Do You Speak a Foreign Language?

Old Nov 20th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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I'm fluent in Dutch, have forgotten Welsh, can get by in Spanish, understand more German than I can speak and struggle in French in spite of (because of?) 5 years French at school.
hetismij is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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JR - i am curious about languages as you should be able to help me understand just what Luxembourgese (sp?) is - am i right thinking it is just a dialect of German or is it a fusion of German and some French

You are from Luxembourg originally - i know from being there that there are some people who only speak French - esp near the French border - i camped in Alzingen just south of Lux City and the owner spoke French mainly. Do you speak Luxembourgese as well?

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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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My first trip to Europe was to Switzerland (German speaking area) and Austria. We knew zero German, but English was spoken throughout so it was never a problem.

Then I visited Paris and I was happy to finally be able to use my HS/College French! Invariably, I would start out saying something in what I hoped was mostly correct pronunciation, syntax, etc. and the reply would come back to me in patient and perfect French. I found it was very helpful to know some basics of the language of the country I was in and once I made an effort, I could tell that it was appreciated. Very often, I would find myself conversing in a mixture of French and English.

Our next visits have been to Italy and I've taken "adult ed" classes and I've also used some CDs. Again, my limited Italian has only been a plus. One time, my husband and I were in Tuscany and were looking for a particular winery. We took a "scenic" drive and found ourselves in the middle of a vineyard, totally lost. The only person we saw was a worker on a tractor. I was happy then that I knew some basic words/directions or we would probably still be lost!

So my feeling is that it's always appreciated if you try to speak the language and people will try to be patient and helpful in return. It's enhanced my travels and added to my enjoyment of the country I'm visiting.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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I'm very comfortable, if not perfectly fluent, in Celsius.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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Enough French to get by, a tiny bit of German learned at my grandmother's knee, even less Russian, and very good opera Italian. And California Spanisyh.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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I have studied German and read it reasonably well with the aid of a translation dictionary for the rough areas. I am reading English books translated into German to try to improve my reading ability.

Speaking is harder. I am getting hard of hearing, just a bit shy of a hearing aid. I get by in English by lip reading, actually face reading. It is very hard for me to lip read in German. We get by.

We stationed in Germany years ago, we traveled about western Europe. A phrase book and a smattering of language got us a room and meal. Danish was the hardest that I encountered but many people in Denmark spoke multiple languages.

Regards, Gary
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:21 AM
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I studied French and Spanish in school - the last ice age.

But have found when traveling everything you knew comes flooding back to you - since you're surrounded by a different language.

So now, I speak French and Spanish on about the level of a 3 year old. I can manage basic communication in Italian, Portuguese and the Germanic/Scandinavain languages - since they're so close to English. (This means ordering meals, buying gas, dealing with a hotel,parking garage etc.)

When it comes to slavic languages I haven't a clue.

And - in more than 70 trips to europe I've never found a situation where I didn't manage to communicate - one way or another.

(Once in France we helped some Turkish tourists with a menu. They had no French but a 12/13 year old son who was studying English - and translated some things for him - and he to them.)
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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i speak conversational french ... i was taught by actual french teachers during grade school and high school (i.e. from FRANCE!). i also spent a summer in montreal in an 'immersion' type program.

DH speaks limited french - he can muddle his way through a supermarket or farmers market.

we were thrilled with how we were treated during our two weeks in france. many of our family friends thought the french were ridiculously rude ... and of course, i'm embarrassed to say that our friends didn't bother to try to use some VERY basic french - bonjour, merci, au revoir, etc. they just assumed people would welcome conversations that started in english (i'm cringing as i type this).

i can't fathom going to a non-english/french speaking country and not learning just a handful of basics ... it's amazing how much more friendly the locals are as a result.

of course, can you imagine how you'd react if a tourist came up to you in your hometown and started yelling at you in their native tongue (i.e. a language not spoken locally in your town)???

i'm still shaking my head at my friends and all of the english-speaking tourists who always started their conversations in english while we were in france!

sorry for the rant.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Like many others, enough French to get by. But the most useful knowledge comes from the Latin I studied in junior high--just knowing word "roots" is a great help.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:51 AM
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Ok a small side step...
Many of us born here in Wales do not Speak Welsh, however we do only speak English.

Therefore we do Speak a foreign language but don't speak our

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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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<i>Author: nyse
Date: 11/20/2008, 01:49 pm

I'm very comfortable, if not perfectly fluent, in Celsius.</i>

Is there a degree program?
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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<i>Author: Ruby99
Date: 11/20/2008, 01:04 pm

I speak French at home, but it is French Canadian, so pretty different than Parisian French!</i>

Funny thing - I learned conversational French in college, so my knowledge is of &quot;academic&quot; French. This is next to useless in Paris - unless I can get the speaker to enunciate each word separately. But in the provinces I understand, and am understood, quite well. This was even more true in Romania, where our tour guide spoke French with such precision that I could simultaneously listen and translate for my family what she was saying.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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I speak French well enough to do &quot;just fine&quot; in France but cannot wax eloquent on subjects of a lofty nature!
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Well, I speak enough French, Spanish and Italian. I am fluent in American Sign. I tried to learn Japanese, but simply could not do it.

I do speak New Yorker and even some Bostonian. Being from Florida, we have this ability to figure out the meaning of words like &quot;FAWL&quot; and &quot;KAWFEE&quot;.

Oh, my DW is from Long Island and she just came home some I had better sign off.

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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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I don't really speak any foreign languages. I know a tiny bit of Spanish - enough to get around, place an order, but not enough to have a conversation. I can read a menu in French, and make out most signs from words I've picked up and context. Ditto for Danish.

But, my limited foreign language skills has not been much of a problem anywhere I have been. Some places are easier for the English-only traveler, but nowhere in Europe is that bad.

I had big plans to learn Danish when I moved to Denmark, but I quickly came to realize it simply wasn't necessary. Everyone speaks English and the bigger companies are English-language workplaces. Moving to Switzerland soon and debating whether to bother with (Swiss) German, but probably won't. Just not something that interests me that much.

If I had to choose a language to learn, I would probably either fill out my Spanish or go for Japanese or Mandarin.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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French, Italian, I studied Arabic and Russian each for 3 years (do not &quot;speak&quot; them with any fluency, though), and Danish for a year or so (can read it a bit and say a few phrases, but not much).
And I never studied Spanish, but I can read it and comprehend much of it just fine.
I took 12 years of Latin. That helps.
StCirq is online now  
Old Nov 20th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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I speak French and Spanish. Learned French in Canada and Spanish in Spain but have spent a lot of time in Latin America. The French that I learned in Canada suits me just fine when I travel in France. No apologies necessary.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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German, English, Italian. Rudimentary French, quite some Latin.

Fluent in Celsius, but I'll never get a degree in Fahrenheit.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Proficient in E, F, G, rusty in It, and enough Span and Rus to get around where none of the above are spoken.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 03:27 PM
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My German is fairly good, though I have a hard time following the news on Deutsche Welle. All those technical terms. I can't say that I'm really fluent, though.

I've been studying Spanish for a while and can read, write, and speak, but have difficulty understanding if the speach is too fast.

No French.
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