Multilingualism in Europe

Feb 24th, 2006, 02:55 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,381
That's interesting Rillifane. Presumably there are even less words in Dutch than in French.
Well, I'm off to France now to practice those 60.000 words.
Tulips is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118

>The states of Texas and Colorado and the Army Dependent Schools spent a lot of money to teach me German and Spanish, and I spent more in college on the German--just so 35 years later I could read a few roadsigns, menus, and museum explanatory notes on a 2 week Bavarian vacation.<

You were supposed to read Schiller, Goethe, Schopenhauer and Kant in the original. Listen to Wagner and sing Lieder in German.

ira is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 559
I have to agree that my students who have been exposed to 2 or more languages early on in life find it much easier to acquire Russian when we begin studying in my school- sadly- in the seventh grade.

Linguistically speaking, most students who begin language study at this late age will never fully acquire the language because their brains are no longer capable of full acquisition.

My school district has been in a push-pull fight with our elementary schools to begin in fifth grade, but it is very hard. I feel it is a waste of a wonderful experience for students though- without knowing a local language when traveling, you miss so much of what is culturally "theirs".

True, in the US we are at a geographical disadvantage for language learning. This just means we should fight harder for it.

katya_NY is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,632
As a bit of a linguist, could I bang the drum not so much for the practical utility of learning a foreign language as for the educational value of simply being exposed to a different way of thinking.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,304
My kids are 10 and 8. They go to school in Switzerland. They are still learning "high" German, which is a bit of a foreign language to them.

They've just started with the new English program. My son will be learning English in the third grade. My daughter just missed this opportunity and will be learning it in the 6th. French begins at 6th or 7th grade.

Each Canton is different.
kleeblatt is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 07:02 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 146

I have no doubt that early exposure to other languages makes learning them easy. My daughter was an informal test case for this.

My circle of friends are all multilingual and we made a point of exposing her to every language spoken by a member of the group.

By the time she was 12 she could speak not only English but had a modest conversational ability in Chinese, French,Yiddish, Hebrew, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Italian and Spanish.

Of course the disadvantage was that on trips abroad with me she could SHOP without any assistance (or restraint) from me.

Worse still, she was able to flirt with young men all over Europe and Asia. I attribute my prematurely grey hair to the latter fact.

Rillifane is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Patrick--I'll list that in the intangible benefits side of the benefit-cost analysis. But some kids probably end up hating Spain, or Germany, or wherever for putting them through language class torture! It would be difficult to measure the net effect.

ira--I still can sing most of "Der Gute Kamerad." (Uhland/Silcher)

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
Einen bessern findst du nit.
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
Er ging an meiner Seite
Im gleichen Schritt und Tritt.
Im gleichen Schritt und Tritt.

Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt's mir oder gilt es dir?
Ihn hat es weggerissen,
Er liegt mir vor den Füßen
Als wär's ein Stück von mir.
Als wär's ein Stück von mir.

Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad'.
Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
Mein guter Kamerad!
Mein guter Kamerad!

Ah, Schopenhauer--another Buddhist at heart!

RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
My niece (5 years old) speaks English, Korean, Cambodian, Chinese, and some Malay dialect.

When she gets upset with the maid (who speaks only Cambodian), she answers her in Chinese and Korean.

When she is in a group with people who speak different languages, she mixes here languages up. So when she's in Maryland with some English speakers and some Korean speakers, her sentences will have both Korean and English words mixed up.

I am reminded of some of my relatives (of German ancestry) in Nebraska, who as late as the 1950s would still sometimes come out with a sentence like "The Kuh has uber the fence gejumped."
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 43
I have to agree with some of the above comments. Learning other languages is more than practical, it enriches you. You think differently and are able to understand different cultures. Also it makes you more tolerant and interested in other cultures. My parents taught me Spanish at a very young age although the schools were against it, saying to would confuse us. Well, I'm glad that they didn't listen. The U.S. should be starting to teach languages at a younger age. It would be easier and kids would be more interested.
arce is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 559
As they say in Russia, having a second language is like having a second soul...

katya_NY is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:36 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
English has a large vocabulary because it is a widely-used language. The pace of technological and other developments in the past two hundred years has accelerated enormously, and with it the size of vocabulary has grown. And the vocabulary that grows the most is the one of the language that is used the most, and currently that is English.

There's nothing magic about English.

As for explaining one English word with several words in Dutch (or any other language), that works both ways. Translations are almost always longer than the original texts, no matter what the original or target languages are. A Dutch translation of an English text will be longer than the English text; and an English translation of a Dutch text will be longer than the Dutch text.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
yadda yadda
logos999 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 146

Except, of course, that:

1. The disparity has existed since well before the development of modern technology.

2. The disparity exists in non-technical words.

Rillifane is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:23 PM.