Do You Speak a Foreign Language?

Old Nov 20th, 2008, 03:36 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Have been studying French for a couple of years and, as others have mentioned, I can read it pretty well but can only understand it if it's being spoken by a non-native speaker -- native French speakers go too fast for me. I've been doing the Annenberg "French in Action" series recently and usually have no clue what Mireille and Robert are talking about, though I can understand the professor most of the time!

I used to know Spanish at about the same level as I now know French; used to have to speak it sometimes in my Social Services job in California, but now learning French seems to have pushed most of the Spanish out of my head. I have no idea how anyone can be multi-lingual; bi-lingual is a big enough challenge for me.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 03:46 PM
  #42  
 
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I just love languages.

I'm fluent in French - with an accent perfect enough to fool even the French themselves. I am usually mistaken for une francaise.

My Spanish is really, really good. And the accent gets better the more I speak it.

I had four years of German in high school, but right now it's very basic. I can understand maybe a bit more than half of what is spoken to me. I was told by my German teacher that "You speak Cockney German with a French accent!"

I speak a tiny bit of Italian but I can understand much more than I can speak. The same goes with Portuguese (a language I am absolutely fascinated with and intend to learn one of these days!)

I am a perfectionist in my study and pronunciation of languages. I won't settle for less than perfect.


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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:03 PM
  #43  
 
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soogies wrote: "... une francaise ... I won't settle for less than perfect."

Hmm.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:07 PM
  #44  
 
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Being Canadian we have a bit of an advantage by speaking French (albeit Parisians criticize our accents). I also speak German and my wife understands it quite well but doesn't trust herself to speak it. Grew up in Little Italy in Toronto so Italian comes back quite readily. We have traveled throughout Europe (lived there for 5 years) and have been able to communicate everywhere we went ... also not discussing nuclear physics or philosophy. So many Europeans (particularly the young ones) speak English, one shouldn't have a problem.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:08 PM
  #45  
 
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Padraig - I assume you're referring to the cedille. I cannot figure out how to do that on my computer.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:12 PM
  #46  
 
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ç On my PC, Alt+135.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:14 PM
  #47  
 
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More for you, soogies: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=557434
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:16 PM
  #48  
 
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I speak french conversationally a bit better if I have a glass or two of wine so I'm not shy.
I studied German through high school and university but I have forgotten a lot of it. I think I could get a good bit back if I put my mind to it though.
I'm married to a Greek and have been learning it since we met and I can get by quite well just as long as I don't have to discuss anything to a great depth.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:18 PM
  #49  
 
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On ANY computer (and which renders correctly in ANY browser, which the multi-key solutions do NOT): <b>&amp;ccedil;</b>
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:22 PM
  #50  
 
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On ANY computer (and which renders correctly in ANY browser, which the multi-key solutions do NOT): <b>&amp;ccedil;<b>, so <i>fran&ccedil;aise is typed <i>fran<b>&amp;ccedil;<b>aise</b></b></i>.</i></b></b>
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:22 PM
  #51  
 
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On ANY computer (and which renders correctly in ANY browser, which the multi-key solutions do NOT): <b>&amp;ccedil;</b>, so <i>fran&ccedil;aise is typed <i>fran<b>&amp;ccedil;</b>aise</i>.</i>
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 04:45 PM
  #52  
 
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Robes - mer&ccedil;i beau&ccedil;oup!

s.

PS: Yes - I know neither word is correct. I was just trying out my new skill.


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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 05:41 PM
  #53  
 
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My husband and I travel in Europe, Mexico and Canada with a combination of my German, both of our Spanish, and his Italian and French. We've also studied for extended trips in Portugal, the Checz Republic, Romania and Hungary with good results. It's just not that hard to learn basic polite phrases in any language. I only wish our public schools would provide language instruction at an early age for all students.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 07:01 PM
  #54  
 
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pretty fluent French, some Spanish, a few words of Arabic.

and, for Mac users, I found a great widget for all kinds of characters and symbols:

Character Pal: http://www.tacowidgets.com/widgets/c...rpal/index.php
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 07:19 PM
  #55  
 
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In addition to English, four languages ( with various degrees of fluency)
As others mentioned, in most (tourist) places English will do.
I used Spanish and Italian only a few times in small towns, and French in a few restaurants in Paris (at my own peril).


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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 08:06 PM
  #56  
 
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I have studied several languages spoken in Europe after graduating from college.

Many of my U.S. acquaintances lament not having a talent for a foreign language. While there are many academic papers on this subject, those I meet simply have not invested time in studying a language.

One might take a 10hr beginning conversational French class from an unqualified instructor and decide that he does not have a &quot;talent&quot; for a language.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 08:57 PM
  #57  
 
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Oddly enough, I am very comfortable in an Italian setting and with unilingual Italians, though I spent less than 1 year in that country in the 70s.

Italian got hardwired into my brain in my very early 20s.

I am quite at home in France and am OK -- as many Canadian compatriots likewise are OK -- with total immersion in that language. I still lack technical vocab, however.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:09 PM
  #58  
 
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I have been studying French for eight years so should be a lot better than I am. However, I can read a newspaper or mazagine, understand French if it is spoken slowly (better in the country than in Paris) and have a conversation on a simple level. I speak a little Italian but can understand and read a lot more and my husband speaks Sicilian (I wouldn't say Italian). I also speak a smatter of Greek.

A European Phrase book is invaluable. No matter where you are, just jump in and hava a go. It is always appreciated. I have happily crucified dozen of languages and have always been treated well for making the effort, either out of pity or amusement.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:37 PM
  #59  
 
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I can speak
&gt;spanish
&gt;german
&gt;english
&gt; and a little french

i am fleunt in english with two parents who are bilingual in spanish it wasnt that hard to pick up..when i was younger i could speak italian.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 12:03 AM
  #60  
 
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Robespierre, about your comment that you understood the Romanian tour guide's French easily, I have found that it is easier for me to follow people for whom French is a second language. Probably because they speak more slowly and do not run words together as much as native French speakers.

And as for academic French, I find that I can understand lectures in French more easily than conversation, unless the lecturer has a very colloquial style. It is easier for me to understand French when the conversation contains longer words, possibly because English and French are more likely to share the Latin roots of multi-syllabic words.

So conversation on loftier topics is in some ways easier than conversation about more mundane affairs.
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