GMG Classical Music Forum

The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: vers la flamme on May 08, 2021, 03:53:01 PM

Title: What languages do you speak?
Post by: vers la flamme on May 08, 2021, 03:53:01 PM
I've always been fascinated with language, though I must admit my limitations. In terms of conversational fluency, I can only claim (American) English. I've studied French for years, and can read and write it quite efficiently, but my conversational abilities in the language are nil. Nothing a few months in a French speaking country wouldn't fix, but nevertheless. I could also survive in an Esperanto-speaking country if such a thing ever were to exist. No, seriously; I learned the language in my more idealistic youth. Quite easy to pick up, as it was designed to be, and quite a beautiful language in my opinion. I've feebly attempted to learn Italian and German in the past, and I've just started trying to learn the basics of Spanish.

What say you all? Sorry if this thread has been done before.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Florestan on May 09, 2021, 12:19:02 AM
It appears we two have a lot in common. Linguistics and foreign languages have always been of keen interest to me. I speak English and French fluently. I speak a little, and understand a lot of written and spoken, Italian and Spanish (Catalan and Gallego included). I understand written and spoken Portuguese fairly well but don't speak it. Years ago I could understand written Dutch quite well but lack of practice might have eroded my skills a bit.  I have very limited knowledge of German and Russian (but I can read fluently the Russian alphabet).

Of all those languages, I studied only English, Russian, French and Dutch. In all others I'm self-taught, helped by a native talent for learning languages and the fact that Romanian is a Romance language (imo opinion, after Italian the closest to Romanian is Catalan).
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: MusicTurner on May 09, 2021, 12:41:38 AM
I used to be stronger in my university years, but of foreign languages, reasonable English, and a fair amount - through predominantly in writing, since the spoken attempts contain grammatical errors - of Swedish, German, French, and Norwegian. And especially in writing understanding a good deal of Spanish and Italian, though not literary prose/poems, rather the matter-of-fact texts. A tiny bit of Latin.

(And probably Esperanto ;) )

Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: OrchestralNut on May 09, 2021, 03:28:25 AM
English and French. French was my first language growing up, but my French isn't as strong as it once was.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2021, 10:14:30 AM
Obviously Finnish. Althou Swedish is the 2nd official language in Finland and we learn it in school my Swedish is VERY rusty and I have never been good at that language to begin with. Many Finns are crappy speakers of Swedish, because we don't really use it (except Swedish-speaking Finns obviously who are about 6 % of the population). Instead Finns are pretty good in English. I haven't been speaking English much lately (no need), but I write/read English even more than Finnish because of the internet. Often I am not even aware of which language I am writing or reading online. I just go "automatically" into the correct language mode when reading an internet site. Occationally I encounter an English word or expression I don't know and I need translation for it. I have also noticed, that if I am making notes for myself, I may prefer doing it in English instead of Finnish. For example music theory: I am learning it online in English so I write down the theory in English instead of even bothering with the Finnish terminology. It is enough to learn music theory in one language and English is the obvious choice, but even that has the US/UK issue: Whole note/Semibreve etc. (US English has much better names for note lengths. Why talk about "Crotchet" when you call it a quarter note!?" To me "crotchet" sounds like an insect!  :o

I am not good at learning languages. Asperger doesn't help. I was really bad at languages in school (one reason why I suck so badly at Swedish). I used to struggle even with English, but then university studies + the internet opened it for me. I am kind of interested of Japanese and Spanish...
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: (: premont :) on May 09, 2021, 11:28:22 PM
Of course my native language Danish. Other than that I think I can speak and write an acceptable English. At high school I learned classic languages (Latin and Greek) which aren't talked but it was useful for my medical training. I also learned French but haven't talked it that much and accordingly lack practice. Also I can make myself understandable in German and Swedish about not too complicated subjects.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: vandermolen on May 09, 2021, 11:59:28 PM
Very embarrassing! I studied French at school for seven years and still failed the O Level (now GCSE) three times. This was probably because I used to ask our French au-pair girl to do my homework! (terrible, isn't it?).

This memorable exchange (in French) took place during one of the French Oral examinations:

Examiner: What is the weather like?

Me (with an exaggerated examination of my watch): 'Ten past three'.

Examiner: 'Next candidate please!'

If and when I get to properly retire I wouldn't mind taking up French again.

My wife is a sign-language interpreter and my daughter has passed BSL (British Sign Language) Level 1. Also, the school where I work has just started sign language lessons. This year I can't join the class because it clashes with my other work but I hope to join the class next academic year.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: MusicTurner on May 10, 2021, 12:41:57 AM
(...)

This memorable exchange (in French) took place during one of the French Oral examinations:

Examiner: What is the weather like?

Me (with an exaggerated examination of my watch): 'Ten past three'.

Examiner: 'Next candidate please!'

(...)

 :laugh: :laugh:

Well, probably because 'temps' can after all mean several things ...

I'd like to learn some written Russian at least, but right now there aren't a lot of the circumstances required for such a project.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Florestan on May 10, 2021, 10:18:28 AM
I'd like to learn some written Russian at least

During the 2020 summer lockdown I watched the whole 12-episode series of The Road to Calvary on Netflix with Romanian subtitles on two days only --- yes, it's that good. I was surprised to learn that I remembered and understood much more Russian than I'd have thought (I studied Russian for 4 years during secondary school).
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: MusicTurner on May 10, 2021, 10:47:18 AM
During the 2020 summer lockdown I watched the whole 12-episode series of The Road to Calvary on Netflix with Romanian subtitles on two days only --- yes, it's that good. I was surprised to learn that I remembered and understood much more Russian than I'd have thought (I studied Russian for 4 years during secondary school).

I envy you that, since one would surely learn a lot from such first-hand sources and better acquaintances with Russian (and Russian-related) culture ... would also make any travels more rewarding.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Mirror Image on May 11, 2021, 03:32:11 PM
Lately, I’ve been diving into Huttese and Shyriiwook. They’re almost as fun as Jawaese. :D
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Mirror Image on May 11, 2021, 06:27:25 PM
On a more serious note, my Spanish is getting better, but I feel I have a long way yet before I can feel comfortable enough to carry on a conversation with a native speaker.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: vandermolen on May 12, 2021, 12:04:25 AM
On a more serious note, my Spanish is getting better, but I feel I have a long way yet before I can feel comfortable enough to carry on a conversation with a native speaker.
My older brother (in his 70s) is enjoying online Spanish lessons at the moment.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Herman on May 12, 2021, 02:17:24 AM
English and Dutch are my primary languages. I can speak French and German after a couple of days back 'in' the language. Due to my past marital history I understand Spanish. I can and do read Ancient Greek and Latin.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: MusicTurner on May 12, 2021, 02:22:33 AM
English and Dutch are my primary languages. I can speak French and German after a couple of days back 'in' the language. Due to my past marital history I understand Spanish. I can and do read Ancient Greek and Latin.

That's nice ! The Dutch are known as some of the most language-flexible people in Europe. I guess a good deal of the Belgians are too ...
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Wanderer on May 12, 2021, 02:51:20 AM
Greek (ancient and modern dialects/varieties - native language), English and French.
Latin, as well (taught in high school; proficiency level required for Law School entry exams).
Grundstufe level German, too, once upon a time, but *very* rusty now.
Because of French and Latin, I find I can usually understand between 40%-90% of what Italian and Spanish I come across.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2021, 06:16:07 AM
My older brother (in his 70s) is enjoying online Spanish lessons at the moment.

Very nice. Spanish is pretty easy to learn, but I’d like to get to the point where I can speak it without any hesitancy on my part. I’d also like to learn German because I hope to some day travel to Germany and Austria. I’d like to be able to talk to some people here without looking like a complete fool. :D
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Ganondorf on May 12, 2021, 09:18:40 AM
Besides my native language (Finnish) the only language I am fluent in is English. However, I do have a slight grasp of grammar in German, Japanese and Quenya. Not enough to say that I truly "speak" those, by any means. I tried to learn Japanese by myself more fully, years ago, but I was too lazy :P
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Wanderer on May 12, 2021, 10:50:10 AM
Besides my native language (Finnish) the only language I am fluent in is English. However, I do have a slight grasp of grammar in German, Japanese and Quenya. Not enough to say that I truly "speak" those, by any means. I tried to learn Japanese by myself more fully, years ago, but I was too lazy :P

Kudos for being interested in Quenya! (A major inspiration for which was Finnish.)
And Japanese would probably be my option no.1 if I had the time to learn a completely new language.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Mandryka on May 12, 2021, 11:15:49 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/qWyrQSM5w_0&ab_channel=MartinRomberg

Love Quenyan music.
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: Ganondorf on May 12, 2021, 11:34:19 AM
Kudos for being interested in Quenya! (A major inspiration for which was Finnish.)
And Japanese would probably be my option no.1 if I had the time to learn a completely new language.

Thanks!  :) And yes, I am aware of the connection with Quenya and Finnish as well :)
Title: Re: What languages do you speak?
Post by: vers la flamme on May 12, 2021, 12:16:39 PM
Quenya is an impressive constructed language or "conlang". Love the script Tolkien invented for it.