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What languages do you speak/are you learning?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Ashcristokos, May 31, 2013.

  1. Richard Cribb

    Richard Cribb He does monologues

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    Norwegian: Native.
    Swedish: Fluent.
    English: Fluent.
    German: Fluent.
    Romanian: Quite good, but with some elementary mistakes. haven't spoken it since 2000.
    Danish: Tolerable. I read and understand it fluently, but speaking it....
    French: Tolerable
    Also trying, seemingly in vain, to learn Polish. But alas, my brain is not what it used to be...
     
  2. TheLastOne36

    TheLastOne36 Chieftain

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    Oh? Why's that? :)

    I speak English natively, Spanish fluently, my Polish is at an "advanced" level I guess. I hope to practice it a lot when I travel there this summer.

    I discovered one day to my surprise that I could read and understand Italian to a very high level. I think if I attempted it or lived in Italy for a few months I could become fluent easily.

    I lost all my school French when I moved to Venezuela, it having converted to Spanish. I'd like to pursue German one day.
     
  3. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Ich glaube dass mein Akzent ziemlich gut ist, aber ich kenne viel zu wenig Vokabeln. Ich kann die Sprache leider nicht benutzen, weil ich neue Sätze noch nicht zusammensetzen kann.

    Spoiler :
    I'd say my accent is passable, but I don't know very many words. I cannot use the language because I cannot build new sentences.

    Ask me again when I achieve at least a minimal ability to express myself so that I don't feel like a complete moron every time I open my mouth :lol:

    EDIT, for instance, I understand this guy's Deutsch perfectly (he's not a native speaker), but I could never express myself like this:

    Spoiler :


    Again, I was speaking about high school students (re-read the post if you missed the context). These kids simply have to choose a language, it is compulsory in this country, not something you do because you necessarily *want to*.

    To expect that these people will dedicate hours each day learning a language because "it's fun" is totally illusory; most will only expend the MINIMUM effort necessary to pass with acceptable marks. That's why I am saying that only two years of foreign language in high school is completely insufficient.
     
  4. salty mud

    salty mud Ey-up

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    What is the average Czech grasp of English like?
     
  5. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    It's insufficient to teach people to speak languages fluently, but I'm not sure that's the point - it's partly (like all school subjects) a means of building skills which can be transferred to other things in life, of which oral and written communication is certainly a valuable one, but it's also about giving kids who do enjoy language learning the chance to try it out and maybe take it further after compulsory teaching finishes. Even as an adult, it's easier to pick up something that you've dropped than to take up something entirely new, especially if you already know that you like it.
     
  6. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Utter crap, with the exception of two cities (Prague and Brno), a few tourism-significant towns, and among college students (sort of, quality varies).

    But I studied English language and lit. in college, so I may be overly critical.

    I don't really think so. I had 6 years of German in high school and I remember NOTHING, even though I had a really good teacher for 3 of those years.

    Also, I think the perspective in English-speaking countries may be different, but here in this country people actually expect that kids can speak the language which was a part of the maturita exam (a school-leaving examination, a big deal over here). It's not something optional to be continued later, the purpose it to actually make them at least semi-fluent. And given the average high schooler's approach to languages ("I'll rather pick mathematics for my maturita exam than in any foreign language"), it's an enormous challenge.
     
  7. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    We expect that you can write a short essay on an undemanding subject, aurally understand reasonably uncomplicated information and hold a conversation for half an hour or so at 16, with slightly extended requirements of the same if you carry on until 18, but I don't think anyone expects people to be able to do the same by the time they're 25. We don't really expect people to remember the finer points of Hamlet because they learned it at GCSE; what matters is that studying English gives them an appreciation that reading books - even old ones with difficult words in them - is worthwhile, along with the more pragmatic element of teaching them to be able to see a page of words, work out what they mean on a reasonably complex level, form an opinion about that and express it coherently. It's the same with foreign languages, I think. Education is less about knowledge, I think, than is often assumed. There's something in the logic that schools and universities used to teach Latin verse composition - perhaps the single most useless subject in terms of 'hard skills' - simply because a pupil who could learn to do that well could learn to do anything else, such as managing a government department, trading stocks, or running a battleship.

    EDIT: Not quite right on GCSE French, see below.
     
  8. salty mud

    salty mud Ey-up

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    I did my GCSEs five years ago now, and this is completely bogus. You are vastly overstating the demands needed for GCSE. A "short essay" is actually about half a page to a page (if you are a top student) of writing. Most of the listening exam questions were single word answers and ticky box style questions. And a half an hour conversation? My test was 10 minutes long, 15 if we include the time given to prepare the role play questions.
     
  9. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    I could make a 'back in my day' comment, but the point was that you're not really expected to speak the language fluently, you're expected to be comprehending and comprehensible for a short amount of time. That's quite different from actually being able to use the language if you went abroad and having to deal with unfamiliar situations on the fly. In a way, that actually makes it clearer.
     
  10. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Flying_Pig's description is pretty dead-on for what the Spanish AP exam was, although the conversational portion was more like a 15-20 minute conversation, not 30 minutes.
     
  11. Civ'ed

    Civ'ed I ain't gotta explain a thing

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    Dutch: Native
    English: More Fluent than Dutch
    German: Fluent
    French: Tolerable
    Spanish: Can understand bits
    Portuguese (European and Brazilian): Can understand bits
    Danish/Norwegian Bokmal: Understand bits
    Swedish: Understand bits
    Japanese: Know a few words
    Navajo: Know a few words
    Old Norse/Icelandic: Know a few words, can call myself a tree
    Russian: Know a few words
     
  12. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    It might be fun to compile a list of who speaks which languages.
     
  13. TheLastOne36

    TheLastOne36 Chieftain

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    And then play a CFC-OT game of telephone. :D
     
  14. metatron

    metatron unperson

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    Having fluency in a foreign language and some degree of immersion in the vocabulary of a foreign culture fundamentally changes ones way of thinking and equally fundamentally improves understanding of ones own native language and culture.

    This is why i keep molesting the learners of German on this forum (Owen knows what i'm talking about since he's my primary victim) with the need to find (not translated but original) material - music, books, TV, whatever - that genuinely interests them.
    Cause if you don't you're learning a sterile code, not a living language - might as well spend your time learning cuneiform.
    (Which is still useful, just as say learning Latin is, but obviously not the same thing. Anyway, i'm sure you get my point).
    Feel free to visit Owen and me on fiftychat. :p
     
  15. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Yeah! This can be fun!
     
  16. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Yup - that's why most Czechs are provincial cretins (pardon my French).

    I started reading articles on DW plus I am watching a videos in German on YT (with a notebook where I am writing everything I caught but didn't understand - the pages fill up so quickly I usually don't last beyond 30 minutes).

    (and despair)
     
  17. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    You should definitely come on #fiftychat
     
  18. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    The so-called 'proficiency' (in English) exams i took back at 15 (or similar) were more on the random side of things than an actual fluency exam. There were two at the time, here, the main one which is the Cambridge proficiency, and an american one (Michigan proficiency).
    The latter was more random cause it only has a written part, which tended to use in the multiple choice part a large number of words which one doesn't really see much use in, and were sort of archaic (iirc not idiomatic either).

    Hm, in fact i now don't recall if the Cambridge one had an interview part either (almost 20 years passed since i managed to get a glorious 'C' in it...). However the exam i took as part of the requirements of the English uni entry application, did have an interview too. But overall that test was much easier, and i recall that i got A's in all five parts of it. Including the interview, which was an experience i still recall, cause i was nervous about possibly mumbling things a bit (used to have an occasional stutter-like issue at times back then) but instead i had a very nice discussion for 15 min with the interviewer, and we ended up not using the set questions but talking about literature i was reading at the time (17) like The brothers Karamazov.

    I also recall a sort of hyperbolic joke i did when the interview ended. The interviewer said 'exit at the left' as i was leaving, and i stopped for an instant and then noted: 'my country right or left?'. Pretty poor as a joke, but i was enthusiastic due to having obviously passed the interview :)
     
  19. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Learning Dutch. Great language. More challenging than it ought to be :p
     
  20. dutchfire

    dutchfire Moderator Moderator

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    How's the progress?
     

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