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How Many Languages Can You Speak?

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3 hours ago, Tenma said:

Yeah, contrary to most Asian-Americans, my parents actually wanted me to speak Tagalog as a child, but I actually refused to and just wanted to speak English. Now that I'm older, I realize that was a huge mistake but what can you do as a child? LOL. I'm just glad I was able to learn one part of it, and that I'm not completely separated from the language, you know? Haha

It's a generational thing, I think.  In my case, my mom didn't mind me learning Japanese, but my ancestors were the ones that immigrated.  Needless to say, mom was born and raised with English.

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I am American and live in Florida. I speak a decent amount of Spanish, but not enough to consider myself fluent.

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14 hours ago, Tenma said:

Yeah, contrary to most Asian-Americans, my parents actually wanted me to speak Tagalog as a child

While I have heard accounts of Asian American not being taught their parents' mother tongue because it'd "conflict" with their ability to learn English(in the context of US), I still find it to be a dumb reason. Second generation Asian American kids are most likely to use English as their primary language anyway but I suspect that most immigrant parents that moved to the US in their middle ages like my parents who did not and still do not speak English didn't think about it that way.

My parents never pushed me to continue learning Chinese but we speak a regional dialect at home so I guess the fear of me losing touch didn't really cross their minds. I did take Chinese in college for practice but I was never too far removed from the language anyway despite only using it home so maybe I should have taken Spanish instead.  

Edited by Flying Shogi

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Babies are bloody geniuses. They master an entire language without any context to work off of in about three years. And learning na second one simultaneously has never shown to provide any more difficultly. If the language is there and available a baby absolutely should be raised bilingual. Doesn't even matter what the languages are, just having two languages will help in learning more.

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German, English and, in theory, French. In practice, I didn't maintain my French at all after I dropped it after 5 years at school and apart from pronunciation, there's not a lot left of it. I could probably read aloud a text fairly convincingly, but without any clue what it is about. :lol: I also started an Italian course at school, but couldn't stand either teacher nor (most of) the class, so I dropped it after a few weeks. I remember enough of the pronunciation rules to not say Bres-kee-ah instead of Brescia, or to know why there's a "h" in "Spaghetti", at the very least.

I can also understand the local dialect from where my mum comes from with little problems, but not speak it beyond a handful of phrases and figures of speech.

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I can speak english quite well, and have been learning french for ten years now. I can hold a sort of basic conversation, read and sort of write, but I'm not what I'd call fluent in it. Yet. I hope to learn German, Catalan and Spanish later on!

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On 11/15/2020 at 11:54 PM, Jotari said:

Katakana seems much more manageable than hiragana (while Kanji is so hard even Japanese people can't do it!), which makes sense as it's something of a constructed language. And taking out my notebook and dedicating some time to it last week when I was cut off from the internet did provide fruitful for learning aiueo (as in just the vowel sounds by themselves), but I doubt I'll ever have the need or resolve to learn it in full. Though Duo Lingo is forcing me to recognize some more writing even if I'd rather learn purely through Romanji, so I might get there some day. I'm an English teacher by trade.

I'm learning Japanese right now - I took a class in college, years back, and have been re-learning most of the material over the past couple months (kamisama I saved the kyoukasho). Cringy non-grammatical weabish aside, I've actually had a much easier time with Hiragana than Katakana. Katakana characters tend to be simpler, but also more similar to one another (I swear, five of them are just diagonal strokes with varying diacritics). Plus, they appear much less frequently in most kinds of text (being limited to words and names of foreign origin). As for Kanji, as there are thousands, no one can be expected to know literally all of them. Still, I've managed to memorize more than a handful (numbers, days of the week, common verbs like "go" or "eat"). It's fun to find connections - like, the radicals for "sun" and "moon" show up in a lot of time-related kanji. Anyway, good luck on the language learning process! Even if you're doing it all-digital (with Duolingo), it might help to write the characters out, too.

What else? Well, English is my native language. The one I've spent the longest time learning, basically from middle school onwards, is Spanish. I haven't practiced in a while, and I doubt I could hold a competent conversation with a native hispanohablante, but I could probably speak enough to tread water in Mexico. One thing I really like about the language is, the pronunciations are almost always intuitive. And there are a lot of cognates, and near-cognates, with English.

The other language I have experience in is German, which I practiced for a few months (through Duolingo) before visiting my sister in Germany. Ich bin nicht gut. There are a lot of similar words to English, but I was never good at the pronunciation.

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40 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I'm learning Japanese right now - I took a class in college, years back, and have been re-learning most of the material over the past couple months (kamisama I saved the kyoukasho). Cringy non-grammatical weabish aside, I've actually had a much easier time with Hiragana than Katakana. Katakana characters tend to be simpler, but also more similar to one another (I swear, five of them are just diagonal strokes with varying diacritics). Plus, they appear much less frequently in most kinds of text (being limited to words and names of foreign origin).

I can see the logic in that. A lot of Katakana is obnoxiously similar. I don't have much grand ambition to learn to read either though. Most of my Japanese comes more from actual use with native speakers as I live in Japan than active studying. And when it comes to writing, English  (or for menus, pictures) is generally ubiquitous enough that it isn't needed. It'd be nice to read some Japanese only books and games that were never translated, but there's already a tonne of stuff in English I'll likely never finish reading in this life time already. Most of the good stuff has been translated already by people who would understand the nuance far better than I would even if I knuckled down to study.

40 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

As for Kanji, as there are thousands, no one can be expected to know literally all of them. Still, I've managed to memorize more than a handful (numbers, days of the week, common verbs like "go" or "eat"). It's fun to find connections - like, the radicals for "sun" and "moon" show up in a lot of time-related kanji. Anyway, good luck on the language learning process! Even if you're doing it all-digital (with Duolingo), it might help to write the characters out, too.

No joke, there's a gameshow here where the whole premise is recognizing and writing Kanji. There's people who have actively trained to write the language and they still frequently get it wrong (at least when under the pressure of a timer). I like Kanji, especially for how it's used for meaning in names, but there's something I just find so funny about a language so complex that a native speaker being able to write it is considered an achievement (that being said being able to write in any language is actually a phenomenally complex skill that requires an immense level of precision, it's a real testament to human evolution that we can do it so easily). Meanwhile a billion or so Chinese people actually do use this written language daily (well with some various types of simplifications, which just seems to make things look blockier).

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On 11/17/2020 at 12:42 PM, eclipse said:

Because English is three languages in a trenchcoat.

Hehaha! That's my new favorite way of describing English. Very good, this line!

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