I just had few days ago some important language exams (in English and Spanish), and since then I’ve been thinking about the possibility of learning a new language at home on my own (probably German, Chinese would be too hard I think).
I’d like to know about you guys; what’s your relation with languages? I’ll throw some questions, feel free to answer the ones you want.
You're going to take over the world! Zort.
Thank you for your answer Belle :)
I admire you for trying to learn such hard languages ^^
Did/Do you learn languages other than your mother tongue? If so, was it in school or by yourself?
German, some French and Spanish
Which one do you speak? How long have you been learning/practicing them?
German...Started learning 13 years ago. Was fluid in speech and lived in Germany for a bit. Haven't used it much in the past five years.
French...Started learning 10 years ago. Used it on vacation. Didn't get past 101.
Spanish...Started learning 4 years ago. Have not stuck with it. Didn't finish 101 level.
Do you enjoy learning languages or does that bother you?
I like learning about words, grammar, language development, and other cultures. I hate memorizing vocabulary.
Is/Was your language knowledge useful for your job/studies/other?
Nope. Nope. and nope. I didn't get into a career after college. All of the jobs I've worked have been things a high school graduate could do in their sleep. Spanish would be helpful if I knew more.
Do you think that we should teach more languages in school?
Honestly, I think we should focus on learning about other cultures instead, since we are native speakers of the international business language. Americans would benefit from a deeper understanding of culture and history...accurate history, not the bullshit you read in textbooks or see on cable news shows. I think if we took cultural and historical education seriously, the "Ugly American" stereotype would disappear and we would have much better cross cultural relations.
The thing with German is...all the well educated Germans who you will encounter in business or government have studied your language since Kindergarten. They probably know more about English grammar than you and I do. It's kind of a waste of time. Also, when you tell people you studied German, they assume you're Anti-Semetic or a white supremacist because of WWII. So that sucks.
Thank you for your answer Kairan :)
Yes of course it’s very different from an American point of view. In France, we have to learn at least English if we want to work to tourism/international work. Our language is spoken in a lot of countries so it’s still useful (Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and a lot of other African countries) but not enough to work internationally.
I like what you said about learning about other cultures! About the “Ugly American” stereotype, well… that’s just a stereotype; but I have to admit that the few times I had the chance to go to the US, I’ve been surprised by the geographical knowledge of people I encountered. I know it’s not all the Americans, but I’ve been asked if I came by train from France (to LA) and if France was part of the United Kingdom or Great Britain (at least this person knew that there is a difference) ^^
Also, when you tell people you studied German, they assume you're Anti-Semetic or a white supremacist because of WWII. So that sucks.
What x) ?!
My mother language is arabic and i've learned english at school .. i enjoy learning new languages however i find it really hard .. i've tried to learn french and failed big time .. i only studied it for the school but never managed to express myself using it.
learning english was very helpful in my studies and my work as well .. maybe it's not a foreign language to many of you but to me it's the language of science .. it's like what latin used to be centuries ago.
i think learning english helped me alot to free my mind and explore other cultures and discover new thoughts and ideas .. it helped me communicate with u right now :))
I would think English would be harder to learn than French. French is a lot less fraught with exceptions and nonstandard grammar than English is. I think the really hard part for many trying to learn French is the pronunciation. With English, about 95% of the time you can substitute an "eh" sound for all of the vowels and count on being perfectly well understood even if you sound a little weird.
I have to disagree with you about that. I do think English is way easier (I’m not saying French is the hardest language, I’ve been told that German grammar is terribly hard for example). About the exceptions, I think exactly the opposite, there’s so much secret rules in French that no one know ^^ .And there’s also the conjugation; here’s the verb “have” in English and French for example: English and French
About the pronunciation, I can't say much, I think it's very subjective. For exemple, I find it really hard to pronunce an english "R", and i can't say "awkward" or "Squirrel" without feeling like I'm sufocating :p
There are plenty of languages out there that make German seem simple; many cite Russian as significantly harder. It has fewer cognates than German. For example "fisch" = fish in German, but it's рыба (pronounced almost like Reba though the ы sound is funky) in Russian. If you break entirely out of Indo-european languages you will really get into the realm of ballbusters, Hungarian, Basque, Finnish, Georgian, Turkish, Yoruba, Chinese (Mandarin is easier by far than Cantonese) Navajo, etc., and you will start to feel like Russian, German, French and English are just fricking dialects.
Hi Marvel :)
I’m in the exact same situation. Learning English is so helpful for me. I’m clearly not bilingual, but I’m so glad to be able to read or hear English and understand it completely. I can read in English, watch movies, and understand songs… The talking part is a bit harder, but I think I’m capable of expressing myself a minimum and (I think) be understood. I just hope it will be useful in my future studies/ work :)
I am only fluent in English. In my country, when I was growing up, we had to learn Afrikaans (almost like Dutch) and I absolutely hated the language so I did the exact bare minimum just to get by and since leaving high school I proceeded to forget everything I'd learnt pretty much out of spite. There were no other classes given for different languages at my school and my parents couldn't afford to get me a private tutor for a different language that I may never use anyway. So I never really learnt a second language properly.
I would have loved to have the opportunity to learn a different language, ANY other language besides Afrikaans. I tried to teach myself Japanese at one stage, but unsuccessfully. It is still first on my list of languages I want to learn though and will definitely get around to it one day (probably closer to the time that I can afford to go on holiday/move there).
Thank you for your answer :)
So, I guess that you're from South Africa (yeah captain obvious ^^); and I always wondered, who do talk Afrikaans? Is it special regions?
And yeah, Japanese seems to me like a good choice :)
Most South Africans speak Afrikaans. Most that didn't speak it at first were forced to learn it.
Now the tables are turning and English seems to be becoming the preferred language, I think mostly because most business is conducted in English, so if you can't speak it then it narrows your choice of jobs down quite considerably.