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.


  • Did/Do you learn languages other than your mother tongue? If so, was it in school or by yourself?
  • Which one do you speak? How long have you been learning/practicing them?
  • Do you enjoy learning languages or does that bother you?
  • Is/Was your language knowledge useful for your job/studies/other?
  • Do you think that we should teach more languages in school?

Tags: Foreign, languages, mother, tongue

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It is really pretty!  I always get scared away from it though after spending so long on Spanish.  It just feels wrong in my mouth.  (dirtier than I meant to get)

Spanish is my mother tongue, i agree i can be weird but its similarity to spanish makes it very easy to learn. If i pay attention, i can understand general ideas with a little trouble.

I speak both English and Spanish.  Spanish is the 2nd language and I started studying it in high school.  I majored in Spanish alongside biology.  It's now been about 10 years or so that I have studied Spanish (unfortunately I'm not in a very good position to continue studying it or practicing it with others right now).

Languages are fun to learn, and it's fun to learn some linguistics, history of the language, and literature along with it too!.  What I enjoyed most about learning Spanish was getting to know another culture and another history than simply the American/English history and culture.  I think I even got exposed to literature in a way that I never would have gotten into if I didn't study a language.

If I can keep my skills up and gain a vocabulary specific to health care, it will be a huge benefit to me in my career.  Hopefully I can also use it to leverage a bit more money in negotiating a salary.  I also got the benefit of being able to study abroad for a semester.  Yeah, I did have an "easy" semester, but I actually learned a lot and certain parts that I had struggled with became cemented in my mind.

Second languages would be more useful if they were offered a little bit earlier than usual in school.  It's much easier at a younger age to acquire language.  I also think that it could be very helpful in explaining word origins and help people to understand why so many technical terms are big and scary.  After taking so much Spanish, it became easy to make connections between biology/medical terminology.  The latin and greek based words actually tried to paint a picture at one point.  It really helped to elaborate the idea in my mind and made learning even easier over time.

I find the history of English fascinating since most English speakers are unaware that English is a Germanic language. Most of us, even without a single course in German, can make out the basic meaning of many German sentences. 

But what's truly amazing are the similarities between Hindi and English, for English is in the Indo-European language family. 

Yeah, the history of languages is extremely fascinating.  Another reason the Bible is an awful source of information: the Tower of Babel.  Linguistics makes a much more fascinating study.

Yes that whole fable runs on the assumption that languages don't change, so doG had to create them all.  I imagine huge percentages of fundies think someone walked away from that tower speaking English.  When more likely than not even proto-Germanic didn't exist in the timeframe it's supposed to have happened, much less old english or Chaucerian (middle) English, and much much less what we speak today.

It could be interesting to see what someone who takes a literal view of the bible, or even a "fundamental" view, would say about the history of language.  I'll have to bring that up the next time I'm in that situation :D

It's enough of a "side issue" to them (they'd rather pound on about Genesis 1 & 2) that they probably haven't given the question a lot of (what passes for) thought.  It's even possible they won't know the Tower of Babel story all that well.  So the answer may vary.

If I am in the situation, I'll make a note to ask the question, then ask questions about their response; and see if they are stupid enough to actually end up saying Modern English was spoken by one guy in the middle east 5500 years or so (or whenever) ago.

I suspect that ones with a even a tiny bit more education than zero will know better; it's pretty obvious that language does change, just read Shakespeare.  Or, for that matter, the KJV.  Very few people, on the other hand, have personally seen as direct evidence that life changes in the way Darwin showed.

On the plus side one might be able to turn this into an instance where even they will be troubled by what the bible says.

1. My mother tongue is Arabic, and I speak two languages besides it. I learned them by both school, summer courses, and personal experience (practice, practice, practice).

2. I speak English very fluently. I've been learning it since the age of 4. The second language that I speak, French, is a disappointment in comparison. I can form basic sentences to describe what I want/think/need, but anything more sophisticated is out of my grasp. I'm still working on fixing that. I've been taking French inconsistently since the age of 8. Perhaps if if my education in the French language was more uniform, I would be as fluent as I now am in English. Who knows?

3. I enjoy learning languages very much. 

4.Yes. It was very useful for my university studies. Moreover, it gave me the opportunity to read the thoughts and science of secular minds. Had it not been for my language knowledge, I daresay, I would probably still be shackled by the ideology of my past-bound society. Also, French is a good language to know for voluntary work in the medical field because of the effects of French colonization and whatnot. In general, both languages are sure advantages whether it be for work or personal enlightenment, 

5. No and yes. I think school (high school, middle school, elementary school) is the worst place to learn a new language. They give you such a barren version of the language that you can't help but hate it. I remember when I used to take French. I had to memorize vocabulary words, sentence structures, synonyms and antonyms, etc. The language felt so foreign and distant that I could never become comfortable with speaking it. Then again, I cannot say that it was fruitless. I did learn a few things here and there, but it could have been better. On the other hand, the language immersion programs that my parents had enrolled me for during summers were anything but lifeless material.  

I remember when I used to take French. I had to memorize vocabulary words, sentence structures, synonyms and antonyms, etc. The language felt so foreign and distant that I could never become comfortable with speaking it. Then again, I cannot say that it was fruitless. I did learn a few things here and there, but it could have been better. On the other hand, the language immersion programs that my parents had enrolled me for during summers were anything but lifeless material. 

I understand that feeling. We are though a very formal english, songs and movies also tend to be more formal than your average 16 year old. So unless one keeps up or decides to look up slangs, it can be very easy to get lost in a conversation. To add to the injury, most teachers are not native speakers and have a very thick accent with bare knowledge of the language or bare interest in teaching. I've listened recording of myself in english and, for some reason, i sound like a hindu telemarketer even though i have barely left my piece of hispanic land.

Here's a taste for anyone curious. I made this two years ago, i have improved a little since then. I hope.

Yes, yes, yes! You've hit the point head-on! 

The thick-accents are yet another obstacle. I remember one of my teachers used to read the word diaphragm as DIAGRAM. It drove me crazy!! The cell membrane became CELL MEMBRAAN. Many other words sounded weird too. Had it not been for the power point, I wouldn't have understood what the word was supposed to be!

Actually, you sound very Hispanic. If I heard that, I would have guessed that your native tongue was Spanish :D. 

Our pronunciation is so idiosyncratic (compared to what's written down) that it's probably the biggest hurdle anyone has to get over.  The grammar is fairly simple.

Another thing I've heard complaints about with English is multiple meanings for the same word.



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