in Singapore(my dad is Hokkien and my mom is Cantonese), I learnt Mandarin and English in school, along with a smattering of Malay and Tamil profanities. I'm only really fluent in English, moderately in Mandarin, and the rest I basically know a bunch of basic phrases that mostly have to do with ordering food or basic conversational phrases(again, mostly profanities).

As for what it's like knowing this many languages, I feel it opens your worldview quite a bit. A lot of a culture's nuances and idiosyncracies can be gleaned from a language especially when compared to others. Also, I can watch a lot more movies and listen to a lot more music and know what's going on. Asking for directions in foreign countries is another bonus. I don't think being bilingual is as necessary as having a strong command of English is(what's a guy to do, this is the working language of the world), but it's certainly useful and interesting.
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Marag
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:55 pm
Posts: 2660
Location: down there where chaos prevails
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:12 pm 
 

somefella wrote:
I'm a Chinese guy living in Singapore(my dad is Hokkien and my mom is Cantonese), I learnt Mandarin and English in school, along with a smattering of Malay and Tamil profanities. I'm only really fluent in English, moderately in Mandarin, and the rest I basically know a bunch of basic phrases that mostly have to do with ordering food or basic conversational phrases(again, mostly profanities).

As for what it's like knowing this many languages, I feel it opens your worldview quite a bit. A lot of a culture's nuances and idiosyncracies can be gleaned from a language especially when compared to others. Also, I can watch a lot more movies and listen to a lot more music and know what's going on. Asking for directions in foreign countries is another bonus. I don't think being bilingual is as necessary as having a strong command of English is(what's a guy to do, this is the working language of the world), but it's certainly useful and interesting.

What's the most used language in Singapore, in day to day situations? I had no idea english was spoken there

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OneSizeFitzpatrick
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Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:56 pm
Posts: 691
Location: A smoldering ruin with wi-fi, Chechnya
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:43 pm 
 

I know a little bit of Spanish and i've lately been trying to learn russian through online sources, the farthest I've gotten is knowing what letters make what sounds and a basic knowledge of hard and soft sounds. I'd really like to learn a bit of Turkish and maybe Greek at some point too. Does anyone know of any good online sites or books for learning Russian, Turkish, Georgian or Armenian?
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shecriedyoucaved
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:32 pm
Posts: 77
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:06 pm 
 

I speak English.

I used to be employed at a school with many Japanese exchange students + a Japanese language program. I picked up a good chunk of the language through some informal tutoring and self-studying. I can most definitely read it better than I can speak it though. And my kanji skills are weak.

My wife is fluent in Spanish, but I can't speak a lick of it.

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somefella
Veteran

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
Posts: 2511
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:40 am 
 

Marag wrote:
somefella wrote:
I'm a Chinese guy living in Singapore(my dad is Hokkien and my mom is Cantonese), I learnt Mandarin and English in school, along with a smattering of Malay and Tamil profanities. I'm only really fluent in English, moderately in Mandarin, and the rest I basically know a bunch of basic phrases that mostly have to do with ordering food or basic conversational phrases(again, mostly profanities).

As for what it's like knowing this many languages, I feel it opens your worldview quite a bit. A lot of a culture's nuances and idiosyncracies can be gleaned from a language especially when compared to others. Also, I can watch a lot more movies and listen to a lot more music and know what's going on. Asking for directions in foreign countries is another bonus. I don't think being bilingual is as necessary as having a strong command of English is(what's a guy to do, this is the working language of the world), but it's certainly useful and interesting.

What's the most used language in Singapore, in day to day situations? I had no idea english was spoken there


English, 90% of the time. Though the standards of spoken English aren't really up to scratch and an informal, localized version of English is spoken most of the time, simply called Singlish.
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Young_Metalhead
Saanut kerran. Todistetusti.

Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:17 pm
Posts: 1524
Location: México, DF
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:19 am 
 

There are quite a few Spanish speakers around! I find myself reading more English than Spanish at the time thanks to science. I have to read tons of books an articles which are written in English. It is the universal language for science and I believe it is because it is simple. No complex grammar, no complex structure and basically the only thing that's complex about it is pronunciation. Oh yes, "la pronunsiéishon". I do like Spanish, though and mainly everything I read that has nothing to do with physics is in Spanish.
Also, I don't know about you guys but I prefer watching stuff in it's original language, so I'm often listening to a lot of English. Nothing to say more tha I fucking hate how dubbing is done. It takes away most of the feeling.
I started learning English since pre school and finished after I was 17. I'm supposed to be ready to take the TOEFL any time I want and get advanced grades. Come at me, bitch! :ol: Some of my teachers (one from California and the other from somewhere in the UK) told me my pronunciaiton was quite good and that I would be easily understood in their countries. Weird, as I think my pronunciation is very Mexican. I took an advanced course in the University where you learn all the differences between sounds. I t was really, really hard considering us Mexicans (and Spanish speakers in general) have only 5 vowel sounds whereas you have like a million.
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Turner
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1101
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:18 am 
 

somefella wrote:
English, 90% of the time. Though the standards of spoken English aren't really up to scratch and an informal, localized version of English is spoken most of the time, simply called Singlish.


a bloke in my linguistics class last trimester was from Singapore and he spoke singlish for us a few times, fascinating stuff. some of it was almost unrecognisable.

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somefella
Veteran

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
Posts: 2511
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:19 am 
 

It's a very unique take on English, I'd say. The words are almost all standard English words that anyone can recognise, but the phrasing and arrangements must seem alien, as they are borrowed from languages like Mandarin or Malay. For example I just posted something on my Facebook page which went like this:

"See la got people live this kinda conditions you all still can kpkb(kao pei kao bu). How also got bed to sleep got school to go got food to eat. Singaporeans will complain even if cash rained from the sky daily."

In standard English it would probably look like this:

"Just look at this, there are people living in these conditions and you people still complain daily. No matter the circumstances, you have adequate shelter, education and food ever day. Singaporeans would complain even if cash rained from the sky daily"

EDIT: To give it some context, it was an article about this family too poor to afford a house so they live out of a tiny delivery van, all 4 of them.
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Machine_Dead
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:47 pm
Posts: 655
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:47 am 
 

Dutch (Flemish actually, the Belgian version of dutch) is my native language. Also my mother is of Latin-American descent, so i can speak Spanish properly (but it's the typical Latin-American dialect), but my Spanish writing isn't that good (mostly because,i never learned writing Spanish at home, so that gave sometime really weird situations at school during Spanish lessons because i have the habit to pronounce everything in the dialect i am used to and there's also the issue where Spanish people don't seem to give the same name to certain objects like Latin-American people ;p) Spanish was only a sidecourse at school. The obligatory second language here is French, and for my specific education i was also obliged to learn German. So to round up; Dutch, Spanish, French, German = 4 languages. I also once followed Latin for a year, but i forgot all of that shit (no wonder why Latin died out, it's friggin hard to remember any of that :D) and i also remembered following Greek that same year i did Latin (that was one hell of a mind twister of a year, i was only 12 years old then, what the hell where they doing to us? :D holy shit o,0), i also forgot all of that stuff. I can't really recall any Greek word actually in Contrary to Latin; I know Ego is 'me' f.e. Aaaaand that's about it, hehe...
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Calusari
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
Posts: 708
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:39 am 
 

Interesting thread!

These days, at least, I consider myself bilingual. I grew up between two countries and could never quite see myself as belonging to either culture or, indeed, either language. I struggled with that a lot as I grew up, strangely enough; it's probably not the kind of thing that would usually seem important to a teen's life, but I always craved a sense of being able to say "I'm x" or "I speak y". Now, I can deal with acknowledging that, while I feel deeply connected to both languages, I'm not 'at home' in either; it's almost as if I speak two foreign languages sometimes. I slip between them moment to moment, and I now enjoy the perspective it gives on them.

My first language is German; I've been speaking English since I was about 10. I'd say that I'm fluent in both; I dream and think in both, too. There are some things I prefer to do in one rather than the other; I find writing easier in English, while I prefer to speak German - after all these years, my tongue still seems to have problems adjusting to English sounds sometimes. I can sometimes not tell at first which language is being spoken when I hear it; I kind of understand what is being said first, and then have to take a step back and ask myself what the person was actually speaking. That's a bit odd, I think; it would interest me to see if anyone else has that experience.

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