how many languages do you speak?

May 25th, 2000, 10:01 AM
Beth Anderson
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how many languages do you speak?

or can get by with, at least passably? Do any of you actively keep up with it, or, are you studying it right now (for an upcoming trip, or some other reason?)

I studied French, and can still read it fairly well (don't have a lot of reasons to practice it, alas - two trips to France last year notwithstanding). I studied German in college, and used to be able to get by fairly well in that too - but that was a LONG time ago... a smattering of Spanish, and I am currently studying Italian (just started 6 weeks ago).

I just thought this would be an interesting post...

May 25th, 2000, 10:10 AM
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Three - English, French like a five year old, and the Italian of...maybe a three year old - I know lots of nouns, and the basics of present tense verbs. I'm hoping to work on both German and Spanish before my brain turns to total mush.
May 25th, 2000, 10:20 AM
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An interesting question....

Fluent - English
Get By - French, Italian, Arabic (Cairo dialect)
Struggle - Greek, German
Forgot - Russian
May 25th, 2000, 10:28 AM
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Four and a half: Dutch (mothertongue), French, English, German, 1/2 Spanish. My Spanish used to be good at the time I went to highschool (25 yrs ago) but I never used it since then, besides on holidays.
May 25th, 2000, 10:37 AM
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One. English. And I'm really, really mad at myself about this.

Oh sure, I took a semester of Spanish in seventh grade. I had the maturity of a seventh-grader, so I promptly dropped it because it was hard. Oh, and I took two semesters of Spanish at a community college after I finished grad school. But let's be serious. It's awfully tough to learn another language through a weekly course after a long, hard day at the office.

I consider my language deficiency a significant personal failure. Thanks for listening.
May 25th, 2000, 10:49 AM
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In addition to English, I'm fluent in Fortran and Basic, and speak a bit of German.
May 25th, 2000, 10:56 AM
Bill Irving
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English is my 1st language.
I can get by with the basics in French, when speaking & reading.(Took 3 yrs in high school & 1 semester in college.)But everyday conversational French, I would be left in the dark.
Can do some very basic beginning German, but wouldn't want to have my life depend upon it.
May 25th, 2000, 10:59 AM
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Fluent (?)- English

Basic- Spanish--Have been by myself in Guatamala and lived to tell about it.

Get By- (with lots of hands and cause I love it) Italian

Studied- French, but too intimidated to speak in France--just not good enough, I feel, and afraid to make mistakes.

Understand Some- German. My grandmother lived with us and spoke it all the time.

Wish I had studied as a kid--it's so much easier to learn. But what did I know?
May 25th, 2000, 01:01 PM
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English - fluently.
Lived in Spain for 5 years so probably about a toddler's level of Spanish. I can get by as a tourist but can't discuss anything deep.
French - had 3 years in high school and can still read it but not real well, lost the pronounciation, maybe I never really had it. Have been to France many times and used the tourist stuff but never discussed anything with anyone there.
German - some - lived in Germany 5 years but every time I spoke German, they would answer in English way better than my German. Only really had to use it in Bavaria.
Can say "thank you" and "no" and "yes" in Greek and Russian and "goodnight" in Finnish and Merry Christmas in a bunch of languages.
May 25th, 2000, 01:13 PM
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I really enjoy this question....
Learning languages is my favorite thing in the world to do! I just graduated from high school and I plan to travel abroad and learn lots of languages.
I speak English fluently, I've studied Spanish for 4 years and French for 3, and I took a conversational Italian course before going to Italy last year. This month I'm on my way to France and England where I can brush up on my French. I love languages! Being of Polish decent, I hope to study Polish one day as well. My mom has taught me a little.
Adios and Gracias!
May 25th, 2000, 01:30 PM
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Great post!
I speak American English as my mother tongue. Fluent in Spanish--exchange student in Spain in high school and tried to keep it from getting rusty ever since.
Get by in French and Portuguese, can read both well.
Basic hello, thank you and directions (tourist language) in Italian and German.
Right now I'm brushing up on French, next is a home course in Portuguese, then I'd like to learn Arabic.
May 25th, 2000, 02:23 PM
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Spanish mother tongue
English fluent. Learned as a child, lived in England and the USA. Work in a US multinational company, practice every day.

Portuguese, French & Italian: tourist level about 100 word vocabulary (give or take a few).

Nice story: while living in the USA, at a party a friend who was an immigrant from Russia was talking to my daughter who was 10 years old, and told her that in his culture learning another language was like acquiring another soul.

May 25th, 2000, 05:45 PM
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Hmmmm.... well English on good days.
I used to be fluent in French, but now it is at the advanced coping level.
My Macedonian is a bit more than tourist - I can hold simple conversations, bargain with taxi drivers and complain about most things. [and read cyrillic]
My Hungarian is entry_level tourist - but seems to work.
And I can say "thank-you" in about 10 languages
May 25th, 2000, 06:03 PM
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I can get by in Italian, German, Spanish, French and English. Can read pretty well all of them. Writing is quite another story ... a complete illiterate.
My mother language (sort of) is Portuguese.

May 25th, 2000, 06:08 PM
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Australian English is my mother tongue. I studied French in High School for three years and found it easyish to pick up when I decided to try University as a mature age student. I majored in Italian and French which included much literature from Dante up, consequently I read both French and Italian much better than I speak them especially since I studied externally for my degree and only got together with my tutors and fellow students about twice a year. In France and Italy in 1995 I tried really hard. I was understood but the French tended to answer me in English which was a little frustrating! Since I graduated way back in 1991 and don't practice as much as I should, both languages are slipping away.
May 25th, 2000, 06:26 PM
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Beth- I love your question because it invites sharing and not controversy.

My grandfather was German (off the boat) and married my grandmother who lived in N.Y., was raised in a convent and was somehow commissioned to teach Leo English. They fell in love and had 8 children. I am his grandaughter. My early childhood memories are laced with German sayings like, 'Morgan stunt hat gold in munt. Translation- 'The morning hours have gold in their mouths.' Forgive the grammatical errors, this is what I heard. We knew it to mean- get up early and get to work, get busy, these are the best hours to accomplish anything.

At 14 yrs. old, went to Mexico and lived with a large family in San Luis Potosi. Learned the language, fell in love with the culture and had a classical guitar teacher that taught tablature. I visit Mexico yearly and am still in love with the culture.

And French?... enough to understand Debussy and Mallarme.

Bon Vivant,

Anne Marie Antoinette
May 25th, 2000, 06:28 PM
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I wasn't sure I felt like chiming in on this thread, but there seems to be some pretty good company here.

Best: English, French, German

Fairly good: Spanish, Italian

With cramming, I have been able to get up to several hundred words and basic verb conjugations, and figure I can do it again: Portuguese, Dutch, Danish.

Once studied for a year (in high school), and would love to have the chance to dust off and try again: Russian.

Learned a smidgin 30 years ago: Greek.

Studied up for trips that have as yet not materialized: Norwegian, Swedish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Finnish (I don't kid myself about how much I could actually absorb in a few weeks of cramming for the last two).

And last of all, tried really hard for six weeks, serious effort and got NOwhere and I have retained NOTHING: Japanese.
May 25th, 2000, 06:34 PM
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It IS a fun question. And with a slightly serious side, since I am dogmatic in my belief that we travel-lovers should make an effort to learn something of the language of the host country, both out of politeness and because we'll get a lot more out of the visit. Unfortunately, we Americans seem to be a bit more deficient than most in making the attempt.
So, my attempts: Southern (U.S.) English is, by the grace of God, the mother tongue. I am (or used to be) reasonably fluent in French, having lived there for a year long ago. I get by in German, Spanish, and hopefully -- considering I will arrive there in a couple of weeks -- Italian. I know a bit of modern Hebrew, and in the past I have obtained phrase-book level skills, via tapes and books, in Czech, Greek, Dutch, etc. -- wherever my wanderlust takes me!
May 25th, 2000, 09:18 PM
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Hello, Bon Jour, Hallo, Salve, Guerzi,

Native English speaker
Semi-fluent French
Understand some Dutch (lived in Holland for 8 months)
Very very basic Italian
And beginner at Swiss German (have lived here for 5.5 months) and making quite remarkable progress...I really enjoy the situations (albeit too rare) when the other person doesn't speak English and I'm forced to use my fumbling language skills.
May 25th, 2000, 10:10 PM
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anybody here able to speak Afrikaans?

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