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#1 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

I've noticed that a lot of people here (me included) aren't native English speakers and I was wondering what languages do you guys speak/ understand/ dabble in?

So I'll go ahead and start it.

Languages I speak at native level:

Portuguese (always good to speak one's native language at native level)

English (I make grammatical mistakes here and there, but so do a lot of the native speakers I talk to =P) - My sister taught me how to read, write and do math at the age of 3, so when I started school (not pre-school) at the age of 4 I was bored out of my mind and decided to learn English. At about 6 I was watching movies without subtitles and was always really good In English at school. The actually speaking part of the language though, I only started practicing when I started working with a US team...it caught me by surprise how long it actually took me to say anything in the beginning...I could understand anything without a problem but it took forever to formulate a reply in my head...decided I would go for a more well-rounded learning on my next language.

Languages I'm fluent enough in:

Spanish (I'm fine with reading/writing and can make do with speaking and writing, although sometimes it's hard to not let a little Portuguese slip in there) - Think I started learning when I was about 12, watching Spanish channels (with Portuguese subtitles). I mostly watched cartoons since they were mostly accent neutral and I found it easier to learn from. Haven't had the need to use Spanish often, so not much in the way of speech practice.

Dutch (as long as people try to be clear while speaking and the conversation is not too technical I'm golden) - Moved to the NL 2 years ago, and other than English (which doesn't have all that many parallels with Dutch), Dutch is my first German based language so it was a really slow start...also, the accent here is quite hard to grasp, so that slowed my learning more than if I lived, for example, in Amsterdam where I feel the accent is clearer.

Languages I'm "ok" in:

French (can understand and read with no problem, have trouble with the writing and speaking) - Had French in school for 2 years but never had anyone to speak French to, so the basic knowledge is there, but the speaking part is all gone.

Italian (Reading/understanding is easy enough, writing and speaking not so much =P) - Using Portuguese and Spanish, it's easy enough for me to understand Italian, but other than the week I've spent in Rome I have never spoken Italian, so I'm not all that great =P

Languages I suck at but can grasp the context:

German (wanted to have German at school but the teacher at my school had quit and they couldn't find a replacement) - My wife works in Germany often so I'm "exposed" to it...I mostly can draw parallels with Dutch and get the gist of it, but that's about it.

Japanese - Can grasp the context and translate some stuff but I'm pretty bad at it. Years and years of anime I guess...

Languages I want to learn:

German (work opportunities, Germany being "next door", etc...)

Japanese (I started, so might as well)

Swedish (My wife wants to learn and I have family there)

How about you? Is English your only language (or second language), or do you try to learn as many languages as possible?

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#2 Posted by sukraj (27508 posts) -

I can speak Punjabi but I speak in English with my dad as for my mum she can't speak much English so I have to speak to her in Indian.

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#3 Posted by elkoldo (1800 posts) -

My primary language ,as I'm sure you already know, is Persian,my secondary is English.I can read and understand some Arabic as well.Can't speak it though.Perhaps someday, and that day might never come,I'll learn Russian.

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#4 Posted by indzman (27735 posts) -


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#5 Posted by Master_Live (18821 posts) -

Native Spanish speaker, fluent in English.

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#6 Edited by johnd13 (9344 posts) -

Native Greek, fluent(I'd like to believe) in English. I need to work on my speaking though as I don't get any practice and I expect it to be kind of a hindrance if I ever have to converse professionally(like you mentioned @korvus).

I also want to learn(or brush up on my high-school) French and Japanese.

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#7 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@johnd13: Is it quite different; we sit here and write and have all the time in the world...but in a work setting (or a fast paced conversation) there's no time to think in your native language, translate in your head, make sure the sentence you're about to say is well constructed...while you're doing that the other person is looking at you like "Is there something wrong?". Once you start thinking in the language you're speaking though, it becomes as lot easier.

As for the rest, nice to see that lots of people have a second language =D Do you guys have trouble on transitioning? Sometimes my brain just gets locked...normally when I'm dealing with 3 languages at the same time. Like talking on the phone with my mother (Portuguese), reading something online (Dutch) and replying here in GS (English, obviously =P). When my brain needs to keep going back and forth between 3 languages I get all mixed up =P 2 languages is ok though, since me and my wife alternate between Dutch and English.

The fun begins when I'm doing Portuguese, English and Dutch at the same time and she's doing Dutch, English and German. She'll say "You started speaking Portuguese to me all of a sudden" and I reply "Well, you answered me in German!"

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#8 Posted by Horgen (117233 posts) -

I'm fluent in English and Norwegian I will say. I have a good understanding of Swedish, and can talk it somewhat, though I do need a week or two in Sweden to refresh the language. Reading Danish isn't so hard, but once they start to talk I am all lost.

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#10 Posted by johnd13 (9344 posts) -

@korvus: Yeah in a real conversation all my rich vocabulary is nonexistant and I end up making the simplest sentences afraid that I'm taking too long to speak. I have started thinking in English though especially when it comes to cussing. :P

Dammit Korvus your child is gonna have a hard time coping with Dutch, Portugese, English and German at the same time. :P

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#11 Posted by ShepardCommandr (4939 posts) -

I only speak english.I don't use my native language anymore and as a result i have forgotten most of it.

I would like to learn japanese as well but i just can't be arsed.Too much work for no reward.I mean it's not like i'll ever visit Japan so there really is no point.

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#12 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@johnd13: Fine...we'll wait with the German until the child is 2 years old... =P

@ShepardCommandr: And what is your native language? =)

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#13 Posted by thehig1 (6433 posts) -

Native English and only speak English, was ok with French when learning in school bit never needed to use it so it's pretty much all forgotten.

Like a lot of English people we are a little ignorant to other languages.

I really would like to learn another language though

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#14 Posted by LJS9502_basic (163084 posts) -

English. But I do know Spanish. Haven't used it enough.....Spanish speakers talk fast.:P

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#15 Posted by deeliman (3803 posts) -

Native Dutch speaker, fluent in English ( I've actually got a diploma from the University of Cambridge to prove it ^^). I've had German, French and Spanish in high school but I was never any good at them.

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#16 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@thehig1: Which language would you like to learn?

@LJS9502_basic: Everybody speaks way too fast for you when you're trying to learn, no matter which language they're speaking XD

@deeliman: The Netherlands is a great place to learn languages. I find 15yo kids who have had lessons (not sure how good they are in each particular language) in Dutch, English, Spanish, French, German, Latin, Greek, Mandarin... (and I mean the same people having all of them)

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#17 Edited by LJS9502_basic (163084 posts) -

@korvus: I don't know....I just think Americans speak slower. English is my native language and sometimes when the Brits speak it's too fast. XD

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#18 Edited by korvus (11021 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic: I think that's just accent; when I met my wife I had trouble with her British accent and her with my US accent, then it normalized after a few hours. Then a few months ago I spoke to my first heavy accented Scots. My first reaction was "Holy crap, is that even English??"...then after a few hours I could understand it perfectly. The brain just takes time to click into gear sometimes =) My wife (and I do it too, but to a less extent) has this hilarious inability to avoid catching any accent she hears...it's always so much fun when she comes back from a week in Scotland or Ireland which may or may not generate bad jokes like "Are you turning ginger?" or "Do you hate the English yet?"

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#19 Posted by thehig1 (6433 posts) -

@korvus: Not got a preference, as I wont really have a practical use for it. I guess Arabic as I holiday in Egypt, Tunisia and Morroco very often.

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#20 Posted by deeliman (3803 posts) -

@korvus That's only if they went to a gymnasium (that's just the name, it's not some kind of sports school :P) school (only the smartest kids can go there). I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Dutch school system, but it's basically divided in different "difficulties", and you have to take a test to see to which difficulty you can go. Up until the first 3 difficulties you only have 3 languages (Dutch, English and German), in the 4th you have 5 languages (Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish) and in the 5th you have 7. (Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish, Ancient Greek and Latin). So yeah, the majority of 15 year olds won't speak 7-8 languages ;)

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#21 Posted by LJS9502_basic (163084 posts) -

@deeliman: To be fair I don't think anyone speaks Latin anymore. :P

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#22 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@deeliman: Yes, of course not everybody will be speaking 8 languages but I've never met a Portuguese teenager who could even speak 4 (most of them can't even speak 2...I'm the only person in my family who speaks English...). I've been here (NL) for 2 years and I've met 7 kids that do gymnasium already. Also, the first time a client told me her daughter went to gymnasium I could not understand why the hell she was so proud =P

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#23 Posted by deeliman (3803 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic Same thing for Ancient Greek :P

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#24 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@korvus: Funny you should say that -- the thing about translating sentences into your own language, formulate your response, then translate back.
This is not how my mind works.

I am able to converse at a pretty consistent pace. I only wish to advance my vocabulary a bit. I studied in York, England for a year and really loved my time there -- the culture and the people; amazing. Actually, on guy from campus asked me what part of England I was from.

My native language is Norwegian. I also consider myself at a native skill-level in English, although some mistakes are bound to occur.
Funny thing about the dutch language: certain words sound/are the same in Dutch-Norwegian, so one native to the Dutch language might grasp a Norwegian sentence. I guess I should include that I understand Swedish and Danish as well, just for the record.

There are many languages I would like to learn: Spanish, Russian, Japanese and German. I've started to learn the cyrillic/russian alphabet.

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#25 Edited by korvus (11021 posts) -

@_Judas_: In the name of clarification, I was referring to when you start learning a new language, as in the first few months, then you start thinking directly in the language you're speaking in; so far I have never met anyone who started learning a new language by thinking directly in said language, but if you do, then it is possible, I guess =)

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#26 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

It's also very important to utter words and sentences in the languages you speak -- good idea for keeping your language skills up-to-date. It is said that there is a difference between learning a language and acquiring language. If you have any kids at 2-3 years old, keep exposing them to different languages. @korvus , for example; keep talking (if you have any kids at that age) using different languages and keeping your children exposed to different languages. This will give them a fantastic baseline fo further language acquisition. Great to see that you speak so many languages, by the way. @korvus , I envy that :) keep it up, and try to learn Japanese in 2014, ok? :)

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#27 Posted by deeliman (3803 posts) -

@korvus Haha yes it's kinda confusing if you have to explain it to a non-native :). Aren't foreign languages mandatory in Portuguese schools?

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#28 Posted by CrimsonBrute (25076 posts) -

Just english and spanish.

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#29 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@_Judas_: Thank you, that is nice of you to say. You don't seem to be doing badly for yourself either though! As for the kids, if we have them, me and my wife are planning to only speak our native language to them so that they can learn both at once. A friend of mine back in Portugal married a Russian girl...he didn't speak Russian, she didn't speak Portuguese so they spoke to each other in English. When I met their 5yo kid, she could speak perfect Russian (according to her mother since I don't speak it), perfect Portuguese (according to me =P) and other than a slight strange accent in her English (since neither parent was a native English speaker), it sounded great too!

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#30 Posted by Gamerno6666 (5306 posts) -

Native Bangla.

No problem in understanding Hindi.

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#31 Posted by elkoldo (1800 posts) -
@indzman said:


As if we didn't know it already !

@daforsaken1 said:

My native language is Urdu. But I can speak Punjabi fluently too. Hindi and Urdu goes hand in hand so yea count Hindi too.

And Persian.That explains فاک دیز پیپل.Remember?

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#32 Posted by double_decker (146040 posts) -

English and Spanish, although it's been so many years since school that I don't remember much Spanish since I never use it.

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#33 Posted by gamerguru100 (12701 posts) -

English only.

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#34 Posted by themajormayor (25721 posts) -

Swedish and English fluent. My German is pretty good too. Know a little bit of Arabic as well.

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#35 Posted by Behardy24 (5324 posts) -

@gamerguru100 said:

English only.

Same here.

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#36 Posted by foxhound_fox (97010 posts) -

English fluent.

Can read some Japanese (took two years in university).

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#37 Posted by natsm (63 posts) -

Native Indonesia,fluent in english(i think),currently learning japanese(because i'm sick of waiting for TG chapters)

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#38 Posted by ssvegeta555 (2442 posts) -

I only speak English. I tried to learn Spanish in high school but I didn't get very far.

@korvus: Your initial post detailing your bit about speaking English reminds me of my friend. I'm helping a friend in Vietnam with her English right now. She can read and write pretty well, and does okay speaking and listening, but work needs to be done there for sure. I have to speak a little slower than I'm use to, and she can take a while to formulate a reply in her head and her pronunciation can be spotty sometimes haha. But I feel she is improving quite well. I'm curious, when you started to speak English how long did it take for you to feel fluent in it? Me and my friend we try to practice her speaking twice a week for at least an hour (sometimes we push 2) over Skype, but I wonder if we should do more. I guess more practice wouldn't hurt. In comparison, we chat everyday.

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#39 Posted by lightleggy (16090 posts) -

Native spanish, fluent in english (self thaught too), ok in french, below decent in russian and shitty but can get some sentences on german.

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#41 Posted by sukraj (27508 posts) -

@indzman said:


nice one I'm Punjabi, English

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#42 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@ssvegeta555: For me learning English started smoothly enough...watch tv, listen to movies/shows and read the subtitles (we didn't have any dubs except stuff for really young kids), but for the speaking part I really took the plunge...I went from never speaking English to spending almost 12 hours a day in a team of 20 Americans who didn't speak a word of Portuguese, so to me was 12 hours a day of having no choice but to speak English...the first week was absolute torture, I felt like a retarded kid trying to explain what I wanted. Second week was fine, by the third week it was normal. With your friend it might be different depending on said friend's knowledge of the language...I had pretty must "mastered" the language in all aspects but speech by the time I joined the team and actually preferred working and reading in English than my native language, which gave me a considerable boost.

Good luck teaching your friend! =D

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#44 Posted by indzman (27735 posts) -

@sukraj said:

@indzman said:


nice one I'm Punjabi, English

sat sri kal paji :)

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#45 Posted by sukraj (27508 posts) -

@indzman said:

@sukraj said:

@indzman said:


nice one I'm Punjabi, English

sat sri kal paji :)

ha ha nice one indzman

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#46 Posted by korvus (11021 posts) -

@indzman said:

sat sri kal paji :)

If you're going to be saying that sort of thing about my mother I will have to ask you to leave...